Archive for the ‘Spain’ Category


Day Two Hundred and Fifty Eight: Madrid

October 5, 2012

Weather: 30oC
Money: €19 accommodation + €4.40 breakfast + €6 lunch + €4.70 ice cream + €11 dinner = €45.10
Days left in Spain: 1 😦

Imagine this. It was our breakfast today.


It’s churos con chocolate, basically, donuts dunked in chocolate. Madrid speciality. It’s mad. I don’t think I could eat it everyday. Or perhaps, ever again.

Today we went shopping in the centre of Madrid. It was really busy. And there were A LOT of people dressed up as Mickey, Minnie and Sponge Bob Square Pants.

Hope bought a hoodie. It’s nice. But now she has to fit it in her bag.

In the afternoon, we walked out to Neptune’s Fountain, which is similar to every other fountain. But we did find a free garden (next to the not free botanical gardens) and enjoyed a little sit on the grass in the sun.

We walked a long way today. But that’s pretty normal by now! For dinner, we had pintxos, which is like tapas, but from the north of Spain. They are basically a snack thing like tapas, except they are generally skewered onto a bit of bread. Kinda weird, but good. I had a baby eel and egg one, a mini hamburger one and a beef and cheese parmigiana. Nice.

Ah. Tomorrow we fly over to Athens. It’s 3.5 hours, and the time difference changes again, not to mention daylight savings which surely starts this weekend? Hmm confusing.



Day Two Hundred and Fifty Seven: Flamenco

October 5, 2012

Weather: 28oC
Money: €19 accommodation + €21 dinner + €22 flamenco + €4 snacks = €66
Bus hours/ Kms: 4.5/358
Current city: Madrid
Sleeping arrangements: Equity Point, 4 bed dorm.

Madrid – the capital of Espana and our last destination on Busabout! Busabout has been amazing. I would totally recommend it for your travelling needs. Especially at the end of the season when there are only 9 people on the bus!

We left Valencia after a lazy morning eating and repacking our bags. The trip across the middle of Spain was pretty uneventful and fairly uninteresting. It reminded me of Texas: lots of wind turbines and not much else. Although, one thing that is cool is the big bull billboards. They are just plain black now because apparently they were too distracting for drivers. But it’s still good advertising. Like a secret club.


We arrived in Madrid and went for a little walk around some of the plazas near where we are staying. We met up with Jane and Teresa for dinner at 8:30, before going to a Flamenco show! It started at 11, and that’s almost too late for me, but there was no sleeping to be done!

I didn’t really know what flamenco was except for foofy dresses and waving arms. It’s also a LOT of stomping! The show we saw had three dancers, a singer and a guitarist. While one danced, the others clapped and shouted encouragement (or it could have been anything I guess, we still don’t understand!) but I was really impressed with the ferocity of it all! Such aggressive faces and moves! It was good. I liked it a lot!


Also, after meeting up with them a lot of times in the past month, we’ve had to farewell Jane and Teresa. They head to Paris tomorrow via San Sebastián. So, bye girls, we love you!


Ahh. That’s all for now!



Day Two Hundred and Fifty Six: Art and Science

October 3, 2012

Weather: 30oC
Money: €15 accommodation + €6 groceries + €3.50 frozen yoghurt = €24.50
Meals of leftovers: 3

We love the river garden. At one end is the Arts and Sciences centre, the biggest cultural complex in Europe. So that was our goal for the day. We walked along the river for probably three kilometres in the heat, admiring the beauty. Further up there are heaps of water features and fountains that we didn’t discover yesterday. It’s so nice. Also, Hope discovered a giant pineapple plantation.




The centre is MASSIVE. There are four buildings: the hemispheric which has an IMAX and planetarium (looks like an eyeball), there the oceanographic which is an aquarium. There’s an opera house and performing arts centre (looks like a Stormtrooper helmet); and the science museum. It’s all surrounded by water. Like lakes, but not natural. Like a water feature, with no feature. What are they called?



Day Two Hundred and Fifty Five: River or Garden?

October 2, 2012

Weather: 29oC
Money: €15 accommodation + €10 lunch + €8 dinner = €33
Days til Israel: 20

Something I really love about Valencia is the river. Which actually isn’t a river. Well, it was once. Until it flooded one too many times, and they decided to reroute it around the city instead of through it. Apparently the big guys wanted to use the dry river bed as a freeway, but the story goes that every night, the locals would go in and plant a few trees. It got to a point where there were too many trees, so the road plan was cancelled and instead it was made into 8km of gardens. Anyway, it’s beautiful. The bridges are still there, and lots of different sculptors and artists and designers were given sections between the bridges to decorate.

We spent a bit of time in the ‘river’ this afternoon but tomorrow we are planning on walking to the end. It was really busy with runners and bikes and people playing sports on the football and tennis grounds.





In the morning, we headed out to the shopping street to have a look. We didn’t buy much. We got some paella for lunch and then got lost in the back windy streets that we visited yesterday on the walking tour. Luckily I had a map and Hope had her incredible memory for places we’ve been before and we ended up at the supermarket, phew.

Tonight we are having Hopemade pasta for dinner. Then maybe we’ll go out and get some churos or something. Woo!


Day Two Hundred and Fifty Four: Hamburger

October 2, 2012

Weather: 27oC
Money: €15 accommodation + €5 walking tour + €9.20 lunch + €2.50 ice cream + €5 dinner = €36.70
Current city: Valencia

Four days in a place with not a lot of tourist attractions means we get to have a few late starts with is the nicest thing ever. I’m so tired! So, today, the first thing we did was a walking tour at midday. The guide was from Scotland and while it wasn’t horrible, I’d say it was the worst walking tour we’ve done. He was very nice, but it was obvious he’d memorised a script and was just reciting it. And, if we failed to notice he’d learnt a script, he told us about eight times.

Valencia is really cute. The tour took us to a few sites that were really cool. Like, this one.


It’s part of the old medieval city walls. When the walls were knocked down, this part was left as a prison for men. The women’s prison was the entrance on the other side of the town. The second photo shows holes where they would pour hot oil down onto the would-be invaders. That’s pretty cool.

Valencia is full of churches, and I’ve seen a billion by now. This is the Cathedral of Santa Maria.


Lastly, this is the entrance way of what is now the ceramics museum. It’s a fancy baroque style facade. The building used to be home to a Valencian noble family. It’s a pretty epic entry way, I’m sure you agree.


Ok, tour done. For lunch, we had a weird burger. It was beef with goats cheese and red berries. Like literally, raspberries, black currents, cranberries and cherries in the burger. It was weird.

We also accidentally had burgers for dinner. They were home cooked and were a lot better than the lunch burgers. The kitchen in this hostel is amazing. I might have told you that before.

Between lunch and dinner, we just went for a wander to look at some shops and stuff. Loving Valencia!


Day Two Hundred and Fifty Three: Cheer Cheer

October 1, 2012

Weather: 19oC, raining at unimportant times.
Money: €15 accommodation + €15 supermarket stuff = €30
Current country: Spain
Bus hours/Kms: 5/360

Swannies yeah!

This morning started in epic fashion with the AFL grand final, which meant I needed to be ready to leave the hostel by 6am in order to watch the game and catch the bus at 8am. I couldn’t find a free live stream so I settled for the radio and the live animation picture. The bus left at half time and Carmel (who I see in 22 days) kept me updated.

Love it. But, Sophie who we were traveling with at the time is the cousin of one of the Hawks players so she really wanted them to win. Oh wells.

We arrived in Valencia at lunch time and promptly decided it was time for a siesta. But first, we went to the supermarket and got some things for lunch.

Then we went back again to get some things for dinner.

I like Valencia already. It’s big with 800,000 people, but has a really nice feel so far. Good work Spain.



Day Two Hundred and Fifty Two: Gaudi

September 29, 2012

Weather: 20oC, gloomy, and a bit rainy
Money: €25 accommodation + €5 lunch + €12.50 dinner + €2.50 snack + €7 train pass + €10 souvenirs = €62
Country tally: 25

We’ve had an interesting and funny day today, which saw us going on the train, then forgetting where we had to go, then going back to the hotel to find out, then finally getting there to find it raining and then going back to the hostel.

So, we started our day at around 1pm with a trip to the market for some fruit and juice. Is the market we went to last night to get the stuff for the paella. It smells so nice and fresh. The fruit there is amazing, and the juices are only €1. And they have awesome cured meat and fish and lollies. Yum. We had an awesome salad for lunch and I got a punnet of strawberries for €1 and ate them all.

The rain stopped in the afternoon which was nice, because we really wanted to see Parc Guell, which has all the Gaudi stuff in it. Gaudi was a crazy artist who built all these random structures throughout Barcelona including the most epic church I’ve ever seen, and lots of mosaic rooftops and other gear. Parc Guell has the lizard and turtle, also this crazy wave rock type thing, and heaps of mosaic tiles seating. It’s a really nice park. I really enjoyed it!







After the park we went to the church I just mentioned, the Sagrada Familia which is INCREDIBLE. It’s been under construction for some years and its rumoured they’ll never finish it because then the Barcelona council won’t get anymore money from it. Gaudi died midway through the construction, but they’ve followed his plans in the continuing work. We just saw the outside because entrance is €15, but I will definitely go in next time I’m in Barcelona. Apparently it’s amazing inside. For now, I will make do with google images. Ha. But even the outside basically blew my mind.




We got dinner at La Fonda where we had it the night we arrived. Jane and Teresa arrived today so we went with them, and our new friend, Sophie. She’s from Adelaide and very lovely. Anyway, we shared paella and sangria. So good. I want it everyday.

Lastly for the day, we went to the Magic Fountain. It’s pretty. We were too late for the Disney themed show, but we still go the pretty colours. Win.

Tomorrow is Hope’s birthday and the AFL grand final. I’m pretty excited to see the Swans beat Hawthorn by 11 points.




Day Two Hundred and Fifty One: Walking Tour

September 28, 2012

Weather: 23oC
Money: €25 accommodation + €5 walking tour + €8 lunch + €1 juice + €19 dinner & cooking class = €58
Current city: Barcelona

Today, after a free breakfast provided by the hostel (this doesn’t happen so much in European hostels) we headed out to take a free walking tour of the gothic architecture. The tour was pretty good, although it showed us sites that I pretty much know nothing about. But, we saw some pretty funky old churches and buildings.

This one apparently took something like 400 years to build just the bell tower and facade. It’s called the Barcelona cathedral.




Something else I liked, because I do like them for some strange reason, is the old Roman city walls. Not much remains now though!


In the afternoon, we did what all good Spaniards do, have a siesta. It was awesome.

At night we did a paella and sangria cooking class. It was super fun and awesome money value. Now I can make some for you. Ok.

I really like Barcelona. It feels a bit like home.



Day Two Hundred and Fifty: Espana

September 27, 2012

Weather: 18oC
Money: €25 accommodation + €2 breakfast + €5 lunch + €18 dinner = €50
Current city: Barcelona
Bus hours/Kms: 10/670
Sleeping arrangements: Be Sound Hostel, 6 bed dorm

Bus all day today, not overly exciting for a girl. We did see some pretty scenery on the way, apparently Spain is a very mountainous country, just spread out unlike Switzerland.

Turns out Spain has a pretty interesting history, with the latest saga being that they want to break up into smaller countries, mainly because the area Barcelona is in is producing a higher GDP that the rest of the country and they aren’t getting the rewards they should be. So they want to go out on their own, but of course the central government in Madrid won’t agree to that. Apparently there are protests all the time lately, and there was one in San Sebastián today (San Sebastian is also in a different area, but they want it to happen too). Hmm!

Tonight after arriving, we’ve been out for dinner with about 20 other busabout people. I had roast lamb which was like a shank. It was eight kinds of awesome. And some sangria, of course!

Love Spain! And love that I can speak Spanish again! My six words really do come in handy!