Monday, 19 August 2013

Capture the Colour 2013

I saw lots of blog posts entering this competition last year, but never got around to entering. Not only was this due to time contratints (as I was travelling across land last august/september), but I was also quite intimidated by the other entrants, and didn't think I would have any pictures that would be good enough to win. I actually still don't feel my pictures are professional quality enough to win, but as I've got more time this year to look though my pictures, it gives me an excuse to reminisce and look back over my last few years of travels I'm adding my own collection of photos to 'Capture the Colour' in's competition.

So from around my travels here are my photos. I have to say, it was much easier for me to find photos showcasing beautifully rich shades of green and blue, whilst red and yellow were the hardest to find. I find this ironic since I've lived in communist China and travelled recently through Vietnam and Russia!

Blue: Jeju-do, South Korea.
How could I not include a picture from South Korea? I lived here for 2 years and Jeju was hands down the most beautiful place I visited. This picture finally won as my entry over one from Arundel, as I had to include something from Korea! I love how the blue of the sky and sea are so luminous and that fluffy cloud left floating in such an expanse of pure blue.

Red: Taipei, Taiwan.
At the alter in a temple whilst visiting Taipei during Mid-Autumn festival.

Yellow: Tokyo, Japan.
A gleaming yellow beacon in the centre of Tokyo.

 White: Hainan, China.
A statue of Guan Yin, at the Nan Shan Temple. The fourth tallest statue in the world. A three sided statue, one face is turned inland, and the other two look out over the South China sea.

Green: Ekaterinburg, Russia.
At the Ganina Yama Monastery, where the royal family were buried after being murdered, in a disused mine shaft. Now the site of nine churches (one for each victim of the brutal murders.)

 I wish there was a category for 'other' as I love the purple colour of this picture of Edinburgh Castle, Scotland.

My nominations go to five of my favourite bloggers;

Brenna of This Battered Suitcase
Naomi of Anywhere but Home
Ellie of One Day I'll Fly Away
Lauren of Lateral Movements
Kate of Adventurous Kate

Friday, 9 August 2013

Restaurant recommendation

 I don't really do much recommending of places to eat, usually just posting pictures of all the gorgeous (and not so gorgeous - here and here) food I'm eating whilst travelling. And whilst I was in Barcelona, and staying with my brother, we cooked for ourselves in his kitchen most days. Such is the convenience of not staying in a hotel. 

But on our last night, we headed off to eat at Ziryab, an Arabian/Cataluynian fusion restaurant, one which my brother often recommended to tourists having never actually eaten there himself (!) So in the name of research we decided to make it our splurge before I headed back to Southend the next morning.

We were certainly not disappointed.

The restaurant is quite small, which adds to the atmosphere. The menu is modest and the lighting very red (hence the red hue of all my photos). A tapas-mezze affair with wines from Palestine, Lebanon and Catalunya, here you are offered a blend of two cultures. A very delicious blend indeed! We ordered the set menu, which basically gave us everything except the Fig & Pumpkin soup (which we ordered separately) - all in the name of research of course! Small plates arrived gradually so our table was never overloaded, and the portions were generous, especially when we got to the pita bread & dips course near the end! 

Ziryab is really a wine bar, and the food meant to accompany as snacks. But we ate heartily as a dinner and were most satisfied. My particular highlight was the Serrano halloumi sticks.

We managed space for dessert also, which I was slightly less impressed with - I ordered the Traditional Catalan almond dessert which was basically balls of marzipan. Whilst I do like marzipan, it wasn't something I was expecting for pudding!

Overall I would definitely recommend eating here. The prices are reasonable, the service excellent (English meuns are available and our waitress spoke English - to me as I can't speak Spanish or Catalan). Their website is here, and google maps directions here.

If you're in Barcelona any time soon go! It's what your stomach deserves after all the walking and cycling tours! :-)

Free nuts for snacking

Greedy pig soup (pumpkin, fig & ginger)

Bacon wrapped dates (back) fig & smoked salmon crustinis (foreground)

Serrano halloumi sticks... yum

The very generous dips (and a complete wally in the background)

The only thing I wouldn't order again
Tiramisu dessert (from the specials board)

This is a completely unsponsored post. I just really really enjoyed the food here!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Arc De Triomf & Gaudi's Fountain

 Sometimes all you need for a lovely relaxing time, is a beautiful sunny afternoon, gorgeous architecture and some grass to sit and read a book. I spent a successful day in Barcelona photographing the Arc De Triomf and Gaudi's fountain in the Parc de la Ciutadella. Bliss.

I'm not sure what these little black things are, or the nature of the building. But it was something that caught my eye on the way to the Arc De Triomf.

Palau de la M├║sica Catalana

Quite Majestic, more so than in Paris I think...

Gaudi's Fountain

The Zoology Museum