Due to minimal budgets I basically just find the cheapest transport and accommodation possible. On Saturday night I found a cheap hostel in Madrid and a super slow train through the mountains all day Monday. It was about double the time and half the price of most of the other journeys so naturally I took it.
I was waiting at my platform expecting a semi modern train to arrive when a glorified steam engine pulled up. The doors didn’t even open themselves, it was like something from Harry Potter. There were no plugs or wifi on the train and the only toilet smelt like balls and urine. Despite this it was actually a really nice journey.
The ticket inspector at the beginning of the trip told me something in Spanish, I panicked and just said “si”. When he said the same thing to the girls behind me they started asking questions about time and place names so I had to ask them what he said. Turned out I had to change trains towards the end of the journey. Thank fack I asked the girls otherwise I would probably be in some tiny town in the middle of Spain right now instead of sweaty Madrid.
The actually journey was so beautiful we went up into the mountains around Valencia and through all these tunnels and over valleys. It was definitely one of the most relaxing and picturesque journeys I’ve taken. We passed through tiny little farming towns that look like they are ten million miles away from everything else. It was definitely worth the 30 beans for the views alone.
I think after this I will definitely always be going the longer slower route. I didn’t get to take many photos but I’ve never seen country side like what I saw on the train and I definitely would have missed it on a faster train.
I took a blabla car to Almeria from Granada with a man who sells fruit packaging. This meant we stopped at every fruit farm in between the two cities. Considering this is the main industry in the region, it was a lot. The journey took about three or four hours and was only supposed to take one or two. This was compensated by the breakfast and snacks that were provided for free-sies. He was really nice and brought me directly to the campsite. Old man number one was cool. A good start.
Old man number two was the bain of my life for a brief period. On Saturday I had to wait in Almeria all day for my blablacar so I decided to do all the touristy things. This meant I had to carry my back pack around with me (12kg!!!!!) I walked up to the Alcazaba, which is basically just a shitter version of the Alhambra. On my hike up to the castle I was stopping to take breaks in the shaded areas, this is where old man number two entered my life. He was the typical chatty brit living the retirement dream in Spain, giving out free life advice to anyone who will listen. In the space of no more than fifteen minutes he had told me to stay away from “the two pricks in life ; herion and dicks”, eat more vitamin c, stop being a vegetarian, give up alcohol and not to vaccinate my future children. He just kept appearing at every corner there was no escaping him for a while. Old man number two was the fucking worst.
Things picked back up with old man number three. He was my blabla car out of Almeria. With no common language and a five hour journey ahead of us, I decided to do the mature thing and put my head phones in and pretend to sleep. I woke up twice, once for him to buy me food and the second time for me to get out at my hostel. Old man number restored my faith.
The campsite I was staying on in Almeria was pretty quiet and I wasn’t expecting to make many friends there but these two cutie Spanish girls took me under their wing. The fed me for pretty much the full two days, drove me around when I needed and even gave me some new socks! Their English wasn’t that good but they tried so hard to make me feel welcome and were so generous with everything they had. This trip is definitely showing me how kind and willing to help people are.
My third destination set the bar very high. I’m not sure if anywhere else will be able to live up to the last five days in Granada. The combination of the city, hostel and beautiful people I met all contributed to some of the best moments of my life. I stayed in Granada Inn backpackers hostel, it’s been the cheapest and best place I’ve stayed so far, dorm rooms started from only nine euro a night and it was super clean, comfortable and really easy to make friends there.
I did a walking tour of the city with this company for free on Monday which lasted about two and a half hours and showed you around the old parts of the city. This was super cool not just because it was free but because you got to see so much and then could choose to go back and revisit stuff it you wanted more detail later on. They also have tours in the evenings but I skipped this to watch sunset and moonrise on the walls of the old city.
About ten of us walked up to the Sacremonte area and into the hills where the gypsys live and to the ruins of the old city walls. To get to the top of the wall it was necessary to climb the old wall, something that I did not excel at. At one point my hands and feet were so sweaty with fear I thought I was going to cause a mudslide and slip down the mountain to a certain death. Surprisingly I didn’t and when we got to the top it was so worth it. We had views of the whole city and surrounding mountains all to ourselves. It felt like an episode of Skins (minus the drugs) it was so perfect. I’ve never sat and watched the moon rise before and this was the perfect first time.
Basically everything in the city is so pure and exciting that I never wanted to leave ever…
P.S Photo creds to Gabby Rogers xxxx
After extending my stay in Granada because of all the beautiful souls I’ve met here for quite a few nights, we decided to rent cars drive into the mountains and hike through a gorge to a lake. Two Kiwis, Two Americans, Two Irish, One English and One Italien stallion packed our shit together for some wholesome fun.
We all stomped our pretty feet the whole way down the valley till we got to the lake pretty easily despite Gabby tumbling to what could have been her death at one point. Being the bad bitch she is, we wiped some blood away and moved on.
When we got to the lake, we could only see big reeds around the whole thing with the top of dam wall at the edge, we slithered through all the reeds like little adventure snakes to the wall. Getting as naked as possible as quick as possible we jumped in. It was definitively one of the nicest places I have ever swam, it was so so clear and blue and cold and perfect that I just want to bring my tent back there and never leave again.
Post swim picnic ensued and post picnic pictures followed that. Everyone was so happy and it felt like we had known each other for ever rather than maybe 48 hours at most.
The hike back was horrifically difficult, even though it was the evening time and the sun wasn’t as strong we were all super tired after eating, laying in the sun, and swimming all day. I came close to crying/vomiting a few times, but we got there and it was so worth it to look way down into the valley and see what I had just done with only 4 hours sleep the night before.
Over all point of this post – Agree to driving up the mountains with people you have just met and strip down and swim with them. It will be the best day of your life (apart from walking back up again).
Never in my life have I been surrounded by so many beautiful people as I was last weekend. It is like all the beautiful people in the world just gather in this small beach town to remind us normal people that some people were sent from heaven and we are mere mortals.
Obviously I loved Tarifa. I liked the sexy people and the chilled out surf vibe in the town. It’s the birthplace of windsurfing so it feels a little bit like Lehinch with a Spanish/Moroccan vibe. It’s the meeting point of the Mediterranean and Atlantic which creates a mini climate so it is a lot colder than the surrounding areas. This is nice during the day for hiking and exploring and stuff but it can be a bit too cold when you’re camping without a sleeping bag at night. It’s also the closet point in Europe to Africa so there is a big cultural influence in both the architecture and food.
Due to the fact I am a broke ass bitch I didn’t really do that much there but I thought it was a really nice place to chill and (sexy) people watch. My highlight was the many cat friends I made. In the campsite I had three little babies join me for cuddles in my tent which was fabulous. Beside the jerez gate into the old town there is a cafe with two little kitties that will come sit beside you and let you cuddle your hangover away ❤ .
Tonight is my first proper night. The first time I will be all alone in the wild*.
I assumed that putting up my tent would be super easy and I wouldn’t have any problems and life would be like a fun movie. Instead, this tent is shit, I am shit at putting up tents and the ground here is also shit. Foolishly I also thought that the pegs would just slide into the ground like they do in Electric Picnic. This did not happen. After spending quite a while stamping on the pegs I decided it would be better to source an English speaker and ask to borrow a hammer. This was easy, things were looking up and I felt pretty proud of myself.
After a nutritious lunch of a bag of crisps and a can of ice tea I started to walk towards the town of Tarifa along the beach. The campsite I am staying on for this weekend is 6km outside of the town but a bus runs every thirty minutes throughout the day. I didn’t make it the whole way into the town because of a very very deep river that runs across the beach. The beach that runs along this bay has loads of kite surfing schools along it and funky beach bars.
* The wild is actually a very nice campsite in Tarifa with lots of feline friends, even if they do try to claw through my tent.