15 December, 2017

Travel Photo Friday: Lapping it up in Lapland

As this is my last travel photo before the end of the year, I thought it was fitting to feature a snowy scene that Santa would be very happy with! Many of my friends and family have visited Lapland this year, and I don't blame them - it's a stunning place, and the perfect way to build up to Christmas!

It's not long now until Santa and his reindeer will be getting the sleigh ready to deliver all the presents, so I hope you've all been good boys and girls this year! Stay cosy everyone.

08 December, 2017

Bologna and its nicknames

Bologna has a reputation of being the cultural capital of Italy, but the city has a lot more to offer alongside its wonderful food. It also has three interesting nicknames - la dotta - the educated; la grassa - the fat, and la rossa - the red.

Founded in 1088, it's Europe's oldest university town - hence the first nickname - and thousands of students are drawn to the city for their student exchange programme. The university is famed for its medical school and the anatomical theatre can still be visited today!

The fat nickname is probably easier for you to work out! Some of the traditional recipes from this region include the famous ragu tagliatelle, and mortadella - a large pork sausage which is typical of the city. There is even a theme park (Fico Eataly World) dedicated to food, and with so many wonderful restaurants, it's no surprise that it's hard not to put on weight when visiting Bologna! One thing you must visit are the food markets - they're among the best in Italy. 

There are different explanations for the third nickname, La rossa. Guidebooks say it's because of the red roofs, but locals will proudly tell you it comes from the city's political tendencies. Bologna was considered the anti-facist capital during the second world war. It was at the heart of the resistance movement and a stronghold for Italy's Communist Party. If you visit the student district, there is superb street art, and you can still see anti-establishment graffiti. There is so much art, music and architecture to enjoy in Bologna, it's a great destination for a city break - just a warning.....you might want to go on a diet before you go! 

01 December, 2017

Flashback Friday: A stunning Spanish convent

Today I'm flashing back to one of my favourite places in Europe. La Fresnada is a little village in the heart of Spain's Matarraña region, and the best place to stay is in the stunning 17th century converted convent, El Convent. 

If you want to get away from it all, then the location of this convent is just perfect - it has a pool if you do just want to chill out, but you can also hire bikes from the hotel to discover the beautiful nearby towns. I can't recommend this place highly enough, so to read my original post, and find out more about the convent - click here.