The musings and misadventures of a girl unprepared

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Foodie Favourites

Of course, the amazing variety of new and exotic foreign foods you get to try is a big reason for travelling. It's one thing to try something in a themed restaurant in the UK and another to eat the real authentic stuff in the country itself. Plus last time I put my Foodie Nightmares post up someone told me I looked really uncultured and whiney, so I wanted to prove them wrong :P

Milan, Italy - Cosmopolitan Cocktail at Banco Milano

Literally the tastiest cocktail I have ever had. Unfortunately, when we tried to order it again, it just didn't taste the same. Still, we drank there a few times and their other cocktails are also pretty darn good, so I'd highly recommend it to anyone. And if you don't believe me, here's what TripAdvisor have to say about it.

Washington DC, USA - Mussels and Chocolate Cake at Busboys and Poets

I LOVE mussels. And chocolate cake for that matter. So I suppose it's not exactly difficult to please me on that front. However I'd say the food we ate at Busboys and Poets was pretty exceptional; I mean, just LOOK at that cake. I have a vivid memory of how lovely the waiter was and the general cool vibe of the place. Also the bathroom had really fancy taps.

Nice, France - Garlic Snails

An obvious venture for any tourist in France, but contrary to popular belief these things taste AMAZING. This could be, however, because they (in line with popular belief) tasted like chicken covered in garlic, which is always a win for me.

Frankfurt, Germany - Currywurst

One of my favourite things in the whole world. Usually done best at the German Christmas Markets, but to be honest you can rarely go wrong with a good Currywurst. It's cheap and cheerful too, what's not to love?

Cusco, Peru - Full English Breakfast at Jack's Cafe

After travelling around for over a month and a half and going broke more than once, meaning we had to live off the cheapest of food in some places, this was a welcome sight for sore eyes. All the pounds we'd shed in the previous weeks seemed to come flooding back all at once but I would 100% recommend it! Just make sure you order the special tomato jam that they make to go with it, it's divine.

Atlanta, Georgia, USA - Fried Chicken

So I was told by a lot of people that I had to try 'Soul Food' when I visited the South of the United States. As I had no idea what this was, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it included fried chicken, possibly the best food ever invented. I have to say, this stuff is the real deal, it EVEN beats KFC (and I love KFC). It was huge too, I literally couldn't move after finishing it.

Small Village on Machu Picchu Trek - Alpaca

Unfortunately I don't have a picture for this and I decided not to include a picture of a live alpaca because they're just too cute and I felt guilty. I can't deny that they taste yummy though...

Miami, Florida, USA - Hot Dog from Fiveguys

Wow, sexy pic Em. Again we went here on a recommendation and it was SO good. You choose between a burger and a hot dog, then add your own toppings and fries etc and of course they have the legendary-to-the-US unlimited refills. There are articles all over the wall comparing them to English Chippies. I suppose the chips aren't like the usual American fries, but I wouldn't say they've quite got the traditional British down. No matter though, it doesn't make this place any less awesome.

Prague, Czech Republic - Venison Curry with Dumplings

Apparently traditional to Prague/Czech Republic (correct me if I've got this wrong, we read it from the menu and my Czech is a little sketchy). Unusual combo but extremely tasty and filling.

La Paz, Bolivia - Cafe Banais

We ate here most days as we found we could trust it and the food was so damn tasty. I'd recommend the Milkshakes and the BBQ Chicken Sandwich. I know it's not exactly embracing the local culture, but by this point I just really wanted a break from street food and the stomach aches that often came with it. Everyone needs a little flavour of home once in a while eh?

Amsterdam, Holland - Bitterballen

I'm not exactly sure what's in these but they're bloody good. It's breaded on the outside with creamy ragout and beef filling and extremely moreish.

Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - Create your own pizza at Tomatohead

A recommendation made by a lovely guy we met on the Megabus who originally came from Knoxville. Now this was more Aimée's love than mine, after our first visit she made us go back another three times. Bare in mind that we were only in Knoxville for two nights. I can't deny it was super tasty though, garlic and chicken pizza = YUM.

Urubamba, Sacred Valley, Peru - Garlic Bread and Wine at Misky's

A little cafe just off the side street of Urubamba's main square where you're sure to encounter all the local volunteers hanging out over a drink or two. The wine was Chilean White and by far beats the stuff I get at home. They also do really nice smoothies and desserts...

Decided to post this, this week as the current post I'm working on is taking a lot longer than I thought it would. However I hope this one will do in the mean time. Also an update on my travel plans - I am currently applying for summer jobs and flat hunting in Berlin with a group of friends from my course. Keep your fingers crossed for us!! :)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Cambridge is posh

Since I haven't finished this week's proper post yet I thought I'd post another quicky sharing some links my friends have sent me this week.

This was a response to the Awesomely Untranslatable post below, similar idea and again just a bit of a laugh...

27 foreign words that the English language needs

... and this one is for all you English folk out there. I'm aware this has gone around the internet a fair amount but in case you've missed it, here's the Autocomplete Map of England.

It's true, Preston IS my Paris <3

Monday, 11 March 2013

Awesomely Untranslatable

Just a quick one to share this link that appeared on my news feed on faceyb this morn! It's a list of 20 words that are untranslatable into English. It's really quite an interesting read, I only wish I'd seen it earlier as it would have fit in well with Friday's post... Number 16 is a personal favourite as it is a word we discussed a lot whilst travelling with the Danes as none of us could figure out the English translation. And now I know why!

Tried to make the picture the link but I failed miserably. So just click here instead :)

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Murkey Buckets to our Fantastic Mummy :)

'How does Mother's day tie into travelling?' I hear you say. Well, I think I owe a large part of my Wanderlust to the wonderful Janet Heller. When we were younger (my siblings and I) we were lucky enough to be taken all over the place by the parentals, so we've decided to share some of our favourite blast-from-the-past travel moments in honour of our incredible Mum :)

Hostelling in Wales...

You gave us our first hostel experience! Little did you know what you'd be preparing me for...

To anyone wondering were my fashion sense came from, it wasn't my fault. And now you have evidence.

Carvaning at Holgates...

Ah old faithful. We used to love that place. Except when Rach and I decided to run down a hill holding hands and when she was the one who tripped over thin air, I was the one who was landed with stitches in my chin. Face Plant of epic proportions, we don't change much ;)

Travelling in France...

Something we did year after year when we were younger and it never got old. From struggling up the Dordogne in a Canoe to water-skiing on Lake Annecy. The drive down was sometimes a bit of a killer but we wouldn't change it for the world.

Pan for breakfast, meeting dutch kids who taught us how to use a Diablo, fires on the beach with Felix, SO much swimming, bike rides - that time I nearly flew down a hill of jaggedy rocks! Ouch, I still remember that HURT. And Rach being knocked off by a car door! - throwing Abi in the pool, Siobhan's hair braids...

I loved those braids. No regrets.

We were used to camping but sometimes it could really take it's toll.

...'It's not a holiday without a good church', thunder storms, picking wild berries, learning how to dive, lakes that are so clear you could see the floor, Josh would always be more tanned than us girls no matter how hard we tried, chocolate factories, ice-cream...

Anyone surprised that I remember this ice-cream more vividly than Reims Cathedral above? Didn't think so.

...Josh's blooming flipflops, Croque Monsieur, reading reading and more reading, being stung by a wasp, Rach walking into a pool fully clothed because she had a towel on her head and she couldn't see where she was going, Andrew losing his glasses/maps/car-keys etcetc, Marco Polo, that pout that'll haunt us forever... ;)

In my 'I'm too cool for photos' stage.

...wind-surfing with the COOLEST instructor who had dreadlocks, those horrendous pants Andrew bought from a market just to embarrass us, 'Silly plaits and murkey buckets' - our expert French skills... I could go on. Good times :)

In the Algarve, Portugal...

And then when we started to get a little older, we decided to have a change.


The 'coolest' siblings anyone could ever ask for. I'll never be this nice to you again, so cherish it ;)

Not forgetting Spain with the Sareens, driving to Italy, that stop off in Belgium where we lost the handbag with our Game Boys in (it was like the world had ENDED), camping in Wales where I buried my ring in the sand and lost it for days and so many more.

So thanks Mum, for starting and fueling such an inspirational hobby/obsession. We love you :)

Lots of love and kisses, from your three favouritest people in the whole entire universe,

Emily, Rachel and Joshua :) xxx

Friday, 8 March 2013

Hi, Hallo, Hej, Hola, Bonjour...

First of all, I'm not going to apologise for my mini hiatus, I've just been crazy busy and a little unwell recently. Which also meant I couldn't go to Madrid/Salamanca, my first trip abroad of the year. BOOOOOO :( I may have to cancel my trip to Dublin in a couple of weeks too, which would really suck, but if I don't I'll be sure to keep you all updated, don't you worry!

This week I fancy talking about language. I don't know if I've made obsession with language clear on here yet, so I think it's about time I shared. Something that I am accumulating a large collection of is phrase books. I buy one everywhere I go and then try out at least a few basic phrases with the locals. I think it's something I've picked up from my parents, as when we were younger they'd always try and learn a bit of the destination language before we'd head off abroad. I recommend Lonely Planet ones, they always have dead helpful 'how to pronounce things' bits and have all the silly chat up lines in too, for bants with your friends ;)

Click here for some killer foreign pick up lines.

I suppose I do this for two main reasons; politeness and curiosity. Maybe politeness isn't quite the right word but you get the general idea. Basically, I think that if you are visiting/working in/moving to another country you should at least give the local language a go. I understand that some people just aren't language learners and can't make it stick, but it's not difficult to stumble through a few basics - the worst they will do is laugh at you and reply in English or help you through as best they can (this happens to me a lot). I mean, in the UK, we're just so LAZY when it comes to foreign languages. That age old excuse 'It's fine, everyone speaks English' is becoming rather tiresome. Especially because, well, it's not true. Around 1 billion people speak English, which yes is a lot, however that leaves 6 BILLION who don't, who you can never talk to if you don't make the effort. Now that's a fair number. Plus you'd be surprised at how flattered/surprised/grateful people can be if you give their language a go, especially if it's not a particularly well known one.

Curiosity probably doesn't apply to everyone, but to a language geek like myself travel provides a massive opportunity for me to explore other languages and types of languages and generally just geek-out. I've learned way more about other languages from travelling and meeting native speakers than I ever have in a classroom. It just seems a golden opportunity to ask questions and learn from an expert source, who in turn probably wants to learn from you too. It's not only a source of simple conversation, but something that everyone can connect with. From travelling I've gained a fascination for Scandinavian and Slavic languages, especially Danish (honestly, I just think it's beautiful) after spending a fair amount of time walking through the Peruvian Jungle trying to master the soft 'd' sound and repeating 'skide, skede, skøde' over and over again - I won't translate it on here as it's a little rude, but feel free to do so yourself and know it sounds hilarious to a Dane. These are languages I'd never even have considered interesting had I not given them a try. It was also nice to be able to make a Danish lady, who came into the shop I work in a few weeks ago, leave with a smile on here face, as I had taken the time to learn 'Hi, my name is Emily, how are you?' in her language. It's the kind of compliment we Brits will never understand as we're so used to hearing foreigners speak English.

Learning Danish walking to Machu Picchu (day 3). Just look at how much fun we're having.

I guess my point is that whilst adventuring around the world and discovering new and exciting cultures, the opportunity to explore language shouldn't be wasted. After all, it is one of the most important parts of culture. There are many cultural differences in language itself, from humour to ways of relating to one another, which are evident even from British to American to Australian English. It's an easy way to spark a conversation and make someone laugh, especially if you're rubbish. So no excuses. Give it a go. I dare you ;)