Sunday, 30 January 2011

Feeling crafty.

After failing home economics in her first year of high school after an epic battle with a sewing machine, Traveller has long since garnered a fear of anything crafty.

This month, however, after being encouraged by a friend, T completed her very first homemade project: a photo board.

With pretty material, shiny ribbon and robust buttons, it's almost a shame to cover it up with Traveller's most favourite photographs of people and places...






Here's a how to that T consulted...

Monday, 17 January 2011

Tales from a German city.


Although it is not considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Cologne definitely has other things going for it.

Firstly, there are the delightful Christmas markets.

Secondly, it is the place where many crucial moments in modern history took place which makes it really interesting.

And thirdly, the people of Cologne are really lovely.

Traveller noticed this on her first night in Cologne. She had just arrived in Cologne after taking six hours to travel from Brussels by train. The journey should take just over an hour but, due to snow, the train was delayed, very crowded and very slow.

Upon arriving in Cologne, Traveller's dear friend, Co, picked her up and they took the tram. On the tram, they were also experiencing delays due to the heavy snow. If this happened in London, an orchestra of irritation would sound; however, in Cologne, the tram-driver started to make jokes and the people in the train were laughing with each other and it felt like they were in no hurry at all.

This attitude was felt all throughout the city during Traveller's time there: people were willing to help you whenever they could and they were all very jolly. This is T's kind of city!

The other lovely part of visiting Cologne was spending time with Co, Traveller's dear friend from many years ago. We had many late night chats, did some serious shopping and even enjoyed a picnic on her bedroom floor.

Traveller learnt one important lesson while she was away - time is nothing between friends. She feels so lucky to have made friends with people from all over the world.




Saturday, 15 January 2011

Happy weekend {and a cute little blog}

Traveller stumbled across this little blog recently and she adores it.

It's a little fairytale-esque and wildly idealistic...

but that's why T loves it!

Sometimes you just need a little optimism.

It's called 'To my wife' and it features notes from a guy to his future wife..

here are a couple of T's favourites..

You’ll never see me in dad jeans. You may see me in jeans whilst I’m being a dad but they have nothing to do with each other.

Buy you a scale for Valentine’s Day. One time my father did this, epic mistake.

Happy weekend!


Thursday, 13 January 2011

Cologne Christmas Markets.

Photobucket One of Traveller's favourite parts of her recent holiday was the Christmas markets in Cologne.

Sometimes the lead up to Christmas can be so busy that T hardly has time to garner the Christmas spirit.
Not so last year.

The Christmas markets in Cologne, Germany really made Traveller so excited for the festive season. There was glühwein to drink, fairy lights twinkling, pretty trinkets to buy and delicious food to eat
{note roasting salmon below!}

The best part?
Traipsing around the markets with a dear friend who was both brilliant company and a shopping partner extraordinaire.
{miss you, Co.}






Tuesday, 11 January 2011

On a more serious note...

Today's post was going to be about Traveller's recent trip to Cologne, Germany but today it doesn't feel very relevant...

When Traveller was last living in Queensland, Australia,
{three years ago}
they were operating under severe water restrictions.
She used to have to wash her car without the use of a hose, water her garden with a watering can and shower inside a three minute time bracket.
{The council delivered a three minute egg-timer which suctioned onto T's bathroom wall so that she could make sure she kept to the three minute time allowance.}

You couldn't go anywhere without being reminded of the drought: the grass was brown and even the water bubblers and showers at the beach were out of use.

Now, as most of you know, rain rain and more rain has hit Queensland with much of it underwater and with serious flash-flooding occuring in Toowoomba and Brisbane.
It is so serious that many people have died and more are missing.

Traveller's heart hurts for the people who have lost so much.
And, while she knows they're safe, she is still a little worried for her family and friends in Brisbane and Toowoomba.

With Queensland's slogan 'The Sunshine State' now seeming cruelly ironic, Traveller is hoping and praying that they indeed receive the sunshine that they desperately need.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Over to the dark side.

Traveller's best friend from Australia, after reading yesterday's blog post, called her in distress.

The conversation goes as follows:

You can't cross over to the dark side! I won't allow it.

Sorry, pardon? The dark side?

Yes, you know, dark chocolate!

Well, it is better for you, you know? Which means I can eat a whole block and not feel too bad about myself.

But liking dark chocolate means you're getting old!

Well.. when you put it like that. Thanks.

The conversation ran through T's mind today as she nibbled on some dark orange chocolate with fig pieces {so good!}. She started to remember all the foods she used to avoid which now feature heavily on her 'love' list.

First, when she was fifteen, she suddenly began to adore anything to do with avocado. Prior to this, the fruit {isn't it weird that it's a fruit?} was not something that she enjoyed. Then, when she turned 20, Traveller started to be partial to fish. She remembers very vividly growing up in a house where fish was generally eaten once a week and T used to have nightmares about the silvery lining. Now, she can't get enough of the stuff. {The fish, not the silvery lining. That still kind of grosses her out.} Following this, in her early 20s, white wine started to taste quite nice.

Then, when a quarter of a century was reached, the foods which Traveller now enjoyed seemed to become a much longer list: she now loved stinky cheese {the bluer the better}, red wine is her drink of choice, all seafood is now savoured - including those creatures with more legs than T can count and the list goes on. She even, now this is serious news to T's friends who know her well, ate an olive this week without gagging! Progress!

Now, the only real food that's on Traveller's 'avoid at all cost' list is canned tuna. Frankly, she doesn't mind too much if she never quite develops the taste buds for that one. The stuff really stinks {and not in a good, blue-veined cheese, kind of way}!

Anyone agree with Traveller? What food do you enjoy that you used to loathe?

T is looking forward to hearing your stories.

Oh, and if liking these things means that T is old... than she doesn't want to be young.

Thursday, 6 January 2011


A chocolate addiction is a serious thing.

Traveller honestly can't think of a day when she has gone without chocolate
{except for yesterday}
in a long, long time.

In fact, one of T's new year resolutions is to eat less of the milky, creamy good stuff and switch to the less creamy, darker kind.
{which explains why she didn't eat it yesterday}
{she only made her resolutions yesterday}

T digresses...

Right before Christmas and before any such resolutions were made, Traveller visited the Lindt chocolate factory in Cologne, Germany and, let's just say, any building that has a chocolate fountain filled with pure, creamy, delicious Lindt chocolate is alright by her.

The best part?

A Lindt representative hands you a wafer that has been dipped into the afore mentioned fountain.

Needless to say, Traveller visited the obliging wafer lady more than once...

Another factor worth mentioning is that you receive a chocolate on the way in and a chocolate with any drink that you order from their lovely cafe which sits on the Rhine River.

Traveller has a feeling that she won't survive very long without the sweet goodness of Lindt chocolate.


They hand wrap the large chocolate santas. T timed her; it took seven minutes!

Traveller's exchange friend from Switzerland - Yuvia - enjoying the wafer dipped in melted chocolate


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A Stopover in Ghent.

Vincent, Traveller's old friend from Belgium, was an excellent host and showed T not just the city that he lives in {Brussels} but also Ghent and Bruges too.
It's no secret that Traveller loved Bruges - she knew that she would love it before even visiting.

The surprising thing was, though, that Ghent really stole her heart. We went to Ghent initially so that T could meet Vincent's brother and we would all have dinner together. However, due to heavy snow, we ended up crashing at his place and spent the following day together in Ghent.

Ghent is somewhere in the middle of Brussels and Bruges geographically and is a beautiful, pedestrianised city with stunning medieval architecture. Also, because it is a university town, it had a really fun nightlife with many yummy restaurants, delis and shops.

Traveller's favourite moment was sitting outside in a cafe on the old Graslei harbour covered in blankets and drinking delicious hot chocolate.




Thanks V & N, for your awesome hospitality!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

The pièce de résistance.

Photobucket It is no secret that a country's culinary offerings are part of Traveller's favourite experiences whilst overseas. Whether it be zucchini flower gnocchi devoured in the hills of Tuscany, pinxtos fought over in Barcelona, alps macaronis relished in Bonn, a delicious seafood stew savoured in Lagos or fresh chilli mussels gobbled in Hvar, Traveller has had many memorable foodie moments.

T is not sure what they put in them, but the bread and pastries taste infinitely better in Belgium and France than they do anywhere else in the world. The bread is as light as air, yet gorgeously crisp on the outside and the pain au chocolat are the complementary match that chocolate and butter were always meant to be.

Many of Traveller's favourite memories from her recent travels involve food and, in particular, breakfast food. May it just be said - the Belgians do breakfast well. Really well.

First, chocolate is involved. It comes in the form of sprinkles, spreads or just actual chocolate. And, repeat after T, chocolate is never a bad thing!

Second, there are all manner of other sweet spreads, breads and fruits to enjoy.

Let's just say, waking up in Belgium was not tough at all!


How do the Belgians stay so thin?

Saturday, 1 January 2011

It's like a fairytale.

Photobucket Many years ago, when she finished school, Traveller participated in a Rotary Exchange program where she lived in the Oregon, U.S.A for one year. This was when she was eighteen and it was her first real foray into independent international travel. Wanderlust has since been a regular part of T's disposition and she wonders if she will ever really overcome it. Or if she would even want to.

This month will mark T's third year of living in London. She intended to stay for 12 months and that year has ever-so-quickly turned into three and now, well, she's not sure when she will return to Australia's shores to live permanently. Where is home exactly? T's not sure.

After many years of travel, one of the most memorable parts has been the friendships that T has made along the way. Several of the people that T met during her one year in the United States have shaped her and inspired her and encouraged her to be the person that she is.

Recently, Traveller had the pleasure of visiting three friends that she met during her exchange years - Vincent in Belgium and Corinna and Yuvia in Germany. While both countries were beautiful and extraordinary, what really made T's heart sing was spending time with her old friends and finding, once again, that time is merely a concept and is nothing between friends.

Here are some photographs of Traveller's time in Bruges, Beligum....
It truly is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.



Photobucket Walking down the stairs after climbing to the top of the belfry - it's a must, especially if you have seen the comedy classic In Bruges.





Turkey, peas, carrots, potatoes and santa all made of chocolate!


Photobucket The best chocolate in Belgium, according to Vincent.

It was out-of-this-world!

Photobucket Learning how to make lace...






Next up, Ghent, Belgium!


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