Favourite Blogs that You Should Read

Tomorrow I finally post the link to my new blog.

Thursday, the 13th, is the last post (Inspiration Thursday) that I will write for Tay in Europe until I finally have the money to plan my next adventure.

When I started my travel blog it was to share my experiences with my friends and family. Now, it is a place where I can also organize my thoughts, reminisce about the small moments spent with people I may never see again, and a place that shows my growth. I read my first post, I booked my flight!, and then I think about all I have experienced since then, and I get a huge sense of satisfaction.

Who booked a flight to Dublin on a whim? I did.

Who skinny-dipped in the Irish Sea? I did.

Who learned how to make friends, using her awkward charm? I did.

Who got lost in Paris, racked up a massive phone-bill, and still managed to get drunk in front of the Eiffel tower the next night? I did.

Who fell madly, and deeply, in-love with Portugal? I did.

Who made many friends she hopes to keep for a life-time? I did.

Yes, I am very proud of how far I have come. And, I was able to share my adventures with you!

But you know what else I love about blogging? Reading your blogs!

So, for those of you who were reading along solely for the purpose of travel, here are links to a few of my favourite travel bloggers:

  • Finding Gravity – I love Carley’s writing! No, it’s not solely about travel, but she has great insight into life, and staying grounded.
  • Jesssrich – A fellow twenty-something travel blogger! I stumbled on her wordpress site before I left, and have been following along every since. Also, she and I have even exchanged a few e-mails these past few months: another reason why I love the blogging community!
  • 104 Days Late – This is my travel-BFF’s blog! Sherry is wonderful, and her documented travels are far from over! Like me, she is trying to integrate back into society, and she writes her thoughts so eloquently that I find myself yelling at my computer: “Yes, that is exactly how I feel too!”
  • Christine in Spain – Interested in Spain? Christine is the reason I went to Spain during my trip to Europe!
  • Blonde Gypsy – Someone who loves Portugal almost as much as I do!
  • The Polar Route – For awesome photos!
  • Anywhere But Home – Twenty-something nomad!

Benches of the world – Via Instagram

This gallery contains 8 photos.

I love benches. It’s a place to take a break after a long walk or run. It’s a space where people can sit and admire the scenery. It’s a place where couples sit and hold-hands. It’s a space where I … Continue reading

La Sagrada Familia – Barcelona

Oh Barcelona, how I wish I had more time (and energy) to explore all of what this city has to offer.
I was sick in Barcelona. Fever, stomach flu, ‘wish I was at home in my own bed’ sick.
My last day in Barcelona I didn’t plan on leaving my bed. But, all I could think was ‘I might never come back here’. So, I forced myself to eat some food (1 euro fruit smoothies from La Boqueria Market are heaven) and couldn’t resist trying one of the delicious vegetarian tempura wraps.

20121106-213232.jpg
At around 2pm I finally gathered enough energy to metro to La Sagrada Familia.
Now, thankfully I was visiting during low-season, so I only waited in line for about 20 minutes. Entry: 14 euro (ouch) plus another 3 euro for the audio guide. If you’re going inside the Sagrada, spend the extra 3 euro, it’s worth it. I didn’t pay to go up in the tower (another 3 euro) because there are scheduled times and the next available was at 4pm. I wasn’t sure how long I would last so I opted out of the view.
If you like art, Gaudi, Architecture or history this is definitely a must see. If you’re like me and old buildings don’t usually excite you, I would personally save my 17 euro and just look up pictures online.
It is beautiful.
It is awe-inspiring.
It is a ‘must-see’ in Barcelona.
But, I already knew after visiting the Alhambra and the Cathedral in Seville that this sort of thing doesn’t really inspire me. But, I was told by multiple people I had to see it.
Check. It’s off my list.
Seriously–I am done visiting churches and historical buildings. It’s just not my thing. Unless of course inside a church there is a famous pastry: I’ll pay 20 euro just so I can try a new food. Food is where my priorities lye.
Anyways, here are some pictures from La Sagrada Familia.

20121106-213945.jpg

20121106-213936.jpg

20121106-214028.jpg

20121106-214049.jpg

20121106-214059.jpg

20121106-214114.jpg

20121106-214138.jpg

20121106-214152.jpg

20121106-214213.jpg

20121106-214223.jpg

20121106-214237.jpg

Have you ever been to Barcelona? What were your favourite sites or activities?

Barcelona: Catalonia Capital

Hola my friends and family! I have finally left Portugal. I’ve only been gone for a couple nights but already I know I’ll be going back! Such a beautiful country. Anyways, I took an overnight train to Madrid then a … Continue reading

Granada, Spain

After my photo-less post about the Alhambra I’m feeling like a bit of a failure. Excuse: the hostel I was staying in had mediocre wifi and there were no outlets in the rooms to plug in my phone while I slept! I woke up with less than 10% remaining on my battery for my tour of the Alhambra. I will do my best to somehow upload the photos from my camera ASAP.
These pictures are from my first night in Granada. I was sitting in the common area, fighting with my wifi connection, when a woman announced there was a free tour and I jumped at the opportunity.
So, when you do this tour, dress appropriately: closed shoes (runners or hikers) and pants/shorts. I was wearing a dress and flip-flops (it was really hot that day). After we left, the tour guide made me go back to put on proper shoes. I assumed it was because we were going to be walking up cobble-stone hills and stairs; that’s 1/2 the reason. The other half: hiking/climbing a mountain.
Seriously.
First, the beginning of the tour took us through an area called the Albayzin. It was narrow streets, sharp corners, white-wash buildings and cobble-stone stairs. There is a lot of moorish architecture here as it was a Muslim city before the Catholics took over. Vendors line the narrow streets selling ‘genie pants’ (my name for them), hashish, baked goods and jewelry, just to name a few.

20121004-180239.jpg

20121004-180250.jpg

20121004-180259.jpg

20121004-180325.jpg

20121004-180423.jpg

20121004-180403.jpg

20121004-180444.jpg
Blown away yet?
The Realejo neighborhood was next.
The picture above of the sign is for a house very typical in this area called Los Carmenes. These houses were located in a very desirable area, with views of the city and the Alhambra, so the very rich live here. They have big gardens, fantastic views, and of you look closely you will see a pomegranate tree!!
Then, we climbed. Well, first it was a moderate hike to some amazing views of Granada at sunset.

20121004-180937.jpg

20121004-180951.jpg

20121004-181000.jpg

20121004-181014.jpg
Then, we climbed with all four limbs to the top! It was awesome!! We climbed to this view:

20121004-181114.jpg
Admittedly you can access this view by taking a 2km walk up a paved path, but, why would you do that when you could climb instead?
So, tip #2, do the free evening tour in Granada!

Exploring

After the evening tour and the Alhambra I was tired. There is a lot of walking in Granada, and a lot of it is uphill. Just when you think you’ve reached the top, you turn a corner and find more stairs! Of course, this is why Granada is so beautiful. Fact: when the city was first built (behind a wall like every other ancient city in Spain of course), great consideration was given to keeping it safe. The purpose of small streets and sharp turns was to ensure that a large army could not fit all at once! Clever! Also, the small alleyways and sharp, blind turns made it difficult for enemies to find their way.
Enemies and tourists alike have a hard time maneuvering the streets of Granada. But don’t fret, there are always kind people around to give you directions, and my trick: when in doubt either go up or down. If I wanted to go back to the hostel, I would always go down the hill and if I wanted to get to a view, I would go up! Pretty simple, and it seemed to work!
So what did I find?

20121006-104029.jpg
The same view from the evening tour! Yay!! Haha it was quite amazing, even the second time, and gypsies gather in this square and play guitar, sing and sell handmade jewelry. How’s that for culture?
I also wandered into the ‘center’ of town near the cathedral. Take care in this area, as it’s busy and full of tourists, making it very easy for pick-pockets! And remember: don’t accept the branches! The women in this area, I noticed, were very aggressive!

20121006-104616.jpg

20121006-104623.jpg

20121006-104610.jpg

20121006-104632.jpg
There were plenty of cute shops selling tea and spices, as well as adorable restaurants (like the one above) tucked away in narrow alleyways. I also stumbled on an outdoor market! More moorish goodies and teas!

20121006-104645.jpg

20121006-104653.jpg
I spent the remainder of my day hiking through the Albayzin. There is the gypsy area of Sacromonte, but I didn’t wander there on my own. Partly due to being nervous by myself and also partly because I was tired of climbing! I still saw many beautiful streets though.

20121006-105555.jpg
Well, that was Granada! The hostel redeemed itself my last night. I watched the chef make real Paella and he also played beautiful Spanish guitar. Awesome!
Just a few more pictures of beautiful Granada to end the post! Three more nights and I’ll be on Lisboa, Portugal!

20121006-105607.jpg

20121006-105915.jpg
ps please disregard if there are any mistakes in this post. I’m still getting used to typing and uploading photos from my phone xo

Alhambra – A must see in Granada

Ever heard of the Alhambra? Confession: I never had. While in Seville, I tossed around the idea of visiting of Granada. I heard people talking about it, and I had seen the pictures of the picturesque white-wash buildings, but it wasn’t a must see for me.
Well, I’m going to tell you: this is a must see for you!
Now, unfortunately, my phone was dying during my official tour of the Alhambra, so all of my pictures are on my camera. I know, I failed you! But, I have a few pictures from my walking tour of the building that I will share, and when I can I will upload my pictures! For pictures of the Alhambra CLICK HERE.
IMPORTANT buy your tickets online before you get to Granada. That way you’re not waiting in a long line, and I’ve heard rumors that sometimes it’s sold out so you can’t see it. Don’t make that mistake!

20121004-175130.jpg

20121004-175216.jpg
I wish I had more photos for you! But, take my word for it: visit Granada and the Alhambra!