Published: May 26th 2009May 26th 2009
I finally arrived at my hostel at 7pm without managing to get lost even with my complicated directions! I was quiet pleased with myself, maybe my sense of direction was improving…………………..
After settling into my hostel I headed down to the common room to cook my self some dinner to find myself face to face with one of the girls I had met back in Barcelona at the Pringles machine the night before last. Her name is Katherine and she was travelling with her friend Emily. It was fantastic to see a familiar face. They ended moving into the same dorm room as me as well as their new roommate was creeping them out just a little bit.
I think it took me about ½ hour to cook my pasta in the microwave as the hostel did not have a kitchen we could use which was a massive pain in the but! Once I had finally eaten I was catching up on emails when in waltzes Duncan the pub crawl man! And yes you guessed it he managed to talk me into going after many reassurances that it was completely safe to walk home alone and that he would send me off with directions. So off I went looking like a total backpacker in my hiking jacket and flip-flops!!
It turned out to be a fantastic night and I got along with a lovely bunch of Aussie girls. We visited about 4 bars before hitting up the club at 3am getting either a complementary drink or shot at each. So for €10 it wasn’t a bad deal at all. I walk home alone safely and rather quickly and in no time I was sitting in the dorms bathroom having a snack so that I would wake the girls in the room at the unearthly hour that it was!
The three of us Katherine, Emily and I decided that we would do the free walking tour of the city so the we could get our bearings before heading out on our own. Now of course because we had decided to spend the day walking around it was raining! So we got all decked out in our rain gear only to have the rain stop as the tour began which was grand except we now had to carry everything with us for the next 2 hours.
Johnny our tour guide was fantastic he took us all over town explaining everything and giving us history lessons along the way! We saw/visited Plaza de la Virgin, Basilica Virgin de los Desompaados (old mental hospital), Conjunto Catedralicio, world heritage building (with a gargoyle caught in a very compromising act!), central market, underground roam ruins, unnamed statue, city entrance gates (east and wets), famous sweet shop, the central port office, ceramic museum and much more. At the end of the tour we were able to tip him if we felt that he was worthy so I gladly gave up all of my spare change that was starting to wear me down. On our way back to the hostel we stopped off at the central market place to grab some of the best pallea in town for dinner. We made back to the hostel for lunch just in time for the heavens to open and the thunder storm to begin.
That afternoon we decide to visit the cathedral as it was still raining and we figured it would be the perfect way to stay dry during the afternoon storm. The Cathedral was beautiful and contain a various number of side chapels of the main chamber. Entrance to the cathedral included an audio guided tour of the place which was rather interesting and informative not that I could tell you what I was told now. The last place we visited inside the cathedral was the room that holds the holy grail, the only one that has been formally recognised by the Vatican. To tell you the truth it is a rather ordinary looking goblet in a fancy cabinet, but inspiring all the same to have seen it. Afterwards as again it had stopped raining we decided to head down to the main shopping strip of the town and of course do what girls do best SHOP!
By now it was time to head back to the hostel and to our Palleas that were waiting for our dinner. And yes the were the best that I had so far tasted in Spain. That night Duncan again tried to convince me to head out but after only 3 hours sleep and a day of sightseeing I decided to call it a night and save myself for a night out on the town with Mel as she was arriving the next day.
Today dawn beautiful and sunny so after our crappy breakfast from the hostel I and the girls went our separate ways for the day agreeing to meet up afterwards. I headed of the bell tower which was attached to the Cathedral that we had visited the day before.
The bell tower is 70m tall offering a fantastic 360 degree view of the city, with the bell weighing in at approximately 4 tonnes! Here I met Colin who lives in NY and was chewing up time before heading off for his plane flight that afternoon. I had decided to go and check out the underground Roman ruins and invited him to join me. Now it was just my luck that when we arrived we had missed the English tour had already started and the next one wasn’t until 5.30pm. So next we decided to go and check out the ceiling of the world heritage building the reason it had become the world heritage site. Again my luck was crap because as we go there they were closing for the afternoon siesta break. On a last whim we hit the central markets to again grab some pallea for my next evening meal. From there Colin and I parted our ways and I headed back on up to the hostel to meet the girls for lunch before hitting the beach in the afternoon.
We were slightly disappointed in the beach activity. Maybe because it wasn’t the nicest afternoon or maybe because it was the siesta break but there was hardly anyone on the beach. Also the beach sand was nowhere near as clean or as white as ours back home. So after a quick walk along the sand a photo opportunities we caught the tram back into the city and walked on down to the hostel.
By the time we had arrived back Mel had arrived and we caught up. I wanted to go down to the train station to see about booking a ticket to my next destination Zaragoza, which I chose because 1. I could get accommodation over Easter, 2. It was northbound and towards were I need to be to catch my plane to Malta. While Mel needed to hit up a supermarket to get her self some grab for the night.
Well the queue at the railway station was over 100 people long so after 45min I decided to stuff it and look into booking the ticket over the internet. Thus Mel and I headed back to the hostel to have dinner before heading out on the pub crawl which we managed to drag a couple of the hostel guys along to.
We had a fantastic time on the pub crawl meeting heaps of people, drinking and taking unknown shots (probably the worst idea I had) definitely getting our €10 worth. After hitting about 5 pubs and then finally the club we got peckish and decided to go exploring for some food. On our way out we caught up with the two boys from the hostel Bobby and Philippe who were a little disorientated and lost. With our slightly intoxicated walking and following the trail of food we finally managed to find a local kebab joint for our very early morning snack! We then had the job of stumbling home for the night or should I say morning?
Today I woke up feeling like death warmed up! Not only did I have a hangover I also had food poisoning from the kebab we had eaten the night before. It was NOT a fun morning!! Both Katherine and Emily had left that morning so luckily I had the dorm room and the bathroom all to myself! I had agreed to meet Mel at 12.30pm for lunch so down I went feeling rather sorry for myself. She was on the net so after booking my ticket and then putting on some washing we headed out to the supermarket to pick up some lunch and other supplies.
By the time we had made it back I was feeling heaps better the fresh air had done it’s job. We had our lunch and then headed up to the top floor to chill out in the sun for a few hours and of course hang out washing what fun! After a bit we went and did our separate things.
I had decided to see if I could catch the 5.30pm tour of the underground Roman ruins which I managed to do. It was great we got to stand at the crossroads of the North-South road that lead into Rome and the East-West road that went across Spain. We also saw the old city forum square, the public baths, graves, artefacts and some ruins from the Islamic ruling period. All up it was fantastic and informative tour. From there I decided to see if I could get in to see my world heritage listed ceiling. Today it seemed luck was on my side and I managed to get in and see it. The craftsmanship was spectacular! By then it was time to meet Mel back at the hostel for dinner. After dinner I packed and had an early night as I needed to be down t the train station by 9.30am the next morning to catch the train to Zaragoza!