Since Manchester decided it wanted to welcome me back with an extreme amount of rain, it was easy to buy a ticket out to Portugal to get a proper defrost. I invited Sophie to go with and she was all for it.
I thought I was just going to stay in Portugal until my return flight. I had forgotten how much you can get done in 10 days, and how quickly I get the urge to move on.
I flew out to Lisbon, making it to the hostel around one am. It was a bit of an uncomfortable flight since I had to attempt a sprint to my plane since it was on its final call and closing it’s gate. I thought I was an hour early but I still seem to get stumped by the 24 hour clock. Win. The Ryanair plane Was hot and I could feel sweat dripping down my back the whole time. And the air in lisbon felt the same way.
I always seem to think that it’s nice to visit big cities,so I booked two nights instead of traveling down to meet Sophie in Faro, where she flew into from Bristol. I don’t like big cities.
I finally met Sophie in Lagos. She said Faro was a bit dead (pretty sure she was being nice because we went through it on a coach and it was crap.) The whole plan of meeting this far south was to get to Sagres point. So after a night in Lagos, we headed West. We got off the bus into this little surfer town with no planned accommodation. After an hour of laying on the beach reading ski magazines and drinking fresh squeezed orange juice, we stopped by a bike rental shop. We kindly asked the girl if she knew of any cheap rooms and she introduced us to this lady who had just that. It was was a cute little house in the suburbs with two beds in a room. For the two nights we paid €25 each. And our private shower had the best pressure to get rid of all the sand. Almost. The bike shop girl also reccomend a little place to go for the dinner. After we rode the bikes out to sagres point and almost got blown off the cliffs, we enjoyed our fresh frilled fish, salad, and potatos. It was amazing.
We had several sunbathing sessions that we mostly ended due to being sandblasted the entire time. It was probably better that way since we still managed to get burnt. We had our last night out in Sagres in this little cafe restaurant that I think doubled as a model agency. Tall surfer girls and boys with there long hair and laid back attitude. Half of them were American. We took a bus from Sagres to Seville. It was an all day trip but still plenty of light when we arrived. All the hostels were full but I managed to get us a cheap room on airbnb.com. This is where I was surprised at the amount of Spanish I pulled out of hy brain. When I had a conversation with our host and other Spanish people,it usually followed a surprised look to sophie.
Seville was a really nice city. It was missing something though. People were a lot more closed. It was comparable to the way people act on the London underground, minus the sickly pale skin and business suits. But definitely did not lack on warm sunny parks, and riverside views.
We only did two nights there before moving onto Granada. It was suggested by several people to do Cordoba, butnwe gave it a miss. I was so excited to go to the Sierra Nevada mountains and say that I had been to both. And there’s only so much flat landscaping young an look at before its all the same. We had a hostel right in the center of town. Granada had a lot more spirit. We saw the gypsy community, the cave houses,and great views of the Alhambra, wich we had no idea about until lectured by the hostel receptionist about how people travel from around the world to see it. He was unimpressed from our immediate response of asking how to get to the mountains.
We set out early in the morning to catch the bus that goes to the ski station. Apparently in the off season there is only one a day and we had missed it by ten minutes. We asked a few taxis what they would charge to take us and, no surprise it was about one hundred euro. Sophie was almost in tears,so I suggested we try to hitchhike. I never really did it on my own so now that there was two of us, I wouldn’t mind doing it. Sophie was over the moon. She ripped a price of paper off the first thing to cross her path, borrowed a pen at a gas station, and drew out her destination. We made our way to the main interstate, while sophie showed her sign to basically everyone. People going the wrong direction, homeless people, bicyclists, anyone.
By the time we got to the roundabout a truck immediately picked us up. I think it was the only time soph didnt have her sign up. Really cool delivery driver. He had been delivering meat and chicken to all the shops and restaurants in the mountains for years so he knew the area well. He drove us all the way to the parking lot of the ski resort where we set off up the mountain for a good hike.
After making good progress up the mountain, we headed back down and bumped into three men who seemed to be working. After they asked us what the hell were doing, we got one of them to take a picture of us and we asked them the easiest way to get back down. Long story short, we helped them carry he piste markers to their van down the trail, pushed the van through the deep mud,and we got a lift all the way back to the center of granada, minutes away from our hostel. They were all ski coaches and were days away from going to switzerland to glacier ski for the summer. Cool people.
During this trip, we both became frozen yogurt enthusiasts, and spent most of our four days In granada judging wich one was the best. A special thing about granada is that the tapas are free when you have a drink. But kitchens open late and the drinks are massive. They were still delicious though.
We were bound for Barcelona, and the original plan was to break it up with a night in Valencia. The only thing was that it just adds up with a bus,hostel and another bus. So we found a couple spare seats on a car share website. (Blablacar.com) and spent about eight hours in a little car. Half of it was a Spanish course and I got a headache. So many questions AND in a different language. I pretended to be asleep. Haha.
We arrived into Barcelona around midnight and went straight to bed. I booked the cheapest hostel, of wich was right next to sagrada famiglia.
We really wanted to rent roller blades but that doesn’t exist. Shame!! So we had ice cream and I convinced sophie to go on a boat ride. Another thing you can do when traveling with a friend.
I left a day before sophie and came back to a sunny Manchester. Amazing.
I have decided to be proactive,and have applied to a job in California, and signed up to the gym down the road. I’m calling it fat camp for now. I am now on day four. I feel like I have a better motivation to go because I have actual goals. There are a lot of things I need to improve (my right leg has half the balancing strength of my left) and if I want to ski/board this winter, there are plenty of strengthening exercises that will help my improve form and prevent injuries. I’m so incredibly out of condition, so that needs fixing. Day two of fat camp caused me to loose my dinner. Hahaha.
I am a week away fro going to Scotland for the mountain bike race. I have more information regarding to what I am actually doing. It doesn’t look like I am helping build he course, butnworking administration the first two days, the confirmation the following two. So I will be in the main area and won’t miss out any of the actual race. Room, food, and all you can drink coffee and redbull is included as well as £40 travel expense. Winning!!