Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Personal Challenge - NaNoWriMo 2012

Some people have a dream of one day running (and finishing) a marathon. Learning a new language. Speaking publicly. Taking an acting class. Singing a solo. Doing something OUTSIDE THEIR COMFORT ZONE. Challenging themselves. Doing something they know will cost time, effort and a lot of energy. 
Something extraordinary. 

Why do we seek to challenge ourselves? Isn’t it just very comfortable to be in a reliable, predictable life where you know exactly what is going to happen every single day? Many people will say yes to this, and many others will say no. There is no right answer to this question.

But although I can truly enjoy a life that isn’t necessarily filled with adventure every single day, I guess I belong more in the other category. After all, I wouldn’t have quit my job, packed my suitcase and bought a one-way ticket to Spain, and gotten on that plane all alone, off to start a new life in a country I had never before visited, with a language I did not speak - if I didn’t like some adventure.

I am not much of a competitive person. I don’t have the need to win over others, be “better” or “superior“ in any way. But I love to compete against myself! I love to show myself that “I can do it!”, and that I am the one who decide where the limit is. The feeling it gives me is indescribable.

We all have different concepts of “what is a challenge for me”, same goes for dreams and goals. For me this November, my great challenge will be to write 50 000 words of a novel in 30 days. I am taking part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I have been so ready these last few days I have hardly been able to contain myself and not start writing already. 

I did itlast year too. Wasn’t planned at all, and I didn’t start brainstorming until day 3, which was a bit stressful in theory cause it left me behind already before starting. But I did it, I reached the magical 50 000 word count on November 30 and enjoyed the whole experience so much. The feeling of accomplishing such a challenge was GREAT! I hope to have that same feeling in a month time! 

Are you taking part as well? It would be great to hear from you!

In case you want to know more about what NaNoWriMo is about, have a look here.
 

 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Panellets in Barcelona, a Recommendation

We are getting close to "Dia de todos los santos" again, the 1st November, a public holiday in Spain to reminice the deceased. I don't know yet if and/or how this is celebrated in Las Palmas, but a very important part of this day in Catalunya and Barcelona are the panellets, those small cakes that should be enjoyed with a little glass of sweet moscatell wine. 


There are more traditional foods to this day in Barcelona, but that's not the purpose of my post of today. (If you are interested in knowing more about these traditions, I invite you to have a look at my post of last year.)

I just simply wanted to offer a suggestion of where to buy the panellets if you happen to be in Barcelona these days! In what is considered "la zona alta" of the city, there is a fantastic bakery. Ok, you might think, there are bakeries on every corner in Barcelona. Which is true. But this one stands out from the crowd. It has even been honoured with a prize of having the best butter-criossant in all of Spain! (And I can only agree the croissant is heavenly!) 

Campeon del mejor croissant de mantequilla de España - Champion of the best butter-criossant in Spain
They sell an impressing selection of panellets, as well as delicious chocolates, cakes and the normal bakery-stuff.




Well worth going out of your way for! The closest metro is Green Line 3, stop Lesseps, and Badia Roca is located on Carrer de Padua 91.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Before moving to my new city…


…I had visited it once. I honestly didn’t have a lot of high expectations about anything when I went there. I had prejudged this place to be X and Y, but breathtakingly beautiful and something that could well be described as a place to really live a life with a lot of life quality was not among them. (I am sorry, please forgive me!) 

If one thing, I have been reminded that you should never listen to what people say about something, and believe it is a certain way without checking it out for yourself. There is usually more than one side to a story, and the same goes for cities and regions! 

So… when I went here on holidays, I wasn’t prepared for having such a great time, and I certainly wasn’t prepared for falling in love and then always thinking back with a dreamy look and thoughts in the line of “Ahh, it was just wonderful.”  

  
This region is known for receiving a lot of tourists. Loads. It’s a dear holiday destination for northern Europeans, as well as Spaniards. I have heard so many Spaniards talk about this place as something close to paradise, the most fantastic holiday destination. 

 
Anyway, I always thought this place was somewhere I didn’t really have any wishes to even visit. After all, there are sooo many fabulous destinations in this world, why would I go here? My mental images were overflowing with sunburned tourists behaving in ways they never would in their home countries. (Read: drunk beyond belief. Being very ‘easy’ (&dressed thereafter). Etc. Etc. Why? Just because they are far away from home, the sun is shining and the alcohol is cheap.) I can’t really say I like that kind of attitude, and I thought this kind of place was not for me.

…and here I am, living on this island! BUT. I have learned a lot about it since then. Yes, in the south of Gran Canaria, the resorts lie like beads on a string, and have said tourists overflowing them (among normal tourists behaving just like normal educated human beings of course!). But in the capital, Las Palmas (in the north of the island) it’s not like that at all. Las Palmas is a beautiful, old city with a lot of character. There is not that much foreign tourists here (at least not the kind I described earlier). The tourists here are the kind who want to visit a cosmopolitan city with great shopping, great restaurants, great climate and great beaches. It’s a Spanish city. Colonial buildings, a laid back attitude and very nice people. (I’ll come back to that!) It’s the 7th biggest city in Spain as far as I have been told.

 
I feel I am on a mission. I feel bad for having written off Gran Canaria and now I want to show the world (haha!) that Gran Canaria is a fantastic place, and is so so so much more than one big tourist circus! I will show you, just wait and see!

Gran Canaria really has so much to offer apart from beautiful resorts. The capital is a wonderful city, there are mountains up to close to 2000 m. There are wonderful small villages that hardly ever sees a tourist, there is a stunning ‘desert’ with sand dunes, there are beautiful flowers and cactus everywhere. And the beaches! So many beautiful beaches.

Some facts:

Gran Canaria is an island, part of Las Islas Canarias (Canary Islands),  
 a Spanish archipelago located about 100 km. off the African coast 
(border of Morocco and Western Sahara). 
So, its Spain, but with a climate of Africa. 
Which means, it’s the place in Europe with the nicest all year climate, 
with an average of 25 degrees Celsius all year round. 

Las Palmas is the capital of the province of Las Palmas, 
which includes the islands Gran Canaria, 
Lanzarote and Fuerteventura (+ six smaller islands).  

I will show you that Gran Canaria is a great holiday destination, I will keep posting gems of Barcelona, and I realized I still have tons of pictures and anecdotes from trips around Catalunya, from Andalucía (Granada in particular) and other parts of Spain. And I might have to slip in some stuff from the trip to Provence in August as well, although it’s France. (Yes, I try to keep the blog true to its name, but I gotta be allowed some exceptions!)  
I hope you will keep me company! Have a wonderful weekend!
  
In case 
you missed it 
and are interested, 
this post is a follow up
on this and this post.