Barcelona: Sagrada Família

Many tourists from all over the world flock to see this landmark. The buzz around it is incredible, and of course the money perks of charging 16-17 euros to every person who wants to get inside can’t be bad for tourism profits.

This very large Roman Catholic church, designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí is a UNESCO World Heritage site, even though it isn’t even finished yet!

Construction of Sagrada Familia began in 1882. In 1926, by the time that Gaudi died at age 73, less than a quarter of the project was complete.

Gaudí devoted his last years to the project. It is absolutely beautiful and the detail is breathtaking.

Every single piece is carefully crafted. So much detail that you could gaze and notice different shapes for days. Gaudi took inspiration from the Vatican in Rome, which I’ve  also been lucky enough to visit and you can definitely tell because of the style and detail of even just the outside of the church.
Being my impatient self I couldn’t be bothered with the queues, but seeing the beauty of just the outside was more than enough.

The towers and most of the church’s structure are to be completed by 2026, the centennial of Gaudí’s death, and the decorative elements should be complete by 2030 or 2032. Making it an architectural masterpiece that will take 150 years!

Can’t wait for that grand opening!

 

 

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Goodbye Vietnam

 So that’s it Vietnam. Romeo done. Another country down and a further 16 days into my itinerary.

I’m now some days into Cambodia.

What a wonderful and educational experience Vietnam has been.

I’ve learnt so much about the history of this country and how far Vietnam has come in recent years. Visiting all of the museums and attractions gives you a great insight into the physical and mental scars that the people have endured over the decades of war with the US. 

I can truly say that the Vietnamese people are an inspiring and determined bunch. They are a generous and caring culture and still promote peace despite everything. Us westerners could learn a great deal from them. 

Here’s my highlights and low points of travelling Vietnam

Highlights

Favourite place

Hoi An   

 This place felt most like Vietnam. There isn’t a vast amount of touristy things to do but I think that’s what make it great. So pretty and so much culture. This place is super relaxed and truly reflects Vietnamese living. 

Favourite activities

Quadbiking on the white sand dunes, Mui Ne.  

The dark cave and the mud bath, Phong Nha. 

Favourite new experiences 

Tasting Vietnamese coffee: did you know it’s the third best coffee in the world?   
Brazil is the first and Columbia is the runner up

A few Vietnamese eats were amazing too. There is a post on this to come! 

Low lights 
Headaches from the sound of bibbing horns. God don’t you guys like to honk? Honking for indicating, honking for warning, honking for fun. It’s highly unnecessary and it really hurts my ears! 

We’re in Cambodia now and I’m glad they don’t enjoy this as much. 

Crappy weather: 10 of those days were a mixture of clouds and rain so we didn’t really get to enjoy the beauty of Ha Long bay or Nha Trang beach. We did however, get some great Anorak photos..
Vietnam, it’s been emotional.tạm biệt người bạn của tôi.(Goodbye my friend)
LwL x 

100th post: Happy Australia Day!

Welcome to my 100th blog post, and a celebratory one at that!

Happy Australia Day to all my Ozzie pals and fellow bloggers.

I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating. I’ll be heading to the ‘Booze Cruise’ bar in Nha Trang tonight for their big celebratory event. Let’s hope they’ve baked some Anzac biscuits! 

  Australia Day is the official National Day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip.

LwL X 

Vietnam: A Hoi An Experience 

Hoi An, the home of bespoke tailoring and streets of yellow painted buildings. We spent 3 nights in the town voted ‘most favourite destination for tourists’ by Wanderlust UK. 

  

 With Tailors on every corner, this town is becoming increasingly popular for paying only $120 dollars for a tailored suit, made and ready in just 1-2 days.

We had a very chilled time there, no big tours or premeditated plans; just us and our feet walking a fair few kilometres, running laps around the Ancient Town and making a dart for the beach on the one hot day we had. 

Hoi An is a charming and romantic area with a beautiful riverside setting. The ancient world UNESCO site is impressively well-preserved and infuses a mix of Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese culture all into one. 

    
  

The days

The ‘city centre’ is around 4 streets in length, making it easily accessible for walking, as long as you avoid being run down by all the motorbikes of course. It is here that you can head over to view the Japanese Bridge, and go through it to the preserved part of Ancient Town for a small fee. We gave this a miss.   

 Hoi An reminded me a lot of Chiang Mai; a wonderful place that doesn’t necessarily have the ‘oh my god there is something unbelievable to see here’ landmarks, but it’s just one of the very few places that has preserved it’s area to how it used to be. A great place to experience the real unindustrialised Vietnam.

On the one day the skies blessed us with 28-29c and no rain, we headed for the beach on a long straight 4km road.  

We stopped every so often, taking in the sites, enjoying a beverage or two by the riverside and had a bite to eat. Granted, you can rent bikes from your hotel for a mere $1 which would be a quicker option, but with Liam’s still iffy ribs we decided that walking was the safest bet.  

  

The south part of Cua Dao beach was lined with sandbags and wooden posts. Not the most scenic but the waves were violent, so I assume this was for people’s safety?   

Opening a cocunut

The northern part of the beach was much nicer, clear sands and a rock backdrop. Well worth a walk along on a nice day. 

   
    
 

The Nights

Hoi An really comes alive at night. The history in the ancient town vs. the new drinking culture means that there is something for everyone. 

The hustle and bustle of the street vendors down Le Loi street, paired up with the English speaking bar promoters, selling all you can drink and BOGOF deals over An Hoi bridge gives the area a contrasting mix.  

    

Tasting mango cake

There are authentic Vietnamese restaurants side by side with crazy bars that offer you unlimited drink for 100,000 dong. Thankfully, there isn’t enough of these to create a Magaluf bar strip atmosphere. The area still holds on to its culture and beauty, but I’ll be interested to see what this place looks like in another few decades, and whether tourism funded greed will get the better of this vibrant city. 

       There is a long night market straight down the middle of the small strip for you to immerse in.

 
 The lantern shops make the road very picturesque but unfortunately the constant pestering: ‘you buy something here’ every time you glance over at a stall, started to get on my nerves a bit.

Is it just an English thing? You know where we get instantly wound up and on the defensive in a retail shop if a worker asks if we need help with something. Like no woman, stop being salesy and leave me to lurk and doddle in peace ha. 

    
If you’re a true night owl and you want to continue the party after most of the town has lights out at midnight, head down to ‘why not bar’ where you can carry on the drinking and fun until 3am. 

   
   
Hoi an is listed in top 25 destinations in Asia 2013 by trip advisor and after my enjoyable visit here I can see why. 

LwL X 

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

A 15/20 minute walk outside the west of the city centre or a short 5 minute tuk tuk ride away lies Chiang Mai’s Ploen Ruedee Night Bazaar. 

 Thai, Italian, American, French, Mexican, Indian and Japanese cuisine!

There are cocktail stalls, healthy stalls, shakes, pancakes, milkshakes and a band to entertain you while you sit on bundles of hay stuffing your face. Heaven. 

  

 
  

  

  
 

This food court is the mother of all food courts, you have to visit here! 

Beef noodle soup from ‘noodle soup’
Chicken katsu kare from ‘Yummy Curry’

We took full advantage eating 5 different dishes between us!

Lemon red soda

There is also a really cool stall that does fresh soda flavours and unusual mojitos  

 
Just to the right of the square is where the shopping night bazaar begins.. 

  Rows and rows of elephant print shirts and shorts , paintings, handmade jewellery, souvenirs, copies of DVDs, shoes and trainers, blankets; it’s like a Thai eBay that you don’t have to pay postage and packaging for. 

   

 
  The bazaar is open until midnight every night.  

LwL x 

Insanity Fitness

insanity

Well Albert Einstein clearly never took part in an insanity class…

I had my last lesson yesterday after going every week since January. What a way to get fit! I don’t think I’ve ever managed to stay committed to something for 10 months.. Not even a relationship.. Continue reading “Insanity Fitness”