Thursday, March 30, 2006

Old Photos!

See loooook! My finger is all better now! Isn't the body an amazing thing!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Las Fallas

So Las Fallas was great and I didnt have to sleep on the beach or in a park with friends in the end. I got really really lucky and got a bed in the hostel we stayed at the last time we were there. It was alot of fun and amazing to see the burning of the fallas. They were SO hot. We crowded around a fallas at 11 when they burnt all the large fallas (the smaller ones for the kids were burnt at 10). They wound an extremely long fuse around the fallas, sprayed it with flamable liquid from water bottles, removed the crowd barriers and torched the thing.

I Really liked the Fallas. Many if not most depicted topless women and would not be considered ´decent´ in Australia or the USA. There were also many figures which were were not your typical model type seen in magazines. The same is seen all across Europe with Art and especially statues and fountains in public places. It is nice to be open about it and recognise that everyone has the same body and that its not something to be ashamed of or hidden.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Back to Valencia!

Hey everybody! So I am off to Valencia to participate in the festival Las Falles even thought I don't have accmodation becasue you had to book months and month ago thanks to the biggest festival in Spain! The population of Valencia increases from 4,000 to 4 million for the event which is like a huge street party with parades. The main spectacle is the giant float like creations that they build and then set on fire on Sunday night. Then spend the whole year building close to 400 of them, 2 for each Falles house (a Falles house is like a suburb). So my possey and I are now going. The group consists of Ryan (Oregon), Sean (USA but studying in London), Tony (Arizona) and Stephanie (Arizona). So we are off today on a bus we hope! YAY! Then it´s back to Barcelona and then I fly to Rome to meet my Dad! More YAY!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Cara is in Madrid!

Hi everyone!
So I made it to Madrid safe and sound. I took a bus from Valencia becasue in Spain it seems that the trains are way more expensive then the buses so for half the price of the train I took a bus through the beautiful countryside of Spain! It was gorgeous! I mean absolutely beautiful. The earthy colours were amazing and the landscape was very different to France and other countries tht I hve visited. Covered in soft looking grass, the very definition of green and dotted with flowering trees, rocks and exposed red earth. I was wirting some post cards at the time so if you get an ´I love Spain´ type of inftuated post card thats probably when it was written. I can see myself returing here and maybe living here for sometime.

So I got to Madrid and I was at the bus station in the middle of nowhere (with 2 friends from the previous hostel). I had to ask the bus driver and then 2 people on the street just to find the metro station. Then I followed some little old lady around because she was going the same way as I. Meanwhile I was wihtout a map or guide book.
I made it to Plaza del Carmen, my meeting point with Ryan nd found he was not there. After waiting for about an hour I decided action was required. We had arranged to meet there in a smaller plaza then Barcelona which was clever and showed that we learned from previous mistakes however at this point I relised many stupid things: 1-that Ryan had the addresses of hostels which I wrote down including phone numbers etc, 2- we had no back up plan if one of us did not show up and Ryan could have missed the train or the train may have been full or one of a hundred other problems could have arisen meaning that I would wait in the plaza forever, 3- becasue it was approaching 9pm stores to buy phone cards, food, maps etc would be closing.

So as i was planning my next move without any information a pair of Americans (Robert and Katie) walked past as which point I shouted out and we talked. It turned out Robert was staying at the Cat´s hostel one which seems to be the talk of the town at the meoment becasue it is new and everyone says how nice it is. So I proceeded to get directions from him to the hostel, a map from a hotel (who didn´t look impressed that I had a massive backpack...suck it up people) and took the metro back the way I´d come to the hostel station. Its all abotu who you meet, who you talk to and how much you throw yourself out there. After getting off the train I saw a guy I decreeded as looking American (sad but true you can start to tell these things). So I asked him if he was going to Cat´s and its a good thing to otherwise I would have NEVER found my way! I checked in so overjoyed to haver arrived and was given a watch as a key. It´s a little plastic blue watch which you scan to get into the hostel and your room and your locker. It´s pretty cool technology but at the same time I think it´s fuuny that everyone likes Cats for their little blue watches (I´m wearing mine right now!). It is also becasue the foyer is decorated like the Thaji Mahal with a nice fountain and mosaics.

So I met Stephanie from the USA in my room who is absolutely adorble and convinced her to come to a Jazz bar back near plaza del Carmen as Robert and Katie had invited me there. I love other peoples stories. Stephanie had booked her ticket in June last year to meet a friend on exchange but the friend decided to change and exchnge this summer instead. So now she is here in Spain for a week, having never travelled to Europe before or having stayed in hostels. So we wnt to this somky little jazz bar down in a basement that you would only know if you were a locl or an exchange student hunting for cool dark corners (Katie). The jazz was good too.

When I got home a note from Ryan was waitig saying that he has checked into Cat´s too...what a coinsidence (would have been a great back up plan)! So its the next day and I´ve had breakfast (provided by the hostel) and am going to head out today with Stephanie to explore...she seems big into eating pastry here (one of her favourite things) so I guess I will just have to grit and bear it! Bye for now! xoxox

P.S. It is definite that my Dad flys into Rome on March 22nd. I booked a flight from Barcelona to Rome that day so I slide into Rome and skid to a halt just before him to greet him at the gate!

P.P.S. Rhiannon is planning to accompany me in Thailand. YAY!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Off to Madrid today!

Off to Madrid today! YAY! New city. Valencia and the beach was good and it was fun to be in the sun aghain! The weather is amazing! I am never going North into Europe again!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Going to Valencia!

This morning Ryan and I are heading south to Valencia by train where we hope to sit on a beach in nice weather and explore a smaller city!

Cara xoxox

Photo captions:

1- Joel and Cara at dinner in Bologna
2- Ravena mosaics from around 500AD

Ravena Mosaics!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Barcelona- day 2!

Had an exhausing day in Barcelona and need more sleep then my current 6 hours in 48 hours! Today I got up at 8:15 even though Flamanco kept me out until the wee hours of the morning (2am) and intened to eat the fab breakfast (its pretty good. It has juice and 4 different kinds of cereal, toast, muffins, fruit...yum-o...imagining tomorrow). So at breakfast I talked with one of the girls who was at the Tapis/Flamanco night and she was going off exploring. So of course I decided to dely a shower, not re-sleep and go touring. We went to Parc Guell where Gaudi did more mosaics and he designed a system to save water in summer. We then took the bus and randomly hopped off at another well known and one of the best Gaudi creations- another house like yesterday. It was a bit more of a museum....all that educational stuff (you know how I hate that...sarcasm) and was interesting as I had already seen the parc and a house. Then we took a metro to the waterside (even though we didnt really need to...the distances on the maps look pretty big but everything is pretty easy to get to in walking distance) they seem to have a pretty nice system here. I am still waiting for the day when Melbourne trains come very 3 mins!

Se we wandered a bit until my friend decided she had better go and head for the airport as she was leaving. I laid in the sun a bit...oh did I mention Barcelona is in SPRING!!!!!!!! That´s right and if you were here you´d understand what a big gigant humongous deal that is! At the park I saw evidence....cherry trees in bloosom! In blosoom I tell you! And I was actually hot today and wished I was in a t-shirt! No way! I went outside wearing only 2 would have surficed but I couldn´t take anymore off, 2 is the min because I am not used to having to remove anymore layers then that! I am not sure how hot it was here today beacause like the pharmacys in France and Italy there are green crosses that flash telling you it is a phramacy and also they tell you the time and the temp. The ones that I saw this morning said anywhere between 17 to 21.5...either way I am happy and it is warm.

So I baked in the sun for a bit and enjoyed it. I arranged acouple of days before via email to meet Ryan (American who I met in Venice and spent a day touring together) in Plaza Catalunya. We found eachtoher there eventaually. It was nice to see him again. His smile is nice and sense of humour reassuring/comforting. Took him back to my hostel so he could get a place to stay and then finally got my shower! Oh it was good. Supposed to meet Ryan in Lobby at 17:30 (the 24 hour time thing is just how they do it here) but he slep and I thought he might have left so I wandered down Las Robles (a big main street) with Matt, an American who I had met a few hours earlier that day. We visited the Catedral...big...and the the Mercat Boqueria which is a market like the Vic Market for those that have been. I bought coconut beause it was already cut up frech and I thought it was novel. Ages since Ive eaten that! Then I went to meet 2 girls from the flamanco night for a Vegetarian all you can eat buffet for 8.80 Euros! Not bad! Ryan awoke and tried to meet us but to no avail since he could not find us. We met him after in out fav Plaza Catalunya, chatted for a bit and then wanderedto the beach just cos we wanted to see it even in the dark. We played in parks on the way, on a giant climbing rope structre which brought much amusement, stopped by a few clubs but just didnt feel the vibe and then walked all the way back home with sore feet. Need better walking shoes and something besides hiking boots! You cant wear them all the time!

Tomorrow I am up at 8am again to meet Ryan for breakfast so we can decide where we are going to travel in Spain. Breakfast is better then cos there arent so many people and if we get an early start we can see more of Barcelona. I will sleep when I´m dead! I will say I will take another nap tomorrow but I wont in the end! Too many things to see to miss out!

Love you all and take care! Have fun above all!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Barcelona Ole!

Hi guys! I am in Barcelona on Spain´s east coast!!!!!!

Okay, so I have obvoiously never seen photos of this place. I had no idea what to expect so I expect nothing and the city is amazing! It is huge! I arrived yesterday and came to Centric point hostel which is nice and new and in the midlle of the city! It has really big windows which look out on the street called Passeig de Gracie and like 2 doors up from me is the Gaudie house!

So my plane got here at 1:30 in the afternoon. I came to the hostel and should have gone to bed seeing as I pulled an all nighter packing (and having dinner with Joel...yeah, dinnerand wine and cider and gelato!) but instead you have to be in it to win it so I got out there and wandered the streets of Barcelona while it was still light! In my wandering I have discovered that Barcelona is full of great shops with beautiful clothes and jewellery and bakeries or chocoloteries to make your mouth water ten times over! I went and ate a hot chocolate (liquid chocolate) with churos as is traditional, bought a pair of earrings (hey what can I say. Its the only thing I can carry and afford to buy!) and then went and saw the Gaudie house. I was a bit hesistant to pay to go inside beacasue it is expensivebut I bit the bullet and went on in and I am so glad! An amazing house and very well done. Gaudie was an architect/designer ahead of his time who remodeled this house. It only´took him 2 years which is pretty incredible considering the work done and he did it without plans (only a model and himslef)! Sounds like mykind of thang! So I went and wandered aound there for a long time. I went back to the hostel because I booked a Tapis night throught the hostel. We went to a Tapis bar which means that there are lots of plates with decorated baguette slices. Decorated with cheese and vegetables and meat, fish was prtty popular too. We got to choose five and then went to a club to see a flaminco show. It was nice, a band and the first people of dance were 2 guys. Pretty incredible and very different culture. I liked it a lot. They took great pride and pleasure in what they were doing and the Spanish audience was very appreciative...clapping and cheering and wooooing! Then we went to 2 bars and by this time I was dying to go to bed!

So now I am eating breakfast. Its provided by the hostel and is GREAT! Fruit, cereal, muffins, juice....yum! And now I have to go beacsue I am going with one of the girls from last night to see the city. She is going down to the water and that is where the city centre is so I am jumping on the bandwagon and going! Bye guys! Photos soon.....this place has the internet so if I manage to get it again pics no prob!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Made it Bologna!

Hi guys! Here in Bologna fine and dandy! Took a 2 hour train ride from Venice last night. I am staying with a friend Joel who is an awesome tour gide! He knows everything! I have booked my flight to Barcelona Spain on March 8th from Venice so I will be heading back to Venice to fly! Felt really organised becasue I asked before I left how to get to the airport and all that jazz! The I will fly to Rome....still gotta find that meet my Dad! Life is good! YAY! Alright, got o go out and see it! Bye for now!

Cara commented on last blog that:

Hi my lovely Kris! Moving out! What the! YAY for you! Emmy! Tell me your plans for London. My Dad is coming to viti and will fly out of London around mid April so I will be there so we can meet up my lovely! Best gelato is RIGHT! SOOOO Goood! Finger is actually one piece now so thats good!Davey baby...Sestriere is at the top of the mtn and Turin was once the capital of Italy and is at the bottom the mountain and then some. Rhiannon! YAYAY for coming to Thailand! We will organise man! Venice was great to wander....incredible! Blue...Sestriere was cold and the bakeries are better then I could imagine and I nthink I am trying to patronise eveyone in Venice! Cara is going on a mega diet when she gets back! Exercise and eat right!

Bye Bye Venice, Hello Bologna!

Yeah, it's not as romatic or exciting as venice but Bologna is my next stop. I am leaving Venice today (Mark my hotel buddy here is staying) and taking the train about an hour to two hours south west to Bologna. I will have to tell you about it when I get there beacsue I dont know very much about it except it is called Red Bologna becasue there is alot of red brick and also that there are lots and lots of enclosed walkways because long ago people decided to add onto their existing houses but on the first floor mind you so there were lots of jutting out first floors which were turned into walk ways. I met 2 exchnage students on the train from Sestriere to Turin who are studying there so I have myself 2 willing guides! Hooray!

After Bologna Spain might be on the menu depending on how much flights are and then my Dad is coming out to visit and see Europe! How wonderful is that! I am over the moon!

Bye for now! More photos soon I hope!

P.S. Can you believe it? What a coinsidence! I met the family of an Olympic skier in Sestriere when I was woking in the cloak room and they turned up at my hotel on Thursday night! What a crazy coinsidence. So we met on Friday morning and went to the Murano Island to watch Murano glass blowing together and then had dinner with Mark that night and wandered around Venice.

P.S. After watching glass blowing we were in the upstairs posh show room and the man who works there was talking to me. He told me to turn around and I thought he was looking at my hair (he had commented earlier) but instead he slipped a present into my backpack! He told me not to open my bag until I got out. I was thinking that maybe he gave me a little glass animal or something but instead he slipped a tiny red vase with golden flowers into my bag! From the top level of the show room! That little thing must be worth over 100 Euros. A present for me he said! Incredible! I was amazed!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Cara is in Venice

So I travelled from Torino to Venice with Mark and now we are staying in a....wait for start hotel....with a GREAT location! Venice is incredible! I just had no idea about the canals and all that jazz. And Italian bakeries are amazing. Everything is so different and looks so good so of course I want to try ti all!!!!


Random German guy, Cara, girl nicknamed 'High Girl' and Lollo. I met up with Mark (my firend Lisa's remeber that both Lisa and Mark came to stay with me in Lyon) in Torino. In this picture there is Lollo who met us in Torino and wanted to party! They (Lollo and his step sister) were lots of fun and Torino was ALIVE with the Olympics. There were people on the streets everywhere and it was crazy fun. I also got to meet up with my friend Diogo who I met last time I was in Torino. He and his 2 friends Carolina and oh bother I forget looked after Niki and I when we got stuvk in Torino over night. It was good to see him again and I will probably go back through there again. I hit the museum of Cinnema (in the building called the 'Mole' which is the one pointy famous building in Torino or Turin for all your English speakers!) while I was there but there is also the best Egyptain museum outside Alexandra there and I will have to visit that next time.

Photo description (see photos below!):

PHOTO 1:Cara at work in the Irish Igloo Cloakroom (maiamed while setting up the cloack room it Ironically became the only place she could work!). Pictured with Lollo (Lorenzo) and Sheila whjo were visiting Sestriere for a bit from Torino. After I escaped from my horrible job there I went to Torino and met up with Lollo for a crazy night on the!

PHOTO 2: Cara departs and takes a picture of her co-workers: Helen (UK), Manu (Italian), Cara (hapopy to be leaving), H (UK....H is short for Helen).

PHOTO 3:Looking down the main street of Sestriere. The mntns where the womens Giant Slalom was run.....I saw that one...'cos I wasnt working for once cos I quit (I would have quit if I wasnt fired or fired it I didnt quit.....or would have gone nuts if I had to work there again!)

PHOTO 4: OOOOOOPPPPP!!!!!! Cara tried to cut off her finger.....this trip so far is a lot of firsts....first time to Europe, first time working in a bar....first stitches....yes, it was as nasty as it looked and the Department of State guys (my friends....met through work) were less then impressed with these lovely stitches so nicely sewn into my finger by less than competent doctors....and at the very end the last doctor they sent me too turned out to be a surgeon in Turin....thats right people....a surgeon.....someone who knows how to put in stitches....and waits for the anastetic to kick in.....oh first time in a forigen hosptial time I'll pass....P.S. finger looks much better now....the giant gap is actually gone!

PHOTO 5: Looking up the street in Sestriere. If you go all the way to the end of this road, out of the square, up the hill and to the left I lived up there. If you go up the street and look to your left you will see The Cavern which is the resturant owned by the same disorganised slave drivers/morons/bad guys/.....I mean guys....who own the Igloo.This photo the street is packed beacuse of the Olympics. There were people everywhere with flags of their countries, horns that were sold to cheer and lots of people decked out in Olympic team gear. The Russain Olympic team outfits were my favourite. White and red with a beautiful flower/vine patteren.

Photos I hope this time!