336. Corralejo

IMG_5123 (640x480)As far as tourist places go, Corralejo, the main town on Fuerteventura, proved to be a dream destination. I say that based mainly on the fact we could get a room in a resort for the same price as a single bed in dorm of a hostel in most of Europe. There were also balmy beaches, a cute old town full of novel little bars and restaurants, and it was what I like to call “just the right amount of touristy.” There was enough infrastructure to support all the tourists (shops, bars, cafes, beach activities) but there weren’t enough people to actually cause annoyance. Win.

Highlights included finding a bar with mojito specials when the olympic closing ceremony was on, crazy cheap sales everywhere and coming across a music group doing some kind of Canarian drumming/percussion performance lead by a man who decided conducting was less important than dancing around having a grand old time!

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325. Barcelona Waterfront

IMG_4395 (640x480)Having only really been built up and redone for the Barcelona Olympics, one of the cities (now) hotspots is fairly modern looking, with all kinds of crazy shaped buildings and recycled materials, and a weird giant lobster.

Minus the lobster, the vibe of the area kindof reminded me of the Wellington waterfront. It was also my first glimpse of the Mediterranean which was exciting.

288. Dunkirk Beach Front

IMG_3187 (640x480)Dunkirk was a fascinatingly historical spot to visit. Not merely for war history of the evacuation of Dunkirk, but the other end of the beach (Malo Les Bains) provided a really interesting peek at what the seaside holiday was like in the inter-war years and the 1950s.IMG_3184 (640x480) IMG_3188 (640x480)

I really loved seeing the beautifully painted beach huts, and charmingly decorated piers. It was pastel colours galore and perfectly in line with nostalgic seaside imagery. Upon searching for a bit of information in an attempt to discover when it became a popular beach spot, all I could find on Dunkirk was war history. However, I did stumble across an interesting article about how the beach holiday rose so dramatically in popularity in the 50s. During a time of austerity budgets were slim, but a bigger issue was that although religion was on the decline, everything was still closed on Sundays so there were few other options for entertainment on a Sunday. Despite the beach becoming popular, and fashion subsequently following, activities on a Sunday were still fairly contentious. Photos of Prince Philip playing cricket on a Sunday were as outrageous and shocking as the Kate Middleton being snapped sunbathing topless!IMG_3202 (640x480)

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Sadly, these days, making it across the Channel to France is no longer an achievement of a holiday, with the ease of accessibility of the guaranteed sunshine of Spain, and the myriad cheap airlines flying there. Never have British stereotypes been more visibly conformed to than in the line for a Ryanair flight to Majorca and Ibiza and Malaga at Barcelona airport!IMG_3178 (640x480) IMG_3179 (640x480) IMG_3180 (640x480) IMG_3177 (480x640) IMG_3185 (640x480) A solo sunbather amongst the empty promenades, with his wind shield:IMG_3189 (640x480) IMG_3191 (640x480) IMG_3193 (640x480) IMG_3194 (640x480)

The result is that Malo Les Bains, in the peak of summer with its golden sandy beaches, promenades lined with restaurants  children’s play areas backing on to the sand (including built in trampolines) and marvellous beach huts, was completely deserted. It was quite surreal, and almost felt like an exhibition in a museum.

Down the other end of the beach, that was much more the desired effect, with a memorial and really interesting display outlining the events surrounding the evacuation of Dunkirk (where almost 400,000 French and British soldiers were evacuated in 9 days, many of which on around 700 non military/private boats, called the ‘little ships of Dunkirk’). Having studied it in great detail at school, it was really fascinating to actually be there.IMG_3205 (640x480) IMG_3210 (640x480) IMG_3209 (640x480) IMG_3215 (480x640) IMG_3214 (480x640) IMG_3213 (640x480)

133. Moesgaard Parklands

The Viking Museum, or more accurately, the Moesgaard Museum, is surrounded by one of the most amazing park’s I have ever seen. Largely because of all of the untouched Viking burial grounds, viking huts and other historical treasures spread throughout. Not to mention the glorious sandy beach at the end.

It was really nice to stroll through the 100ha park, see some great artefacts, Nordic farm animals, beautiful streams, an iron-age house, lush forests, swampy patches, stonehenge-type rock formations, old style milling houses and the favourite: one named ‘Cult House‘ – where religious sacrifices and rituals took place. As we walked past it, a bunch of people were having a BBQ there. Vegans might argue they were being highly culturally appropriate.

The park area was huge, and I didn’t get through all of it despite a different route from the musuem to the beach to the one we took back again. I definitely look forward to returning next time we get a sunny day in Aarhus!

126. Swim in the Baltic Sea

In a bizarre turn of events, Denmark got really warm over the weekend. Not one, but TWO beach excursions were had, and at the first opportunity I was frolicking around in the Baltic Sea. Amazingly, at 9pm it was still delightfully warm, and of course, being so far north the sun was still beaming.

The other odd thing was how little salt there was in the water. Supposedly that is why the Vasa (the ship that sunk under its own weight in Stockholm) was so well preserved. It almost felt like I was swimming in fresh water!