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

Road Trip Day Three: West to the Surf

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Check out Day One and Day Two of this amazing last-minute road trip! The last day of our trip was a bit different. We read about a beach that was hidden down a dirt-road just outside of the town Raposeira, … Continue reading

Road Trip Day Two: Picnic at Marinha

After an amazing first day (click here for that post), we woke up Thursday ready to explore Lagos and other beaches in the Algarve.
First, Mama of the Rising Cock made us an amazing crepe breakfast with her ‘magic drink’. Just say ‘tika tika tika’ and remember: “No plate, no crepe!”.

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Feeling re-charged we headed to the ‘awesome’ beach that Nick of the Gspot told us about. Of course, it was located down a very rough looking road and there were signs all over saying ‘danger’ but we were told it was a place most tourists didn’t frequent.

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Look very picturesque?
Wait for it…

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Yes, I have used instagram on some of these photos but it really was amazing!

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From there we headed one more beach over which had a cafe where we sat and enjoyed an espresso on the beach, looking at the ocean.
We made a game plan to grab some food and have a picnic at the next beach. It had been raining but the clouds were dissipating so we had high hopes. A trip to Spar and we bought ourselves a hearty lunch for only 4 euro each! Wine, meat, cheese, bread, olives, plates, cups, carrots, apples, plums and cucumber were all on the menu.
We drove about 45 minutes east and followed the signs to Marinha beach.

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At this beach we found a cave! We walked through it and at the end were crashing waves!

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We sat and ate our lunch on the steps of a cafe on the beach and chatted. Written down it doesn’t seem like something out of the ordinary, but in that moment I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
Sadly Natalie had to leave to go back to work (at the Gspot), so we drove over to Albufeira, a town another 20 minutes east from the beach.
It felt like I was in a resort in Mexico. I hated it. We all hated it. Words cannot really describe the negative energy we all felt while we were there.

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I will not tell you to not go, but I definitely will not recommend it.
Stay-tuned for Day Three: West to the Surf.

Road Trip Day One: Lagos, Portugal

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Welcome to Lagos, Portugal in the Algarve (south).
Stunning beaches, crashing waves, surfing towns and amazing scenery await.

I had talked about renting a car in Portugal well before I left for my trip, but once here it seemed a bit daunting. But, after meeting a few groups who had rented a car I realized that maybe it wouldn’t be that difficult.

I got online and reserved a small car through Europcar for about 40 euro a day. Finding people to come with me was fairly easy, and the next day four of us started our amazing journey.

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Alan, me, Natalie and Jochen; an Australian, a Canadian, a Londoner and a German.

We got ourselves a tiny Fiat Panda. The horsepower in this baby was…non-existent. But, that was okay since I didn’t really have to worry about my speed when passing cops since the car could barely make it to 130 KM/H (speed limit is 120).

We drove right down to Lagos since we wanted to see the sunset from a viewpoint Nick (Gspot hostel owner) recommended to us. It was only a 3 hour drive down on the A22–but be aware there are tolls to pay!

We got to Lagos and checked-in to the Rising Cock hostel and took a walk to the lighthouse.

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We took this teeny-tiny path to walk out onto the cliffs and were pleasantly surprised with an amazing view. And, we made it just in time for the sunset.

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We sat on the cliffs, drinking wine and chatting and it was in this moment that I realized this was a memory I was going to cherish forever. That time I took a road trip with 3 strangers to the coast of Portugal and sat on the cliffs during sunset with a few bottles of wine.

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Next we headed to the famous Nah Nah Bah.
It has been voted as one of the top 50 Burger Joints in the world!
The most famous is the Toucan Burger which a few of my fellow travel mates ordered, while Alan ordered the Luis Figos Wet Dream chicken burger and I ordered the Veg burger topped like the Blue Ball Buster.

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Oh yeah! We also ordered a starter of Nachos which were amazing (I haven’t had any since in Europe). Jochen ordered their famous drink, the Bottom Line.

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Needless to say we were extremely full after dinner and quickly fell asleep at the hostel. Stay-tuned for Day Two: Picnic at Marinha.

Beach day at Cascais, Portugal

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So, because the Gspot is awesome, and provides very detailed instructions of how to get to the beach!
It was easy, and only cost me 2.25 euro for a roundtrip from Lisbon to Cascais, and took only about an hour!

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This was my first sight of Cascais. Beautiful, colourful shops and restaurants, cobblestone streets and the hot sun.

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It was the perfect day for the beach. Not too hot, lots of sun, and plenty of people visiting during their Saturday off. Be prepared: it is extremely touristy! This isn’t a bad thing, but don’t expect a remote-unknown local beach.

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The streets were full of photo-opportunities-flowers donned the sides of all the houses, the roads were tiny, and every few steps I would pass an alleyway that offered breathtaking views of the ocean.
AWESOME!

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So, what’s in Cascais besides a beach and tourist shops?
Beautiful scenery and cliffs! Most notable is the Boca do Inferno. Honestly, I had no idea this existed but I found myself walking for about 20 minutes down a pathway with a lot of people. A lot of people=something awesome to look at!

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So beautiful! Then I headed back into town, taking pictures of awesome restaurants and boats in the bay.

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I spent the rest of my day taking pictures, sleeping on the beach, reading and eating over-priced gelato. All-in-all it was a fantastic day.

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And just a beautiful graffiti picture to finish this post off:

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Cadiz, Spain

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I’ve been in Seville now for a week, and the longer I stay the less I want to leave. You can see the sites within 3 days, but there is so much more in Seville to experience. Because of the amount of expats living in the city there is a feeling of ‘home’ here, even as a traveler just passing through.
I decided to explore Cadiz, a port city 1 hour 45 SW from Seville.
You can take the bus from Prado de San Sebastian every-other-hour. There was a 9am that I missed so I went at 11am instead.
It was a direct bus, and a costly 21 euros round trip. The bus does drop you off right at the edge of the old-Cadiz centre though.
Cadiz is the oldest, continuously inhabited, city in Europe! It is also home to the most Western tip in Spain. Christopher Columbus began his journey to the New World from the port in Cadiz. History is very rich in this small city, so history buffs should definitely take a day-trip. For that, I recommend spending the additional 18 euros for a tour–they will be able to tell you the history I am now researching myself on Wiki.
But, the scenery is beautiful. Some of the most blue ocean I’ve ever seen is just off the NW.

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I spent the afternoon wandering close to the ocean, taking pictures and just taking in the beauty. They’ve spent a lot of money on ensuring the paths are clean, the gardens neat and the parks maintained.
I saw a fountain and a ‘cave’ where you could go behind a waterfall. You’ll never guess what I found…

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Do you see it?? I was so excited!

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A dino! I could barely believe my eyes! When I went to investigate I realized I was in a children’s playground. Or, a playground specifically made for me! I’m thinking the later.

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I went to the famous Cadiz Cathedral, with it’s yellow top. I didn’t go in, however, I’m becoming tired of churches.

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As you can see, Cadiz offered some amazing scenery. However, if you are going to other coastal towns, and are not overly interested in history, skip Cadiz. I am glad I went, but I wouldn’t go again, nor suggest it to anyone. I was there for 6 hours, and I could have seen it in 3. It’s not very large, only 3 or 4 blocks from one ocean view to the other. Been to Cadiz? Do you have a different opinion? Has anyone been to Lagos? I’m thinking of going there after Granada.

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Skinny-dipping in the Irish Sea

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Intrigued?
How did I make the decision to do this? Well, I didn’t really have a choice. I have my American friends, Chris and Cree, as well as Will, to thank for this amazing memory.
Chris and Cree love adventure. I wish i had the ‘just do it’ mentality that they both have. Luckily, after a week with them, I feel like I have inherited it a little bit.
We travelled from Galway to a small town called Gorey on the bus, then walked 1.5 hours down a country road (scary!), eating wild blackberries, to Courtown. We booked a hostel that we thought was in Wexford, then realized on our way that it was actually an hour outside. What!? But, we luckily were able to get off the bus in Gorey and walk the rest of the way.
Beaches Youth Hostel is more like a bed and breakfast than a hostel. It was like a cozy cottage. We immediately walked the 5 minutes to the private beach. It was down an almost hidden sand-path, under a tunnel of bushes, and then a steep decent to the beach. It was gorgeous. The water was freezing. I had already agreed during the bus ride to go skinny dipping that night but the minute my feet were in the water I started running through excuses to not go in. The boys skipped rocks along the water and I took pictures and videos of the frolicking around.
After about 45 minutes we headed into town to grab some food from the market and then made a delicious one-pan concoction of potatoes, bell peppers, egg and cheese. The boys kindly made a vegetarian dinner so I could partake, and it was so yummy! Then we drank some strong Irish cider: it comes in 2 liter pop bottles! It was delicious. Then, as an extra blanket of warmth, we added some whiskey to the mixture.
Chris had a headlamp and we all trekked to the beah, Will leading the way, and then we striped (sorry family haha) and ran into the water!
And you know what, it wasn’t that cold. Then, we ran out, and as we were drying off we all said “again?” and ran in one more time; it was considerably colder that time.
So, when someone asks you to go skinny-dipping, don’t think about an excuse, just do it! Now I have an amazing memory and I can say: “This one time, in Ireland, I went skinny-dipping in the Irish Sea”.

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Morning Glory Variations & Beach Day via Instagram

Good-day fellow bloggers and dedicated followers! I’ve been keeping busy while in London, Ontario with my family. We spent a day at the beach, made banana bread, and baked some Morning Glory Muffins — but with some interesting add-ins! So, … Continue reading