Welcome back, everyone! We’re glad to have you here for episode number two. I am so pleased to introduce you to my good friend, Josie Marsel. We met while both working in Seoul, Korea. Actually, that isn’t quite correct. We didn’t get into the details on the podcast, but we actually met on a night bus from Bangkok to Josh Shangnan, Thailand. While waiting to board the bus, I was speaking to other random travellers when we found that there were other teachers from Seoul on the same trip as us. We chatted and when we arrived to the ferry in the morning, went our separate ways. Months later, at a house party in Seoul, lo and behold, Josh walks in with mutual friends of ours. We laughed at the serendipity and made plans to hang out again and this was the beginning of our friendship. Time has brought Josh to Aix-en provence, France and a wealth of travel tips. Here are some of the key points from our conversation together!
We began the podcast joking about the difference in time zones. Although I usually ask Google with the simple phrase “What time is it in ______?” you can also check out this world time zone map. It really gives you a good perspective on world time. I always found it so hard to acclimatize to calling my parents on their morning which was my late night in Asia.
” In 102 BC its neighbourhood was the scene of the Battle of Aquae Sextiae when Romans under Gaius Marius defeated the Cimbri and Teutones, with m ass suicides among the captured women, which passed into Roman legends of Germanic heroism.” (Wikipedia)
Among the most notable are the 17th-century Fontaine des Quatre Dauphins (Fountain of the Four Dolphins) in the Quartier Mazarin, designed by Jean-Claude Rambot, and three of the fountains down the central Cours Mirabeau: At the top, a 19th-century fountain depicts the “good king” René holding the Muscat grapes that he introduced to Provence in the 15th century; halfway down is a natural hot water fountain (34 °C), covered in moss, dating back to the Romans; and at the bottom at la Rotonde, the hub of modern Aix, stands a monumental fountain from 1860 beneath three giant statues representing art, justice and agriculture. In the older part of Aix, there are also fountains of note in the Place d’Albertas and the Place des Trois-Ormeaux.” (Wikipedia)
FOOD IN AIX-EN-PROVENCE
I spoke about what kind of must-have-food is popular in the Aix-en-Provence area. Really, as you may well know, France is such a culinary hotspot that there are many foods done incredibly well, and that we live in such a global society now that some areas of the world are such a melting pot of different world cuisines. Josh explained that people should try Calissons, which are a type of candy which is made from ground almond and a type of candied fruit. This is a specialty to the area. I’d be curious if any of you globetrotters have tried this!
Another type of food Josh spoke of is ‘bouillabaisse’. It is an expensive fish stew dish famous in the southern region of France, It originates from the port city of Marseille, and as Josh stated, if you find it for under sixty euros, it most likely came from a can.
“Bouillabaisse originally was a stew made by Marseille fishermen using the bony rockfish which they were unable to sell to restaurants or markets. There are at least three kinds of fish in a traditional bouillabaisse: typically red rascasse (Scorpaena scrofa); sea robin (fr: grondin); and European conger (fr: congre). It can also include gilt-head bream (fr: dorade); turbot; monkfish (fr: lotte or baudroie); mullet; or European hake (fr: merlan). It usually also includes shellfish and other seafood such as sea urchins (fr: oursins), mussels (fr: moules); velvet crabs (fr: étrilles); spider crab (fr:araignées de mer) or octopus. More expensive versions may add langoustine (European lobster), though this was not part of the traditional dish made by Marseille fishermen. Vegetables such as leeks, onions, tomatoes, celery, and potatoes are simmered together with the broth and served with the fish. The broth is traditionally served with a rouille, a mayonnaise made of olive oil, garlic, saffron, and cayenne pepper on grilled slices of bread.” (Wikipedia)
While I’m not exactly entranced by fish soups, I’d love to try it..but I think I’ll stick to the can version first, as 60 euros is pretty steep.
I spoke about some of the interesting ways to learn languages while abroad. The best possible way, we find, is to be totally immersed into an environment where they speak the language. We are going to speak about this in the future so I will link to Google Translate here for both iOS and Android. You can also check it out on the web here
Josh invited us to speak about Cinque Terre, a beautiful rugged coast on the Italian riviera.
“It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia. “The Five Lands” comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. The Cinque Terre areais a very popular tourist destination.
The villages of the Cinque Terre were severely affected by torrential rains which caused floods and mudslides on October 25, 2011. Nine people were confirmed killed by the floods, and damage to the villages, particularly Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare, was extensive.” (Wikipedia)
WHAT IS A ‘PENSION’?
We spoke about staying at pensions when travelling abroad. The best way to describe a pension is like a guest house that you are able to rent. It is a great way to stay, rather than a corporate type hotel. It’s very similar to a bed and breakfast. Always make sure to research reviews of these types of accommodation on websites like Trip Advisor, or the specific pension’s social networking page. Staying in a pension has been so rewarding for us, and gives a unique perspective on local life.
WHEN TRAVELLING, TRY TO START AT WHAT IS PERCEIVED AT THE ‘END’ OF THE PATH AND WORK YOUR WAY FORWARD. THIS WAY YOU WILL BENEFIT BY GOING AGAINST CONVENTIONS. KEEP IN MIND, THIS WON’T ALWAYS WORK, AS SOME SITES ARE DEVELOPED IN A WAY TO WORK IN A BEGINNING TO END PROGRESSION TO TELL A STORY. DO YOUR RESEARCH AND YOU MIGHT SAVE A LOT OF TIME AND HASSLE.
Now, we aren’t talking about doing your stretches. Although, that may help! We talked about the pro’s and con’s of having a fixed versus sliding schedual while travelling. One of the most difficult things we find with traveling is that you want to save money, and you do so by booking your tickets far enough in advance. However, what happens is that you’re stuck on that time schedule and in the time frame you’ve set. You have to leave a certain place in a certain day to make that flight or train. You never know who you might to meet when travelling, or what you might see that you did not anticipate, until you go are at your destination, so you really have to be flexible. So, make sure when you are travelling to a certain area, that you leave some flexibility to really maximize your experience if you are able to.
WHAT’S IN JOSH’S TRAVEL BAG?
Josh gave us a great tip, something that most people might gloss over in today’s modern way of travelling. Today, to travel without a mobile phone or computer is commonplace, but as we know, these items run out of batteries, can be damaged, and also are vulnerable to theft as they are coveted items. What Josh makes sure she travels with is a notebook! What better way to capture your experience than to journal your trip for a few minutes every night before bed.
One of my largest regrets of when I was living overseas is that I didn’t journal enough. When I look back on what I did journal, it fills the emptiness in my memory of things I was doing, what I felt, who I met, far more than a photo could.
Having a pen and paper could help you more than an mobile phone. Writing someone a little thank you note, or leaving someone your details when you are switching hostels. Who knows who you might meet from a different country who’s phone number or information you’d like to write down. You can use a notebook to even learn key phrases as your traveling. I used a little moleskin journal when I was in Thailand in and I found that to be really really helpful. The good part about a notebook is that it always works!
IN YOUR TRAVEL NOTEBOOK, WRITE CONTACT NUMBER OF YOUR BANK SO THAT IF YOU YOUR CARD GETS LOST OR STOLEN, YOU CAN CALL THEM IMMEDIATELY. ALSO WRITE THE DETAILS OF A CLOSE CONTACT SHOULD YOU BE INJURED, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER PERTINENT INFORMATION A PERSON MIGHT NEED. PLAN AHEAD!
I spoke about some of her experience with travel scams in France. Here is a short video clip regarding the type of con she spoke of on the streets, where a card game can leave you penniless. Stay away from card games on the street!
Here is The Ring/Reward scam I spoke of:
Here is a different version of the ring scam, which actually took place in Paris. Instead of a shopkeeper losing the money, the victim is you, the tourist, who is led to believe by the con artist, has found your ring. The tourist feels that they are getting a ‘their’ gold ring, and compensates the con artist. The ring is a fake plant, and you were hustled. This video actually takes place in Paris. My description doesn’t do the video justice. Watch below, and click ‘skip’ at the top if you do not want to read the explanation.
I don’t want everybody to feel like people are always have get you but it’s hard to see the whole picture when you’re in its always trust your gut and take a few steps back if things don’t feel right make sure you have a friend nearby and really really reassess what is happening. Josh told us about the goodwill of a local person who found her identification after having been stolen. She lost a bit of money, but the more important things were there. Keep aware of your belongings, and don’t let these situations stop you from experiencing new places. The best advice I can give is to use your best judgement and keep your belongings close!
KEEP A CARD OR NOTE IN YOUR WALLET WITH YOUR PERSONAL CONTACT INFORMATION (OR THE PLACE WHERE YOUR ARE STAYING) WRITTEN ON THE INSIDE. IF YOUR WALLET OR PURSE UNFORTUNATELY GOES MISSING, YOU MAY BE ABLE TO GET YOUR PERSONAL ITEMS BACK!
The safekeeping of your personal documents is one of the most essential way to effortlessly travel. Something that we will be covering in a later podcast and blog post is how you can easily make additional digital backups of some of your key documentation by making a USB which has scans of your personal information so that if you lose everything you still have a digital file that you could you take to your local consulate so that they can need a look of your information and maybe give you some documentation in lieu of your situation. We will teach you how to password protect this so that only you can open your digital multi tool. A failure to plan is a plan to fail.
BUDGET FLIGHTS IN EUROPE
The website we were speaking of for low cost domestic flights is RyanAir.com. This seems to be one of the better places to find flights throughout Europe. Make sure to read the fine print though, especially when it comes to luggage. The flight won’t be so cheap when you have to pay double the ticket price because you wanted to bring that extra suitcase. Also, make sure to cross check flight costs with other great budget searches like CheapoAir.com. Always make sure to check out the other ways you can travel to a destination. Faster isn’t always better.