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5 Awesome Places To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth In Valencia, Spain

It's no secret I have a sweet tooth. I simply love everything from cakes to pastries and ice cream. So wherever I travel, I always try to stop by the most famous bakery in town. But in Valencia, I want to recommend you 5 places that you should really try. No worries, they are all centrally located and within easy reach.

Dulce de Leche Boutique 


This is my favorite pastry shop in Valencia, hands down. Walking inside any of their shops (they have two) is like stepping into a sweet, sweet wonderland. Many of their cakes are made with dulce de leche, of course, one delicacy I'm not entirely sure how I was able to live without until recently. But my absolute favorite is their dulce de leche coffee - simply the best combination!

Chocolates Valor



If you love decadently thick Spanish hot chocolate, this place is for you. Over the past 130 years, Chocolates Valor has become an institution. Their menu is quite extensive, ranging from the must try hot chocolate with churros and chocolate shots to chocolate slush and some really creative chocolate desserts.

Marzipan fruits


Okay, so to be completely honest, you'll have to visit Valencia at the beginning of October if you want to eat any of these adorable marzipan delicacies. They are only produced in the days before the Saint Dionis celebrations, the local patron saint of lovers. I love marzipan in any shape or size, but these fruit and veggie shaped specialties, are among my favorites. Hot tip: they taste even better when they have an egg yolk filling. 

La Mas Bonita



This is another place that made waves when they opened in Valencia a few years ago. Back then, their only restaurant was by the beach. But in the meantime, they also opened a more central restaurant, in the Russafa neighborhood. They have an abundant gastronomic offer, from breakfast and brunch to a lunch and dinner menu. But I recommend you visit them for their red velvet cake made with cheesecake cream. Finger licking good!

Pasteleria Dulces Martin


This pastry shop has been around for many years and they pride themselves on not using any frozen products, while also staying true to the traditional baking methods. But forth and foremost what you should try here is their terrer, a typical Valencian cupcake, made after a recently rescued old recipe. Terrer is a moist cake with a hint of orange and a delish layer of burned turron on top. Can you say no to that? I know I can't!

For more food goodness and travel inspiration, join me on Instagram.
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Erato's Apollo 7- Best Looking, Truly Wireless Earbuds

Long live the wireless earbud trend that is shaping up to be the next revolution in the audio wearable. I always hated cables, especially the cables of my headphones. Every time after taking my seat on an airplane or train, I used to spend the first moments fighting with my headphone cables. But no more.


Gone are the days when I tread along my morning jog with a cable dangling in front of me. Enter the new wireless buds that connect to the phone via Bluetooth, but also don't have any physical connection between them to worry about.


After so many years of waiting, it finally happened. Out of the many startups and big-name companies that are trying to make truly wireless earbuds, a small company called Erato made a pair where the Bluetooth connection doesn’t continuously drop out. This has been the most consistent problem with just about every other pair of wireless earbuds.

But with Erato’s earbuds, known by their catchy name, Apollo 7, I don’t have to pay attention where I place my phone when I use them. Handbag, backpack, front pocket, back pocket, it really doesn’t matter where my phone is. The Apollo 7 offers a truly wire-free earbud experience that actually works perfectly.



Battery life

Firstly, let's get out of the way the two questions that most people will ask:

Are the buds easy to loose?

And how good is the battery life?

I thought the new wireless buds would come with a different set of problems, that I will have to worry about  - losing one of them. But that was only until I got my hands on Erato's Apollo 7. The buds come with a dedicated carry case that also acts as a charging device. Once I finish using the buds, I just place them into the carry case and drop it into my handbag or pocket.

They have up to 4 hours of battery autonomy, but once in the case the buds will get recharged by the case, and they will be ready for me to use them again. Due to the compact charging case, I can go on using them all day long. The battery in the case can charge them two full times before I need to find an outlet or use my portable power bank.



Design and Features

I'm sure you'll all agree that Erato's Apollo 7 are the best looking wireless earbuds out there, right? I mean, look at this excellent design! It offers waterproof audio enjoyment for the active types without any cable hassle. Plus, the Apollo offers standalone touch controls for switching tracks or answering phone calls with the built-in omnidirectional microphone.


Weighing just 4 grams, these buds support the advanced AAC, SBC, and aptX audio standards, and lock into your auricle securely with an inventive horn system, while looking good on the outside. Each bud has a small button so you can control tracks, change volume and answer calls.

Those little buttons actually work surprisingly well, given the lack of available real estate. A long press will switch each bud on and off and activate Bluetooth pairing. A single press answers calls or pauses music. A double press, meanwhile, will increase or lower volume depending on the side. Just press the left ear for volume down, right for up, or activate Siri/Google Voice. They are amazingly easy to use!


While wearing the Apollo 7 you will notice that they stick out just a bit. They do not hang down from your ears like Apple's Airpods. They are comfortable to wear, and never feel like they are going to fall out, not even during jogging. 

Even so, for the tiny bit that people might notice in my ear, I wanted the right color for me. I am happy to say there are four colors to choose from, which happen to match the colorways of the iPhone - dark gray, light gray, metallic pink and gold. Coincidence? The buds are so small that there's not really a lot to judge them on, but if you are paying attention to every little detail, these buds will not disappoint. They look amazing in your ear.



Verdict

So is it time to join the truly wireless club? If Apple has its way, the 3.5mm jack will be a thing of the past, and you'll want to consider wireless headphones even if right now you're not interested. I am not usually an early adaptor, mostly due to the costs that come with this type of life choice, but I hate cables so much, I had to go wireless. And Erato's Apollo 7 gives the opportunity to go truly wireless!

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5 Ways to Build Your CV Whilst Travelling

Despite what your parents or career advisor believe, spending a year or more travelling abroad isn’t simply an extended holiday.

Sure, there’ll be lots of beaches, amazing food and late night parties with new friends from around the world, but it’s not all fun and games.

Moving from country to country requires comprehensive planning and organisation, and being away from home for such a long time – in totally alien places – means you’re continually building invaluable life skills.

Unfortunately, for parents with more traditional views about life after school, experiential benefits aren’t always quite enough to satisfy their demands about “the point of travelling”.

To help you put their minds at rest, here are five other clear and practical ways of making sure your stint abroad adds to your CV.



#1: study as you travel


Distance learning courses can be completed from anywhere you choose, whether that’s your family home in Glasgow or a beach on the Italian coast.

It won’t be easy, and you may have to sacrifice a little relaxation time, but you’ll end up with a degree to help you get your dream job.

#2: create your own blog


It’s no secret that making money as a writer is difficult, yet that’s not quite the point of publishing a blog detailing your many adventures.

Even if it never takes off you’ll get to develop some CV-friendly skills, like writing, photography and editing. Plus, choose a free hosting platform and it won’t cost you a penny to keep friends and family posted on your latest activities.

#3: perfect a second language


Practise makes perfect when it comes to learning a second language, and travelling will give you plenty of time to have your high school French flawlessly fluent.

The reality is, in lots of countries you won’t have any choice but to learn the national language. When your knowledge falters and English isn’t working, there are apps and dictionaries to help you communicate all the important stuff – like asking for directions to the best pub.

#4: build work experience


Part-time jobs aren’t only good for building work experience to strengthen your CV, they also let you earn a little extra pocket money.

Waitressing, leading tours or even nannying – there are several different options. Just make sure you check the conditions of your visa first as places like Australia can have strict rules about visitors and the right to work.

#5: add volunteering expertise


Taking a place on a volunteering program can add both character and expertise to help your future job applications stand out from the crowd.

No matter what your interest – from conservation projects to teaching English abroad – with a little research you’ll find one that lets you develop professional skills and have some fun at the same time.
Make the most of every opportunity that comes your way whilst you’re travelling and you’ll come home with a winning CV neither your parents nor prospective employers will be able to resist.

Photo by Campaign Bootcamp under Flickr Creative Commons
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Everything You Need to Know About Japanese Trains and The Japan Rail Pass

Japan is one of the world’s pioneering countries when it comes to railway services and public transportation. The country is famous for its amazingly reliable train system. Their average delay time per whole year is one single minute. And if a train happens to be delayed even by 30 seconds, all passengers at the platform will surely hear a loud apologizing message with all the relevant information on the following train.


To give you a better idea of how incredible the Japanese punctuality is, here are some numbers:

• There are over 800 stations just in the metropolitan area of Tokyo.
• Tokyo’s central Shinjuku station provides service to over 3.6 million commuters daily.
• Japan’s trains make over 40 million daily journeys on the interconnected metro system and suburban railways.

Apart from these “tiny” details, you can also count on the trains always being spotless. I honestly cannot even think of how to make the comparison between how clean the trains are and their punctuality. There will be no winner in this comparison as Japan’s services tend always to be on a world-class level.

Unlike the typical experience you may have on the Tokyo metro during rush hours (getting squeezed in by specially hired personnel, wearing white gloves) the rapid and bullet trains are very comfortable and spacious. Generally speaking, there are two types of seating reservations on the national Japanese trains - reserved and non-reserved seating areas. Some train categories have reserved seats only, while others have a mixture of both.

For train journeys that require passengers to book a seat in advance, all you need to do is go to the train station about 10-15 minutes before the trip with your train ticket and book a seat. In case all seats are already booked (very rare, unless rush hour in major cities), standing tickets will be made available.

Types of Japanese trains


There are different types of Japanese national trains as well as different stop patterns of each train category. The trains that stop at each station are called local trains. They serve all local stops, until their final destination.

The trains that serve the same trajectory but stop at fewer stops are called:

• Rapid
• Express
• Limited Express
• Shinkansen bullet trains

A rapid train can easily develop the same speed as an express train, however, due to the number of stops it makes, it can take up to a couple of hours to arrive. 

Since the majority of people that go to Japan purely for travel purposes make the most out of it by taking advantage of the discounted multi-use Japan Rail Pass ticket, I am going to discuss the 3 most popular points, accessible for free with the JR Pass:

1. Taking the Narita Express


Narita Express (N’EX) is the train that provides direct and rapid connection between the biggest airport of Tokyo - Narita (Terminals: 1,2,3) and the city’s central and primary stations:
• Shinagawa
• Shibuya
• Shinjuku
• Ikebukuro
• Omiya
• Yokohama 
• Ofuna

Depending on your arrival station, the Narita Express journey can last from half an hour to one hour. 
This is a reservation-only train, so make sure to book your tickets upon arrival at the airport, before boarding the train. The standard price for a one-way journey to Tokyo Station is a little over 3,000 yen. However, all JR Pass holders can book their tickets and ride the Narita Express as many times as they want. This advantage only makes for 6,000 yen of savings on airport transfer costs.

2. Taking the Shinkansen bullet trains


The Shinkansen bullet trains are one of Japan’s most famous attractions. The fastest of all bullet trains operates at a speed of 320 km/h (199 mph). Logically, the bullet trains make fewer stops than any local or rapid train, which is another speed-related advantage. A curious fact is that the Shinkansen trains require a different type of railways since they cannot ride nor reach their maximum speed on regular rail tracks. For this reason, all Shinkansen trains’ tracks are separated from the rest.

There are direct Shinkansen bullet train services, connecting, but not limited to: 

• Tokyo-Osaka
• Tokyo-Kyoto
• Osaka-Hiroshima
• Osaka-Kyoto

The price of a bullet train ticket is always higher in comparison to the prices for local or express train tickets. This, of course, does not affect JR Pass holders, who can ride any national JR train entirely free of charge during the validity period of the given pass.

It is important to remember that the JR Pass covers all national rail services. This does not include the train categories Nozomi and Mizuho, which belong to private Japanese companies.

3. Bonus tip: Taking the Miyajima Ferry (Hiroshima)


The famous Miyajima ferry connects the port of Hiroshima (Miyajima Guchi pier) to the world and cultural heritage site of the Miyajima Island (also known as Itsukushima). Two different companies operate the ferries, and one of them is the national Japan Rail Group. Consequently, JR Pass holders can take the ferry the times they want. The standard travel time between the two piers is just 10 minutes. This makes for a perfect day trip itinerary. 

Apart from the emblematic city of Hiroshima, its parks and Ground Zero memorials, travelers are impatient to visit the nearby island and admire the beautiful floating Torii gate, part of the unique Itsukushima Shrine.

Photo by Takeshi Kuboki under Flickr Creative Commons
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Heathrow At 70 - How It Has Changed and Developed

Heathrow celebrates its 70th birthday this year and it is safe to say that quite a lot has changed in those seven decades.

The airport started life way back in the 1930s as a small airfield in west London, where British aero engineer and aircraft builder Richard Fairley built a private airport to assemble and test aircrafts. It had a small single grass runway and just a few buildings. If you have ever been to Heathrow (and considering it is now the busiest airport in the UK, it is more than likely you have) then it is pretty hard to imagine it ever having looked like that.


During World War 2 the government took control of land in and around the village of Heath Row, to build RAF Heston – a base for long-range troop-carrying aircraft heading to the Far East. In 1944 work started to demolish Heath Row and clear land for runways. However, by the time the war ended the RAF no longer needed this and so, in 1946, it was handed over to Air Ministry and the capital’s new civil airport began to operate as London Airport. On the 31st May 1946, it opened its doors for the first time to commercial flights.

Picture the terminals now. Ok, got that image in your head? Now, let's go back to the 1940s. During these early years, you would have sat in a floral-patterned armchair in an ex-military marquee to wait for your flight. There was no time spent browsing the aisles of duty-free or enjoying a pre-flight cocktail in those days!

There was also no shuttle bus or walkway to take you between the terminal and the aircraft, instead, passengers walked over wooden duckboards to protect their footwear from the mud.

To celebrate the airport's milestone this year Adrian Balch has published a new book titled ‘Heathrow in Photographs’ – you can see some of the images from it in this Guardian article - including black and white images that take us inside these terminal tents.

By the end of Heathrow’s first operational year, 63,000 passengers had travelled through London’s new airport. So, in 1951 British architect Frederick Gibbard was appointed to design permanent buildings, which were opened by the Queen in 1955.

By 1961 the old terminal on the north side had closed and airlines either operated from the Europa terminal (later renamed Terminal 2) or the Oceanic terminal (now Terminal 3). In 1966 London Airport was renamed Heathrow and in 1969 five million passengers a year was passing through the airport and so Terminal 1 was opened.

During the many years of the airport's existence Concorde has come and gone, the Queen opened the airport's new Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal – over 50 years after she opened the previous one, The Beatles cemented their place in history as global superstars when they were mobbed here on their return from the US in 1964 and Terminal 1 was closed after 47 years.

Today, Heathrow is the UK’s premier international airport, being both the largest and busiest airport in the country – in fact, it is the busiest airport in the whole of Europe and the sixth busiest in the world. In 2014 a record 73.4 million passengers passed through it, ranging from those heading off to enjoy a weekend city break to those who had put all their belongings in nearby storage and were jetting off on a one-way ticket to the sun.

When Heathrow celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006, it had handled over 1.4 billion passengers on over 14 million flights. With plans in the pipeline to extend the airport even further, who knows how high these figures will be by the time it is celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2026!

Photo by Curt Smith under Flickr Creative Commons

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