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Google Pagerank: 3
Blog Description:

Personal travel blog; hanging around sleeping in expensive beds.
Blog Tags: oslo - europe - places - food - travel
Blog Added: January 25, 2013 05:20:51 AM
Audience Rating: General Audience
Blog Platform: WordPress
Blog Country: Norway   Norway
Blog Stats
Total Visits: 944
Blog Rating: 3.01
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Sights in Singaraja

Singaraja (Lion King) is the largest city in North Bali and second biggest in Bali (after Denpasar).  It was the… more →

Singaraja (Lion King) is the largest city in North Bali and second biggest in Bali (after Denpasar).  It was the capital of Nusa Tenggara in Dutch colonial times up until 1959. The town dates back to the 17th century. It was an important shipping center and main gateway to Bali until 1970 when the International Airport Ngurah Rai was opened in Denpasar. Some restaurants are located on a jetty next to the monument.

 



Living La Dolce Vita with a Cold Press Juicer!

Suddenly a juice press is all the rage in in our home. Everything started quiet as usual, nothing extravagant; I… more →

Suddenly a juice press is all the rage in in our home. Everything started quiet as usual, nothing extravagant; I just read I need a juice press for my hard vegetables for some smoothie recipes leading me to think YES, YES I DO.

…My hunt for the BEST juice press begun. It was not an easy task as there are so many choices. I started in the wrong end and decided for the juice machine with the most appealing look; the Magimix Le Duo Plus XL. After doing more research I read that the machine cannot handle herbs, nuts or leafy greens so I moved on and then found out there are basically two type of juicers: a) centrifugal juicers and b) masticating (cold press) juicers. The latter is supposed to be the best preserving more vitamins, pressing out more juice and the ability to squeeze out juices of almost everything edible (leaf, berries, fruit, root vegetables and even nuts). I do not go well with limitations so I decided for a masticating juicer.

Magimix Le Duo Plus XL creme

I had three criteria’s, it should 1) look good, 2) be easy to clean and 3) not require too much preparation. I quickly found out that all the criteria’s were a challenge to meet for the cold press juicers, but eventually I fell for Juicepresso which actually looks cool as well as having received consistently good reviews. One of its biggest selling points is that it’s dishwasher safe (though not recommended & this video makes it look like it can be tricky), but the downside is that it lets a lot of pulp slip through (use a sieve). I went to the electronics store to buy it, but there I noticed big brother Witt by Kuvings and it did not look as bad as I thought it would and thus gave more to think about with its ability to juice whole fruit! It has a stiffer price and unfortunately is not dishwasher safe, a big con in my book. Unlike Juicepresso; Kuvings does have a tap you can open and close so you can decide how long to circulate the juice before it runs out, which is good if you are making nut milk.

Witt Juicepresso

Although being dishwasher safe the Juicepresso require much more fruit/vegetable preparation than the Kuvings, so I think the amount of time spent on preparation/cleaning would be about the same. I would have preferred the Kuvings to be less expensive, but since the price is above the pain threshold I eventually also considered the Hurom 700 and Omega VSJ843RS. Hurom scores high in many tests, but requires a lot of veggie preparatory work so is not much better than Juicepresso IMO. The Omega handles raw nutter/seeds and can make nut butter (!), but is too expensive so was only considered a few minutes. So then it was back to Juicepresso, which I feel has the right price compared to utilization/quality.

At 4:30 AM Saturday morning I made a last online search comparing prices suddenly, the Kuvings had dropped by 500 NOK (50USD)! That was the sign I was waiting for and I ordered the machine there and then. Hurray!!!!

wittkuvings

Recommended reading before you purchase a cold press juicer:

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MUST-HAVE! Portable Photo Printers

I recently realized I need a digital photo PRINTER for pictures I plan to stick on my walls. I prefer prints… more →

I recently realized I need a digital photo PRINTER for pictures I plan to stick on my walls. I prefer prints with that white Polaroid border and a moderate size (not too small or too big), something that will catch the eye, yet also viewable from 2 ft. away. After several days of intense web search; below is my summary of the most relevant digital photo printers:

FinePix Printer QS-70 and QS-7FinePix Printer QS-70

4 x 6 inch / 10 x 15cm prints (ie. standard size, which is somewhat retro these days). The printer needs film/ink. Can print in color, black/white and sepia, and allows image correction before printing. It is possible to print multiple images (2 or 4 pictures), add date/time to the final picture and with or without white border. I only found one review, and unfortunately it is in French, but Google translate will help you out. For me, the format is a deal-breaker due to its standard 4 x 6 size. Not what I am looking for when it comes to my plans of a picturesque-polaroid-wall.

Canon Selphy CP820

4 x 6 inch / 10 x 15cm prints, but also possible with 2 x 3 inch / 5 x 8 cm if you tear off the white edges around the image, which I’ve read can be challenging to get off without leaving an ugly tear. Prints come out with glossy or semi-gloss finish. Also possible to print miniature size stickers.Canon Selphy CP820

Polaroid Grey Label GL10

3 x 4 inch / 7.6 x 10cm prints with or without white borders. I don’t know if they all do this, but GL10 sticks the white border right on the picture so you lose parts of the image. Prints using zink paper (zero ink) which needs to be purchased separately. This means the prints are paper prints and not film print. #1 for printing better-looking, high quality larger photos. After raves and reviews in 2011 it fell off the face of the earth. I think there are some compatibility issues and the driver download page speaks for itself…. This is the printer with my preferred image size, but I won’t take my chances on a 2011 flop which may or may not provide the best image quality.Polaroid GL10

Polaroid ZipPolaroid Zip Photo Printer

2 x 3 inch / 5 x 8cm, read review here and here. Possibility to print with sticker paper, which comes in handy if you are scrapbooking. The images come with or without borders. Supposedly, cheaper prints compared to Fujifilm Instax film, but it may be because Polaroid uses the zinc (zero ink) paper.

LG’s Pocket Photo Printer

2 x 3 inch / 5 x 8cm, printed with or without polaroid edges. No ink required, only LG zinc photo paper, which I read can be difficult to find, but I found them on eBay and could not see any price (about £ 25 for 60 pcs.) between LG and Polaroid zink paper.

LG's Pocket Photo Printer



Pinoso – Traditional Spanish Town

Pinoso (Valencian El Pinós) is a traditional Spanish town originally settled by Iberians and Romans. The town is close to Alicante and… more →

Pinoso (Valencian El Pinós) is a traditional Spanish town originally settled by Iberians and Romans. The town is close to Alicante and only a couple hours’ drive from Valencia. It gained its independence from Monovar in 1826.

Traditional Spanish Town

el pinos roundabout

Water fountain roundabout in Pinoso

Water fountain roundabout in Pinoso

The parish church was built in 1743 in honor of Saint Peter the Apostle. The area is renowned for its quality rose wines using the Monastrell grape grown here and the town’s most important economic product is marble.

Sample wine from the local bodega at Restaurante Oasis

Sample wine from the local bodega at Restaurante Oasis

I experienced it as a peaceful and quiet town with its inhabitant being very hospitable. There is no tourist information here, so your best bet is to befriend one of the waiters or bartenders to get some tips about the area. They are happy to help and with the little English they know will probably call their entire family to ask if anyone has time to drive you near and far. Just say yes as the public transport to smaller villages nearby is scarce.

Pinoso Murcia

The relatively small and limited knowledge of English can be a problem as there is usually no English menu at restaurants so you are left to gesturing, and before you know it you are being served dessert for breakfast and vice versa.

Side street cafe with no english menu in Pinoso

Side street cafe with no english menu in Pinoso

tomato sandwich pinoso

Universal tomato sandwich

This could be what you get for breakfast when your Spanish is limited

This could be what you get for breakfast when your Spanish is limited

Attractions in Pinoso are few so I suggest you come here for the ambiance rather than sightseeing. The Clock Tower (Torre del Reloj) comes from Madrid and dates back to 1887. It is possible to take a guided tour up the tower.  The Church contains an unusual image of the Virgen del Remedio (Virgin Healer).

Pinoso clock tower

The Parish Church of Saint Peter the Apostle was built in 1743. The church contains several images; and one unusual image of the Mare de Deu del Reméi (Lady of Good Remedy). I recommend a look inside if you have the chance and are interested in religious decorations. Another sight is the cemetery, may seem a bit dark, but usually spectacular in the Mediterranean.

Church of Saint Peter

Church of Saint Peter

Even the parking lots are decorative!

Even the parking lots are decorative!

Pinoso holds its weekly market on Saturdays and this is a good place to stock up on fresh produce. Other days the market offers shopping, but it is limited to a few decent stores. The place to buy vegetables and dried fruit + the odd leather bag. Smaller than expected.

Saturday market

Saturday market

The Pinoso Monóvar and Jumilla regions are famous for their fine quality wines, and no visit to the region would be complete without a visit to a Bodega. In Pinoso there is a bodega ‘La Bodega De Pinoso’, but it is also possible to book an organized bodega tour.

Interesting towns and villages near to Pinoso include Jumilla, Novelda, Elda, La Romana, Villena, Yecla, Abanilla and Fortuna.



Village Vacation in Spain

One of the most relaxing holidays I have had was when I visited Chinorlet in Alicante (province of Valencia) in… more →

One of the most relaxing holidays I have had was when I visited Chinorlet in Alicante (province of Valencia) in Spain. This was also one of the vacations where I have spent the least amount of money. The groceries and alcohol in Spain is cheap and I know to take advantage of a good deal.

Secluded village charm

The charm of villages such as Chinorlet and Pinoso in Spain is the authentic simple every day, yet vibrant cultural life you have the opportunity to explore and live while visiting. On our journey to Chinorlet in 2014, our very charming and bubbly housekeeper drove us around to nearby villages, big cities and even took us to her home place Elda for a party. When she said party, we assumed a gathering of over aged people in someone’s home drinking alcoholic beverages until the end of the night. Instead, it was a party for young and elder out on the streets celebrating a virgin. The focus was the good conversation, the making of gachamiga and the excellent food. No one except for our friend spoke English, but we had a great time learning a lot about Spanish food tradition while drinking cold and sweet red wine (a new favorite!).

Setting up a party in the streets of Elda is risqué business…

Setting up a party in the streets of Elda is risqué business…

Make the most of public transportation

A long stay anywhere remote will probably become boring at some point. Get on the bus, the public transportation offer in Spain is ridiculously good as for getting around, and visit other areas. It is affordable, reliable (to an extent) and efficient. Even as godforsaken, as Chinorlet seemed, we were able to travel to Pinoso, Monòver, Valencia as well as Alicante. The only barrier we had to break was putting our faith into the bus schedules.

Village vacations vs. a city break

Time passes slowly in the village and thus probably gives you the feeling you get more vacation time. There is no a bundle of shops in villages so you avoid the hustle and bustle associated with the shop-till-you-drop you (I) feel you have to do on holiday. Generally, the locals in the villages seem less tense (and possibly nicer to tourists) than those who live in large towns and you will most likely feel like you are being well taken care for both the convenience store, restaurant, as well as in the neighborhood.

El Pinós

Empty roundabout in El Pinós

Visit a large city in the area

A city break in the midst of the village vacation will probably do you good and add to your holiday experience. You can either rent a car at the nearest airport/city or take the local bus. You need be able to use either your mouth or body language; the bus schedule often hangs in a window some smart place you did not think to look for, and chances are high that it does not let you in on where the actual bus stop is. This is when the local restaurant owner comes in handy.

Explore the local food

Maybe you are one of those that are always looking for local food, or you always find yourself ending up at non-local kitchens (i.e. Asian) on your vacations. Spanish food made from scratch is in my opinion some of the best food you can have on a plate and it is well worth visiting at least a few local restaurants while traveling in Spain. Visiting smaller local bodegas in Spain, the possibility is high that you get a good meal with a modest price tag. My favorite tapas: fried or boiled chorizo, Spanish omelet, dates with bacon, meatballs in tomato sauce, (olive) tapenade and of course bread with aioli. While in Alicante I also discovered an appreciation for paella!

Spanish paella

Spanish paella



Pedestrians & Traffic in Paris

A few things I learned about the traffic in Paris; if you are a pedestrian on the roads in Paris;… more →

A few things I learned about the traffic in Paris; if you are a pedestrian on the roads in Paris; you are holding the shortest end of the stick.

For your own safety, it is important to know the following: motorized vehicles (practically speaking) always have the right of way. To wander around the streets of Paris is much like a sport and on the very busy roads in this city; the pedestrian is an easy target. On one’s first visit to Paris, one might wonder why people are just standing next to the zebra crossings without just crossing the street. For one they might be scared to walk out in the road (it was not more than four years ago Paris was known as one of the deadliest cities in the world for pedestrians), but the pedestrian crossings I learned work more as a guideline than a showstopper for vehicles. The cars will not stop so it is up to the pedestrian to wait until there are no cars in sight before it is safe to cross the street. Some of the crossings accompany traffic lights, but even then the signal can show green to cars as well and it is the pedestrian gives the right of way to the vehicle. This is probably why there are police officers in the street regulating traffic when the traffic lights are out of order. 

Photo: “Zebra Crossing” Paris, France
Photo credit: Minamie’s Photo



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