Turkish food you say? Delightful!

An essential part of travelling is food,  I love to eat and wherever I go I make it a point to try a variety of traditional plates. While in Turkey I tried some pretty delicious dishes.

I have just a few pictures of some of the food I tried, because I was usually too hungry and excited to eat to even think about getting my camera out and snapping photos.

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The Turkish Riviera; Antalya

Antalya is a beautiful Mediterranean beach city and one of the most visited places in Turkey . This  city can compete with any other famous resort town in Europe, as it offers amazing beaches and landscapes, good nightlife and shopping.

Although my stay was just for one night and one day, it was one of my favourite destinations during my Turkey trip and I managed to visit most of the sights and even found time to chill at the beach.

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Travel tips: Get a ride with BlaBla car

A great way to save some money while travelling in Europe is using the website “BlaBla car” which helps connect drivers with empty seats on their cars, with people looking for rides.

The company was founded in France and is now present in 12 countries in Europe including Spain, France, Germany and the UK.

The way it works is very simple. In order to offer a ride or take one, you must create a profile on the website. On your profile you can indicate wether you smoke, travel with animals and most importantly how chit chatty you are willing to get during the trip, hence the name BlaBla car.

If you are offering a ride, details of what type of car you own and the price for each seat must be provided . The purpose of BlaBla car drivers is not making money , but splitting the cost of a journey amongst the passengers, therefore the price per seat for a specific journey does not vary much from driver to driver.

When searching for a ride, enter your departure and arrival towns as well as the dates and browse through the list of drivers that will be displayed. Contact the one that meets your requirements and set up a meeting time and place to be picked up  in the departure town. Payment is usually done via credit card through the website, but sometimes you are given the option to pay directly to the driver. Before making any bookings , make sure to read the drivers profile, comments and ratings.

To ensure safety, you must provide a telephone number that will be verified via text message as well as an email. Neither of these will be displayed on your public profile.

I have used the website several times, going between towns in France , and from France to Spain and I can definitely  say it’s a smart way to travel. For example from Monpellier ,France , to Barcelona, Spain, you can either take the bus or train which is more expensive and takes longer than getting a ride with BlaBlaCar for 15 to 20 euros!

 

 

Why you should choose Montpellier for your study abroad experience.

I have just returned to Chile , after almost a year in Montpellier, France , I’ve graduated university and I’m ready to face new challenges.

The past year was , as corny as it may sound, the best year of my life. And I’m going to tell you why to choose southern France, specifically Montpellier for your study abroad experience.

(You can check out my first post about Montpellier here: “La vie à Montpellier” )

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1. Great Location and weather:  Montpellier is located in Southern France on the Mediterranean sea, this offers great weather on the summer and a mild winter.

Location wise it’s perfect for travelling around Europe. Barcelona, Marseille and the beautiful Côte d’Azur is just a short car ride away. And direct flights from nearby towns will take you to Morocco, Belgium, England, Holland, Greece, Turkey and more!

2. Entertainment and events all year round:  During the year I enjoyed different events and festivals such as “Les estivales de Montpellier”, the Open Sud Tennis Tournament, the FISE (International Festival of Extreme Sports) and even a concert by my favourite rapper Drake :)! Bottom line is , you will always find something going on in the city that will be of your interest.

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3.Diversity:  Something that I always enjoy when I travel is diversity. In Montpellier you canDSC_0704 find people from all over the place like Morocco, Algeria, Spain, Latin America and other places. The perks of this is that you get to experience other cultures on daily basis by eating their food, or celebrating festivities from different countries.

4. It’s a city that caters to students:With many universities and grand écoles,the majority of the population in Montpellier are students. Which leads to the next point….

5. Parties, bars and clubbing:  Nightlife in Montpellier is fun and crazy. You have endless options when it comes to bars, on Monday’s the place to be for exchange students is the “Australian” bar where you can get a pint of beer for 2.50 euros. As for big clubs, these are located a bit further away but easily accessible by tram or the “amigo bus” , a free bus that will that will take you to some clubs and back to the city centre.

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6. Government  funding: This applies all over France for students even if you are not French. You can apply to get government funding for your rent through “CAF” , depending on how many people you share an apartment with and how much you pay monthly, you can get CAF to pay for up to half of your rent!

7.It’s beautiful: I will never forget the first time I saw “Place de la Comedie”, it was so beautiful I just couldn’t believe that was going to be my home for a year. Even on my last night in Montpellier as I walked around town I was amazed.

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I will never forget the year and amazing friends I had in Montpellier. I recommend a study abroad experience to everyone, get out of your comfort zone and go explore the world 🙂

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Travelling with family

Ever since I was a baby, I have travelled with my family. At first it was just me and my older brother, my mom would travel all the way from Chile to India , holding my brother with one hand and carrying me with the other. We’ve been on relaxing trips to the Caribbean and Italy, to adventurous ones in China and Malasya. It has always been fun but chaotic at the same time, we are no strangers to missing flights, losing bagagge and even getting deported from India.

For my March break this year my family including my grandma and uncle, came to visit me. My older brother was the only one missing though but we were still a big group of 7. Let’s just say travelling with 6 other people ranging from ages 10 to  70 was a bit of a challenge.

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Travel tips: Accomodation with Air Bnb

While travelling, where you choose to stay has a major influence on how you experienceair bnb your trip . If you have a low-budget, hostels is your best option, or even couch surfing, on the up side you will have an opportunity to meet people and hang out with them.  But if you are travelling with a large group , whether it’s friends or family , a good option is looking for a place to stay with Air Bnb

Air BnB is present in over 34 thousand cities in 190 countries. The cool thing about it is that you have an extensive catalogue to browse through and find the perfect place for you to stay. From cottages, to lofts and even castles, there are endless possibilities to fit your needs.

The site works by renting out lodging offered by a host, it can either be a house, an apartment or a room.  The site is very safe, and you can read all about the host and the property before making any bookings.  All payments are done through the website and are processed 24 hours after you check in.

I used the site to book an apartment in Madrid when I travelled with my family this past March break. I contacted the host through the site before booking, asked her all the questions I had and booked 3 nights. She was there waiting for us when we arrived to hand over the keys and that was it. It worked out perfectly as we had a kitchen to cook and comfortable beds for all of us.

A day in Bruges

My favourite destination in Belgium was Bruges, all it took was one day, and a good map to be enchanted by this  city located in the Flemish part of Belgium.
I got in by train from a little town close to Ghent, and started off by walking from the train station to the Tourist information center. It’s a 15 minute walk through a beautiful park , so I recommend walking instead of taking the local bus.

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Why Paris didn’t amaze me

The city of love and the epitome of fashion. The city that every hopeless romantic dreams about visiting with their better half and be proposed at the Eiffel tower. Unfortunately I have nothing new to say about it, no new perspective or useful tourist information other than what tons of other people have already written about. So for this post , I’m just expressing my feelings towards this city.

The first time I visited Paris was in 2006, and I remember not being impressed and for this second time, I just didn’t fall in love with it.

Don’t get me wrong, Paris is beautiful, the monuments, the streets, the impressive Louvre and more. It’s not like I didn’t enjoy my days in Paris, I was super happy to find a Forever 21 store and do some damage,  walk around streets sorrounded by little coffee shops and couture shops and just spend some quality time with my family. And at night I couldn’t help but hope that the car from “Midnight in Paris” would pick me up and take me back to the “belle epoque”.

I went to all the tourist places with my family, took cliché pictures of them and ate crêpes. I guess my issue with Paris was, that I didn’t discover anything new, and that’s entirely my fault. So for that reason I would love to give Paris one more try, to explore and find out the things that are out of the “typical” tourist paths.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

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Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur

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Versailles

Versailles

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The tower

The tower, there was a pollution problem over the weekend and the skies looked gray…

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Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe

My first blogging competition !

Hello Everyone ! I have joined my very first bloggers competition 🙂

This exciting competition is run by Kerala Tourism and it is directed towards travel bloggers, writers and photographers to take part in a 2 week trip to the amazing region of Kerala in India.

I have done a post about the houseboat rides you can take in Kerala, and you can check it out here.

I need your vote to be in the running for the trip to India 🙂 , all you have to do is click on the following link and vote for me. As my first contest, I’m just happy to be able to participate, but it would be an amazing opportunity if I won.

To vote for me click here 🙂 (voting closes on January 15th)

For more information about the contest visit the website Kerala Blog Express

Going back to my roots with the “Know India Program”

In 2011, I took part of the best trip to India I could’ve made. I was a part of the “Know India Programme” or “KIP” for short.

What is it?

The “KIP” is organized by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in partnership with Indian State Governments, and directed towards youth of Indian origin from ages 18 to 26.

Each programme is formed by 35 youngsters from all around the world and lasts for 3 weeks. During this time, they are taken around different places in India, from villages to historical sites, taught about the progress made by the country, take part in important conferences for diaspora and more.

The Ministry takes care of all expenses, including a 90% refund of plane tickets upon completion of the programme.

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2013 wrap up

10, 9 , 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 ,2 ,1 HAPPY NEW YEAR!! 

Fireworks at the beach back home.

Fireworks at the beach back home.

Before I welcome 2014 into my life, I want to first say goodbye to what has been an amazing year. 2013 has been a year of challenges, from January when I was doing my professional internship in Chile, to getting everything ready to start my exchange in France, to actually arriving in Montpellier. It has been an amazing experience, and I’m so greatful to have met such lovely friends, travelled and discovered new places. But also, I have to thank all my friends and family who support me from other places, they might not be here with me but they are always in my thoughts and heart.

I also started this blog, and I want to thank everyone who has ever read any of my posts, or maybe skipped the written parts and just looked at the pictures, which is cool too 🙂

But enough of the cheesy stuff, here’s to a great 2014, to fulfilling dreams, being adventurous, travelling, laughing, loving and trying to accomplish our new year resolutions 🙂

Montpellier

Montpellier

Travelling with friends

                     10 days travelling with 3 girl friends to 2 different countries.
That was what my vacation in November consisted of, and to add to that I also live with these girls, crazy right? That’s just how our trip worked out to be, crazy but also tiring, fun, stressful, exciting, intense and just overall amazing.

Here’s a recap in pictures of what we did during those great 10 days back in November.

Took low cost flights, packing for one of those is quite a challenge.

Most uncomfortable flight ever

Tooks as many silly pictures as we could.

Riding a bull in Marseille

Cliché pictures in London

Getting proposed at Westminster abbey

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Stealing cabs, pink of course because we are girls :p

Boys flirting with us, not the other way around of course… :p

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Photobombing

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Pretending to be football players at Old Trafford, Manchester.

Meeting Tin Tin in Brussels

Meeting Tin Tin in Brussels

Eating and drinking, all day, everyday.

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Partying with zombies and robots

Thanks to my girls for a wonderful trip!

My attempt at celebrating Diwali

This year during my November trip, I happened to be in London for Diwali, which is a Hindu festival that takes place in fall also known as “the festival of lights”. So I figured since I was in London, a place with one of the largest indian communities, I had to celebrate it. One of the biggest indian temples outside of India is actually  in London called Swaminarayan Temple, and for the festivities there would be fireworks and food. To my advantage, my couchsurfing host was indian so  I had someone to go with. Continue reading

Partying it up in Gent

One of my stops in Belgium was in Gent, a place that I think I wouldn’t have visited if it wasn’t for a good Belgian friend who used to study there and wanted us to check out the party scene in town.
We had heard that it was crazy fun, bars and clubs were all close to each other, beer was cheap, and after a good night of dancing you would end the night by having Belgian fries! Sounded awesome, and it was exactly how it went down during our stay in Gent.

We got there at night by car from Antwerp, so the first order of business was meeting up with friends to pre drink.

As Gent is a student city, sororities and fraternities organize parties that go down at DSC_1054“Overpoortstraat” , a street packed with no less than 40 pubs side by side, which you can go in and out of during a night of partying. We had a great night, went to about 4 different pubs and just danced the night away, met people on the streets and had a blast thanks to our lovely Belgian friends who took us around, and opened the doors to their homes for us to stay 🙂

For obvious reasons, I don’t have pictures by night. But the next day after munching on the best pizza ever we went for a walk around town. Even though it was a rainy day (not unusual for Belgium)  I found it very charming, with good restaurants, shops and entertainment, just what a student needs :). (On the right, a picture of Overpoorstraat by day.)

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Above, a picture of the traditional sweet in Gent made of raspberry syrup, sugar and gum. It’s liquid on the inside and very (and I mean very) sweet.
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Overall, I definitely recommend a stay in Gent for a day or two, if you want to party ,Wednesdays and Thursdays are said to be the best nights at Overpoortstraat.