Last night we joined our neighbours on the rooftop terrace. We brought over my guitar and ukulele, and spent the night with friends and new acquaintances, singing and laughing. Ive already shared some photos with you, but here are some videos of the time we spent.
Today marks exactly one year since I stepped foot into another country, and began my overseas adventure.
At this time last year I was in Morocco, probably resting after a 27 hour flight with no sleep (really.. none) and since then I have had some seriously amazing experiences. I have ridden a camel out into the Sahara Desert and camped there for a night, explored abandoned hotel buildings and looked off to the liberating village of Lagos in Portugal. I spent a week with a French family, riding horses through vineyards in the countryside while finding historic ruins and eating cherries off of trees. I worked in a couple of hostels, hiked up some mountains in the French Alps, and hitchhiked on the island of Sardinia. I went cliff jumping for my birthday in the Greek Islands, drowned my phone and lost 13,000 photos and videos, worked on a farm with my best friend and had a masterchef cook off with an Italian (and unfortunately failed miserably).
Now I am living in Madrid, teaching English and trying to learn Spanish. I spent a couple of months volunteering at The Way Hostel, making friendships and moments I will keep in my memory and cherish forever (and if for some reason I forget all of that, Ill just go and volunteer again to relive my time there). I have made a lot of friends here in Madrid, and a boyfriend who I love very much. Madrid is a dynamic, vibrant city filled with music and colour and life. It is a place full of creativity and inspiration. Seeds are growing, and ideas are developing about what I want for my future. I have many exciting things planned in the short and long term, and if all of that goes to plan… I wont be coming back to Australia for a very very very long time.
I have been so fortunate in life to have had the constant love and support of my entire family. Particularly my parents, without their encouragement and help, all of this would have been much more difficult. Its weird to think that if I hadn’t been so obsessed with spaghetti from such an early age, all of this might not have happened. Me loving spaghetti and my family all having some little connection with Italy turned my pasta obsession to an obsession with anything Italian. My best friend and I bonded over our love for Italy and began to dream of visiting it together. Once that dream was fully realised, my plans expanded rapidly.
Travelling hasn’t always been easy. The visa and legal stuff is EXTREMELY painful. Italian and Spanish bureaucracy is the worst. I have been dead broke a couple of times, and when my Granddad passed away I was close to coming home. But I’m not exactly a traveller anymore. I am making a life for myself here and I’ve learnt I am excellent at adapting to my surroundings and whatever issues arise. I know I am young, but I’m confident with myself and feel stronger and more alive than ever. I know this is an extremely cliché post. But I just thought I would leave you all with a little update, and hopefully inspire you to make some crazy decisions in the meantime. So I’ll finish up now, share some photos with you, and go out to celebrate one year abroad!!
Nothing interesting really happened. I was just extremely tired waiting for my next train. At the train station late at night arriving in Marseilles there was a man playing a piano, and then Victor picked me up from the train station and drove me back to his house and showed me to my room where I crashed.
We woke up, checked out and had breakfast before doing the most important thing on my trip so far… went back to Orion to buy all of the pastel de feijao there (unfortunately there was only 5 to share between us 😦 ) With that I said goodbye to Maxwell and went back to the hostel to plan how I was going to get to France.
I had a bit of a chat to a couple of guests and workers at the hostel, who then let me control the music being played hehe. The person at the bar was experimenting making up a new cocktail and gave it to me to try, why thank you. Then I went and bought groceries with the hostel’s chef (yes they had a chef) and found out he was originally from Sintra and cooking up a traditional Portuguese feast that night. While he was cooking he gave me a taste of the octopus and I actually really liked it (coming from a person who limits her seafood intake to fish. Just fish).
I then left for the train station, a little nervous of the long trip ahead of me and using my eurail pass for the first time. I was also freaking out about my phone being nearly dead and not having a way to contact my host in France when I arrived or in case anything bad happened. I hopped on a night train from Lisbon and arrived early in the morning at Madrid.
This morning I left the girls and went for a run around Ronda and right to the bottom of the bridge pillars. I had planned to go for an early morning swim in the water but after a closer look at this.. The water moved really fast and I didn’t think it was worth the risk of getting caught in the rapids and falling over the edge of the waterfall haha. After having a break, taking some photos, and taking in the view I began the run up the hill.. hahahahahahhahahahh I nearly died. We had breakfast at the hostel and obsessed over the beautiful dog there (golden, soft and like an angel) before packing up and heading out! We took the bus to Sevilla and then another bus from Sevilla to Lagos, PORTUGAL!! We made a friend, Jean-David (canadian) and he walked with us to our hostel, then ended up cancelling his hostel and just staying at ours instead.
The Big Chill hostel… fantastic. Very clean and spacious, two kitchens, a roof top spa, free food in the fridge if your lucky, the closest hostel to the best beaches and all for 10 euros a night. The guy who worked there was really cool and I think ended up becoming friends with lots of the people there. That night we made friends with the others staying there while playing drinking games before heading out for a taste of the nightlife in Lagos. We got free shots at the tavern because we were with our hostel group. Pretty much that night most of the things I heard from people were, “You’ve never been drunk before?! But your Australian!! We need to fix this”. The place was absolutely crawling with Australian, American and British people. Lagos is very popular with young travelers particularly people who like to party. We had some fun, I actually danced a bit (shock!), and after we’d had enough fun went back to bed.
This morning we posted some of the girls things home to lighten their bags. Kirah and I went exploring the town of Ronda and I’ll admit.. found some cool shops. We went back to get Shanay then went shopping. I bought swimmers – which are so much cheaper over here in europe than Australia. After our necessary girly time we wandered over to see exactly why we came to Ronda… man we were not disappointed. There was a cute old man playing the accordion and setting a very romantic mood with the sunset. I seriously can’t describe Ronda and my photos don’t even do it justice. The view is beautiful and as you walk over towards the bridge at sunset its phenomenal. The bridge is so high up, you just see the town and all the houses and then suddenly it just stops and steep cliffs open up to views of rolling hills in the countryside. We crossed the bridge and walked halfway down the hill to get an even better view of the bridge, cliffs and waterfall. Afterwards we found a tapas bar, tried caramelised eggplant and went to sleep.
Today was a very big day. It should have taken us 2 hours to reach Ronda… 3 hours max, but here is how our journey actually went…
After not sleeping the night before –
The receptionist at our hostel sent us walking then on a metro to the wrong bus station.
No buses link the two bus stations so we had to catch a bus to the train station.
We waited there for a couple of hours for our train to Antequerra where we were meant to get on another train
BUT our first train was late so we missed the last train to Ronda.
From there we had to catch a taxi to Malaga which we weren’t even going to visit
Then a bus to Ronda,
Then walk to our hostel which we FINALLY arrived at, “Pension Hostal Ronda Sol” at 12am and slept.
To sum up, that was a 12 hour travelling day.. compared to the 2 hours it should have taken us.