Porto life

So, I'm back in Porto. I practically slept all weekend after I got back. My body was like ''dude, you've been travelling for six weeks straight, you need to rest''. So I did.

I'm back in Porto because I'm staying here for the rest of the summer, got an internship and today I even got keys to my new home. It's a shared appartment with two other people. It's a bit crazy because I'll be living above a popular bar. But I just love the area.

Tomorrow's my birthday and I've already planned to clean the whole place and make some birthday drinks for my friends. Life's pretty good!

 

27.05.2013 kl. 19:05

Madrid part II

From Barcelona I made a quick stop in Madrid (one day + one night). Since I had already been there I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

First I visited the contemporary art museum Reina Sofia which had an amazing Salvador Dáli exhibition.

Then I took a nap in The Retiro Park.

Went back to my hostel and strolled around the blocks in Malasaña, a hip area with cool bars and vintage stores, like this vintage store above on Calle de Velarde. I reccommend the hostel aswell for a calm stay (not a party hostel) depending on what you're looking for. It was small, cute and personal, you get a lot of help from the staff etc. It's called 360 hostel Malasaña.

A couple of beers and tapas on top of that and that's a perfect day in Madrid in my opinion.

24.05.2013 kl. 16:26

Barcelona

After Valencia I went to Barcelona where I met up with my best friend Astrid. Fortunately, I found an old friend on facebook who's studying in Barcelona and she offered us accommodation (and awesome company!) for a week.

We had some bad weather though. Rainy and cloudy. But a pleasant surprise was there happened to be the X Games (huge competition for Skateboarders, BMX, Rally, Motocross etc).

My friend lives in the Barri Gótic area, which is very hip, with bars and nice clothing stores. A must to visit whilst in Barcelona.


5Stairway up to Jenny's appartment on the 5th! floor.

Astrid on the morning I met her. We had a huge breakfast and that was pretty much it for that day. Both pretty tired from travelling to Barca.

The next day we went to the Picasso Museum, it has a huge collection of donated art from Picasso himself (a lot of stuff from his childhood).

Then we took the metro up to Mont Jüic and walked around the X Games area and bought tickets for the skatepark final on Sunday.

Another day we took these escalators up to Park Güell.

Captured the view.

On top of a viewing point. It was impossible to take a picture without fifty tourists appearing on your photos.


Gaudi's home for 20 years.


The entrance to Park Güell.. too many tourists.. try to spot Astrid!

Jenny's room mate is from Porto, Portugal, she arranged a tapas night for her portuguese friends and invited us to join. I had nice conversations about Porto, since I'm actually going back there (tomorrow).

Jenny!

On Sunday we went to see the Streetpark Final, it was sunny and just perfect weather.

After the final the sky turned dark and it started to pour with rain.

Happy winners.

Compulsory jump picture.

Afterwards, we went to this great sunday afternoon tea bar called La Cladestina in Barri Gótic, don't know why Jenny looks so unsatisfied but I had a nice Cafe Mexicano (coffee with orange and cinnamon flavour).

The following day we went out to eat some paella, I chose the Arroz Negra de Marisco (Black rice with seafood). I warmly reccommend to try it!

Then we went on a small gaudi tour and checked out some of his buildings.

La Pedrera.

La Sagrada Familia.

A little bit sad that it's unfinished.

Me or Zorro, dunno.

Arc de Triomf (not by Gaudi though).

Walked down to the city park.

The city park is beatiful.

Later that night Jenny had some bad cravings for churros and chocolate.

Next morning we found this really nice café called Oviso on Plaza George Orwell (I love that name) in Barri Gótic. The same owner has a skate bar called Manolo, which we went to one night. Another nice skate bar is Nevermind (also in Barri Gótic).

That day we just strolled around the city, sat on the beach and in the park and took it easy on the first rain free day.

Our last day it was perfect beach weather, Astrid had to leave earlier during the day but I didn't leave until midnight so I spent the whole day frying on the beach.

Then I had a Michelada (spicy drink) with Jenny and her french friends before I headed to the busstation. Took a 7,5 hour night bus to Madrid. As usual, it was pretty horrible. Only half slept and it was cold and uncomfortable. But what do you do..

23.05.2013 kl. 09:40

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18.05.2013 kl. 11:46

Valencia

Valencia has been extremly calm. My couchsurfing host works during the weekdays, so I've spent the days bymyself. One day I spent on the beach and the other day in the city center and park. Valencia is quite nice, but not a place I would stay longer than these three days.

Beach Boulevard Malvarrosa.

The beach was empty due to it was a Monday.

I had expensive Paella Valenciana, got a little ripped off.

And later I had a traditional Horchata drink with Tomas (my host) and his friend Serena. You're supposed to dip those huge buns in your drink.

The next day I headed to the city. This is Plaza Ayuntamiento, their tourist office hands out free maps so I grabbed one and kept on walking.

The Central Market, big must, you can buy anything fresh here.

Vegetables.

A dried shark?

Fresh juice.

Then I walked down to the Garden of The Turia. It used to be a river but fled out in 1957 and remained dry so they built a park in the riverbed.

You walk under several bridges.

There are parks, fountains, ponds, playing grounds, soccer fields, tennis fields and what not and it's several kilometers long.

An abstract playing ground..

At the end of the park you reach the amazing Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. Stunning architecture!

The Opera House.

The science museum.

The science museum, I didn't buy a ticket for the exhibition though.

Inside the museum.

The Opera House and Hémisferic.

I have no idea what this is and it was empty inside.

Exhausted after walking around the city I came back to the appartment, took a nap and aftewards my host took me to this wonderful open jam jazz bar, I could sit there and listen for hours.

And that was Valencia. It's raining today, so I'm staying in, taking care of some errands on the internet. And soon I'm heading to Barcelona!

15.05.2013 kl. 15:50

I <3 Granada

So I was constipated and had money issues in Granada but I STILL had the best time! I really reccommend to visit Granada, it's small but there's a lot to do and explore. You have the mountains, the moorish streets, tapas bars and great shopping.

The first two nights I stayed at Oasis Backpackers Hostel. They have this nice rooftop terrace and a great filling breakfast for 3€.

The view. It's located in the muslim area called Albaicin.

It's hot in Granada! Even these stray dogs had to cool off.

So green. This was just another plaza.

I went on a walking tour where we explored some of the street art of Granada.

 

We also checked out some viewing points, this one is famous for the sunset that falls over the Alhambra.

Me, red, sweaty and exhausted, from hiking up to one of the highest viewing points over Granada.

Then we hiked down a valley, the mountains in front are the Sierra Nevada.

We checked out these caves in the mountain where 850 people live, mostly gipsies.

During the walking tour we filled up our bottles at several fresh spring water wells.

Later I met up with my friend Taylor and his friend Sofia, they both study in Granada. Granada is a famous erasmus spot.

And we went to see the sunset at the famous viewing point that I mentioned earlier.

The Sierra Nevada turned pink. #nofilter

I couchsurfed in Granada for two more nights, and my hosts flatmates took me to a night club in the cave area with a view over the.. Alhambra! Again! But it's so beautiful.

The girls; Lya and Tanya.

Next morning I went for breakfast tapas with Erin and Kiah.

We went tapas bar hopping and at this one bar they made us solve tricky puzzles. We thought we would get rewarded for solving them, but no.. Great tapas though! This one was El Circulo, on Calle Elvira where you find most of the best tapas bars in Granada.

Then we went shopping..

And last of all, we had to celebrate our last night i Granada, with Erin (my travel buddy in Granada), Enrique (my couchsurfing host) and Taylor. Had a great time! Had a terrible 7,5 hour car ride hungover to Valencia the next day. Smart thinking.

14.05.2013 kl. 01:18

Madrid

There's a lot to do in Madrid. But I ended up doing almost nothing. I went on a walking tour, hostels here normally organize these free tours and in the end you can give the guide a tip.

I also met a guy in the metro who's working and studying documentary film, so I met up with him for some falafel and he told me he interviewed finnish hipsters who are currently living in Madrid, which I thought was amazing. Then he took me to these hipster quarters and they're truly interesting.

But yes, I ended up partying a lot and spending my days hungover so I decided to go back to Madrid later to do all the stuff I really wanted to do.

Drinking games at the hostel with free sangria.

At the pub crawl with Minh Chu and Vivian.

The next day we went on a day trip to Toledo with Vivian.

Toledo is a small old town.. you can do it in just a couple of hours.

A pretty painting of Toledo.

A beautiful museum called Santa Cruz near the main square of Toledo.

Farewell pictutre with Vivian who flew back to San Francisco.

Then I went out again with two canadian girls.

The next day I had to wait for my bus to Granada for two hours, so I walked around, hungover, just looking for a Burger King.

So as you can notice, I didn't do Madrid justice, but I'm going back so no worries.

10.05.2013 kl. 23:17

Spain

Still in Granada, found a couch to surf here for the weekend. And I sorted out the bank thing too. Now I'm trying to plan where to go next. I wanted to go to Sevilla but I won't have time because it's in the wrong direction..

If anyone has a friend living between Granada and Barcelona (like Valencia) and could accommodate me for a night or two, e-mail me at inka.hietala@gmail.com. Thanks!

10.05.2013 kl. 18:19

Troubles

Took a 10-hour bus from Porto to Madrid last Sunday. Spent three days in Madrid and then I took a 5-hour bus to Granada. The bus rides are just exhausting. But Madrid was a lot of fun and Granada is beautiful.

Although, I am having troubles with my web bank. It's freaking me out. I can't transfer money from my savings account to the one I'm using.. Hopefully it will sort out today or I'll end up on the street. BUT I did meet a finnish guy yesterday and he literally lives in a cave! Maybe I'll do that.
09.05.2013 kl. 10:50

Best of Porto

The Parks; there's The City Park, The Crystal Palace Park, The Serralves Park (combined with a contemporary art museum and has an entrance fee of 3€) but my favourite one is Jardim do Morro. It's on the other side of the river from Porto in Vila Nova de Gaia, you can either take the metro or walk over the bridge. For a nice view during the night, walk up to Serra do Pilar wich is next to the park.

Chilling with Alice, Marcio, Miguel and Eli the dog in The City Park.

With Pedro in the Crystal Palace Park.

View from the Crystal Palace Park.

The bridge over to Jardim do Morra.

And the view, from sitting on the hill, drinking vinha verde.

View from Serra do Pilar in the night.

Lunch is redicilously cheap in Porto. You can find a meal for 3,50 € at Bolhao Market (a huge market for vegetables etc during the morning), you can have a lunch buffé for 4,50 € at Café de Paris or have a Francesinha anywhere. A francesinha is a typical Northern Portuguese dish, it's a sandwich with meat, sausage and ham, on top of it a thick layer of melted cheese and even an egg if you want to. On the side you get a thick spicy sauce with fries. Bacalhau, codfish, is another typical and tasty dish.

The Francesinha, I dream of this dish every time I'm starving..

On a nice day you should walk down to Ribeira, it's filled with terraces just by the beatiful river and bridge. Or you can walk through the city park to Matosinhos beach and sit on the terrace infront of Edificio Transparente.

Ribeira.

Matosinhos beach and Edifcio Transparente (a see through building).

For shopping, there’s the usual shopping street Rua Santa Catarina and then for more alternative shopping Rua Miguel Bombarda, here you can also find small cafés, tea gardens and restaurants.  If you’re really desperate for some Primark shopping, take the metro out to Rio Tinto.

A hidden tea house garden on Rua Miguel Bombarda.

Night life, it all starts at Piolho, it's a bar but most of all a meeting point for people when they go out, they just say ''let's meet infront of Piolho'' and afterwards they just do some bar hopping.. the area is called Cedofeita, and like in Lisbon, people stand on the street outside of the bars. The most active bar street I would say is Galerias do Paris, with some really fancy bars and clubs and packed with people. For some cheap beer and pastries (oh yeah portugues eat a lot of pastries), visit the legendary Bar 77, the beer is 0,50 € and they're open almost all night.

Alice and Marcio in Bar 77.

Other places worth a visit:

Lello Bookshop, where J.K Rowling was inspired by the stairs for Hogwarts.

Uma Avenida, an art house with several levels of exhibitions, it's open late with free entry and located at the main square in Porto called Aliados.

Casa da Musica, it's a concert hall but also a beautiful building. I could sit on the stairs for hours and just watch people pass by or skateboarders skating. There's also a café with free wifi.

Porto is not too big a city. If you have time, just walk up and down the small and narrow streets and discover the small downtown areas.

Downtown.

Random street art.

A skeleton hiding an amazing view...

.. in the mouth!

06.05.2013 kl. 19:36

Hardcore sightseeing

I have been in Porto for almost a week now. It feels a lot and I feel like I have to continue my journey soon. My next destination is Madrid and I'm hopefully leaving on sunday morning.

Not that I don't like Porto. I love it. I have friends here and today I was invited to a family dinner and it was truly wonderful! But everyone is living their everyday life and I'm just doing some hardcore sightseeing.

I also miss my travel buddies, Addy, Bella and Katharina, so much. I spent 24 hours a day for a week with them and since they left I've felt so EMPTY (so kliché but true). I'll just have to snap out of it. And make a happier Porto post another day.
 

02.05.2013 kl. 03:01

Sines - Cascais - Lisbon - Sintra - Peniche - The Berlengas Islands

From Vila Nova de Milftones we went to Sines for lunch. This town is not much. A port.. I don't know but it seemed boring.

Strolled down the alleys.

Ate Feijoada, a meat stew with pork, beef, sausage, beans etc.

And from Sines we took off to Lisbon (the area) and checked out Cascais a beautiful town in the outskirt of Lisbon.

Cascais.

Port of Cascais.

Later in the evening we drove to Lisbon city and checked in to a hostel which a lot of people reccommended to us, Home Hostel.

I really started to get used to the hostel life. So comfortable beds!

The reception, which turned into a bar at night.

Livingroom space.

We went on a walking tour that in the end wasn't that good. And we sort of lost a lot of time on it. Afterwards we were so exhausted and just had a late lunch and went back to the hostel. Later we tried a little of the night life. Here, poeple party on the street outside of the bars and not INSIDE the bars.

Next morning we continued to Sintra.

So exhausted and confused. The roadtrip started to get to you.

Sintra is practically a huge forrest park in the mountains.

There's a lot of walking involved. This was on top of a viewing point. Which was, as always, amazing.

Palace Pena in the background.

Steep steps.

Bench cut into stone. This was some kind of chill out point for the queens who used to live here back in the days.

The queens valley of ferns.

Black swans!


The Palace.

Then we walked back down to the car and headed off to our couchsurfing hosts in another part of the mountains in Sintra.

Garden view at our cs hosts.

They, Hugo (to the left), Xico (to the right) and Carlos (not on the picture though) made us dinner.

The we had a crazy night drinking aguardente (moonshine) and playing drums.

Next morning it was time to set off as usual. This cute cat was greeting me at the doorstep when I woke up.

We went to Peniche, a famous surfing spot. But with a lot more other stuff to do than for example in Sagres. Peniche feels more alive, also now off season.

A jail used during the famous portuguese dictatorship of Salazar.

But best of all, and why we even went to Peniche, The Berlengas Islands! Such a beautiful place, too bad it was a bit cloudy.

This is how it normally looked like when we got somewhere, us taking pictures in all directions.

Compulsary jump picture.

A fortress. With a steep path. And though it was worth it, walking up that steep path is very unpleasant.

Narrow, dangerous bridge over to the fortress.

The only beach on the island.

We only had a short hour on the island. Then we went back with this crazy speed boat and the waves were huge. If you have a tendence to get sea sick, pick a larger boat and not the speed boat. People were puking on the deck..

After Peniche, we drove up to Porto. Where we basically parked, took our stuff up to our couchsurfing hosts flat and went out partying. And that my friends was the last night for the vodcar team!

29.04.2013 kl. 18:28

Faro - Albufeira - Lagos - Sagres - Vila Nova de Milftontes

Our first stop was Albufeira. It's quite touristy and the beach is not that spectacular. A place for elderly people I would say. We only had lunch there and walked a little on the beach.

Katharina at the hostel breakfast before we left.

Lunch in Albufeira.

Bella on the beach.

Me, happy, barefoot in April..

Addy, with amazing tan lines on her feet.

Then we headed to Lagos. Lagos is amazing. Funky hostels, a long bar street, burger restaurants with HUGE burgers and one of the most amazing beaches I've seen in my entire life.

The gang in Lagos when we arrived in the afternoon.

Postcard views.

Huge burger.

Bella (from the Philippines) and Addy (from Singapore).

Hostel Shangri-Lagos in the morning. This is a crazy party hippie hostel.

Stairs to the kitchen.

The kitchen.

Stairs down to the second beach (there are several different beaches in Lagos).

Just. So. Nice. And the water was warm so I actually swam.

Me and Katharina on the top of the cliffs.

Then we took the vodcar (vodka car.. don't ask me why) to Sagres. Which is the most south western point of this continent.

Breath taking views.

The lighthouse in Cape Saint Vincent at sunset.

Super windy but beautiful.

In Sagres we met up with Danni And Raffi, two austrian girls that I met in both Faro and Lagos. They were doing almost the same route but went from Sagres to Sevilla in Spain. That night we crashed a german surf party and I slept on a surfing bag.

View in the morning in Sagres. Sagres is a surf town, and now, off season it's kind of deserted. I only reccomend this place for a day trip if your not there for surfing.

So early in the morning we got in the vodcar again and drove through a random town where we had breakfast and checked out the views. The day we spent on the beach in Vila Nova de Milfontes.

Beach bar with wifi. Internet was so rare during our trip, we (or mostly I) went crazy as soon as we would get wifi on our phones.

I took a nap on the beach.

Addy was joking around.

The beach of Vila Nova de Milfontes. Also pretty deserted off season and in the middle of the week.

 

29.04.2013 kl. 17:04

The Roadtrip

Before I left Finland I was looking for hosts in Faro on Couchsurfing. I happened to read an open message about a roadtrip. Two girls (Addy and Bella) were looking for people to join their roadtrip with a rental car from Faro to Porto. So I messaged them and we agreed to meet in Faro on the 20th.

I arrived to Faro on the 17th and checked in at Hostel d'Alagoa and the very first person I talked to was a german girl, Katharina. We instantly got along and I asked her where she would go next. To Porto, she said. I guess the route is common but it felt like such a coincidence! I asked her if she wanted to join the roadtrip, she did. And that's how Team Roadtrip was formed.

29.04.2013 kl. 16:52

Porto

Wow, what an empty amazing travel blog. Just arrived to Porto, the roadtrip was crazy BUT FUN but hectic BUT FUN. Now I need to relax a little. But as soon as I get my blog swag on I'll make a post about every place we've been to the past week.
27.04.2013 kl. 15:48

This blog started as a travel diary in spring 2013. Now I continue writing about my stay in Porto during spring 2014.

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Places visited April-August 2013:

  • Faro
  • Portimão
  • Albufeira
  • Lagos
  • Sagres
  • Vila Nova de Milfontes
  • Sines
  • Lisbon
  • Cascais
  • Sintra
  • Peniche
  • Berlengas Island
  • Porto
  • Vila do Conde
  • Madrid
  • Toledo
  • Granada
  • Valencia
  • Barcelona
  • Coimbra
  • Sao Miguel de Poiares
  • Gerês
  • Sao Pedro de Moel
  • Nazaré
  • Ericeira
  • Barcelos
  • Santa Maria da Feira

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Profile and background photo by Astrid Lindroos

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