342. Sacre Coeur

IMG_2950My other favourite view in Paris was from atop the Sacre Coeur. And not only was it great looking out from the roof, but looking up inside the cathedral at the painting on the interior of the roof was just stunning.

I also quite enjoyed looking down at the monastry next door, where nuns were walking around the garden in circles reading books. It was like a game of pac-man. The climb up to the roof was a bit of a mission, and not for the claustraphobic. I could imagine the majority of the All Blacks wouldn’t actually be able to fit through the narrow staircase!

The crypt underneath had some great wee treasure exhibits and chapels/sculptures too.IMG_2926 IMG_2924 IMG_2928 IMG_2927 IMG_2920 IMG_2921 IMG_2922 IMG_2918 IMG_2910 IMG_2913 IMG_2908 IMG_2904 IMG_2948 IMG_2945 IMG_2947 IMG_2943 IMG_2942 IMG_2936 IMG_2935 IMG_2932 IMG_2934 IMG_2933

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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331. Azul Fit Yoga Retreat

Fuertevntura

At last, about 28 hours later than expected, we arrived in Fuerteventura and headed to the “Azul Fit” yoga retreat. It consists of a small villa about 30mins or so out of Corralejo, the main town on the island. We wound up there after we went in search of somewhere we could chill out by the beach, do some surf lessons and easily/cheaply fly there between leaving London and heading to Brussels for a music festival. Claire and I also happen to be growing yoga fans, so when we discovered this place we were quite excited!

It turned out to be just the most amazing and relaxing week I have ever had. Despite intermissions of rather gruelling surf lessons, mountain biking and volcano climbing, there was plenty of time for sunbathing by the pool and book reading. By the end of the week we had built up to doing about 3 hours of yoga and pilates per day, and coupled with the delicious, healthy organic food on offer I cannot recall a time in my life when I have felt healthier! It was just the recharge we needed after the dramas we had had, and a great escape from being in big cities. As Claire and I took up every opportunity to adventure around and do activities, we realised we most definitely were living up to the adventurous kiwi stereotypes! Travel is fun and I’ve loved seeing so many great places that I’ve heard so much about, but I definitely came to the realisation that my idea of a holiday involves as few people and as much nature as possible!

The staff there were also absolutely fantastic. They even let us stay an extra night for free because of our delayed flight which was really sweet and totally unnecessary. It was quite a small, intimate place, and we got on really well with all the girls there (it was all girls that particular week, and not many males in general, usually). The main chef, Jo, made the most amazing, delicious meals, all of which were vegetarian and easily gluten/dairy free. It was really inspirational in terms of creative items on the menu that were really tasty and left me feeling really great by the end of the week. She sent us some of her recipes from the week which I have since made with great success, and she now has a cookbook available which I will most definitely be purchasing once I’m done travelling around. It was a great reminder of the huge difference I feel when I cut out gluten and dairy especially…

I definitely couldn’t recommend the place any higher, it was such an awesome way to relax and unwind, particularly if yoga/surfing/mountain biking is your thing. And compared to its rivals in places like Bali, it was a really cheap offer. We actually mentioned that to the owners, but they were more concerned with being accessible to more people than pitching themselves to the Eat-Pray-Love crowd and charging through the roof. Oh and did I mention how lovely they were?IMG_5090 (480x640) IMG_5089 (480x640) IMG_5088 (480x640) IMG_5086 (640x480) IMG_5084 (480x640) IMG_5083 (640x480) IMG_5081 (640x480) IMG_5079 (640x480) IMG_5031 (640x480) IMG_4923 (640x480) IMG_4910 (640x480)