Welcome to my blog that unites my two passions: French and travel. Today, come with me to Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands. Like the other Canary islands, the origins of Lanzarote are veiled in myth and mystery. It is believed that the Greeks and Romans knew about these islands even though they never travelled there. The philosopher Plato apparently thought these islands were what remained of the fabulous lost city of Atlantis. There is much speculation about the origin of the island’s name but the most plausible one is that it was named after an Italian sailor named Lanzarotto (or Lancelotto) Malocello who landed on the island in the 1300s.
Lanzarote is a volcanic island which came into being millions of years ago. If you go to Lanzarote, make sure that you visit the Fire Mountains(Las Montañas del Fuego) in the Timanfaya National Park. These mountains were shaped by the 6-year long volcanic eruptions from 1730 and 1736. The eruptions covered a third of Lanzarote’s most fertile land in ash and lava. If you travel to this National Park, you will see a huge panorama stretching out before you and feel the glory of nature.
Another interesting tourist attraction are the camel rides on Lanzarote. We were there on a shore excursion so the bus drove us to a vast stretch of desert where we waited in line to climb onto camels (two people a camel). This was my first camel ride ( later I was to ride a camel in Alexandria, Egypt and Oudtshoorn, South Africa) and I really enjoyed it.
Discover Lanzarote’s beaches – especially the Playa Blanca(the White Beach), the fastest growing tourist resort on Lanzarote. It offers beautiful beaches, a vibrant nightlife, a variety of restaurants and the usual places to shop.
Today, we are going to learn useful idioms with the verb avoir:
Welcome to my blog that unites two of my passions: travel and French. Today, let us wander around Ponta Delgadain the Azores and the island of São Miguel. Ponta Delgada is the largest city of the Azores archipelago and is situated on the island of São Miguel. São Miguel, also known as the ‘Green Island’, is the largest of the nine Azores islands, an autonomous region of Portugal. It is a volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Portugal. Its roots are obvious from its traditional Portuguese cobblestoned streets.
The first settlement on the island was established in 1444 by King Henry the Navigatorwho used it to keep his sheep. King Henry had sent out Goncalo Velho Cabral, knight and friar of the Order of Christ, to explore the area in 1431. It is believed that the Azores were given their name because the Portuguese saw many birds flying around the island and thought they were goshawks so they named the islands ‘Acor’ (Portuguese for hawk).
The island offers many opportunities for those who like fishing – from lake fishing for trout to sea fishing for barracudas. São Miguel is a beautiful verdant island with rolling hills, cliffs, valleys and many streams. Located in the centre of the island, in a crater, is Lake Fogo/Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake),a beautiful nature reserve which draws many tourists annually. It has a panoramic view that will make you gasp.
An interesting fact is that as far as exports go, the orange was once king of the Azores but nowadays, it is the pineapple that is king. São Miguel has about 6000 greenhousesgrowing pineapples. A visit to one of these is a must. You can buy pineapple liqueur, pineapple jam, sugared pineapple and many other specialities from the outlet shops next to the greenhouse. The pineapple industry is booming in the Azores.
If nature or pineapples is not your thing, stroll around the town of Ponta Delgada, the capital city of the Autonomous Region of the Azores (since 1976). The cityis known for its paved black and white squares, beautiful churches and the historic white-painted façades of buildings with brown or black volcanic trim. There are many other things to see and do ( and eat!) in the Azores, which are worth visiting even if briefly.
Welcome to my blog which unites my two passions: French and travel. Today, I would like you to come with me to the island of Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands and its capital. According to popular tradition, Tortola (meaning ‘turtle dove’ in Spanish) was so named by Christopher Columbus. In fact, Columbus called it ‘Santa Ana’. It was later called ‘Ter Tholen’ by the Dutch – this became Tortola under the British. The US$ is the official currency and English is the main language spoken although some of the older people have heavy West Indian accents.
Tortola is a beautiful island with sandy golden beaches such as Smuggler’s Cove which is accessible by narrow, dirt roads, or Cane Island Bay or Apple Bay. These are all great tourist attractions. Spend a day in the sun, have lunch on the beach or in a beachfront café, take a swim in the azure waters. This is the main attraction on Tortola but not the only one. There are interesting historical ruinsto be seen – such as “The Dungeon” (originally named Dojon, a Spanish fort dating from the 1700s) and the “African Church” (officially, St Phillips, a church for African slaves freed by the Royal Navy and dumped on Tortola, and reportedly the first free black church in the Americas).
You may also visit Sage Mountain Parkif you like hiking. This national park was established in 1964 and named after the highest peak on the island. You may also have a Dolphin Swimming Adventure or visit the Callwood Rum Distillery, the oldest rum distillery in the Caribbean. Enjoy the Caribbean cuisine on the island spend anything from a small amount to a ridiculously high amount of $200 for 2). Fit in by buying a colourful shirt. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere and become part of this beautiful Caribbean island.
Today, we are continuing with the vocabulary relating to pastimes (Part II):
Welcome to my blog that unites my two passions: French and travel. It’s a travel blog but it also includes everyday French vocabulary and its pronunciation. Today, come with me to the scholarly city of Oxford. I visited it last November with a dear friend and enjoyed its historic feel.
Oxford,‘the city of Dreaming Spires’, situated in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, is renowned for its prestigious university and its 38 colleges. There are many interesting places to visit in Oxford and many of them are in the colleges. Oxford has a literary link with certain authors and has been an inspiration to many such as Lewis Carroll and Tolkien. Stroll around Christ Church College and see the place where the real Alice in Wonderland lived. The stone carved creatures of Magdalen college cloistersinspired C.S. Lewis when he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia. It has also been the set for films such as X Men First Class, Harry Potter ( Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets & Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and TV series such as Inspector Morse. See Christ Church College’s Great Hall and imagine yourself at Hogwart’s: are you Harry Potter, Hermione or Ron?
As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford is a unique institution. It dates back to 1188 and its first colleges were University, Balliol and Merton which were established between 1249 and 1264.Throughout the ages, the university of Oxford has been a centre for controversy (religious and political) but also one where history was created. In 2014, there were 11,000 registered students and 10,776 staff members. Gifted men and women have studied or taught at the University throughout its history. Among them are 26 British Prime Ministers, at least 30 international leaders, 50 Nobel Prize winners, and 120 Olympic medal winners. Oxford University Pressis a department of Oxford University which publishes over 6,000 titles a year.
There are many beautiful old buildings to visit and admire in Oxford: the Bodleian Library, the Bridge of Sighs (not the Venetian one!), Balliol College and really any of the other colleges. The Bodleian Library is the main research library of Oxford. It has expanded since 1602 to incorporate the impressive collection of books it now houses. It is worth seeing the library from the outside too as the building is very impressive with a façade that incorporates the three Greek column styles (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian).
The Bridge of Sighsis actually called the Hertford Bridge but has been nicknamed ‘the Bridge of Sighs’ since it resembles the Venetian one. It was built to join two quads of Hertford College and is now a famous tourist attraction. Balliol College, according to its Master, Professor Sir Drummond Bone, ‘is not only arguably the oldest nut arguably the leading intellectual college in Oxford – and therefore in the World’. Its name comes from John de Balliol, one of King Henry III’s most loyal lords. In 1973, Balliol became the first of the traditional all-male colleges to elect a woman as a Fellow and Tutor. Trinity College was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas Pope and his wife Lady Elizabeth Pope. It is worth visiting for its Chapel, Hall and Garden Quadrangle among others. The School of Divinityis an important masterpiece of Gothic architecture. It was built in 1488 to teach theology. Its splendid room is the University’s earliest purpose built teaching room, and its first examination hall.
There are also many museums worth visiting and the Oxford Towers, not to mention the well-stocked bookshops. And the market in the city-centre. So if you want to steep yourself in academia, history and books as well as films, go to Oxford. A word of advice: if you are driving there, it is best to park your car at the Park and Ride and take the bus to the city centre as parking is limited.
Today, we are going to learn how to talk about pastimes in French (Part I):
Welcome to my travel blog that incorporates my other passion – French. Today, journey with me over the Atlantic Ocean to the city of Miami in Florida. Miamiis a bustling major centre with a large international airport. It is a leader in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade and is also known for its beautiful beaches and its many tourist attractions.
The land where Miami was established, was first inhabited by Native Americans called the Tequestas and later by the Seminoles. The Seminoles waged fierce wars against the European would-be settlers. Because of these wars, the ‘village of Miami’ was only founded in 1842, making Miami a fairly young city. In 1959, when Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba, there was an influx of Cubans to Miami. ‘Little Havana’ was established as one of Miami’s neighbourhoods with 500,000 Cuban Americans. For this reason, you are likely to hear a lot of Spanish around Miami. Another neighbourhood is called ‘Little Haiti’, a testimony to Miami’s ethnic mix.
Why visit Miami? Well, it has beautiful beaches such as South Beachand Miami Beach, both wonderful for surfers. It has a Seaquarium where you can swim with seals or dolphins, become a trainer for a day or wear a diving helmet for a Sea Trek Reef encounter. There is also a zoo, Zoo Miami, the only tropical zoo in the United States and a zoological park called Jungle Island which was one of the first tourist attractions in the Miami area.
There are many interesting museums in Miami, such as the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a rambling Italian Renaissance style villa and gardens built in 1910s or the Museum of Contemporary Art or even the Children’s Museum. Don’t fancy museums? Well then, take a trip to the Everglades; its national park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the US and a World Heritage Site. Experience the nightlife, suntan at one of Miami’s beaches or sample some of the delicacies in the varied restaurants in Miami:
Today, we are going to learn the vocabulary of health and the body:
Welcome to my blog which unites my two passions: French and travel. Today travel with me to Coventry in the West Midlands region of the United Kingdom. It is part of the county of Warwickshire, which is known as Shakespeare’s county (see my post on Stratford-upon-Avon). Coventry is the 12th largest city in the UK and the 10th largest in England. It is an ancient settlement that predates Birmingham and Leicester. It was the world’s first city to be twinned to another city – Stalingrad – and is now also twinned with Dresden and 24 other cities.
Coventry owes some of its reputation to Lady Godiva.She was the wife of Leofric, the Lord of Coventry and lived over 900 years ago. According to stories passed down through the ages, Lady Godiva rode through the streets of Coventry naked, covered only in her hair, in order to get her husband Lord Leofric to lower the taxes. It was said that no one was allowed to watch her as she rode through the town, but one Peeping Tom was caught doing so. A statue of Godiva now stands in the city centre and an exhibition is dedicated to her in the Herbert Art Gallery. An effigy of the Peeping Tomstands in the Coventry’s Cathedral shopping centre today.
Coventry was heavily bombed in the ‘Coventry Blitz’during World War II (14 November 1940) . The city was probably targeted due to its high concentration of armaments, munitions, aircraft and aero-engine plants which contributed greatly to the British war effort, and because it was the centre of the British motor industry. Large parts of it, such as the Cathedral and the city centre, were badly damaged. Its motor industry began as a bicycle manufacture industry in the 19th century. This company later became Rover, well-known in the motor industry.
Today, Coventry has been rebuilt and a new Cathedral stands close to the ruins of the old one. The city centre has also been rebuilt and countless shopping centres have sprung up. Coventry is home to two prestigious universities – the University of Coventry in the city itself and the University of Warwick on the outskirts.
If you visit Coventry, be sure to go to the Transport Museum and take a journey through the history of road transport from bicycles to fast cars. Or stroll around the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum with its many exhibitions. It often has interesting activities for children such as a Roman picnic with historic characters.
Coventry’s largest park is the War Memorial Parkwhich opened in 1921 as a tribute to those that gave their lives during World War I. It covers a vast space and has sports facilities. The stone memorial itself was built in 1927 and contains lists of the fallen from both World Wars and even the Gulf War. It hosts the annual Coventry Gala Carnival Day which is now known as the Godiva Festival.
For those interested in sports, Coventry is the home of the Wasps (rugby) and the Sky Blues (football) and also boasts an ice skating rink. So there’s plenty to do in and around Coventry from shopping to sports to restaurants. As all British cities, Coventry has an excellent public transport system so you don’t need a car to get around. But if you do want to hire one, be aware that the roads are very narrow and people park anywhere they can so you will find yourself weaving in and out of cars.