Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Back on track!

Realigned and nimble after a week of our yoga in denia, we sadly leave & head back to the station - heading north.
9 hours of travel today- alicante via madrid, to San sebastian. To our delight it hasn't been as awful as that sounds! The Spanish know how to while away the hours - sparkling wine on arrival onboard the train, 3 course lunch with wine, more wine, more food, more wine! We've gotten our money's worth from the railpass today alone!!

Siesta time! I think we have the hang of the culture here!!


Food Andy craved while at the veggie yoga holiday - lucky there was a kebab shop around the corner. This is the regular display in the cold cuts section of the supermarket.

This is "cinnamon", the hotel cat - thought of you Beryl!

Yoga Camp update - zen & tonic

Balance - that's what it's all about. Yoga ... Life & also a good holiday.
When researching our yoga portion of the holiday, I wanted to ensure it was a little more everday joe, than a complete ashram experience - I mean we couldn't go cold turkey from our lunch and dinner vinos!
So, thinking we were among purests after our intro meeting where everyone sipped on fresh juice, we'd just had a cold cervaza in our room... We thought it would be an interesting week...
As with everything, balance was retained by midweek when 3 of the yogis sucuumbed to temptation - stayed up till 6am drinking with fellow English sailor hotel guests. Managing perhaps to tip the scale a little with their passing out in the bathroom and missing morning yoga! This was the yoga retreat for us!

A few of our yoga party animals with nicole, our fantastic teacher, and kirsten, the funniest Scottish lass we've met!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I'll let you be the judge, as long as you're encouraging!



A look of zen in his eyes...

Or is that defeat?! No!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yoga camp

Well, in a little under 30mins we are about to head downstairs for the welcome meeting for our week of yoga here in denia, Spain. Andy dubbed it yoga camp of course, and is eager to suss out the competition. The meeting includes refreshments before our first yoga session, do you think these are refreshments of the cocktail variety? Here's hoping!
We'll track andys progress and keep you informed - let's call this one "before".

O' Valencia!

Excited we arrive, a little lighter, but en Espana nonetheless! Yes, Ryan air, cheap little beauties they are - but tough on their excess baggage rules. Happy to entertain, we "cleansed" our backpacks for all to see at the check-in desk. After our first tasty authentic tapas meal at the airport we caught a bus two hours south to Denia.
We arrived at 11pm, a little tired and ill prepared - I didn't have the hotel address written anywhere. You can imagine, bus station, 11pm = not so glamorous part of town. With neither of us willing to sense or scout out this hotel, we call a cab. The cab was more than happy to come and transport us the two blocks he could before we reached the pedestrianized zone wherein our hotel lay! Another day on the road with the castors!!

To be sure we enjoyed tasty fresh Valencia orange juice this morning.
The Spanish tiles are all so beautiful. The hotel is a restored manor, below is the pretty bathroom tile!

More photos from our "test" bike ride

The bike trail followed this river the whole way.

Oh except for this little strech, it mostly followed the river.

Seconds before I went over the handle bars ending up in that river shown in the first photo.

You can always get a hold of us on skype. Just add brookecastor as your friend. If you don't get a hold of us just leave a text message and we'll call you from the next wifi spot. If it's not too late there.

Miss you all

Andy and Brooke

The Italian villa in Umbria

About a mile up the driveway was this amazing villa. It was great to see our MB friends and the 3days here were action packed. We are still waiting to find out how much that marble table imported from Singapore is going to cost. Luckly Brooke and I did not break it because I think it would be around half of our Europe budget.

This pool was really amazing. But the view was no good. Ha! I kid

Now it's off to Spain for the Yoga adventure.

Sanary sur mere

I first visited this seaside town in January 1994, it was great fun to return 15 years later with andy and a few more scraps of French to pull together a sentence or two. Other than us, only French tourists in town - a good test to get me back into gear with the language. Sanary is close to Toulon, bordering Provence and the French riviera.

Monday, June 15, 2009

La dolce vita

Sweet life it was, staying on this little farm where the host shared a drink with us in his cellar, of his wine from the barrel - proscuitto for andy right off the bone, olive oil poured fresh for us and as many cherries as we could pick!!


Return to italia!

Off the night train, straight to the airport via that little tower in Pisa with all our belongings - to pick up a rental car. Following two days were spent rambling around the picturesque Tuscan countryside.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More fun

Ok, yesterday was a pretty fun Brooke day. We're staying in a little village outside of Avignon, in Provence and I decided it was well worth the splurge to take a little wine tasting trip around the cote du rhone region. To both our delight, we were the only ones on the trip - so we were chauffered around the provencal countryside tasting wine into the evening. It was beautiful, however it's a little too early in the season for lavender blooms and sunflowers. We spent most of our time in chateau neuf du pape which was pretty special for me as I can remember learning about this wine in one of my first French lectures at uni, before we learnt any new vocab! So - these grapes are grown with pebbles scattered over the top layer of soil - serving as a blanket for the crops in the evening, releasing warmth from the days sun. Also these grapes must be harvested by hand and cannot be irrigated - the roots must find the water source - geeky, boring, I know! But they tasted pretty awesome. To complete the experience we had an eccentric French guy guiding us through the tasting - correcting us along the way and giving us a good education on tasting- watch out next time we're tasting with you - we're sure to embarrass with our slurping and swirling style!! Chin chin!!

Je m'appelle Andre

Food's great, wine is cheap and andy has a personal translator. He no longer thinks about the basketball games he's missing - he now concentrates his time perfecting the moves on his rollerblades. Oui oui, c'est parfait!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Next Stop France

Italy was pretty amazing, especialy the hiking we did here in Cinque Terre. Beautiful views such as this one as we hiked from town to town.

Prices however are starting to rise as we are now in full tourist season so dining out has been cut back. Not to worry though fellow readers, the food at the local supermarkets has been amazing.

And the wine grown right here in these hills is pretty hard to beat as well.

On the train right now. Brooke's trying to get some sleep but it's not going very well. She'll be less than pleased if she sees this photo of herself as well.
More from France!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Change in plans. Now we are in Rome

On the ferry over from Dubrovnik, Croatia we met a bunch of fellow backpackers that were driving to Rome that night. Driving to make their morning flight back to new York from Rome, that is! So when the ferry got in at midnight (after being delayed for 3 hours) we decided (ie; captain adventure aka mr castor couldnt resist the adventure), to drive with them to Rome. We arrived in Rome at 5 in the morning with no plan and nowhere to stay. But it all worked out.
Right now we are in the hotel and dead tired from walking all over the place. We were extremely lucky that this hotel has had the best bed and shower on the trip this far!

Here we are at the Colosseum. Just outside a huge crowd had assembled for the winners circle of the cycle race. So while we were walking into the Colosseum the crowd outside was cheering for the champions. It was pretty impactful.

The Vatican

The Sistine Chaple. We were a bit exhausted at this point because it took around 3 hours in the tour to get to this point but still pretty amazing. Actually I take it back Michelangelo is a hack!! Haha