Life in a cattle station, Western Australia

Lyndon Station, somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

A few years ago, when I was living in Perth, Australia, I had the chance to spend two weeks in a cattle station, Lyndon Station. Those holidays remain one of the best memories I have from Australia.

The station is located in the middle of the bush. The first ‘city’ close by is Carnarvon, which counts approximately 6 000 inhabitants, and is a 4 hours drive away. Carnarvon is 900km North of Perth. The closest neighbors of the station are half an hour away by car. We climbed on a little hill, and Tim (the owner of Lyndon Station) told us: “everything you see now belongs to the station“, it goes on for hectares and hectares.

Il y a quelques annĂ©es dĂ©jĂ , quand je vivais Ă  Perth en Australie, j’ai eu l’occasion de passer deux semaines dans un vrai ranch australien, Lyndon Station. Ces vacances restent parmi les plus beaux souvenirs que j’ai de l’Australie.

Le ranch est au milieu de nulle part en plein bush australien. La ville la plus proche est Carnarvon, qui compte environ 6 000 habitants et est Ă  4 heures de route. Carnarvon se situe Ă  900km au nord de Perth. Les premiers voisins de Lyndon Station habitent à 30 minutes en voiture. Nous sommes montĂ©s sur une petite colline, et Tim (le propriĂ©taire de Lyndon Station) nous dit : “tout ce que vous pouvez voir Ă  l’horizon nous appartient“, toute la rĂ©gion semblait faire partie du ranch.

69A16E23-B520-4002-A7C4-C298D4C2821E.JPEG

1CFE59C4-C7B8-407A-8C7A-4ABB05E1F6DD

BAAAA97B-E013-4C31-A156-FC34AA7F77EE.JPEG

CAC26F13-7170-4303-9733-A7ABC94971D0.JPEG

DSC_0197

D5C65F20-2463-4D32-B8AB-D6B4F096BD20

6C1A2B96-A802-4595-B40F-96C4E1070754

We swam in a mud lake, rode motorbikes, ate kangaroos, hung out with miners and cow-boys, chased goannas and lived the great life in the outback, my Finnish friend Rosa and I.

Nous avons nagĂ© dans un lac boueux, fait de la moto, mangĂ© des kangourous, cĂŽtoyĂ© les miniers et les cow-boys, chassĂ© les goannas (varan australien)… avec Rosa, mon amie finlandaise.

A8EC4068-A80B-417F-9910-F608102B5AE2

90C6794B-D5A9-4913-B12E-6DBFA2FC6099

DSC_0218

DSC_0214

BE2DEBB7-31CA-4AC6-9485-C1466E7FF721

D847BD96-A53E-49F9-AF27-6BE7079D1162

8193EF2D-2E13-4482-9F85-D89264544524

DB322F78-A7C4-4186-8D05-C05016866D45

Rosa, Bruce my host father and I slept in a little cottage next to the main building of the cattle station. It was a small house really similar to the one Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman live in in the movie Australia: so cute and pretty.

Rosa, Bruce mon pĂšre d’accueil et moi dormions dans une petite maison prĂšs du bĂątiment principal du ranch. La petite maison Ă©tait trĂšs similaire Ă  celle de Nicole Kidman et Hugh Jackman dans le film Australia : un petit cottage super joli au milieu de la nature.

DSC_0355

DSC_0353

DSC_0350

Many of those pictures were taken by Bruce whom I thank so much for this trip. Him and Tim made me discover and fall in love with the Australian outback and I will forever be grateful. Can’t wait to go back!

De nombreuses photos ont Ă©tĂ© prises par Bruce en qui je suis extrĂȘmement reconnaissante pour ce voyage. Tim et lui m’ont fait dĂ©couvrir et tomber amoureuse du bush australien et je ne les remercierai jamais assez. En attendant d’y retourner je partage avec vous quelques derniĂšres photos lors du coucher du soleil !

DSC_0347

42E267F5-49D4-4D79-AA1A-A0EE081D8666

38CFEF91-4D8A-4462-AF8C-770809D3DD2E

Eivissa, capital of Ibiza

On the 1st of June last year I moved to Ibiza, I was supposed to stay 3 months for a seasonal job. I was hired by one of the best 5* hotels in the North of the island to work in the spa as a hostess. After important work ethical issues and disagreements with the owner of the hotel I decided to leave. I ended up staying 3 days on the island…

I was so disappointed/angry/sad about that job and the horrible living conditions of the employees in a 5* hotel. Unable to afford a hotel to stay longer I booked a flight back home on the day I quit the job. To cheer me up I decided to visit Eivissa, the capital of the island, for the afternoon. I didn’t expect much of this city apart from seeing nightclubs and tall buildings.

I was so happily surprised…

En juin dernier, j’ai dĂ©mĂ©nagĂ© Ă  Ibiza, je devais y rester 3 mois pour travailler en tant qu’hĂŽtesse au spa d’un des plus beaux hĂŽtels 5* du nord de l’Ăźle. AprĂšs de gros dĂ©saccords avec la propriĂ©taire et des conditions de travail Ă©pouvantables, je dĂ©cide de partir. Je serais restĂ©e 3 jours sur l’Ăźle…

J’Ă©tais tellement déçue/en colĂšre/triste de la tournure que pris cette expĂ©rience, et vraiment en colĂšre contre les conditions de vie des employĂ©s sur place. Ne pouvant pas rester sur l’Ăźle plus longtemps Ă  cause du prix exorbitant des hĂŽtels, je rĂ©servais mon billet d’avion le jour mĂȘme de ma dĂ©mission. Pour me rĂ©conforter je dĂ©cidais de visiter Eivissa, capitale de l’Ăźle, pour la journĂ©e. Je ne m’attendais pas Ă  grand chose Ă  part boĂźtes de nuit et ville bĂ©tonnĂ©e…

Je crois qu’une ville ne m’a jamais autant Ă©tonnĂ©e.

My favorite picture –

393C7072-E354-46DF-910A-00C9D6CDCA50

Entering the ‘Dalt Vila’, the fortified old town of Eivissa, through this old gate. Dalt Vila has been a UNESCO World Heritage listed site since 1999.

EntrĂ©e de Dalt Vila, la vieille ville fortifiĂ©e d’Eivissa. Dalt Vila est classĂ©e au patrimoine mondial de l’humanitĂ© par l’UNSECO depuis 1999.

2db6da51-9654-4559-95b0-cf0aea572e27

7392FA27-73C6-4FFB-9F1E-73F95CC0976B

190a3c2c-2ff9-4b4b-937a-d38ea5fa13a2

d2b3f591-8aae-40a0-85db-9cbcd276b531

1acc44fe-8a00-47c0-b680-48559f55c3a9

I visited the city on a warm day in June and I took all the pictures at the ‘hora de la siesta’ which explains why all the streets were so quiet and empty. It was so relaxing and peaceful to walk around.

J’ai visitĂ© Eivissa une journĂ©e chaude du mois de juin, toutes ces photos ont Ă©tĂ© prises Ă  la ‘hora de la siesta’, ce qui explique pourquoi il n’y a personne dans les rues.

ea5aae45-a1ad-4942-a8c8-02bb5ffed54d

64cd805e-364e-4028-869d-727876816813

1d19cb77-2da5-4689-9742-2eea67f1071e

e3c822ba-b445-432a-9bf4-c14042db6233

4fe0ef73-65f0-4aef-adf6-466a649156ec

Stunning view from the fortress –

2CBE8D21-9516-44BC-B14E-BF78B6529205

7b01f442-5c36-45ad-adde-cbd44401d3b0

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

70825045-CAAD-40AF-937F-0DA095993796

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

I could really feel how important nap time is, everything was closed.

6bfa7932-61a4-4f98-b4ee-64f1770eb6e4

87c32cd8-ce33-4da1-b3aa-3baaf5b6c62d

7fbf3062-c6c1-4820-a8ff-79f508b7c33f

C2CD6A80-A2F7-41FD-9F97-42396BD2DD50

08bad15b-e98c-4b5b-adf6-5e09972d758c

4ab55d65-96ef-4289-87cf-e7dd490467f3

Feels like Morocco –

66f93a16-b1cb-4dbe-8abb-658c31919f63

2c8bf683-edba-4446-9be7-b3f4126e245a

I found so many cute cafes with cozy terraces. My favorite though were all the hippy markets all around the city. They had amazing jewellery made with turquoises and other kinds of rocks and everything was pretty cheap.

J’ai dĂ©couvert de nombreux cafĂ©s super cozy avec de belles terrasses. Les gens que j’ai rencontrĂ© Ă©taient trĂšs sympas et accueillants. Il y a Ă©galement des marchĂ©s hippy dans toute la ville, avec des bijoux magnifiques, faits avec des pierres telles que des turquoises, Ă  des prix vraiment abordables.

CB646CFE-9B36-455E-8D43-4671460D4578

6326ca91-75db-46be-bb86-b92e6fd54df2

 

A day in Howth, Ireland

The stunning landscape of the Irish coast, less than an hour away from Dublin

8021C3A9-0707-4BD6-A28A-5C366CD6DF1F.JPEG

After a quite chaotic trip from Paris to Dublin (with a missed connecting flight and a night spent in Cardiff) I arrived in Dublin early on Saturday morning. After a few months of working full time and living in busy Paris, I was super excited to go to Dublin and to discover the Irish coast and its beautiful nature.

AprĂšs un voyage un peu chaotique de Paris Ă  Dublin (avec une connexion manquĂ©e et une nuit passĂ©e Ă  Cardiff), je suis arrivĂ©e Ă  Dublin tĂŽt le samedi matin. AprĂšs quelques mois passĂ©s en plein coeur de Paris, j’avais hĂąte d’arriver et de dĂ©couvrir les paysages magnifiques des cĂŽtes irlandaises.

BA980104-14F3-4882-B168-F28CF5A8E4F5.JPEG

Howth is an old fishing village, located on the peninsula Howth Head, north east of Dublin. It is really the place where all the Dubliners go on a sunny Sunday. The nature is beautiful and it’s so easy to get there from Dublin. From Dublin city center, the bus takes you to the harbour of Howth in about 45 minutes for around 3€. You have many different paths you can chose from to visit the peninsula, I recommend you take the long one all along the coast, it’s where you will get the best views (you can check out the map of Howth Head at the end of this post). The trekking is really easy but it can get a little muddy in some parts.

Howth est un ancien village de pĂȘcheurs situĂ© sur la presqu’Ăźle d’Howth Head, au nord est de Dublin. Tous les Dublinois viennent se balader le weekend dĂšs qu’il y a un rayon de soleil. Les paysages sont vraiment magnifiques et il est trĂšs facile de s’y rendre. Depuis le centre ville de Dublin, le bus amĂšne jusqu’au port de Howth en environ 45 minutes pour seulement 3€. De nombreux chemins de randonnĂ©e sont possibles pour visiter toute la pĂ©ninsule. Je recommande le plus long qui longe toute la cĂŽte, c’est lĂ  que vous aurez les plus belles vues (carte de Howth Head Ă  la fin de cet article). La randonnĂ©e n’est vraiment pas difficile, les chemins peuvent par contre ĂȘtre un peu boueux.

427D6D95-2A47-41CD-9FFC-20176EF3FBF2.JPEG

270587BA-EB21-43EF-84B5-44F8A37DD4CA

830AB280-218D-439A-AB5A-B54A99616EF1.JPEG

My favorite beach in Howth Head.

C8726771-8C43-4C1C-B875-F2D05E5890EE.JPEG

On the way to the Baily Lighthouse, on the southeastern part of Howth Head.

77BC184B-8FA1-4264-8868-6780BB2DF3DF.JPEG

A431119C-6FB7-4794-8A62-F5EEB5A32E9F.JPEG

After the trekking, I recommend you go to Beshoff Bros for the best and cheapest fish & chips in town. You can then get an ice-cream in one of the many ice-cream stores next to the harbour. If you are not keen on fish & chips, you should check out the small market, near the bus stop. They have delicious food such as Hungarian LĂĄngos (if you don’t know what LĂĄngos are).

AprĂšs une randonnĂ©e de quelques heures, je ne peux que recommander un dĂ©jeuner/goĂ»ter à Beshoff Bros, qui propose le meilleur (et le moins cher) fish & chips de la ville. Pour le dessert, vous trouverez de nombreux glaciers au port. Pour ceux ou celles qui ne seraient pas intĂ©ressĂ©s par un fish & chips, faites un tour au petit marchĂ© du port, prĂšs de l’arrĂȘt de bus. Vous y trouverez un bon nombre de mets dĂ©licieux comme des LĂĄngos de Hongrie (si vous ne savez pas ce que sont les LĂĄngos).

21EA0C57-C051-4ECF-A35A-E3A86F6885F4.JPEG

To finish the day and to digest all that food, nothing better than a nice walk on the harbour. You can even spot seals tanning on the rocks if you are lucky (which we weren’t).

Pour finir cette belle journĂ©e et pour digĂ©rer tout ça, rien de tel qu’une petite balade au port. Si vous avez de la chance, vous pourrez meme apercevoir des phoques sur les rochers. 

10.JPEG

11.JPEG

12.JPEG

14.JPEG

1F5DC1C2-8382-4DEB-A144-18A5ACBDA578

Merci Tiphaine d’avoir Ă©tĂ© notre guide.

3.JPEG

Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 14.45.46

Map from ©VisitDublin, check out their website to get more infos

 

See you next time Ireland 🙂Ice Cream Party

 

Techo : juntos por un mundo sin pobreza

Overcoming poverty in slums through the collaborative work of families living in extreme poverty with youth volunteers.                                            

Catriel is two years old. He lives with his mum, Jenny, 18 years old and with his two sisters.

They live in a place called Villa Iapi, in the city of Quilmes, South East of Buenos Aires, only an hour away from the fancy neighbourhood of Recoleta.

I arrived in Villa Iapi late on a Friday night with hundreds of other volunteers. We installed our little sleeping bags inside of an empty school and waited that the Techo group coordinators presented their amazing work.

I came across Techo completely randomly, while living in Buenos Aires, a friend of a friend had been a volunteer over a weekend and told our common friend how inspiring this association was. A couple of weeks later, I was in a bus, heading towards one of the “Villa Miseria”, name of the slums in Argentina.

Techo is an association that was created in 1997 in the small town of Curanilahue in Chile, by a group of young people that wanted to overcome poverty. To face the urgent situation of extremely poor and unacceptable conditions in which some people were living, they decided to build transitional houses for the families in the slums.

This wonderful project lead to an amazing organisation operating nowadays in 19 countries across Latin America and the Caribbeans.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

We struggled to find the way into Catriel’s home at first. After banging on a sheet metal wall for 5 minutes and waking up the neighbours, Catriel’s dad, Luis, showed up. We apparently woke him up, he had forgotten we were coming on that sunny autumn day.

Catriel, his sisters and Jenny weren’t there. Luis was with his new girlfriend in the family home.

He told us Jenny and the children had been staying at Jenny’s parents place, a couple of houses away.

In order to get a Techo house the families have to go through a selection process, as the association doesn’t have enough houses for all the families in need. Indeed, only the poorest families living in terrible conditions would get a house.

The fact that Jenny and her kids weren’t there was a problem for the Techo coordinator. Who were we supposed to build a house for ? Luis and his current girlfriend ? The house was supposed to be built next to their actual house, on the small piece of land belonging to Luis.

The Techo coordinator had to have a conversation with the entire family before taking any decision. After a long talk between Techo and the family, Jenny and Luis decided to give their relationship a second chance and really wanted to get a fresh new start. The construction could finally start.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

In the middle of the villa, stuck between buildings, there is a small piece of land with a house. Around the house, it is mud and there is a horse. Luis uses the horse for work, he got a new job. He delivers goods with a carriage on his horse all around the Villa.

The house is small, it is around 8 square meters. There is no door. It is more four stone walls than an actual house but there is a mattress on the floor, a stove and a TV with The Simpsons playing. They have electricity but no running water. The toilet is a hole, next to the house hidden by sheet metal walls.

There is no bin, the floor is covered with trash, papers, horse dung, diapers


The house that we will build for Catriel and his family is only a few centimetres bigger than their actual one, but it will be a good fresh start in healthier conditions of living.

5.jpg

DSCN3786.jpg

It took us two days, and more than a thousand volunteers to build 145 emergency shelters to families like Catriel’s one.

8.jpg

A month later, we came back to Villa Iapi to check how everything was going with the families. Sadly, Luis and Jenny weren’t together anymore and the house, that was already really worn out was most likely going to be taken down by Techo.

It was really nice though to be able to see Jenny and the kids again, they were all going to live with the grandparents from now on. I left her some pictures of the kids and we said goodbye.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

 

I joined the Techo team once more a few weeks later to participate in the encounter of the families in need of an emergency housing.

We visited Maria’s house. Maria has two grandchildren of 5 and 7 years old, a girl and a boy. They have never met their father. Their mother, Maria’s daughter died a few months back. She was beaten to death in front of the children by her boyfriend. Maria is crying while telling us her story. She is old and sick and the only things she has left on earth are her grandchildren and her son.

She lives in one of the Villa Miserias, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. She lives in extremely poor conditions and shares the same bed than the two kids. Some of their neighbours got a Techo house and Maria had been waiting for an answer to get one as well.

I got the privilege with 4 other Techo volunteers to tell her that their house was going te be constructed the following month. She bursted into tears in a mixture of both sadness and happiness.

6.jpg

To know more about Techo : 💙

 

 

El Calafate, Argentina

Horse back riding and trekking near El Calafate, in the Argentinian Patagonia

For the third year of my bachelor’s degree, I had the opportunity to go on exchange to Buenos Aires, Argentina. During the year I spent there, I did some of the best trips of my life so far. One of them was a 10 days road trip to Patagonia covering both Argentina and Chile. I have so much to share about it that in this article I will only write about my two days in El Calafate with my Swedish boyfriend, Jacob.

We landed at El Calafate’s tiny airport around midday, left our bags at the quite nice Hotel Kalken and went for a stroll in the city center. Despite the fact that the town was almost completely empty (by midday all the travellers are out and about discovering the beauty of the surrounding national parks). El Calafate is a very cute little town, mainly consisting of wooden houses, with a friendly atmosphere where you could feel the holidays spirit, only 10 days away from Christmas.

After a quick hamburger on the terrace of a little wooden cafe we left for our first excursion : a 2 hours horse-ride in the hills.

A small bus came to pick us up at the hotel and drove us, roughly 20 km from El Calafate, towards Cerro Frias, which is an ecological adventure park that offers a vast array of different activities within the stunning landscape.

Horse back riding

As I am prone to vertigo and slightly frightened by horse-back riding I asked if I could have the smallest horse of the estancia. I spotted a tiny white and brown horse and asked if he could be my ride. Unfortunately, that horse belonged to our guide and instead I was offered a tall black one (suitably named Tornado). I was scared and I struggled the first minutes of the ride as Tornado, only wanted to stop to eat (maybe not such a bad partner match after all) but then the beauty of the surroundings took over. The Mountains, the turquoise lakes, the yellowness of the vast grasslands
 It could not have been more perfect. I started to feel like a true gaucho in the middle of the pampas and it seemed like time and place had remained in the 19th century.

IMG_8169 2.jpg

After this wonderful day we booked a table at Kau Kaleshen, a very picturesque little family restaurant and we were so glad we did. The dishes were beautifully decorated with flowers, everything homemade and delicious. My lamb was perfectly cooked and Jacob’s salmon so tasteful. The atmosphere was very welcoming and charming, and the staff very friendly. We loved everything about that place and it is now one of our favourite restaurant in both Argentina and in the world!

After a good night rest, we had a quite eventful breakfast, with about 50 retirees, which was not that peaceful and quiet as one would think. So apparently Hotel Kalken is the place to stay when you go on an elderly group tour in El Calafate. (Note to myself to remember that when I am 80.)
As soon as we finished our buffet breakfast a bus full of excited tourists picked us up. We were full of emotions during the hour bus ride to get to Los Glaciares National Park. Very excited, a bit stressed about what we had planned and so full of wonder from looking out the windows.

The first glance we got of the glacier was a couple of seconds only while our bus took a right turn on a narrow mountain road, which was enough to render us both completely amazed. We made one last stop to see the glacier from a distance with a stunning view of the Lago Argentino and then headed further into the park.

Glaciar Perito Moreno

Immediately when the bus stopped we ran towards the wooden stairs and started going down to be met by the most magnificent view of Perito Moreno. It was absolutely breathtaking. Once in a while, maybe every 15 minutes or so, a piece of the glacier falls into the lake, creating dozens of icebergs floating around. The show is magnificent, the noise of the ice breaking resonates in between the mountains which is always delayed by a couple of seconds compared to the actual breakage you see.
Words do not suffice to describe that magnificent show. We felt so small taking in the view and once more felt so amazed by the profound beauty and wonder of our planet.

We then boarded on a ferry to cross the Lago Argentino and arrive on the glacier side. The boat ride took 20 minutes and the view from there was equally breathtaking, we could see the glacier from its front wall and got close enough to almost touch some of the smaller icebergs. They seemed quite small from the shore but up close they were the size of a truck floating around in the freezing water.

Once on the glacier side Jacob and I realised that we did not bring food, a mistake not committed by our more organised co-visitors, and of course once on the glacier, the lack of 7/11’s was apparent. So we would not eat for the entire day. Thankfully, one of the guides gave us an apple each so we would not hike on almost empty stomachs. But on a rare occasion such as this one, the landscape and the day was so amazing that stomach growling was easily forgotten.

DSCN2413

We started the trekking by walking through a small forest and a rocky beach for about 20 minutes before reaching a tiny wooden shed where all the gear and crampons (those weird spiky shoes) were stored.
When we all finally got our climbing-irons on we started the hike : an hour and half trek on the glacier.

The trekking was amazing and so much fun, as we could not walk regularly with the crampons but rather in a more penguins-esque manner and it is really one of the “musts” things to do for those going to Patagonia. Looking in front of us, ice and only ice for kilometre after kilometre, since the Perito Moreno is 250 km2 and 30 kilometres long and one of the world few glaciers that is still growing!

Walking on the ice, avoiding the crevasses and the small blue lagoons was fantastic. We were aware that tourists go up on the glacier almost every day in summer but you still feel like you are the first human to step foot on it and it is wonderful. We felt like explorers discovering Antarctica (although it is a few thousands kilometres away
but the closest we ever got to the South Pole) and stepping foot on an unknown land. It was magical. Once again, I lack the words to explain how amazing that moment was, truly one of the best experience of my life so far.

IMG_1914 2

I also feel proud of myself for accomplishing this challenge. Being strongly affected by vertigo, I never thought, a couple of years before that trip, that I would climb a glacier. Lets be honest, it was closer to walking than climbing and the trek is even advertised to the ageing clientele of Hotel Kalken so it is not as difficult as I make it sound. But for me it was a personal challenge and it made me feel stronger, braver and ready to take on more adventures and to continue fighting my fears.

Finally, as a reward for our efforts on the glacier, when we reached the highest point of our small trekking, after walking for about an hour on the ice, we got a little surprise : a glass of whisky, on the rocks of course.

IMG_1892

For more information :
(prices are from December 2015 so it might have changed since)

-Hotel Kalken : http://hotelkalken.com/index.php
We paid approximately 80€ for a standard double room for two people with breakfast included, it was already really expensive for what it is and now the prices have gone up even more.

-Cerro Frias : http://www.cerrofrias.com, they offer horse back riding, 4×4 drives, trekkings and zip line. We paid approximately 50€ for the horse back riding including the transfer back and forth from the hotel and an 1h30 of riding. You can also pay a bit more and have lunch or dinner at their very charming little cottage.

-Restaurant Kau Kaleshen :
https://www.tripadvisor.fr/Restaurant_Review-g312851-d1941232-Reviews-Kau_Kaleshen-El_Calafate_Province_of_Santa_Cruz_Patagonia.html
Reservation is preferably as it is getting more popular. It is also a hotel, fact that we wish we had known before as it is probably very nice.

-Trekking on the glacier with Hielo y Aventura : http://www.hieloyaventura.com/HIELO2015/minitrekking-eng.html
We did the Mini Trekking, which includes the 20 minutes boat ride and 1h30 trekking on the glacier. We paid approximately 130€ for that excursion but it is so worth it. They also have a longer trekking for the entire day, that I wish to do next time we go to Patagonia. Also, do not forget to bring food!

PS: For the entrance at Los Glaciares National Park, do not forget your student ID if you have one, it is way cheaper.