Saturday, December 29, 2007

Finally Catching Up on Photos

Getting home, getting over jet lag, and then going through the holidays made the last two weeks just fly by. So finally, here are the rest of the pictures from my trip:

Yes, this is a head. Sliced right in half and then packaged for the person who would want to cook with it? Found it in a grocery store in Malaga, Spain.
My first "real" Tapas, in Granada, Spain. Four of us went into the Tapas bar together, 3 of us ordered beer, the other one wine. That is all we paid for. The food on the table came free with the drinks. And every round was like that.
Gypsy caves, Granada, Spain. And yes, people do live there.
Inside the Alhambra. This place was amazing. Granada, Spain.

Ceiling in one of the side temples in the Alhambra.
Garden in the Alhambra.
A hotel in Granada with my family name. Didn't stay there, but I did walk by quite a few times, as it was on the way to my hostel.
Rabat, Morocco.
Rabat, Morocco.
Outside the bull fighting ring in Sevilla, Spain.
Cathedral in Sevilla, Spain.

Looking down from the tower of the cathedral.
Looking out from the tower of the cathedral at the bull fighting ring.
The cathedral tower. There are no stairs inside, instead it is all ramps leading to the top because the guy who built it wanted to be able to take people to the top on his horse.
The beaches of Lagos, Portugal.

A giant fish in the Lisbon Oceanarium. Called a sun fish.
Baby sting rays in their own breeding tank.

Gate to the city of Lisbon.
Lisbon. That is not the ocean behind me though, it is a river.

Some Lisbon police. They ride around on segways.

Friday, December 14, 2007


After Lagos I spent a nice 3 nights in Lisbon. The city was beautiful, and loads of fun. Not really beach weather, but it was warm enough to leave the jacket behind at the hostel when I went out for the day. My first full day I made a visit to the Oceanarium, and learned what a sun fish was. They are monstrous fish, and a bit ugly, as far as fish go. I managed to get some pics, but will post those a bit later.

Though I stayed in Lisbon for 3 nights, my second night was the night to celebrate the end of my trip, as I had an early flight out and would need to get to bed early on the 3rd night if I wanted any sleep. I went out with several people from the hostel and had a great time. A couple of the staff from the hostel lead the group to a bar where there was Fado going on, the traditional Portuguese singing. Where I was sitting I was unable to see the performer, but it was a great experience anyway.

My last day in Lisbon I spent wandering the streets around the castle. I was going to visit the castle, but had lost interest by the time I finally found the place to buy my ticket. The streets were fun though, all narrow and cobblestone, winding their way around houses. As I walked the streets I imagined that Portugal might be a place that I could find myself living.

Leaving Lisbon wasn't too hard, but the journey back to Seattle was a headache. I had to leave early from Lisbon to fly to Frankfurt, Germany. The flight was nice, and a real meal was served. From Frankfurt I flew into Washington DC, and that is where things started to go wrong. My flight to Seattle kept getting delayed longer and longer, until finally it was just canceled. The earliest they told me they could get me out was 7pm the next day. I felt no need for a direct flight and I asked for anything that could get me out of DC. I ended up on a late night flight to San Fransisco with an early connection into Seattle. In DC I was told I would get a room in SF, but by the time I arrived on the West coast, I would have had only 2 hours in that room, so I opted for the chairs at gate #72 and set up camp.

After a few hours of broken sleep I managed to get breakfast on a food voucher before boarding my plane to Seattle. The plane was on time, a nice feeling after the disappointment of DC. Of course, landing in Seattle at that time in the morning meant finding a ride was hard, so I had to use the shuttle service. No big deal though, made it to my Dad's, and then spent most of the day feeling a bit off, but unable to sleep. Finally around 10pm I crashed out, and now I am ready to see what Seattle will throw at me.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A Winter Tan

Lagos. This place rocks. I booked the hostel for 3 nights, but have extended my stay by 2 more nights. I honestly think I could end my trip here, but I would like to have the chance to explore Lisbon a bit, so I will be heading north in the morning.

The days here are filled with sun, and the water is warm enough for swimming. For the last 3 days I have enjoyed myself on the beach, hanging out with other travelers and the locals who have added themselves to the traveling crowd, and working on a winter tan. I was getting annoyed at myself for having carried summer clothing and sandals, but the weather and beaches here have made the extra weight for the first part of my trip more than worth it. I have now used every last thing I brought with me from the States, making me feel like I have packed well for 3 months of traveling. The only thing I should have used more is my camera, but I do have new pics to post, though with only a few days left to go, they'll probably wait till I get back to my own computer.

I have also given the green wine a try. I hear that it is a Portuguese specialty, and though it looks really similar to white wine, it is quite tasty. Don't usually go for whites, but this wine has a unique taste. I wonder if I'll find it in the States?

Just a short one tonight, there is some salsa dancing going on tonight that I can't wait to see. Hope all of you are enjoying life as much as I am right now.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Warm and Sunny

After Morocco I spent two days in Sevilla, Spain. It was a nice town, warm during the day. The hostel I stayed at organized a night out to see Flamenco dancing, which was amazing. The group was made up of three people: a guitar player, a singer, and a dancer. The routine started with the guitar player solo, the singer then started in, and eventually the dancer would get up. The emotion displayed by each of the three was intense, each was very involved in his/her part of the trio.

From Sevilla I took a bus to Lagos, Portugal. It is a small town on the coast, and today I spent some time down at the beach. Even waded a bit in the Atlantic Ocean. Tomorrow I plan on wearing a swim suit and getting a little more wet. The water isn't the warmest, but is plenty warm enough for a dip followed by soaking up some sun. Hard to believe it is December and I am wearing summer clothing.

My hostel in Lagos is perhaps the best I have stayed at so far. For breakfast there is all-you-can-eat home made crepes, made by a woman who prefers to go by "Mama." Since the hostel is currently undergoing renovations, there is some extra noise in the mornings, and an endless supply of dust. Mama made everyone a Portuguese dinner, saying it was for the inconvenience of the state of the hostel. It was a rice dish full of veggies with some meat, and it was incredible.

Though I have only been here for a couple of days, I can see why this place is a "black hole" of Europe. It is not uncommon for people to come for a day or two, and stay much, much longer. The first person I met at the hostel came for a vacation from England, but found a job just a few days after arrival and will now be staying. Suppose there is still the chance of that for me, but with only a week left to go, I think it is more likely I get to Seattle first.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


So my Euro-trip even landed me in another continent: Africa. I only had enough time to visit Rabat, the capital of Morocco, so that I would still have time to see the last 3 places I wanted to visit in Europe before heading back across the Atlantic.

The experience was something else. Having been to Europe twice before, there has been little culture shock thus far, but all that changed in Morocco. English is not widely spoken as has been the case so far in my trip. Instead, once in Morocco, people generally speak Arabic or French. Of course there was a sprinkling of people with English skills, so not all was lost. And what little I could remember from high school French proved to be very useful.

I took a ferry across from Spain, and then following the advice of travelers met along the way, headed straight for the train station to get out of Tanger. It is supposed to be full of people looking to rip-off tourists, though I can´t vouch for that either way, as I may have spent a total of 3 hours there. The train to Rabat was to be about 4 hours, according to the guy selling the tickets. My guide-book said 4 1/2 hours, but it ended up being more like 5 1/2. Unable to find anything to book online before going, I had only the name of a hostel written out on a piece of paper to show a cab driver. Turns out prices in Morocco are very cheap in comparison to that of Western Europe, so my cab ride was hardly a Euro. Though the hostel was incredibly cheap, it did lack things that most are accustomed to, such as toilet paper and warm water from the taps. No worries though, the nearby Hammam (public baths) and a package of pocket kleenex fixed all that.

Walking through the Medina was an experience all its own. The market had everything one could ever want to buy, plus some. And it was so big that it would be easy to get lost in there for days, if it weren´t for the fact that the place closes at night. Though I got lost in there, I hardly doubt I saw more than half of the market.

On Friday, couscous is a popular dish, and I had the opportunity to experience the dish homemade. The woman who ran the hostel had cooked it up, and shared her lunch. It was a load of food, and I was encouraged to eat until I could not eat anymore. Instead of each person eating from his/her own plate, the plate was shared by everyone at the table. The entire plate was not finished.

Other travelers in the hostel were much different from the travelers I have met in Europe. Most had traveled some in Europe, but were planning on carrying out extensive travels in Africa. I wish I had more time. I want to travel more in Africa. Even more time in Morocco would have been nice, but there is just so little time left before I must find myself in Lisbon.