Seville to Granada

We changed our bus to an earlier one from Seville to Granada as we had done most of what we wanted there. Luckily it was an easy exercise. 
In Granada we had booked a really cute hostel which was more like a BnB. Decorated modernly, a lift (thank god) and an awesome view with a great location. 

We checked out the area, grabbed some tapas for lunch then hit the Hammam, an Arabic spa right in Granada. For 40€ we had a 2hr soak and 15 minute massage. There’s a lot of tradition in the baths, you don’t wear shoes, drink tea and shower before you get in. You start in the medium temp pool before moving to the hot, really hot, steam room, throw cool water over yourself from a bowl then jump in the ice bath and start all over again. 

It was really like stepping back in time. Stunning rooms, like being in an underground cave with strategic patterns on the roof to let in a small amount of mood lighting to compliment the candles everywhere. There’s tea in many corners, pepperminty and sweet. I felt a little like a roman princess. 

I felt completely relaxed and blissed out. I chose pomegranate oil for my massage and the lady soothed away my aches and pains. Highly recommend if you’re in the area. I had to take pics from Google, you can’t use your phone in there. 

We did some shopping, had a snack of ceviche (amazing to have fresh, raw food again) then went back to get ready for our Flamenco booking.

Venta El Gallo picked us up, took us out to a the caves where the gypsies live and led us in. Inside we had a beverage and watched 3 beautiful flamenco dancers, two singers and a guitarist dance/ sing / play with passion and emotion. Very cool experience. 

We stopped at the bar outside our hotel and that the most fantastic food. Gemma had a smoked salmon salad, I had a tuna tataki salad and we shared some exceptionally tender beef. Beautiful meal washed down with a few wines. 

A lovely man bought us a rose each and made some light convo in Spanish / English before returning to his smoke. 

Back up in our room we ripped off some of the petals and threw them around like true romantics – ha!


Seville 

We made it inside the Cathedral, the 3rd biggest in the world after St Peters and St Pauls (of which I’ve visited both), another beautiful piece of architecture. We looked around with our audio guides (which were very thorough / boring) and walked up to the top tower to the lookout. Gem nearly crapped herself when one of the giant bells went off over her head! The crown there has the second largest pearl in the world.

From there we got lost walking to Plaza de España, where Star Wars was filmed. It’s a big U shaped building with stunning mosaics all around. I was exhausted and in a silly mood, we took some funny pics around the place! 

Lunch time on the river (decidedly average tapas) then into the bull ring! Unfortunately there was no bull fighting on for another month, I would have loved to visit. We signed up for the next guided tour and was taken around the stadium which is the oldest in the world still in use. It’s privately owned and absolutely stunning. There’s a hospital, a museum and the grounds are the brightest yellow/ orange sand you’ve seen!

We learnt about the history of bullfighting and the toros (Bulls), little things like the ear of a bull is cut off as a trophy if the fight goes well and if it goes really well both the ears and tail are cut! Also the best ending for a bull fight is when there is a great bull and fighter who put on an incredible show and the judges wave a yellow flag, signalling to finish the fight with no death. The bull is then taken off to make little toros and treated like a king and the fighter is held in highest regard. Everyone wins. 

Interestingly the Bulls only ever fight once and when they die, their meat goes to the local restaurants to be made into yummy tapas. Lots of the restaurants have bull heads on their walls, I wish I could have visited a stud farm.

From there, more gelato then out for dinner at a place where there was no English menu (clearly a local joint finally) and we had a lovely tapas dinner. 


Lisbon to Lagos 

I did my first ever free walking tour in the morning in Lisbon. Gemma had raved about them but I was still feeling pretty shite and worried I couldn’t keep up. Sweating bullets before we even left! 
Wild Walkers I believe the company is called, they work off tips at the end of the tour and the guy was great. Full of information about the city and insights into the minds of the Portuguese. 

That lasted about 2.5 hours, we were starving by the time we were done. The guy had told us about menu’s of the day at the restaurants, they were much cheaper and fresh each day. Luckily what we wanted to eat was on the menu of the day at the restaurant we stopped at! For just 13€ we had a starter, main, dessert and drink. 

We took a cab (no crazy driver this time unfortunately) to the bus station and just missed our 4pm bus so had to wait another hour. We thought we got in at 8 but it wasn’t until about 10pm we got into Lagos. We then had to walk for 15mins (which I wasn’t happy about) with all our luggage, across the pebbly paths which were full of people to get to our hostel. My hands were aching and I was hangry. 

The hostel… Hmmm, I felt like I had walked into a high school stoner flat. My bad, I’d booked the hostel (Hutch Hostel, please find a better one when you stay) and luckily we had a private room and didn’t intend on being around much. In the end it wasn’t that bad but I was really put off at first. 

Straight out the door for dinner we stopped at Gilberto’s restaurant and had some really average dinner. Seafood rice (meant to be a Portuguese specialty) was very liquidy, thank goodness we had already filled up on starters. Poor service too, don’t go there. 

We checked out the markets and shops in the main plaza (everything is open late in Europe) then back to our hostel ready for sleep. 

Barcelona to Lisbon 

Gem and I went in search of a fresh breakfast (my waistline is seriously expanding) after seeing a market on Las Ramblas a few days before. 
I got a beautiful little tray of berries. Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries and a fresh green juice. 

We wandered the streets and I bought some new pjs and a taco & tequila top. 

We flew to Lisbon and checked into our hostel. Ha! I forgot the taxi driver. So we get this taxi driver from the airport to the hostel and he’s speaking rapidly in Portuguese to which I’m just replying to what I think he’s saying. Holy shite he drove fast! True crazy European driver. Flat foot and zig zagging around all the cars, beeping when they weren’t going fast enough for him and nearly causing multiple accidents. You’ve never heard so much beeping! Kept turning around and giving us little smiles and shrugging when I giggled at his actions as if to say ‘these other people driving terribly huh?!’ Hilarious. 

Now I’m not a fan of hostels, but this one was fantastic. Very cool fit-out and atmosphere. It’s in a railway station but you’d never know it. It’s lush and green and the dorms were lovely and clean. Right in the heart of Lisbon. I was very impressed. 

We attempted to get Tram 28 which takes you around all the city that the tourists want to see. Unfortunately, so did all the other tourists that day. Hangry, I left Gem in line and went in search of food. Came back with custard tarts (local special) and a choc croissant. Gave up on the line and paid a tuk tuk (you’d be half mistaken for thinking you were in Thailand) to take us to old town. 

Old town was bustling and beautiful. The Lisbon streets are gorgeous. All tiny pavers on the ground and mosaic apartments. As always, with sheets and washing hanging out the windows. We wandered around exploring, marvelling at the architecture and graffiti. We later learned the graffiti was a big part of Lisbon, with many areas provided by the government to be creative on. 

Unfortunately we ended up in the main tourist area for dinner. We sat in the middle of the street and people watched as we waited for our meals. We both had the grilled cod. What they didn’t mention was how the Portuguese prepare their cod. They rub it in salt and cure it then leave it to sit in salt water before grilling it. So it’s pretty salty. I wasn’t entirely impressed. 

Thankfully our roommates didn’t get in till about 5am as I had a terrible night coughing up a storm. I wound up having tea in the common area from 3-4am trying to curb it. 


Croatia to Barcelona

We left the boat early in the morning, everyone feeling pretty average. Asti has booked a hotel the night before to try sleep off her illness in comfort, the rest of us were a pack of coughing, hungover humans quite happy to be getting off the rocking boat. 
We took the bus straight to the airport. Packed in like sardines, we had to stand up in the alley and the motion sickness combined with my hangover had me repeating ‘you will not spew on the bus’ over and over. I made it there, and made it through check in… But then ran to the bathroom and spewed my guts out. Felt heaps better after that! 

In Barcelona we found our AirBnB apartment with ease and Mario, was the ever enthusiastic host. He carried my bag up the ‘four’ flights (read six) of stairs to his apartment where the three of us were uber excited to have real beds and showers and space after the boat. 

By this time my cough and sweats had set in and he also translated the instructions for the medication I had picked up. 

We explored Las Ramblas where we were staying (awesome place to be based), grabbed a snack and set out across the city. We walked to the waterfront, the gothic quarter and Arc De Triomf before returning to Las Ramblas for dinner. Big mistake. Do not eat on Las Ramblas! Staff couldn’t give a flying f*ck, prices were inflated and well, the staff really made it a terrible experience. We couldn’t even leave for ages because he wouldn’t get us the bill. 

I was beginning to feel really unwell and Asti was still recovering so we had an early night in. 


Island Hopping, Part 2, Croatia

Days 4-7 were just more drunken debauchery with a side of site seeing. 
Thank goodness the day after Carpe Diem was a rest day, tanning on top of the boat. We docked at Stari Grad, wandered the small town and ended up at a dirty beach with a number of topless sunbathers. 

All the beaches are pebble beaches and as well as uncomfortable to lie on, hot as hell under your feet. 

We took a charter bus to a winery where we were treated to four wines and a 8hr slow cooked feast. Beautiful views and all organic food sourced from their own farm. The tomatoes were incredibly flavoursome. 

The next morning after a swim stop we arrived in Makarska, a beautiful city on the mainland, surrounded by huge rocky mountains.

I went for a big walk on my own, around the actual town itself (not just the touristy waterfront) and found a beautiful boutique food store where I bought some tasty jambon (smoked ham) and made puppy dog eyes at the truffle cheese. 

Bumped into Gemma at a store and we found some of the other girls and went for some drinks. We were soon joined by some of the guys and were well on our merry way before dinner. 

Dinner was at a typical Croatian restaurant in the square, half the group got parmigiana’ to my surprise. I had my fave, grilled squid. We had group races to the bottom of 1l sex on the beach cocktails, getting us prepped for the pirate party! 

Everyone was well prepared and in the mood for the pirate party. Another ‘happy hour’ on the boat followed by another bar and finally the ‘rave cave’ or Deep as it is more commonly known. Deep was just packed full of pirates and loose Australians. Didn’t stay there long! 

That night a storm came through and we had to skip our scheduled stop and instead arrived at Split a day early, which quite suited me. The rocking on the bot had been shocking the last few days and I’d started swaying even when I was off the boat. Add to that the whole boat coming down with some kind of mad cough and I was happy to be somewhere I could spend more time on land. 

The first day we did a walking tour and had our Captains dinner on the boat. The others went out, I finished my consulting work for the QOC and had an early night. Lucky I did as I would need it for the next night! 

We visited Krka during the day, beautiful scenic waterfalls about 1.5hrs away. Stunning views and a very refreshing swim. Shite food, take your own if you’re going. 

Back in town we went for dinner at a fantastic restaurant called Fife on the waterfront, I highly recommend it. Croatian food, cheap prices and great service. I had another black squid ink risotto (a national dish) as it was our last night. I also had many red wines and a few vodkas and sodas which were much more vodka than soda.

Needless to say, my quiet night turned larger quickly! We danced the night away at an open air bar and met up with a group from Contiki who we had seen a few nights back. Lots of drama ensued with various ‘couples’ and it was all very entertaining. 

Got home around 3am, fries in hand and ready to hop off the boat the next day and get to Spain. 




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