SI Autumn Masthead
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You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone

Kim-Ling Richardson

When telling people we were moving overseas to Spain, we received dirty looks, expressions of awe and lots of jealous, but excited “congratulations”.

Family and friends were ecstatic and excited about this new adventure we were about to embark on. We too were excited to move abroad, and no less-than to Spain, the land of sunshine, siestas and sangria; however, once the dust had settled and we had our fair share of tapas, jamón and churros, our homesickness for everything Canberra offered began to sink in.

There is no doubt that living in Spain has been one of the best life decisions we’ve made, but believe it or not, little old Canberra has so much to offer that Spain does not. ‘Really? What could possibly be lacking in Spain, that Canberra has?’, you may be asking yourself. Well, friends, here is what made our list:

Coffee culture

When I told my Spanish friends that Australia has the best coffee in the world, they didn’t believe me. When I heard that Canberra’s very own Sasa Sestic had won the World’s Best Barista title this year, I couldn’t wait to tell them (which proved to be difficult, as there isn’t really a translation for the word barista in Spanish!). In Spain (and Europe in general), coffee options are limited. Trying to order a mocha in Spain left me with a hot chocolate and a coffee. And don’t even think about asking for soy milk. On a daily basis we dreamt about the delicious coffees from Lonsdale St Roasters, The Cupping Room and more.

Dining options

Oh, the amount of times we did a Google search to find non-Spanish restaurants in a nearby city was countless. Canberra, undoubtedly, has the greatest selection of cuisines to tickle your fancy every night of the week, not to mention the amazing produce. You can travel the culinary world within a 8km radius and eat anything from Ethiopian, Malaysian, Italian and Peruvian.

Sadly, this wasn’t the case in Spain (unless you were in the larger cities). How we missed our Asian Noodle House Laksas and Char Kway Teows. At one point, I even got my mum to send over Asian ingredients to help our cravings, but it just wasn’t the same. We missed it so much, that we had to get it as soon as we arrived back in Canberra!

Brunch

I’m realising that there seems to be a theme here. Oh well, food is important! We missed the myriad of options for breakfast and/or brunch in Spain. A general breakfast there is pastry or tomato on toast, with jamón if you are lucky. We here in Canberra have really turned eating out, regardless of what meal, into an art form. I’ll take a sweet eggs benedict from Kindle, Ricardo’s hotcakes or even the simple-but-delicious bacon and egg roll from Dobinsons over a small pastry any day!

Bike Paths & Greenery

Sadly, we’ve returned to the harsh Canberran winter, so my beautiful bicycle is still collecting dust in the garage; but rest assured, when it starts to warm up again, I will be taking advantage of the wonderful bike paths and parks that Canberra does so well. You may be thinking, “But it’s Europe! They all ride bikes over there!”.

Yes they do, but not with the fantastic bike friendly paths that we have here, and finding a park with actual grass and trees actually proved to be quite difficult! I certainly can’t wait to get back in touch with nature and enjoy the luscious surroundings we have here. You know, when the trees start to grow leaves again.

So whilst the sounds of flamenco, the smells of paella and the sights of such monuments as the Sagrada Familia or the Mezquita get my heart all a flutter, Dorothy Gale was spot on when she chanted “There’s no place like home”. Canberra, you really are something special.

You can follow Kim-Ling and her husband’s whirlwind adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Kim-Ling Richardson

From her first overseas trip at only 6 years of age, Kim-Ling has had an evolving wanderlust and has often dreamt of travelling the world. In 2014, she decided to bite the bullet, leave her massive shoe collection behind and embark on a whirlwind adventure to Spain as an English teacher. A self-confessed ‘hispanophile’ she and her husband lived in a small village north of Córdoba and spent every spare minute travelling through Spain and Europe. Believing that the world is her oyster, Kim-Ling is determined to make travel blogging her career (unless Professional Shoe Collector or Chocolate Taster become viable career choices). More about the Author

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