A Travellerspoint blog

Keeping things in Czech

Republic that is...

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We arrived in Prague a little late in the day, but not too late to meet up with our friend Magnus from Sweden and a few of his friends for a meal and drinks. There was a futbol (soccer) game on at the bar we were at, Czech Republic vs. Northern Ireland. The game was being played right there in Prague, but both teams were already out of contention for the world cup, so the game was more of an excuse for a bunch of Irishmen to come visit Prague for the tasty beer.
This is Darren and Magnus at a bar we went to after the game was over. As you can see, we were having a great time!

The next day we decided to meet up with Magnus, Freddy, Linda, and Toby for lunch. We ate at a small brewery and of course tried their many flavors they had to offer. There was a banana one that was surprisingly good. It also became apparent that the Czechs have three major food groups; meat, sauerkraut, and dumplings.
After some coffee and deserts we split up and decided to meet back up at a Brazilian restaurant that Freddy had been to before and said it was wonderful, so we had to try it.

They bring large skewers of various meats and seafood, plus a big selection from a salad bar. Lets just say we stuffed ourselves silly. Its like the restaurant Epanema in Seattle, except there were more exotic meats, like chicken and duck hearts, liver, etc. It was sooo good, though definitely not a meal for vegetarians. We saw a couple having drinks out of this really cool three-tiered glass and we all decided we wanted to try it, since it looked so fancy.
It was way too strong for me, but I managed to get most of it down before passing the rest to Darren.

The next day we decided to join on a free tour of Prague. We had planned to make it to the one at 11am, but just as we went to get some coffee and came back the guide had left and we couldn't find her again. So, we ended up going to the 2pm tour. In the meantime to save some money we went to the grocery store for supplies for spaghetti and cooked back at our hostel. Our hostel was really nice, the room was huge! We were in basically a 2 bedroom apartment with a full kitchen. We just shared the bathroom and kitchen with one other couple. It was great.

We made it to the tour on time this time determined not to miss it. Our guide was hilarious, so we stuck it out through the horrible cold and rain that lasted all day. Since it was rainy and cold I didnt take as many pictures as I would have liked, but here are a few that I did take.
Gothic Church

Gothic Church

After the tour we finished off our spaghetti and met up with our friends for a highly recommended pub crawl. The first stop on the pub crawl was at a cool bar. The first hour and a half was all you could drink offerings of tasty Czech beer, along with shots of vodka, rum, and absinth. These were pretty dangerous options so most of us, except Linda, who said they all tasted like candy ;-), paced ourselves. The second stop on the crawl was a dance club, so we left and ended up at a tiny bar that was filled with Japanese and we taught them how to play quarters, probably drove our waitress nuts, but it was fun. One of the guys was a manager of a famous Japanese conductor and he was showing off some pictures of him that he had on his phone.

The next day we actually went to KFC for some fried chicken to settle our stomachs and possibly our heads :-)
Later that day Magnus, Darren and I decided to check out a church decorated in bones about a 45 min train ride away. It was amazing.
All of the bones are from those who passed during the Black Plague.

Once we got back to Prague we met up again with everyone to say our goodbye's and have one last glass of a Czech brew before we had to catch our night train to Krakow, Poland.

Posted by crantravel 09:10 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (3)

Berliners are very proud of their Ampleman

as they should be, he's so cool

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We arrived in Berlin a bit later than we had planned and we got a bit lost getting to the hostel. We took the right bus, but in the wrong direction...so we ended up riding the bus about 45 minutes longer than we should have. Our hostel host was excellent. He excused our tardiness, provided us with a detailed map along with all the "must see" things in Berlin.

The next day we went on a free walking tour of Berlin. The free tour started at the Brandenburg Gate and was run by English speaking college students who worked only for tips. Our guide was from New Zealand and new a great deal about the city and provided us with a very detailed history of the city (in a very entertaining way)
Here's what all we saw:
Brandenburg Gate
The infamous hotel at which Michael Jackson hung his baby over the balcony:
The holocaust memorial located in the middle of the city. Each block is the same length and width but varying heights:
Checkpoint Charlie (where it used to be):
Where Hitler's bunker was located (nothing special is pointed out here, its just a nondescript vacant lot):
Memorial for the book burnings that took place, its enough empty shelves to hold 20,000 books underground
Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)
Neue Wache (New Guard House) Memorial - Central Memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Victims of War and Tyranny.

After the tour we headed to the Berlin Wall East Side Gallery:

We cant forget about Ampleman!! He was everywhere, there are even a ton of stores dedicated just to him :-)

Posted by crantravel 11:43 Archived in Germany Comments (3)

The best walled city ever

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

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We made our way along the Romantic Road from Munich to the old walled city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. I had been there when I was in high school and I was excited to visit it again and to show Darren around.
We arrived in the afternoon and we had to make the most of our visit because we were only staying one night. After finding our hostel we made our way to the center square:
We climbed to the top of the tower to get a 360 view of the city:
We also visited St Jakobs Church that had some amazing wood carvings:
The High Altar

We also spent too much time at the Christmas store, where we also spent too much money; what could we do? they had such a good deal on shipping, we managed to get most of our 2010 Christmas shopping done ;-)

Schneeballin, no that does not mean Darren isnt wearing underwear; its basically the leftover dough from baking pies etc, and they roll them up into balls and dip them in various sugary goodness, like chocolate :-)

We also visited the medieval torture museum;
Humiliation masks

That evening we enjoyed a cool tour with the night watchman, where we learned many interesting facts about Rothenburg and what life was like in the middle ages:

The next morning we had an awesome breakfast, the best one yet, a butler actually brought us our food on a silver platter. We had meat, cheese, bread, jams, eggs, coffee and juice. (so as I'm typing this it doesnt seem like that great, but I swear it was!)

We walked on the wall for part of the morning before departing for our next city.

On a side note:
We would like to thank everyone for reading our blog, and for those of you who have made comments double Thank You! We really enjoy hearing from you and hearing your thoughts on what we share with you.
Hope you all have been enjoying following along with us as we travel :-)

Posted by crantravel 12:52 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

Sick Day :-(

(Sorry Munich, its not your fault)

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So, from Zermatt we traveled straight to Munich all pumped to take in everything that Munich has to offer (mainly delicious food and beer) ony to discover that Darren is not immune to my sickness and I was not over my cold yet...

We ended up watching a lot of confusing German television, and got ourselves caught up on the top 10 music videos (in Germany).

We did manage to get out one day and see a few things. The Deutsches Museum (its kinda like the German smithsonian), which we really could have spent a whole day there, but could only handle a few hours because our systems were drained. Its all that is Science, so dorks that we are we really enjoyed it :-)

We also made it to the Hofbrahaus took this picture:
Then immediately crossed the street to enjoy some rather large biers and German food at a more fun and less expensive bier hall.
It takes 2 hands to drink a German bier.
Bier, Brats, and a fried Pig Knuckle
Darren finished :-)
This was taken right after Darren threw up in the river...
Just Kidding!! There was no other sicknesses besides runny noses and sore throats.

We took some other pictures as we wandered around Munich.
Was this guy over our door the whole time we were in Munich?

Posted by crantravel 07:04 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

The Matterhorn looks so much cooler in person

(you've ridden the ride in Disneyland, you've seen it grace the side of the Toblerone candy bar, we got to see it up close)

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After a chilling night stuck outside of the Montpellier train station our time to board our train finally arrived :-)
When we got to Bern we had just a short walk to our hostel only to find that the reception was closed from 10am - 3pm (we arrived at 1:00pm). Darn those Europeans and their need to take time off in the middle of the day. We did get to relax in the lounge area and take a nap though.

During the evening we took a walk around the town.
Then next day we checked out the rose garden which provides a great view of the city:
There was a chair thrown into the water at the rose garden, and we thought it looked cool, hence the picture.

Later that day we walked around town and there was this electronic music festival going on and there where a bunch of floats with DJ's pumping out music and bubbles or smoke. It was pretty crazy, not to mention tons of people following the floats, dancing and drinking in the streets (this was around 1pm) We made our way to the Swiss Parliament building where there was a cool fountain show.
There was a group of kids who performed a little choreographed dance in the midst of the fountain water spouts. We think they were part of the big music festival thing going on, because later there was a square full of young adults dancing away to blaring music. It appeared to be organized chaos.

That night we had planned on cooking our own supper because Switzerland is super expensive, but the grocery stores were all closed until Monday! They closed at 5pm Saturday night :-( So, we ended up going to McDonalds kind of as a last resort in hopes that it would be somewhat reasonable. Well, 4 tiny cheese burgers and 2 small fries later we're down $15. I think in the US those burgers and the fries we got are on the dollar menu. Though probably still the cheapest meal in town. The McDonalds was actually pretty cool, they had house music playing and they had I-Pods integrated into the wall with headphones so you could listen other music, if you didnt like what they were playing over the speakers.

The next day we headed to Zermatt. Here's the train we took to get up there.
The weather was really sunny as soon as we got there, but it was very chilly! Again we went to our hostel only to find that reception was closed, this time we only had to wait about an hour. We just left our packs downstairs, along with many, many others, and walked around town. Its a pretty small town, so we probably did a few laps before returning to our hostel to check in.
This was the view we had of the Matterhorn on the first day we arrived and on the day we left - it was a bit more cloudy in the days between.
For supper that evening we happened upon this little bakery and decided to try a quiche. Neither of us being very big fans of quiche we didnt have our hopes too high, but it was awesome. Hot, creamy, and delicious. We liked it so much, we ended up buying another one.
It was really chilly at the hostel:

The next day we decided to go hiking. We had wanted to take a chair lift up and hike down, but the lift we wanted to take was under construction until the winter season, so we had to choose a different route. I could tell I was coming down with a cold, but I didnt want to miss out on hiking in Switzerland by the Matterhorn, so I toughed it out as long as I could before turning around. Here are some cool pictures we took along the way:
A newborn sheep
Notice the rather large bell around the cow's neck.
All of the cows and sheep in the area have bells around their necks. When we first got there I thought there were constant church bells ringing, I thought it was a little strange, but pushed the thought aside only to find out later that what I had associated to church bells was really all of the cow or sheep bells ringing all around the valley and up in the mountains. They do make beautiful music.

That night I felt horrible. Probably not such a good idea to hike when you feel like you're about to be sick. (I'm sure going from hot Barcelona, to freezing cold Swizerland with a lack of sleep in France in the middle was a major factor in aiding my sickness)
The next day we made a trip to the pharmacy and loaded up on kleenex and cold medicine and I spent the day pretty much in bed. Though we did take a train to the highest train station in Europe.

Posted by crantravel 06:25 Archived in Switzerland Comments (1)

That's so Gaudi!

(Barcelona, Spain)

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Sorry for the late posting, We have been moving quickly through Europe, and we haven't had a lot of spare time to update the blog. So expect several postings on days like today. Today is laundry day in Vienna. So, we hope to catch everyone up with what we've been up to.

Hope all is well!

After a long night train from Marrakech to Tangier we hopped again on a ferry back to Algeciras where we passed through the Straight of Gibralter. From Algeciras we took the fast train to Madrid and after many, many hours of travel we were exhausted and ready for a good nights rest, unfortunately we had not booked a room. We ended up taking basically the first decent, reasonably priced hotel we found, and were very happily surprised. It was the best night sleep ever! And when we woke up, got all of our things together to check out, there was a packed breakfast waiting for us just outside our door. :-)
Then we were on our way to Barcelona. We took the fast train again, and it got up to 300 km/hr, though the ride was really smooth (insert office quote here). Once we arrived in Barcelona, we found the city metro to be super easy to use, they even had flashing lights to show you which station you were at and which one you're going to. So helpful. Once we got into our hostel we again decided to take it pretty easy, since it was another day of travel. We just grabbed some Kebab for supper and relaxed at the hostel the rest of the night.
The next morning we were in dire need to do some laundry and found a place where we could just drop it off and pick it up later, very handy, and we got a hold of a friends sister, Kate, who lives in Barcelona and made plans to meet up after our laundry was finished.
Something about Barcelona, pickpockets are everywhere, and we were told too many times to count that we had to be careful. We actually felt safer in Morocco than we did in Barcelona. We just felt like we were constantly being watched, and that was because we were. Just looking around you could see guys staring you down, its just plain creepy. We were wary, and aware of our surroundings enough to avoid any problems, but its no fun feeling paranoid all the time.
Anyways, enough on that. We did meet up with Kate and she gave us a wonderful tour of the city. We saw the amazing buildings designed by the famous catalan architect Antoni Gaudi - the pictures below show some of the designs; and you can tell where we got the saying, 'that's soooo gaudi'
A picture of me and Darren in the gothic quarter of Barcelona by one of the most photographed bridges, so of course we had to follow suit.
Barcelona also has an Arc de Triomf, this one was built for the 1888 Universal Exhibition (World's Fair)
As in every city in Europe there are huge, beautiful churches, but I wonder if any have been under construction as long as La Segrada Familia Church. Construction started in 1882 and is expected to be finished at the earliest 2026. (this is also a Gaudi creation)
After a wonderful day of sightseeing with Kate we headed our separate ways.
The next day we had to get our train tickets to Bern, Switzerland, there was a night train we were hoping to get on. But, when we got to the counter we discovered the train was sold out. We had to figure out some way to get to Bern...We did end up purchasing some tickets, but we'll get to that a little later.
While we waited for our train to leave we had just enough time to explore the Picasso Museum. We were really excited for it, especially since the one we wanted to see in France was closed. The museum in Barcelona was really interesting. It had a progression of his work, from when he was 15 and going through school up to the works we think of as Picasso today.

We ended up taking a train to Montpellier France and arrived around 9:30pm, but our train to Bern didnt leave until 6:45am; no biggie right?, we'll just spend the night in the train station. Which really would have been fine, except that the train station closes from 12am - 4:30 am! Arghh. So, we got to enjoy the morning cool fresh air of Montpellier for 4 hours while we waited for the station to open again. We were entertained by the multitude of drunk college students who wandered around the streets. But we mostly just read our books hoping the time would pass quickly.

Posted by crantravel 03:22 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

We're definitely not in Europe anymore

Hard to believe there's such a difference only 12km from Spain

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Some people call this a "culture shock" going to Morocco is more of a "culture kick in the face". We took a 12km ferry from Algeciras, Spain to Tangier, Morocco. It's amazing just how much is separated by such a short distance. Language, culture, religion, and economic stability are completely transformed when a person crosses the Strait of Gibraltar.

We got off the boat and got a taxi to the train station. All the reading we had done warned us that Tangier wasn't the best city to spend too much time in. So, we booked ourselves on the overnight train to Marrakech and killed some time in a remarkably nice train station. We had about three hours to kill so I was pacing around a lot while Colleen was reading a book. In this amount of time I was offered hash about six times by different people, one of whom claimed he was in charge of security for the train station. It isn't really my thing so I politely refused, but It's a common story that travelers will be offered hash at a cheap price then they tell the police about you. Not to arrest you, but to squeeze every cent out of you so they won't have to arrest you. We made it on the train and were happily on our way out of Tangier. The train was pretty nice. No different then your average European train. It was a long night. We split a six seat cab with four other people (the couchettes/sleeping cars were already booked). Everyone was nice and Colleen and I practiced some Arabic phrases out of our Lonely Planet (Morocco) book. They all had a good laugh listening to us try to count to 10 and say all the days of the week in our really bad arabic.

We arrived in Marrakech around 8:00 AM and found ourselves in another really nice train station.
The Moroccans take great pride in there train system. The stations were spotless and woman were constantly cleaning the floors and emptying the garbage cans, even if they weren't full. After we found a cab out of the train station we were given some specific directions from our riad (Moroccan guest house) owner on how to get to his place. He told us to take a cab to a centrally located hotel called the Hotel Tazi, then call his cell and he would meet us and show us the rest of the way to his place. This seemed odd when I first read it, but once we got there it all made sense. The Medina, or the old part of Marrakech, is a complete labyrinth of roads and pathways that are impossible to stay oriented in. He took us through the Djemâa el-Fna (city square) and through a few narrow streets, pointing out key land marks along the way so we could find our way back. Once we got there we checked in and drank some Moroccan mint tea. The tea in Morocco is amazing, I don't really drink tea but we couldn't get enough of this stuff. After about a two hour nap we were ready to check out the town.
Here are a couple pictures of our Riad:

After the ferry and the train ride we were ready to eat something. So, we went to a restaurant near the Djemâa el-Fna that our host recommended. We sat down to eat next to a woman that was sitting alone. We asked if she spoke english and she did. She asked us where we were from and we said Seattle. Turns out her name was Jade and she was from Bellevue, so we ended up hanging out with her for the rest of the day. We checked out all the souqs around the big square and Jade helped Colleen buy a scarf. Haggling prices is the national past time in Morocco. With Jades help Colleen talk the price down from 200 durum to 70. The souqs in the Djemâa el-Fna are what bring people to Marrakech. There seem to be miles of streets lined with souks and they will sell you anything.
The freshest chicken around, notice the meat in the front and the live chickens in the back (no refrigeration)

You could spend days looking at all they have to offer. From nice leather jackets and bags made at the Marrakech Tanery to knock off Rolexes, to spices that will cure anything from a cold to a hangnail. I actually bought some kind of herb that if you rub it in your hand and hold to your nose it clears your sinuses. It actually works pretty well.

After the sun goes down the Djemâa el-Fna really starts to liven up. I would almost compare it to a 3rd world version of Las Vegas. One of the books we have calls walking through the Djemâa el-Fna at night like "live action channel surfing". I can't think of a better way to describe it. In one direction you have 500 people listening to a old man telling a story in Arabic, the other direction there's two king cobras being seduced by a snake charmer, right behind you some kid is trying to sell you a pair of gucci sunglasses.
That cobra was very thirsty, we saw the guy try to pull the glass away and the cobra latched on because it wasn't done drinking yet.
Yes, those are real human teeth
Cow hooves?

It's just nut's, while all this is happening there are about 100 food stalls where people are cooking up all kinds of crazy stuff. snails, sheep and goat heads, tagines, couscous, and anything else you could imagine. All the while the food venders are trying to convince you that they have the best spices and tastiest food. It really is overwhelming. All five senses are being engaged. The smell of the spices, sound of the music and crowds, taste of the food, sights of all the colors being displayed in the souks, and the feel of the warm night air. It exciting and exhausting at the same time.

We stayed out till around midnight the first night (bad idea) and as we headed back to our riad, we noticed that nothing along the way looked familiar because all the souqs were closing up. Next thing we knew we took a few wrong turns and we were approached by a younger man in one of the dark streets. He said he knew the street our riad was on and offered to take us there. Now this was a little scary, but he took us right to where we needed to go. Of course he asked us for money and I gave him what I had on me. It was only about 12 Durum ($1.50) and he wanted more and wouldn't leave until he got it. As we argued about it Colleen craftily snuck the door keys out of my pocket and opened the door. We were able to get inside and leave him on the street arguing with himself. At first this seemed like a pretty scary experience, because he could have lead us anywhere and flat out robbed us for everything we had. However after being there a few days we realized thats just how the people operate. They just don't have much, Its not there intention rob or harm you. They're just trying to survive. It's a very sobering thing for an American to see.

After our morning breakfast bread, freshly squeezed orange juice, and Moroccan tea;
We planned to ride on the hop on - hop off bus tour, and got a little side tracked in the morning and ended up at a spice souq where I purchased herb for my sinuses, and Colleen bought some soap and a scrubber that is commonly used at the Hammams - a public place where everyone goes to be bathed. We didnt end up going to one, but many people recommended us to go to one, just for the experience. Maybe next time. Once we finished buying all of those goodies, we made our way to the bus tour, briskly walking past all of the souqs to try to keep from being asked to look in their shop, "its free to look". We finally made it to the bus and rode it around for about an hour. The bus took us to the newer parts of Marrakech, outside the madina. There are a lot of new hotels and apartments being built. The current prince of Morocco is making a huge effort to modernize the country. So if you want want see Marrakech before it turns into every other city in the world, you'd better get over there quick.
Here are some of the sights we took in as we rode on the bus:

Later on that day we went back to the Djemâa el-Fna to try out the food stalls. This is like combat eating. The venders actually hire people to go out in the crowds and try to get people to eat at there stalls. Each stall is numbered so these guys would come up with rhymes to eat at there stall. Like (the lamb is heaven at 27). We started out by trying some steamed snails. They were pretty good, Colleen even tried a few. After that we played it safe and got a chicken tagine and a lamb couscous, although you can have found just about any part of any animal being cooked up somewhere.

The next was our last day in town. We had one more thing we needed to do before we left the medina, visit the two tanneries. Some of the best leather in the world comes from Morocco. Marrakech has two ancient tanneries (Arab and Berber) that are still making leather the same way they did thousands of years ago. The tanneries aren't on any tourist maps, so our host just recommended that we start walking in the general direction and someone will take you to it "for a special price". So we made a visit to the Marrakech Museum, then we headed up to the tannery. We didn't walk more the 500 meters before a rough looking guy asked us "tannery, tannery?" So we followed him through the maze of streets we arrived at the entrance. He promptly handed us off to another sleazy looking manager fellow. He handed us each a mint leaf to cover the smell and we walked through both tanneries. first we saw the Arab tannery where they tan camel and cattle hides, then we saw the Berber tannery where goat and sheep hides are tanned. This was a very intense experience. The workers are knee deep in these pits and they weren't to happy to see American tourist being guided through there place of work.

To be honest, we couldn't blame them. So there was a lot of dirty looks and verbal rudeness, but nothing more. Most of it it was directed at our slime-ball guide anyway. So, as in true Marrakech style, the guide handed us of to another salesman slime-ball. His job was to talk the american tourist into buying as many leather bags as he could. He tried to woo us with mint tea and some long rehearsed speech on how great the USA is, I'm sure he has a speech for every country, then he starting trying to sell us stuff. Used car salesmen in the states could take lessons from these guys. We did want to have some kind of leather item to take home with us from Morocco so Colleen picked a small purse. After some rough negotiating we got the thing for 250 dirham. Not, bad considering he wanted 1400 when first started talking. After that they showed us back to the street. We paid the tour guide about 120 dirham for showing us the tanneries, we were told ahead of time this was a fair price, of coarse he didn't think so. Then we made our way back to our riad and got ready for the train back to Tangier.

This had to be the most interesting place we've seen so far. We're posting this about one week after we left and we're still trying to wrap our minds around it.

Posted by crantravel 07:48 Archived in Morocco Comments (2)

The Alhalmbra

Granada, Spain

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We arrived in Granada in the evening and had a nice short walk to where we were staying - The Granada B&B Homestay. As soon as we knocked on the door Victor, the owner, made us feel right at home. He gave us a map he made in photoshop including his personal favorite restaurants, tapas bars, and sights to see. That night we decided to try tapas, Granada style (for every drink that you order you get a free tapas) We went to a couple different places Victor had recommended and we were full after only two drinks.

The next day we took a little bus up to the Alhambra, waited in line for over an hour only to find out that all the tickets were sold out for the day. But this actually turned out to be ok because Colleen started to feel sick and fatigued. We headed back to the B&B Colleen pretty much rested the rest of the day while Darren went to find a travel book on Morocco. Victor made a secret potion for Colleen to drink to help her immune system kick the bug making her feel ill. (it was honey, echinacea, and some other ingredients)

The next day, Colleen feeling much better, we went back up to the Alhambra. We discovered that there is a place where you can purchase your tickets using a credit card only just steps away from the long line to get in. The Alhambra was amazing, we ended up spending 6 hours there, wandering the gardens, the palace, and enjoying the views of the city.

Later in the day we walked across the city to get a view of the outside of the Alhambra:

We ended up going to bed pretty early, in hopes to keep Colleen from getting sick and we had an early morning train to catch in the start of our journey to Morocco.

Posted by crantravel 09:49 Archived in Spain Comments (2)

Seville Spain

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In order to get to Seville from Faro, we had to ditch the Eurail pass and take a bus. Buses in Europe are way better then what Greyhound has to offer in the states. We rode in brand new bus with leather seats and a/c. Once we got to Seville we walked to the hostel. This one was called Backpackers Oasis. We learned pretty fast that the streets in Seville are a bit confusing. Very few are labeled and none of them are strait. So we got our hands and a map and used a compass the find our way there. The hostel had a lot of good common areas and offered up a huge Paella for 5 Euro. So we ate dinner there and drank some sangria with some new friends we met from Germany, Australia, and Slovenia.

The next day we took a free walking tour and saw quite a few of the major sights in Seville Including the Cathedral, the Bullfighting Ring, the Alcazar, the Torre de oro, and the Plaza de Espana. Free means free, which means we didn't really get a chance to stop and look at any of the things we walked by. So, later that day we went back to the cathedral, paid to go inside and walked to the top of the tower. It is the third largest cathedral in the world by square footage and it was built over a mosque that was demolished after the Moors lost Seville to the Christians. You could could tell they were trying to prove a point with this thing, It's huge! Later that day we gave Tapas a try. So we went to a place called Patio de San Eloy. It was an awesome place with awesome food, but very little english. We did the best we could with what little spanish we know and ended up with 2 totally different things then what we ordered. They were still really good though. Later that night we met some Americans that had just come back from Fez, Morocco. After we heard what they had to say. We started to get serious about going to Morocco (more on that later).

The Cathedral:
Bullfighting Ring:
Bullfighting Ring viewed from the cathedral tower:
Torre de Oro - The Golden Tower:

The next day we visited the Plaza de Espana.
Some of you star wars fans might recognize this place from Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Our friend Javier who is from Seville and lives in Seattle actually help paint a mural on the city of Cadiz. So we had to check that out. That night we tried and failed at ordering more tapas, then we checked out a flamenco show. The flamenco show was very intense, we didnt realize how passionate and serious that type of dance is. (Unfortunately we lost some of our pictures, the ones above were a few that survived)

Posted by crantravel 08:17 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

The Algarve

Lagos, Portugal

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We arrived in Lagos around 11pm, but thankfully the place we booked for accommodation came and picked us up from the train station. The place we stayed was just like a mini hotel, (it only had 3 rooms to rent out) we had our own bathroom, even a TV plus an excellent kitchen so we could save some money and get a lot of our food from the grocery store. As soon as we got to our room we crashed, we were pretty tired from the long day of traveling.

The next morning we headed straight for the grocery store, we needed to get some breakfast, plus we wanted to get something for lunch and dinner. We ended up getting some cereal, milk, yogurt, rolls, meat, cheese, noodles, and tomato sauce. We had the cereal for breakfast and packed sandwiches for lunch. Then we headed straight for the beach. It was beautiful! We were told that the really high tourist season just ended, so the beaches weren't very crowded, it was really nice. We decided to try our hand at a double kayak in order to explore the grottos.
We stopped at this little secluded beach, explored a nearby cave, took a little swim, and took a bunch of pictures.

After a lovely day at the beach we headed back to our hotel and made some delicious spaghetti and then headed to bed.

The next day we were debating on whether or not it would be worth it to go on a dolphin tour so many of the agencies were advertising. We stopped by one of the booths by the marina and they told us if we hopped on the boat that was leaving in one minute they would give us 5 euros off each. So, we made a quick decision (which as all of you know neither of us are very good at making decisions) and got on the boat. Boy were we happy we did! Our skepticism went away after only 10 min on the boat as we approached a huge school of dolphins. The swam around our boat with us for about 30 - 45 min. It was amazing! Here are some cool pics we got from it:
After the dolphin watching we were starving! It was already 2pm. We were told to eat at this little place called Petiscoes,recommendation from Alex who we met in Porto, its supposed to have some amazing seafood. So, we did. Colleen ordered a shrimp plate and Darren had some mussels. Both had these delightful sauces the seafood was soaking in. The mussels were in a lemon citrusy sauce and the shrimp were in a coconut spice filled red sauce. Yum!!!! We had to order extra bread just to soak up all the sauce we had left over. We wandered around town until dinner time and decided to try a recommendation from another friend back home for dinner, Casa Rosa. It turns out the bar was run by mostly English and Australians, they even turned on an American Football game for us (we got there kinda early and were the only ones there...) We hung out there for a few hours just chatting with the bar tenders, and enjoying a few drinks. We found out that our friend from Porto, Alex, actually worked there for a month during the tourist season.

The next day we spent over an hour searching for the train station. We dont know why it was so hard for us to find, but we finally did with minutes to spare. We headed for Faro for the night. We went to the chapel of bones, which was about all we found to do in Faro.
In order to build a chapel they had to displace a cemetery of monks, so instead they built the chapel our of the bones of monks.

Posted by crantravel 01:22 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

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