Weiners and whatnot: I went to Vienna

General, travel

If you follow me on instagram (@avocamilla), you’ll be well aware of the fact that I am currently on a little holiday in Vienna, Austria. We had a week off of vet school and we thought, why not?

 

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Vienna is a spenny country so what follows is a list of things we did, which were within budget. Enjoy.

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YOU CAN ATTEND THE OPERA FOR 3 EUROS: standing room tickets are 3 euros each. Yeah, you heard me. It’s 100% worth it for the experience. Get there 80 minutes early and  BAM, you’re in! We saw a production of Lucia de Lammermoor, which was tragic (I think), and very cool to see. So opera, tick.

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Sofia and Tiani!

FREE WALKING TOUR: don’t pay, like, 30 euro for a guided tour. Go on a free walking tour – you see all the major landmarks of the city, and hear their history, for free, baby! The site we used is: https://www.goodviennatours.eu 

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SCHONNBRUNN PALACE: Ok so this one is a bit different – you have to pay an entrance fee to see inside. But you can totally get a student discount and it’s quite nice to look around? I mean, I enjoyed the history and the audio guide, plus there’s loads of paintings worthy of classical art meme content to laugh at. The GARDENS are amazing and DEFINITELY worth visiting, also there is a huge monument you can climb up to, where you can see the whole city. The gardens also have a zoo, and several botanical gardens. It’s pretty neat. We spent a whole afternoon here.

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HUNDERTWASSER HOUSE: a cool area of crazy architecture to go visit! There’s also a “village” complex with cute shops and funky cafes. I liked this a lot.

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NACHSMARKT: pretty rad. Lots of interesting things to look at and sample. Very colourful, and a man told my friend that she looked like shakira.

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Okay so here is where it gets crappy.

  • the university botanical gardens (not the ones at the palace), are free, but there was NO PLANTS.
  • the state library is gorgeous, but you have to pay a lot to get in, and you can’t touch any books.
  • the street art passage in the Museums Quartier is non-existent. We travelled for an HOUR to try finding it, only to discover it consists of a single bridge.
  • The fun fair was NO FUN, as everything closed at 7pm.
  • climbing the 379 stairs of the tallest tower – fun, but, at the top, you can’t actually….see anything. Is the climb worth it?

Middle ground: if you are a horsey person, then attending the morning training session of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna is AMAZING, and worth the money (again there is a student discount). I LOVED it. Sofia and Tiani, however, were not so keen – they implied that dressage training was not so fun to watch if you didn’t understand why trotting on the spot was so impressive.

FOOD

2 Places really stood out to me:

1 is the Tian bistro (NOT it’s sister michelin star restaurant). It is all veggie, and the food is bloody AMAZING. Like, so so so good. Also I loved the decor.

2 is the Simply Raw bakery. I had multiple foodgasms in there. Oh my lord. Their smoothie bowl was to die for, their raw cupcake was so creamy and delicious. Genuinely – I hate raw food that masquerades as real food, with ingredients like blended cashews or whatever…but this, this was amazing. I can die happy now.

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Oh, we also went to cafe Hawlka, which is a famous meeting spot for artistes of old. It’s a busy spot to visit, and has a yummy vegetarian strudel to try; but if you can’t get in, don’t worry too much.

Overall, I loved the city. It was full of light, and so many interesting things to do. If I would come again, I would like to visit the chocolate museum, and maybe the Freud museum – but I think we did a good job of seeing pretty much every main site that the city has to offer.

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Remember to drink wine this week.

Love,

Cam

Running and recovery – can exercise be a helpful tool in recovery from an eating disorder?

fitness, General, Mental Health, travel

Let’s pretend that it’s not been like nine years since I wrote anything, and carry on as normal, yes? 

I was listening to a running podcast the other day (I don’t remember which one exactly), and it got me thinking. The host had this guest on, and they were talking about the prevalence of eating disorders amongst “athletes” – i.e. people who train professionally.

I could not relate in any way to the actual “athlete” part of it (my coach said this or that or whatever, when I was training for this big event…), as I am totally not an athlete (I just like running), but what really resonated with me was that instead of saying that you can’t have had an eating disorder and have a normal relationship with exercise: they said that it can even HELP you in your recovery. At least, that’s what I took from it.

LOOK IT UP: https://trainbrave.org 

Cafe culture, crepes, and the course: what’s Zagreb like, Cam?

General, travel, Uncategorized

Hey!

It’s been a hot minute since we last spoke, certainly. I did MEAN to keep in touch, but I sort of had fifty hours of class a week and no free time – so even though I WANTED to say hi, I just didn’t have the bloody time!

However, maybe you don’t care and did not, in fact, notice my absence. (Although if that’s the case – why are you reading this?)

I’m writing to you now from a very trendy urban cafe in FULHAM, LONDON! That’s right baby, it’s LONDON TIME!!! I am absolutely amazed, thrilled, overjoyed, ecstatic, and whatever other synonyms for “great” you can think of, to be home. Well, in my home country, at least.

Living abroad is very much like living at home. You get used to it – like any new place, it becomes home. But when I was riding the tube yesterday, looking at all the graffiti’d London concrete in the pouring rain, I couldn’t stop smiling. This is what I know. This is home. This washed-out, chilly, grey country where the people hold the doors open for you and I can listen in on their awkward conversations in familiar accents – is home for me.

Home is my sister wearing her cashmere jumpers, mug of coffee in hand. Home is hot tea from a proper mug, that somehow just doesn’t taste the same outside of England? Home is the boring familiarity of the greens and browns of the countryside, the comforting concrete grey of the pavements. It’s the smell of the curry my dad makes, the sound of my mum’s telly in the morning. It’s all the boring, crappy stuff that goes on that you didn’t even think about before. Little things – smells and sights and sounds that mean you’re totally, and utterly, home.

I’m smiling so much now, writing this, through a headache induced from tiredness and the feeling that the world is spinning just slightly faster than its normal speed.

Zagreb might be home for me now, and I love it to bits; but it’s not the country I grew up in.

(Reminder that this is just home for me – the place you consider home might not be a place, it might be a person or a thing or even somewhere you’ve never been!)

Anyway, deep thoughts aside, I wanted to tell you about my first term away.

Flight mode: types of people at the airport and my travel tips 📦

travel

Travelling is, of course, the epitome of “fun.” Plane rides are meant to be exciting news for you, an experience of relaxation and enjoyment with the knowledge that for six or seven hours, you are expected to do no more than lie back and r e l a x.

Have you EVER tried to relax whilst someone in the seat in front of you has laid themselves almost horizontally in your lap? Or the person next to you is overly-ambitious with their allocated armrest space? Or the relentless pinging of the loudspeaker system telling you that the seatbelt signs are now ON…. no wait! They’re off again! And on again! And off again! Just as you’re starting to drift off, neck cricked at an unnatural angle and legs crammed into the footwell, then BAM, it’s the snacks trolley, and you can’t sleep through THAT. 

I do NOT, in any way, shape or form, find travelling “relaxing.” Airports suck, I always get spots and everything seems to be covered in a weird filmy haze of sleep deprivation and general confusion.

Want to buy a designer handbag? A suitcase??? (Who buys their luggage AT THE AIRPORT?) a special panini offer at 4am??

Also, the people in airports really freak me out. It’s like there’s this dividing line between those going Full Glam and those going Major Sloth.

Now, Full Glam individuals are easily identified by their thick make-up (to cover the dark circles and aforementioned airport spots), and usually high heels as well. They have their hair majestically twisted into ringlets or ironed straight, for that really casual, just-rolled-out-of-bed look. These people are usually smug, and should not be approached under any circumstances.

And then there’s the rest of us. The Major Sloth parade.

The bleary-eyed, deathly pale troops that have rolled out of bed at 2 in the bloody morning to get on this crappy plane when in reality, we wish we could just teleport. There’ll be a high percentage of pyjama tops and no bras, a stained sweatshirt and a hastily-packed rucksack. Some of us may have put mascara on in an attempt to go Full Glam, but it just makes us look like pandas, and smears unattractively in our undereye creases.

Anyway, I’m sat in an airport right now, so I thought I’d share with you my tips for lessening this pain 

1. ALWAYS PACK A HAIRBRUSH. I REPEAT: ALWAYS PACK A HAIRBRUSH. Honestly if your hair is tangle-free, your trip is likely to follow suit. 

2. DON’T! Forget your headphones. Listening to the churning noise of the aeroplane engine is A. Boring and B. always makes me feel nauseous for some reason. Oh, and C. It’ll drown out the voices of the screaming kids/ snoring men around you. But don’t forget to remove them so you can ask the flight attendant for a large g&t.

3. Get as much sleep as you can the night before, if you have to get up early to catch your flight. If you can get 4 hours, you’ll probably be okay. Any less than that, and you’ll be bursting into tears when the check-in lady tells you to enjoy your trip.

I know that this is a hard one, but it IS do-able! E.g the day before I had to get up at 2am, I got up early so I would be tired and fall asleep earlier, and exercised during the day. Thus, by 9pm, I was all ready for bed!

Even if you don’t sleep on the plane, you can still try close your eyes and let your body rest, even if your mind doesn’t :). I find this comforting! 

4.  Starbucks is your friend. You need SUGAR. I don’t care if you’re on a diet, the only way you’re going to function is by ordering a large mocha-frappalappacino with extra vanilla syrup. It’s positively REVITALISING.* **

* But don’t overdo it on the caffeine, otherwise you’ll end up with, like, heat palpitations and stuff, and that’s not cool.

** ALSO don’t forget that healthy sh*t has sugar in it, too. So you can fuel up on orange juice or grapes or something. If you like. 🍋

5. I’m gonna say it – don’t eat too much! It’s so tempting to cronch cronch the entire time you’re travelling, just for something to do, but if you go overboard with it, you’ll just feel sluggy and bloated. May I recommend that you graze on light snacks, rather than a roast dinner, if you’ve got a long and arduous journey ahead of you?

My airport time is when I like to try out new snax, usually. That and BAKED GOODS. Mmm.

Anyway, whether you’re a Full Glam individual with sass and time to spare, or a Major Sloth who just wants a soft blankie and to lay down for a while, I got u. 

I feel your pain.

But the journey is only a small part of the trip, and you can recover usually after one night’s rest.

Those are my thoughts, written from Amsterdam Airport. I’ve already been travelling for 7 hours and I’m feeling pretty groggy.

However – adventure awaits!

^^^ This is a really nice playlist and includes a few songs about travelling! I’d recommend it for your journey 🙂

Love and nasty aeroplane coffee,

Cam

Pride!

travel

Good evening, pals!

I am writing this post in a very unhappy state – namely, I feel like I am being punished for some unknown misdemeanour by being put in the seventh circle of hell, A.K.A the packed 6’o’clock train from London to York, which has no air conditioning and is full of people who just want to FIGHT with one another about this fact. Jeez Karen, can’t you just shut up and drink your complimentary bottle of water?


 

This weekend has been a special one. I went with my cousin, who is more like my younger sister, to PRIDE in London!

To those of you reading this who are like, “huh?”, pride is an enormous day of parades and celebration through the centre of London (and many other cities have them too!) in which LGBTQ+ individuals can celebrate their way of life, be it their gender, sexuality, sex, and many other things in that category.

Now, you might notice I am being careful with my wording (something that’s rare for me). This is because I do not identify with any of the aforementioned categories. I went along to show support for all those who do identify in this way, and to join in the celebration of the wonderful diversity and uniqueness of the individuals that make up the world we live in!

Phew. I really hope that wasn’t offensive in any way! It wasn’t meant to be at all.

The LGBTQ+ community is most well-known for the controversy it has caused in the past,   and indeed, the issues that are still very real in the rigid, sometimes outrightly unaccepting world of today.

Case in point – on Thursday night I went to see the cinema screening of the play “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”, in which the central character (Jamie) faces his own struggles with acceptance, as a male Drag Queen in a working-class Northern environment. I would like to mention this film as I not only A). REALLY ENJOYED IT (it’s so so so SO funny and uplifting!) but B). was able to gain an insight into some of the real struggles faced by LGBTQ+ individuals, every single day.

I’m not a total stranger to issues surrounding gender and sexuality, though. As an anthropologist, I studied modules with names like “sex, reproduction and love”, and “sex in public places” – to some extent, I am aware of the literature and conversations happening, based on this enormous area, which is sometimes fraught with conflict and contrasting opinions.

So the parade is kind of like an enormous signal to the world – this is real, it’s happening, hop on board with it.

But let’s not get bogged down too much in the politics of it all, (this is a #happypost) as the parade is, first and foremost, a celebration of LGTBQ+ communities and groups!

And boy did it live up to this!

It. Was. HUGE.

Like,

ENOURMOUS.

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People were just crammed into Oxford Street like I cram my clothes into my messy, untidy drawers. Overstuffed, is the word I would use. With flags everywhere and support signs akimbo, it was like being in a world full of brightly coloured, chattering parrots. Actually, some people even had wings on, so there’s that similarity too.

The energy and the light of it all, the vibrancy of the colours and the glitter of the drag queens just brought a smile to your face.

People in short shorts and platform Converse and lots of lycra and with crazy hairdos pranced and danced and marched their way down the centre, blasting music out of huge speakers and throwing freebies into the crowd. These ranged from free condoms #staysafe, kids, to packets of sweets and stick-on crowns.

Support in the parade came from all kinds of companies, people, and places. The Queen’s marching band played a rousing version of the YMCA, all the while looking stone-faced straight ahead at the music clipped to the end of their instruments, whilst the Army roared up in a tank, followed by a crowed of people dressed in mildly disturbing leather outfits and covered in chains. I will not dwell on this.

Every time a new group, bearing whatever sign it was, the crowd would go crazy. Yelling and screaming and high-fiving and dancing like crazy. As well they should! What a wonderful day: watching all these hundreds of groups go past, openly declaring their support and spreading love for a cause and a community that is often the brunt of much hate.

We didn’t stay for all of the parade, as I had one of the worst experiences of my life, right there on the sidelines. (TW: I’m about to mention my period).
White denim skirt. Surprise visit from “Aunt Irma”. D I S A S T E R.
LUCKILY, my cousin had an enormous pride flag with her, which I fashioned into a kind of sarong whilst I ran through Topshop trying to find something black, and at leat knee-length.
Moral of the story is – always carry spare trousers??? Who even knew this was a thing??? I am kind of traumatised now.

Back to the original point of the post, which was pride.

Lately I have been binge-watching “Queer Eye”, which is a new show on Netflix. It focuses on 5 gay men (The “Fab 5”- they are, indeed, fabulous), and their mission to give a spiritual, physical, and mental makeover to someone nominated for their love of jorts (jean-shorts), terrible facial hair, or inability to move out of their parent’s house. It’s possibly the most cute, wonderful, funny, and uplifting I have ever had my eyes and ears blessed by. Seriously. I have cried so many happy tears watching that show. So pride, and gay culture in general, has been on my mind recently.

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Queer Eye isn’t just about the makeover, though. The guys talk in depth about their experiences with coming out, being openly gay, being religious, and talking to family members etc. It’s a very interesting, honest, and sometimes heart-breaking insight into this way of life.

One of their (the “Fab 5”)’s main points they make in the show, is to reinforce the idea that love is love, no matter what form it takes.

There are so many different types of love, and ways to love, and I’m slowly having my eyes opened up to them, in one way or another.

So what I wanted to say, that after all this, going to pride myself and being in that wonderful, accepting atmosphere, is that I felt nothing but oodles of love on that day, emanating from every single person at the event.

Love is love, people, and I think we, as a whole, need to start saying it like a mantra!

Love is love, no matter what form it takes. Why bully others for being loving, when love is the substance of life? IMG_8824.JPG

On that note, I shall depart.

All my love, to you, specifically you reading this,

Cam

Briefly, Budapest

travel

My experience of Budapest was a heady mix of aching feet and awe at the beauty of the city.

Highlights:

  • Food
  • Scenery
  • History
  • Cheap

Lowlights:

  • Effect of large quantity of dairy on Cam’s stomach.

Admittedly, the latter problem was my own fault and I can’t really blame the city. 

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