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Entries about cocktails

Latin America in Germany

Rostock


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At school this week, in addition to more normal lessons there was preparation for a show, which was performed yesterday to parents but only within each class rather than to the school. I did Modern Cinderella with my class, though a more streamlined version compared to what I did with the older ones a couple of weeks ago. It was better for it and we had more time for scriptwriting and rehearsal too, though there were still definitely parts which could have been better and I know what tweaks to make to the process next time.

During the week we had food and a drink or two at the same brewery on Wednesday and Thursday, and yesterday we went to a Mexican/ Latin American restaurant/ cocktail bar for our last night together. There was salsa dancing to watch, a wood-fired grill, cheap but delicious cocktails during Happy Hour, and I had an amazing Argentinian steak with a baked potato with sour cream.

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It was a wonderful way to bring to an end the week in Rostock, the three-week period most of this teaching group has spent together, and my five-week winter teaching contract.I'm spending the next week between Berlin and Prague before I fly home. Although I'm widely travelled, for some reason I have never been to these two cities. Time now to put that right...

Posted by 3Traveller 08:06 Archived in Germany Tagged germany salsa cocktails brewery rostock english_teaching argentinian_cuisine Comments (0)

Stunning view of Budapest

Budapest


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Today there were two main destinations; the Ethnography Museum and St Stephen's Basilica.

On my walk across the Parliament square to the museum I admired the fountain and caught a small changing of the guard ceremony. I wished I could paddle in the fountain - it was a very hot day.

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The museum had a magnificently decorated interior which was lovely to look at and although the place wasn't quite as big as I was expecting, it had some interesting displays; my favourites were the traditional musical instruments (which included ocarinas, a double flute, bagpipes and a rough-looking folk violoncello that was beaten with a wooden stick), traditional toys and old photos of children playing with them, different costumes worn by mummers at Christmas, New Year, Epiphany and at Carnival, a collection of objects associated with the traditional fairs and a collection of more everyday items such as a bear trap, a bird-catching cage and some wicker and wooden beehives.

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After leaving the museum I had a sandwich for lunch in Parliament Square and then went to St Stephen's Basilica via the Danube. Although I didn't need to cross the river to get to the Basilica, I couldn't resist some photos from the bridge anyway... The views are so beautiful. I got an unexpected bonus on the bridge, as well - I discovered a vent in each side wall that blew out cool air from below! Given the heat and humidity, this was incredibly welcome. I couldn't believe that other people weren't already there. Due to the angle, the cool air wasn't noticeable unless you stood next to the wall and leaned forward a bit, so maybe that was why.

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The streets surrounding the Basilica are very grand and impressive.

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St Stephen's Basilica is named after the first king of Hungary and is the most important church in the country. It is stunning both on the outside and the inside and views from the top of the dome are fantastic. I enjoyed looking at all the decoration and architecture of the interior and lit a candle before moving into a another room - a chapel containing 'The Holy Right', the mummified right hand of St Stephen. It was housed in a very fancy silver and gold, cathedral-shaped container, but was very difficult to see properly.

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After that I took the lift up to the top of the dome. The 360 degree panoramic view of the city was amazing.

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I rested in my dorm for a couple of hours before going out for dinner at an Azerbaijani, Russian and Hungarian restaurant with a Russian girl from my dorm. Azerbaijani soup and stew went down a treat. Following this we went for a walk down the road to get a drink. First we went into a convenience store - I was under the impression we were buying drinks to take back to the hostel with us, but when she saw that I had a bottle of Coke Light instead of something alcoholic, she looked disappointed and said that she had wanted us to drink alcohol together and that since I was only getting a Coke, she wasn't going to get anything at all. Okayyyyy... If they'd had something I liked then I would have got alcohol, but all they had was beer, which I hate.

She was desperate to go to a club, but I didn't feel like it because I was knackered and in any case wasn't dressed up for it. We decided to go to have a drink or two together at a bar instead, so I took her to a place I'd passed on my way back from the basilica earlier. I ordered a cocktail and then asked what she was having... she said that she wasn't going to have anything! I thought she wanted to a drink together...?! Oh well - I didn't say anything about that, I just enjoyed my wonderful cocktail. It was genuinely one of the best pina coladas I've ever had!

We headed back after that as the Russian girl said she didn't fancy staying out any more and I was always going back to the hostel after my drink anyway.

Posted by 3Traveller 00:15 Archived in Hungary Tagged bridges budapest basilica museum hungary cocktails changing_of_the_guard unesco_world_heritage_site river_danube traditional_customs Comments (0)

Happy birthday!

Veliko Tarnovo


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After a lie-in and breakfast, we had a really lovely video chat with Mum. During the chat we opened our presents to each other and from Mum - amongst other things, I got some fascinating-looking books which I can't wait to read; Alexander von Humboldt's 'Personal Narrative of a Journey to the Equinoctial Region of the New Continent', a Folio Society copy of Francisco Núñez de Pineda y Bascuñán's 'The Happy Captive', a Hakluyt Society's copy of 'Pieter van den Broeke's Journal of Voyages to Cape Verde, Guinea and Angola, 1605 - 1612', Oliver Rackham's 'The History of the Countryside', Richard Cohen's 'By the Sword' and last but certainly not least, 'Wild Planet', a book of amazing photographs celebrating Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

After that we went out for a walk. The sun was out, but it was due to cloud over later. To make the most of the sun, I took Emma and Kate onto the terrace...

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...and then down Gurko Street;

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Then we popped into my workplace so they could have a look inside it (and print off their boarding cards for their return flight) and walked down the main street, Stefan Stambolov.

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We were all quite hungry by now, so I took them to a café on the craftsmen's street for some lunch. For pudding I had rice pudding and Emma and Kate shared a Diet Frumenty; they'd wanted to try this ever since I'd had it at Christmas.

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Then we did some shopping. My main present to them was something each from the craftsmen's street, within a certain budget. Emma chose an icon of St George and the Dragon and Kate chose some colourful, beautifully painted and glazed cups. I bought myself a sugar pot with two handles, which was also vividly coloured and beautifully painted and glazed. We also stopped at a tiny secondhand bookshop, where Emma bought some books but Kate and I didn't. Nearby the bookshop we found a slightly random giant chair!

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Once we got back to the flat, 'F' came round with a surprise chocolate birthday cake she'd made for us! How lovely of her. We cut it there and then, each having a slice of it with a cup of hot chocolate or tea.

At 5 o'clock I had a Google Video chat with Dave. While I was speaking to him I opened the parcel he'd sent; a box filled with a mixture of books, fancy shampoo, my universal plug adaptor that he'd fixed and an IOU for a hot air balloon trip with him! (This was also from his parents - thank you so much!) To go on a hot air balloon trip is a dream I've had ever since I can first remember.

After a little rest, Emma, Kate and I went out for dinner at Han Hadji Nikoli. We all ended up ordering the same things; tarator to start and then chicken breasts stuffed with mozzarella and wrapped in prosciutto, with vegetables and a baked potato with garlic butter and rosemary. We were all too full for dessert!

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From Melodie Bar we all went on to Lino Bar, which has pool tables and electronic darts; the pool tables were all booked up until late, so some of us played darts while others sat down and had more drinks. The last bar we went to was Sammy's, next door. Here I just had a hot chocolate. When we left here the heavens had opened; it was pouring with rain. Instead of getting a taxi, however, we walked/ ran from roof shelter to roof shelter, avoiding the streams of water coming off the roofs or out of pipes, until we reached the flat.

Posted by 3Traveller 22:57 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged parties sisters dave cocktails bulgaria mum veliko_tarnovo han_hadji_nikoli gurko_street extreme_weather birthday_celebration Comments (0)

Relaxation in St Albans

St Albans


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Edit from January 2019: Unfortunately, both Fleetville Vintage Emporium and Ballito's have been demolished since I wrote the original blog entry :-(

Dave came down for the weekend on Friday evening and we've had a lovely relaxing couple of days since. We have;

- played frisbee and kicked a rugby ball around in the sunshine at the Wick (local woodland/field)

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- had some takeaway pizza from Cheerz Pizza

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- had typically tasty Japanese food at Wagamama, followed by a drink at the bar attached to Jamie's Italian. I had a lovely cocktail which I drank half of before I accidentally knocked it over onto Dave's lap!

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- browsed the wonderful Fleetville Vintage Emporium and its sister shop Ballito's.

Fleetville Vintage Emporium

Fleetville Vintage Emporium

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Dave returns to Manchester tomorrow morning.

Posted by 3Traveller 06:19 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged united_kingdom dave cocktails st_albans Comments (0)

Puerto Lopez: Sun, sea, sand and amazing seafood

Guayaquil, Santa Elena and Puerto Lopez


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The day after I arrived back in Guayaquil from Quito I was off again, this time on a weekend trip to the coast with several of my colleague friends. The plan for the weekend was to go whale-watching, as Puerto Lopez is well known for this, visit Isla de la Plata to see some of the same wildlife and terrain you can see in the Galápagos Islands and go snorkelling, eat seafood and generally relax on the beach.

I can take the credit for the idea of coming here, because I had planned for a while to go whale-watching here on my last weekend in Ecuador (as July and August are the best times of the year to go whale-watching) and made the suggestion to the others that they might like to come as well. They were all really up for it. As luck would have it, today was a public holiday in Guayaquil (the Founding of Guayaquil), so no classes, and they managed to get a day of holiday for the school the next day as well, so they had the whole weekend free to join me on the coastal trip. I'd already finished working, of course, so I didn't have to worry about getting days off work.

We met up at Guayaquil bus terminal at 8.30am, where we had some breakfast at the food court. We couldn't get one of the direct buses to Puerto Lopez because they were all full, so we had to get two buses. The first one went to Santa Elena. The road there was the same one we took to get to Punta Blanca for the Queen's birthday party last year at the house of the British Consul; that had been my first trip outside of Guayaquil, so now it felt like a full circle, also going along this road on my last trip outside of Guayaquil. The Santa Elena Peninsula is very dry (I think it may have its own microclimate), almost desert-like with uninhabited open expanses of dry earth, covered with parched-looking bushes, on both sides. In the sunshine it was quite picturesque in its own way.

From Santa Elena we got on another bus to take us up the coast to Puerto Lopez. This road runs right next to the sea in many places. It runs through little fishing villages with small blue painted boats pulled up onto the sand. As we approached Puerto Lopez we went through some forest. We were now in the province of Manabí.

On arrival we split up briefly to check into different hostels. Some of us had booked places and others hadn't, but everyone found somewhere quickly. Puerto Lopez is a small town so we were all close to each other. Three of us were in the same place, two others were next door and the others were only round the corner.

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As soon as everyone had settled in, we all went out for lunch together at one of the many seafood restaurants lining the road running parallel to the beach. Like them all, the place was cheap, but the food was genuinely fantastic - I had one of the best meals of my entire life there; a whole lobster cooked in a coconut sauce containing chopped vegetables. It came with a side of rice and patacones (slices of fried savoury plantain). They'd cut the lobster in two so that the meat was easy to dig out of each half. It was unbelievably tasty, and for only $20... The lobster was the most expensive thing (I had decided to splash out a bit); the other dishes were nearly all below $10. 'A' had a fish dish with peanut sauce which she said was absolutely delicious. I made a mental note to have that the next day.

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We'd started lunch quite late, so by the time we finished and then moved on to the beach, the sun had gone in a bit. I read on the sand for a bit and then it was nearly sunset, so I didn't get in the sea. I settled for a paddle instead.

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We moved straight from lying on the sand to sitting on it at a beach bar, one of many lining one section of the beach. We had a few drinks; I had a Pina Colada and a cocktail I hadn't tried before called Coco Loco. Condensed milk, coconut milk, rum, grenadine and crushed ice, with coconut shavings on top.

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For dinner we went back to the same restaurant, but I was still so full from lunch I didn't have any food; I only had a Caipirinha cocktail.

Posted by 3Traveller 02:04 Archived in Ecuador Tagged coast beach hostel buses cocktails ecuador puerto_lópez explorations ecuadorian_cuisine Comments (0)

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