Monday, December 31, 2012

Bye Bye 2012, Hello 2013

The end of another year! Wow! Not to be clichéd and all, but time does fly when you're having fun. Gaffa and I welcomed in 2012 in Gosport, where Gaffa grew up. Now we're about to end the year in Sydney, the place we call home.

2012 has been a year of ups and downs, like anything. But our close relationship has meant that we've gotten through everything together and come out the other side, a lot stronger.

I hope that 2012 has brought you all many happy memories and that 2013 brings a lot more. Whatever your new year's resolutions are, or your hopes and dreams for the next year, I hope that they come true, or at the very least you have fun trying to achieve them. As they say, it's all about the journey not the final destination!

2013 is going to be a big year for Gaffa and I. We're back from our worldly travels, and we've got our wedding and future together to plan. Not to mention a lot more eating, travelling and diving in store for us to share with you all!!

Just a short recap of 2012, the highlights and my favourite places to eat, travel and dive.

Eat: the three course dinner we has two nights in a row in Dijon, France, pinxtos and tapas in Spain, gelato and home made tirimisu in Italy, food trucks in San Francisco, California, USA, Morimoto's in Napa Valley, California, USA.

Travel: too many to choose from, but the places at the top of my list to revisit (in no particular order) are: Sweden, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, Austria, California, especially San Francisco.

Dive: the cenotes in Mexico and Zenobia wreck in Cyprus

2013 eat.travel.dive goals/ideas -

Eat: gluten-free meals, and more healthy foods. Since Gaffa has been seeing his chiropractor and managed to lose over 15kg, we know something's working! And it's the cutting back of gluten, sugar and lactose.

Travel: we'll be travelling to Bali in June for my brother and SIL2B's wedding. Where else? No set plans yet, but there will definitely be some!

Dive: side mount and technical diving. Since coming second in the Dive Rite photo competition, I was rewarded with $500 worth of gear. I decided to add side mount equipment to my current Dive Rite harness and wing set up. Also with my tec diver theory complete, all I need to do now is the dives. And then more photography diving. Since I've been out of the water, I've missed taking underwater photos.

Here's to a happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead!


Enjoy your new years celebrations, whatever you have planned, be safe! 

Gaffa & Winnie 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Easy Coconut Bread

What do you do with a massive bag of dessicated coconut that you only needed about a tablespoon full of for a curry? You make loads of coconut bread with it!

Well that's what I've been doing the past few weeks. Gaffa made one of Jamie's curries which required dessicated coconut. The cheapest at Coles was Coles brand dessicated coconut, but it was 500g of it. So we bought it. I was trying to find stuff to make with it, but couldn't find any decent recipes for coconut cupcakes as they required coconut essence as well and I didn't have any. But then I stumbled upon this very simple coconut bread recipe. So easy that even kids could make it. It's only 4 simple ingredients, mix them all into a bowl and then put it into a lined tin and cook in the oven. Done!



So to keep this post short and sweet, here's the recipe:

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup of milk

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celcius. Add all the ingredients into a bowl. Using a mixer, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes. Let it cool. Eat!

I said it was simple, didn't I?!

When all the ingredients are mixed together, it looks like rice pudding, but that's normal. I used gluten free self raising flour as Gaffa's new diet doesn't allow him to have much gluten. I also used stevia instead of regular white sugar; stevia is natural sugar so less calories and better for you. It tastes the same and you can't notice the difference. After it's cooled down, you can have it plain, it's not dry at all. Or if you're feeling adventurous, have it with some butter.

Until next time! :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Flying Business Class



Ahh Business Class, where all cattle class passengers dream of one day being able to afford a plane ticket on. Gaffa and I were lucky enough to be able to experience it on our final flight home after our 14 months away. It was the 'icing on the cake' to end our big adventure, and we took full advantage of it all, seriously who wouldn't?!

Gaffa taking advantage of the welcome drink
We had booked with STA in Portsmouth, our flights from London to San Francisco in May, then a 3 month stop over, and then a flight from San Francisco to Sydney via Los Angeles in August. This was far cheaper than booking the two flights seperately. We were flying domestically from San Francisco to Los Angeles with American Airlines at night and my Uncle Ping dropped us off at the airport with lots of time to spare. According to our arranged tickets, we had about 90 minutes to get from our domestic flight to our international flight. We weren't sure how we were going to do this, but if STA were able to book us on these flights, then surely it would be possible right? WRONG! When we checked in for our SFO-LAX flight, the lady serving us told us that were were not going to make it so she moved us onto a later LAX-SYD flight. We thought she was doing us a favour, but she wasn't. She was just covering her own arse. We found out later, that even this extended stop over time wouldn't of been enough for us to get to our connecting flight.  

The fog in San Francisco did not help, and we left SF a bit later than expected. The pilot made up on the lost time during the flight, however before we arrived in Los Angeles, we were told over the loud speaker that the plane was being redirected to another airport, to refuel.. Huh? Why couldn't we just land at LA? Gaffa and I had a plane to catch!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

San Francisco, CA, USA - Part 2

I'd actually written this post almost 2 months ago, but because we've been so busy trying to get back into our normal lives here in Sydney, finding a job, moving house, etc, etc, I haven't had time to pick the photos and post the blog. But finally, (it's never too late, right?) here you go: the last leg of our 14 months of travelling around the world. It's sad to see it end... maybe in the back of my mind that's the real reason it took me so long to finish this post! Ahahaha...

Gaffa and I at Morimoto's (check out my tan!)

Nearing the end of our world travels, Gaffa and I spent the last two weeks back in San Francisco with my Aunties, Uncles and cousins. After a 5 or so hour plane ride from Cancun back to San Francisco on United (never fly United, both times Gaffa's seat was broken) we arrived back at my Uncle P and Auntie J's place. It was fairly late, so we went straight to sleep in preparation for the next two weeks filled with lots of fun activities that everyone had organised for us! :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mexico, Part 2



After our short Belizian tour we headed back to Mexico for the next month; to spend it diving, relaxing and chilling out. We spent the first week in Tulum, at Mamma’s Home while we enjoyed some Cenote diving. After our daily diving with Dream Divers, we were treated to a free lunch at a local restaurant. Gaffa ordered the same meal everyday, whereas I switched it up a bit to try different things. 

Shrimp Tacos after a day of diving
Mama's Home
We also spent a day at Tulum beach, which has beautiful white sand and crystal clear blue water. The sun was shining so bright against the white sand that it was hard to fully open your eyes! 

Chillin' on the beach

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cenote Diving, Mexico


Mexican Cenotes

Let’s Go Underground!

A cenote is a deep natural pit, or sinkhole, characteristic of Mexico, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath.  Cenotes are associated with the Yucatan Peninsular and some nearby Caribbean islands….

BUT they are so much more that that.  In Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsular there are hundreds of kilometers of explored and mapped cave systems linked to the many cenotes that thousands of people flock to each year.  There are also many more cave systems, and cenotes that have yet to be discovered (or opened up to the public), and many that lie on private property that are waiting to be explored!



Belize, Central America

Unbelizeable! You better belize it!

One the overnight bus from Playa del Carmen to Belize City
Crossing into Belize from Mexico was a breeze compared to what we’d experienced crossing over from Mexico moments before. In the dark of night we seamlessly passed through the Belizean immigration and customs counters, getting our passports stamped after a few generic questions from the inspectors, and back onto the bus in a matter of moments.  Too Easy, Belizie!

The bus then sprinted on Belize time in the direction of Belize City. As soon as we got to the final bus station, we hopped into a taxi headed to the water taxi terminal to get the first crossing to Caye Caulker.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Gaffa

Today's post is very special. 


Not only is it Gaffa's 32nd Birthday, it is also our 100th post! YAY.


Gaffa darling, I hope today is as special for you as you are to me. I can't imagine my life without you. Wishing you lots of love and happiness (with me hehehe).... eat, drink and be merry! Sorry we couldn't go for a dive on your birthday.... 


Love always and forever, 


Win xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 32 x's for 32 birthday boy! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mexico, Part 1


The start of our Central American adventures!


During our 3 month stop over in the USA, Gaffa and I had booked flights to Cancun in Mexico to explore Central America; by chillaxin', enjoying the beach and sun, and to do some more scuba diving. Our two friends Maverick and Quiche decided to join us as well. We were very excited to be travelling with them as we'd unfortunately missed their wedding (we were in Egypt) and it was great to see some familiar Aussie faces! 

Eating out at our fav Mexican joint

This part of the trip was a bit different for Gaffa and I. For our European adventure we  had planned every day, booked every night's accommodation, knew exactly where we'd be going... but this time we'd only booked 3 night's accommodation in Playa del Carmen at Hostel Che (about an hour south of Cancun), and that was it. We had some ideas of what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go, but no solid plans, total spontaneity! For me personally, it was a new feeling; I like to be very organised and know exactly what I'm doing. But as I'm writing this post and we near the end of our Central America trip, I think it was a good experience to have and I learnt a lot from it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Rodeo Drive....



One movie pops into my head when I think of Rodeo Drive, and that's Pretty Woman. I love that movie!! So we took a short trip to Rodeo Drive to experience what it's like to shop where the rich and famous shop. We didn't go into any shops on Rodeo Drive. Visions of our experience in Milan came flooding back into my mind. We didn't have the money, nor did we want security guards stalking us around the shops.


We did do some window shopping though. We even got to witness how being rich and having a fancy car can get you anything you want, including a car parking space right on Rodeo Drive. We were waiting for a car to reverse out so we could park in, we had the indicator lights on and were waited patiently... As soon as the car pulled away, a flashy BMW driver- a woman, from the outside lane cut across us and took our car parking space!! Ridiculous!! No care in the world for us or the potential for her car to get scratched. All she wanted was that spot on Rodeo Drive! Unbelievable.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Disneyland, Los Angeles, CA, USA


The happiest place on earth....

And where all your dreams come true! 


I absolutely love Disneyland! It's the place where you can visit, become a kid again and let your worries go for the day, plus go on a few rides and see your favourite Disney characters.


The first Disneyland I ever went to was the Tokyo Disneyland in January 2009 with a group of uni friends and Gaffa. We only bought a half day night pass and missed the parade as it was raining. Then in May 2009 I was in San Francisco visiting my mum and we went to Disneyland in Los Angeles. So this visit with Gaffa was my second visit to the LA Disneyland. It doesn't get old though, I still get excited seeing all the Disney characters and going on all the rides. I would be the person that has an annual pass if I lived near a Disneyland and I'd definitely get my monies worth by visiting regularly.




Sunday, July 15, 2012

Yoga & Scuba Diving


Healthy Divers = Happy Divers!

The Health Benefits of Yoga & Scuba Diving

As you may or may not know, Winnie and I are both keen practitioners of Bikram Yoga (for more info on what Bikram is, click here to see Winnie’s description) and we are clearly nuts about scuba diving.  
Standing Separate Leg Bow Posture

Whilst both of these activities promote a healthier lifestyle, I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at the health benefits of practicing Yoga if you are a scuba diver.  But remember, I’m not a Yoga Professional, just a regular Joe and I’m applying it to my profession – SCUBA DIVING!

Research suggests that one of the most noticeable benefits is the emotional and mental therapy that scuba diving provides us.  When a diver is experiencing neutral buoyancy, gliding through the water in an effortless way, weightless they begin to feel relaxed and soothed by this activity.  They can often feel their nerves calming as they dive beneath the surface.  Excitement and curiosity can often lead to positive mental therapy.  The feeling a diver gets when they see the various colours, textures, that the sub aquatic world offers can help to take the diver away from the rigours of living on the surface, of seeing the same cars, buildings and people.  The underwater world offers a new experience, a chance to explore.  This can really help divers who suffer from stress.  These are all positive psychological affects of scuba diving.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

San Francisco, USA - Part 1


Californian Fun!

Lots of eating with a little bit of sightseeing in between!

 

Gaffa and I are on the last leg of our worldly travels, leaving the cold and gloomy England bound for Australia - home, but not straight away... We are enjoying a 3 month stop over in USA! I have loads of family (on my mums side) in the San Francisco area, so we decided to visit and get to know them a bit better- since I haven't spent much time in my life with my relatives since they live so far away :(

Welcome to San Francisco!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Home Made 8 Course Degustation


Good Food and Great Company!

Delicious food complete with cocktails!

Yes you read it right, it's not a typo. Eight courses cooked by Gaffa and me, cocktails supplied by Mouldie and Kimbo!!

During our time in the UK, I can't remember whose idea it was but somehow the 4 of us decided that we would cook dinner and try and make 8 different courses. Initially no one was really up for the challenge, so we made a competition out of it.

 
First up was mini golf/putt putt/crazy golf as the Brit's call it. 9 holes at Clarence Pier at Southsea. It was a nice sunny day out and we started off with a friendly game... which soon became a bit competitive, as we decided that the winner and loser would help each other cook. So, we had to
strategise here. We couldn't play our best in the hope of winning, but we had to at least try so we wouldn't come last!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Finding Zen


Wreck Dives to Remember…

The Zenobia Wreck


The Zenobia ship wreck lies on the sand just off of the coastline of Larnaca in Cyprus.  It has been one of those wrecks that keep cropping up in the many diving publications, forums; and thanks the The Times newspaper, it has been listed as being one of the top ten wreck diving sites in the world.  It is now my objective to give you a dive by dive account of the best of what this amazing shipwreck has to offer.  Since we did 10 dives on her, I will give you a glimpse of my favorites and the most memorable!

The Zenobia is a dive that interests almost all wreck divers, but since it is classified as a deep dive, comes as a bit of a challenge to the inexperienced diver.  The Zenobia, Zen to her friends, has also had its fair share of negative press too.   The stigma which surrounds any wreck that sits in deep water is understandable.  Divers who venture deeper, or for longer than they are trained or experienced to do so risk injury and even death.  Since its sinking in 1980, four divers have died on the wreck.  Earlier this year, in an attempt to prevent any accidents within the limits of port waters that come under its jurisdiction, the Cyprus Port Authority were reported to have  attempted to ban all diving in these areas – which includes the Zen.  The news broke on this in April 2012, thanks to UK diving magazine Diver, who reported also that there was no ban in place after all.  This plus a heap of local publicity surrounding the proposed ban, nothing eventuated from this and local dive centres continued to take divers out to the Zenobia wreck. 

Phew!  Great news!!

This was good news for myself and Winnie as we booked to travel there in early April for a week of Zen diving!!


Monday, July 2, 2012

France Road Trip


Final leg of the WINGAZ Euro trip!

Across France and back in 3 days!

 

This was the last part of our European adventure; we’d been travelling for almost 2 months and the end was almost near. In the morning we left San Sebastian on a train and travelled to Hendaye, a small French town just on the boarder between Spain and France. We then took another train to Bordeaux on the west side of France. At Hendaye we bought a road map of France, as we were going to hire a car in Bordeaux and drive around France for 3 days. When we arrived in Bordeaux we took the bus to the airport, as we were staying in a hotel close by and picking up our car from the airport the next morning.  

Staying in a hotel was like luxury to us, since we’d spent the good part of 2 months in hostels, large dorm rooms and single beds. The private room, fluffy pillows, queen size bed with its soft mattress and private bathroom were well deserved after roughing it for so long.

Yay, I was navigating!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

San Sebastian, Spain

Basque Country!

Last stop in Spain

 

Our final destination in Spain was San Sebastian, aka Donostia. San Sebastian is located in northern Spain in the Basque region. We spent 2 nights there enjoying the culinary experience that it has to offer and relaxing on the beach.

 

We were staying in a hostel in San Sebastian, very close to the beach. The hostel was not really a hostel, but a student home – so the place didn’t have to pay fees for being a ‘real’ hostel. The owner was a bit weird and overly friendly (we'll explain why later), and didn’t speak any English. Thankfully there were a group of American-Mexicans staying there to help us translate.  

 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Barcelona & Figueres, Spain


Exploring Cataluna!

view from the top of Sagrada Familia
Amazing Artists: Gaudi & Dali……

We arrived in Barcelona central station and continued onto our accommodation to drop our bags off and start exploring the city. We booked into another AirBnB place as it was cheaper than the hostels. The place was very central, located unfortunately up a hill, but close to Alfons X metro station and within walking distance to Sagrada Familia – if you enjoy the nice long walks. We had a small room, all to ourselves, a kitchen, lounge area and bathroom that we shared with a group of 4-5 other travellers throughout our 3 night stay there.

 


Our first attraction of choice in Barcelona was of course, the Sagrada Familia – the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family. We walked down the straight road from our accommodation towards the grand church, you could spot it a mile away. Its creator and the brains behind the architectural genius is Antoni Gaudi. Construction of the building started in 1882, and still continues today. Your entry fees contribute towards the donations to complete the construction, and are well worth the money – even though they don’t accept credit cards at the door. Its three grand façades – nativity, passion and glory - are a wonder to marvel at while you walk around the exterior. But to go inside the church is a whole other world.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Valencia, Spain


Home of the Paella!

 
After our time in Seville, we took an early morning train back to Madrid, and another train across to Valencia. Valencia is known as where the Paella originated, but not the seafood type of paella that you see, instead the meaty paella.

We got to our accommodation and dropped off our bags and collected a map. We walked around the main historical centre, looking at all the beautiful architecture. Main attractions were the Valencia Cathedral and the Historic Central Market (Plaza del Mercado).  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Seville & Cadiz, Spain


Sun in Sevilla and Cadiz!

Flamenco, tapas and the beach :)
 
After our relaxing time in Cordoba, we headed south into Andalucia, to Seville. The sun was shinning bright, and we were so excited. We’d travelled around Europe during the winter months, starting in Norway with -7 degrees temperatures on average, and now we were in Spain, feeling like it was really summer. How amazing is that. Pity we had so much winter clothes, and not much summer clothes…


Anyway, after finding our hostel, which we’ve decided is the best hostel we’ve stayed at during our whole trip away; it’s called The Oasis Palace Backpackers Hostel at Calle Almirante Ulloa, 1 41001 Seville. The hostel is centrally located, very clean, facilities are amazing, and the atmosphere is electric. This particular hostel (as the Oasis Hostels have a few around Spain) is fairly new, so the mattresses are still comfortable, the bathrooms are modern and the décor is pretty good for a hostel, it really does look similar to a ‘palace’ as you enter with it’s grand staircase. They have free breakfast every morning, a functional kitchen (a tad small for the amount of people, but reasonable) and loads of activities on every day/night to meet new people and get involved in the Spanish culture. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cordoba, Spain



Heading south for some sunshine

Relaxation and some more tapas….

After Madrid we headed south to Cordoba for a couple of days of chilling out and to continue our exploration of the south of Spain. We dropped our bags off at the hostel, and then wandered off to find some food to fill our empty stomachs. By mid morning, the sun was shinning brightly and the sunglasses had finally come out.

We found a street of small tapas restaurants very close to our hostel. We picked one called the Muséo de la Tapas y el Vino (the Museum of Tapas and Vine). Prices were reasonable and they were open prior to the busy lunch rush. A more detailed post of this restaurant will come in the future.



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Madrid and Toledo, Spain


First impressions of  Espana…

 

Tapas, vino, blue skies, grand buildings and green parks

We arrived in Madrid close to midnight and took the metro to our hostel, The Mad Hostel. Surprisingly the metro was safe, unlike what we’d heard from some people that had visited before. But over the past year or two, the Spanish transportation system has improved dramatically and it’s safe and convenient to travel on the metro in Madrid and the local trains which connect the major cities together.

After a good night’s sleep we awoke and started planning our few days in the capital of Spain. First stop was Plaza Mayor, a grand square arcade in the centre of Madrid. It was still quite early so the plaza was empty, but it fills up as the sun starts shinning and the people start getting hungry.

Plaza Mayor

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pompeii & Amalfi Coast, Italy

Ruins, Rugged Coastline & Tiny Beach Towns

Pompeii Lives
We had heard a great deal of positive talk about the Italian Amalfi coast – rugged little coastal towns set against the back drop of beautiful ocean views.  Bendy and winding roads that take you from town to town perched on the edges of sheer cliff faces.  Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

Well, couple that with the possibility of seeing the historical ruins of the town of Pompeii – yes, the town wiped off the map by Mt Vesuvius and its volcanic eruption – and a chance to visit an ongoing archaeological dig site.  A once lost Roman city still under the shadow of Vesuvius looming eerily in the background has a rather magnetic pull to the knowledge seeker within me.

Winnie and I planned a full day trip, leaving Rome very early in the morning with the view of seeing the ruins first, then the main towns of the Amalfi – in reverse, starting with the furthest destination and working them back (so we could marry up bus schedules). 

Our itinerary looked something like this:
Train: Rome to Naples
Train: Naples to Pompeii
Train: Pompeii to Sorrento
Bus: SorrentoSorrento (circular via the whole Amalfi coastline)
Train: Sorrento to Naples
Train: Naples to Rome

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rome, Italy



The grand capital of Italiano! 

We finally reached Rome, the capital of Italy. We’d heard great things about this city, and couldn’t wait to get out and explore it. After checking into our Hostel, the Yellow; we were ready with map in hand, the major sights circled and a route planned out.


First stop was the Colosseum, we made it there in about 20 minutes of walking, and saw the masses of tourists both hanging around the Colosseum and waiting in line to get in. There were loads of people dressed up as Roman Warriors & Gladiators, waiting for tourists to take photos with them. But I had heard the story of my brother and his girlfriend getting stung 40 euros for getting a photo taken with them when they visited Rome last year, so I was not about to make the same mistake.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cinque Terre, Italy


Cinque Terre

Fabulous views and the tunnel of love!



On our second day in Pisa we headed on a short local train ride to the northern Cinque Terre town of Monterosso.  Cinque Terre is famous for its picture-book vistas and the five small remotely connected towns (hence the region’s name), but more to the point Cinque Terre is a Unesco World Heritage listed region.  I’ve seen pictures of the rugged cliff edges teetering on the edge of the Côte d’Azure, but nothing could have prepared me for what we found on our arrival.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pisa, Italy

Leaning around Pisa!


Pizza-Pisa!

So, after a short train ride from Florence we headed straight for the tower.  We found it just after dark and took a few photos.  




It really does Lean at a rather dramatic angle.  It stands proud of the surrounding Duomo and its out-buildings.


Winnie trying to simulate the lean.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Florence Gelato Tour, Italy


Welcome Back ETD Readers!!

Are you ready for some Gelato goodness?


When we arrived in Florence and headed to our hostel we had a few issues, so we changed our plans and decided to stay the extra night in Pisa instead. We spent the day in Florence, while our bags were stored at the train station.

We looked at the map and saw that there was not much to see/do in Florence, so while we had a buffet lunch, we looked up some nice gelato places to taste the best gelato in Florence. What better to do than a gelato taste test fest!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bologna, Italy


Destination Bologna!

Fast Cars & Coffee!

Bologna is a quirky city, and its one of my favourite Italian destinations.  There’s something for everybody – motoring enthusiasts can head to the home of Ducati, Ferrari and Lamborghini; foodies can duck into any one of the local cafés, restaurants or bistros; and students (or budget travellers like us) can find numerous cheap eats and amazing coffee at ridiculously low prices.  Believe me or not, but the best part of Bologna is that although there are museums, you get a real sense of history just from wandering around. 

After arriving at Bologna’s main train station, we jumped on a number 25 bus and headed to our Air BnB accommodation, staying with Eli S and his Spanish girlfriend, which was luckily in a very central location (with respect to the cheap eats and coffee bars).  A quick introduction and a new map, with a new planned itinerary and we were off out into the city once again. 

Our itinerary for Bologna was simple:
Eat, Drink and Relax.

We were given some recommendations by our host, Eli, but decided to be adventurous, choosing a coffee shop at random.  As luck may have it, we struck gold.  There was a plethora of cakes and local fancies to soften even the hardiest sweet-tooth, and there was a small queue.  Locals were standing at the bar, ordering their “fix” of coffee and drinking it.  The place smelt amazing, a balanced roasted coffee aroma coupled with the delicate and pleasing perfume of delicately sweet pastries.  To start our day we ordered a couple of savoury pastries (a spinach one and a mushroom one) and the coffees.  The coffees we ordered were one large Café Ginseng and a Macchiato.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Venice, Italy


Buongiorno, ETD Readers!

Let me take you on a Gondola ride…


We arrived in Venice on a sunny day and walked through the cobbled streets to our hostel. Our first impressions of the hostel weren’t great. We were greeted by a typical Englishman who had a hairstyle like he’d walked out of a Japanese Anime movie, and put our bags in a small luggage room. We glanced at the rooms which were bare and only had 3-4 single beds in them. No bunks, no tables, no lockers or anything. The hostel provided dinner as part of the price, so that is why we chose it. But other than that, it didn’t offer much else, except for a decent location. We borrowed their hostel map of Venice which looked like it had had better days, and headed out to explore the main streets, canals and the main square.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Verona, Italy



Ciao e Bentornati!

“..Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…”

Verona.  A “public place”, the location for William Shakespeare’s tale of love and sadness, and the next destination for WinGaz to visit.  This seemed like a great place to delve deeper into this literary classic and see if the town lives up to it’s reputation.

As Verona was going to be a short overnighter for us, we were hoping to spend a few hours walking the city’s streets and seeing for ourselves the place where Juliet spoke those timeless words:

“Romeo.  Romeo.  Where for art thou Romeo?”

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