Esta historia es un homenaje a esos amores fugaces que todos hemos tenido, esas pequeñas relaciones de edicion limitada que son tan reales y nos enseñan tanto o mas que ese hipotetico amor de cuento de hadas que tal vez llegue, que tal vez no.
Porque no solo las grandes hazañas merecen ser contadas. Porque en las pequeñas historias también se viven grandes momentos.
Porque los mas grandes amores empezaron siendo... amores minusculos.
This story is a tribute to those fleeting loves we've all had, those small, limited edition relationships that are so real and teach us as much or even more than that hypothetical fairy tale love that maybe comes, or maybe not.
Because not only great deeds deserve to be counted.
Because in small stories also live great moments.
Because even the greatest loves began as....tiny loves.
Once Upon a Time.... I had a dysfunctional ‘friendship’ with The Italian, who was 20 years my senior and lived in a charming apartment in a beautiful old house in a pretty part of Madrid. And next door lived His Ex. To be clear, The Italian has a lot of exes, some he managed to stay friends with, while others, well, hate his guts. But this Ex Next Door wasn’t the mother of his sons nor the woman he left them for: she had been the rebound, but he meant a great deal more to her than she did to him. She was still in love with The Italian even though she knew it wasn’t mutual for he had told her many times. She tried everything the last few months to get him back, but nothing worked. I overheard them talking when she came to his door: she cried, she was kind, she was mean, she insulted him, she apologised, she was vulnerable, she was tough: but she couldn’t make him love her. Although he’d been honest with her from the beginning of their relationship (well…according to him), telling her he didn’t love her, he knew she was madly in love with him. But instead of breaking it off before he’d break her heart even more, he kept her close. Literally: she moved into the apartment next door. When The Italian talked about His Ex (which he did a lot to my frustration) he’d call her desperate, needy, crazy: even nicknaming her The Psycho. While I knew I should only believe half of everything he said, I still formed an image of her in my head solely based on prejudice and his stories. I even silently judged her, but I didn’t realise that until I actually met her. So this story isn’t about him. It’s about me. And it all started when The Italian was getting ready for an alumni dinner and I decided to go out by myself, instead of staying home and waiting for him to return.
Before you can reach the main hall of the building you have to go through another hallway, shared by The Italian on one side and His Ex on the other. This hall is a small space with a very high ceiling, no windows, filled with bikes, sports equipment and 3 doors: His, Hers and an old, heavy, squeaky door that leads to the main hallway of the building. I had my own set of keys and I’d been struggling with the old door since the beginning: when I finally figured out how to enter the hallway: I found out I couldn’t leave. The moment I stepped into the little hallway, his door closed behind me and the motion sensored light should’ve switched on like it always did. Except for that evening.
Once upon a time...
I received a peculiar text message, a couple of days after Silvio and I went on our first (and last) date.
Silvio: "Do you want to do an experiment?"
Me: "…excuse me?"
Silvio: “…Let’s describe our 1st meeting to each other. Good and bad things, sticking to the reality of our experience from our own point of view...then we’ll send it to each other at the same time. I believe it will teach us something. So no rules, we just start writing and after 30 minutes we send it to each other. What do you think? I think it will be funny.”
My initial reaction was a very loud 'What?!', and yes, of course I was sitting in a crowded coffee place. I know my dating history is a bit odd to begin with, but this was definitely a first- written feedback by a guy I only met once? Why would I participate?! But on the other hand- what did I have to lose? He’s a nice guy and it was a fun date, I could see us becoming friends rather than continuing to date, so...why not? Plus I apparently love an unexpected writing challenge (...this was another first). It could be confronting, but no rules = no rules, so I nervously accepted this slightly strange ‘post-first-date-feedback-writing-challenge’ and we started writing. 30 minutes later he counted down and at the same time we hit ‘send’.
In honour of throwback Thursday, let me re-introduce you to the uncensored version of the Torres del Paine hike James and I did in Patagonia last year right before the trails closed (brace yourself, winter is coming). James had been planning it for a while but it was a spur of the moment thing for me. A week earlier in Buenos Aires (10 minutes after we first met) he asked me if I wanted to do the W-trek together (I'd never heard of it) so naturally I just blurted out 'yeah sure!'- not even knowing what I agreed to. Not my most intellectual moment ever, but I'm so happy I did! We were well prepared: attended a prep meeting in Chile, had all the right gear, were in pretty good shape (I'd also spent a day walking on Glacier Perito Moreno, secretly just to make sure I could keep up with James) and I even knew what to do in case of a puma attack (but that's a different story). We just didn't expect it to, you know, SNOW. These are some of the thoughts that went through my head while hiking, I narrowed it down to 66 of them. Yes, I did a lot of thinking/cursing/complaining that week...
1. So excited to wear my new gear. Love my jacket, 'wind resistant'.
2. No wind yet but nevertheless sooo excited.
3. Even more excited to wear my new gloves. Water resistant!
4. No sign of rain yet but I'll wear them anyway.
5. I just love the Northface, their stuff is so comfy.
6. I look like a pro. I feel like a pro. I AM A PRO.
7. Wait, why is everybody dressed in the Northface?
9. Oh my god oh my god oh my god we're actually doing this.
10. I have sooo many emotions right now...
11. ...How did I end up in Chile?
12. Okay we started walking. Getting used to the pace. And the backpack. And my shoes. I've got this.
13. 'The hiiills are aliiive with the sound of music'. What Would Julie Do? Probably not hike in Chile.
14. Oh my look at that little cloud! IT'S SO FLUFFY!
16. My glove are not water resistant, neither is the rest of my outfit. Thanks, Northface. You're overrated.
17. I'm fine. I'm soaked- but I'm fine.
18. I'm Dutch, rain means nothing to me. NOTHING, YOU HEAR ME?! (shakes fist to imaginary weathergods)
19. I don't care about the rain or the freezing wind. I'm fine, really...
In my last blog I convinced myself Friday the 13th is just another day and whatever you do on that day, you’re NOT tempting fate. Like paragliding: I didn’t take down a skilift while ungracefully landing: I was fine! It was all in my head, the superstition that those days should be handled with care since in some cultures it’s known as a doom date. Last Friday the 13th I had a First Date with a guy who was ‘perfect on paper’: smart, funny, ambitious, good hair, sociable, nice & hardworking. He turned out to be, well, not perfect of course, but also completely taking me by surprise by getting me to doubt myself when I called it off after 2 dates. The fact that it started on Friday the 13th didn’t make a difference: he wasn’t right for me and I wasn’t right for him.
But instead of listening to my gut I made a rookie mistake: I doubted myself. Maybe I'm too picky? Maybe my sense of humor is weird and I should tone it down? Maybe I should stop being sarcastic so I don’t have to explain jokes he doesn’t get? Maybe he wasn’t talking money under his breath, making me slightly uncomfortable, maybe it’s all in my head? Maybe he's funny and I’m just too dumb to get it? And I even thought maybe he wasn’t a bit pushy, so maybe I should’ve said yes when he walked me home and asked if he could come in, even though I really didn’t want him too. Was I being difficult?
I'm back! The last 6 weeks were weirdly chaotic- in the midst of dental surgeon visits, a last minute trip to Switzerland, celebrating awesome people's birthdays while partially looking like the swollen version of Harry Potters' Aunt Marge, I had a mini writers block and total lack of concentration. Very annoying. But I'm back! I promise to post new blogs weekly again, got a lot of stories in my head waiting to be written down- like the time I decided to jump off a mountain (with a parachute) on Friday the 13th and looked like Bridget Jones trying to land gracefully. Or the time my brother and I had a ski lesson from a very tan guy who kept losing me along the way down. Or maybe about hydrospeeding in Chile when the river was a lot wilder than I hoped?
Like I said, I've got some typing to do! But first a quick update about the last few weeks...
Since sharing is caring I'd like to share with you one off my all time favourite side dishes/ appetizers: onion rings! When they're well seasoned, deep fried, crispy, golden and puffy (yes all at the same time) and come with a fresh dipping sauce they're the best- sadly, just because the main ingredient of this dish is a vegetable, it's not the most healthy dish ever.
Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
Shopping list for two hungry people:
The Quest to make the Perfect Burger is ON! After trying ±12 recipes & reading about a 100 more of them, I came up with My Version of the P.B., with minced Angus beef, sweet honey glazed grilled zucchini & salty Pecorino Romano...
Simple rules for making the best burgers ever:
1: Don't be cheap when selecting meat for the patties. Whenever I make burgers, I try to buy minced beef at the local butcher, simply because it only has 1 ingredient: meat. If you read the labels in the supermarket, you'll see that there's a lot of stuff already added to the meat, like salt, E-numbers and even sugar. Normally I'm not that picky to be honest, but in order to make a Great Burger instead of Just a Burger, I like to go the extra mile. Today I choose 100% Angus beef!
2: Don't add salt until the patties are done (as in medium- don't over-grill them!)- if you add salt to raw minced meat it'll actually change the structure of the patties, they'll really be even more tender when you add salt when they're already on your plate :)
GLENGARRIFF - ADRIGOLE
As I *might* have mentioned before; the Irish weather isn't really the sunniest ever, but since I knew that before I booked my plane ticket I was well prepared when I left the picturesque village of Glengarriff on Wednesday. I don't mind hiking in the rain that much, the first minute is usually the worst: it's only water, I won't melt. Deal with it & keep walking!
I got a ride from mr. Holland (really) from the lovely Island View B&B to the beginning of the Beara Way so I could skip the first asphalt hike and start at the 'real' Beara path. Both he and Imelda (the hilarious B&B lady), asked me several times if I really-REALLY wanted to do this- hike hours in the pouring rain; they were both offering to just drive me to Adrigole, my destination for the day. I kindly refused, I came here to hike and if I'm letting 'some rain' interfere with my plans I should've stayed home in the first place! But when I looked outside and the sky turned an even darker grey, it seemed like a tempting offer- but no! Not convinced of my capabilities, Mr. Holland worriedly waved goodbye until I climbed over the first fence (into sheep territory) and then drove away, shaking his head...
I spend 2 nights in Belfast and was deeply impressed by the Black Cab Tour: a private guided tour in a cab, driving around the 'troubled' areas of the city, learning about history I shockingly knew very little about. Our driver, Brian, a 60 year old Irishman who's seen it al nearly moved Jamie, the American girl sitting next to me, to tears (okay...I got a bit emotional as well) with his heartfelt hopes for a better future- one without curfews and gates that still close every night and isolate entire neighborhoods. He said 'in Berlin, they took down the wall years ago. Why can't we?' Our hearts broke a little. Next day I ate cake at the Titanic Museum and bought a book named '...And the band played on', written by the grandson of one of the eight band members that stayed on deck to play his violin till the very, very end. Way too many feelings while reading it so I 'hid' it in the bottom department of my backpack. Very grown up.
I met Swiss Melissa and she accompanied me to beautiful Derry where we had a great time walking around the old city walls, to a biker festival, getting lost and thanking Google maps for saving us. When we wanted a picture on the Peace Bridge we asked the people walking behind us to take one and within minutes the five of us (2 sweet locals and a very French hitchhiker they'd just picked up) were in a bar called Granny Annie's having drinks! After a while we said our goodbyes, Melissa and I moved two doors down to another pub with even more great traditional music. I had the pleasure of meeting Glen, a gorgeous guy from London and we talked about the weird world of online dating. His profile states he 'loves dogs and cats and enjoys long walks in the park'. But he whispered in my ear 'I prefer goldfish and I never-ever- walk. I would drive to the park and probably not even get out of my car. I'd just drive around the park in circles'...
Dublin! After a nice short flight from Amsterdam to Ireland I got in a cab to meet up with my brother Ward and had a very 'encouraging' conversation with the elderly driver who's name was, of course, Wardle. Wardle looked at me in the review mirror and asked me how long I was planning to stay in Ireland. I told him a month, if everything works out. He looked at me in disbelief and nearly yelled 'A MONTH?' Yes, a month. He tried to put his mind at ease and said 'whom are you traveling with, love?' I confidently smiled back at him 'I'm traveling by myself'. This was too much for him too handle and he yelled, full-on Irish, his hearing aid almost falling from his left ear, 'ALLLL BY YERSELF?' I smiled. 'Yes. And I'll be fiiiine.' He repeated my words, obviously not convinced that I would be, 'YOU'll BE FIIINE.' I could hear the question mark he didn't say...
After my oven gave up on me in the middle of baking a Sacher Torte, I decided to stop cursing after only a minute & instead make the easiest snack EVER- no need for scales, patience, skills or an oven; all you need is a sweet tooth and a fridge! Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are one of my favourite treats and once I found out it's faster & cheaper to make them from scratch than a trip to the supermarket, I always make sure I have the ingredients at home- so I can make them whenever I feel like it :)
This will make ±12 small (or 6 large) Peanut Butter Cups within 30 minutes:
- 6 tablespoons of peanut butter; I prefer smooth but chunky will do just fine, whatever floats your boat!
- A few teaspoons of confectioners sugar (don't even bother sifting), it all depends on how sweet you like your candy.
- A few drops of vanilla extract- be careful, too much will overpower the peanut butter flavour!
- 1 chocolate bar: I used 75 grams of dark chocolate, normally I prefer milk chocolate but as long as it melts it will do.
- Some sea salt and if you like to spice things up like I do, add some chill flakes!
On this gloomy Tuesday it's exactly a year ago since I left Vienna after a wine tasting festival in the Austrian vineyards with a dear friend. On my way back to the airport I made a little detour to the famous Hotel Sacher because I simply couldn't resist to indulge in one of my favourite activities: EAT CAKE. To eat amazing cake to be more specific. It was a lovely morning and I was the only guest on the terrace, with the sun in my face, view of the grand Wiener Staatsoper, flashbacks to a prior visit to Vienna (and Hotel Sacher) with my mom years before: happy memories! Once again including food I just realised- I'm so predictable. Within minutes a steaming cup of hot chocolate reached my table (yes I know it was summer, but when in Rome, I mean, Vienna), quickly followed by the object of my affection: a slice of Sacher Torte...
Instead of moping about the fact that I'm not in the sun at Hotel Sacher as we speak, I challenged myself to bake a little piece of chocolate heaven instead. Results so far: kitchen looks like something exploded, I nearly forgot half the eggs, my oven is acting like a jerk, there's chocolate everywhere and my faith in humanity (a.k.a. just my baking skills) is gone.
The recipe, an honest review & the pictures to prove it will follow, so stay tuned... Wish me luck!!
Packing my backpack again... Super excited to spend the weekend with my little brother & mom at the beach! We started this family tradition 25 years ago and come rain or come shine, we make sure to make time and spare a weekend each and every year. We'll eat (too much), laugh (too loud), talk (a lot of nonsense) and swim (less swimming more just floating for me) everyday. Oh and our weekend won't be complete without a game of Trivial Pursuit + some G & T's for me. Aaah!
The breakfast lady knocked at 9:30 to make sure I didn’t drown myself after all I guess. I had to check out at 10 so I was able to spend exactly ZERO minutes in my private balcony hammock. The breakfast lady went all out because it was my birthday; she sculpted figures out of fresh fruit, JUST FOR ME! Warm bread rolls, cookies, tarts, yoghurts, strong Brazilian coffee, it was the best breakfast ever. I felt slightly more alive but still nervous, was the Bitch on the hunt? I planned to spend the day walking around Paraty, do some sightseeing, the sun was shining, perfect right?! NO. I was afraid of everyone who smiled at me, crossed the street, in stores, in general: people. I was afraid to buy books convinced someone would frame me again and I would end up in prison after all. Womenprison. I was holding on to my purse for dear life, talking on the phone with my mom and brother; I needed them to stop me from becoming paranoia because in my mind, everyone was framing me...
I decided to think happy thoughts (like a world without the French) and kept walking behind the local in the most non-creepy way I could since it looked like he knew where he was going. After a few minutes ‘we’ reached the mainstreet and I had to adjust: from an island with less inhabitants than beaches to people everywhere, buses and cars, lights, smells, noise. I only had a few coins left and hoped it would be enough to buy a ticket from where ever I was now, to the RIGHT city to catch the bus to Paraty. There were no ATM’s nor people speaking English but a boy was patient enough to hear me out and figure out what I said vs what I meant. He told me the bus would leave in an hour and pointed to the sidewalk where I joined the queue. I was still trying to process what had happened since I’d never been so scared, which is something because I’m pretty fearless in general. The bus arrived and I had JUST enough money for a ticket! I sat down and when an old woman next to me took out her handkerchief and reached for my face, I just let her. She didn’t hit me but gently brushed away some forgotten mascara that had ended up on my chin. Maybe that was why The Rock was smiling? She asked me where I was going and got up from her seat, walked to the front of the bus, talked to the driver and returned. With a lot of sloooowly spoken Portuguese and hand gestures she told me where to get off the bus and where to find the 'mythical' bus to Paraty. She rocked, that lady. After a while we arrived in the RIGHT town and the lady and the driver waved goodbye. Her directions were briljant and I found the busstop for Paraty within a minute. The timetable told me I had to wait another hour, at this point I was as relaxed as can be. I was like, an hour, sure, dude, no problem. After silently referring to myself as ‘dude’ twice I realised I really had to find something to eat and WATER. I crossed the street and the heavens opened, the angels sang en beams of bright light pointed me to….A BANK. With A WORKING ATM! When I left the bank I crossed the street to a gas station: they had water, bottles of it! And a bathroom! I stumbled to the back of the building to the bathroom, it was small, dark and VERY dirty but since it was the first I’d seen in 12 hours I couldn’t care less. I really needed to pee, no time to be picky. Everything was great, until I saw a cockroach crawling on the floor UP the toilet WHERE I WAS ON...
Jorge took it upon him to bring my phone back to life, which didn’t work because he was overheated (the phone, not Jorge). When I felt a hand on my shoulder, The Rock was holding a cup of coffee & a plate with toast and put them in front of me. This kindness after the scary hours made me want to cry AGAIN but I just didn’t have the energy. Plus I realised I had cried more in one day than I did the 3 years before. My stomach started rumbling, my last meal had been breakfast and it was now 9 hours later as the sun was setting so I devoured the toast and drank the coffee so fast The Rock actually cracked a smile, and got me another cup.
Jorge apologetically gave me back my very dead phone and showed me his (phone); Google translated ‘It will be okay, you are so beautiful and your hair’ (?). I grabbed it and typed ‘When can I leave?’ He looked puzzled, ‘Anytime’. The Bitch left an hour ago, I was still at the station because I thought I had to fill in some paperwork or I DON’T KNOW GIVE A STATEMENT. No, no, I’d been allowed to leave but they ‘forgot’ to tell me. After explaining I didn’t have a place to stay on the island because I had a reservation in Paraty- mainland and hours away, where I'd booked 1 night in a REALLY nice hotel with a pool and a private hammock (impossible to gracefully get in/out), all of this because at midnight, it would be my birthday...
The cops were nice guys, the one named Jorge sat next to me and sometimes held my hand to stop the fidgeting and gave me ‘don’t worry’-looks. The Chief of Police was an old, slightly German looking obese man in shorts who kept touching my hair whenever he walked by (?). The Rock just stood there, glaring at me, not smiling but not angry looking either which made me even more confused. I’m a fan of The Rock (the real one). I even follow him on Instagram, go figure. My face was puffy from crying, I was dehydrated because I’d had no water since breakfast and had been sitting in the sun for hours, sunburned & just generally felt like dying. Suddenly The Rock handed me a note from Chief himself; which said in Dutch ‘You’re so beautiful, too pretty to cry. I want to kiss you’. Google translate's new slogan should be 'creating gross moments globally'. Those words made me cry (again), he thought it was of happiness, it was out of sheer terror. Going to jail or marry the Chief to stay out of jail? Would that make me Miss Chief? Mischief? I would NOT survive women prison in Brazil...right?
After spending a week battling altitude sickness in Bolivia, I flew to Rio and took the boat to Ilha Grande to treat myself to some sun and beachtime. The island was stunning, very green, gorgeous beaches and a small village with some hotels and tourist shops. There is only one car on the island and it’s used as a firetruck, police car and ambulance all in one, very multifunctional. Instead of exploring the island, I ended up with a stomach bug on day 1 and as a bonus it rained for days. I stuck around long enough for one sunny day and decided to leave the island on June 5th, a day before my 24th birthday and travel south to spend a night in the city of Paraty in a really nice hotel.
I left the hotel in a hurry around noon, I almost forgot my passport in the safe and couldn’t find the keys. Luckily two girls who cleaned the hotel demolished the small safe, helped me get on my backpack, took my handbag & foodbag and 4 of their own (at least that’s what I vaguely thought) bags and we ran to the dock, where the boat was waiting for me since I was the only passenger. It was a large, wooden boat and the captain helped me on board and put my luggage next to the girls’ plastic bags and we all waved goodbye to the girls. When we left the harbour I decided to sit in the very front of the boat, with my back turned to the captain and his crew, my luggage and the island. I sat in the sun, looked at the lush green hills across the sea and we made it to the other side with time to spare- so I had all the time in the world to find the bus to Paraty. Well, I couldn't have been more wrong...
A few years ago my mother and I spend a weekend in Milan, eating & shopping our way through the city. On our last night we had a lovely dinner with lots of wine, the Best Tiramisu I've Ever Had and a (very) handsome (young) waiter with a great accent who was (unsuccessfully) trying to convince my mother to marry him and take him back to the Netherlands in her suitcase. She will probably deny this ever happened and say it was me he was after. He wasn't.
We decided to take a taxi back to the hotel and luckily didn't have to wait at all; the first taxi we saw hit the brakes and stopped next to us. The driver was a man in his sixties, very Italian, very kind and happy to drive us even though it was only 400 meters (something to blame on me wearing very high heels and drinking prosecco all day long). We got into the backseat of the car and the driver kept looking and smiling at us through his rear-view mirror, trying to communicate but our Italian is pretty much only Food & Wine-related... apart from those topics we're totally clueless. His English was slightly better than our Italian so he felt confident enough to give it a try anyway.
He looked at me in the review-mirror and then at my mom, asking her very seriously 'Is He your child?'
My mom responded with her perfect English accent (think Stewie Griffin from the Family Guy) 'Well yes, SHE is my child!'
He said 'Oh!', looked over his shoulder and said and nearly yelled
'You have a BEAUTIFUL son!'
I silently promised him I'd pass on the compliment to my unsuspecting brother...
When I returned to the car after visiting my granny, I had a lovely encounter with an elderly lady in a wheelchair. She was sitting in the shade somewhere between the entrance of the nursing home and my moms car so I had no choice but to walk past her. When I did, I smiled my friendliest smile (which is a bit creepy but it beats not smiling) and greeted her. She smiled a toothless smile back and took a good look at me, from my head to my toes and back again. It was a nice Summer day and I was wearing a black dress with my trusted ancient black Converse- I'll admit it wasn't the classiest look ever- but totally appropriate when visiting ones grandmother on the 'less populated side' of Holland. When the lady was done observing me she sat up straight in her wheelchair and told me in a loud voice
'Bare legs! They are SO pale. Those legs are white!'
I stopped walking, looked down my black dress at my bare legs and had no choice but to agree with her. I was taken aback by this old ladies fierceness but not totally shocked since it's a well known fact that I, indeed, do not tan very well.
At all. Can't say I look much different in July than I do in January, freckles aside.
'Sun. You need sun because they're pale. Sunshine will fix that, you know. A little sunshine for a nice tan.' She scratched the hairy mole on her chin and continued her monologue 'Because they really are, quite pale.'
I agreed with her and she looked pleased 'But don't tan too much or you'll burn. Then they'll be red, which isn't good either'. She paused for a second and dramatically exclaimed
'But even RED would be better than white, because your legs REALLY are quite pale!'
I thanked her for this great conversation (yet not so great for me confidence-wise) and when I walked away towards the car I heard her mutter behind my back '...so white, those legs, they are so white...'
May 2014, Bolivia
After spending 3 days in a jeep with six people/in a blizzard/freezing, I couldn't wait to stay in one place for a while and get some sleep. I decided to take the first nightbus out of Uyuni to La Paz, Bolivia's capital. I'd been having headaches, unable to sleep, trouble breathing: altitude sickness. I was chewing coca leaves, drinking coca tea and eating all the coca candy I could get my hands on but it didn't help, I was catching my breath every two steps and grunting like a 98-year man old with a failing oxygen tank. Uyuni looked eerie at night (power outage) and I couldn't help losing my cool since I really can't see well in the dark. I kept running into people, buildings and small animals until I found the bus and my seat. The bus was as cold as a fridge, but luckily I was still wearing all my clothes at the same time since I'd been freezing my ass off at the salt plains- lots of layers. There were mainly smelly local men on the bus & a few tourists, frozen and a bit scared too. We took off and minutes later we were on a mountain road, stuck in a SANDSTORM. After dodging the greater part of a blizzard 2 days earlier, I wasn't thrilled about the potential
'Dutch Tourist Dead by Sandstorm: Identification Difficult due to Insane Amounts of Clothing' newspaper headline.
Hours later we found a way out of the sand, left the highway for a dirt road to a little village and were greeted by a handful of locals with head torches (no electricity) in traditional clothing. It was the scariest thing I'd seen in a while. Other tourists shared this feeling: we weren't told we would stop along the way so it began to feel like a bad horror movie: 'Tourists survive sandstorm only to get eaten by Last Tribe of Bolivian Cannibals'. Maybe they'd spare me, undoing me of 6 layers of clothing would probably not be worth the trouble. The French couple a row behind me looked tastier anyway...
Caramel & I have been in a passionate love/hate relationship for as long as I can remember- outliving various other relationships. I love caramel in all it's shapes and sizes; brittle and hard or soft in candy, over popcorn, ice cream, fudgy, drizzled over lattes, in cookies- you get the point. Enough about my love affair with caramel, let's get to the bad stuff...
I've wasted many minutes, spoons, tears of frustration and even a pan on my quest of The Perfect Caramel, trying every recipe I could find but failing each time (impatient, anyone?). Fudge? Easy. Hard caramel? Done it. But the soft, creamy kind- with a pinch of sea salt: it seemed like I just couldn't do it. Until I stumbled upon this recipe...
Hi! I'm Merel, Dutch & living in The Netherlands & Spain. I love to write, cook & travel. I'm a huge fan of puns, my friends & flan. My special talents are getting lost when looking at a map & walking into furniture/people/doors.