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  • Misadventures

    I am as guilty of wanderlust as anyone. I can scroll through travel photos on Pinterest for hours making plans for future trips, envying the exciting adventures of other travels. But the truth is, travel isn’t always wonderful and amazing. Like anything else, it has its ups and downs.

    I recently read this inspiring post from Creatrice Mondial about travel envy and I definitely recommend checking it out. As someone who’s always eager for the next adventure, I often forget to appreciate and explore what’s already around me. I also tend to forget about some of my traveling mishaps, and so,  I decided to share some of my misadventures.

    Please keep in mind that I know other travelers have had far more difficult travel experiences than I have and I am in no way making light of their stories. I have been extremely blessed to have mostly amazing travel experiences.

    1. That time I forgot my passport and had to pay a fee to reschedule my flight for the next day. When I first began traveling alone as an adult, I had to learn some things the hard way (including making sure that your passport is on your packing list). I can be rather forgetful and on this one occasion, I managed to leave my passport behind on a trip to Canada from the US. I ended up having to reschedule my flight because I couldn’t get back to the airport the same day. My friends had dropped me off and I had to call them to come back and get me. It was a pretty humbling experience.

    2. That time I got food poisoning. As a teenager, I visited Mexico with my parents via Club Med. We were staying at one of the resorts and even though we only ate at the hotel restaurants, I ended up with the worst food poisoning of my life. It was from eating a tomato/mozzarella salad. I still find it difficult to eat either of those things – for several years I couldn’t eat them at all.

    3. That time we only had 3 hours in our destination city. My roommates and I made a day trip to Scotland from Ireland and we decided to take the ferry. On that particular day, however, we were hit with pretty terrible weather and it caused delays for both our boat and our buses. By the time we got to Glasgow, we only had three hours to enjoy our trip before we had to make our way back to the boat.

    4. That time we were stuck in a 500 person village with no transport out. While living in Ireland, a friend and I decided to take a trip out to the Marble Arch Caves. Once again, due to the weather, they were closed and so we ended up stuck in Belcoo  (the buses only passed through the town 2 or 3 times a day). The street we were on only had two shops open – the market and the hotel bar. We ended up spending the day wandering around the village and consuming coffee and shortbread cookies at the bar.

    5. That time I had to trudge through a foot of snow with my body weight in luggage to the train station. I was scheduled to fly to California from Ireland for Christmas and the night before my flight there was a snowstorm. I had to walk through it to the train station (I didn’t have a phone and couldn’t call a cab) while dragging my enormous suitcase/sax/flute/backpack full of textbooks with me. When I arrived at the airport, we were told our flight was delayed. A few hours later it was cancelled. Then it was rerouted through Dublin so I spent nearly an hour in the snow waiting for the bus and then several hours on it driving down to Dublin. I finally got on a plane that was almost 8 hours after I was originally scheduled to fly back and I missed my connection due to the delays. The airline would not pay for a hotel so I had to camp out in a McDonalds with a coffee and my term paper until the terminals opened the next morning and I could check-in for my connection flight.

    6. That time someone tried to rob my mother and I on the train. They placed a map on our table to try to distract us with questions about directions while they tried to steal my mom’s purse underneath it. I had heard similar stories in the past and so I told my mother to grab her purse and wrap her arms around it in her lap. They ended up leaving almost immediately after.

    7. That time someone sat down at our table and began to help herself to our food. When I was younger, I was out at a restaurant with my parents. While we were eating, a stranger joined us at our table and began to eat some of our food, picking things off of our plates. While she did this, she went on and on about how great the food was at that restaurant and how gracious the staff. We thought we were being pranked, but it turns out we weren’t. She continued to hop from table to table doing this until the staff caught up with her and kicked her out of the restaurant.

    8. Mosquitoes. We got our fair share of them in both Venice and Malaysia and even with vaccines, our skin reacted to them far worse than any mosquitoes in France or the US.

    9. Chillblains. I am not a huge fan of wearing gloves and I paid for it while living in Ireland. If it’s cold – protect your hands!

    Regardless of however difficult some of my travel experiences may have been, I would do it all over again if I had the chance. Not only were they great learning experiences, but they also make great stories and great memories with friends. The friend who ended up stuck in the small with me and I often joke about our failed trip and it’s a great memory we share.

    These are just a few of my misadventures – I’d love to hear about some of yours in the comments! Maybe I’ll share a few more.

    October 27, 2019 • Travel • Views: 439

  • Need a Language Breakthrough? Discover the Power of Language Retreats

    So you’ve been flirting with Spanish.

    When people ask you how long this has been going on, you tell them it’s been about a year or two, your eyes glued to the floor.

    The truth is, you barely have enough courage to order at your favorite taco stand in Spanish!

    If there were a way to kickstart your language learning would you take it? How about if you were stuck in the intermediate plateau and have yet to make any conversational breakthroughs?

    Or maybe you’ve lived in a Spanish-speaking country for a while with the hopes that being forcibly immersed would lead to a transformation in your fluency.

    But it hasn’t.

    Let’s Rethink Immersion

    Immersion is often spoken of as the ideal way to learn a language.

    While this is true for a child who seems to learn in an effortless manner, attaining staggering results in just a few short months, for you, as an adult, this isn’t the case. Instead, it can be a brutal ride with many moments of embarrassment or feeling like a failure.

    This has nothing to do with age, but rather well, life — the responsibilities one assumes as an adult.

    Let’s be honest, moving to a new country is never easy.

    There’s so much to do! Getting the house set up, finding a new circle of friends, understanding this new foreign culture, the list goes on and on!

    At times you may feel quite vulnerable and the truth is that for some, your language may be the only comfort zone you have left.

    Even if you don’t move to another country, the same still holds true.

    The last thing you want to do when getting home from a day of work is putting in an hour to study a language you don’t even use at work!

    I know for myself by the time I finished work, spent time with my family and put my son to bed at 8:00 PM, language learning was out of the question.

    It may be considered lazy by some, but all I wanted to do was have a nice glass of wine and relax…

    This is where the power of language retreats comes in.

    Language Retreats Change Lives

    “A change of pace plus a change of place equals a change of perspective.” -Mark Batterson

    Meet Jerome.

    He was happily living in France and enjoying his job as a mergers/acquisitions attorney.

    Then the unexpected happened.

    He was told he would have to relocate to Shanghai and learn English within the next 6 months.

    His company hired him a language coach to come to the office every other day, but with the distractions of work and meetings that often ran longer than expected, his progress was not anywhere near what he needed.

    Jerome was given three weeks to visit the French countryside distraction-free and immerse himself in English.

    He spent the time wondering through chateaus, touring the vineyards and enjoying all of the wonderful food France has to offer.

    If you asked him before the retreat, he would have never thought what happened next would be possible. On the fourth morning, he came down to breakfast and admitted he had even dreamt in English that night!

    This was the distraction free space that he needed.

    Because he was relaxed and enjoying his time, he forgot that he was learning for work and because of this, made staggering progress.

    This is what a retreat offers you.

    A retreat immerses you in a language. And it does it in an amazing vacation-style setting with a small group of similar-minded people in a unique class prepared just for you.

    You may have been told that language learning needs to be fun because it maintains our concentration and thus propels our learning exponentially… And guess what>

    It’s true.

    Just think about it.

    How much faster would our learning be if kayaking, museum trips, and VIP treatment as we explore some of the areas best-kept secrets was all a part of the package?

    Because it can be!

    What Happens in a Language Retreat?

    The entire day is spent with your language coach. A person devoted to strengthening your command of the language and giving you the courage to speak in what will soon be an effortless manner.

    Each day includes classroom time with lessons perfect for your level and interests, mouth-watering meals and exciting activities which allow us to place emphasis on practical communication to help to develop fluency and confidence.

    Accent work, colloquial speech, cultural exchange, you got it!

    The best part is that all is done in a relaxed environment which not only helps you learn but also increases memory skills. The retreats are all customised to ensure you are learning things that are of interest to you.

    You may be thinking this will be costly, however, when you look at the results you get and what you would pay for a language coach on a weekly basis, you will soon see that not only are you getting a luxurious vacation for free, you may also be seeing some savings.

    Here’s what some past participants had to say “The language retreat was a life-changing experience and worth every cent.

    “...the week was full of laughter as well. I have years of experience in learning several languages with a number of different texts and resources, and I truly consider this retreat one of the best experiences I have ever had.

    The most astonishing point which gets the most amount of praise is the time that is no longer wasted.

    Rather than having time to forget things between lessons and not having the proper balance between theory and practical, you will see tremendous improvements throughout the week and a surprising burst of confidence.

    As said earlier, if you’re looking for something to kickstart your language learning or move you out of the stagnant language plateau, a language retreat is for you.

    Here’s a video interview with Fiel if you’d like to meet your coach beforehand.

    Ready to sign up?

    The next Spanish retreat is September 16 – 21, 2018 in San Diego, California with Fiel Sahir of the Between 3 Worlds podcast. For more information on upcoming retreats or to customize your own, contact Therese LaFleche or visit LaFleche Lingo.


    The above is a guest post from fellow language learner and musician Fiel Sahir, and host of the upcoming retreat. If you have any questions about the retreat, you can leave them for Fiel in the comments below!

    September 3, 2018 • Language Resources, Travel • Views: 301

  • International Festivals in Southern California | Experience the World Without the Plane Ticket

    Going abroad isn’t always possible, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on experiencing new foods, exciting music, or on exploring different cultures.

    Living in Southern California, I don’t have to go far to get a taste of what it might be like to visit Greece, Romania, or Lebanon. Various international festivals are held across Southern California throughout the year. This means that if I want to experience la dolce vita Italian-style, try out German beers, or indulge in different street foods, there are plenty of opportunities each month to do just that.

    Here are just a few of my favorite International Festivals in Southern California

    626 Night Market – Arcadia, CA

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on Jul 22, 2017 at 9:03pm PDT


    The 626 Night Market is an Asian-inspired night market. The vendors include a mix of food, crafts, merchandise, art, games, music, and more and the event sees as many as tens of thousands of attendees. It’s held at Santa Anita Park (a racecourse).

    Where: 
    285 W Huntington Dr
    Arcadia, CA 91007

    When: June- September

    More Information

    OC Night Market – Costa Mesa, CA

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on May 25, 2017 at 8:57pm PDT


    The OC Night Market is the smaller sibling to the 626 Night Market. It’s held at the OC Fairgrounds and features more than 200 food vendors, activities, and entertainment options.

    Where:
    88 Fair Dr
    Costa Mesa, CA 92626

    When: Spring & Summer

    More Information

    OC Greek Fest – Anaheim, CA

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on May 20, 2018 at 5:43pm PDT


    Held at St. John’s church in Anaheim, California is the OC Greek Fest. It’s both your standard pop-up fairgrounds (they have small rides and arcades), but with a Greek flair. The featured foods include everything from Loukoumades to Gyros, Baklava to Feta Fries.

    Where:
    405 N Dale Ave
    Anaheim, CA 92801

    When: May

    More Information

    Irvine Korean Festival

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on May 16, 2016 at 1:23pm PDT


    I first stumbled upon the Irvine Korean Festival by chance. A friend and I happened to be in the area when we drove past the event, so we decided to circle back. We were able to explore a variety of Korean arts and crafts, street foods, and music. 

    Where:
    1 Civic Center Plaza
    Irvine, CA 92606

    When: May

    More Information

    Little Saigon Night Market – Westminster, CA

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on Jul 25, 2017 at 5:58am PDT


    The Little Saigon Night Market is a Vietnamese-inspired night market held at the Asian Garden Mall in Westminster. The event is small, but the foods and entertainment at the event make it feel much larger. I definitely recommend the cakes and sugarcane drinks!

    Where:
    9200 Bolsa Ave
    Westminster, CA 92683

    When: June – September

    More Information

    La Dolce Vita – Laguna Niguel, CA

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy Sax (@sksaxgirl) on Oct 5, 2013 at 6:28pm PDT


    Stomping grapes was on my bucket list until I visited La Dolce Vita and had the chance to cross it off. Hosted near the infamous Ziggurat building in Laguna Niguel, this Italian festival features a collection of Italian vendors, foods, and music. Olive oil taste test anyone?

    Where:
    El Lazo
    Laguna Niguel, CA 92656

    When: Fall

    More Information

    Long Beach Greek Festival – Long Beach, CA

    The Long Beach Greek Festival showcases cooking demonstrations, shopping, dancing, live music, and food. Plus, they’re not far from the ocean! 

    Where:
    5761 East Colorado St
    Long Beach, CA 90814

    When: September

    More Information

    San Diego International Beer Festival – San Diego, CA

    Choose from over 400+ beers from more than 200 breweries around the world. Plus, they offer drinking games and contests as well as a look behind the scenes at the brewing process.

    Where:
    Del Mar Fairgrounds
    2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
    Del Mar, CA 92014

    When: June

    More Information

    California Irish Festival – Perris, CA

    Food trucks, live music and entertainment, and beer gardens are featured at the California Irish Festival in Upland, California. You can indulge in Irish nachos, corned beef boxty, or bangers and mash all while enjoying Irish music.

    Where:
    18700 Lake Perris Dr.
    Perris, CA 92571

    When: March

    More Information

    Alpine Village Oktoberfest – Torrance, CA

    Dedicated to German beer, food, and entertainment is the Alpine Village Oktoberfest in Torrance. Hosted at the Alpine Village, a Bavarian-style center with restaurants, shops, and more, the event is said to be the longest-running Oktoberfest in Los Angeles County.

    Where:
    19800 S Vermont Ave
    Torrance, CA 90502

    When: September – October

    More Information

    Taste of Greece – Irvine, CA

    Located at St. Paul’s Church in Irvine is the Taste of Greece Festival, a small, local event held each year and a nice way to spend the afternoon. You can enjoy Greek fare, music, and dancing – plus, take a free tour of the church.

    Where:
    4949 Alton Pkwy
    Saint Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church
    Irvine, CA 92604

    When: June

    More Information

    Irvine Global Village Festival – Irvine, CA

    The Irvine Global Village Festival features a little bit of everywhere, as true to its name. Across five stages it hosts more than 100 performances. Additionally, you can enjoy a variety of foods, activities, crafts, displays, and shopping.

    Where:
    6950 Marine Way
    Irvine, CA 92618

    When: September

    More Information

    Irish Fair & Music Festival – Irvine, CA

    The Orange County Great Park also hosts the Irish Fair & Musical Festival, a celebration of Irish-American culture and heritage. The event hosts a variety of sports, music, and it even has a spotlight on the Irish language.

    Where:
    6950 Marine Way
    Irvine, CA 92618

    When: June

    More Information

    Scottish Fest – Costa Mesa, CA

    Enjoy Highland dances, more than 400 pipers and drummers, Scottish sports, shopping, food and more at the Scottish Fest in Costa Mesa. It’s the perfect place to pick up a kilt.

    Where:
    88 Fair Dr
    Costa Mesa, CA 92626

    When: May

    More Information

    OC Lebanese Festival – Orange, CA

    Enjoy Lebanese cuisine, music, and even Hookah at the OC Lebanese Festival in Orange.

    Where:
    300 S Flower St
    Orange, CA 92868

    When: June

    More Information 

    Be Romanian for a Day – Rolling Hills Estates, CA

    Experience Romanian culture, food, and music at this annual festival in Rolling Hills Estates. There are costume exhibitions and opportunities to use the language with the Romanian expat community.

    Where:
    25851 Hawthorne Blvd
    Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274

    When: May

    More Information

    Lunar New Year Festival – Monterey Park, CA

    Experience Lunar New Year as a part of the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Festival. Enjoy food, entertainment and other activities spread out over five blocks.

    Where:
    1588 Corporate Center Drive
    Monterey Park, CA 91754

    When: January – February

    More Information

    Tet Festival – Costa Mesa, CA

    The Tet Festival is a Vietnamese-influenced festival held at the OC Fairgrounds each year to celebrate the lunar new year. With live entertainment, food, rides, and shopping, there’s plenty to see and do.

    Where:
    88 Fair Dr
    Costa Mesa, CA 92686

    When: February

    More Information

    International Festival at Soka University – Aliso Viejo, CA

    For nearly two decades, Soka University has hosted its International Festival. Its vendors include a variety of crafts, foods, entertainment, and activities.

    Where:
    1 University Drive
    Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

    When: May

    More Information

    Pro Tips for Attending these Events:

    • Many of the venues and vendors are cash only, so come prepared.
    • Be sure to drink lots of water! It’s important to keep cool and hydrated, especially in crowded, warm, and lively areas.
    • Be adventurous. Try foods that might be outside what you’d normally eat, sit down and take in the entertainment, and enjoy the activities offered.

    July 14, 2018 • Travel • Views: 180

  • The Riverwalk | Things to Do In San Antonio, Texas

    San Antonio, Texas is known for many things. It’s home to the Alamo, the Natural Bridge Caverns, and historic manners. But one story beneath the streets of the city, you’ll find a lively, bustling scene. It’s here that the San Antonio Riverwalk, a commercial development of a bend in the city’s river protected from flooding by the Olmas Dam.

    The construction was completed in the 1940s and the first restaurant, Casa Rio opened in 1946. Since, the area has been expanded and improved. It now hosts dozens of restaurants, hotels, shops, a museum, and even an outdoor theater. 

    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste

    Visitors to the Riverwalk can take a boat tour, stroll along the walkways, or decompress with a margarita at a table by the water. The Riverwalk also features numerous events throughout the year including parades and Fiesta Noche Del Rio. 

    I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Riverwalk on two occasions – the first for a brief lunch along the water, but the second more extensively. 

    While attending an event at the nearby event center, the Riverwalk was an easy destination for meals and as a relaxing place to stroll while winding down at the end of the day. Many of the restaurants boast discounted drinks and housemade salsa, and there’s no shortage of choice if you’re craving TexMex or BBQ. 

    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste

    But there are other options if you’re searching for an “off the tourist track” brunch or even Meditteranean fare. 

    Texas is known for being hot and humid, so I definitely recommend dressing comfortably for the heat, donning a pair of good walking shoes and keeping a bottle (or two) of water with you. 

    The Riverwalk is certainly a “must see” when in San Antonio.

    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste

    What about you?

    What are some of the tourist areas you’ve been to that you just couldn’t miss?

    I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. 

    June 21, 2018 • Travel • Views: 189

  • Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next)

    Paraguay is a wonderful country so often skipped or passed through quickly on multi-country trips to the region. But that’s a shame as the place has a lot to offer. Take the capital for example, Asunción.

    It’s not quite as huge and daunting as other capitals in the region, and can easily be enjoyed in a couple of days like a local if you follow this guide.

    Day One – City Streets and a River Beach

    Your Asunción adventure will likely start in the centre of the city. Day one of this guide will show you the best the city centre has to offer.

    The centre of Asunción won’t take long to discover. It’s easily doable in a morning.

    Start your day by admiring the cathedral and head out in any direction towards the centre in search of some of the great street art that adorns the city walls. Along the way, you’ll encounter the general city life of Asunción and perhaps even get lost in your own little corner of the city.

    All roads lead to Lido though and you’ll want to head back for lunch towards the main plaza, which consists of four plazas, where you’ll find Lido Bar on the corner of Plaza Pública de los Héroes. Lido is on the corner where streets Chile and Palma meet. (The other plazas that make up the four are Plaza de la Libertad, Plaza de la Democracia, and Plaza Pública Juan E. O’Leary.)

    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste

    Lido Bar is something of a local institution and a great spot for people watching at lunch alongside some traditional Paraguayan fare on your table.

    You’ll notice that among the milanesas and empanadas adorning the menu, there’s perhaps some words that look unfamiliar to Spanish. These are Guarani words, an indigenous language that lives alongside Spanish in the country.

    Some dishes with Guarani names to look out for at Lido Bar include chipa guasu, a savory ‘cake’ like dish with a cheesy flavour, and vori vori, a cheesy soup with cornmeal balls.

    Once you’re pleasantly full of delicious Paraguayan food, if you’re intrigued to learn more about Guarani, El Lector on the corner of Plaza Uruguaya just a few blocks down is the place to go. They stock a small selection of Guarani books from grammar guides and dictionaries to full on courses. It’s better than anything I found available to buy online before I came away.

    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste

    After the morning in the centre, it’s time to head a little further out. The centre of Asunción is bordered by river, so there’s still space for a beach in this landlocked country!

    The costanera is a relatively pleasant spot for an afternoon stroll and after posing for a selfie at the big “Asunción” letters, take some time for a sit on the beach itself after all your sightseeing of the morning! Grab a fresh coconut and relax as you watch the sunset across the river.

    Day Two – Shopping Malls and Park Strolls

    If you’re staying in the centre, at first Asunción may seem like a crumbling Latin American city, but venturing into the suburbs is a must to discover a whole new side to the place. On day two, we’re going to do just that!

    Take the 30 bus up Avenida Espana (take care to read the card tucked in the bottom of the window as some 30 buses take Avenida Mariscal Lopez instead of Espana) and you’ll pass plenty of shops, car dealerships, and even a TGI Fridays. You’ll notice instantly it’s very different to the centre!

    Get off at Shopping Del Sol to experience a side of Asunción you maybe didn’t expect. After a stroll and perhaps a drink in there, head out towards the two wavy glass towers. Beneath, you’ll find Paseo La Galeria, another mall with a cinema, Mundo Cartoon Network and plenty of shops and restaurants.

    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste
    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste

    Cafe Martinez and Havanna are my personal favourites for great coffee and cake stops. Martinez lets you pick your coffee bean while Havanna sells super tasty alfajores.

    From here, you can either pull over another 30 bus (or most going in the direction of the city centre) to head back down Espana the way you came – now I’m going to take you to my favourite cafe in Asunción!

    Alternatively, you can walk back down too as it’s not too far, and you’ll get a taste of street life in this hot capital.

    When you spot that TGI Friday’s I mentioned, turn left opposite it down Malutin and you’ll find yourself heading into a quiet, pretty network of streets.

    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste
    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste

    El Cafe De Aca is a great spot for a range of drinks and traditional Paraguayan food and snacks as well as more international fare. Head out back for a table in their relaxing courtyard to really enjoy an hour or so in peace.

    My favourites on offer here include an ice cold terere, the yerba mate based drink you will have seen everyone carrying around with flasks and a cup by now; cocido, the hot and sweet version of yerba mate; mbeju, a cheese stuffed flat savory ‘pancake’ covered with yuca starch; and their warm tasty yuca chips!

    After you roll out of El Cafe De Aca, stuffed to the brim with mbeju, chipa guasu, and sopa paraguaya, it’s a short walk from here to Parque De La Salud.

    Take a form of ID with you as you’ll need to show it to enter and exit the park, but it’s free to enter and totally worth it to cool off in the afternoon heat as the 1.5km path of the park is relatively shaded from the sun.

    Not only that but the trees are labeled with their names in Guaraní – so you’ll get a little language lesson too!

    Head out the entrance and turn left and you’ll soon spot God’s Pan, a bakery with cakes as good as its pun name. If you’re hungry for more than cake, they also have a buffet style restaurant available at the back.

    If you’re heading back into the city to your hotel, Avenida Espana is a short walk from the park and you can catch most buses going in the direction of the centre.

    Another option on the park front is the Botanical Gardens, 2km north of Parque de la Salud.

    There’s a relatively spacious zoo, a small natural history museum, and plenty of open nature to escape from the traffic for a moment or two.

    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste
    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste

    Where To Go After Asunción

    After a couple of days in Asunción, it’s definitely worth venturing further into Paraguay to discover more about this often ignored land.

    The bus station is around 5km from the centre and a great jumping off point for the rest of the country. If you’re unsure where to head next, here’s a few ideas…

    San Bernadino

    A simple day trip from Asunción or longer if you fancy getting away from the city for a night or two, San Ber as it’s lovingly referred to by locals is a lovely spot to see how locals relax.

    Watch the kite surfers on the lake, stroll the main drag and grab an ice cream or take the bus along the road out towards Altos to stumble across one of my favourite souvenir spots in the country.

    As you follow the road out of San Ber towards Altos, look out the right side of the window for a small house with bright wooden parrots and other arty pieces for sale out front. I got two handmade parrots from this lovely man, for 10,000 each, one of which is now snug in his new home of my mother’s plant pot!

    Encarnación

    This city is known as the Pearl of the South, and with good reason. It’s a pleasant centre to stroll and grab some food but the real highlight is the river beachfront overlooking Posadas in Argentina on the other side.

    You can even visit Argentina easily for the day by taking the bus or, even easier, the train across the bridge for just 10,000 guarani (yes, their money is called ‘guarani’ too!).

    Of course, remember your passport and ensure that the officer stamps you out of Paraguay and back in on your return at the immigration booth on the Argentinian side.

    Trinidad and Jesuit Missions

    An easy half day trip from Encarnacion, Trinidad is a beautiful place.

    The Jesuits came here not long after the Spanish to convert the local Guarani population to Christianity and their presence here changed the shape of the language forever because they were the first to write the language down as it had been an oral language beforehand.

    The ruins of the missions that remain are a real sight to behold and photograph beautifully on a sunny day. The red copper tones of the brick against the blue sky and green grass makes for stunning photos even if you don’t consider yourself a photographer.

    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste
    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste

    Ciudad Del Este

    A bustling city full of cheap goods that Brazilians and Argentinians flock across the border for. The real draw to visit here is the Itaipu Dam and Iguazu Falls that you can visit easily from the Brazilian or Argentinian side.

    El Chaco

    If you really want to get off the beaten track, El Chaco is the wild frontier you’re after. There’s plenty of adventure awaiting you in the dusty land of El Chaco.

    I hope this post has inspired you to spend a little time in Paraguay. Whether you’re passing through on a multi-country trip or looking for a relatively tourist-free country to explore, Paraguay has a lot to offer.

    And a few words of Guarani won’t go amiss either. Even just telling locals I was learning the language made us friends!

    If you want to learn more about Guarani, the final episode in series one of Language Stories is a good place to start. To listen to the podcast and watch the sister video episode, click here now.

    Have you ever visited Paraguay? Where did you go? If you haven’t, are you interested after reading this? Share in the comments!

    A big thanks to Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages for sharing her experience in Paraguay! You can find more information on Lindsay and hear about her adventures here.

    June 7, 2018 • Travel • Views: 452

  • OCHO | WHERE TO EAT IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

    With only a few hours before our flight back to California, M and I were whisked away to Lulu’s Bakery to share a three-pound cinnamon roll by my aunt and uncle. We arrived only to discover that the wait was more than an hour; it wouldn’t work. We quickly whipped out our phones, scrolling through alternative options nearby when I stumbled upon Ocho. 

    It was perfect.

    Sitting along the Riverwalk, Ocho served a Mexican fusion breakfast menu and from the photos, the ambiance looked great. Sold. 

    We all hopped back in the car and navigated our way to the parking lot shared by the restaurant and Havana, a 1914 revival hotel. 

    Ocho Restaurant in San Antonio, Texas

    After a short walk around the hotel, through a wide alleyway draped with ivy on either side, you’ll find Ocho. Situated in a glass conservatory, the restaurant offers guests a view of the Riverwalk along with their breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

    At breakfast, the restaurant was fairly quiet, so we were able to choose our table. We opted for one of the tables along the blue velvet upholstered couch that lined the back wall and were almost instantly served our coffees. 

    Between the four of us, we were able to sample a few different dishes:

    • My aunt the Steelcut Oatmeal with rum-soaked dates, local honey, toasted almost, shaved coconut and milk
    • My uncle and M the Breakfast Torta, a sandwich that doesn’t seem to be on the menu any longer
    • While I ordered the Avocado, Bacon & Queso Blanco Omelette with lemon vinaigrette salad 

    The Cuban-inspired menu, while not extensive, has a nice selection. But it’s definitely the location that makes the experience. 

    The elaborate, turquoise chandeliers make an impression, as do the chic leather couches and adorable bistro sets. Plus, it’s air-conditioned despite being “outside”, so it makes for a nice respite from the San Antonio heat.

    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    Ocho | Where to Eat in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste

    Ocho at Havana
    1015 Navarro St
    San Antonio, TX 78205

    What about you?

    Have you ever stumbled across an amazing dining experience in your travels? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

    May 24, 2018 • Travel • Views: 155

  • THE 626 NIGHT MARKET & OC NIGHT MARKET | THINGS TO DO IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

    After navigating my way to Wangfujing in Beijing, China, I was greeted with the bustle of hungry bodies, navigating their way through the food stalls that made up this night market. As I made my way down the street, my senses were bombarded with smells, sights, and sounds that were all new. I was hooked. 

    I enjoyed the evening sampling tasty foods and drinks, always curious about the items I didn’t try. I knew that the night market was something I’d miss upon my return to the US.

    But then I discovered the 626 Night Market and it’s smaller, newer counterpart, the OC Night Market. And while they aren’t exactly the same, they’re a close substitute. An evening browsing the stalls certainly leaves me feeling nostalgic.

    The OC Night Market

    Hosted at the Orange County Fairgrounds in the OC Night Market, a newer “taste” of it’s bigger sibling, the 626 Night Market. The vendors feature an assortment of Asian fusion cuisine, milk teas, fresh juice, and even beer. But there’s also a selection of the standard fair fare – there’s always a place for funnel cake.

    I came hungry and left more than full. I sampled everything from my long missed jianbing, Asian-style hotdogs, milk tea and ramen. Kirin served free beer slushies in a tasting cup to cool you down in the summer heat, and as we sat down to consume our findings, I chatted with exchange students from China who shared our table.

    After exploring the food vendors in the outdoor area, we made our way indoors where an assortment of craft vendors sold their wares. There was everything from paintings to stuffed animals, jewelry to trinkets. 

    It was an interesting experience but didn’t quite prepare me for the intensity, size, and crowd at the 626 Night Market.

    Learn More About the OC Night Market.

    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste
    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste
    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste
    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste
    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste
    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste

    The 626 Night Market 

    The 626 Night Market is enormous compared to the OC Night Market. Many of the same vendors participate in both events, but the diversity and food selection available at 626 in Arcadia is almost overwhelming. 

    We arrived early to ensure we’d find a parking spot — we left at 9pm and it took us almost an hour to get out of the parking lot! The crowds hadn’t yet arrived (they came following the sunset), so we were able to circle around through the food vendors a couple times before deciding what we wanted, hoping that we wouldn’t miss any of the best items. 

    I ordered a Vietnamese coffee while we considered our options and tried not to drink it too quickly (it was really good!).  

    My friend and I first opted for the garlic crab fries and barbecue squid. Both were delicious and left us almost too full to try anything else. We walked some more while we digested, then decided to share a waffle filled with mochi. 

    We continued to wander and discovered a couple of places that sold pandan cakes and cupcakes, so I bought a few for later – pandan is my weakness! Then headed over to the art vendors where I bought Little Linguist the most adorable toy lion.

    Learn more about the 626 Night Market.

    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste
    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste
    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste
    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste
    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste
    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste
    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste
    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste
    The 626 Night Market & OC Night Market | Things to Do In Southern California | Eurolinguiste

    There is now also a NorCal Market for those in Northern California, but I haven’t yet made it out to compare it to the two that are closer to me here in Southern California. Between the two, I highly recommend the 626 Night Market, but both are interesting events and I’m sure they’ll continue to grow. Either way, they are certainly a summer staple for me!

    What about you?

    Do you have any night markets in your area? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

    May 17, 2018 • Culture & Cuisine, Travel • Views: 191

  • Kariya Park | A Japanese Garden in Toronto, Canada

    One of the best parts of touring is that you have the opportunity to visit a lot of different places. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that I have enough time to explore (we fly in right before the show and jet out the morning after). But sometimes, we have a few hours or even a day or two to explore the area.

    On my last trip out to Toronto, Canada for the Smooth Jazz Awards, I had a few hours to burn. I decided to explore the area around my hotel and I stumbled across Kariya Park, a tranquil Japanese Garden tucked away in the heart of Mississauga.

    Toronto Canada | Eurolinguiste
    Toronto Canada | Eurolinguiste

    Surrounded by skyscrapers and the bustle of a busy city, Kariya is an oasis of peace. The park was opened in 1992 to celebrate Mississauga’s twin city status with Kariya, Japan. It features gingko and sweetgum trees, a zen garden, a lake, various structures, and… cherry blossoms. I got lucky, and they were in bloom while I was there, giving me a small taste of what the cherry blossom viewing experience entails.

    Toronto Canada | Eurolinguiste

    A Little Bit About Japanese Gardens

    Japanese gardens are called 日本庭園 nihon teien. Ornamentation is scarce and they are as much a practice in philosophy as aesthetic. Aged materials and plants are selected by designers to create an impression of ancient time or faraway place, and stepping into a traditional garden can often feel like stepping into a different world.

    The tradition of 日本庭園 began during the Asuka period – around 538 to 710 CE. They began as pleasure gardens for emperors and other important figures, and though these gardens went through many evolutions, it wasn’t really until the Meiji period – after many of these private gardens were abandoned – that they were restored and finally opened to the public. 

    Toronto Canada | Eurolinguiste
    Toronto Canada | Eurolinguiste

    The park was peaceful, and it was a gorgeous place to relax while I mentally prepared for my performance later that evening. There were several different paths, so I took advantage with a leisurely stroll before heading back to my hotel to get ready.

    Kariya Park is open to visitors seven days a week from 7am to 9pm. Winter access is limited. 

    May 10, 2018 • Travel • Views: 167

  • 5 Days in Singapore: 18 Amazing Experiences to Do for the Perfect Itinerary

    With even just five days in Singapore, you can accomplish a lot. The excellent and convenient transportation system connects you to several key locations and makes getting around the city a breeze.

    Recently, I spent five days in Singapore and here are just a few of the things that I enjoyed on the trip.

    Things to Do at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    1. Visit the Marina Bay Sands.

    This iconic hotel always seems to be within view regardless of where you are in the city. Their decks offer an incredible glimpse of Singapore. It also hosts a shopping center, museum, spa, food court, several restaurants, clubs, and a casino.

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on Apr 4, 2018 at 3:35pm PDT

    2. Take a Safari at the Night Zoo.

    The Night Zoo is about an hour outside of the city, but you can still get to it by the metro and a bus that goes directly from the station to the zoo. The Night Safari is interesting and the animals are much more active at night than they are during the day.

    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    Things to Do at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    3. Eat chili crab.

    Singapore is famous for several dishes – and there are two you definitely can’t miss. The first is chili crab, a sweet yet spicy seafood dish that goes well with rice. The second is kaya toast, a delicious breakfast dish popular amongst both tourists and locals.

    Breakfast at Tolido's in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    4. Enjoy the local coffee culture.

    Our favorite café was Tolido’s where we indulged in truffle scrambled eggs and pandan waffles with a hearty scoop of coconut ice cream.

    Gardens by the Bay at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    5. Visit Gardens by the Bay.

    The Gardens by the Bay spans 250 acres of reclaimed land near the Marina Reservoir and serves to enhance life with added gardens and greenery around the city.

    Gardens by the Bay at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    6. Visit the Skywalk.

    A part of the Gardens by the Bay is the Skywalk. Pro tip: visit before sunset to enjoy the view during the day and at night.

    Getting a View of the City in the Singapore Flyer Ferris Wheel | Eurolinguiste

    7. Take a spin in the Singapore Flyer.

    When visiting Singapore, there are two structures that stand out – the Marina Bay Sands hotel and the Singapore Flyer. Both offer breathtaking views of the city, and both are, on their own, amazing sights. At 541 feet, the Singapore Flyer was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, until the High Roller in Las Vegas snuck in at 550 feet.

    The Original Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    8. Sip a Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel.

    Drink the iconic beverage invented by a former bartender at the colonial style Raffles Hotel – the Singapore Sling. 

    Botanic Gardens in Singapore | Things to Do In & Around Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    9. Stroll through the Botanic Gardens.

    Home to more than 10,000 species, the Botanic Gardens are one of the only three gardens honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site are the Botanic Gardens in Singapore. And the’re only tropical garden with the title. 

    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    10. Explore Little India.

    Incredible food, a lively atmosphere, colorful buildings, and detailed temples – what more could you ask for.

    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    11. Enjoy the local street foods.

    Three word: delicious and diverse. The street foods offer dishes with a wide range of influences and there’s something for every palate. 

    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    12. Check out the temples.

    Singapore has a wide range of temples dotted throughout the city and each are gorgeous in their own way.

    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    13. Watch the sunset (or rise) over the water.

    Thanks to jetlag, I was up to enjoy the sunrise each morning. The colors and the scenery made for an enjoyable breakfast experience.

    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    14. Visit the Merlion.

    A symbol of Singapore, the Merlion fountain is worth a visit. You’ll see the Merlion decorated on much of the touristy souvenirs, but nothing compares to seeing the real thing.

    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    15. Visit Orchard Road.

    Orchard Road is the equivalent of the Champs-Elysées in France with one big difference. Many of the shops lining the streets aren’t just single shops, but massive malls with hundreds of stores within. If the commercial highlights of the street are overwhelming, you can skirt off into one of the side streets where you can admire the local homes and sidewalk cafés.

    Chinatown | Things to do in & around Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    16. Head into Chinatown.

    Chinatown was one of my favorite places to shop for souvenirs for those back at home (and yes, okay, I’ll admit it – myself). The district includes vendors with handmade goods, to cheap souvenirs, to delicious snacks.

    Platform 1094 | A Harry Potter Themed Restaurant in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    17. Eat like Harry Potter at Platform 1094

    Looking for a magical dining experience? Then head to Platform 1094, a Harry Potter-themed restaurant known for lighting its food and drinks on fire.

    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    What to Do With 5 Days in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    18. Get Lost.

    Sometimes just wandering and letting yourself get a little lost is a great way to discover new places.

    What about you?

    Have you visited Singapore? What are some of the things you most enjoyed visiting?

    Planning to go to Singapore? What would you love to see or do?

    I’d love to hear from you in the comments

    May 3, 2018 • Travel • Views: 197

  • The Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel in Singapore

    In 2017, Raffles Hotel celebrated its 130th anniversary. Over the past century, it has housed guests such as Michael Jackson, Charlie Chaplan, Elizabeth Taylor, and several other figures of note.

    The hotel is steeped in history, and even has its own resident historian – Leslie Danker – who himself has more than 45 years of history with Raffles. 

    Originally a beachfront property in the 1930s, the hotel has since expanded to include more buildings and wings.

    The Original Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    The Original Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    The Original Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    The Singapore Sling

    Invented in the early 1900s by Ngiam Tom Boon, is the hotel’s trademark drink – The Singapore Sling. A mixture of gin, cherry liquor, Cointreau, Benedictine, grenadine, pineapple juice, lime juice and bitters, this sweet concoction has become a well-known symbol of Singapore. 

    The Long Bar serves the drink along with a bag of peanuts and is one of the few places I know of where they still invite you to dispose of the shells by tossing them onto the ground. There is a box, however, for those who’d prefer to be a bit neater. 

    The Original Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    The Original Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    The Original Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    The Original Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    The Original Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    The Original Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    Staying at the Raffles Hotel

    Deemed a national monument, the hotel has a gorgeous open lobby that offers glimpses of the various floors and stunning architecture. But staying in one of the Raffles Hotel beautifully decorated colonial styles rooms will cost upwards of $700 a night. 

    The Original Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel in Singapore | Eurolinguiste
    The Original Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel in Singapore | Eurolinguiste

    Raffles Hotel
    1 Beach Road, Singapore
    +65 6337 1886

    What about you?

    Have you visited one of the Raffles locations? Have you ever had a “trademark” drink? 

    I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

    April 19, 2018 • Travel • Views: 150