Travel with me to Lanzarote


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.

This was cooked by volcanic heat on a grid held over a hole

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.

French Vocabulary

Today, we are going to learn useful idioms with the verb avoir:

j’ai faim = I’m hungry faim

j’ai soif = I’m thirsty soif

j’ai sommeil = I’m sleepy sommeil

j’ai peur = I’m scared peur

j’ai raison = I am right raison

j’ai tort = I’m wrong tort

j’ai froid = I’m cold froid

j’ai chaud = I’m hot chaud

j’ai honte = to be ashamedhonte

j’ai envie d’aller à la plage = I feel like going to the beachenvie

j’ai trente ans = I am 30 years (old).  NB: French uses ‘to have’ for age trente ans

j’ai besoin d’un stylo = I need a pen besoin

j’ai de la chance = I’m lucky chance

If you want to say he is hungry, change the ‘j’ai’ to ‘il a’. For ‘she is’ hungry, change the ‘jai’ to ‘elle a’.


Travel with me to the island of São Miguel in the Azores


Welcome to my blog that unites two of my passions: travel and French. Today, let us wander around Ponta Delgada in 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 Navigator who 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 greenhouses growing 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 city is 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.

French Vocabulary

Today, we are going to learn food vocabulary:

la nourriture = food  nourriture

qu’est-ce que tu manges aujourd’hui? = what are you eating today? qu’est-ce que tu manges

je voudrais = I would like je voudrais

le pain = bread  bread  pain

le croissant = croissant  croissant croissant

le lait = milk  milk  lait

le sucre = sugar  sugar  sucre

les boissons = drinks  drinks boissons

le café = coffee  coffee café

le thé = tea tea  thé

le chocolat chaud = hot chocolate  hot chocolate  chocolat chaud

la bière = beer beer bière

l’eau = water  watereau

le champagne = champagne  champagne champagne

le riz = rice  rice  riz

le beurre = butter  butter beurre

les céréales = cereal  cereal cereals

un oeuf = an egg  egg oeuf

des oeufs = eggs oeufs

un oeuf sur le plat = a fried egg fried egg oeuf sur le plat

un oeuf dur = a hard-boiled egg hardboiled egg  oeuf dur

les oeufs brouillés = scrambled eggs scrambled eggs  oeufs brouillés

une omelette = an omelette  omeletteomelette

les frites = French fries  chips   frites

le jambon = ham  ham jambon






Travel with me to Tortola

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 ruins to 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 Park if 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.

French Vocabulary

Today, we are continuing with the vocabulary relating to pastimes (Part II):

qu’est-ce que tu fais? = what do you do? qu’est-ce que tu fais

jouer = to play jouer

jouer à = to play (a sport) jouer a

je joue au football = I play footballje joue football

je joue au rugby = I play rugby je joue rugby

je joue au tennis = I play tennisje joue tennis

jouer de (for an instrument)jouer de

je joue de la guitare = I play the guitar je joue guitare

je joue du piano = I play the piano je joue piano

le ski = ski ski

je fais du ski = I ski je fais ski

je fais de la natation/ je nage = I swim je fais natation

je fais du vélo – I cycle je fais velo

j’aime faire du vélo = I like cycling j’aime faire velo

j’aime nager = I like to swim j’aime nager

j’aime jouer de la guitare = I like playing the guitar j’aime jouer guitar







Travel with me to Oxford

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.

hogwart hall
Hogwart’s Dining Hall filmed in Christ Church College

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 cloisters inspired 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 Press is a department of Oxford University which publishes over 6,000 titles a year.

The 3 styles of Greek columns


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 Sighs is 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 Divinity is 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.

French Vocabulary

Today, we are going to learn how to talk about pastimes in French (Part I):

j’aime = I like j’aime

je n’aime pas = I don’t like je n’aime pas

je déteste = I hate je déteste

un passe-temps = a pastime passe-temps

la lecture = reading lecture

lire = to readlire

j’aime la lecture/ j’aime lire = I like reading j’aime la lecture

la musique = music musique

aller au cinéma = to go to the cinema aller au cinema

j’aime aller au cinéma = I like going to the cinema j’aime aller au cinema

les films = films films

j’aime les films américains = I like American films j’aime les films americains

aller au théâtre = to go to the theatre aller au theatre

j’aime faire une promenade = I like to take a walk j’aime faire une promenade

je n’aime pas faire des randonnées = I don’t like hiking je n’aime pas faire des randonnees

je déteste faire du camping = I hate camping je deteste faire du camping



Travel with me to Miami

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. Miami is 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.

little havana
Little Havana

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 Beach and 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:


French Vocabulary

Today, we are going to learn the vocabulary of health and the body:

je vais chez le médecin = I’m going to the doctor je vais medecin

qu’est-ce que tu as ? = what’s wrong with you? qu’est-ce que tu as

je ne me sens pas bien = I don’t feel well je ne me sens pas

le corps = the body corps

la tête = the headtete

j’ai mal à la tête = I have a headachemal tete

la bras = the arm bras

j’ai mal au bras = I have a sore arm mal bras

la jambe = the legjambe

j’ai mal à la jambe = I have a sore leg mal jambe

le dos = the back dos

j’ai mal au dos mal dos

je suis malade = I am ill je suis malade

j’ai un rhume = I have a coldrhume

j’ai de la fièvre = I have a feverfievre

je tousse = I am coughingje tousse

j’ai mal à la gorge = I have a sore throatmal gorge


Travel with me to Coventry

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 Tom stands 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.

20150324_113515Coventry’s largest park is the War Memorial Park which 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.

Coventry is also the source of the phrase ‘to send someone to Coventry’, meaning to ostracise someone, although its exact provenance is unknown.

French Vocabulary

Today, we are going to the learn the vocabulary for the family:

la famille = the familyfamille

le père = the father pere

la mère = the mother mere

la fille = the daughter fille

le fils = the son fils

la soeur = the sistersoeur

le frère = the brother frere

l’oncle = the uncle oncle

la tante = the aunttante

la grandmère = the grandmother grandmere

le grandpère = the grandfather grandpere

les parents = the parents parents

le cousin = the cousin (boy) cousin

la cousine = the cousin (girl) cousine

la petite-fille = the granddaughter petite-fille

le petit-fils = the grandson petit-fils