Dreaming of Corsica

July 29, 2013 at 9:50 am (Travel)

I’ve just got back from two magical weeks in Corsica and am off again tomorrow on a road trip of Eastern Europe with my boy. ¬†ūüôā ¬†So I thought I better get a mid summer holiday blog in! ¬†Corsica celebrated our arrival with a lovely display of fireworks on the first night… ok we did arrive on Bastille Day ūüôā

IMG_0164Our first stop was in Corte. ¬†The city is nestled in the midst of mountains and boasts Corsica’s only inland citadel. ¬†We spent one day exploring the city and the citadel and on our second day we adventured into the countryside. ¬†We set off early to walk in the¬†Vall√©e du Tavignano, Corsica’s deepest valley. ¬†It was very hot and tough going but we were aided with gecko counts and numerous water stops along the way. ¬†It was a beautiful walk and well worthwhile. ¬†We particularly enjoyed the well earned swim in the canyon’s pools. ¬†Of course, in true Kate and Katha style, we got caught in a thunderstorm on the way home. ¬†ūüôā

IMG_0218After Corte we travelled to Ajaccio, birth place of Napoleon.  We even visited the house that he was born in.  Ajaccio also provided us with our first beach session and we enjoyed a trip on the local petit train.  We also went on a day trip to visit Réserve Naturelle de Scandola.IMG_0181 This natural phenomenon is only accessible by boat and was quite spectacular. The coastline during the trip was made up of different types of rock and the actual reserve had amazing red volcanic structures. To me these looked so battered from the wind and salt that they resembled coral.

After Ajaccio we headed north to the beautiful beach side town Ile Rousse. We stayed five nights and soaked up the sunshine at every opportunity. We also spent a half day in Calvi and enjoyed the panoramic views from the top of the citadel and I even managed to fit in an early morning run to coincide with a magnificent sunrise.

IMG_0253Tanned, relaxed and armed with my very own beach umbrella, we left Ile Rousse for our last stop Bastia.  We visited yet another citadel and museum, which proved to be very frustrating for me as there was only information in French.  Otherwise we spent time shopping and our last afternoon of course at the beach,

Things I learnt on this trip:

Always take an English audio guide for attractions in Corsica. There is barely any information in other languages.

There is a tourist petit train in every tourist city.

Nearly every restaurant serves pizza.

They love having markets.

The train line is perhaps the curviest I have come across and not very frequent. The horn sounds like a sick donkey or even sometimes like a constipated elephant.

Bear soaking up some rays

Bear soaking up some rays

And last but not least, Corsica is a beautiful island and a wonderful beach holiday destination. Postcard blue green water and nothing but sunshine made for an amazing two weeks. ¬†Looking forward to the next adventure…


P.s More photos? Check out https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151734101305589.1073741830.509745588&type=1&l=971b956e00


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Still keeping busy…

July 13, 2013 at 5:01 pm (Germany, Travel)

IMG_0057I’ve decided to make a short and snappy post before I jet set off to Corsica on Sunday. ¬†If I don’t I think this blog will quickly spiral out of control. ¬†Life has been extremely busy and a very small part of me wishes I had longer in Darmstadt before trips to get a few things sorted. ¬†At this rate I will be starting the new school year all frazzled instead of relaxed… but the summer holidays are there for travelling after all.

I’ve had two Australian visitors since I last wrote and seeing them has been fantastic medicine. ¬†Their accents and outlooks on life are so refreshing and it’s so nice to be able to gossip and discuss things from an Australian perspective. ¬†Seeing Elise twice in her short stay was really a lovely surprise. ¬†We caught up on lots of family goss and chatted for ages and ages. Having Jo here was also wonderful. ¬†She’s the first of my very close friends since Alisa to come and actually visit me in Darmstadt. ¬†It makes a difference when you can show them around where you live and what you do. ¬†I’m proud to say that Martin made a good impression on both of them.

IMG_0074Jo and I also spent a weekend in Berlin together. ¬†The city is just as amazing as I remember it from the start of my European adventure way back in October 2009. ¬†It’s like no other place in Germany and every time I’m there it is even more apparent. ¬†There is a more relaxed feeling, more outgoing clothing style and the city is simply vibrant with personality. ¬†I really enjoyed shopping (lots of little quirky shops), visiting the East Side Gallery and the information center under the Jewish Memorial. ¬†I visited the information center with Michael on our 2006 Europe trip and was keen to go again as I remembered it being really good. ¬†We weren’t disappointed; the museum is one of the best I have visited in Europe.

School slowly wound down and we finished off the school year with project week.  My colleague and I led a small group of students who explored what the world would be like for a blind person and wrote stories for blind children.  We recorded the stories and the students also made an accompanying touch picture.  The plan is to send these stories on to blind speaking English children across the world.  Although the school year has been very stressful at times, it has also been very rewarding.  The summer break is much needed so that I can attack the next school year with vigor and enthusiasm.

I’ll need that vigor and enthusiasm for hockey too. ¬†The girls managed to clock one win for the season (the weekend I was in Berlin so no win for me) but we have been relegated. ¬†Instead of two teams for the next season, we will only have one at around 22 girls eligible to play. ¬†The team has really changed but we’re looking forward to regrouping and hopefully winning games regularly again. ¬†ūüôā

2013-07-04 21.04.54

Jo came back for two nights at the end of her trip and managed to be here to experience the annual Heinerfest. ¬†Heinerfest is basically a big moomba right in the middle of Darmstadt. ¬†It’s quite bizarre really, all the amusement park rides and games packed along the streets and people walking around with their beers. ¬†Fiona (my flatmate) and I amused ourselves at the frog stand and were very successful this year. ¬†Fiona managed to win two major prizes! ¬†Not that our flat is in need of any more stuff toys…

IMG_0143Sadly it was time to say goodbye to Jo. ¬†We travelled together to the airport and then I flew to England and she flew to Dubai. ¬†England was an absolutely fantastic start to my summer holidays. ¬†Suzie and John picked me up from the airport and I spent the first weekend with them. ¬†Their house looks absolutely amazing and Suzie even managed to get me out for two runs. ¬†On Sunday we completed the Didcot 5mile (8km) and amazingly I didn’t even come last and got a medallion for my efforts. ¬†ūüėÄ ¬†As always it was lovely catching up with both Suzie and John. ¬†We went shopping, had a barbeque and of course our now mandatory pub meal.

On the Monday I headed into London for some more catching up. ¬†I saw Kate Holmesby, stayed with my aunt Frances and caught up with my Turkey trip roomie Debra. ¬†It was really good to see everyone and I especially enjoyed seeing Debra again. ¬†I can’t believe it took us so long to finally see each other again.

IMG_0147In London I was also lucky enough to see two brilliant shows. ¬†On Monday night Suzie and I saw ‘Warhorse’ and on the Tuesday I went with Frances to see ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.’ ¬†Both plays were amazing and I would recommend them to everybody. ¬†‘Warhorse’ used unbelievable puppetry to the extent that you truly believed that there were real horses on the stage. ¬†I had just finished reading the book so it was interesting how they adapted the story for the stage. ¬†They did a good job, especially as the original story was told from the perspective of the horse. ¬†‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ is to be honest, the best theater production I have ever seen. ¬†It was absolutely brilliant… the actors, use of stage, adaption of a fantastic book. ¬†It was simply amazing.

Of course all roads lead back to Darmstadt and before I knew it I was back for three whirlwind days of organising and catching up where possible. ¬†I finally used my sewing machine for the first time and managed to sew a little case for my phone. ¬†I need lots of practice though. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Tonight we’re having a barbeque in the park to celebrate the beautiful weather and tomorrow I’m off to Corsica for two weeks with Katha. ¬†Bring on the sunshine!


P.s  More photos?  Check out https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151701806585589.1073741829.509745588&type=1&l=624c3d53d2

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