Bem-vindo a Lagos, Portugal; a small city perched on the edge of stunning cliff faces that lead down to beautiful white sand and pristine aqua water. A hit for many European tourists throughout the summer, Lagos is the most visited city in the Algarve region, it’s not hard to see why when the narrow streets are sprinkled with cafes, restaurants, nightclubs and the coastline is home to some beautiful beaches.

Entry to old city of Lagos

We’ve arrived

Thankfully our bus on Sunday was without fuss, and for a change, without hangover. We travelled through some very scenic looking towns along the coastline and eventually arrived into Lagos - we didn’t need to deal with the hassle of crossing the border, which, was quite strange seeing as we’d arrived into a new country with a new language. Deciding to go along with our money saving tip of walking rather than taxiing it to our accommodation we dawdled across a small bridge and got lost a few times, ending up at our AirBnB. When we got to the complex, we weren’t sure which apartment it was, as the address on the booking said “T1” but they aren’t numbered like that. There was a reception, with a security guy in it, and he said he could call the person for us. When she arrived, she took us into the apartment, which was quite nice although no fans or air con. It also doesn’t have Wifi, but being without internet for a few days will probably be good for us both (we say this now… until there is nothing to do and the only form of entertainment we have is a deck of cards).

We headed back down to the marina to find some lunch, and ended up at a place that looked okay although the menu was somewhat English, and not just the written English, English food - there were options of mushy peas on some items. We didn’t realise just how English it was until we went in, and all of the staff were English, some speaking no Portuguese at all. Apparently there are lots of English tourists here, and it’s the first place James isn’t excessively white compared to everyone else. We both ordered a random assortment of seafood things with a pile of chips on the side, both our sets of chips were obviously cooked for the same length of time, which would have been great except Dee had thin crinkle cut chips and James think chunky chips, so James’ were very undercooked. The “feijoa” with James’ dish was also not the Portuguese/Brasilian beans he was hoping for, but English baked beans he doesn’t like. (Picky, right? Hahaha)

Lane of shops

Finishing our very late lunch we wandered back home via the supermarket and got a few bits and pieces for the next couple of days, including some barbecued chicken (please don’t laugh, it’s been a while since we’ve been able to get a good bbq chook from the supermarket). Mind you the getting of the chook took about twenty minutes due to the two guys in front of us who were getting five chickens each, and then another five for their mate, and then the other mate who came to join them. The lovely ladies at the counter cut the chooks up for you (because doing this at home is too hard? I don’t know why), it took a while nonetheless. The lady behind the deli desk chucked a few sauce packets into the bag for us, which turned out to be Piri Piri (hooray for spicy!!!!), and there’s our dinner folks, Portuguese barbecue chicken… we’d bought some healthy things to go with it but we pretty much just had chicken and passed out, it was a bloody long day!


What is there to see? Other than early morning coffee?

We were thinking of going to have breakfast down by the beach, but we both were still recovering from the diseases we’d caught from La Tomatina (yes… still), and slept in a bit so decided to give it a miss. Instead we wandered into town, across the bridge and the people yelling at us to go onto their kayak/snorkel/fishing/booze tour to try and find some coffee.


Walking down the esplanade next to the river/canal/marina we walked past the municipal market and as always, had to take a look. It was very quiet today since it was a Monday, there are no just-caught fish because Mondays are the fishermen’s day off, and the vegetable section was quiet. There were a lot of spiced and drying chillies there though, don’t worry they make a reappearance later in the week. After the market we wandered through the streets, then along to one of the cliff faces to take in a little fresh air, a beer and some of the stunning view:

Beach view

We also saw lots of buildings, some umm transport tuk-tuks (a tuk-truck?) And a giant hook.

Tuk Truk

For lunch, we went to Nah Nah Bah, who, apparently had an award for one of the world’s top 50 burgers. It also has free WiFi! James got their “famous” burger, which was very good, although slippery. It had lettuce-sauce-pineapple-sauce-burger-sauce-lettuce, and being about 10cm tall, it was hard to eat and the middle slid out half way through. Dee decided to go the healthy option of a salad… it wasn’t good enough to warrant a food photo.


Dee was keen to go fishing, and that afternoon we started hunting around for a trip. There are plenty of sight-seeing tours, and kayaking, but few fishing trips. One company said they should have a trip at 3pm but would need to contact the captain, so we dropped into the Lighthouse café/bar for a drink. Coming down later, they said they had talked to the captain, and he was out all day on a big game fishing charter so wouldn’t do the afternoon fishing run. Noone else had a trip that day, but we eventually found one, which had one at 3pm the following day for a reasonable price.

Oh no, it’s rain :(

We decided to set our alarm nice and early so that we could go and see the sunrise at the beach, apparently in Lagos it is a stunning sight, and one that both of us were looking forward to. However, the early morning alarm and our enthusiasm was met with a downpour of rain and a lot of clouds. We instead decided to head out and explore some of the historical side of Lagos, starting at Mercado de Escravos (‘Market of the Slaves). The market building was constructed in 1444 and was Europe’s first slave market… it was a very interesting, yet sobering experience. Worth a wander through if you’re in the area and it was only three euro for both of us to visit.

Portuguese settlement map

In the slave museum

After the slave market museum we wandered further around the water edge to the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira, a 17th Century Forte perched on the end Bensafrim River and the sea. This amazing but small building was originally used to guard Lagos from attack and then later as a service depot for the military. It is now a museum dedicated to Portuguese discoveries and has an absolutely stunning panoramic view from the top. The visit here was also only three euro for both of us, and if nothing else, worth the money for the view.

View from the fort

Dee at the fort

Thankfully the rain and clouds had cleared up by the time we’d gotten to the fortress, although, James hadn’t put any sunscreen on so was likely to get the back of his fingers burnt again. We were getting a little hot and bothered so we headed back into town for a cold drink. On our way around before lunch, we found a place for James to get a hair cut (finally), which was quite successful given he speaks almost no Portuguese and the barber didn’t speak English. After a quick beer in the café outside, we headed back to the apartment to get ready for our fishing trip, via the LightHouse café for some lunch. James’ nachos were huge, and Dee’s salad and pate was delicious.


Down at the dock, we only had to wait a few minutes for our boat to turn up. It was a nice new boat, and we boarded and waited for a few minutes for the others that would have been coming along. The skipper then said he had a call from the other group of five who were going to come, and a few were sick so they cancelled. That meant we had the whole boat to ourselves, just the two of us and our boat crew, Lude (pronounced “luz”) and Mario.

Fishing boat

Passing the grottos near the heads

We headed out past the heads and out into deeper water. When we dropped anchor the skipper said that we were in 39m of water. The afternoon was spent on the water, catching lots of fish, having a few beers and attempting to Portuguese our Spanish enough to speak to our boat crew (although they spoke English too). It was bliss…

Lude and Mario

James catching fish

Dee catching fish

The ride back in was a bit rougher, and a lot cooler. Arriving at the dock, the guys started putting all the fish into a bag, the ones we caught and the ones they did too. We didn’t think we needed that many fish, but they insisted we take them. When we got back to our unit it was getting a bit late to cook the fish on the barbecue, as it was 30 minutes away from sunset when we got off the dock, and the light outside didn’t work. We also need to gut and scale them too. Dee started on that while James went to the supermarket to grab more supplies, and then James joined the scaling once back. Cooking them up in a pan on the stove got underway, with only one small saucepan (barely large enough for the biggest fish), only olive oil and butter. They were delicious with lemon and salad.

Fish dinner

All of the fish…

Up early again for sunrise, and greeted again with clouds and showery rain, we stayed in, made coffee and had fish for breakfast! Today was going to be a good day, since we were booked onto a three hour “booze cruise” run by one of the local hostels called Rising Cock. It included lunch but since it was supposed to leave at 1pm, we thought we should have a bite to eat before hand to soak up all the free beer and sangria. So in the morning we headed back into the centre of town to grab a coffee, and take another quick look at the area, before heading towards the dock. We arrived at 12:40 and couldn’t see anything that looked like a 70 foot yacht, but maybe they were just on their way in or potentially we had the time confused and it was supposed to leave at 2pm.

Around 1:10 we figured that it couldn’t have been a 1pm departure, so went back to the Lighthouse with their free Wifi, to try to figure out what time it left. Unfortunately the website is not at all helpful and just lists the days and not the times, but the website Dee found it via did say 1pm and confirmed we had been in the correct dock area. We quickly sent an email to the address on the website, which got returned as undeliverable, so we send a second one to the hostel information address. Since we were getting a bit hungry we ordered some hummus and flatbread to eat, while keeping an eye out for any large yachts going near the dock. By 2pm there was still no sign of a boat that size, and we had no reply to the email, so we got some more lunch and headed home for the evening, unfortunately no cruise but we did have booze, and a lot more fish, so all was good! Even better, the AirBnB had a charcoal barbecue.

Charcoal barbecue

Sunshine and beach days

Managing a little bit of a sleep in Thursday morning after our previous failed attempts at watching the sunrise, we headed down to finally experience the beaches of the Algave coast. We walked along the road past the really close ones, which were already packed despite being early (for Europe) in the morning. Along the way we stopped for a quick beer or two at a café on the top of a cliff above a grotto. Dee took advantage of the free WiFi to talk to Ruth, and show her the beautiful sights to make her envious.

Grottos from the cliffs


Continuing along the road, we got a bit confused which way we were supposed to go since it lead to a hotel, but there seemed to be several people heading to the beach this way, so we followed them down the side of the hotel car park, and down the stairs to the beach. Just before we got to the wooden boardwalk (which is a great idea, Australian beached should do that) there was a restaurant where we stopped in for lunch. A pork steak with salad and chips for James, and a pork steak sandwich and salad for Dee - the pork was cooked perfectly, and the chips were great unlike the ones at the fish and chip place the other day. We’re struggling a bit with the change of language, and keep saying “gracias” without thought rather than “obrigado/a”.


Walking down the steps to the beach, we saw how packed it was - it’s the most popular beach in the area. Around 200m long between a rock cliff and a rock barrier, there were lots of people spread across the whole area, a collection of umbrellas and lounge chairs for hire, a handful of girls bathing topless, and many more quite red people (probably from England). The sand was nice enough although full of shells, but the water was very cold. Since we’re close to the mouth of the Mediterranean joining the Atlantic ocean, it’s not that hot, probably around 18 degrees, and much too cold for Dee, with James only going waist deep for 45 seconds.

After lounging in the sun (or shade for James) for a few hours, we started the journey back home via a dirt path that walked along the cliff edge, to get a few photos of the amazing scenery. The coastline here is stunning, and definitely worth a visit - we can see why all the English people come over here for summer holidays.

View from the cliffs

Dee jumping on the cliffs

James sitting on the cliffs

For dinner, we had fish again (surprise!), where Dee made up some delicious herb butter to put on top of the fish with garlic and chilli, before being wrapped in foil for James to barbecue over coals, served with salad and barbecued chilli zucchini rounds. One could say we had a nice chilled out day… topped off with a little wine!

No buses today!

Friday rolled around and it was time for us to get our things together for the next stop of our adventure. We got ourselves packed up in the morning, had the last of our fish for breakfast and then headed to the train in the afternoon. This was our first long-distance passenger train, only having caught the Aguas Caliente to Ollantaytambo train in Peru back from Maccu Picchu. Next stop: LISBON!

Go see all the photos from Lagos

¡Beinvenidos en Seville! A city over 2200 years old, home to one of the world’s largest Gothic style cathedrals and built on the side of the Guadalquivir River, we were armed with backpacks and ready to explore!

No hostels this time around!

In the last six months we’ve spent quite a large amount of time living in hostels; some have been fantastic, others not so much. For Seville we’d searched for hostels, however they were all rather expensive, or full; instead, we’d opted for an AirBnB - we were going to have an entire apartment to ourselves!

We’d got ourselves from the bus station to our apartment then we needed to wait an hour or so, on the side of the road for the owner to show up. Not having data on our phones hasn’t been too problematic on the way around as most places have free wifi in big public areas (parks etc.), though situations like today’s were an exception where some data would have been really useful! We were eventually able to get hold of the owners and settled ourselves in for a quiet night, both of us were starting to get very sick - a combination of 120 000 tonne of tomatoes, little sleep and moving around frequently was starting to take it’s toll on us. Our AirBnB hosts were wonderful, when we’d settled they showed us around, gave us a bus card and showed us where to catch it to and from, and took us to the supermarket to grab a few things… We were set, and well and truly ready to go to bed!

Oh the sickness…

Friends and family, it’s best you start writing obituaries for us. Sick is an understatement. So much so, that on Tuesday we made it as far as the supermarket to get food for the night and then spent the rest of the day resting. I’m not sure what disease it is that we’d succumbed to but there were multiple infections going on and we needed a break. We did however cook a delicious dinner of grilled calamari, mussels in garlic tomato sauce and some prawns with a sneaky glass of wine thrown in.

Apartment dinner

Walking, and walking, and walking

OK, so we may have over-exaggerated the extent of our illnesses, but that’s not to say we weren’t unwell. Dee’s ears were blocked, probably with some left-over tomato and James had very little sleep. We were not the happiest of chappies together but we were going to make it through Seville alive. We decided that getting a little bit of sunshine and fresh air would probably do us some good so we caught the bus in toward the historic centre and explore a little bit. On top of the fever sweats we were both experiencing, and a severe lack of coffee, we navigated ourselves toward the parliament - this was fine in theory except that the offline Google maps hadn’t located us properly and sent us on a wild goose chase around Seville. With this, add in a little of Dee’s Female Map Disorder and James’ unwillingness to ever ask anyone EVER for directions, we were having a great morning.

Hours later, and finally with our picture in front of the parliament we were back on speaking terms and went to explore a little more. By this point we’d walked a good ten kilometres and were hungry for some lunch. We had read about a really cute little place called Kababi who were supposed to have phenominal food; again, armed with Google maps we walked another who knows how long only to find out that the restaurant no longer exists. We paced the same street ten times to try and find it, instead we ended up at another restaurant for some very unreasonably priced but delicious tapas of fish, morcilla and spring rolls.

In front of parliament

Tapas lunch

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring a few of the little parks in the area, no longer relying on Google Maps as it was likely to lead to us getting a divorce. We then found our bus stop and headed back to our apartment for some delicious roast chicken and a few games of cards. It’s difficult to keep a good track of time here, not that it’s necessary when you don’t have anywhere to be, however the sun doesn’t set until nearly 10:00pm so the body clock is a little out of whack.

Another day, another palace!

After booking online, and then hunting around for somewhere to print out our tickets, Thursday was the day to go and visit the Alcazar, which we had been told was definitely worth seeing. The Alcazar is a royal palace that has been built in various stages by different people - parts of it are from the 13th century but most of it is newer. Some sections are still used by the Spanish royal family when they are in Seville, making it the oldest royal palace that is still being used today.

Outside of the Alcazar



When we got there, the line to go inside was huge, almost 100m long, but luckily there was a second line (with no-one in it) for people who had online tickets. On the way in, we were reminded that we needed to be at the entrance to the high floor 15 minutes before the time shown on our tickets - access to that part is tightly controlled, just like the Nazrid palace at the Alhambra. The palace itself is beautiful, there are lots of rooms and courtyards, as well as a massive sitting garden behind it, unfortunately we couldn’t take any photos inside the living quarters of the Alcázar and weren’t able to take in our cameras. In saying that, what we could take photos of were stunning: mosaic tiled walls, intricate carvings and archways filled with beautiful colours. In total we’d spent around three hours looking through the palace and admiring the Moorish architecture; we could easily have spent the whole day there looking around.

Dee on steps

Tiles depicting station of the cross

James in front of the fountain

After spending majority of the day getting to and looking inside the palace we stopped in for a quick lunch before wandering through the streets around the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See. The Seville Cathedral is the third largest church in the world and was completed in the early 16th Century. The cathedral was built to exhibit Seville’s wealth, which with an area of over 11 500 square metres wasn’t hard to do. The most impressive part of the cathedral is it’s 105 metre tall bell tower which was originally the minaret before the Reconquista when the Christians seized the building. Many people have been buried inside the cathedral (as you do?), the most notable is Christopher Columbus… and there was a bunch of random facts for you.


Inside the cathedral

A day at Plaza España

It has been quite interesting coming from South America into Spain, the similarities are astounding, however the Moorish influence in Spain is evident in nearly every building we’ve seen. One of Seville’s more prominent sites to visit behind the Alcázar is Plaza de España, a huge semi-circle of buildings, accessible via a moat that was built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Surrounded by a beautiful inner-city garden and representative of the four ancient kingdoms of Spain, the buildings of the plaza are decorated with mosaic tiles and alcoves - each with the crest of every province in Spain. The photos really don’t give a fair indication of just how big this area is, and how beautiful the designs are… you really should visit it!

Part of Plaza España

Alcove of Cordoba

Dee on a bridge

After spending a few hours walking around the plaza and through the gardens we made our way to the Torre del Oro and naval museum. The inside of the building isn’t particularly exciting; it has a small amount of naval history written mostly in Spanish along with some exhibits. The building itself on the other hand was quite interesting to see. The ‘Tower of Gold’ was originally built as a watchtower early in the 13th Century and through the years has served as a prison, and then eventually turned into a maritime museum.

Tower of Gold

View from the top

Inside the museum

More foods!

It’s been quite exciting to be able to have our own kitchen in our apartment, we don’t have to share with anyone and we can cook whenever we want without having to clean everything the second it’s been used. While in Seville we’ve had a fair attempt at trying to make our own dinners with limited supplies to try and save a little money… we’ve managed to have meat and cheese platters, Caesar salads with smoked pork, stuffed mushrooms and chicken mushroom stir-fry… one could say that we are doing ok with meals while backpacking, we are yet to have two minute noodles! We’ve also been fortunate enough to find very good wine at the supermarket for less than $5, cheap and easy date nights at home have been good :)


Though we’d been cooking a lot for ourselves we also had to try some of the local delicacies on our way around. For Saturday’s round of investigating Seville we wound up with some of the most delicious churros we’d ever eaten at this giant sunshade thing, also known as Metropol Parasol. This piece of ummm art (?) in the old quarter is the largest wooden structure in the world with dimensions of 150x70 metres and standing at a varying height of around 26 metres. At a blowout cost of 100 million Euros it’s not difficult to see why it caused a little controversy with the locals who’ve funnily enough nicknamed it ‘Incarnation’s Mushrooms). Though the structure isn’t the most attractive of public art the churros stall off the side was definitely worth the visit to, for less than 3 euros you get a plate of freshly made churros, delicious chocolate and a good cup of coffee (or in Dee’s case a nice glass of wine). Treat yo’self!

James and churros


We spent much of the afternoon getting lost in the narrow streets and numerous plazas around the area, taking it all in. Some of the alleys have little hidey-hole coffee shops and restaurants, others house rubbish bins or shops, if you’re looking for something specific having a map wouldn’t be a bad idea. In one of the narrow alleys we stumbled across a fairly decent looking restaurant whose barbecue smells wafted down the street, luring us straight in. We settled in for some more wine, some barbecued shellfish and a steak skewer that hung in the air… Food for the win! (or wine as autocorrect has recommended).

Food on a skewer

Travel days…

It’s safe to say that we have been loving Spain so far, although both of us have been quite unwell with the tomato disease, the food and wine have been making up for it. Unfortunately it was time to leave Spain on Sunday and move onto Portugal, you’d be surprised to know that we were sans hangover and managed to pack for our bus to Lagos!

Go see all the photos from Seville

Welcome to Granada, Spain. If there is anywhere in the world that does tapas well, it’s Granada. It also has it’s own eclectic flair on Moorish architecture, an Andalusian style charm that is like no other coupled with a hit of some of the best tapas available in Spain. Yes, we’ve hit the jackpot!

Bussing it to the bus

When we last wrote, both of us were suffering some of the worst sleep deprivation/hangover days we’d ever encountered. One should note, after three days of partying it would be wise to stay an extra night to recover before embarking on an eight-hour journey to another city. Of course, this wasn’t what we’d decided to do, so with tomatoes still in parts of our ears and armed with our backpacks we skipped “merrily” off to our long-haul bus, then onto one of the public buses and then eventually navigated our way to the hostel. We settled in, we ate food and went to bed; this was not the day to be trying weird, wonderful and new foods. It would be remiss of me to mention here that neither of us cope particularly well with tiredness or being hung over… it was a tedious and difficult day that we both hope never to relive. Ever.

Recovery day two

I’m not sure whether to be ashamed or proud of our stealth through the last week, however our high was coming to an end. Neither of us slept well, and Dee was starting to get sick - this was going to be an extraordinarily challenging time for James in the trip. We kept Friday fairly quiet, although our hostel had offered us many suggestions of tango lessons, bars and live music relatively close to us. We spent much of the day admiring the architecture in the area around our hostel and visiting a few stores. We stumbled across a market on the way around that had an amazing selection of gourmet meats, cheeses and beers; though we stuck to a small amount of alcohol today - things weren’t looking so happy for either of us, or our tummies.

Moorish architecture

Prawns at markets

Our hostel was off one of the many small plazas in the Bib Rambla district, an area well-known for it’s narrow streets, packed with restaurants and bars that scream for the tourists to come and spend all their money. We were very thankful for the air-conditioning in our room, a little less thankful for the three very narrow flights of stairs we needed to carry our backpacks up. At the end of our first full day we decided to duck out into one of the small tourist bars for some tapas (our replacement for the evening’s dinner) and a few wines. Wine helps sickness, right?


A little bit of culture

Though Granada is known for excellent tapas, and Spain in general for it’s fantastic wines, we have taken time to do things other than drink and enjoy delicious food.

For Saturday’s expedition, we bought ourselves passes to see the Alhambra, originally a small fortress that was turned into a royal palace overlooking Granada, built by the Moors. The tickets for the site are a bit confusing in regards to time - you can buy one for morning (10-2), afternoon (2-8pm) or evening (8 to 10/11), and there is a very specific time for seeing the Nazrid palace.

We had afternoon tickets with the Nazrid Palace at 2pm. After the walk up the hill, we had arrived at the site at 1pm, so thought we would go look at another part called the Alcazaba before the palace, but we were not allowed to since our tickets started at 2. So we unfortunately had to sit around and have a beer.

Dee in archway

James in keyhole doorway


When we purchased tickets, they said to go line up 30 minutes before the time, so we did, and that was definitely a good idea. We got there just before they opened the 1:30 session, and once everyone in the line with 1:30 tickets were in (around 1:40) it was closed. If you turned up 15 minutes late like some people did, too bad you have just wasted your money.

Once 2pm rocked around we were allowed to enter the palace, and asked not to touch the tiles on the walls since they are fragile and oil from your hands can damage them. They have some replicas you can feel if you want, which is a great idea.

The Nazrid palace was built by the Moors, and the first records at at the time of the fifth king of the dynasty in the 14th century. It has been extended over the years, especially by Charles V after the Christans re-conquered the area. The palace is quite beautiful, with many geometric designs and lots of colour.

Arches and pillars


Islamic art

Fruit trees

After the Nazrid palace, we arrived at the Partal gardens, and walked part of the way the Generalife, however Dee wasn’t feeling well so she went home for some rest.


James headed to the Alcazaba (walled city) to see the fort section and the towers, which had good views of the city. It was very hot walking around in the sun, if you go you should definitely bring a hat and sunscreen!

View over part of the city

Rooms in the old fort

After seeing the fort, there was the Palacio de Carlos V, which on the inside looks like a bull ring. Unfortunately he arrived at 3:35pm and the museum it houses closed at 3:30pm this time of year, so the next stop would be the Generalife - almost 1km walk away.

The Palacio de Generalife was the summer palace of the old kings, and it has been reconstructed. There is debate how authentic the reconstruction is, but the gardens are nice nonetheless. After the long walk marked by signs, the entrance was no-where to be found. There was an exit with a “no passing” sign, with a large number of people ignoring it and crossing, so James went in via that passage was well. There were lots of fruit trees, hedges, and grape vines crawling along the inner courtyard roof.

If you are ever in Granada, make sure you visit the Alhambra and Nazrid palace. Our photos do not do it justice, it is an amazing sight.

Water feature

Archways through the garden

Going back down to the city is a pleasant (albeit long) walk, with lots of trees and fountains. I took a quick detour through the edge of the old Moorish quarter, and then headed back to the hostel. We went and had a beer at the tapas place right next to our hostel, which was very nice with large delicious tapas (slow to arrive, but there was one staff member making them fresh), and we ended up at a restaurant a few blocks away for dinner.

Stunning views of beautiful Granada

Like other parts of Spain, Granada has some fairly spectacular architecture, however its buildings are adorned with Moorish style sculptures with big arched doorways, typical of Almohad influenced architecture. We had decided on Sunday morning that we were going to walk through the suburb of Albayzin, to the San Nicholas lookout point. Albayzin is Granada’s ancient Moorish quarter and is one of the oldest centres of Muslim cultures in Granada. No-one is sure when it was first settled, but it was abandoned when the romans left until being re-established in 1013 (so quite a long time).

The view from the San Nicholas square behind Albayzin is just stunning, though you can see Granada from the top of the Alhambra, you get a completely different perspective from San Nicholas… when you’ve got some time to spare it is definitely worth the walk up the hill.

Narrow street

City panorama

Deciding that we wanted to go to on of the local Moroccan places for dinner rather than lunch, we stopped off in a place for a few drinks and tapas (surprise!). Early afternoon was spent having a look at the other side of the city we hadn’t walked to, Dee still wasn’t feeling very well due to whatever disease she’d caught at La Tomatina so she stayed at the hostel while James went and got a massage in the late afternoon. That evening we stopped off at another place for a drink or two (with more tapas) before heading to Arrayanes for dinner. We had a mixed entrée plate to share (with some delicious hummus and babaganoush, followed by a lamb and prune tajine. Dee had some mint lemonade and James had hot mint tea (much better than peppermint in my honest opinion).

Impressive church

Tajine for dinner

Leaving another beautiful city

Spain really hasn’t disappointed so far with its stunning buildings, cobbled paths and winding narrow streets. We weren’t quite ready to leave Granada when we did, there were still lots of things to see and experience, however time was short and we had to keep moving. We spent Monday morning packing and getting ourselves ready for our next destination: Seville.

Sun behind tower

Go see all the photos from Grenada

Here we are in Valencia, the home to the Spaniards signature dish, Paella, Europe’s largest urban park and some fairly distinguishable buildings… oh yes, and the start of our journey to the Festival of the Tomatoes.

So… much… heat!

After a four-hour bus ride from Barcelona, the Livingstons had arrived in Valencia. We are coming to realise that the money we are spending on things like taxis could very easily be paying for extra beers and good food, so this time around we decided to skip out on the taxi and walk. This was an excellent idea in theory, our hostel was less than a kilometre from the bus station, the only thing standing in our way was the biggest urban park in Europe and the 30 degree Celsius temperature, coupled with 67% humidity. We started walking past another round of screaming taxi men and onward to the park; there were no stairs on the other side so we wandered around the park for twenty minutes trying to get back out, then eventually to our hostel. Sweaty is the understatement of the year…

Dee "enjoying" the walk

Better find something to drink

It took us forever to check-in to our hostel; the lady in front of us didn’t speak any Spanish, or English, and didn’t have a reservation. Though we are no longer in South America, it is becoming extremely obvious where they’d picked up their idea of timeframes from… we are now running on Spanish time. There was a mix-up in the reservation and we didn’t get the room we were supposed to, however, the room we did get was amazing. We didn’t have a double bed, but what we did have was a couch, air-conditioning, black-out blinds and a private bathroom with hot water, clean towels and even some complimentary soap! The air-conditioning was bliss!

Crazily good hostel room

Settling in and having a quick shower to rinse off the gross amount of sweat we’d produced we were ready to find some food. Not ones to stray from a good feed we wandered through the streets behind the Towers of Serrans; these were built in 1392 and were the gates used by kings to enter into the walled city. Hiding in here there are tonnes of places to choose for food, you’ve really got to know what you want to eat… a difficult task when neither of us were up for decision making. We eventually settled on a cider bar hidden in one of the dark alleyways and promptly ordered a plate of cured horse and deer meats to go with the bar’s homemade cider. The horse was interesting, it had a very strong gamey taste and very rich iron taste, the deer was good but we’re not too sure whether we’d go back for seconds of those two meats. We followed the meats up with a Valencian tomato and tuna salad (we were expecting a little more than sliced tomato and tinned tuna hahaha) and finished off with some fried pardon peppers and limitless amounts of bread. After getting an extremely healthy dose of carbs, it was time to roll ourselves back up the street and into bed; we were stuffed!

Cured horse and deer meat

Simple tomato and tuna dish

Pouring the cider from on high

Mingling with the locals

Luckily where we had chosen to stay was an extremely convenient walk to the local markets. We set off Friday morning after breakfast to go and find out how the locals roll. Not sure whether to expect a bombardment of foreign made souvenirs or food we braced ourselves for the first, hoping for the latter. We had success! We were met with stalls upon stalls of fresh produce, wines, seafood and lots of gourmet foods… It would be safe to say we’d stumbled across a little slice of heaven! The Mercado Central building was purpose-built and opened in 1928, the high arches and domes are some of its standout features, along with the two weather vanes of a parrot and a fish.

Seafood at the market

We found ourselves a couple of gourmet treats and a little bottle of wine, then headed down to Turia Park for a romantic little picnic. After a devastating flood in 1957 the government diverted the Turia River and enlisted an architect to redesign the now dry 120 hectare, 11 kilometre long riverbed into something usable. The result is a park is split into twelve sections with Spanish plants, wildlife, playgrounds and walking tracks amongst many other things. A few hours later, a few games of cards and a couple of glasses of wine, we wandered around the old town for a while then retired back to the hostel for a quiet night in watching a little bit of Heston Blumenthal and his crazy antics.

Picnic in the park

Buildings and buildings, the metro and more buildings

Although we have been enjoying quite a fair amount of rich food and wines, we have been making a conscious effort in our travels to see a little more than the amazing produce the rest of the world has on offer. Saturday morning we decided to head into one of Valencia’s many plazas and see some of the stunning architecture scattered around the city; not before walking past a window with some errr interesting shorts - sequins anyone?

Shorts with sequins

On our wanderings we managed to stumble across the Corts Valencianes and got our photo in front of the parliament, then continued on through the narrow streets until we got to the cathedral. The Iglesia Catedral-Basílica Metropolitana de la Asunción de Nuestra Señora de Valencia is built in a Gothic style and was consecrated over 750 years ago - it’s old. It’s mostly notable because it is home to what is believed to be “the Holy Grail”, i.e. the cup that Jesus drank out of at the last supper. It is arguable as to whether this is true or not, unfortunately we weren’t able to go inside the cathedral while we were there so we didn’t get to see the cup.


Here are some more buildings we came across on the way around:


Dee in front of archway


Bull Ring

After walking for a few hours, and stopping for some cold drinks along the way (yes, it might have been beer or wine), we headed back to Mercardo Central to see what food we could collect for dinner. Surprisingly there was a stall in the market selling oodles of different types of seaweed (the expensive type that you get in predominantly Japanese restaurants), and had a fair collection of truffle mushrooms. We were surprised to see that he had Samphire, a type of seaweed that grows rampant in Australia but easily confused with another not so nice tasting weed; the Samphire was only 2.50 Euro! We bought some to pop in with our zucchini spiral, tuna, tomato and white wine pasta for the evening… Some of the wine even made it into the pasta sauce.

Delicious foods

More Exploring

Valencia on a Sunday is rings with church bells, they echo through the city from around 5:40am up until 9:00am, we woke up to the first set… Not wanting to waste the day we got ourselves out of bed and ready to face some more of the beautiful Valencian sunshine. Today’s adventure was heading to the other end of massive riverbed park to the City of Arts and Sciences. The area is filled with spectacular buildings that are home to museums, the opera house, a science centre and a landscape park - just to name a few. The structures are impressive and definitely worth the time to walk around and admire the modern architecture.

Building at City of Arts and Sciences

More things there

We spent a few hours looking at the area and being tourists before heading back in toward the centre of town to find ourselves a cheap clothing store. In the coming days we were going to be part of a fairly massive festival and needed to find ourselves some cheap shoes that we could throw away, and some white shirts. H&M came to the rescue!

Lunch like a Valencian

Paella is what many Spaniards would consider to be their national dish; it originates from the mid 19th century from the Albufera region. For those not familiar with paella, it is rice cooked in a large flat pan, filled with aromatics and meats. The traditional paella is ‘Paella Valenciana’, which is filled with vegetables, chicken and rabbit, although the seafood version is very common elsewhere. Sundays are the day to eat paella in Valencia (although pretty much everywhere has it available during the week), so we ventured to find ourselves a decent little joint to see what the fuss was about. Unfortunately the place that came highly recommended to us was closed for holidays, so we found another little restaurant close by that had Paella Valenciana as their special for the day. The couple of kilometre trek was definitely worth it for the delicious chicken, rabbit and duck paella we devoured, along with some sides of clams, anchovies and mussels… there may have been some wine too…


Waddling home with our food babies we were ready for a little afternoon siesta - no wonder the Spaniards shut up shop in the afternoons. The timing of closure isn’t consistent across any of the cities, though, we know siesta will occur sometime between midday and five, and last at least two hours. It was our turn for siesta!

On the move

After wallowing in our food comas Monday evening we struggled to get ourselves out of bed and packed on Tuesday. Thankfully we didn’t have to go too far, only to the other side of the city near the beach to start our three-day party with Festivals All Around. We packed, headed off to the metro and wound up at a university residential college and then down to the beach for a few hours. We returned a little later then checked-in and went down to meet all of the other festivalgoers at 7:30pm to find out our itinerary for the next few days. Welcome my friends, to La Tomatina… three days of sun, fun and far, far, far too much sangria.

After meeting up with the crew we headed off to dinner at 100 Monteditos, which is a cool place that you can pretty much order any tapas you want for 2 euros, and beers for some ridiculously cheap price. We were well on our way to being tanked before heading to a bar for an hour (with some interesting wall art), and later to a foam party. James wasn’t feeling so well so skipped the foam party and headed home around midnight; but Dee, forever the party animal rolled on in around 4:30am… things were a little messy.

Erotic wall art in the bar

City tours! Or not…

Part of our tour with Festivals All Around included a walking tour of Valencia; we’ve quite enjoyed a lot of the walking tours we’ve been on - they are a nice way to learn about the cities we’ve visited and see some pretty impressive buildings. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t wake up until 11am, the walking tour started at 10:30… fail! We also missed breakfast and were both feeling pretty “special”. We didn’t really do much for the middle of the day except wallow in our fairly terrible hangovers, whoever felt that shots were a good idea were not either of our friends this particular Tuesday.

How to recover from a hangover

Usually if one has a fairly terrible hangover, one should drink lots of water, stay out of the sun and eat nutritious food to help the body rejuvenate itself. Ummm Yup, right, so we got a little bit of water in, some fairly average cafeteria food that involved lots of carbs and bad fats, and then finally down to a party at the beach for the afternoon for buckets of sangria. We hungovered well…

Beach party

The beach party involved lots, and lots, and lots of sangria. We aren’t talking the fancy stuff here, we are talking about 1 Euro boxes that have something that could loosely be called sangria in them… don’t get us wrong, it was delicious but filled with hangovers. I’m not entirely sure what the responsible service of alcohol situation is like in Spain, but just to be sure people were being responsible the sangria was coupled with some biccies and there was water available, in the ocean.

An afternoon on the beach wouldn’t be complete without games. There was volleyball (which we are both pretty terrible at), and Beer Pong, which we were to discover later that we are also both pretty terrible at. We’d never played Beer Pong before, and in this instance we didn’t have beer, instead, it was sangria pong. We were solidly beaten by two Americans and had to drink a lot of sangria. Note to self, one should learn how to throw ping-pong balls into a cup before attempting to play with seasoned Beer Pongers.

Dee playing beer pong

Us drinking during beer pong

After drinking our weight in sangria it was time to bid the beach farewell. The following day was going to be huge!

Tomatoes. All. Of. The. Tomatoes.

At a beautiful time of 5:30am it was up and at ‘em. Still remarkably hung over, and not sure where our heads or feet were we stumbled down to breakfast and lined our stomachs with pastries and coffee. Today was going to be big… welcome my friends to La Tomatina.

After hurrying up and waiting, sculling down a few bottles of water and getting ourselves onto a bus we were on our way to a tiny town called Buñol, about an hour out of Valencia. We were dressed in brand new white shirts, new shoes for James, and armed with goggles.

See how white the shirts are?

Why Buñol you might ask? There are many theories, however in 1944 or 1945, sometime a while back, someone decided to throw some tomatoes. The following year, some more people joined in, and then the year after. This has resulted in the world’s largest tomato fight taking place annually in the centre of Buñol. Sometime in the past 50 years or so the local council took over the proceedings and made it an official festival, working alongside Festivals All Around (who we’d booked our tour through) to help organise the tourists a little better.

So we’d arrived into a dirt car park in Buñol, were given very, very specific instructions to make sure we knew where to come back to, what time and which bus we needed to be on, then wandered over the bridge to a closed off road, filled with thousands of people. Along with the tonne of people, there was also the better part of 2000 litres of sangria in big white buckets. We weren’t really given much of a choice as to whether we wanted to drink sangria or not, it was 7am, but it’s midday somewhere in the world, right?

Hordes of tourists

Group photo

After drinking as much sangria as we could, then having sangria thrown on us, it was time to head to the main event, with sangria in hand. Did we mention there was some sangria? Singing songs all the way to the main street we prepped ourselves for the beginning of the festival. Traditionally, the tomato throwing would begin after a ham, pegged to the top of a lard-covered pole, was successfully pulled down. These days the ham is still at the top of the pole, but for the sake of the festivalgoers and the locals, the tomato throwing begins at 11:00am.

Ham on the pole

Getting closer

Sometime in the ham situation we lost each other, and the horn blew. It was time to start throwing the tomatoes. Six massive dump trucks, filled with 160 tonnes of tomatoes drive through the street and pour tomatoes everywhere. You’d be lucky if you didn’t end up with some in your mouth, ears, nose, eyes etc. etc. etc. There were 42 000 people throwing these tomatoes, it was a mess. Just look (sorry, the lens was covered in tomato juice):

The horde

First truck

Dumping tomatos

Crowd covered in tomato

Dee getting tomato poured on her

Selfie of James

After an hour it’s tomatoes down and time to get fire-hosed off by the locals, then return to the bus and change into a less tomatoey pair of clothes. We might have stopped via a couple of beer stalls along the way, and sung all the way back to the bus. Completely exhausted it was time to head back to Valencia for a hot shower and an afternoon siesta before heading to the official after-party in the night.

They shirts aren't white anymore

The after-party

As you’ve probably gathered, there has been a fair amount of drinking going on in the past few days. It wasn’t about to stop; we had tickets to the official after-party and headed in with the rest of our tour group. There were beers, there were vodkas, that were cheaper than the beers and there were lots and lots of laughs, and still a lot of tomato in places there shouldn’t be tomato. We spent the night with our new-found friends before heading home on a bus around 2:00am. Munted is a fair understatement here.

After-party group photo


Poor planning = poor buses

Yup, another bus. We didn’t really consider the amount of time we’d left between the end of the festival and having to leave for our next city. We had organised ourselves the night before to be packed and ready for our bus to Granada, however both of us having slept through the alarm, then having to tackle public transport made the morning an absolute struggle. Couple these factors with needing to walk a good three kilometres in stifling heat, finding tomato still in our ears, as well as being extraordinarily tired… the morning was not good. Hooray for eight hours on a bus! Next stop, Granada!

Go see all the photos from Valencia

Bienvenidos Barcelona!

Arguably the most liveable city in Spain and home to Spain’s most notable and iconic church, Sagrada Familia. We are definitely not in South America anymore, the roads are smooth, the buses are nice but my goodness is the Spanish hard!

To make it harder, the Catalonian people don’t generally speak Castillian (“normal” Spanish), they speak Catalan, which is a separate Latin-derived language and is like a version of medieval French, with a bit of Spanish and a touch of Portuguese thrown in. We’d both been looking forward to Barcelona for sometime, having heard many friends’ travel through and seen pictures of some fairly notable monuments… most of all we were looking forward to more delicious food!

Another travel day

Us on the bus

We arrived on our bus from Madrid on Saturday and made our way to the hostel. After sitting around and waiting for half an hour for the group in front of us to sort themselves out, we finally checked in and settled in. We’d missed lunch and it was far too early for dinner but we decided that we’d go and find ourselves some food and beer anyway. We settled ourselves into a bar across the road, and unfortunately the Catalonians haven’t followed the tapas with beer situation that we had experienced in Madrid… you might be lucky to get olives. We sat and drank anyway, ordering some pimiento de padron (fried chillis), fried anchovies, some pipis and grilled cuttlefish. Life is good!

Pimientos de padron

Fried anchovies

Fried cuttlefish

We decided to head into bed early, as we still hadn’t completely recovered from the jetlag that had been catching up with us after our flight from Bogota. It was especially the case for Dee. Our room in the hostel had a giant window in it, facing into a completely covered area containing a fluoro light that was on 24/7, with not so good curtains. We had organised to talk to James’ dad at midday, and unfortunately the light caused Dee to confuse the time of day. She woke up at 12:35 freaking out that we’d missed the phone call… Unfortunately it was 12:35am, not PM… it was going to be a long day.

Sunday as a Tourist

Waking up at a more appropriate time than midnight on Sunday, we hunted around to get some breakfast and coffee. Like South America, Sundays are a day of rest, thus meaning everything was closed, including the bakery and the supermarket. We had the quick phone call with James’ dad before heading on the Metro in to Barcelona’s central street, La Rambla. Starting off at one end with a round of sangria and food, as pictured below:

Fried food

We then began to wander our way down the tree lined pedestrian mall. La Rambla was apparently a sewerage stream-bed in the earliest days but over many years (a few hundred) it has eventually been transformed into a tourist mega-hub connecting Plaça de Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell.

The Rambla

You could easily spend hours wandering up and down this street watching street performers, looking at all of the little stalls, being hassled by the locals to go on tours and finding random things to eat. Our stumble of random food for the day was Redbull Icecream… very weird but surprisingly tasted exactly like Redbull. We probably wouldn’t go out of our way to buy it again, but you know, you’ve got to try everything once!

Redbull icecream

James with icecream

After a few hours it was time to start making our way back to the hostel and find some dinner nearby, before tucking in for an early night of cards and writing.

Walking tour day!

Some of the easiest and cheapest activities that we have done have been to go on the city’s “free” walking tours. In some places these tours have genuinely been free, run by the city council and extremely informative. Other places, not so much. For Barcelona we expected a little bit of history of the city and walk around the touristy areas. Instead the tour started near the main cathedral (not Sagrada Familia) and went through the streets of the Barri Gótic.

Main cathedral


The Gothic Quarter was built in the late 19th Century and is a weaving pattern of roads and side streets leading out to grand squares. Throughout the quarter there are multiple narrow allies churches, plazas and museums filled with a large amount of relics from when the Spanish first conquered South America.

Old gates

We were told about the various cities that had existed in Barcelona, from the original fishing village, to the Romans arriving, the Visigoths, the Moors (arabs) and then Spanish Empire. Sprinkled amongst the information were some interesting facts about the civil war and how it has shaped the city into what it is now. This particular walking tour was actually free, no tips required and quite interesting… though Dee chose to sit this one out, wanting to hire a bike and explore the city. Instead, finding her way back to La Rambla and into what could loosely be described as a street food market – more of a hall filled with gourmet food!

Seafood at the market

Deli at the market

Spices and oils at the market

There was food for days in that hall; all sorts of cured meats, cheeses, seafood and every option possible for good wine. After a few tastings of bits and pieces around the hall, a walk wasn’t a bad idea. Barcelona has quite a number of beaches that begin near the port and stretch quite a distance; the majority of them are artificial and were built for the Olympic games in 1992. We had organised to meet at one of the beaches so we could swim and enjoy some sunshine, however James was carrying the bag holding the swimsuits and the walking tour went two hours longer than expected. Instead of swimming we settled ourselves in for lunch a few cocktails near the port and then proceeded to have a few craft beers at a bar that James had passed on his tour. After that we made our way through the gothic quarter to a very highly recommended ice-cream shop for Mojito and Basil-Tomato ice creams… odd but delicious.

James with icecream again

After wandering around for a few more hours, seeing churches and one of the many museums we cruised on back to our hostel for some cured meats and cheeses and a nice bottle of wine… this is living!

Cured meats

Views of the City

On Tuesday morning we decided to take a small break from all of the rich food and drinks to explore one of the many tourist spots around the city. We got ourselves to the metro station and then onto a bus before getting lost on our way up to the hill near El Carmel, which was the site of a big anti-aircraft battery during the civil war. It was extraordinarily hot and there were lots of people either sun-baking or sitting with their shirts off in the “no entry” sections. We stayed on the hill for a while, taking in the views of the city and then decided we needed to find some shade before James burnt the back of his fingers again.

Panorama from the hill

James in the wall

After heading down through a small park, we caught the metro back into the city, and found another set of markets to have lunch. There are so, so many places selling fresh and cured foods here, just look at all of the deliciousness!

Many types of tomatos

Eggs and more eggs

Meats at the burchery

There was so much nice food here, but we managed not to buy any (barely). We wandered through the market and settled on a small wine bar with delicious tapas; Dee had fried artichoke, gazpacho and veal carpaccio, James having confit duck (although it took a long time). Barcelona’s food hasn’t disappointed thus far, although it’s more expensive than what you’d pay at home, it has definitely been worth it!



Confit duck

Another round of Cultural Enlightenment

We needed to burn off a little of the wine we’d devoured so we ventured a little deeper in to the city to find where the state parliament was located for our obligatory photo. If the locals had their way, Catalonia would be it’s own country, completely separate from Spain, so technically we should get extra points from Tristan for being at a state and national parliament all at once.

Catalonian parliament

Along the way to find more wine we stumbled across one of the many sites of the Museu d’Història de Barcelona. The El Born Centre for Culture and Memorial was home to Mercat Del Born for many years, along with failed government plans to turn it into offices, and then a retail centre. It was eventually decided that the market would be restored and turned into a library; however, during excavations extensive ruins of the medieval city of Barcito were discovered around seven metres underground.

Roman ruins

Roman ruins

Excavation information

We spent a while in the centre, reading through some of the historical information scattered around the museum (and being hassled numerous times, being questioned continually as to why we hadn’t hired a guide), then made our way toward the Picasso Museum. We had lined up to buy tickets but they were quite expensive and we’d seen a large number of Picasso’s works in Bógota less than two weeks prior so we skipped out this time around. We instead made our way to Barcelona’s version of the Arc de Triumph, taking a few more photos along the way.


Dee with a sculpture

Take note Brisbane…

Something we have realised in the five days that we have been in Spain, is how completely terrible (and expensive) our public transport is in Brisbane. The metro system in Barcelona (and Madrid too) has been so easy to use and extremely cheap. There is an option for a T10 ticket (so ten trips, that can be used by more than one person at a time) or a tourist ticket, which gives you unlimited transport between 5am and 11pm. There aren’t 18 zones to try and navigate your way through and the ticket machines are really easy to use. Having a system like this at home would be wonderful! Following our wine and food cultural tour, we had a quick trip back to the hostel on the metro with just enough time to duck to the supermarket and then out of the heat to do some blog writing. Strangely the part that we are up to writing in the blog was about us sitting down with some drinks and having meat and cheese for dinner… right now we’re eating a platter of meat and cheese for dinner with a few drinks. Surprise?

More cultural things!

It probably comes as a surprise to our readers that there is a little more happening than booze and food on this trip; we have actually ventured out and seen some things whilst reviewing some of the delicious things we have ingested on the way around. Still struggling with the time changes (yes! Five days later!) we got up close to midday on Wednesday and got ourselves together enough to head back into the city and explore some more.

Barcelona is home to some fairly unique structures and streets, mostly thanks to Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi. His work incorporates a modernist twist and includes building materials such as stained glass, wrought iron and ceramics – this sounds fairly standard right? Wait ‘till you see some of the pictures…

First up, we caught the metro to the end of Avenida Gaudí, where we started seeing some of his work, in the form of modernist lamp-posts and a few sculptures.

Gaudi streetlight

Gaudi sculpture

We were surprised to find that we could cross the roads along the avenue without feeling like we were playing Russian Roulette with the traffic; the drivers actually paid attention to the traffic lights! After walking for quite some time and stopping in for some breakfast coffee along the way we then stopped to see one of the biggest tourist attractions in Barcelona, Sagrada Familia. Wow! The church is huge, taking up an entire block and has towers 170 meters tall. It is very quirky, with what appears to be fruit on top of some of the towers; the patterns around the church’s walls are extremely intricate. It has not actually been finished yet, albeit started in 1882, and the large fees to visit (minimum of 15 Euro, more if you want a guide) go towards finishing it. The photos don’t do this place justice!

Sagrada Familia from a distance

Lower part of Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Weird fruit things on Sagrada Familia

Entrance to Sagrada Familia

Side of Sagrada Familia

Next we headed off to the Casa Milà, however the map situation turned out to be a problem. We have offline maps saved in Google Maps, however it can’t do routing, and for whatever reason it keeps being confused where we are. Here Maps is not as complete as Google, but it can do routing which is somewhat helpful. We also have a paper tourist map. Flicking between the paper and Google maps, we thought we knew the way there but there were two problems – Google got our location wrong, and the paper map (as are apparently all the ones of Barcelona) is rotated by 90 degrees so North is not at the top of the map. After getting confused by our location moving for a while, we realised we were instead very close to Casa Batllo, so we went their first.

Casa Batllo finished construction in 1906 and was one of Gaudi’s finest works. The building’s façade was replaced with waves of ceramic and stained glass in mosaic patterns, topped with a roof covered in iridescent scales.

Casa Batllo

After that we walked the few blocks to Casa Mila (also known as La Pedrera) for a look at some more of Gaudi’s work. La Pedrera was designed to replicate an open stone quarry, it was completed in 1912; it is now home to the Pedrera Foundation who have turned it into a cultural centre.

Us in front of Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo

To try and save ourselves some money we had a packed lunch of some sandwiches for the beach, and had planned to buy a few beers nearby to take down. After hunting for quite a while we couldn’t find a supermarket and discovered the stall near the beach had beers! Winning! Except we found out that they were 2.30 Euro each (!), so Dee went for a walk to get some at a shop further away while James found an umbrella to hire. The beach was okay, but the sand quite gritty and we had to sit a fair way back from the water to have an umbrella. Although James has started getting a little bit of a tan going on it was extremely sunny and very, very, very hot, we definitely needed the umbrella… and a litre of sunscreen.

At the beach

At the beach

After having enough sun, and Dee’s side getting a bit burnt, we went back to the hotel to cool down, planning to meet up with Eva who we’d met in South America for drinks and dinner. Unfortunately we had a little communication breakdown and didn’t get to see Eva, instead we had dinner at a little place across the road from us and had chilled out with the locals. This obviously included a few more wines and beers…


So long! Farewell!

We weren’t quite ready to leave Barcelona when we did, but we had places to go and people to meet. Thursday morning was a fairly uneventful one, mostly venturing out to find some coffee (Dee had wine – you’re allowed to have it for breakfast here!!!), then off to the bus station. Our next stop… Valencia!

Go see all the photos from Barcelona