Friday, July 29, 2011

Picturesque Bordeaux

We took a lil French break whilst we were in San Sebastian.

Whilst driving up to San Sebastian from Bilbao, we realise that there were signs pointing to Bordeaux.

That was when we realised that the gorgeous San Sebastian is a two hour drive from the wine region of South of France.

Hiaks! What luck?

We had wanted to do a little bit of country traveling during our last trip to Paris but that was not to be. So this time round, we were quite determined to make our way there for a day trip.

Road Trip

So bright and early on a Sunday morning, we set off on our journey of vineyards. It didn't take us long to get to the border before we were in France. After driving past some famous beaches, we got to Bordeaux town in good time.
Walking Around Town

You will know when you hit Bordeaux. First thing you will see is a row of uniformed square buildings that just shows off its historical french architecture. I loved what I saw. The air felt different. The place has such a resort feeling that one feels at ease when as we drove through the town.

But the thing is, being Sunday, most of the stores were closed. =( Plus, we were there in the morning so it wasn't really the perfect time to visit.


Breakfast!

First thing we did was get breakfast. After two weeks of pintxos, I was just glad to have a glass of OJ with a cuppa latte and omelette for brekkie. Nothing fancy. It was so simply prepared but yet we inhaled everything within minutes. =)

After hopping into the Tourist Office (which is really just about the only thing open. Okay... I'm sounding bitter now =p), where they arranged our wine tours, we went on a quick walkabouts around town.


Sunday market


And had the good fortune to run into a Sunday market.

There we had fresh oysters shucked to your order, served with a glass of white vino.

Feet. =)
Oysters Love

A store that sells paella. With more shellfish than rice. Isn't this a first? =)

Paella

Meandering through the market a little, we perused the stalls selling fresh produce, baked goods, flowers. I had to keep my fingers to myself because I was so tempted to buy something back to cook. It was so all so enticing. Can you tell that I love markets when I travel?

Market Stores
Sunday Market

I grabbed a quick nutella crepe before we had to leave for the St Emilion region. So I guess our next post will be about vino, vino and more vinos. =)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Day in My Future

Have you ever thought about aging?

I haven't.

Yes I have thought about my retirement but it has not occured how I would behave and react with situations when I'm old.

Two Fridays ago, I had the opportunity to try it out.

I attended an event called, "A Day in my Future" organized by the Council for the Third Age. It is an initiative to get the young adults to be aware of the process of ageing and how we can work our way towards an active and healthy retirement.

Held in a gorgeous auditorium down at Shenton Way, we spent the evening participating in activities organised by the Tsao Foundation. And the best part was I met the lovely Delphine. What a pleasant start of the night!

First up, was a test of perception, we had a chance to express what we thought of old people. Then, we thought about adjectives to describe what we would like to be when we are old. Needless to say, it was a good contrast of mostly negatives vs a whole load of positives. Hiaks! Great one to realise how prejudiced we all are, huh?

Aging Props

Next up, was an opportunity to 'grow old'. Laid before us were an array of instruments to help us with our instant 'aging' process. Man! I must've laughed when I saw the props because I thought, there is no way these things can make us feel anything.

Robocopping
But once the bandages, leg straps, gloves, ear muffs and visors came on, I ain't no laughing at any old person who claims they're hard of hearing, or they struggle with long sightedness. It's like my world just changed for a slower version of me.

We had the chance to speak to several representatives from a few stat boards and it was pleasant to hear them share what they had plans for the future of our aging population.

I had a think about what I'd learnt that night. Whilst I am glad that I am leading a healthy diet and exercise regime (more on that later), I'd never thought about how age will slow down my daily activities. This puts everything in place.

At the end of the day, like all things in life, we are responsible for our mental well being, state of health and financial standing. So I'm gonna make sure that I'm in tip top condition for that.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Day out at Sea

The thing about growing older is birthdays don't seem to matter as much.

Don't get me wrong.

I still love a good dinner with the husband and small gatherings with friends. But I'm slowly and surely edging away from big celebrations and crazy parties.

The blokes exploring the yacht

Last Saturday, the galfriend and the husband conspired to book a yacht for the morning so that we can all head out to sea, as a little birthday treat. I knew of the plans prior, but still it's such a thrill to be spending some time onboard a boat with my favorite people.

Chilling out

The kids had a ball of a time. My little girl took to it like she had always been lounging in a yacht whilst the boys were lapping up all the packets of potato chips that the crew has laid out.

Kids Collage

We got a chance to explore St John's Island for a bit but it was sooo hot that we retreated back to the boat for a BBQ prepared by the staff.

St John's Collage
BBQ Collage

The girlfriend baked a gorgeous 3 tiered chocolated cake iced with marshmallow icing. It was so yummy that my baby was licking her fingers clean.

CakeCollage

I have to say I left the yacht feeling happy like a lark. There was everything to love that morning. Great weather and great company.

Group shot

Thank you for a wonderful birthday, guys!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thirty and Counting.

Cake Cutting

I turn thirty today.

And I am thankful for the life that I had so far. It is more than anything I ever dreamt or hope for.

A husband who still spoils me silly and gives me all the time & space to do what my heart desires. Three great kids who give me a run for my money but still I adore them so. A group of close knit friends whom I know that I can rely on, whether it's rain, hail or storm. My family who always stand by me whenever I need them, especially when it comes to last minute babysitting.

I have learnt that you cannot plan life. You can only go with the flow and hang on for dear life.

So my only plan for my thirties is to keep healthy, happy and sane. (Well, as much as rearing three kids go.)

Family Pic


Looking forward to the next chapter.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

San Sebastian Memories

Mini San Sebas Collage
Two words.

San Sebastian.

A gorgeous beach town at the northern part of the Basque Country.

The town that has the highest density of Michelin starred restaurants per square foodfoot.

And a vibe that it is a town that is perpetually on holiday.

A landscape picture of San Sebastian

I was almost afraid that I would be bored by this leg of our travel plans but San Sebastian has other plans for me. It is unbelievably picturesque with a laidback lifestyle to boot.

The beach was filled to the brim with teenagers either playing paddle ball or volleyball. The boardwalk had an exhibition on the history of surfing. Gotta love the smell of the sea filling up the airways.

beach outlook
Beach Side View

It was a busy weekend. Down by the esplanade, all the al fresco tables were taken and the streets were filled with streams of people. We had to fight the throes of people walking through town.

Busy Sidewalks of San Sebas
Walkways
Couple walking along

So we sought refuge at the harbour.
Harbour & Jetty

But it turns out that it's just as packed. So we gave up and kinda just went back to the hotel to put our feet up for a bit. =)

Busy Port

Next up, food!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Left My Heart in Bilbao


Bilbao

Bilbao had my heart the minute I stepped foot in it.

An old industrial city that is the capital of the Basque Country. It used to be a busy commercial port that went through a phase of industrialization and has now transformed into a cultural hub with arts and gastronomy as its focus.

There is something about Bilbao that captures your soul. The city is quaint and lovely.


Zurizubi Bridge

I loved that the Nivea River runs through the city and people revolve part of their daily lives around it. Every day, we would walk pass it and see families bringing their children to play in the many playgrounds next to it. People will walk their dogs and we often spy rowers moving in warp speed moving past.

10 Things I heart about the town.


Walking Around


1. Walking Around the Richard Serra's exhibit in the Guggenheim



Kebabs


2.Eating Kebabs in the cold



Guggenheim
3. Frank Gehry's Guggenheim



Hisperia Love
4. The beautiful Hisperia hotel



Waiting for Sushi
5. Sumo sushi is the bomb!



Old Town


6. Old Town is historically beautiful



Hanging out @ the markets.
7. Spending time with the hubs at the fresh produce market



Pinxtos
8. Pintxos - Soo much better than the ones in Madrid



People watching
9. People watching whilst waiting for our set lunch



Giant Puppy
10. This GORGEOUS giant floral puppy


I will be back, Bilbao! In a heartbeat! Till we meet again, Adios!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Segovia in Pictures


Aqueducto

I am a sucker for ancient structures.

So when I knew that we were going to Spain, the Aqueduct in Segovia was definitely in my must see list.

An ancient structure that was used to transport water from the Fuente Fría River to the town center. It stands at 28.5m. Truly when we stood in front of it, its magnificent aura overshadows the little buildings in the town.

Segovia is just a 30 minute train ride away from Madrid. A perfect location for a day trip.


Mason Condido - Suckling pig...
The mansion where suckling pigs await


We took the time to have their famous suckling pig for lunch and then slowly trekked our way through the old town to see the Alcazar (pronounced as Alkatar).


the small streets of Segovia
Walking along the winding road to Alcazar


And there it was.


Alcazar
In all its glory


It used to be a royal castle which was then converted over to a state prison, then artillery school. Rumour has it that its design was a significant inspiration to Disney's Sleeping Beauty castle.


What a view
The View



Monastry
An ancient Monastry sits in the midst

As we stood in front of the castle, which sits on a rock, you see the panaromic view of the countryside swooping under. And I love nothing more than staring at landscapes. A habit developed during road trips with the husband.


Countryside loving
Great day out!


All in all, it was a glorious day. Sun was up though it was cold. The only thing I would change is to come earlier on in the day. We were there between 12 and 4pm so most of the stores were closed for siestas, which suck because we love popping our heads into little stores to see what's there.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunday Memories

Spot the Iguana, guys.

Popped by the newly opened Antoinette but was booked out so we got takeway

Scoot scoot away, boys

Gal in the seat

Tussle over a leaf

Walkies with Daddy

My little miss
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