Published: October 20th 2011October 5th 2011
After weeks of worrying whether we would be able to survive the heat of southern spain- (can easily reach 40 degrees in seville) we arrived to a rainy overcast day. First time so far i have had to wear a jacket!
We had a free hostel breakfast! Bonus for the super budget travellers and headed out in the rain to explore. Seville had an amazing feel about it and was a quaint little town. Horses and carriages were all over the old part of the town.. though i am sure just for the tourists sake, but they took you back in time a little bit... that is until the tram whizzes by.
After being in Morocco i noticed a big influence of the culture here, with the architecture and also the medina in the town. We wandered down to Plaza Espana, by far the best plaza i have seen, it had a mote around half of the entrance and you could hire a boat and paddle around. We wandered around in awe of the intricate designs - i'm still amazed with the buildings and archetecture here- sorry for all the photos of these! I can't resist!
through the parks close by and just lay in the grass- first grass in a long time! Even Lara had missed it and she'd only been away for a week :)
After the big walk we treated ourselves to chocolate con churros, a spanish BREAKFAST! So yum! Definately could get used to that for breakfast :)
We were sitting in our hostel common room when Jess (the girl lara had met on the bus from barcelona to valencia, and again who we had ran into at la tomatina) walked into the hostel! Was so crazy and so great to see her again, we headed up to the rooftop bar and enjoyed a sangria. Chatting about travels and the amazing things we have seen! We may possibly do a bit of travel together through Ireland and Scotland.
We had to catch our overnight bus, (Laras first one! Well see how she copes :) ) After a decent sleep we arrived in a new country!
Once again another free breakfast and then we joined up for a walking tour around Lisbon. Sorry for the record the new country was Portugal!
This was my first walking tour and I
am hooked! The guide was a laugh and we discovered so much about Lisbon and Portugese history. Also we took many back routes and saw all the street art that Lisbon is becoming famous for.
The majority of the archetecture here is essentially 'fake.' There was a huge earthqauke that devistated Lisbon, but all the buildings were designed in the old fashioned way, the streets were also very wide, an archetectural feature to make the city 'earthquake proof.'
Headed back to the hostel and met a fellow Kiwi! So exciting as the majority of travellers you meet in hostels are Aussies! There were a few who were moving here to study for a while... so jealous! It has an awesome vibe and is a thriving univeristy city.
We heard about an outdoor movie being shown in the gardens so Lara and I head out to try and find it. Distracted by the sunset and the city and its monuments... plus of course dessert :) we actually ended up missing the tram to the movie, but we had such a great time exploring and getting the feel of the city!
We visited Sintra for the day, a
town outside of Lisbon where there were a lot of castles and we explored around here for the morning, but they all cost so much to get in that we ended up taking a few photos through the gates and thats it. We then headed down and a photographer was selling his work alongside the road. The shots were all stunning, showing amazing scenary from all over the world and his travels. My ideal job i think.. minus the fact i'm not a very good photographer!
Claire had mentioned her favorite place in Portugal was a beach side town called Porto Covo, so we decided to head here for a night and check it out. We went with no accomodation or any plans - and when we arrived we found we couldn't afford anything on offer.. the beach it was!
We wandered around the small town, it was almost as if we were in greece, the houses were white with blue shutters and doors and it was so warm! We started out to the beaches along the coast and ended up walking almost 2 hours to reach the best one. Just before we reached it we met a
portugese man also heading to these beaches and we began chatting. He was lovely but as we started to get closer to destination he started acting weird and then talking all about nudism etc. Since the particualr beach was deserted we decided to go to another beach away from the man, as we could see he had forgotten his togs :)
The beaches were so beautiful and reminded me of home! They were the first beaches I have been in Europe where there was nobody on the beach. The water was freezing cold that I didn't even venture in. There was no cheap accomodation here so we decided to spend the night on the beach, a god thought in theory!
Watching the sunset over the beach, we set up camp and got ready for bed. Only one sleeping bag though so to fit Lara and I both in it was definately a mission, lets just say when we found a position we were both semi comfortable with, we couldn't move. As the stars came out so did the cold night air and gradually it was colder and colder. After wrapping in all the layers we had this didn't
quite suffice. I even ended up stuffing my jacket full of toilet paper in order to keep out the cold. A long 10 or so hours later the sun began to rise and we thored out sitting on the sand watching it go up!
Thannkful for the heat of the sunshine we wandered back into town for a much deserved breaky then chilled at the beach sleeping and I even dipped into the Atlantic but only for a few seconds.
Another night bus and after a suprisingly decent sleep we arrived at 4am in Porto! We hadn't booked accomodation for that day but decided that the area was slightly seedy and thought maybe head to our hostel and see if we could chill on their couches etc until a normal hour. They were so lovely and took us to a room with big couches and gave us blankets to sleep! Some hostels really understand poor travellers hehe
We headed to explore Porto for the day while we waited for our room to be ready.. although all we really wanted was a shower! Porto is a quaint town but also with a bustling commercial district.
A trip to
Porto isn't complete without a testing and tour at one of the numerous Port companies along the water. Our tour was conducted in the dark as the power was out so we got a free extra tasting... although I was happy with the one sip I tasted! We bought port loving Leigh a bottle and Mum wasnt without her souveneer either. After 6 months without an oven mit (the other one caught fire.. i won't name names) I found a perfect Portugese one.
Paris!!!! After dilemas over costs of flights we decided to suck it up, it is Paris of course! Another night at the airport... rearranging the furniture for security and comfort.. however unable to sleep I spent the majority of the night brushing up on my french.. :)
slept throughout the flight I wasn't even awake for take off!
Paris definately lived up to its reputation of being expensive! A 16 euro bus to get us into the centre of town! Then the hostel was the worst I have stayed in and the most expensive! Its facilities were limited to say the least.. the free breakfast entititled croissants from a vending machine... i don't want to
know how long they had been there! One toilet for each floor of 40 people and one key for all the people in the room to share.. oh and the unmentionables on the sheets.. needless to say we used our sleeping bags!
Full sight seeing ensued.. 3 days isn't long enough to see all the sites of Paris. Lara loved it from the minute we arrives, I was worried it wouldn't live up to her expectations. We wandered down the Seine in search of the Notre Dam. It's just a beautiful city I found myself constantly looking up at the buildings and architecture.
The bridge before the Notre Dam, I think it was Pont Neuf was covered with locks. People come here from all over the world to place a lock for them and their loved one in hopes for eternal love.
The Notre Dam was stunning inside and out! i would love to go during a service or while the organ was playing. I know I am a tourist as well but it ruins the atmosphere of places like this with groups of arrogant loud tourists wandering around. The line for the towers were huge so
we headed to the Louvre.
I couldn't believe the size of the building! Absolutely massive! We had trouble finding the entrance. The actual building of the Louvre was beautiful and old and then the famous pyramid in the middle, I didn't like this but after reading Dan Browns' Da vinci Code I changed my mind a little.
The park was next stop and as we earsdropped on the tour guide beside us, this park was designed specifically on order that from this point you can look out and see the most beautiful parts of Paris.
Next morning we headed to french markets and with help from our french dictionary we made it! It was 'so french' and beautiful flowers and veges and fruits everywhere! This is also where I had my first Parisian croissant and it was amazing! I had to restrain myself from re entering the shop.
After the makets we decided to walk to Montemarte... unaware of how far it actually is! Lets just say the croissant was definately worked off! Montemarte had a great vibe about it, and we wandered the streets steaming up the windows of all the bakeries we passed. The
patiseries all ave beautiful presentation and everything looks ALMOST too good to eat. We missed the artists square which was a shame but I will definately be coming back to Paris.
A trip to Montemarte is not complete without going into the world famous red light district and seeing the Mulan Rouge, even now this is still the red light district of Paris... I have never seen so many sex shops in my life.. mabe a pre warning for amsterdam.
Our first crepe! Chocolate and banana in a hot crepe! mmmmm!
2 Days into our time in Paris and we still hadn't seen the eiffel tour! A french picnic consisting of baguette, cheese, grapes and macroons was bought and we headed to the eiffel tour in hope of seeing the sunset from there. Once again the size of Paris eluded us and we almost ran as we saw the last part of the sun go down over the trees, where the tip of the tower stood. But everything on the way was stunning as well, the Seine, the various monuments and landmarks but nothing compared to the Eiffel tour.
I didn't have any expectations and maybe
this is why it blew my mind but joined with the size and the lights, I was really impressed.
The only thing that ruined this was the group of buskers breakdancing along with there stereo blasting accross the area.
We found a nice grassy spot along with all the other picnickers. (excuse spelling this thing doesn't have spell check!) The tower did a little bit of a light show and we just stared in amazement at it, and we had a lovely evening chatting and eating baguette with the tour in the front.
I awoke and headed to the baker for a fresh croissant. none of this croissant from a vending machine business, and we headed to the Eiffel tour to climb it! I definately recommend seeing it first at night as daytime it is alot less impressive. We climbed all the stairs to the top and got an amazing view over Paris, although I would have hated to come to Paris any earlier as the amount of people on the tower, it was suprising we could all move.
As you do, many cliche photos were taken in front of the tower... then to the arc
de triumph our last landmark during our time here! We ran out of time to make it to the top and stre in amazement at how there isn't more crashes in this rounabout and whether there was any road rules.
Due to wrong information from the information centre we ended up paying for another night in the hostel and a 16 euro bus to the airport... my bank account was definately looking sad after Paris.
I said a thankyou for an amazing 3 weeks and said goodbye to Lara as she headed back home and I carried on with my adventures. I am so glad that she came over and hope she had as amazing time as I did! See you soon!
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