After Lisbon, we were off to Seville. That’s where one of the German guys was studying so we went together with a lady from blablacar.com. Seville was pretty cool, I only had a few days here but it was a really relaxed city. This was where I got my first taste of Spain. Siestas and people out on the streets drinking, families, tapas, flamenco. The Spanish people are so relaxed. Everything is no pasa nada! This is where I met an Austrian guy who was saying he wanted to go to Morocco, so I thought I’d go with him!
We went to Malaga next which was the home of Picasso. It was by the water and we spent a day at the beach which was really nice. My first time in the Mediterranean Sea! We had some really really good ice cream too, at a place by the beach that had been there for like 100 years and small homemade family run store. They use what fruit is in season to make their ice cream! The strawberry ice cream was probably the best I’ve ever had. Malaga had a really good market too, so one day after one of the girls from the hostel and I went to the Picasso museum, we went to the market and bought some olives, bread, nuts, cheese, strawberries and Tinto de Verano (wine of summer) and had a picnic! The food was soooo good and so fresh. That region of Spain is known for their olives especially. I never used to like olives until I came to Spain! They are deliciously amazing!
I then caught a ride with the Austrian guy from Malaga to Granada with blablacar. We were in this crammed little car with our backpacks all around us but it was only a few hour ride, and we had another lady in the car who was Argentinian. She commuted between the two cities for work and was so nice, she spoke English while the Spanish driver did not. When we arrived in Granada she walked us from where the driver dropped us to our hostel. So nice! She told us also the cheapest place for a Flamenco show and some other tourist things we should do while in Granada.
It was such a beautiful city, it’s right at the south so very much has a Moroccan/Arabic feel. You can see it in the architecture and in the market stalls along the steep winding allyways. Turkish lamps, Moroccan rugs, bracelets, leather…. Did not feel like we were in Spain anymore. It was pretty modern too though, they had a big shopping street like Queen st mall which was very busy and open late.
We got to our hostel and it was amongst the ally ways but inside it was like an old house. 4 stories with a rooftop chill out area, with a beautiful view over the city. My room was on the top floor and I was lucky enough that there was another girl there who had just arrived, INKA!!! My friend from Finland! I asked her if she wanted to get some food and a beer so we went out. One amazing thing about Granada that is different from the rest of Spain is that when you buy a drink – alcoholic or otherwise – you get a free tapa…!! It’s a tradition here and you won’t find it anywhere else in Spain. One beer – maybe 2 or 3 euros, and you can get a plate of olives and cheese and bread, or at one place they gave us bacon and mayo bagels with heaps of French fries! Soo good!
I had about 5 days in Granada. One day we did a waterfall tour and went for a hike out along some waterfalls and had a picnic. Another day we did a hike up into the caves where the gypsies live in the mountains. They have amazing graffiti as well so it’s a sort of underground walking tour where you see amazing graffiti and also the caves in the hill where people still live. Some tourists even go and live in caves as its cheaper than hostels, but you have to walk all the way up the mountains past the old city walls.
My last night in Granada and the hostel was fully booked and I was left without a booking. Inka had moved to a couchsurfing house and said that he had an extra couch I could crash on too. My first time couchsurfing! It was awesome – Enrique was a student from Puerto Rico who was in Granada studying and living with 2 other girls from Puerto Rico. He was sooo nice and loved my favourite band Calle 13 as well. J I only stayed with him one night, but we went over to his friends house for drinks and I impressed them all with my skills singing No Hay Nadie como tu. Haha.
The next day I caught a bus from Granada to Algeciras – the departure town to get to Morocco. It was a really small town. I went to the markets and bought some amazing fresh fruit and then caught another bus half an hour to Gibralter. It was so cool! It’s part of the UK so everyones speaking English, there are post boxes and English things everywhere – to get into the town you have to walk across the international airport runway which is crazy. You’re waiting at the traffic light, pressing the button, and a plane takes off right in front of you, and then it turns to the green walking man. Whaaat!!!
It was a shame though because I only got into Algeciras in the afternoon, so most things were shut in Gibralter by the time I got there, even though the sun stayed up until like 10pm… L I couldn’t get the cable car up the top to see the monkeys and I didn’t have time/ energy to hike up. Oh well – next time! It was freaking me out enough that after 6 months of being overseas with no English – I finally saw signs and heard people speaking English!
The next morning I was headed for Morocco….
Well Vienna was a little bit of a disappointment for me. One of those cities that is, in fact, just another city. We walked through the Belvedere Gardens which were nice and went to the NachtMarkt which was also pretty cool… I guess we didn’t have that long here after Mum’s flight got delayed but from what I saw, I wasn’t super impressed!
OH YEAH so Mum came to visit me. HI MOM! We are travelling together for 3 weeks. Yay! Hotel rooms and meals as opposed to hostels and starvation… ;)
We caught up with my cousin and his woman in Vienna (Wien) too, for breakky, which was really nice! Don’t get to see that side of the family enough.
The next day we went to Salzburg… the hills are aliiiiive. I quite liked Salzburg! It was smaller and, although more touristic, much more beautiful. It was still pretty quiet actually. We hiked up to the castle to see the view (You still have to pay, even if you hike!) and we walked by the river, through the old town which was really nice… And the 2nd day we did the Sound of Music Tour which was awesome! Drove through the mountains and saw the 16 going on 17 gazebo… the church where they got married (I don’t even remember this scene TBH), and the gardens where they sing Do Re Mi.
That afternoon we took a little excursion to Germany (because we can) and went to Lake Konigsee. It was unfortunately very busy though, and after a nice boat ride on the lake (with a sneaky bottle of wine) had to queue up for about an hour to get back and then run for the last bus back to Salzburg. It was really beautiful though and I am glad we went. Our first time in Germany!
We went to Hallstatt after this, which was really beautiful little town on the edge of this lake. We had to get a bus a train and a boat to get there, and it was worth it! A lot of tourists but they only came on day trips, so it was nicer in the evening. We walked around and took photos and went to a church with these cool painted skulls. The cemetery was too small so they used to digg them up and then paint the skull and put it in this room… creepy. We also rented a boat and I drove us around the lake! Fun! It rained a lot so we just relaxed, and mum had a cold so it was good. I also applied for uni - yay!
So theeeen we decided to go to Slovenia… why not? It was pretty close and I had met some girl ages ago that said we should go to Bled and ring the bell and eat vanilla slice. And so we did. It was actually really beautiful there, nicer than Hallstatt. You could tell immediately entering Slovenia that it was a poorer country, but I think that is what made it more beautiful. Less tourists and buildings and shit. It was small and quiet and clean and we walked around the lake (it’s only 5km) saying WOW. OMG. THIS IS A POSTCARD. There is a little island in the middle of Bled lake which has a church, which is where you ring the bell. And the water is crystal clear and warm. There was a free open air jazz festival going on too so we had some wine and sat on the grass and listened to Slovenian music. It was strange, the music. It started off really slow… and just when you thought you were getting so bored that you would leave, it started to get faster and faster and more fun and happy… then BAM it was over. Kind of plays with you! I’m not sure if I liked it.
The next morning I rented a paddle board (because i’m trendy like that) and paddled around the lake looking like a babe. I feel like I was one of those newbies that was already a pro, you know? I wasn’t shakey or embarrassing I was just cool standing there on that surfboard paddling. Yeah….
Anyway. There were these girls that took their puppies on their paddle boards, so they were a bit cooler than me. One of their pups was a border collie and looked JUST like Buddy!!! SO CUTE and he made us cry because we miss Buddy so much. It literally looked identical to him. Same dog cry noise too. Waaah.
OH and the vanilla slice was awesome. Not really vanilla though - more of a cream slice. But really fresh and amazing. :)
I think Slovenia was our favourite so far… more to come in Italy in a few days! x
Arriving in London was like arriving home… ENGLISH SPEAKERS after 6 months of Spanish, Portuguese, French and Arabic!! Yay!!
Plus, we have grown up seeing all of these landmarks, double decker busses and telephone boxes on TV, so it was pretty cool to finally see it in real!
Also seeing my lovely friend Matt who I met in South America - was really nice to not be on my own!
The next day I met up with Nat after she arrived back from Cuba!! We went to her friends house which is where we were staying while in London, in West Hampstead. It was so cute and Londony..! Like townhouses.. so nice of her to let us stay there for free :)
Okay so the main things I did in London were.. Harry Potter World! And omg Butter Beer tastes amaaazing. It’s perfect! It’s exactly what it should taste like! Was really cool to see where it was all filmed etc.
I saw Buckingham Palace, St Pauls, Westminster Abbey, London Bridge and Tower Bridge… I got a hair cut! We went out for amaaazing Entrcote, Pimms, Fish and Chips, Indian on Bridge Rd…. I went shopping on Oxford St and Camden Markets and saw Piccadilly, Trafalgar and Leicester Square.
Pretty full on LDN experience I’d say!
Okay so then Nat and I rented a car from Gatwick and headed to Brighton!! After seeing the first hostel we were going to stay at, we decided to stay in cheap hotels instead… hahaha. It was going to be our holiday from a holiday!
Brighton was really nice - I really liked the beach and the fun park on the wharf… there was a lot of rubbish everywhere though! Which was a shame, but it was still beautiful.
The next day we went to Stonehenge and then to Oxford. We met up with my friend Alice that I met in South America who lives in Oxford and she gave us a little tour which was cool! We saw some amazing colleges and where they filmed some of Harry Potter!
From Oxford we went to Stratford Upon Avon… the shop. It was like 20 pounds to get into Shakespeares house so we just went to the gift shop (we did this with every other place I’ve mentioned btw…) But yeah! Shakespeares birthplace! And then soldiered on to Worcester to see Tim!!!
Was so great to see him again after 5 years - omg! And he was living above a pub from like 1612 or something… so old and cute! We went by the river for some drinks, then went to the pub he was living above for some amazing pies and mash and beer and cider. We had so much fun! We slept on the floor of his little apartment above the pub too which was pretty cool.
After that we were heading for York, but stopped along the way at Chatsworth House which is a huge mansion in the middle of nowhere with beautiful gardens etc. We didn’t go inside (just the gift shop) but had a lovely afternoon tea there! Complete with cucumber sandwiches, scones, brownies and English tea!
Continuted onto York which ended up being one of our favourites. Really old and cute, and the BnB we booked was full so they upgraded us to the 4 star one next door! So nice! (Although they double charged me and i’m still waiting for the refund…. hmmm) But it’s a really cute town - we went shopping and wandered the little cobble streets, and marched to the top of the hill!! (The Grand ole Duke of York….) But we actually did.
Potato Potato Potato.
Spent a week in the Lough Shores of Erin…. hehehehe
Dublin was not what I expected. It was a lot more modern and dirty and just like any other city. Maybe I needed to get out and see a bit further outside of the city centre, but it was just another city to me. Cute doors. Very green. Good pubs! Lots of history…
I think I preferred my next stop in Galway. Although it was raining on arrival, the hostel was very nice and I did a few day trips from here. One to the Aran Islands to Inis Mor and another to the Cliffs of Moher.
I met a girl from Kamloops which was cool so we did the Cliffs together and hung out. Went to a few pubs and had some amazing meals (sesame fried Brie wedges…)
Went to Killarney after there and went to a Gaelic Football match and soaked up the atmosphere of an overcrowded town partying up a win in the Munster final!!! Was cool… the town was literally swarming with football fans. As my bus drove into town it was like Moses parting the sea, with people cramming back onto the little sidewalks so we could drive on the road.
Next stop was Cork where I met up with my Kamloops friend again, and we kissed the Blarney stone! The weather was FINALLY amazing, so we went in search of a swimming pool. Strange because Ireland never has weather this nice, so there are like no pools anywhere. After 4 or 5 failed attempts we FINALLY find a hotel where we can sneak into it and use there pool. So nice! It was such a hot day..!!
Aaaand that was Ireland! Short but sweet, like most of the Irish people.