A Travellerspoint blog

Paradise

Early Retirement????

sunny 22 °C

So next day we ran our hearts out just so we could make a tiny trip into Sintra (about 45 minutes away) to see the Mordern Art mueseum which houses more PIcassos, Dahli, and other famous cats. This was also really good, but we were under a major time crunch so it was brief. We went back to Anas cottage collected our huge bags, ok I will admit I might have to send a few things home... then walked to the bus stop and boarded for our 4 hour ride to Lagos where paradise hopefully awaited us. We arrived at 11pm and walked to our next residence which was a nice surprise as it was more like a hotel. We have only been in these warmer parts for a little while but it began like we were chasing a dream of a perfect beach and the perfect city to accompany it. Madrid was much to large and no where near the water, Lisbon again to large and the beaches were to small and rocky, Cascasis was still much to crowded and too small of beaches, Sintra was nice but not near any beaches. However I am very happy to report that it is no longer a dream and the Josh and I have found our own little piece of heaven. Lagos is a town of about 45,000 small enough to walk easily to everything and large enough to cater to anyone of your needs and they have great shopping!! Not that I am spending any of my time doing that sort of stuff. The waterfront is palmclad beautifulness and we have 10 near beaches to chose from one being 6m long with whiteish sand and turqiose blue waters.
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The first day we spent exploring but that didnt last long as we plunked down at the first beach we saw. There we spent a couple hours building sand castles and playing in the waves. The water is quite cold and the waves are strong enough to kick you over in a hurry. So after we went out for super, which reminds me that this backpacking thing is really not that hard to live off of. Josh and I were given a 100dollar a day budget, this was if we were going to the UK where it is more expensive. So far we have been living really well, we go out to eat every meal if we want and do what ever we feel like doing so no we are not the straving backpacker types, even though I feel like this is too easy and we must be doing something wrong. So we explored more around this beaut~iful town, oh sooo many cool shops it´s killing me. We picked up some liquor and made our own martinis and Josh had disgusting scotch. So that brings us to today. Today we got up later again and went and rented some antique mountain bikes rode to the grocery store, picked up breakfst and rode to the beach. I have this thing for ordering food from genuine portugese and spainsh resturants, although they do have english menus you tend to not get ~what you want added with lots of grease. So we went to the really long beach and ate our sandy breakfast. Before at beaches it was a major jackpot to pick up some fully entact shells but here they litter the beach as much a sand. Do you all know what you are getting for presents now???? We watched the surfers in the wild waves and relaxed. This is where we caught our beach dream. After we rode to the famous grottos and hiked all over and took amazing pictures. On the way back we stopped at another beach and then rode back to go to our new favorite place the Indian Tandoori Resturant for supper. Oh yes and another thing we signed up for surfing lessons early tommorrow morning. Must get some sleep and tell you hõw it goes.

Posted by sarahskill 13:06 Archived in Portugal Comments (3)

Portugal

Beach bums

sunny 17 °C

Hi everyone, just wanted to do a quick check in and let you all know what Josh and I are up to right now. Tuesday we wrapped up our little stay in Madrid, as we are off to Portugal. Our flight home leaves from Madrid so we have four extra days at the end to enjoy in this city. We planned for Portugal to hopefully beach bum it for a couple of weeks, they are supposed to have the most amazing waters near the south coast as well as spain. So we went to the Prado muesuem and we saw lots and lots and lots of very old paintings by Goya and some other guys, good stuff maybe a little dry. After, we went to a huge park that Madrid has in the middle of the city and had a nap in the sun, do you see a pattern, we dont really do much these days;) After we went to our regular spot for some yummy sangria. Afterwards we picked up our large backpacks and went to the train station many hours early, you know just to be sure. At 10:45pm we boarded our train for a nine hour ride to Lisbon , Portugal. Josh and I had earlier planned how glorious our first class seats would be, now I would have to say I never want to exprience second class. Luckily I was sick with a bad cold so I took some pills and passed out for the journey and woke up in Lisbon, Portugal. It was about 8 something in the morning when we arrived with a bit of a cloudy sky but still the tempurature was quite warm. There we met a super cool austrailian guy named brett who was travelling by himself. We parted ways but hoped to see each other again. Previously the team (josh and I) had decided that we wanted to stay in really small towns to get away from tourists and really enjoy the life of the portugeseso we skipped through Lisbon on a train and went to Cascasis a smaller beach town. We went straight to our bed and breakfast where we found no one. Yes I was sick and dying and nobody was home!! An hour later our host came home to find us on the street, she didnt speak much english so we just went inside. Our b&b was more like a room inside their house but it was nice to have our own room for a while. I took a nap while Josh went and found the beach which was about 15-20 minute walk away. They say if there is one stop you have to make in Portugal it should be Sintra, a small tourist town with tiny streets, beautiful architecture, and castles! So the next morning we made our way to Sintra. I am not one to agree with stereotypes of people but what they say about Portugese drivers is sooo true! They are the most insane wild drivers you will ever come across, bus rides are now something we look much forward to. A little like a long rollar coaster ride. I mean the streets here are teeny tiny which the sharpest corners and yet they just cruise through like nothing. So we did the tourist thing and went to Sintra and it really was gorgeous. We went to all the castles which were amazing especially the gardens. We finished off our day with a trip up to the Moorish Castle which Josh was soo excited about. This trip begun with a wild ride õn the bus up to the top, these are roads that in Canada I know no one would be driving on yet here we go crusing up in the crazy bus and who do we see it is our austrailan friend brett walking up the hill. The moorish castle gave us a wonderful view of the portugese valley. We caught the bus home, this time it made me really close to losing my lunch. We went into Cascasis and had some white sangria which was still very very good and watched the sun set on the amazing beach.

Posted by sarahskill 03:55 Archived in Portugal Tagged train_travel Comments (1)

Madrid

Spain

sunny 10 °C

Early Monday morning Josh and I enjoyed our last walk through chilly Stockholm at 5:30am. As it began to snow we realized we were leaving for Spain on the perfect day. We had a short four hour flight from Stockholms Arlanda Airport to Madrid, Spain. The landscape is like nothing I have seen before except maybe something like the desert around Las Vegas. Very dry looking and different tones of red. When we landed it was about 15degrees celcius. From the airport we took a few different subways to get close to our location the Cats Hostel. Here is a link to copy if you would like to see pictures of the hostel:
http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/CatsHostel-Madrid-6657?
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Once we came up to ground level it was soo exciting and intimidating. This is a large dramatic city full of people and traffic and noise. With little to no sleep it was too much to take in speaking for myself anyways. We went directly to the hostel and unpacked and then went on a little walk around our neighborhood. Apparently 10 minutes from our hostel and you are directly in central Madrid. I have heard so much about tapas bars in Spain so I thought I wanted to try one. All of the ones we saw were quite dirty and the food was something to question. But as we have seen over the next few days most are the same way very loud and lively, a little bit scary as they yell at you to take your order and I dont know what to yell back, ENGLISH!!!! The people here really live their l ives out in the street, much different from a more conservative canada. So far as a generalization i would have to say the spainairds really enjoy their salt, fat, and oil something i will have to try and get used to. We went back to our hostel whcih is amazing, it used to be some sort of palace and is newly renovated for a hostel, this is one time I can actually say the real thing was better than the pictures. Tuesday moring we decided that we both wanted to spend more of our time in the smaller beach towns where we could actually relax. I used to think I would love to sepnd all of my time in the cities but once you are here it is quite different. They are so exciting and crazy and I get too nervous about not seeing everything in the time that we have so I do not relax at all. So we are off to Cacias a smaller beach town just outside of Lisbon, Portugal. And they great thing is that we are staying in a bed and breakfast. Because you know this entire week of hostels has just been too much:) We got a great deal so we are off today on a nine hour train ride, at least it is an overnight train. After our nuturious breakfast a doughnut, we went off to the metro station to get our tickets. Inside was a lush and large jungle of palm trees and tropical plants. In the middle of this is a sanctuary for hundreds of turtles and little fish, it helped pass the time. So we somehow managed to communicate what we needed, unlike stockholm most people do not speak english in madrid. And my spainsh skills leave much to be desired. Afterwards we walked to the Prada musuem another museum full of wonderful sacred art. unfotunatly today was the day dedicated to group tours so we skipped and went into the botanical gardens next door. This was quite an exprience, the city outside faded away and we were in a beautiful jungle. Apparently every specie of plant is in that garden somewhere. Amazing pictures to follow. This was just what the doctor ordered for me it really helped me calm down and put things in perspective. So the pace was set for the rest of the day, we walked across to a square where the Reina Sofia is housed, yet another art musuem that was closed today. So we sat in the hot sunshine in an outdoor cafe in the pavillion and drank delicious sangria for a couple hours. I really dont know if I can do this for two months, haha!

Posted by sarahskill 22:21 Archived in Spain Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

DunewitSveden

Last Days

overcast -2 °C

Hello everyone, today is March the 28th so I have a lot of catching up to do.So the day after our big reggae night we accidentaly slept in until after 1pm which really was bad because I did not want to waste a minute here. Anyways we started the day slowly and went to the Old Town and visited the Nobel Prize Museum. Alfred Nobel was born in Stockholm and after he passed he left his estate to various family memebers and educationial commitees. And what they did with the money was set up the Nobel Prizes. The museum was dedicated to all those who have won past and present, which was very nice to see and to read about, beautiful interior:)
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Its kind of sad that we never really hear about the Nobel Prize winners even though they contiue to happen every year. So next we went to the Kulturhuset, any guesses on the name?? Here they had some photography exibits on, one being about child obesity not only in America but in the countries it is spreading to like Mexico for instance. And fast foward to the next day we rounded up our visit with the last few stops we wanted to make. We went through a really great aquarium, even Swedens fish are more beautiful than the ours.
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We went to the Vasa museum one of stockholms main attractions for the hugest ship you have ever seen in your life that was built in 1632, sunk on its maiden voyage and brought up in 1958. Even I would have to say that this was fantastic to see. Just the size of the ship was amazing and the craftmanship was so detailed for every inch of that boat. Oh yeah and Josh met a nice girl, here he is with her.
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Next we went on to the Nationial Muesuem which houses orignal paintings from the 1400 through 1600s including Rembrants. The other side which was my favorite was the design eras of sweden and europe. So we finished off our stay with the most touristic thing possible, a bus tour.
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This was ok but I would say Josh and myself would have been better guides and we had pretty much covered all of this ourselves, it was nice to sit down though. So we finshed off our day with the normal rountine a 4 hour nap at 4pm and then up at 2am. Maybe I am not adjusting as well as I thought.......
So to sum up our expreience in Stockholm I would say it was cool, literally. I loved the city and the architecture and the history and the fashion and the design, but the people were not very friendly nor helpful. We did not have too much contact with the genereal public, mostly service industry.And if it is their job to put their best foot forward shouldnt we have seen the best. This city was amazingly efficent and we really saw this in their public transportation, traffice, and environmental control. It was really great for us because everyone speaks english if you ask. I will not look back and and have a negative memory though because this city was beautiful and because I am only here to live the cities so I really enjoyed Stockholm and hope to come back again. I know we were meant to be together, they have the most delicious tap water you could ever imagine!
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Posted by sarahskill 23:18 Archived in Sweden Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

From Stockholm with Love

sunny -3 °C

Hello everyone, I am so glad you are all enjoying this blog idea. I love hearing from you all. The only thing is if you add a comment through this site I am not able to respond to you unless you leave your email address. Sorry I havent kept it up but we have crammed a lot in to the last couple of days. Yesterday Josh and I were up at around five am because we had slept so much the day before so we decided to get an early start on our day. We went and got early breakfast at our favorite place; 7-eleven. I know it sounds terrible but the 7-11's here are gorgeous, clean and they sell really healthy food. So for us it is like a mini grocery store that sells items we can sometimes reconize. I love the Swedish, although the have a completly different language we are sometimes able to understand what signs or literature says. In many case take the english version mash it together, replace the vowels with other vowels, or add some t's or k's then you have the swedish version. For example turistinformation or my favorite place we visited the Arkitekturmuseet. After our gourmet breakfast we went walking with our little maps from the hostel. First we went to Gamlastan or also known as the Old Town where the most beautiful old buildings are. DSCN0590.JPG
All the streets here are cobblestone which is very quaint but with my coordination I am lucky to report no injuries. And no Denise and Amina, I have not been running but of course it is only because of the cobblestone:)DSCN0610.JPG
Stockholm itself, is made up of 24 islands. We found out quite quickly that all were within a reasonable walking distance of each other. From Josh you might here a different perspective of how MUCH walking we did that day but he is aging and out of shape...
Next stop was a walk to a small island that had my two very favorite places on it, The Modern Museum of Art and the Museum of Architecture, or in Swedish; Moderna museet & Arkitekturmuseet. The art muesum was amazing, we got to see original Picassos, Salvador Dahli, Kadinsky, and Andy Warhol just to name a few. Of course no pictures were allowed to be taken. The exhibits we really interesting and different, I conside myself extremly open to new ideas and different things but some pieces here were really weird for lack of a better word. The mueseum of Architecture was small but really good to see. It showed the changes in Swedish architecutre from the very beginnings to present. And considering Swedish design which is very innovative and modern this exibit was soooo cool and inspiring! After the mueseums we walked to find a bus stop, got on one and just went for the ride. The bus routes here were extremly confusing so we just decided to hop on see where it took us. Not any where special as it turns out. We got off at the KatarinaHissen a huge lift where you can see a view over the city. Here is a picture we took
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This night we decided to splurge and we went to the CentralBatagen a beautiful spa inside a fancy hotel. Picture 007.jpg
Inside was a jungle like bar with a hot tub, warm pool and a normal pool surronding it. The hot tub was what we really went for and it turns out they have a different idea of what is relaxing. There was a maximim of 12 people supposed to be in the hot tub and there always was if not more. But the tub was designed so that you have to lay back and stretch out your feet, so needless to say it was really nice rubbing feet with large, hairy men. The water was warm if not lukewarm and it was hurled into your face by the jets. So for next time maybe we will avoid the " hot tub". We met two of the funniest guys from our room, two Austrailian boys now residing in Scotland. They both work at a hostel bar in Edinburgh so all they wanted to do was drink.
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Tonight we were talked into it and we went to the 3rd bar we found that I was allowed in, a large jazz club. You have to be 23 to enter most posher bars. The songs played were classic jazz tunes, not my style and the crowd was older then all of us by lets say half a century. It was boring but we paid 100 kourona to get in so we stayed for a bit. Liquior is severly taxed in Sweden, and only a handful of places actually sell liquior!! You can only imagine what this is like for someone coming from Red Deer. In this particular bar a single shot of bar liquor is 64 kornoa which is 10 dollars canadian!! Again imagine coming from a place where you can pay 50 cents per shot. So then an amazing thing happenend the band got off and the crowd began to change, a younger democraphic was taking over. Turns out one of the hottest reggae djs in Europe was going to be here at 1 am. So we stayed and the placed was packed along with at least one hundred people lined up outside. The best music was played all night and we had a blast.... I love Stockholm.Picture 005.jpg

Posted by sarahskill 12:33 Archived in Sweden Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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