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Posts tagged ‘Holiday’

Let them eat cake

We had a birthday in our house a few days ago (yay PJD!). To mark this special occasion, I baked a cake. I went in search of a most delicious chocolate cake recipe, which not only had to be relatively easy to make, with not too many ingredients, but which also had to be scrumptious in the way that chocolate-cakes-when-you-were-young tasted. After much leafing through recipe books, um-ing and ah-ing over which recipe looked and sounded the best (sometimes it’s easy to get drawn in by an amazing looking photo in a cookbook only to discover the recipe is overly complicated – don’t you agree?!), I settled on an aptly (if somewhat un-originally) named “Never-fail birthday chocolate cake with chocolate icing”. This recipe comes courtesy of Australian cook Bill Granger, found in one of the most reliable go-to books in my cookbook collection, Bill’s Holiday.

Birthday cake...

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Tonight as we drove West, a golden sunset drew our eyes to the horizon. The beauty before us reminded me of a golden sunrise which we were lucky to experience together earlier this year, during a very special trip to a stunning island.

Goldren sunrise


Photo by CIA or PJD (who knows, it was after all five o’clock in the morning!), Fafa Island, Tonga, February 2012.


Luxembourg, why not?!

The tiny country of Luxembourg  (look, it really is tiny!) was in celebration mode over the weekend with a royal wedding. It’s not a country that you see in the news very often, and it is probably not high up on any list of Europe “must-see” places (aside from if you are keen to do a micro-states-of-Europe tour, which we are, one day). However, it was where we found ourselves for Easter this year, as much a result of opportunity as of design. Luxembourg turned out to be an absolute treat, a place we were both so glad to have visited and which we have since been recommending excitedly to European friends as a fun weekend destination, and encouraging antipodean friends to consider adding to their itinerary if they ever find themselves in Europe. I’ve already written about Luxembourg’s wonderful MUDAM on a previous occasion (or two), but this week, spurred on by reading about Luxembourg in the newspaper over the weekend, we are dedicating a few posts to some of the other wonderful things about this little place. For today, here’s another of our favourite photos of the stunning and formidable city walls (which PJD wrote about earlier this week).

The landscape – manmade and natural – in Luxembourg really is quite astounding. So, I hope you continue to enjoy getting a little Luxembourgish with us this week…


Photo by CIA, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, Easter 2012.

Saving the best ’til last

On our recent trip to Paris, we really did save some of the best things in the city until the last day of our short holiday. Normally we are not so much into jamming a large number of sights or attractions into one day (usually we tend to be more of the slow-travel approach, choosing a couple of particular things or places to see in a day, and to really soak them up). But on this final day in Paris, we took a different approach (largely owing to the bad weather we had had during many of the preceding days), and we climbed to the top of both the Arc de Triomphe and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, lunched in a quaint, old-world boulangerie in Montmatre, and even managed to squeeze in a return trip to the Louvre. Oh and one  other thing. We got to see this:

And yes, it was as incredible as it looks… Hopefully this photo has piqued your interest and you are keen to know more, because I’m going to write more about one of our favourite Paris experiences tomorrow… In fact it may have been one of my favourite art experiences ever…


Photo by CIA in Paris, France, June 2012.

Hej då Stockholm

Tonight we (very reluctantly) said Hej då (Goodbye) to Stockholm, leaving the beautiful “Capital of Scandinavia” behind. We think the status as Capital of Scandinavia might be self-declared, what do you think? Either way, although Copenhagen has got a good claim to this title too, after getting to know Stockholm a bit after enjoying a beautiful few days on the islands and waters, Stockholm has a captured a special place in our hearts. Our last afternoon at the water’s edge, relaxing and soaking up the feel of the city with a view to the beautiful island of Gamla Stan.

We’ll certainly be missing Stockholm in the coming days and weeks, but we are already looking forward to reminiscing through sharing some more posts of our time in this amazing place soon.


Photo by CIA on the HTC Desire S, from Norrmalm looking towards Gamla Stan, Stockholm, surrounded by sun, seabreezes and an entertaining local fisherman.

Natural perfection

Earlier this year we were very lucky to spend an incredible few days on a slice of planet Earth in the Pacific Ocean which in contrast to our usual urban dwellings remains blissfully, comparatively untouched by human intervention. In this tranquil place, with only sand and sea and flora and fauna to keep us company, we had time to take a closer look at aspects of the natural world that might otherwise go unnoticed. Incredible natural shapes, textures, patterns and colours. Some were even homes to other small, equally impressive creatures. They were, we realised, aspects which have evolved with the ebb and flow of the impact of time on land and ocean, and we found a deep appreciation for the beauty held in these tiny, perfect details.

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A little Luxembourgish graffiti

Why not, right? There’s not much to say about this photo, other than that I was surprised to find this street art in the middle of downtown Luxembourg city, in what is an otherwise pristine, slightly sterile kind of urban environment! The work certainly made a contrast t the derelict building falling down behind it, and the vibrant, bold colours absolutely brightened an otherwise grey day.


Photo by CIA, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, April 2012.

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