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Posted in: Home / Archives for April 2007

Surfing in Hawaii? No! Go to Lanzarote!!

Have you ever surfed the Canarian Pipeline? Do you want to learn Spanish and surf in one of the most beautiful places in Spain? Well, you should come to Lanzarote then!

Being from the Canary Islands and loving surfing as I do, I have visited Lanzarote many times, and from my personal experience, I can assure you that you will have one of the best surfing sessions of your life if you visit this amazing island. You can’t know what surfing really means until you surf these epic waves!

Lanzarote is a fantastic, very beautiful and peaceful volcanic island which has some of the best spots in the Canaries, certainly in Europe, and probably in the world! (for more info about Lanzarote, visit this page).

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A month in Provence

Aix-en-Provence is, without a doubt, my favourite place in the whole of France! It’s not often that somewhere exceeds all of the swishy romantic ideals you have about it… Aix-en-Provence did! It took me less than 12 hours to fall utterly in love with the place.

It is so beautiful, and scenic, and rustic, and quaint, but also so full of life and culture – it is just so FRENCH! In truth, before I arrived, my education on Provence came mainly from reading A Year In Provence and watching Jean de Florette, so as you can imagine, I was expecting nothing less than cobbled streets bathed in golden sunshine, splashing sounds of water fountains at every turn and the smell of freshly baked baguettes to follow me everywhere. But shockingly that is EXACTLY what I found in Aix! It is a bustling university city and does have everything your typical 21st century westerner ‘needs’, (ie. Internet café, public transport… The Gap), but quite honestly, wandering through the old town you couldn’t be blamed for thinking you had been transported 100 years back in time.

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Biarritz: why you should learn French by the sea!

Are you considering learning French in a seaside location? Then look no further than Biarritz! The sea is a gorgeous aquamarine colour, and it’s also one of Europe’s most popular surf spots. Indeed, if you’re a surfer or you’re interested in learning how to surf, you can do so at the French school in Biarritz.

Did you know Biarritz was where surfing as we know it all started, in 1856? It’s an ideal location for surfers throughout the year, including beginners, and this is not surprising when you see how big the waves are. They are definitely the biggest I have ever seen in the south of France. I absolutely adore Biarritz, and have been going back there every year since childhood as I’m lucky enough to have family there!

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A German course in Hamburg – a very curious experience!

Tell anyone that you’re visiting Hamburg, and chances are that they will say something like ‘Ah, the Reeperbahn!’ often accompanied with a smile and a wink! However, although Hamburg’s infamous red light district is undoubtedly an important part of Hamburg’s character (actively promoted by the tourist board) there is so much more to see and do in this wonderful city!

Getting to Hamburg is easy. The low cost airlines generally fly to Lubeck which is an hour’s drive from Hamburg by shuttle bus (or approximately half that time if you get a lift as I did in a big BMW and take the autobahn!). You can also see pictures and information on the German language school in Hamburg I visited.

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Going to Paris? Take a trip up the Eiffel Tower!

If you’re considering a French course in Paris, just listen to a Parisian born and raised!

I had not gone up the Eiffel Tower since I was 6, and my goddaughter, who came to Paris for the first time during the Christmas holidays, asked me to take her.

The Eiffel Tower is always popular. The day we went, although the weather was not very good (it was so windy that they had to close the top floor), there were still plenty of people queuing to catch the lifts.

Even from the 2nd floor, there are breathtaking views over Paris. You can see the River Seine and the bateaux-mouches pleasure boats, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe and Montmartre hill with its Basilica of Sacré Coeur.

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A Night Out in….. Shanghai!

Shanghai’s night life is simply fantastic! You’ll find nightclubs, bars and KTV-bars everywhere you go in the city.

The first thing that strikes you when you are out and about at night is the prices of the drinks. If you go to a club or bar in Shanghai, you pay around 50 RMB for a beer (approximately 5 euros), which is not bad at all!

Karaoke is huge in Asia, so don’t forget to try it whilst you’re in Shanghai! There are lots of karoke bars (KTV bars) in Shanghai. One night I decided, together with some of the other students from the Chinese school in Shanghai, to go to a KTV bar in Xu Jia Hui, a modern area in the Xu Hui district. This is a huge district with a lot of stores and shopping malls.

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Studying in Lisbon? An insider’s guide to going out…

If you want to go out at night in Lisbon, there is no better place then Bairro Alto! This amazing part of the city has something for every taste!

I’d recommend you start the night at one of the Bairro Alto’s fantastic Portuguese restaurants. Whilst you’re eating, you can relax and listen to the popular live Fado music in the restaurant. I like the ‘Tasca do Chico’, ‘Café Luso‘ and ‘Adega Mesquita’. If you fancy something lighter, try a ‘francesinha’ or a ‘prego’ whilst listening to jazz music in ‘Capela’ pub!

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Why Montreal is my dream city!

I have never in my life been to a place that screamed at me “Come to live here”… until I went to Montreal! It is AWESOME!

Even though I had never been to Montreal before, I wasn’t expecting to find it much different to the cities I know in the US. Boy was I wrong! After 5 minutes of being there and despite the fact that Montreal is bilingual, you are still in no doubt that the city is utterly French… yet it’s still quite different to any French city. It’s completely unique!

Honestly, I’m sure there cannot be another place in the world where you can sit in a ‘resto-bar’ with a name like ‘Le Vieux Dublin’, enjoy a European beer while watching Les Canadiens play ice hockey against the Boston Bruins with commentary in French, then pop to the brasserie next door for a dinner of Quebec cheeses, foie-gras, and veal burgers!

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What it’s like to be a student in Shanghai

Ever been to Shanghai….? YOU SHOULD! It is a great and modern city and there are a lot of things to do. From shopping, nice bars/restaurants and a great nightlife, to sightseeing and museums, Shanghai has got it all!

My name is Daniel and I took a language course in Shanghai last summer. I loved the city. When you are a student in a big and strange city, you want to explore everything…so that is what I did!

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Venice: why you shouldn’t read the guidebooks

Venice is incredible! My first words of advice to anyone going there – don’t read too many guidebooks and don’t listen to too many people who have already been there.

Before I arrived I had heard warnings of how expensive everything would be, how many tourists I would find, that the water is smells in summer, you need to take a boat to get anywhere… blah blah blah.

Go to Venice with an open mind and you won’t notice any of these things because you are simply too distracted by how AMAZING the place is!

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