Travel Tuesdays 22: Crazy holiday to Spain and Portugal

Sorry readers… I haven't been on WordPress for a while. But I'm back, to tell you about a wonderful holiday I had in Spain and Portugal recently with my friends Laura and Caroline. It was another of those crazy holidays where we walked a lot and never stayed in the same place for long! Here is a summary:

Day 1: Saturday 15th July. We got a very early plane from Manchester to Malaga (6am). The idea was to spend the day relaxing on the beach when we arrived, but it was cloudy, so we spent the day exploring the old town instead. We went to see the cathedral, castle and viewpoint of the town and surrounding area from the fort. We enjoyed our first tapas meal at lunch, and got better at choosing what to order for tapas as the week progressed…

Day 2: Sunday 16th July. It was sunny, so we used this day to relax on the beach. We didn't want to travel far, so walked to la Malagueta beach, which was just near the port. There were some cruise ships docked at the port, so there was quite a bit of noise from there!

Day 3: Monday 17th July. We woke up super early to get a 7am bus to Gibraltar for a day trip. The bus took 3 hours, then of course the one back to Malaga also took 3 hours, so it felt like most of the day was stuck on a bus! The rest of the day was spent queuing to go in a cable car up the rock (we were in that queue for about 1 and a half hours,) getting chased by monkeys (they pounce on tourists in the search for food), and walking down the mountain again, which I found exhausting! So, Gibraltar was not such a good day for me… But the scenery was nice, and it was interesting to see how just how British it was (even though it is on the southern coast of Spain, it is part of the UK.)

Day 4: Tuesday 18th July. We had a much nicer day trip today. We went on a trip to Ronda, where part of the town is built the other side of a steep gorge, and it's surrounded by beautiful countryside. We wandered around, took pictures by the famous bridge from one side of the gorge to the other and enjoyed the views.

Day 5: Wednesday 19th July. Today we went to the Picasso museum in Malaga. We also went souvenir shopping and visited the Roman amphitheatre. We then got the bus to Granada, which would be our next place to stay. We wandered around that evening and enjoyed the stunning view of the Alhambra. We also looked in the little shops, filled with Moroccan-style souvenirs.

Day 6: Thursday 20th July. Today we spent the whole day wandering around La Alhambra and the Generalife. It was wonderful to see the tiled mosaics, intricate architecture and the pretty gardens.

Day 7: Friday 21st July. After a morning of souvenir shopping in the "souks" and visiting a tea shop, we got the bus to Seville. On arrival, we went in search of a tapas meal and ended up eating two dinners as we were still hungry after the first one! The thing with tapas is that one restaurant will give a lot more food than another one, for the same price, so we were never sure how many little dishes to order!

Day 8: Saturday 22nd July. Today we wandered around Seville cathedral. It's a huge place, with lots of interesting little chapels, gold statues, old artifacts and artwork to see. We also went up the bell tower, where you walk up ramps instead of steps, so that was fun! After looking around the cathedral, we went to visit the Plaza de Espana and the park. That didn't end up being a good idea as it was boiling hot (around 40 degrees C) so I ended up overheating and feeling sick and dizzy with sunstroke.

Day 9: Sunday 23rd July. Today we went on another lovely day trip to Córdoba, to see the castle and the famous cathedral, known as the Mezquita. It used to be a mosque, then the catholic rulers plonked a church in the middle of it, retaining most of the fabulous stripy archways that had been built by the moors. Actually, I think Seville cathedral used to be a mosque too, it's just that the pillars in that one weren't stripy. It was really hot in Córdoba too, so my sunstroke continued…

Day 10: Monday 24th July. I felt better today after a nice rest. We looked around the royal palace in Seville in the morning. It also was originally built by the Muslim moorish rulers, before the catholic kings sent them all away. So the palace had an interesting mixture of architecture. It also had a beautiful garden! Although we had to rush through the gardens, as we needed to get a bus to the Algarve in Portugal! Our next place to stay was Portimao in Portugal, it's a little town on the coast, and I was surprised to see how touristy it was! It has a line of restaurants and souvenir shops, just like Mamaia in Romania.

Day 11: Tuesday 25th July. We had a lovely day of relaxing on the beach in Portimao. Our hotel was quite a long walk from the sea, but luckily they put on a bus so we didn't have to walk all of that way with all of our beach things! We had dinner near the river in Portimao, and had a Portuguese traditional meal of sardines!

Day 12: Wednesday 26th July. We had another day of relaxing on the beach! The beach in Portugal is so pretty!

Day 13: Thursday 27th July. We stayed by the pool in our hotel in the morning, then went to get our train to Lisbon (where we would be staying next.) Unfortunately, we hadn't booked the train in advance, and the one we wanted to get was full, so we had to sit in a cafe by the train station for 3 hours to wait for the next train! We finally arrived in Lisbon and we're too tired to search for dinner, so just went to McDonald's! (It's a tradition – we have to go at least once during a holiday!)

Day 14: Friday 28th July. Today we enjoyed looking around Lisbon. We went to the castle and cathedral and took a ride on the famous number 28 tram, which goes from one side of the city to the other, past interesting sights and goes up and down steep hills, so feels a bit like a rollercoaster!

Day 15: Saturday 29th July. This time we went sightseeing in Saint Jeronimo's monastery and the Belem tower. Both were architecturally stunning! They were built in a style that is unique to Portugal, called Manuelin. It's a mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture and is very beautiful! In the evening, we went on a funicular (Lisbon is very hilly) and had dinner in a nice restaurant, where I had steak in a coffee sauce. Yes, coffee! It was amazing!

Day 16: Sunday 30th July. We flew back home, on another early flight (7am this time). I then flew back to Bucharest the very next day, because I was due back at work for summer school!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my crazy adventures!

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