As promised, contributors to Breadonbutter will be sharing more of their experiences on the blog. The first article is a Travel one by the talented and bubbly Carla Richa, a multimedia journalism student at LAU. She writes about her days in Barcelona and how it felt to go back after visiting when she was young. Enjoy the read as she takes you through the streets of this colorful city, its culture and the 3 p’s. Continue Reading “The Streets of Barcelona”
In August 2012, inspired by many readings and travel photos on the internet, we took the decision to do it. Backpack in the true sense of the term. Choosing the destination was a piece of cake as Sri Lanka had been on my mind for literally a decade. Listening to stories and having Sri Lankan food had been one of my favorite activities for a long time and it was time I saw the real deal. Planning the trip was no trouble at all as there was no planning to be done. Just booking the ticket sufficed.
After carefully organizing our gear and packing the least of things in our backpack, off we went. You can view our whole trip on this link and this link, but now, I want to share what I learnt while backpacking to Sri Lanka.
I knew backpacking was not going to be easy and that there were going to be moments where I’ll be longing for a proper bedroom and shower, but boy did I learn things: about myself, about Jean, and about the world. Basically, I completely changed perspectives.
When you head to the unknown, that’s when you discover what you’re truly capable of. You discover to which lengths you can go, how much you can take – physically and mentally. I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t sometimes cranky and hungry, hot or tired, neither am I going to pretend I wasn’t scared of nature and what I saw. But I learnt my limits and how to overcome those little fears that creep in uselessly.
When we live in a comfort zone, we get used to having everything easy. No insect here to bug you all the time, you rest whenever you feel like it, you don’t have to climb a mountain if you don’t want to. But there, I had to. Not only because I was in the middle of a mountain and couldn’t take the same way back, but also because in my head, I couldn’t not do it. I had to, to prove myself I was strong and in control of my feelings and actions. While we were climbing the famous Ella Rock, known to have the most breathtaking view on top, I reached a point where I literally broke down. The level of hiking difficulty suddenly became too much to bear, but yet again I was so close to the goal. That’s where my mind took over. Had I come so close to the best feeling of being on top of the world, only to stop and go back? Never would I have thought I would continue and get there. But I did, and that’s one of the dearest life lessons I hold on to now. It is actually true that when you feel like giving up, when times become just too tough to bear, the goal is just a few miles away. Never give up, even if you think you can’t move on anymore, the truth is: YOU CAN.
I also learnt to let go of small things and go with the flow, because life is much bigger than the small of you really. I overcame my fears of nature (except cockroaches – go figure) and the unknown and saw how it’s all a matter of mindset.
I learnt about people and different cultures. I saw that people you never even thought of meeting one day would come in your path for a reason, either to show you something or teach you something. I also learnt a lot about my husband, surprising things that made me sure he was the one I could spend the rest of my life with.
Finally, I learnt a lot about myself, what I truly love and what I truly don’t, and about the length I would go to to save something I love or to get it.
And most of all, you learn that life is just: Perspective, perspective, perspective! Switch your perspective and you’ll open the door to complete happiness. I guarantee it 🙂
Have you ever been backpacking? I’d love to hear about it.
If you’ve been reading Breadonbutter for a while, you probably know by now how much I love traveling and discovering new places and cultures. But, like I mentioned once (here), there are cities I’ve visited many times that I’ll never stop making place for in my budget and time, and one of those cities is London.
London holds a very special place in my heart as it’s where I often went when I was little to visit my uncle, it’s where I spent lots of weekends during my studies, and it’s where my sister lives now. This city has many faces. More generally, we can say it has 4 different faces: East, West, North and South, each with special things you get attached to as a tourist. I once spoke about East London (here), but today, here’s a broader list of my favorite 20 things about London.
20 things about London
1) Parks – Walking around when the weather is nice, jogging or having a little picnic in any of London’s parks is of pure enjoyment. Among many, I would pick Regents Park, Hampstead Heath and Victoria Park as my favorite.
2) Markets – Come the weekend, there is no greater pleasure than strolling around London’s different markets. The list is long: there are Borough Market and Broadway Market; there are Brick Lane, Spitalfields and Portobello and many more. You can view a full map of all the markets and their opening hours and days on this link.
3) Oxford Street at Christmas – The busy Oxford Street already has everything you need. And if you’re looking for a place to really feel the Christmas spirit, this is it.
4) Burger places – Among my favorites are Dirty Burger, Five Guys and Burgers and Lobsters. You can use the Zomato app while you’re there to check out the trendiest burgers in London.
5) Asian Food – Vietnamese, Korean or Thai; you can all find them anywhere you go. My favorites are Busaba eathai for the best Thai meal, Bibimbap in Soho, and Cay Tre for the best ramen and pho. I had the best Vietnamese food experience at Cay Tre where I found the food was the most fresh, flavorsome and authentic. An absolute delight!
6) Notting Hill and Portobello Road.
7) Fortnum and Mason for a typical British tea time.
9) Shoreditch and the graffiti.
10) Monmouth Coffee company – You can choose your coffee beans then share a table filled with jam and bread with other customers.
11) The Monocle Café on Baker Street.
Photo taken from google
12) Chipotle for the best Burrito.
13) Musicals – My favorites until now are Sound of Music, Matilda and Wizard of Oz.
14) Covent Garden – Ideal for a warm hot chocolate in the morning after going around the market.
Photo taken from google.
15) Indian Food – One of my favorite Indian restaurants in London with a fun and colorful interior is Masala Zone in Covent Garden. A must try.
Photo taken from google.
16) Tate Modern – The most visited Art Gallery in the world. You can check current exhibitions here.
17) Piccadilly and Leicester Square – Make sure to visit the Photographers’ gallery (click here for more details), the first independent gallery devoted solely to Photography. I can spend endless hours in there just looking at the exhibited photographers’ different perspectives on life.
18) The National Portrait Gallery on Trafalgar Square – Check out the exhibition of the moment on this link.
19) Carnaby Street for a colorful walk.
Photo taken from google
20) The Lily Vanilli Bakery – This is by far my favorite place in the entire city. This little bakery is great for a warm afternoon tea and the most wonderful non-traditional desserts.
Have you been to London? Anything to add to the list?