Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Leeds

I've been weekend tripping these past 2 weekends. My mother on skype asked me the other night, 'what are you running away from?'. Good question, mummy.

I don't know. It doesn't feel like running away, but more like running towards. The world in general really is rather interesting in all its variation that I just want to be surrounded by it all, and gobble it up all at once. Life feels exciting and purposeful in its aimlessness when I'm in that frame of mind and since weekends are all I have, I'll just have to make the most out of them. No?

I've been asked before a few times by different people, "What's in -insert name of new place I visited-?" with a tone of surprise, especially if the place isn't one that is classically touristy. I never know what to say, other than "welllll, it's a nice place", which usually gets very unimpressed looks. What has to be in a place to make it worth a visit? Aren't all places worth a peep, if only for curiosity's sake?

Anyway, one of those weekend trips was to Leeds, to spend time with an old friend and to satisfy that curiosity.






city hall



pretty autumn day

tunnel leading to the Royal Armouries

houseboat! people were living in there..

okay, will do!

inside the Royal Armouries, fantastic museum, well worth a (free) visit








Monday, October 1, 2012

Boston (not in Massachusetts)

We get sent all over as part of our clinical postings, and this time I got banished to dear old Boston for 7
weeks. Walking into town on the 1st day here:



 It was an exceptionally beautiful day, so i just had to take multiple pictures of the same view.








Pescod Square:


The famous (although I'm not sure for what exactly) Boston Stump:




Market days on Wednesday and Saturday! The Market Square:


Sky so gorgeously blue it's almost like not being in England!

The post office building behind the red telephone booths:


Boston is pretty, but slightly boring. 3 more weeks here! 






Friday, August 24, 2012

5 pictures of the summer

The only pictures I have of Morocco and Spain.

I wouldn't have even these pictures if not for my mother who demanded for pictures of me while traveling, so I emailed these to her..

From the rooftop of the hostel in Marrakech:


The view was actually a lot nicer than that, but the nice pictures were in my camera. Riad Iazzane, stayed in a dorm room so it was about 4 euros a night. Lovely place run by trustworthy, friendly people, although the staff had a mild tendency to go missing just when you needed them. Plus they gave me some decent advice on touts.. since I got scammed the moment I got off the airport bus.

This one was taken at Borj Nord in Fez. Our tour guide turned out to be a man who spoke no english - so the tour was more like a taxi ride from place to place. But since they were all gorgeous places, that's fine.
The castle ruins in Fez are a bit out of the way, but the amazing views are well worth the taxi ride there.


Fez medina
Spain:


I don't usually post pictures of myself, but when you have got all of 5 pictures to choose from... there is hardly a choice. This was in Palacio Viana in Cordoba, a beautiful palace famous for courtyards. Hardly a palace, in fact, more gardens than anything, but such beautiful gardens. Spent hours in there and I would happily go back..

I should also add here that I found Cordoba to be an amazing little city to visit with enough sights and lots of gorgeous little winding streets to wander around. Many people do it on a day trip and see little more than the Mezquita (ancient pagan temple turned mosque turned cathedral) but it really is worth a lot more time than that.

Valencia:

Spot the flamingos!
Funky looking building is the City of Arts and Sciences. I felt that the Science Museum was fantastic and a lot of fun but the Oceanography (aquarium) was slightly disappointing. Its also depressing in the same way of a zoo.  



Friday, August 17, 2012

Bummed!

So, I managed to lose my camera. 2 days before I can go home and transfer the pictures, I lose the damn thing which had pictures of the entire past month :( All the pictures of Morocco :´(Worst part it, it is mostly my fault and carelessness so I can´t even blame someone else for it! How frustrating..

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

last day in fez

Yesterday was a great day! Fez is finally starting to grow on me but im glad to leave this madness tomorrow. Today is a much needed chill day which translates to multiple ice cream topped almond milkshakes with trashy novels on the terrace of Cafe Clock..

http://cafeclock.com/

Its very expat and not very Moroccan, but it is a lovely escape from the madness of the medina, and really, i can't say enough about those almond milkshakes..

Sunday, August 5, 2012

from Rabat to Fez

So, as you could probably tell from my previous post that I am not having a straightforward time of it at all. I have random men calling out things to me, or coming up to me and muttering away, which I dont understand. My lack of understanding may just be a good thing here, as i accidentally shrugged my shoulders at one guy who shouted "blahblahblaaah" to me and then realized that he was following me around. Turned out I had shrugged to a suggestion of tapas, and when I said no, did he get pissed off or what. Not fun.

Marrakech was... overwhelming. I will be honest and admit that I was glad to leave. In the touristy areas, I was constantly hounded by henna ladies who looked like they were going to fly at me and start hennaing away whatever part of me is within reach, vendors selling tours jumping at me out of nowhere, and constant calls of "OYEEE". I was so tempted to turn around and tell them that oye is not my fucking name and it doesn't fill me with an indescribable desire to buy their overpriced stuff but held my tongue. Until at one point I was wandering along a lane I thought wasn't too touristy, and a teenage boy thought it would be very funny to come up to me on a motorbike and start spraying water in my face. My sense of humour doesn't stretch that far so I promptly told him to fuck off. Surprisingly, he looked a bit unsettled. Do other tourists not say anything to this kind of nonsense.. can't find the question mark on this keyboard.

Then I got to Rabat, the detail of which I cant blog right now as the two French guys waiting for the computer have started shooting murderous looks at me. They might be my roomates so I better hand it over to them.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What happened next..

As gorgeous as Milan was, the rest of my days in Italy was plagued with hordes of tourists. I literally couldn't walk 5 minutes without stumbling into yet another huge tour group. It was getting extremely crowded, hot and I wasn't enjoying myself. So, despite the fact that everyone says that they loveddd Italy, I decided that if I am having less of a good time than I'd like, I'm going to leave. Bought a last minute cheapie from ryanair, and flew out of Venice. Italy, I'll come back in winter when I don't have to share the beauty with a million other people.

I got back to Leicester, spent a very satisfying day watching movies and eating icecream, then went ahead and booked tickets for Poland. I still had 5 days before I had to get to Morocco and a bit tough to eat icecream for 5 days.

So I flew in to Wroclaw, flew out of Krakow and in the process discovered a country that I never would have guessed to be so beautiful and interesting.





Tomorrow.. it would be finally time for my long awaited flight to Marrakech, Morocco! A visa that was bloody difficult to get, holidays that are precious in their scarcity, I've wanted this for a long time now and now it's here. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Milano

I flew in to Bergamo airport, which is 40km away from Milan. Had no idea about this until the day of my departure since lovely ryanair calls it "milan bergamo" airport and silly me thought milan is the location and bergamo is the name of the airport. 

Anyway, it's not a very nice airport thanks to the dirty toilets, but who cares about muddy tiles, I was in Italy! I leave the airport, wander around in my post flight fatigue, get talked into a bus by a driver who tells me it will leave at 3.40pm. I get on the bus, I'm the only passenger, the clock in the bus says 2.30pm. 

So I sit there and consider waiting 1 hour and 10 minutes in the stuffy bus, or whether it would be marginally more comfortable outside in the burning heat. 

Laziness wins, as always, and so I sit in the hot bus and contemplate the meaning of life. 30 minutes later, we are joined by another passenger, and the bus takes off. I'm a bit confused at the timing but think - what the hell, if it gets me to Milan Centrale, good enough.

We reach Milan, driver who was so charming when convincing me to get on the bus is rude as hell when throwing me off, I get a bit dazzled at the sudden crowds around me, somehow find my way to the metro station. Metro turns out to be dusty, dodgy and quite unpleasant, as metros tend to be. 

I then realize that the clock in the bus was running an hour late, and the bus didn't leave 40 minutes early but 20 minutes late. So I get off at my stop, wrongly follow the directions given by the hostel, wander down the wrong street for 20 minutes until I came to a T junction with no hostel in sight. 

Then it was a 20 minute walk back to the metro, and another 20 minute walk in the right direction, found the hostel, but couldn't get inside due to a massive confusion between me, the owner and the owner's cousin (I'm not joking) on the details of my arrival time.

After more confusion, I finally got in to the apartment complex, located the damn place, met the owner, saw that the reviews online were accurate when they said that the hostel is "just a room in some random guy's house".

Indeed. It didn't help that the guy in question demanded 50 euro key deposit (you read that right), was a bit rude, slept in the kitchen on a sofa bed, didn't provide proper cooking facilities, and locked up the kitchen early at night as well as most of the afternoon which meant that if you want to drink water between 3pm to 7pm or after 10pm, you have to drink water from the bathroom.

But, despite all that, it was incredibly clean, centrally located, quiet, reasonably priced, awesome bathroom and his occasional bad humour is rather comical.

Brera BnB.. would I suggest staying there? Only if you need a place to crash for the night..


my saviour!
Also, Italy was HOT. Flying in from rainy ol' england didn't help, obviously, neither did my upbringing in a country that is almost on the equator. It was one fan for two people, but lucky for me, the korean guy I was sharing the fan with didn't like fans. He called it "artificial wind", meaning I got to have the fan directed towards me all night through. Awesome.

So I slept like a baby.


le ice cream truck

Spent the day looking around Milan. Even though the impression I had the day before was less than pleasant, by the end of the day, I loved Milan!

Duomo

Saviour #2!
We went up to the roof of the Duomo. 7euros for stairs, 11 for lifts. Italian stairmaster lead to amazing views (as seem below) so worth it!

view from Duomo rooftop





Then we wandered around to Navigli, where I had a lemon gelato which was so cold, icy, refreshing and tangy that I'm salivating just thinking about it. Can't tell you location because we were lost when I bought it, and by the time we had found our way again, who knows where the shop was.

The skies got dramatically dark with huge clouds looming above. Then it rained for all of 10 minutes before the sun came out again in full force. Everything dried up pretty quickly. Brilliant. UK weather, watch and learn, won't you.



No clue what those yellow things are, my guess would be something to keep the water clean? The water was remarkably clear. You could see right down to the bottom. Many people give Milan a miss, which is a shame, because I think it's such an interesting place once it grows on you...