Pérouges : one of the most beautiful villages of France

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You might have read our first post where we wrote that what excited us most about travelling is meeting people. However, there are other things that we’re passionate about when it comes about travelling, and one of these things is nature. We love being outdoors and last weekend we had the chance to visit the medieval village of Pérouges, one of the most beautiful villages of France.

Medieval building connect to the church in Perouges' main entrance.

Medieval building connect to the church in Perouges’ main entrance.

Pérouges is located only 30 km northeast of Lyon, where we’re currently living, so we decided to have a look.

Old bulding in Pérouges

The village is small and very charming, and if you are around Lyon, you should definitely consider spending some time there.

Church in Pérouges

Yes, this place is awesome with all these beautiful old buildings, but our objective was to explore a hiking trail around it. There are 4 trails, starting on a 2.3 km long, taking approximately 40 minutes, and the longest one with 9.3 km, taking about 2h30m to finish it.

The trails around Pérouges

We decided to take the longest one, as we arrived early in the morning and had a lot of time to spend there. Needless to say that the trail is amazing and we loved it.
It was pretty easy and I guess even people who aren’t used to hike can do it. It’s more like a long walk rather than hiking. We loved the landscapes and get closer to nature.

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In the end of the trail we went back to the main square to grab some food and try the local beer, which was great.

Local beer made out of corn

Some saucisson and ham.

So whether you take the shortest or the longest one, you should definitely spend some time exploring this trails when in Pérouges.

Corn is Pérouges' main production

You can find more pictures of Pérouges and other regions of France in our Facebook and Pinterest albums.

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Travelling to non touristy places: Bradford

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There’s something special about going to places where tourists usually don’t go and I discovered that while travelling to the snowy Bradford in mid-February. Before getting there, most of people I had met would tell me: “Why are you going there? There’s nothing to see, nothing to do.”. Well, they were wrong.

Snowy Bradford

Snowy Bradford

But I’ll be honest, there was something I wanted to see in Bradford. I am a football fan (not fanatic, at least not anymore) and I really wanted to visit the local team’s stadium. By that time, it’d be a fantastic opportunity as the usually terrible team (they are playing in the 4th division in England) were in an important final cup, had beaten first league teams on their way to the final. Ok, enough with the football fan bla bla bla, let’s get to the points.

Visiting Bradford

So I got there, I visited the store (couldn’t by a jersey due the “final cup” situation, the stock was gone) and then I tried to visit the stadium. I got to the reception and I was told that the “guide” wasn’t there, someone in his family was sick. But if I wanted, I could get inside by myself and see whatever I wanted to see. It was ok for me, not having to pay to get inside and no crowds annoying my experience. If someone had told me two years ago that one day I’d be there, I’d say they were crazy. But there I was, completely amazed.

Bradford Stadium

Bradford Stadium

When I was leaving, the guy asked me if I liked what I’d seen. Of course I had and we started to talk. He asked me where I was from and a really surprised “what are you doing here?” when I answered: Brazil. It was funny talking to the father of the president of the team. Very nice guy, he gave me one of the player’s internal magazine and showed me the original letter that Dalai Lama had sent them. He would ask all the staff who were passing through “You can’t imagine where this guy came from. So guess?”. Most would say Australian. Anyway, I spent almost an hour talking to him, and I think I could write a post just about it (remind me to do it one day).

Dalai Lama's letter

Dalai Lama’s letter

Meeting people

So now what? I had nothing to see. And that’s when things get more interesting. You’ve got no pressure when visiting a place like that. You don’t have to rush trying to think about the places you can’t miss, the places you’ve got to take a picture so to show to your friends and family, no need to buy little souvenirs (I never do it anyway). So I just wandered around, taking a few shots, enjoying the cool breeze, and slowly making my way to my couchsurfing host’s house. Getting a bit lost in a city like that is fun and I’d seen a couple of interesting things, and one was a book shop inside of a old church. Really nice.

Old church that became a book shop

Old church that became a book shop

But the coolest thing that happened in Bradford, was having met Nina, my couchsurfing host. When getting to her house I wasn’t enjoying the cool breeze anymore and just wanted to get into a warm place. Plus, I was looking forward to finally meet Nina after talking by messages. She seemed to be really nice. And she was. She welcomed me with a delicious cup of tea and introduced me to her flatmate. Then she told me that the central heating had just broken and that the landlord would send someone to get it fixed, but till then, we’d have to do it with a small electric heating. It was more than enough and the living room as so cosy and warm that I could have stayed there the whole day.

Park close to Nina's house

Park close to Nina’s house

Nina and her flatmate are probably the kindest people I’ve ever meet. Really. Was so nice to talk to them, and so easy (I’m not a native English speaker as you’ve probably realised so far, and it’s much easier to understand British than Irish speaking), specially her flatmate who would speak so slowly and gently.

Later on, Nina invited me to go to a “neighbourhood//friend’s party” which they organize every Monday. That one would be at the house next door, so we wouldn’t have to commute in the cold to get somewhere. I promptly accepted. There were about 20 people in the house, I guess, and I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place with so many kind people together. I was a strange there and everybody treated me so well. Got talking with a German guy who was studying in Bradford, with some of Nina’s friends and then with Lavinia. She heard me talking about hitchhiking and told me that she’d done it already. Very interesting girl, told me that she lived in France and I was amazed by what she’d done there. We kept talking and I couldn’t believe when she told me she once went to Tibet. By that time I had , and still have, this fixed idea about going to Tibet. If I had to do a “To-do list” this would be the first thing. I wish I had spent more time seating there on the floor talking to her.

Oh, and it was one of Nina’s friends birthday, so after a delicious vegetarian dinner, we sang Happy Birthday to him, plus, a really funny dance that they do when is someone’s birthday. (I can’t remember the “lyrics” but I’m messaging her and will ask about it haha).

It was so nice and when I finally went back home, the central heating was fixed and I slept like a baby in one of the best “couches” ever. The couchsurfing experience was amazing and the couch was really comfortable (maybe better than my bed.).

Yeah, things happen for a reason, I don’t think I was lucky to have chosen Nina (and Nina chosen me) among other people to stay with. And then not only Nina but also her friends. I’m so glad I went to Bradford and remember clearly not wanting to leave and wishing I could be in situation like that one more often.

What about you? Have you ever been in a situation like this, being a strange in a small/non touristy place?

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How I ate my first Paella, in Spain

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Okay, I’m gonna tell you the story of how I ate my first paella. Wait, this isn’t a “How I met your mother” story, I won’t keep you guys here for 9 seasons to know how it happened, but I gotta tell you a short story first.

Why paella?

I’m a foodie. I love eating. I love trying different types of food, especially when I’m travelling. Thus, my search for a delicious paella started when I flew to Madrid with my friend Marco. First thing I tell Marco: I wanted to try paella for the first time and it has to be in Spain.

Seafood paella

Seafood paella

Marco has a very selective taste and there are not many things that he’s up to when it comes to food. So I knew that it’d be a challenge. Secondly, we didn’t know where we could eat it. If we were going to try it, it had to be a good one. Last but not least, we didn’t have a lot of money. Big challenge!

When we were walking around Madrid we had the chance to see a lot of mouth-watering paellas, but once we were going to meet a Spanish friend of Marco, we decided it would be smart to wait and ask him for a good spot to try it. When we met Jose Maria we got a bit disappointed.  He told us that it would be difficult to find a really good and traditional paella in the places that we were going to. Plenty of restaurants cook frozen paellas, and we wanted to try a typical, homemade or freshly prepared one. Keeping it in mind, we didn’t try it in Madrid, nor in Bilbao, Santander and San Sebastian.

Marco and I had different destinations after San Sebastian and I flew to Barcelona alone. I was determined to find a place to eat paella. Unfortunately, I spent four days in Barcelona, surrounded by Turkish and Italian, and didn’t have the chance to talk to a nice Spanish to ask for a good place to try it. I was leaving Barcelona a bit upset, as I would spend only one more day and a half in Spain and didn’t know if I would have time to eat paella anymore.

Zaragoza: last destination in Spain, last chance to try a paella

So I arrived in a boiling Zaragoza, where I’d be couchsurfing for the first time alone, and it was about lunch time. So I was a bit hungry when I took the bus to my host’s house. As I arrived at her place, she introduced me to her friend and told me that another friend would come by as well. And as soon as we were introduced, she says something I will always remember: “Hector, I don’t know if you like it, but I’ve cooked a paella for us. It’s boiling outside so I’d like to stay here, eat a paella and drink wine. If you don’t mind …”

She had cooked a paella!!! A paella!! Can you believe it??? I had been searching for a paella for almost two weeks through a few cities in Spain, I dreamt about eating paella and in the last city, my host offered me a homemade one. It was just amazing. No need to tell that it was delicious and I was very happy and thankful for what she had done.

Her friends were great too and we ended up in a party in the roof of a building, with a lotta people there. But the party and how I tried Spanish Tapas for the first time could be described in post.

With my host and her friend in Zaragoza (Spain).

With my host and her friend in Zaragoza (Spain).

This experience made me start thinking about how certain things happens for a reason. It’s hard to believe in luck, but once you put your though and your energy into something, destiny leads you to your goals and put people on your way to help you out. It was the first of a series of things that happened while I was travelling and surprised me in an amazing way.

Do you have any interesting stories about when you ate something abroad?

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