20 September 2010

Første Weekend in kōpənˌhägən

So I've finally got time to write something about Copenhagen! However, it's only going to be a couple sentences as I'm exhausted and I have class in the morning.  These pictures were taken during my first weekend here a few weeks ago.  It seems like an eternity ago; the weather was pleasant and I was bursting with energy.  Currently, it's raining, windy and cold.

On the first weekend a bunch of us took advantage of the free S-trains.  I'm not sure why, but on the first weekend of every month the trains are free for everyone and shops remain open for longer.  So, logically, we abused the system and caught the train to the very end of the line to Klampenborg.  There is a beach around here as well as a deer park (pictured).  We had brought our bikes onto the train so we were able to ride around the deer park.  After riding around for 15mins we spotted some deer.  They're pretty awesome, but not as awesome as kangaroos.

14 September 2010


I've been in Copenhagen for two weeks now and I desperately want to write about my time here.  However, I feel that I owe it to myself to write an entry about my recent time in Madrid before it's too late.  So here it is!

Madrid was hot and humid and unlike Barcelona, there were no beaches to escape to.  I joined a 'free' walking tour that guided us through the Royal Palace and a number of other landmarks.  Everybody seemed a little disappointed by the fact that we didn't pass by any truly captivating landmarks.  Sadly, one of the highlights for me was an eccentric overweight man dressed as Spiderman at the Plaza Mayor (pictured).

It took me a few days to really appreciate Madrid.  To my delight, we stumbled upon the San Miguel Markets (pictured); a food market sprawling with gourmet food and drink stalls.  We indulged in some nice treats such as yoghurt covered in a number of delicious toppings such as fruit puree and nuts.  A short walk down one of the numerous aisles would lead us to a stall that specialised in vodka and caviar.  What a combo!  We tried a number of ice-cold wine-based drinks and traditional snacks amongst other things.

One night we went on a tapas crawl and tried a number of cidars, cheeses, meats, pastries and bread.  It was delicious, cheap and mostly incredibly tasty!  Each tapas bar we visited specialised in food from a specific region from Spain, and we could really notice the difference between each region's food.

Our last day in Madrid was one of my favourite days of my Spanish holiday.  A group of us stocked up on Spanish potato crisps, wine, cheese, bread and other delicious goodies before heading for a picnic (pictured) at the luscious greens of Parque del Buen Retiro.  This is a massive park of approximately 350 acres with a giant lake in the middle for people to paddle boats in (pictured).  We lay in the park for hours, enjoying the shade and listening to Angus and Julia Stone.  This park also houses a number of wondrous buildings such as the Palacio di Crista (pictured).

We finished off our Spanish trip in style, eating churros dipped in cups of hot chocolate at a laneway chocolateria.

100% FEEL OK everybody!

04 September 2010

Valencia Tomatoes

The notorious Tomato Festival (La Tomatina) in Bunol was one of the most memorable days of my life.  At about 6 in the morning on the last Wednesday of August, a few of us decided to avoid the crowds at the train station and catch a taxi from our ritzy hotel in Valencia to Bunol.

When we arrived in Bunol, the sun was taking it's time to rise.  It was cold, and there were many food, beer and sangria stalls being set up.  We had a few hours to kill before the siren would sound at 11am for the tomato battle to begin.  During this time we stocked up on goggles and beer before the huge crowds of over 30,000 people arrived.

When we arrived at the main street of the battle we were packed like sardines (of the Australian variety).  There was a sea of (mostly obnoxious) Australians and it was worse than any mosh pit I'd ever been in (pictured).  It had warmed up by now and we were all excitedly anticipating the first siren to mark the beginning of one crazy hour.  The buildings along the streets were draped in water-proof/tomato-proof sheets and the locals, perched on their balconies above, were entertaining us with their music and cooling us down with their hoses.


After the first siren, there was a loud cheer and a number of horns could be heard.  Countless big red trucks filled with tonnes of rotten tomatoes somehow wormed their way through the masses. After the first truck passed our laneway, all hell broke loose.  It was only a matter of minutes before everybody was soaked in tomato.  A group of men dressed in spotless white sailor costumes saluted the trucks and soon after, they were almost unrecognisable (pictured).

The goggles came in handy, but easily fogged up.  Each time I removed my goggles to clear the fog, a big stranger would hurl a tomato right at my face.  It was that intense and I don't know why he was so dam accurate with his throwing.  Anyway, I got him back pretty good because I never lose a battle!

We were extremely lucky to have a lovely Spanish lady directly above us pour buckets of water over our heads to clear our eyes and rinse our mouths upon chanting "Agua Agua Agua!" (pictured).

At one stage I feared for my life as I almost had my feet crushed by a passing truck.  The streets were flooded with tomato (it was now inches deep) and as the truck passed me, my feet were literally centimeters away from the wheels.  I had to push myself against the moving truck and one slip or push in the back would've marked the end of my dancing career.


The hour seemed to pass by slowly at the time.  We took shelter in some side streets and stumbled upon some sangria stalls to refuel ourselves before re-entering the battle.  After the second siren that marked the end of the tomato battle, we rushed to the train station to return to Valencia.  A much needed siesta awaited us and we spent the afternoon and evening exploring the city of Valencia.

Valencia is a lovely city; it doesn't share the reputation or glamour of it's neighbouring cities but it is still a gem of a place.  The streets are filled with pastel-coloured apartments (pictured), splendidly detailed buildings and very creative graffiti.  That night we enjoyed a final drink with our backpacking friends by a kerbside cafes overlooking a beautiful fountain.