Travel

Reviews

I had no idea Bristol was so cool!  Do you ever play that ‘I could live here’ game when you’re on holiday?  I was walking around gawping at all the incredible street art, soaking up the cool vibe and constantly thinking ‘this city has everything I need to live well’.  Everyone I spoke to was so friendly and happy to help point me in the right direction, be it for great coffee, good food, cool local music tips or the more touristic spots to check out.

Also, because we (7 friends and I) were there for the Dutty Moonshine Big Band album launch we were treated to some epic music both at the gig and at the after party where Slamboree and Dutty crews joined acts and Tore. It. Up! – it was an honor to attend; most memorable after-party ever.  Slamboree are on tour at the moment, we came straight home and got tickets for their London gig at XOYO.  Crazy talented.  The Bristol music scene is legendary, sadly I’m only just fully appreciating this as I say goodbye to the UK.

As this was a fleeting weekend visit, the short time I had in Bristol was spent in the central city area so the pictures here are Street-Art-centric, but there is so much to see and do I think you could easily spend a week…or a lifetime there.

Laters navigators. x

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Glastonbury,  the largest all-field festival in the world – for me it was like falling through the rabbit hole and finding a whole new existence, one where you’re free to be whoever you choose.

I used to be one of the smug ones; I would watch Glasto on those muddy years sipping a chilled glass of white wine on my sofa, safe in the knowledge that the loo down the hall was clean and there was no queue.  Then there were the good years and I’d think ‘wow that looks amazing… but I’m too much of a princess to handle the crowds and the camping.’

Well I’m now back from my 1st Glastonbury Music and Contemporary Arts festival and my mind was officially blown.   I needed a week to ‘process’ and physically recover from the late nights and the um partying but I am a convert, on the band wagon and blowing the Glasto trumpet!

My friends had tried to tell me how cool it was but there really aren’t words to describe the amazing atmosphere and the magic of the place.

Even without the incredible range of music and the fact that all the bands and artists that play there bring their A-game, everywhere you look is eye-candied wonderment.  You could happily wander around, not see any music and still have a great time.

The crowds are alive with glittering festival wear, it’s like a human bizarre of every colour, creed, age and musical taste.   Being united with that mass as one of your favourite bands or DJ’s is throwing down, kicking off and exploding all over the place – well, it’s like your heart is bursting (in a good way) it’s face splitting smiles, unabashed whoops, jumping, dancing and punching the sky.  It’s the very best sort of madness and I got to share it with some of my oldest and dearest friends, along with so many new people I met along the way.

You could argue that most music festivals encourage a certain kind of abandon and to some extent that is indeed correct but I’ve been to a lot of festivals and it is true what they say “there is nothing like Glastonbury”  its uniqueness is tied to the setting and amplified by thoughtful design which adds to the heart and soul of the place.  If you give Glastonbury your all, you will be rewarded with the best time of your life, you will be challenged and you will be changed in a positive way.  Well, that’s been my experience anyway.

We got there on Wednesday, not because we had to rush in to get a good camping spot (oh no – we glamped the shit outta Glasto) but because as it was our 1st time we wanted to have a spell for it all to sink in.  I honestly think arriving on Friday would have been too overwhelming for me.  It took me a couple of days to just get around the whole festival and begin to make sense of the map.

Going in we had a strategy – the plan was to start slow and have a couple of reasonably early nights then build to a peak on Saturday and chill on Sunday – unfortunately the line-up had other ideas for us, so while we did manage to get those first two days right, I got home at 4.00am on Friday and 6.00am on Saturday and Sunday.  It was Epic.

For me Glastonbury was a series of personal journeys.  It shook me out of my comfort-zone, made me open up to new people, made me get over the need for daily showers (there is no way I need a shower enough to queue for an hour or two in the heat with fuck all sleep and a hangover) and it got me over my princess-like toilet requirements.  I am now down with the squat over a longdrop technique and the portaloo hover method.

Glastonbury made me appreciate my life more and it made me feel more connected, to my husband and the friends that went on the journey with me, to hopes and dreams and in a sense to the wider populace (but that could’ve been the Jeremy Corban speech); it also tested my stamina and I’m proud to say that I exceeded my own expectations!

When I started my blog, I knew this year would be a transformative one but now I am beginning to feel it, there is a hard but brittle protection I encase myself in which feels more pliant and loose, like I can breathe a bit easier and am more the self I want to be.  Who knows what another two music festivals, a road trip in Italy, a road trip in Iceland and 2 months travelling in Asia will do to round that off but I am sure as hell eager to find out.

I’m going to post this now, have been dipping in and out of writing it for a couple of weeks; there is so much more to say but I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking and if you have any questions drop me line.

Laters navigators. x

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Review: La Esquina

Address: Calle Bergara, 2 | En la esquina de Balmes/Bergara, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

Phone: +34 937 68 72 42

Website: http://laesquinabarcelona.com/en/

Visited: March 2017

Sadly we didn’t have much time here, it was a munch and run job due to a photography tour we had to leave for in 40 minutes. We turned up @ 08.55 and the lady setting up made us sit outside for 5 minutes, not on the sheltered tables (we would be in the way apparently) but on a bench in the sun, did I mention we’d been out until 3.00am and whilst friendly, were not what you’d call perky….ok so not a great start. Eventually we were allowed inside and the sullen one came over with menu’s and water.

Inside the décor is rustic hip with chilled music, there’s plenty of room between tables so you don’t feel like you’re on top of each other and there are lots of shaded tables outside as well.

We went for a tried and tested hangover-cure special of eggs benedict, flat white and freshly squeezed orange juice. It’s not stretching the foodie palate but was what we needed at the time – perfectly poached eggs, a delicious buttery hollandaise on ham with crispy pancetta bacon on top; my only slight meh(?) was the muffin on which it all sat would’ve been nice toasted – it’s a personal textural preference.

There were other interesting brunch things that I’d have loved to try (if we had a few more days in Barcelona) like the toast of caramelized onions roast tomatoes and goats cheese or the poached eggs with avocado goats cheese and dill.

I would definitely recommend La Esquina despite getting off on the wrong foot with the sullen girl, the rest of the staff were great as was the environment and food.

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The Jetman and I have been to Barcelona before, in fact this was my 3rd visit – so I’ve ticked off the usual touristic haunts and was looking for a new kind of adventure, also, this trip was just one day after we’d returned from Garmisch snowboarding so we didn’t have a lot of pep left for sightseeing…I’m just managing your expectations here.
What started out as a tired limp to the airport end up a full throttle belter of a middleaged-hipster weekend, thanks to some advice from local friends we ate at amazing restaurants, then (all by our google-selves) found a great live music club, brunch venues, fab coffee and threw in a quirky tour for good measure. All of that in a weekend!

Here is outline the itinerary, click on the links for broader reviews on some venues.
This is how we roll….
Day One
12.00 – Arrive in Barcelona, head to our Hotel Bagues, catch up with friends and enjoy GnT fuelled spring sunshine for a couple of hours…followed by a nap. Travel is exhausting dahhhlings.

20.00
 – Dinner; unfashionably early for Spain but Canete only have 2 sittings 20.00 – 22.00 or 22.00 – 12.00. Fantastic ‘Tapas with a twist’ restaurant, the staff are amazing, the food fabulous and the wine…well, that was rather lovely too. Top points for best Menu Cover, toilet roll holder ever and loo paper storage – strange but true.


22.00 – Cocktails anyone? Great idea? First Bar …that’s actually its name was found via narrow winding ally’s of the Gothic sector. Post-it Note decorated and Gin-tastic! The Spanish love gin, they titivate-create with it and pour’em nice and strong.


23.00-24.00 ??? – It was late,  Marula Café. We only caught the last 5 songs of band but the club was cooooool and the DJ’s quirky. If you’re out with a big group of friends who have disparate tastes in music this could be the place for you – on our night we were treated to rock n roll, soul, ska, Jamaican rocksteady – great fit. Much dancing and merry making ensued.

Day Two, dawned too early
09.00 – Breakfast @ La Esquina, 8 minute walk from the hotel, good coffee, eggs benedict. We didn’t have much time to be adventurous and were feeling a little jaded from the night before but it’s defo worth a visit if you’re in the area.
10.30 – Urban Adventures Photography Tour; so flipping good! Checkout the full write-up here.
17.00 – 20.00 siesta time – have I mentioned how much I love Spain and the way of the siesta?!
9.00pm – dinner @Lascar 74. Ceviche restaurant, out of this world good! Just go.
After our previous night of dancing we all just headed back to the hotel for drinks after dinner.

Day 3
10.00 – Time for brunch before heading to the airport. Satans Corner was a heavenly experience. Cool vibe, fab coffee, lovely food.

So that’s our weekend – not the most culturally aware but everyone had a bloody good time!

Any off-beat Barcelona tourist tips about Barcelona you want to share?  I’d love to hear from you.

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Satan’s Coffee Corner is a wonderfully irreverent, uber cool chill out spot in the  Gothic corner….oh and the coffee is amazing.  If (like me) Flat Whites are your thing, go for the double, I tried the single first but found it to be a little scrawny, the double was juuuust right ‘a-la Kiwi-coffee-snob style’.

 

The Jetman and I shared a bacon and egg omelette (with slow roasted tomatoes & toast) and a spicy pumpkin and poached egg open sandwich – both of with were really tasty and hit the ‘I was out late and drank too much alcohol’ spot perfectly.

 

I’d say Satan’s  is aimed at the achingling-cool traveler yet the staff were down to earth friendly (speak perfect English) and there was a magazine stand with quirky (and in one case mind-scarringly-strange) magazines (all in English) to flick through.  On the Sunday morning we visited there was lo-fi rock n roll music playing, a wide ranging age group of trendoids and a mellow vibe. 

 

Defo one of the best coffee shops I’ve ever been to – if you’re in Barcelona and in need of a good brew and a bite to eat check it out.

http://www.satanscoffee.com/

 

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