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Published: October 11th 2011
Starbucks in American, right?
Ah, but the workers are from Seville. A new variation of my name thanks to Spanish speakers.
First I want to let Uncle Rick and Aunt Lyn know that my package was waiting safely for me in my room when I got home from Lagos! What a nice surprise to have! I opened it this morning and that trail mix is right on time because I just finished the trail mix that the girls sent me this weekend! So thank you very much!! I will try to save some of the other goodies for close to Halloween time…although one I will have to take a picture with on October 30th in honor of a certain couple’s anniversary. You two know what I am referring to, but everyone else will just have to wait and see! So, thank you very much for your package! I loved it!!
Now, Lagos. What a nice little town. That’s about the best way to describe it. It is small, the people there are very kind, there’s lots of nice shops and GREAT food; it really was the perfect place to go for a few days to get away from Cádiz and trust me we needed it. I had not been the only one who had had a stressful week;
Back in bunkbeds :)
the other girls were aching for a getaway as well. Cádiz is a nice place, but it is now our European “home” and while home comes with a sense of comfort, it also comes with the stress of schoolwork, busy days and schedules; the first few weeks of school have been a tad bit overwhelming at times so it was nice to just relax and try to refocus.
The original plan was to drive to Lagos, however due to some, let’s just say last minute changes in people going on the trip the day before we left, we couldn’t drive anymore and so we pulled together a last minute plan and took the bus. The upside was that we got to stop through in Seville again, which meant…that’s right, Starbucks! Jerica and I really like the Frappuccino’s (I like vanilla and she likes caramel). We had been dreaming about them since we last went to Seville and it turns out that the closest Starbucks to Cádiz is in Seville. While the barista was able to say my name very well, it is clear that the name “Devin” is still having issues with Spaniards, haha! But no me importa (I
don’t care), doesn’t change how delicious the Frappuccino was!
We arrived in Lagos pretty late on Thursday night, but our hostel gave us really good directions and there was someone waiting outside for us so that we would know which hostel it was and that we would be able to get in. The people at Gold Coast Hostel were SO nice and accommodating. We stayed in a few really fun hostels in Costa Rica, but none were as well equipped as this one, it looked almost brand new and only 8 euros a night. They even had a collection of movies and a TV for us to watch! Our second night there we indulged on Monsters, Inc. and it was awesome.
We decided that since we were on vacation we didn’t feel the need to do any hurrying, so we slept in the next morning, but not so late that we missed the hostel’s breakfast! There isn’t a whole lot to do around Lagos, but for the most part they have some fun sightseeing opportunities that are more-or-less reasonable if you are on a budget. We picked the least expensive of these options which was the boat ride
The Gold Coast
The coast around Lagos is called the Gold Coast because of the color of the cliffs.
around the Gold Coast. The coast that surrounds Lagos is called the Gold Coast because of the golden color of the rocks that make the cliffs. The type of rock that makes up these cliffs is a sort of sandstone that is easily eroded, so there are lots of caves and grottos within the rocks. The ease of erosion also makes it so the sand is very large. I say large, because I would say it isn’t necessarily coarse, it is still very soft, just the grains of sand are bigger…it’s really odd and hard to explain a bit. When you step in the sand your foot sinks down about 3 inches, and it is really hard to walk in the water because your foot is immediately submersed below the sand. The nice thing about the larger sand though is that it doesn’t stick all over your body like really fine sand, and with the perfect temperatures we had; we also didn’t sweat so cleaning up after the beach was a breeze!
The rocks were really beautiful and the water was unlike anything I had ever seen before. I have never been to a place where I could go
Gotta love those life jackets :)
out in the water, past where I could touch and still see all the way to the bottom. In some spots the sun would shine just right were the ocean would look like it was glowing this bright green-blue color. I took more pictures of just rocks and water than I think I will ever need, but it was so, so pretty!
The highlight of our boat tour was the English couple we met as we were waiting for our boat. We ran into them on the docks and they asked if we were waiting for the boat tour. They said they instantly could tell that we were Americans, of course, but possibly Canadian? No, not Canadian. “Well if I recall, we used to own you all too didn’t we, eh?” Haha, I supposed he was right. The husband was from Liverpool and the wife was from Manchester. “Oh, I would really like to visit England, where should I go visit?”
“Well, Liverpool, of course. No, just about anywhere but Manchester is good. Their football team is bloody the worst.”
Haha, he really was a character. As the captain of our tiny boat was handing out life-jackets he turns
They were so funny! He is from Liverpool and she is from Manchester and they were making fun of each other all day! These Brits we're dry like crumpets. haha!
to the captain and says, “Aye, she doesn’t need one now does she, just let ‘er go overboard a bit, yeah?”
“Aye, I’ll be takin’ you with me, eh? You’re the one between me and the edge ‘er the boat aren’t ya?”
“No, I’ll just put me head down you’ll slide right over it now won’t ya? Just waxed it.” (He’s bald.)
They really were funny. Reminded me of the Scotsman I met in Gibraltar. They poked fun at each other for random stuff all throughout the boat ride; and we thought the Brits were dry.
After our lovely morning on the high seas, we set out in search of some food. Arthur, one of the managers of the hostel, who is Russian by the way and has a super awesome Russian accent, advised us of Café Odeon because it has really traditional breakfasts. Oh, traditional
Our favorite hangout in Lagos.
it was. Eggs, bacon, toast, and… (Drumroll please)PANCAKES!! Real pancakes with real syrup! Oh, how wondrous it truly was. The owner/cook/waiter is this really adorable little guy with a mustache and he barely talks at all, just smiles and goes about his cooking. He’s the only one there, no helpers at all; just him and his little stove. It instantly became our favorite spot in Lagos.
There was also a sign advising us of milkshakes. Now, Jerica and I were a bit skeptical, because we went in search of milkshakes in Cádiz one night and even went to the American restaurant in Cádiz that said they had milkshakes. When the milkshakes arrived they were…warm. Warm milkshakes. I don’t even know how that was possible, but it was. Therefore, Jerica and I have been scarred for life when it comes to European milkshakes, but we took the plunge and she got vanilla while I got chocolate. It was no Rex Schultze 9 o’clock chocolate malt, but it was cold, it was made with real ice cream and it was super good. The next day we returned to have another breakfast and more milkshakes. Sunday it was hard to make the decision
A typical beach
There are lots of beaches, but they are small and sort of hidden within the rocks.
to go to a restaurant closer to the bus stop, but I’m sure that is not the last time we will be seeing Café Odeon and its little owner!
Other than Café Odeon and the boat ride, we spent all of our time either at the beach, or walking around looking at the shops. The beaches there are so neat. They are small, but there are lots of them. Unlike a lot of places, it is not one long continuous beach, the beaches are separated by the cliffs, so you have to walk along the road, pick a beach and sort of hike down to it (well, there are stairs, but there are a lot of them). There isn’t much room on the beaches, especially at high tide, but there aren’t a lot of people so it works out well. The beach we went to the first day, Praia Estudantes (Student’s Beach), maybe had 7 people on it? The next day we went to Pinhão which was a bit bigger but only had maybe 10 other people.
The water was amazingly clear, but SO COLD! We would stay in for a while, but we would need to warm
up so we had to get out! I didn’t mind so much though. There were a few groups of guys jumping off some of the rocks into the waves…I was tempted, but probably much to my Dad’s relief I let my common sense kick in and concluded that dying in Portugal wasn’t exactly the relaxing weekend getaway I needed. So, we were content with just enjoying the sun and the water, and it really was relaxing and I got to know Meghan, Jerica and Danielle a bit better.
Friday night we did go out and met up with some friends from the Seville group of API kids who happened to be in Lagos as well, however those girls had the brilliant idea of drinking a bottle of wine before going out…that’s a bottle of wine each. Needless to say, we weren’t thrilled about having to care for them when we wanted to walk around and see Lagos. We did get to meet this really nice guy from Denmark named Morton who moved to Lagos to be in a warmer climate where he could surf all year round. He told us about this really cool place called Stevie Rays where
Isn't he adorable!?
We just fell in love with the cute little owner of Cafe Odeon. Its just him and his little cafe!
there is live music to listen to. So, we went there and got to listen to a live band that did covers of famous American songs like “Freedom” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” etc.
Saturday night we opted to splurge and go out for dinner at a place our handy Lagos Map recommended called “NahNahBah” that supposedly had one of the 50 best burgers in the world. I don’t think they were lying. This thing was HUGE! It had two patties, lettuce, tomato, pepper, an egg, bacon, cheese, and their special BBQ sauce that was amazing. Jerica and I split it and it’s a good thing we did because I don’t think we could have finished it without going in to a food coma first. It was a really neat restaurant with a sort of tropical, Caribbean feel to it and instead of tables everyone sits intermixed at picnic table like things. We were lucky because when we got there were maybe 5 other people in the restaurant and just after we ordered a group of probably 30 students walked in.
That night our hostel also hosted a Sangria tasting for all of the guests and we
Can you see the elephant?
Hint: His trunk is on the right side of the photo.
were able to talk to all of the other travelers staying there. Our hostel pretty much consisted of Germans and Americans. Some of the Germans were just there on vacation, but a group of 5 of them were actually students in Cádiz and were visiting Lagos of the weekend as well…they were able to rent their car. Uhg.
Anyhoo, I started talking to one and asked where his was from, “You know Colonge, right?”
“No, I don’t. What’s it near?”
“Well, Colonge is pretty big, so it’s pretty well known. What do you know in Germany? Just Frankfurt and Berlin probably.”
“No! I know Bremen, Hannover, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Dortmund, and Kassel.”
Then from the back of the room, “Kassel! We are from Kassel!! Haha! She knows Kassel and not Colonge!”
Two of his friends were from Kassel and thoroughly enjoyed that I didn’t know his city but I knew theirs because Colonge really is a lot bigger than Kassel. They are all also living in Old Cádiz, but they have to travel to Jerez to take classes, which is like a 45 minute train ride every day.
That was the same night that we decided to just hang out,
Up throught a cave
We could actually boat into some of the grottos and there were these sort of windows up through the rock formations!
relax and watch a movie. We started Monsters, Inc. with just the four of us, and ended it with nearly half our hostel in the room watching with us, which we thought was actually really cool! There are a few other hostels in Lagos, one in particular, that are known for partying and going out. We looked at those, but we chose Gold Coast because it seemed more chill, and it really was, and the people there were equally as relaxed, which was exactly what we needed and enjoyed.
I was so relaxed as a matter of fact that I must have really gotten a lot of good sleep and I woke up at 7:30 the next morning. Not knowing what to do since no one was awake and breakfast wasn’t served until 8, I did what I do best…watched another movie. Runaway Jury this time. I paused it part way through to eat and after I finished I woke up the girls so that we could get ready to go and make our bus which left at 1:45.
As I mentioned earlier, it was hard to part with Café Odeon, but we opted for Café Fresca which
was right by the bus station. It had its charm as well. The owner was a spunky English lady who had really great smoothies!! That is another thing Spain/Europe doesn’t have a lot of, smoothies. Smoothies are really great Spain, I promise. We were able to relax there for a while and then made the 7 hour bus ride back to Seville, just in time to catch our 2 hour train ride back to Cádiz and head straight for bed.
All in all it was a really great trip. We did spend a lot of time noticing the differences between Lagos and Cádiz. Both are coastal towns and tourist spots, but Lagos was much smaller and much, much quieter. Sometimes we thought we even liked it better, but then we thought about it. What if we were studying in Lagos and took a trip to Cádiz? We would probably be saying how active the people in Cádiz are and how much more there is going on. The phrase “the grass is always greener on the other side” was put into very sharp perspective. No matter where we visit we are always going to find a reason to like it
On our way to the beach!
a little better than Cádiz, and I think part of that goes back to the fact that we are living
in Cádiz; it isn’t a vacation anymore, its school and family and work. However when you do get a quiet moment to just sit and enjoy it, it is a nice city with its own charms.
Thankfully Mondays I don’t have class, so I was able to sleep in a bit, go for a run, get some organizing done so I can plan for Paris (which I leave for tomorrow!), Skype with Leigh and Kate for a good long while (thanks for making some time for me girls!!) I would have been able to Skype with my Mom for a bit longer, but alas, some snippy lady took my plug-in a Chamara, but I was able to come home and at least write part of this blog!
Tomorrow I have class and riding and then I just have to pack for Paris! Busy week of traveling, but I really enjoy it!
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