Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Alicante

I wasn't even planning to come to this city. Initially, I didn't even know where it was, or that it existed in the 1st place. 

But thanks to a rare combination of Ryan Air misfortune and my own vague stupidity, I missed my flight to Malaga and ended up on a flight to Alicante the next day. Although that made it ridiculously expensive getting here, I loved this city, so not all was lost.



I suppose this is what they call beachfront development

castle wall graffiti

walking up the castillo (castle)

castillo walls visible on top of that monstrous looking rock/hill

look, sand! my happiness of being at a beach after 5 long months.

walking up the castillo/lunch spot

spot the eagle!

bullring from a distance

graffiti and a trashcan

somewhere around the Old Quarter

Food was random grocery store junk so no recommendations. Hostel was "X Hostel Alicante" which is supposedly the party hostel in town. Maybe in summer, but when I was there the only party I had was with my winter coat and my scarf as the room had no heating and no other guests.

I had quite a few conversations on this day that went like this:

Me: 'Bus?' pointing in a direction
Spanish person: 'Boooos?' looks confused
Me: 'No. Bus!'
Spanish person: Sign languages 'I don't know' and walks away. 

That's how I learnt that 'bus' in spanish is 'autoboos' and 'station' is 'estacion'. It proved to be a highly useful lesson. I doubt you care, but train could be 'Renfe' (the company itself) or 'ferrocarril'. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Malaga

Left Seville today after 4 days. Not a very nice feeling to have to leave, since i had stayed long enough (and spent enough time chilling in the hostel) to be friends with the people there and my hostel buddies, one of which is going to get a room there to rent...






anyway, im in malaga now. okay place i guess, nice to walk around, as less touristy as it could get.. had a disastrous dinner as my chicken nuggets from the supermarket turned out to be disgusting.. then spent the rest of night chilling in the common area with supermarket wine with the other people staying here.. everything is very chilled and it hit me how unwound i had become when someone showed me this book, and i read out the title as ´Five´when the title is really ´evie´. A

also, yesterday i was trying to say out the acronym for ´blown by the wind´and had a hard time remembering the first alphabets of each word. i guess all the sun has sufficiently fried my brains.. this sudden inability to spell might be a tiny issue if i have to do resits ah but well can´t be arsed about those right now.. i came on this trip to unwind and im swaying in front of this comp like a tree, so i definitely managed to unwind... so. big day tomorrow.

Come what may, at least i know i´ll always have southern spain, with too much cervazo, cheap wine and sangria, jamon, albondegas (meatballs), patatas fritas (crisps), afternoon naps, lying on benches in the sun, and just chilling out.. all that i ever needed, wanted and just a little bit more.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sevilla

Its hard to believe I´ve been here 3 days already by now?! Staying one more night until tomorrow when I have to get a bus to Malaga.. Feeling rather reluctant to leave since I´m just getting all comfy and settled in here.. We all went to watch a flamenco show last night. The bar it was at didn´t charge for anything other than drinks and local beer was being sold by the litre, so that was fun. Flamenco was surprisingly moving. This was followed by going to yet another place that sold drinks by the litre. 1 litre of mojito was 4euros (?!?!), so that was pretty nice too. Some of the local people in the bar was quite fascinated by us tourists, one of them turned out to be a digestive surgeon. Great. Monday night, 3 am, bar that sells alcohol by the litres and who do you meet there but a surgeon. Plus he had to work the next day. Well, let´s just say that I was glad my digestives are doing fine and don´t need any immediate surgery in this place.. So today, plans are to visit the cathedral and the palace, can´t remember the name. Thinking of watching more flamenco tonight but lets see how it goes.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

a minor scare

So, after the previously delirious with happiness post, things went rapidly downhill. I got to Cadiz, started peeing what seemed like scary amounts of blood and puking. Plus not only was the hostel not heated, it was colder inside the hostel than outside. Self diagnosed myself with a urinary tract infection, and found a pharmacy the next day. Pharmacist said 'a little' in response to me asking her if she knows english but she didn't know the word urinary tract infection, so it took a bit of creative sign languaging on my behalf but we achieved an understanding eventually and she sold me a course of the appropriate antibiotics without a precription for 2.5 euros. Some aggressive hydration since then plus too much rest, and I am feeling much better today. Just got to Seville a while ago, liking it so far. The fact that this awesome hostel comes with free food and not just for breakfast, makes things just nicer. Hammock in the sun on the fourth floor terrace is very appealing as well. Barbeque tonight for just 5 euros, flamenco show and tapas tour tomorrow. The coming few days here is going to be enjoyable, I can just feel it..


Friday, January 20, 2012

Uno Cervazo!

The hostel I am staying at, El Tajo Backpackers has to be one of my favourite hostels I stayed in. The scenery from the patio or balcony is nothing short of amazing. For the past two mornings, I wake up late feeling so hungry, make coffee and toast with the best marmalade I´ve ever tasted, and take it all outside. Then I sit in the sun and have a 2 hour breakfast while enjoying what could only be one of the nicest views in this town. There´s a deep gorge (what Ronda is famous for, I will post a picture later, or you can google image it) separating the hostel and the Puerto Nuevo/bridge where all the tourists are taking pictures. There is always live music playing somewhere and we all know that nothing goes with marmalade and coffee like spanish guitar. I cannot quite describe how amazing it has been to spend all those mindless hours out there being a vegetable in the sun, especially with jamon (spanish cured ham, so good!) and beer, and feeling like I must be dreaming or something coz it seems like more of a painting than anything that could be real. 

 In summer the super chilled out guys running this place are planning to set up a splashing pool in the patio with hammocks and sun beds, so that would be even more fun. Right across the street (32 Calle Virjen De Los Remedios) there is a tapas bar that sells tapas for 75cents per plate (you read that right, not even one euro for a plate of food!) and uno cervazo is only 1 euro!  So yeah, I loved it here. I would love to hang around for much longer, but since my trip is so short and there is so much more I want to see, today I am off to Cadiz, a city that is famous for flamenco and seafood.

Most people come to Ronda on a day trip. If you are reading this and are planning to visit this lovely little pueblo blanco/white town, stay longer, coz you will love it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

brief and pointless update


I think I fell in love with Granada. I felt positively sad that I had to leave today, but hostelworld bookings had been made and I had to leave it to get to where I am now, Ronda. I wasn´t expecting to love Granada, because it sounded touristy, but it is gorgeous or what. Definitely one of those places I would love to live at for a while. The bus journey there from Murcia was a bit of a shocker as we encountered a snow storm along the way. It was the first time in my life I was seeing snow and what a lovely way to see it for the first time, thickly blanketing the most gorgeous valleys I have ever seen. Today´s train to Ronda also went along some amazing landscapes. Unfortunately I was too hungover from last night (1 euro shots, how I love this country!) to fully enjoy the scenery as I was too busy trying not to puke. Never have been happier to get out of a train than I was today. Hostels have been expensive so far, but ridiculously comfortable (except the hostel in Alicante which had such lousy heating I slept wearing my winter coat and scarf). Most people are nice, some rude people here and there, but that is just to be expected of any place I guess. According to the lonely planet, ronda is supposedly full of ernest hemingway types, but unless ernest hemingway has a deep love for massive construction works, I don´t think so. The view from my hostel is gorgeous though, so I guess I just have not explored the pretty parts. After a slow start, I feel like I am fully living again after such a long time! It is a great feeling and I hope things continue to go as enjoyably :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hola!

So here I am, in Murcia. After missing a flight, then having trouble with my boarding pass and having to pay a 40 pound fine for something that was not my fault to begin with (ryan air, how I dislike you), I am actually here. Yesterday I went climbing up some castle in Alicante, and because of my entirely useless sense of direction, spent hours walking in circles uphill and downhill trying to get out of the Old Quarter. That could be why my calves are in such pain today, I can hardly walk without feeling calf cramps that could cripple an elephant. Thankfully the overpriced but lovely hostel I am staying in currently has internet. It is low season, so me and another student who is staying temporarily while looking for an apartment have got the place to ourselves. She is from England and is very much... English. If you have been talking to me in the past few months, then you would know what I mean when i say that. Otherwise, I shall not elaborate here, coz who knows who is reading this thing.



Anyway, Murcia is a small town that gets next to no tourists, which probably explains why everyone stares at me everywhere I go. It is a bit like Leicester. No sunshine today as well, just the winter cold. I limped my way to the Santa Maria Cathedral a while ago. It was awe inspiring, beautiful and also slightly creepy at the same time. Very breath taking and all that, but I definitely did not feel a need to hang around. Later today I will have to hobble my way to the bus station and hop on a bus to Granada. Excited, as it seems more interesting than where i am now, but reluctant as well, since my stupid legs are failing on me. Oh well, maybe the 3.5 hour bus journey would be sufficient rest for the built up lactic acid to break down. I am not entirely sure why exactly I am going to Granada, especially since it is a cold place and the whole purpose of this vacation is to escape from the cold, but then again when have I ever been sure the reasoning behind my actions.

Food has been really good so far. I am not sure what exactly I have been eating, but since I just point at some random food item and try it out, but no culinary disasters as of yet. Hostels and transport from place to place is turning out to be way more expensive than I had estimated. At least street musicians here seem to be doing quite well, so there is a fall back option for $$$ right there. One of them decided to play Love Story on his accordion on loop, continuously for about 4 hours right outside my room window. Such stamina.