Portugal: the land I traveled all on my own

        

Porto Portugal was the first city I ever traveled on my own and it was a total success!

I stayed in a hostel that was designed for young travellers to meet eachother in the heart of the city… And I did just that. I met some great people from germany, australia, New Zealand and even a couple other Canadians.

I arrived in Portugal on the 16th on April ready to explore the city but a bit nervous having this be my first time on my own completely in a new city.

As I wasn’t able to check in the hostel right when I got there I decided to catch up with family at home and hangout around the hostel hoping to meet people before heading out for the afternoon. When I finally decided to go out and see the city I was shocked at what I came across. The city is the city of tiles. Every church or cathedral is decorated with tiles and houses are multiple colours also designed with various colours of tiles – AMAZING!

Having been feeling a bit sick that evening with a cold I decided to hang out with the new travellers I had met in the hostel for a bit before going off to bed when they decided to go out to the bars.. we had a lot of fun playing cards and getting to know each other. I was really happy to learn that I would be able to hang out with some great people while in Porto and not be completely on my own.

The second day I ventured out after a quite morning of breakfast and reading to the canals and the cathedral to look around and experience the every day lifestyle of the portugese. It was fantastic. The city was booming with tourists and locals from the sidewalk markets to little cafes i was able to truly see all that the city had to offer.

After getting a couple suggestions on where to go during the day I decided that afternoon would be the perfect day to go down to the river and walk along it; however, when I arrived on the bridge that crossed over the river I was not quite sure as to how to get down to the boardwalk therefore I decided my only option was to enjoy a nice gondola ride down from the top of the mountain to the rivers edge – you really got to see over the whole city. It was beautiful.

That evening again I had dinner with some of the other travels at a local restaurant and then we headed back to the hostel for an early night of cards and getting to know one another. It was a very relaxing and perfect evening 🙂

On my last day in portugal many of the traveler’s I had gotten to know were leaving either in the afternoon or evening so we ventured quickly down to the market on the water to look around before grabbing a classic berry tart and heading back to the hostel to say goodbye.

I left Portugal on Sunday morning at 6:30am to catch my flight to Holland. Porto was a beautiful city, and I had a great time – i managed to see the city and experience the adventure on my own.

Holland to come,

xo C.

Spain Here I Come… and Go!

IMG_1606 IMG_1608 DSC_0698 DSC_0699 DSC_0700 DSC_0701 IMG_1611 IMG_1612 IMG_1643 IMG_1653 IMG_1688 IMG_1698 IMG_1735 DSC_0719 maren and I

These past ten days sure have been a crazy and exciting adventure! So let’s start from the beginning…

A week ago Sunday (April 6th) I climbed onto a bus in Exeter with 25 of my fellow tennis club members at the university and took a 30 hour bus trip through France to Salou, Spain where as a group with 5000 other university athletes gathered for a 5 day “tour” trip! Although there was not much tennis being played, it did turn out to be lots of fun! I went on the trip only knowing one person and knowing of a couple others;however, I left the trip knowing pretty much everyone else on the trip and became quite close with many of them. It was a successful trip all together. Each evening we had a themed event where we would have to dress up, or in Europe it is called “Fancy Dress”, and go out as a team to the local clubs. Our four themes were: Zoo Party, Retro Disco, Frat and Island… it was a lot of fun 🙂 we all had a great time, but when it came to the end of the trip everyone was ready to head home for some much needed R&R. Half the group bused back while the rest of us in our own groups travelled elsewhere for some more exploring.

I CAME TO BARCELONA!

Barcelona… how to even begin? Well it is an magnificent city to say the least. I arrived on the afternoon of the 11th and due to the non existent sleep I had the previous week I decided to stay in the hotel that evening and catch up on my R&R… but to my surprise it turned out that my best friend, Maren, who is studying in France at the moment decided last minute to come to Spain this past weekend as well with her roommate and friend Ashley who I had met in Rome. The three of us met on the 12th at the train station and took the hour and a half train journey outside Barcelona to Montserrat – one of the most beautiful places I have ever been (the photos of the rocky far distance views are from that day). We spent the day hiking up the mountains, eating Paella, and taking loads of pictures to commemorate a very exciting adventure. After our day away in Montserrat we ventured back to Barcelona and went for a Tapas dinner – absolutely amazing (the Spanish sure know how to do food)!

On the 13th Maren and Ashley left in the evening so we decided to spend the morning and afternoon lying on the beach and by the pool of my hotel catching up and soaking in the sun before they hoped on the over night bus back to France. It was a relaxing and much needed chill day to hang out.

Yesterday, the 14th, I woke up and did some work on an essay (unfortunate I know) that is due over the break and then continued to go walking around the city. Camera and map in hand I hoped on the Subway to Sagrada Familia (a very large and historical cathedral in Spain) and then from there I decided I would walk the city and see all that it has to offer. I ventured down to the local olympic marina to walk along the board walk, gaze at the largest boats I have ever seen, enjoy a nice Ice cream, and finally finish my touring of the city in the Gothic Quarter which is full of shopping and markets. There was a beautiful Cathedral in the area as well;however, due to the heat I was in shorts and therefore was not allowed in…. was a shame, but the outside was beautiful!

Today… today I got up and tried to do work on my essay but that didn’t go very far so I ventured to the Parc de Montjuic which is on the top of a mountain that over looks the whole city. There are plenty of gardens and old historical buildings along with the olympic buildings that were built for the 1992 games. It was absolutely stunning! As i walked down the mountain towards the city I noticed a tall circular building that you were able to take an elevator up to the top and enjoy a nice meal looking over the city so I chose to spend my lunch eating sushi and looking over the city before i headed back to the hotel to do work and get organized for my early departure tomorrow.

Barcelona and Salou have been an amazing experience, I absolutely love Spain but I am ready for my next adventure. NEXT STOP – PORTUGAL!

Tomorrow I leave for Porto Portugal until Sunday – will make sure to keep all updated on my adventures there 🙂

xo C.