Weekend Away: Barcelona!

I haven’t been able to write for a long time, but here I am back! Last Thursday was a bank holiday in France and most people took off their Fridays as well to have a mini holiday. My husband went away to the north of France with his friends for a “boys only” weekend, and I took the advantage to go and visit one of my best friends (and my once flatmate) Lea, who lives in Barcelona right now.

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My friend Lea and me being silly

 

I will be honest you from the beginning, we didn’t go through all of the tourist landmarks (except the REAALLLLY important ones) because we didn’t see each other for a year so we needed some catching up to do! By catching up I mean drinking “cava” and shopping, of course :p As the years go by ( I have the right to say this, I just turned 28!!) you start to realize the importance of just taking your time to be with friends, especially if you are away from most of your friends like me. So I think I need to go to Barcelona again in the near future, this time as a tourist! 🙂

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View from Lea’s appartement!

Also, because I don’t have any chance, it rained all the time while I was there. It rained for four days. In Barcelona. According to people who live there, it’s like the most improbable thing to happen, especially in May, and it happened while I was visiting. Lovely. Meanwhile, it was 27 degrees and sun all over France. This is not fair 😦

Even though I couldn’t visit everywhere I wanted, I was really impressed with what I managed to see. Even residential buildings were super pretty, with a unique style of architecture.

Although it feels a bit crowded after Bordeaux, it’s not annoyingly overcrowded. The people and their attitudes made me think a bit of my home country Turkey, I think it might be a Mediterranean thing.

Local food is cheaper when compared to France, obviously if you try to avoid super touristic places. 3-4 plates of tapas and glass of cava cost us around 15 euros in general (so 30 in total for 2).

All in all, although it rained every day and the weather was chilly I enjoyed my time in Barcelona a lot. I already started to plan my next visit, wishing it will be under the sun this time!

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Very Touristy Paris Trip

Last week of January my mother and sister came to visit us. This is their third time visiting me in France but the first 2 times everyone was so busy with our wedding  that we didn’t have the time to show around a lot, except Bordeaux -which is where we live- and Nantes-where my husband’s family lives, also the wedding was there-. People usually do it the other way around, most first time visitors usually prefer going to Paris. Which is understandable, because I mean, it’s Paris! However, I think if you have the chance and time, visiting other cities in France before Paris is a better idea.

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Notre Dame de Paris

Nearly everyone who visits Paris for the first time says something between the lines of “people were so rude”, “you can see that they understand English but didn’t respond to us” etc. Let’s face it, Paris is always filled with huge amount of tourists and it might be annoying sometimes if you are a local trying to get on with your day. I’m not saying that this justifies being rude but it’s the same case nearly in every big city in the world. So I would suggest first visiting other cities if you tend to succumb to your prejudices easily :p

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Nativity scene from Poland was on display in Notre Dame. Super cute!

The last time my mother visited Paris was in the 90’s and it was a first time for my little sister. So we tried to do all the Paris basics (as fast as we can since we had just 2 days!) inevitably. Notre Dame, Conciergerie, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Sacré Coeur and Montmartre then finally, Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysée. We had such a great time! Hope you like my not so professional photos 🙂

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My sister&I

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Venus de Milo
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Sacré Coeur
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Place de la République
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Place de la République
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“Tossed but not sunk” Place de la République. This was made after the November attacks.
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View from Sacré Coeur

Around me

I have been living in Bordeaux since October 2014. It’s a very pretty and organised city, and as most of you may know, is famous for its wines.

Local food in Bordeaux is heavily influenced by South Western French cuisine,  because, well it is in the South West of France. You can find good quality patés, confits, terrines, magret and many products linked to poultry. Foie gras, which is fattened duck or goose liver is produced a lot in this region (although I’m not a big fan of this as I hate the taste of liver.) You can also taste some world famous oysters -huitres- in Arcachon, which is like 45 minutes drive from Bordeaux, by the Atlantic Ocean.

Another local delicacy is “canelé” which is a “small French pastry with a soft and tender custard center and a dark, thick caramelized crust” according to Wikipedia. When first heard its name I thought it would have a cinnamony taste (because cinnamon is “canelle” in French) however I was surprised to find out that it has a taste like nothing else. Like seriously if you would ask me to describe how it tastes I could probably just tell you “surprising”. The texture is nothing like I imagined and it has a very distinct taste. I am planning on finding a recipe to try and do it at home, will make a post about it if I do. You can see what they look like on the picture below.

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©phalenebdlv/Flickr

The area that I live is called Talence, imagine it like another town (has its own post code) but it’s like 10 minutes away from Bordeaux city center, just next to it. There isn’t much that goes on in here, besides the fact that University Of Bordeaux has its campus here. There is also a private business school. So there are a lot of students as you can imagine, but it’s usually pretty calm. That’s why I love here, it’s not noisy, there’s a big park next to our building and we are so close to city center!

I guess this is it for my first post! I will try to update this with new pictures of Bordeaux when I can. Ciao for now!