I’ve been traveling already for over a week now and it is crazy how fast it is already going! There have been some ups and downs to this trip so far, but I am loving every minute of it!
Day One: After packing my life away in a backpack and after much debate on what to bring, we headed off to Cork airport. Our flight was through Ryan Air to Faro, Portugal and after much stress that they wouldn’t let me on with my definitely oversized backpack we got on without any problems! Two and a half hours later we landed in Portugal! Stepping out of the airport and seeing palm trees and smelling the ocean was definitely a nice change from Ireland.
We finally found our hostel after getting a little lost in the small city of Faro, but the owner accidentally over booked our room. Thankfully he was very nice and had arranged to have us stay in a hostel nearby and we would still get a private room.
After a long day of traveling we were starving and the only place open nearby was a Mexican Restaurant: Taco Tequila. For really cheap we got margaritas, chips & salsa and quesadillas. The owner even brought us. Over some free tequila shots! This of course became a favorite restaurant in Faro and we visited again during our stay.
Day Two: Waking up and seeing the sun for a change was awesome and of course the first thing we wanted to do was go to the beach! So we put in or bathing suites and figured out what bus to take and we were off. Now it was probably only around 70 degrees if that, but we didn’t care the sun was out and it felt hot to us. All the locals were practically still bundled up for winter. The beach was beautiful, but a little to cold and windy to lay out. None the less we hung out for bit and grabbed some lunch.
After returning from the beach, we decided we wanted to explore the city. faro is not big at all and after walking around the center we saw almost everything. The only thing was that most of the main attractions were old churches and not one of them was open! Which we found odd in the first place plus it was Easter weekend. All the buildings were so old and beautiful.
Day Three Easter Sunday was a little bittersweet I was so thankful to be able to be on such an amazing trip, but it was also so weird not to be spending the day with my family. We had planned on waking up and going to a mass, but like I said before we didn’t know when any masses were being held since we couldn’t get into the churches and we were exhausted. We ended sleeping in all morning plus we lost and hour with day light savings time.
Finding something to do on Easter Sunday was difficult. A lot of places around town were closed and we felt like we had already seen all the sights. We had heard about a boat ride to an island right off the coast, so we decided to do that. We took a nice boat ride to a deserted island and spent the day there. It was a little windy, but when the sun came out it was really beautiful.
Overall Portugal was a beautiful place and faro was a nice little city, but being Easter weekend there was not much to do. Luckily alcohol was really cheap aka 1.50 euro for a beer and fun fact McDonald’s sells beer there!
Day Four Early Monday morning we took a bus from Faro to Seville, Spain. After an almost 4 hour bus ride and another time change we had arrived in Spain. It was a lot warmer than Portugal, which we were wicked excited about. After finding our hostel, which was conveniently located really close to the city center we went off to explore the city. Seville was beautiful!
Of course the first thing we did was find the Dunkin donuts. After being in Ireland for 3 months with no Dunkin that was all we wanted. Although the iced coffee here was more iced espresso and a large was the size of a small at home, we had no complaints. It was definitely worth it and made me miss home just a little bit more.
After getting Dunkin we then went to walk around the city. We didn’t really know what we wanted to see, but we walked around and did some shopping. All the shops had the cutest jewelry and really awesome hand made pottery. Lucky for my bank account I’m living out of a backpack and have no room for anything else.
Although it was a Monday night we decided that we wanted to go out and see the city at night, since it was so nice out. Our hostel told us about a great bar nearby called 84 with sangria for 1.50€ a glass. 84 was a very chill bar and most people sit outside and hang out. Also is Europe is seems that dogs do whatever they want and aren’t required to be on leashes so there were a lot of dogs running around even going in and out of the bar, which we found hilarious. After hanging out there got awhile we stumbled upon a gelato place that was still open and even though we weren’t in Italy we decided to get some. Now this gelato was great, but I am even more excited to try it in Italy!
Day Five: Tuesday we woke up pretty early to give us a full day in the city. We walked through some parks, walked by the river and saw the bull fighting ring. Of course we did more shopping. We also decided to go into the cathedral, which was amazing. the cathedral was huge and the amount of design and detail that went into it was unreal.
Definitely the most breath taking part of Seville was the Plaza De Espana We actually accidentally stumbled upon this, but it was amazing. All along the building they have tiling for each city in Spain, which was really cool. There is also a little moat around the middle where people can rent boats and paddle around. Coincidently enough my friend Christina who is studying abroad in Florence was in Seville the same time as us and we even saw her! It was great to see her and we are staying with her when we visit Florence.
We then visited the alcazar, which is where the king stays when he comes to visit. The alcazar was beautiful and huge! Every room had different tiling and the gardens seemed to be never ending. This was out last stop of the day and I wish we had given ourselves more time because you definitely could spend hours exploring inside.
Later that night out hostel was taking everyone to see some traditional Spanish flamenco dancing. Even though we were exhausted and had to be up early the next morning we decided to go. The concentration and skill of the footwork of the dancers was amazing to watch.
Day Six after only getting five hours of sleep we were up at 5:45 am to catch a train to Granda for the day. After almost missing our train cause Jill printed her confirmation email instead of her ticket we were on our way. In Granda the only thing that we wanted to see was The Alhambra, which is one of the most famous sites in Spain. Since we weren’t staying over night in Granada we had all of our stuff and our heavy back packs. After finding the correct bus to the Alhambra we made it there. Unfortunately we couldn’t buy tickets for the morning and wouldn’t be able to get in until 2pm later that day ( it was around 11). Luckily the Alhambra had free lockers where could store our stuff for the day! We went and got some breakfast/ lunch and hung around until we could go in. Unfortunately the weather was not that great and it was on and off raining the whole time we were there.
The Alhambra is huge and has so many different parts to visit. Originally the Alhambra was built by the Muslims and then was later taken over by Catholics. Currently it is owned by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The view from the Alhambra was beautiful since it was high up in the city. I definitely wish the weather was better, but there was nothing we could do about it.
After over 2 hours in there we collected our bags and headed into the city center. Definitely having our backpacks and not a lot of sleep really put a damper on our moods. As much as we wanted to see the city waking around with our backpacks is no fun. We did walk around a bit and found a really awesome out door market. Although the people working there really didn’t like us walking around with our big bags.
Granda is also known for there really cheap tapas. Tapas are basically little snacks that they serve with drinks. We found a cute traditional tapa bar were we could sit outside. They had really good Sangria and we ordered a couple different tapas to try.
After a long day with our bags we caught an overnight bus to Valencia. We left Granda at 11:30pm and got to Valencia at 7am. After only getting 6 hours of sleep the night before it definitely was not a fun bus ride. We tried to sleep but it’s not that comfortable and someone brought a baby on the bus that wouldn’t stop crying!
Day Seven: After a long bus ride we arrived at our hostel, but we couldn’t check in until 1pm that day. Luckily the let us drop out bags off until we could get into our room. So we went and ventured off into the city. We headed off to the newer part if the city that holds the aquarium and science museum. The architecture of the buildings is beautiful and there is a park all around it that we walked through. We just walked around and enjoyed the nice weather.
After exploring a bit we were really hot and wanted to go the beach! We headed back to the hostel and changed into out bathing suites. It was only a 20 minute bus ride to the beach. The beach was beautiful and with the sun out it was hot! At this point we were also exhausted with no sleep, so we laid out and slept on the beach. Now none of us brought any type of sunscreen and especially in Ireland there is no sun so they don’t have any or it’s crazy expensive. Needless to say we were all fried to the crisp after this beach day. Thank god for aloe but it was nice to be able to lay on the beach and soak up the sun!
Day Eight: After a nice long sleep we woke up to start our day. We knew it was probably going to rain today, but we decided to make the best of the day. We wanted to explore the older part of the city since we say the new part yesterday. We walked around for a bit and saw the famous city landmarks, but it started to down pour, which really made walking around no fun. We did get to see a lot before it rained, but once we were soaked we opted to go back to the hostel to make dinner and wait for our bus to Barcelona.
Day Nine: We arrived in Barcelona late Friday night and Saturday morning we woke up ready to explore the city! The hostel we are staying in provides a really nice free breakfast in the morning even free cappuccinos! At this point we had seen a lot of Spain and as much as I love it here some if the buildings and monuments were starting to look the same. We spent Saturday walking around the main streets of Barcelona and of course we did some shopping.
Saturday night we decided that we wanted to go out in the city, since we heard the night life was amazing. We ended meeting a bunch of American students just like us in our hostel so we all hung out before in the lobby, which ended up being a lot of fun. But after getting ready and by the time we were going to go out it was already almost 2am! So we decided to opt out of the club and just walk to get some food. Now for a city with sub great night life it was almost impossible to find anything open! But with determination Erica and I found a bakery open with some really good croissants and pizza!
Day Ten: After a really late night we were exhausted, so we decided to sleep in a bit and take our time. As our last day in Barcelona and in Spain we decided that we wanted to go to the cathedral in Barcelona that everyone talks about. The Sagrada Familia is the largest cathedral in Spain and they have been building it for almost 100 years! The architecture and design of the building is amazing and so modern!
Also for our last day in Spain we decided to try Paiella, which is a traditional Spanish dish with rice, vegetables and usually shrimp and mussels. For a picky eater I actually really enjoyed it!
After lunch we headed to parc guell which is actually designed by the same guy who designed the cathedral. That park was really pretty and the structures were awesome, but the parc was packed with tourists! Literally couldn’t move and take pictures without so many other people being in them. Either way it was cool and is really high up so had an amazing view of the city!
Sorry this is so long, but that’s all for now! We are off to Rome early in the morning and will be spending the week in Italy! I can’t upload any pictures from my camera, but I have been trying to add pictures from my phone so check those out there!