I arrived in Skopje after a 6 hour bus from Sofia and made my way to Unity Hostel where I would spend the next two weeks. It was immediately evident as I walked through the city that what I’d read about Macedonia’s capital was true: the government has been spending a ridiculous amount of money to “beautify” certain aspects of the city, while leaving other parts in poverty. The first bridge I saw was very impressive, but then I saw the next one, and the next, and it became immediately evident that these were not really part of the city, that they had been built to put on a show. A show that many of the city’s inhabitants greatly disagree with. Continue reading
My first stop in Bulgaria was Varna. Varna is a beachside town on the Black Sea which is well known for its nightlife. I, however, was staying in a small hostel in an outer suburb, half an hour from the centre by bus. It was so quiet and peaceful and the beach was not at all crowded. Having said that, the beach also wasn’t great, but the water was a wonderful temperature, absolutely perfect. A bit too much seaweed for my liking though. Continue reading
The bus from Moldova arrived in Bucharest at 6am. We were dropped in the centre of the city next to a large fountain and James and I couldn’t help noting that although we couldn’t see anything overly spectacular it felt like we had taken huge leaps and bounds away from the downtrodden and somewhat suppressed atmosphere of Chisinau. It was quite refreshing to be somewhere that simply felt alive, even though it was too early for there to be much life around. Continue reading
Barcelona is a place I’ve been several times but I also feel like I’ve never really seen much of it. When I’ve been in the past it was usually to visit family friends, not so much to go sight seeing. This time my trip to Barcelona was very different in several ways. Instead of staying with the friends I normally do, I was simply staying at their flat alone because they were out of town. This doesn’t mean I was devoid of friends, however, because I met up with my old partner in crime Ramya, over a year since we last saw each other, and her friend Amanda. They’d planned an itinerary for their few days in Barcelona, so suddenly I had one too! Continue reading
From Algeciras I got the train to Ronda, a little town I’d decided to visit after seeing some incredible pictures. I had booked a hostel that was supposed to be a bit of a hike from the centre of town but which apparently had an amazing view. Ronda is built on this high cliff top surrounding a gorge that basically splits the town in half with a river running through it. My hostel, Los Molinos, was located down in the valley looking up towards the cliffs, the town, the gorge and the bridge that crosses it.
Fez kind of flew by in a blur of food poisoning, fever, and flu symptoms. At 6.30am I woke up in Marrakech, threw up my dinner from the night before, and then got on an eight hour bus to Fez. Not exactly the best farewell from Marrakech. When I eventually arrived in Fez it took a further hour and a half to get from the bus station to my hostel because, just like when I was in Agadir, the King was in town. Unlike in Agadir, however, this caused serious disruption to my already unpleasant day. All the streets around the medina were closed and it took a mammoth effort just to convince a taxi driver to take me close-ish to the medina. From there I had to walk, which took me 45 minutes in the ridiculous heat because the medina in Fez is like a giant maze and it’s so easy to get lost and my GPS got confused. Finally I arrived at my hostel and collapsed on a couch for half an hour before I could even move to check in.
Arriving in Lisbon was complicated, there seemed to be several different transport options to get from the bus terminal to the city, and we couldn’t figure out how to use any of them. Eventually we got some train and then had to hike about two kilometres UP and DOWN (just like everywhere else in Portugal) the city streets to get to the Brickoven Palace Hostel. But when we got there… Wow. It was one of the most expensive hostels I’ve ever stayed in (€16 a night but the cheapest available during the Easter break), but it was also by far the nicest. The furniture was really cool, the vibe was chill, and the wifi actually worked, I was so impressed.