We were told: The Alhambra is amazing, it will change your life and make all your dreams come true. Maybe it was because we had high expectations, maybe it was because we got up at 4am to get tickets or maybe it was because we walked there and it was rainy and actually warmer that day back in Ontario than in Spain, but the Alhambra kinda let us down. Ya, I’ll say it: we did not like the Alhambra. To top it off my camera got left on the night before so I arrived with a fully drained battery. Jaclyn’s camera card was full so we got very few pictures of our rainy day at the Alhambra. Even this cat is hiding from the rain:
The rest of our Granada time continued to be cold and rainy. The rain let up for a bit to allow us to walk around the Festival of the Crosses. Weird stuff mann, weird.
On the other hand Granada is pretty awesome because of their free tapas tradition. Yes siree this means very very cheap meals when you buy a drink (order a caña, pronounced canya, if you want to fit in). Also they are very particular about if you’re just snacking or actually having a meal - so let them know if your there “para tapear” (for drinking and snacking) or “para cenar” (for having a more formal plated meal).
Our favourite things in Barcelona: biking around the city with resident Aussie-hippy Buddah and La Sagrada Familia.
Here we are in front of the “Gaudi” Fountain legitimizing our blog name:
Buddah’s tour is called Fat Tire Bike Tours. Very decent value for money since you see a huge area of Barca and Buddah is something of a history nerd. The other thing about tour guides is they are invariably up for drinking after the tour - which can be a great way to meet people if your hostel is a little unfriendly - like Barcelona Sound (yes this was the hostel we stayed in). On the tour we also went past La Sagrada Familia:
Our top tip of Barcelona is BUY THE AUDIOTOUR (thank you Nick!). The Audiotour is KEY for enjoying La Sagrada Familia. Our runner-up tip is BUY TICKETS ONLINE. Seriously, no one knows about this but you can skip the whole big crazy line by buying tickets online and then going through the VIP gate. We felt like we were cheating.
Also give yourselves more than two days in Barca for goodness sake. We didn’t have time to go inside Casa Mila or Casa Batlló OR the Parque Guell! Gaudi is a genius. That is all.
Too bad we were so freaked about getting pick-pocketed that we couldnt relax and enjoy ourselves! Just don’t keep your wallet in your backpocket please. And don’t put your purse on the ground or behind you. Otherwise Barcelona is quite a safe city - we felt very comfortable walking home from the bar that our Aussie tour guides took us to.
Oh how we enjoyed Sevilla. The royal palace had such a small line (unlike the Alhambra) and was even free for students. It is highly recommended.
Our hostel was awesome too - Samay. Just the right size and just the right amenities. They also had a lot of evening activities which allowed us to meet some amazing new friends (oh how cheesey but true).
It managed to rain for two days when we were there but we cared not since we were happily tapa-ing and drinking wine through the drizzle. We were there right after Easter so we saw some strange stuff like these candies:
Switzerland is not the cheapest backpacking destination. The food is outlandishly expensive. The trains are not all included on the Eurrail pass either. The hostel we stayed at - The Mountain Hostel in Gimmelwald was reasonably priced and featured cheap(er) lattes. On our first day there we went for a stroll up to the resort town nearby - Mürren.
From Gimmelwald or Mürren you can take a cable car up to the Schilthorn lookout where they filmed 007: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It ain’t cheap - around $100 - and we considered the alternative of hiking up but by this time our feet were absolutely wrecked from walking around Berrrlin that the hike from Gimmelwald to Murren was enough.
Here’s the view from Schilthorn:
The other alternative is paragliding or skiing down - which many people were doing. I have never wanted to have a pair of skis more in my life.
After our stay at the Mountain Hostel we hiked down the mountain to Lauterbrunnen. It was a little longer than we were told - it turned out to be around 2 hours. But it was a lovely walk and we proved we had packed light enough that we could hike with all our gear!
Switzerland was great but I don’t think I can come back until I have a full wallet or a full kitchen.