Friday, 27 February 2015

Tapavino (CBD)

When I eat out with friends in the city, I have a tendency to eat a) ramen or b) Thai. This time, I wanted something a little different and picked Tapavino on Bulletin Place, which is effectively at Circular Quay. It is a Spanish Tapas bar with an incredible variety of wine and sherry. Unfortunately, I have an alcohol intolerance (headaches) and I didn't order anything from the very extensive drinks menu.

I have this horrible tendency to over order when eating at a tapas restaurant and this time was no different as we ordered one dish too many.

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warm potato, caramelised onion, rosemary & salt coca $14

Sadly, they didn't have patatas bravas and I settled for this. Not a fan. The potatoes were so bland and yet also ridiculously salty when I encountered a chunk of salt (you can see in the image above).

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rabbit, morcilla, pork terrine, 'seared' to order, corn & piquillo relish, toast $16

I don't really know what rabbit tastes like so all I could taste was the morcilla (blood sausage). I do quite like blood sausage in small amounts and the terrine was pretty good. Sadly, the relish was subpar and the toast was so hard it was almost inedible.

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braised chorizo, black olives, romesco de tapavino. pan de casa $18

Soft bread! I think I prefer grilled chorizo as opposed to braised. Sadly this dish was also over salted. What a shame.

The positive about this place was the service. Despite being quite busy as it was a Friday evening, the staff were attentive. Sadly, this place was quite disappointing. Nonetheless, it was quite nice trying something different. There is always next time!

Tapavino on Urbanspoon
Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Schumann Concert at the Sydney Opera House

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Two Monday's ago I went to a classical concert at the Sydney Opera House. It was my very first classical concert and with the student rush tickets, it was only $15 which I thought was reasonable. Of course, the seats weren't great (the very first row) however it is a classical concert after all.

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Lemon, lime and bitters is my standard drink.

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I wasn't familiar with Schumann's symphony 3 and 4 however they were pretty good (I did listen to them a few times before the concert). I much preferred No. 4. However, Jorg Widmann's piece was. Different. Here is a listen. It sounded like a dying cat being run over by a steam roller. Multiple times.
Saturday, 21 February 2015

"The heart is not so easily changed"

My head is in a really really weird space. Time is going super slow these days. If I am not at work, I am just lying in bed. For a week I was reading J.D Robb's "... in Death" series, 11 novels back to back. That is very indicative of the person that I am; I tend to do something in excess until I am sick of it. And I am now sick of the novels, far too formulaic. A twist happens at the 95% mark when I read on my Kindle (oh yeh I have a Kindle now). And reading about the intense relationship between Roarke and Eve just makes me sad. Ha.

I have this crazy urge to move overseas. To the point where I was researching working holiday visas. Although I'm naturally restricted by the language barrier which cuts my potential places significantly. The horrible thing is knowing what I want, but not being able to have it. Or having it just crushed by others. "The heart wants what it wants". Which is, crudely put, annoying as fuck.

I am in this slump that I cannot get out of.
Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Film Photography

At any given point in time, I will always have at least 3 rolls of undeveloped film. Right now I have 3 rolls and two unfinished rolls in two cameras. The upside is that when I do receive the shots back, it's almost like a time capsule because they can be anywhere from 3 weeks to over a year old. I recently developed two of my disposable cameras. Oh my. These were cameras I had purchased at the Reject Shop for $5 each and perhaps it was just the ones I bought (although I did buy them at different times), but they are horrible. Super grainy (past the point of being even remotely nice) and a crazy amount of light leaks. Crazy amount. Nonetheless, it is still quite cool and I am still in love with film photography. That being said, I think I will go back to purchasing decent film for my cameras (maybe after I finish my 8 rolls of BW film though....).

These are the best 6 shots that I had developed.

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This makes me a little sad as I think it would have been so much nicer without that horribly obnoxious light leak.

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Monday, 9 February 2015

Switzerland Part 2

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9th - 13th January 2015
For the remainder of my time in Switzerland, I visited Bern and Geneva. Spoiler alert, I wasn't a big fan of either city. Perhaps it was because my mind wasn't really into visiting those places or because I didn't think either one would trump the experiences from the previous days. A self fulfilling prophecy in a way I suppose. Like everything in Switzerland, the train from Zurich to Bern (and Bern to Geneva) was expensive. We bought each ticket at 25 CHF (35 AUD) per person for a 2 hour train journey and that was already on a supersaver sale. I was only in Bern for one day (arrived late in the evening and had a train to Geneva the following day at 7pm) and it was more than enough time for Bern. A hostel bed was around $40 AUD a night in a dorm and it was an ~interesting~ experience. Ergo the entire room just smelled of feet. Yum.

When I was on exchange, there was a Swiss guy who was from Bern and he believed that it was the most beautiful place in the entire world. I have to disagree. Whilst it was pretty, it definitely isn't near the top of my list. One of the good things about Switzerland is that if you stay at a hotel/hostel, you are provided with a free transport card for the duration of your stay. And that is how we ended up at Gellert Hill (which requires a funicular ride to get to the top and would otherwise have been ridiculously expensive).

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It must have been the river that ran around the city, but it reminded me a lot of Columbus, Georgia. Although architecturally it was completely different.

A funny story. When we caught the train from Bern to Geneva, we got off at the airport train station instead of one in the centre of the city as originally planned since it was closer to our hotel. However, I didn't do enough research and it didn't cross my mind that highways/ motorways don't exactly have pedestrian crossings. Naturally, the train station was on one side of the highway and our hotel was on the other side. Apparently I'm a little reckless and I did consider crossing the 6 lane highway. But we didn't.  A twenty minute walk later (including a 200m stretch in practically pitch black parkland) and we made it the hotel. Thankfully.

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The only reason for visiting Geneva was for CERN and I am not a science person by any means and found the guided tour so. incredibly. boring. It was also weird to suddenly be hearing French again (since the other places in Switzerland spoke Swiss-German).

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Overall Thoughts
Switzerland was even prettier than what I had imagined. It was also shockingly expensive and I am from Sydney, a very expensive place to live in. But also, the Swiss Franc is doing amazingly well.  For the duration of our trip in Switzerland, we didn't eat hot food since we were just eating out of the supermarket. Migros was really nice and the salads and pastries, although expensive (similar to food court prices), were super super tasty and of quite good quality! It's hard for me to comment on Switzerland as a whole, because it included both amazing moments and also quite horrible moments too.

Would I re-visit?
Yes. But only in the warmer months for hiking.
Saturday, 7 February 2015

Switzerland Part 1 & Update

First things first, I wrote this entire entry on my phone on the blogger app originally and for some reason, it didn't save it so then I lost the entire thing. Another reminder as to why I dislike the app.

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So my post travelling blues have faded into regular ol' blues and thought it was time to write about part of my trip in my favourite country, Switzerland. If I'm being brutally honest, I believe it was the beginning of the end for my then boyfriend and I. It is crazy to think that it has been a month since I was in Switzerland. How time flies.

7th - 8th January 2015
The train journey from Salzburg, Austria to Zürich was quite an enjoyable journey. It was very pretty and very cool seeing the little towns nestled in the valleys between enormous (for my standards at least) mountains. Some were speckled with snow and some seemed as though the landscape was still stuck in spring/ summer, especially coupled with the clear blue skies.

I got off at Buchs, Switzerland and was picked by up Sunbear. It was awkward. Up until a few weeks before I left for Europe, we had actually stopped talking for close to 3 months due to a BIG fight. Three months was quite a long period of time considering we used to message each other almost every day and way way back, we used to Skype twice a week. As I have already posted briefly about this leg in Switzerland before, I will try to not repeat the images.

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We drove to Vaduz, Liechtenstein briefly as it was only a 15 minute car ride from the station. If someone hadn't told me, I wouldn't even know that I was in another country. Apparently even their postcards were of mountains in Switzerland. The aim of the day was to head to St Gallen, as that was his current location, before heading to Zürich for my hotel.

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Sunset near the Säntis (not pictured), the most prominent mountain in Europe with an observation deck. We missed the last cable car up, however I'm not sure if I would have splurged on the ticket. Got to love Swiss prices.

I saw a little bit of Switzerland that half day and simply put, I thought it was absolutely stunning. I was also blessed with wonderful weather as apparently the previous few days had been crazily foggy and hazy.

The second day started off at 7.30am which meant it was still dark. But it was a very peaceful and wonderful start to the day to see the sky changing colours to the typical pink and purple hues of sunrise. We witnessed a part of the sunrise on a random pier (spontaneity is a part of Sunbear's personality) in the "richer part" of Zürich that actually isn't Zürich. (Of course the "not so rich" Swiss are still quite well off). For Sydneysiders, it is similar to Vaucluse or Palm Beach. Whilst it was warm at 5°C (warm for their and even my standards) I ended up sitting on my feet as it was still a little too cold to be sitting on the pier's damp wooden planks.

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We went through and stopped at quite a few small towns and truth be told, my memory is a little hazy as they have all blurred together. All I do remember is that everything was very quaint and peaceful. One thing I did notice in Switzerland, especially in the towns was that everyone was so friendly and said hello to you (in Swiss German of course) as you walked by. Apparently that is a very common thing in Switzerland.

As mentioned previously, Luzern was very pretty, and a little jarring to me at first due to all the tourists. Honestly, there weren't that many tourists compared to other places I had visited. But it was different just because I had been in the quieter part of Switzerland for the entire morning. The lake was just gorgeous, especially with the snow capped mountains in the distance.

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As I had a tight schedule, we were soon off to Interlaken. I love mountain roads. Well more accurately I love being a passenger of a car on a mountain road. Sunbear likes driving on those kind of roads so it was a win-win for everyone. If there is one word I would use to describe the car ride, it would be: comfortable. It reminded me of the good ol' times in Georgia. Comfort. Two songs that stick out to me are: The Man in Love with You and Big Balls in Cowtown. Ha. Got to love country music. There are some heartbreakingly sad songs and then some utterly ridiculous songs too.

On the way to Interlaken, the sky was changing colours again, this time to blues and purples. By the time we arrived in Interlaken, it was already blue hour. Interlaken was alright. Not as pretty as Luzern or other towns we went by. As the place itself is geared towards adventure sports, the town itself is quite touristy and reminiscent of Queenstown in New Zealand. But on a much smaller scale.  Nonetheless, we had a lovely stroll around town and the canal and watched the the last light fade behind the mountains.

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Those 1.5 days in Switzerland (I stayed in Switzerland for a total of 6 days) were a nice break from city life which had dominated most of my Europe trip.


And now back to the present. Honesty hour. Quite a bit has changed since then. I am currently not in contact with Sunbear (whether that is temporarily or permanent is still to be determined) and I am newly single. In my life, I have experienced 4 breakups and each one has been difficult in its own way. I am unsure if it is better to be the dump-er or dump-ee. This time around, a first, I am the dump-er and there is this unbearable guilt I feel about having hurt someone and still hurting someone with my choice. It's one thing to know deep down and completely another thing to bring it to light. I also have far too much time on my hands these days which is not really that great. Although I have been single for a longer period than I've been in a relationship in aggregate, the hardest part is always trying to find my feet again and make the present the new normal.
Monday, 2 February 2015

Back to Reality

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So I am back from my two month trip in Europe. Today is the 3rd day that I have been back and it feels like I never left Sydney. I actually stopped blogging for a while, since late December in fact; I had scheduled posts till the very beginning of 2015 though. I am not someone who makes resolutions or anything like that. However, in 2015 I want to live a more minimalist life, starting with my room first (it is always a work in progress however I am stricter this time) and also how I spend my time too. I spend so much time on social media it is ridiculous. This thought hit me around the new year and I just realised I was wasting so much of my time and my life on something so pointless. Subsequently, I've stopped using Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter. For a while I had deactivated my Facebook account however it is one of my methods of communication with my friend so alas, I had to reactivate. Also on the cutting block was my blog. I wasn't really sure why I was blogging and wondered if it was just another mindless, time wasting activity, as harsh as that sounds. My head is still not in the 'blogging' mode but I thought this post was fitting.

My grad trip wasn't what I had expected or hoped. In some ways it was worse than what I wanted, and in some other respects it was what I had expected. I'm not sure if I will end up posting about all the other places I visited. It depends. But a quick summary:

  • My favourite places: Bruges (Belgium), Lisbon (Portugal), Berlin (Germany), Göreme and Pammukale (Turkey), Salzburg (Austria) and Switzerland.
  • Most disappointing: Dublin (Rep. of Ireland), Madrid & Barcelona (Spain) and Istanbul (Turkey).

And here is a collection of my favourite photos from Switzerland. I met up with Sunbear for 1.5 days and, simply put, it was just an incredible experience. We drove around the eastern half of Switzerland, visiting places such as: Buchs, briefly into Vaduz (Liechenstein), Appenzell, Saint Gallen, Meilen, Rapperswil, Einsideln, Luzern and Interlaken. I am so thankful to have him still in my life and it was definitely the highlight of my trip. It may also be why I think Switzerland is incredible. Well it also is quite beautiful (understatement). Words cannot fully express how I feel.

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Sunrise at Lake Zürich

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My beautiful ride.

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Luzern is as beautiful as everyone says. Definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to.

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Interlaken