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  • Over Switzerland and the Alps

    Old Bridge of Luzerne

    Achieving a dream, across Switzerland I discovered a land I had in my mind for long time. I miss Geneva, but travelled across Lausanne, Bern, Luzern, Basel and end up partying in Zurich.

    09/08

    Wake up in Milan. Breakfast in the way to the train station and here comes the stress. At the amazing fascist train station of Milan there was a huge queue to get the train tickets. I just had 20 minutes to be on my train and with the Interrail pass I couldn’t get my ticket in the automatic machines. It would have been faster that way. The train of my friend was leaving 10 minutes before mine. She had to leave and my stress kept my mind away of the fact that it might be a long time from now that we meet again.

    After a long cosy hug, she left and I came back to the queue. I get my train ticket just 5 minutes before the departure of the train. More than enough! The travel was comfortable and the landscape better and better as we get across the Alps. Tunnels and viaduct were one after the other. Huge trees al around and big mountains and not to forget the clouds and could weather. We were in the Swiss Alps. I stope in Brig as first stop in Switzerland. There I catch a train to Bern. This train was an Intercity train, less fancy, but much better than any of the trains of the same category in Spain, France or Italy.

    Anecdote

    At the train from Brig to Bern I was traveling with my backpack in the seat next to me.

    Photo with my backpack.

    I normally seat where seats are face to face with or without table. I like this place as it is where you can meet more people. However, this time I was on my own. In the upper flor of the train, next to me, in the other side of the corridor, there was a couple chatting and using their Mobil phone. The train was almost empty.

    When we arrived to Bern I get my backpack on my back and walk downstairs to exit the train. Just in the stairs the guy seated next to me, tall, pale skin and blond hair stopped me.

    “Hi Rodrigo” he said to me.

    I was impressed, how did this guy knew me? Have we met before? I answered back with my best poker face not to show how confuse I was. “Hi”

    He introduced himself and ask me about my trip to Australia. Then I realize that he has checked my website on the ride. We talked about this adventure while we get down from the train. He even asked me where I was about to stay in Bern. I wonder if he was about to offer me an accommodation. Anyway, I had a couchsurfer waiting for me.

    Bern

    I get to Bern a couple of hours before my appointment with my couchsurfer host. Load with my backpack I decided to go for a walk on the city to see a bit of it. Bern city centre is enough small that I get to visit it all even the interior of the cathedral in that time. I was dressed to a warm sunny weather and here it was cold and it even started raining after a while. “Welcome to winter!” I thought.

    City Centre of Bern

    Old town of Bern

    Malwina, my host is originally from Poland. She picked me up at the train station and after buying some stuffs at the supermarket she took me to her place.

    It happens that in Switzerland they have to main supermarket companies, Coop and Migros. If you are a real Swiss you just go to one of those grocery stores. The others are no national so are unquestionable. But really surprise me that even if the price and the products are almost the same, each citizen grow up going to Coop or to Migros and you can distinguish families according to where they do the grocery.

    At home we had dinner and chat about architecture, as Malwina is as well an architect, about Switzerland, and Poland. She recommends me a couple of places to visit en bith counties and she told me what was to be a Polish intern in a Swiss architectural studio.

    After the nice dinner, we went to bed.

    10/08

    Lausanne

    I woke up with a little headache and feeling pain in my throat. I was getting seek. Getting cold and wet the previous day had its consequences. However, a little pain is not going to ruin my day, not at the beginning of my trip. I had a shower, some cookies and fruit to breakfast and I went to the city centre of Bern with Malwina. She had to work and I decided to go visiting Lausanne. The time forecast predicted sun there and rain and clouds for Bern.

    This time in the train I had not the chance to talk with no one. As I was feeling sick I tried to rest a bit more, but the landscape attracted me so much.

    Lausanne is a city in the lake Leman in the boarder with France next to Genève and in front of the French city of Neuvecelle. It’s a small city with no more than 150k inhabitants. The city is located in a hill in front of the lake so the streets are sometimes quite steep. It’s not much of a challenge, but it’s not what I will recommend you if you have a headache.

    At the central square there is a market and a great building which hosts the public library and several science museums. The building itself appealed me so I came in. the building is distributed by a great main staircase that traverse the building from the front to the rear of the building crossing the patio in the middle. From these stairs in every floor there is a different museum or the library. All of them arranged by sections. From the top of the stair there is a nice view downwards.

    Library of Lausanne

    Library of Lausanne

    From here I went uphill and what would you say I found on the hill in the city centre? Yes, a church. The cathedral of Lausanne and a nice panorama view from some kind of wall. I thought is part of an ancient defensive wall but now is more a panorama garden.

    Panorama of Lausanne

    Panorama of Lausanne

    I was walking really slow that day, I could feel how fast I run out of energy and had to do everything slower. At the church I stopped for a while and admire the sculpture in the “solarium” they have on one side. If you have a look to the windows here, they are prepared to recover energy from the sun.

    From now on, the way was downhill to the lake. I cross the city through the more commercial streets. It was full of activity. It is evident that people likes to go for a walk on sunny warm days. I wonder how it is in winter time. Also, the city was full of tourist or where them immigrants from all Europe? I could hear Spanish, Italian, English, a melting pot of languages. Well, they were both, Immigrants and tourist. Most of the times it was easy to distinguish one from the other.

    Gardens of Lausanne

    Gardens of Lausanne

    Across several gardens I got to the lakeside with some food I bought in a supermarket. Switzerland is expensive I can tell that. One salad a sandwich and some juice around 10 Euros.

    At the lakeside I sat next to the exit of the sailboats at the shade. Watching people picnicking and others amusing themselves in their boats. I thought that someday, probably not far from now I have to improve my sailing skills to go sailing. I even suggest myself to go asking someone in the shipyard if I could come on board with them and help him on the boat. If I hadn’t got this pain on my head and I had felt much more awake and not this lack of energy I would have done it. Next time might be.

    Shipyard of Lausanne

    Shipyard of Lausanne

    As the city wasn’t a big thing and I wasn’t feeling good I just rested watching the activity in the lakeside.

    On my way back to the train station I took the way through the Olympic Games Museum. Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games were taking place at the time I passed by, and you can feel it on the Museum. They were even recording the name of Rio de Janeiro in the stairs.

    Stairs of the Olympic Games Mussem

    Stairs of the Olympic Games Mussem

    Around the Museum there is a wonderful open space perfect to chill out. I didn’t. The heat of the sun on my head was making me feel worst.

    On the train back to Bern I slept and when I woke up at Bern I felt a bit better. In Bern I went again for a day walk. Here, as the forecast predicted, it was mostly clouded and raining from time to time. But when the sun shined the panorama was beautiful.

    Panorama of Bern

    Panorama of Bern

    That night when Malwina catch me up we went to the supermarket to buy the necessary vegetables to prepare a Pisto. I wanted to grate her for been so kind hosting me. The Pisto was good regarding that we couldn’t find everything.

    Even if I was tired I couldn’t sleep until late. There was something happening with my body. I did my best as next they I had to wake up early to go visiting Luzern before getting to Basel.

    11/08

    I woke up almost recovered of my sickness. No headache, no feeling uncomfortable on my throat. What I did was to cover myself all night even if I was feeling hot. Sweeting while sleeping helped me.

    In the morning I went to the top of the Church of Bern before getting my train to Luzerne. The panorama from there is worth the visit. Unfortunately, some areas were close as they were under restoration.

    Panorama of Bern from the tower

    Panorama of Bern from the tower

    Luzerne

    The day was shining in Luzerne and since I get out from the modern train station I felt radiant. Everything was colourful and I could feel something positive all around.

    Luzerne is a city in the lakeside of a lake named before the city. It is located in the German area of Switzerland and is almost the same side of Lausanne. However, this city looks more modern at the time that it had more historical remains. At least that was my first impression.

    Next to the train station there is a modern building that is the Art Museum. In front of both buildings there is an esplanade that ends in the lake with the city centre at the other side of the bridge.

    Something that made my visit to Luzerne particular is that I did it all carrying my backpack. I tried to drop it at one of the storage at the train station but they were all taken and after almost 45 minutes waiting I decided to carry it on with me not to waste more time at the train station.

    To get to the other side I crossed the old wood bridge with the stone tower. I think this is the main picture of Luzerne. A bridge with colour flowers in both sides that shine with the reflection of the light over the blue lake. The swans and duck make the picture even more fantastic.

    Timber Bridge of Luzerne

    Bridge of Luzerne

    In the city centre I did a circular tour counter clockwise starting with the Cathedral and then to the garden of the Lion Carved on the Rock. This Lion is a memorial to the Swiss soldiers that died at the French court of Louis XVI when the French revolution took place. During this period, it seems that 40 000 Swiss soldiers were fighting under other countries or states banners. This regiments were named the Swiss mercenaries.

    Cathedral of Luzerne

    Cathedral of Luzerne

    Lion Memorial

    Lion Memorial

    Luzerne is more a flat city however it has some hills. They are not as high neither the streets as steep as those of Lausanne, though. However, the city walls and the defensive towers of the ancient Luzerne where on top of one of them. I was feeling good so loaded with my 13kg backpack I went up to the top of the wall and the first tower and the second, and the third. As I was enjoying very much all the exercise I was doing up steep narrow stairs encountering people and for sure the panoramas from the top I even climb the forth tower. It was worth doing it.

    Panorama of Luzerne

    Panorama of Luzerne

    Back to the ground to the lake level I just get myself lost walking in the city centre. Most of the buildings here are historical and they are decorated with paintings on the walls. It would be like graffitis but from the XVI or XVII century. The show some of the traditions of the local people at that time.

    The lakeside was full of activity. There was a lot of people, mostly tourist walking along the lake, others having a drink or grabbing a bite at the terraces. There were also those who played music or entertained the kids with foam bubbles to get some cash in reward. As the day was sunny and I was feeling great but tired I went to the nearest supermarket where I bought myself a Sandwich and a drink. This time I manage to spend no more than 7 Euros. I’m improving my skills here.

    Luzerne lakeside

    Luzerne lakeside

    I sat down in the esplanade in front of the Art museum and the train station watching once more the boats, the people and the swans.

    Old Bridge of Luzerne

    Old Bridge of Luzerne

    At about 17:00 I get on the train on my way to Basel where my second couchsurfer host met me at the train station.

    Basel

    Once in Basel I encounter Jenni, my new host. She is a Swiss journalist who studied and grew and now works in Switzerland. However, whenever she can she likes to go travelling. This time there weren’t many conversations about architectural technical topics. This time we talked more about art, history and Swiss topics.

    With her I learnt how Switzerland is organised by Cantons and how laws and taxes are different regarding the different Cantons. Also she told me about Switzerland politics in the world and the Swiss army.

    Most of the people thinks that Switzerland has no army, and theoretically it is like that. However, every citizen has to make a military service just in case. The idea is that every Swiss citizen should be ready to defend their country in case of an attack at the time they preserve their neutrality not having a regular army as the other countries.

    After dropping my backpack and having a shower Jenni took me for a walk to the city centre. Basel is a bit bigger than the previous cities I’ve been in Switzerland, but still a small one. The city is divided by the Rhine river. Both sides where protected with a city wall that doesn’t exist anymore. On one side of the river, where there is the city centre, there were most of the churches and the houses of the noble and wealthy citizens of Basel. In the other side lived the people that give services and worked for the high-class.

    After a fast view of the city we stopped for a hamburger next to the river and we went to an open air concert of African music in a platform over the river. It was full of people. Regarding Jenni, that was normal as normally there is not much to do in Basel, so whenever there is an activity, everyone goes there.

    12/08

    We woke up early next morning. As Jenni let me stay at her place while she was at work I took my time to look for accommodation by couchsurfing, hostels and others for the rest of my trip.

    Finding accommodation

    It takes a lot of time to improvise while travelling as must hostels gets full and prices rise. I found that sometimes if you book a room for the same or the next day in booking or any other web sometimes you find price reductions.

    Regarding couchsurfing I found that it is much harder to travel as a male than as a female. Unfortunately for me I found that there are a lot of male host that only accept females. Why? You get your conclusions. I realised that as they only have references of female surfers. I tried asking them to host me as well with a nice request as I do always. Most of them just answer “I can’t host you” in a short message if they answer you.

    After sending several requests and checking some hostels I went out for a walk in Basel.

    Basel is much a modern city full of modern architecture and it is where architects such as Herzog and de Meuron are based. Next to Jenni’s home is their railway Switchtower.

    Rail Switchtower

    Rail Switchtower

    Following the railways, I get to the Central train station which is connected to the core of the city by a commercial street full of life from noon till late afternoon. I passed by a church now transform into the Museum fur Geschichte and followed the main street to the Rathaus, the City Hall.

    Rothaus Basel

    Rothaus Basel

    I decided to get a bit lost in town and I get to Basel Munster, Basel Cathedral with twin spires and the museum of Culture.

    Behind this ecclesiastic building there is a panorama view of the river. In this river as in most of the rivers here you can swim. What people does is the jump in the water with a hermetic bag with all their belongings and get out of the river a couple of metres down the river. You just need to let free yourself to the stream.

    160812132731-min

    Panorama of the Rin

    I crossed the river to the “poor” side of the city. There I had a snack. As everything is so expensive here I end up having a burger in McDonalds. I must admit it. It’s being really long time I regret going to McDonald, Burger King. In terms of fast food I just accept Kebab and nice sandwiches.

    In this side you might find the church of St. Clara and a nice garden nearby which name I never knew. The time was perfect to chill out in one of the terraces nearby if you can afford their prices. Also they were preparing some kind of concert in one side of it. Probably something for the night. Today is Friday!

    I keep my walk until the next bridge down the river. Back on the side of the city centre, at the right there is the Studio of Herzog and de Meuron and a little forward, one of the old entrance to the old town.

    Old Entrance to Basel

    Old Entrance Tower to Basel

    I followed what was supposed to be the wall of the city linking all the gates of the city. In my way I came by the university and the university hospital. Both seemed to me so modern. Although the buildings were in the city centre, they were barely new. It could be seen how this area was regenerating itself little by little.

    I get to the synagogue of the city in what I considered was the Jewish area as nearby was the Jewish museum as well.

    From this area I went back to the city centre to visit the church of St. Leonard where was the hot Pokemon point of the city. Again a square full of people looking to their electronic devices talking between them from time to time. This point is in a hill in the city centre. If from here you go to the rathaus you may pass by a couple of picturesque narrow steep streets.

    Back down I pass by the church of St. Elizabeth which tower you can visit for free. However you are invited to drop some tip, which I did. I get to the top 5 minutes before o’clock and waited at the clock work to the time the bells toll. I almost forget about it but I saw a mother and a daughter waiting for it and I simply join them.

    Next to this church is a sculpture of Richard Serra. One of my favourite sculptures due to how he works with the corten steel to modify the environment. One of his games is to open and constrict your surrounding while you walk across his sculptures.

    Panorama of Basel

    Panorama of Basel

    In the way back to meet Jenni I passed by the supermarket to buy whatever was necessary to prepare that night some fajitas and guacamole to thank her for hosting me. We ate at her terrace and I’m happy she did like my cooking.

    We had a beautiful night watching the stars and talking about the neighbourhood, Swiss people, my favourite topic, travels among others.

    As she was working next day early morning, after dinning we went to bed.

    13/08

    Once again we wake up early. Jenni left the apartment at 7:00. Once again I took my chance to answer some Couchsurfing declinations and confirmations as well as confirming some hostels.

    Thanks to the fact that a friend will join me at Munich and she would take care of the accommodation there, finding something for Stuttgart was ok by now.

    Once everything ready I load my backpack and went to the train station to catch next train to Zurich.

    Zurich

    The train to Zurich was full of people disguised. The girls next to me were dressed like pink bunnies as the ones from Playboy. Another group was more like heavy rock. At Zurich that Saturday was about to take place one of the greatest Street Parades of Europe.

    Once in the train station of Zurich you can have a preview of how crazy was about to be the afternoon. I went to drop my backpack in a locker at the train station, and surprisingly I get to store it in less time than the time I’d been waiting in Luzerne.

    Light, I went to visit the main spots of the city before attending to the inevitable Street Parade. From the train station the first stop is the castle nearby.

    Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum

    Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum

    On the other side of the Limmat river you have the city centre where I went for a walk around the city on the streets I could and to visit some of its churches and the main tower. As it’s coming to be a habitude, I went to its top to have a panoramic view of the city.

    From there to the lake everything was occupied by the young and no so young people waiting for the party.

     

    Panorama of Zurich

    Panorama of Zurich

    Before getting to Zurich everyone told me about how snob was the city and the people that lives in it. They told me that as you approach to the city you can see more and more expensive cars. Also that a casual way of dressing will be out of place as everyone there is dressed as fancy as they can. One way or another, I had a completely different impression.

    Parade dresscode

    Parade dresscode

    Once back to the ground, I decide to join the party. I went to where the parade was coming. I found a nice place surrounded by nice people who were getting drunk little by little. As you can imagine that gave place to a couple of anecdotes that I’m not going to publish here. Maybe I can tell you some if we meet on the way.

    Zurich Street Parade 2016

    Zurich Street Parade 2016

    Meeting People - Street Parade Zurich

    Meeting People – Street Parade Zurich

    I really had fun at the party and meet a bunch of people. Unfortunately, I had to leave before the party get to its climax, as I had to get to Stuttgart where I was about to spend my night.

    I get late to Stuttgart so I simply walked to the train station to the hostel I was staying at and rest after a warm shower.

    Switzerland has been a magnificent experience Let’s see what is awaiting me in Germany.

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  • Au sud de la France

    In the way out from Spain, the first stop is France. Here I travel along the south from Henday to Ventimiglia, visiting Toulouse and old friends in Nice. To cross this country by train has been an adventure itself.

    Starting Late

    01/08

    I was supposed to wake up early to catch the Euskotren to Henday at 5:00 am. But after two nights sleeping 3 hours I woke up later than expected and get to the train station at 5:02. Two minutes in terms of trains timing changed my day from getting to Toulouse at 12:30 to get there at 15:50. Having to catch the train that departed 15 minutes later did not allow me to get the easiest combination that went to Toulouse so I had to went to Bordeaux to later catch a train to Toulouse. Until here everything is alright. The accumulative delay was supposed to take only 2 hours more. To this we have to add a couple of inconvenience on the way. We stayed almost one hour stopped in Montauban due to a suicidal between Carcassonne and Toulouse. In this journey I will find out that the railways in France are not at all as good as I expected.

    Toulouse

    Once in Toulouse I went straight to the Hostel. It is located behind the Cathedral of Saint Sernin. A nice area with several bars in the nearest square and drug dealers hunting tourists. After check in I drop my backpack at the room and went for a walk. The next day I had a ticket to leave the city at 13:00 so in total I will be in town for less than 24 hours. I had to optimise my time there to enjoy and discover the city.

    Panorama Toulouse

    Panorama of the Daurade

    First I went for a walk along the river Garonne. Pass behind the city walls to get to the place all Pokemon hunters concentrate in the city. La Daurade is a garden in the banks of the river which is the perfect spot to chill out and have a drink. As the weather is sunny and warm this garden is full of people. Continuing the river is the Church of Notre-Dame de la Daurade where you can find a peculiar Black Madonna.

    The Quai de la Daurade continues to the “Pont Neuf” where I turn into the city to get lost in his streets and observe the urbanism and culture. First I went South and then turned East to went back North. Toulouse city centre is arranged in imperfect squares and streets that goes North-South and East-West.

    I came across the Museum of Jacobins to get to the Capitol square before getting back to the Basilique de Saint Sernin. The square of the Capitol is the mayor square of the city in front the City Hall and the Capitol Theatre. In the centre of the square there is a 12-point star with the zodiacs on it.

    The Basilica of Saint Sernin is a medieval basilica with a stunning tower. It’s believe that in the basilica they store one of the thorns from the Crown of Thorns of Christ.

    Sunset was coming so I decided to get some take away on the city and went back to La Daurade to enjoy the sunset from there. Chilling out next to the river let me pay attention to the people that was living the city at the time.

    After an hour there I went back to the hostel to prepare how I was about to continue my trip and next day adventure.

    02/08

    Before going to the train station I went for a walk. This time I went north from the hostel to the Japanese Garden where people were doing sport, stretching and having a walk in the early morning. This garden has the name of Japanese as they have a real Japanese garden with a reproduction of a Japanese house.

    Japanese Garden Toulouse

    the Japanese Garden.

    After a long morning at the garden, I went to the south of the city and visit the Cathedral of Toulouse. This Cathedral has the particularity of being built in two parts which are not in line one with the other.

    After picking back my backpack at the hostel I went straight to the train station where I started my greatest adventure on a train

    Train to Nice

    The train departs from Toulouse at 12:57 to get to Nice at 19:30 where my friend Benedetta will await me to dinner. At the Train station, 20 minutes before departing, it is announced a delay of 1:30. All of a sudden it disappeared so I address myself to the platform. There was the train waiting for the passengers. Once in the train we leave Toulouse 10 minutes later than expected. But that is too much expecting for a 4:30 train in France. In the way we stopped at Carcassonne for almost one hour due to another suicide on the rail to Béziers. There we received free meal as reward – Cold pasta salad, water, cookies, bread, juice and some candies. We stopped once again in the middle of the rail a couple of times due to several problems on the way, but the greatest one was in a small village between Marseille and Nice where we had to wait almost two hours. It happened that there was one train stuck on the way. They needed to detach our machine to get catch the other train and bring it back so we can continue our way.

    Nice

    Finally, in Nice at 23:30 I get to my friends’ place where they were waiting for me after dinner. They had cook nice pasta for me that I hadn’t the chance to taste as when I get there I had already eaten something at the train. They offered me however some ice-cream and Italian liqueur.

    03/08

    Next morning, we all wake up early and I went for a walk in town. First up hill to the “Castle”. There is not a Castle, but the ruins of a Basilica at the top and for sure a great Panorama of the city. From the top of the Hill of the Castle – East from the Old Town.

    IMG_1117_stitchWEB-min

    Panorama of Nice

    From there I descend to the old town and zig-zag on it visiting the different churches and great houses there.

    Church of Saint-Jaques le Majeur

    Cathedral Saint-Reparete

    Church of Saint-Matin and Saint-Augustin

    PANO_20160803_115129-min

    Prefacture Palace and the Flowers Market

    From there I walk West by the Opera and the City Hall to get to the Garden of Albert I and to the Rue de France which is one of the main commercial streets in town.

    In Nice you can easily see the contrast between the rich people that lives and visits the city in summer time and the not so rich, locals and immigrants that works giving services to the first ones.

    I went north to the train station to get my ticket to Torino the following day. I changed my plan of going to Milan as Vittorio, the boyfriend of my friend Benedetta, who is from Torino convinced me.

    At the train station I had a curious Anecdote.

    Waiting out of the station checking the timetables with my phone before asking inside to book the tickets a guy approaches me. He stopped in front of me and said “Salam”. I turn my face up with a soft smile and looked at him to his eyes. The he continued asking me with a foreign accent “Arab?”. I smiled more and answered him “Unfortunately not”. That made me feel that sometimes I seem Arab which might be of use once I get to the Middle East Countries.

    For lunch time I went back to the Port where I started my walk that morning to Chez Pipo. One of the main dishes to taste here is the Succo. It is a bread oven what normally you combine with some salad and Pizza. I have to say, that the salad they suggest me really disappointed me as there was nothing else but green leaves.

    After lunch I walk along the west coast from the port where the people goes for a sunbath over the rocks. Here there is less people than in the main beach that links the Castle Hill with the Airport, but there is less place and is all about rocks.

    Beach of Nice

    After chilling a little here, I went back to the Port to visit the church of Notre-Dame du Port and from there across Garibaldi Square and the area of Carabacel to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption on the Avenue Jean Medecin.

    Garibaldi-Nice

    Back to meet Vittorio I took this main commercial avenue and followed the Promenade du Paillon till I arrive to the Piazza Garibaldi. There we had a beer talking about architecture, Couchsurfing, travels and other of our common interest.

    At about 19:00 we meet with Beni at their place where other female friends came for an appetizer at then we went to a concert with an inexistent appetizer at stARTup. The concert wasn’t that great and the appetizer not more than a bunch of peanuts.

    At the end we were not satisfied so we went to dinner to a nice bar in the avenue of the Market. The bar, named Le Safari, was expensive, but with good local food. There I meet an Italian couple friends of Beni and Vitto. With them we shared adventures and comments about architecture, life philosophy and travels. They also talk me about things to do in Italy while visiting next week.

    Friends Nice Le Safari

    Next to dinner we went for a nice Ice-Cream and back home as next day we had to wake up early as Beni had her flight early morning and one hour later I will start my adventure to Italy. Hope there the trains are better than in France.

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  • Farewell Spain

    Last weeks of July I spent them across Spain, from Malaga to San Sebastián meeting friends and relatives to create some new memories that will remain in our hearts.

    Malaga

    The 20th I left Malaga and a wealthy life there. I quit my job, left my house, sold my belongings and enjoy until the last minute my friends. Last days in Malaga I even happened to meet new amazing people that I wished I had met them before, as the few days and hours we spent together seemed too little for me.

    Sevilla

    In Sevilla I stayed at my mum’s spending most of my free time with her as she is the one I am going to miss the most even if after a week whit all the nervousness we end up arguing a couple of times. It had been a month almost since my last time in the city, so I tried to meet this time all my friends and colleges I still in contact with to enjoy one more time together. I was so emotive to see them that even forget to take pictures of the meetings (sorry readers).

    Sevilla

    “Hosting till the last minute”

    I didn’t expect, but during my last days in Sevilla, Ana, a Couchsurfer that had already spent one weekend with me in Cadiz, came to our place. Instead of staying for 3 nights as we talk at the beginning, she stayed until I left. It’s because of the people like her that I have met in Couchsurfing that I want to do Couchsurfing along my journey. Hosting Ana happened to be very helpful as she shared with me not only great moments in HellVille (Hell + Seville), but also all her knowledge about shopping in Decathlon and preparing a backpack.

    Couchsurfing

    Madrid

    After Sevilla I went to Madrid to meet one of my childhood best friends and my aunt from Mexico. I took the chance of being in Madrid to buy some last things I where missing like a shaving machine or sandals. As it was not my first time in Madrid and the weather was really hot, I didn’t walk much along the city. Just went to el Retiro and around the city centre.

    Madrid in familyMadrid in family

    The night with my friend Amanda, she took me to a place called Hamburgesa Nostra at Bilba metro. I must admit it was delicious. So if you ever have the chance, try it.

    Madrid

    From Madrid to San Sebastian I went by BlaBlaCar. I had the chance to meet a guy who also loves to travel and has work along Spain and America. We spent most of the travel talking about travels, life experiences, Mexico and the Basque Country. It is incredible how easily I happen to meet really interesting people.

    Donostia – San Sebastian

    In Donosti I stayed with my dear friend Goocha and Marta. Both friends from the time I use to live there. As every time I come to Donosti I meet again Nahiko, one of those friends that no matter how long it takes without talking, when we meet each other it seems that we have always been there. But the what was new this time was meeting Marta’s friend Ainara. Such a nice girl from Lo Viejo. It is so emotional to come back to people you haven’t seen in a long time and feel like time has not pass by in your relationship. We talked and had fun as the first time we met. I have the feeling that this is not going to be the last time I feel something similar.

    San Sebastian

    From Donosti-San Sebastian we went hiking the Udalaitz which might be the next story to tell.

    Udalaitz

    Now the travel continues north. From Hendaya across France.

  • Blog
  • Last days at home

    Every journey has a start point, but before departing there is a full adventure saying farewell and getting everything ready for the departure.

    To make the experience long as it takes I decided to get rid of all my belongings and unlashed all the bonds that attaches me to anything. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the places and people a left behind, there will always be present in me, my memories and strength to achieve whatever I want.

    Quitting job

    Todobarro Team

    On June I finished my work as teacher as it was the end of the school season. I waited to that day to start preparing the last steps. Same month I told my freelance clients what was my plan for the next months and year so they can contact someone else to do the job I was doing. From all the jobs I had last year quitting Todobarro might have been the more sentimental as it wasn’t only a company I collaborated with, but also a group of friends with whom I really had fun working.

    Getting rid of belongings

    GarageSale

    Knowing that I will leave Malaga the 20th of July, I notified my landlord and coworking of the fact to start preparing all the necessary documents. As the 20th approached I felt more and more melancholic every time I came to my house and bed or I walked from home to the coworking by the Cathedral. I started missing the city even before leaving it, what let me feel everyday more intensively what Malaga had meant to me. I even went to see my first home in town to feel how everything has changed.

    My house was full of useful and ridiculous stuffs I have been storing with no reason. I needed to get rid of them. As I knew that I had lots more in Sevilla, I brought them to Malaga to end up with the minimum I will need on my journey by the end of July.

    This has been one of the hardest parts of the preparation of the journey as it is not easy to find people to buy your stuffs for on fair price. I used to second hand website/apps for that: Vibbo and Wallapop that worked really well in Spain. I thought of eBay, but it wasn’t worth it regarding the commissions.

    The craziest idea I had to get rid of my belongings was to get a spot in one of the second hand markets of the area which happened to be impossible as there ar always taken and there are a lot of people waiting for the same. Never thought of it or how did it work before. Finding solutions, I did a Garage or Yard Sale as it is common in the States. However I haven’t got a Yard or Garage so I convince Peter from The Shakespeare to let me a spot at his Pub where I could expose all what I had so people can come to have a look while having a drink in a cosy bar in the centre of Malaga. It wasn’t about making big money of what I had, but more about not throwing away all what I have been taking care off. It really worked out better than expected, what was easy as we expect nothing. I wish I had sold everything though.

    What remained, mainly clothing, CD’s, Movies, etc. I gave them to friends and charity and I took back to Sevilla a little part of what I had accumulated along my life.

    At the very beginning must of my possessions where meaningful to me as they were linked to moments of my life, but as I start to get rid of them this feeling run away and I feel even release of all the sponsors and advertisements of all the commerce and shops in the city.

    Farewell my friends

    Couchsurfing-Malaga-01-min

    I left this part to the end as it was the only I still carrying with me somehow. Saying goodbye is not something I am used to or that I like, on the contrary, it has always been something I am good to avoid with my well-developed Ninja Smoke Bomb technique.

    This time I wanted to improve this respect to all the people I appreciate, care of and love. Along these last years I learnt a lot of how to love in a healthy way and this I consider is part of it. I denied my friends a big event to say farewell but suggest them to do several events where we can meet each other little by little so we can enjoy each other one more time before departing.

    It was sentimental, but I must admit that being nervous about the departure the following “to do” before leaving the city kept my mind busy not to break down at the moment.

    I want to take this chance to tell all the people I care and love that I left that their support gave me strength in the past and today and most probably it will comfort my mind in many moments to come.

    Back in Sevilla I did the same, meet friends by groups rather than creating a big farewell event. Did it this way helped me to feel much more comfortable with the idea of being out of each other life for a while.

    Last days

    Farewell Sevilla

    The last couple of days at my mum’s where nice until the previous night where stress made me crazy and feel that there was something wrong or missing. Funny anecdote is that getting all my stuff over my bed to depart I didn’t realise I was missing my backpack until Ana told me.

    The departing day, before taking my first train I was confused, nervous at the same time that sedated. Everything went too fast at the end.

  • Blog
  • From Sevilla to Sochi

    It took me long to decide how long I would stay in Europe, there are many places I want to visit and many friends to meet in the way. Finally I decided that crossing Europe shouldn’t take longer that a couple of month as my real goal is to discover Asia and Oceania.
    First I thought of crossing the continent by hitchhiking but not to take to long I end up buying an Interrail Pass so I will be travelling by Train. Interrail ends in Poland so in Ukraine and Belarus and Rusia I will have to combine, car, bus and train to keep on going.
    This schedule is a sketch of my journey and might change along the way. I am open and flexible to what it have to come. I am coming to cities I have never been so regarding if I like them or not I will stay longer or leave them behind.
     
    In my way I hope to meet a lot of people and some friends from the past that are living in the cities I come. For this reason, if you are in any of the cities at the time I come, let me know so we can meet there. Like a friend of mine always says, “Compartir es vivir” [Shearing is living].
    I do not know much about the places I am visiting and must of the information I found on the Internet is for the common tourist. I will love to discover the cities not only visiting the big cathedrals, city halls, past and modern architecture, but also getting lost in the cities and meet the daily culture. If you have any suggestion of what should I visit or where should I stay. Feel free to let me know as well.
  • Blog
  • First consequences of a life decision

    I decided my future couple of months ago. There’s always something inside of me that tell me I should live and this year after finding myself strong physically and emotionally, with no attachments more than the ones I create myself. Independent and after a hard year working to earn enough to start my travel, I decided it was the right time to do it.

    It is easy to think about travelling around the world. We all I guess had someone the idea in mind. Every time I tell someone about what I am about to do, many of them answer saying that they would love to do the same.

    At the very beginning the idea was so big that it was difficult to imagine what it really concerns. The first step was to follow blogs and social network accounts of people that have done or are doing the same: Nomads, travellers, adventurers and world explorers. I happen to meet people like that in Malaga City and through Couchsurfing so we can share experiences.

    After reading blogs, guides and travel books I start finding out how to organise the journey. The aim, which is not mandatory is to go to Australia. First the idea was to do it by car with my Mini Cooper but getting a sponsor for BMW needed to much work I could not afford, neither the cost of the insurance or gas for the trip. So the better option to do it by land and see was to combine train, car, public transport, walks, hitchhiking by land and boats by sea.

    I draw a first sketch of where I want to go on the way to Australia from the south of Spain.

    2016-03-25-11-05-44-min

    The Journey

    Having the idea of witch countries and cities I will pass on my way I created a Schedule of time and started regarding for the countries I need a Visa to cross the border. Visa is going to be a long story so I will leave it for another post.

    Schedule in hand I started finding out which might be the best way to go from one place to another.

    Other subject not to forget. Not only in order to get the visa, but to be save and leave without worries is to let every single documentation ready to be prepare for whatever it may happen. With that I mean

    – at the journey:

    • Passport
    • Vaccinations
    • Health insurance
    • Liability insurance
    • Bank account(s) and credit card(s)
    • Driving licence
    • others

    – And at home:

    • Legal aspects
    • Authorisations
    • Heritage
    • others

    Some of them are easy to get, just need to present some documents at the right place and that’s it, others might need of compare fees and conditions and find the right and more convenient choice. However, everything concerns at least a little bureaucratic work and patience as it is not at all the must funny part of travelling.

    Other aspect, not to leave to the last day is to start getting prepared to what means a long term travelling. I mean what o take with you and to be fit and emotionally ready to it, but that I will leave it for the next post.

  • Blog
  • Reviews

    This page is for you.

    Yes YOU! You, the ones that know me, the ones that came to be part of my life and my journey, the ones that follow this blog.

    Here you can express freely what do you think about me or my journey. Please contribute to my experience with your ideas, remarks and suggestions, no matter if they are bad or good. Feel free to write in the language you feel more comfortable.

    Couchsurfing References

    Your opinions about myself will help me and the people I meet to know who/how I am. If you feel like telling the readers of this blog one of our adventures together, do it.

    Thanks a lot for being part of this my adventure.

    Ps: As the moderator, I will just ban inappropriate language and banners.

  • Blog
  • Getting rid of everything!

    A couple of weeks ago I started planing seriously my big adventure The Journey.

    I want to travel around the world without an anchor that hooks me to a certain location, with no bonds that attaches me to somewhere, someone or something.
    I want to start a journey without end as the goal is the journey itself, not the destination.
    I want to feel free, independent, alive

    For this, I started to get rid of all my material stuffs.

    I have just start to sell little by little them in local second hand stores, or on the internet through websites like:
    · Wallapop – Click here to see what I am selling
    · Vibbo – Click here to see what I am selling
    · ebay – Coming soon
    I am donating to charity, clothes, and other outils.
    I am as well giving my friends and the people that comes to me some books, videos (DVD’s), Music albums and others.
    I am as well researching on how to do an open doors day at my place to sell the previews days of my departure what remains in my hands that I wont need once I start my journey.
    I am as well looking for a spot in a local market where to install and sell all my belongings.

    If any of you is interested on buying, or know someone that might be interested thanks for sharing.
    In the other hand, if you have more ideas of how I can get rid of all my stuffs, please comment your ideas and I promise I will consider them.