A Travellerspoint blog

October 2017

Stop 31 - Benalup de Casas Vejas


View Overland adventures - UK to Ho Chi Minh City and back without getting on a plane! on Chloemillen92's travel map.

After a great few days in Jerez we boarded a bus which dropped us off on the side of the road, at the junction of two dual carriageways. We were heading to a WorkAway on a rural Andalucian finca and for some reason hadn't thought to get the number of our host who was expecting us to arrive into a town some 8 kilometers away. After dragging our bags along the hard-shoulder for about 20 minutes, trying and failing to order a taxi and finally managing to make contact with our (very nice) host, we arrived at our home for the next two weeks. We ate some delicious food she had prepared and went to sleep in our little one bed cottage to the sound of horses clip-clopping about in the field

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It had been dark when we arrived, but the sunny morning allowed us to see how pretty it was and our host showed us around, giving us a list of tasks to start on. We met the five horses, three dogs and singular goose, all of which were very friendly. We spent the next couple of weeks feeding the animals, walking the dogs, doing bits of gardening and general tidying up of the finca. There was also plenty of time to enjoy the huge pool, our own proper kitchen for the first time in almost five months, and a comfy sofa and DVD selection.

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Our little "casita" was very cosy.

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The finca was pretty rural, an hours walk from the closest village of Benalup and the landscape was beautiful and dramatic, although very dry from four months without rain!

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We went on several day trips; one to a seaside town called Conil, one inland to typical whitewashed Andalucian town called Medina Sidonia and one to the famous, and really quite strange, city of Gibraltar. All were very interesting and gave us a desire to return to this part of Spain for holidays forever more. The apes of Gibraltar were a highlight, as was swimming in the refreshing Atlantic Ocean and eating seafood tapas on the beautiful beach of Conil.

Posted by Chloemillen92 10:18 Archived in Spain Tagged horses spain dogs swimming andalusia gibraltar goose workaway finca gardening casita berber_apes conil medina_sidonia Comments (1)

Stop 30 - Jerez


View Overland adventures - UK to Ho Chi Minh City and back without getting on a plane! on Chloemillen92's travel map.

After a 11.5 hour train from Barcelona to Seville and a 1 hour commuter train to Jerez, we arrived pretty late and retired into our cute little studio apartment in the centre of town. That evening we pretty much headed straight to bed ready for a day of exploring the home of sherry.

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The narrow winding streets were great for aimless wondering and provided plenty of opportunity to gather design inspiration thanks to the numerous decorative tiles and interesting windows/balconies. There were also several attractive squares packed full of cafes and tabancos (old sherry shops which also have space for sitting and drinking the products with some tapas). We also managed to catch some flamenco in one of the tabancos and quickly realised that Spanish people have a lot more rhythm than we do.

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The city has lots of impressive historical buildings including the huge cathedral.

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We also paid a visit to the city's Alcazar which was originally built in the 11th century, before being expanded by the Alhomad Berbers and later the Christians after the Reconquista. There is still a beautiful mosque-turned-church and some atmospheric Arabic baths.

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It also happened to be someone's 25th birthday!

Posted by Chloemillen92 13:05 Archived in Spain Tagged alcazar cerveza cathedral wine andalusia jerez flamenco tapas sherry Comments (0)

Stop 29 - Milan and Barcelona


View Overland adventures - UK to Ho Chi Minh City and back without getting on a plane! on Chloemillen92's travel map.

Chlo had managed to catch a cold in Budapest, so the night bus to Milan was not the most comfortable. We arrived and found our AirBnB in the Navigli area of the city, to be greeted by our friendly host Luigi and an espresso!

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The apartment was in a beautiful 1930s building right on the edge of one of the canals Navigli is famous for.

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We spent the next couple of days taking it easy; trying gelatos, having an aperitivo (you buy one drink and get an amazing all you can eat buffet in return!), napping in sunny parks, and exploring the city centre with its beautiful duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. We had a final goodbye espresso with Luigi and caught yet another night bus, heading for Barcelona.

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Our time in Barcelona was very much a stopover and we definitely will be coming back to explore properly! We made sure to have a look at La Sagrada Familia, check out some more Gaudí architecture like the beautiful Casa Batlló and wander down La Rambla. The next day we were on the very, very slow train down south to Jerez.

Posted by Chloemillen92 11:47 Archived in Italy Tagged canals cerveza sagrada_familia barcelona bus italy duomo milano milan coach gelato aperitivo la_rambla navigli Comments (0)

Stop 28 - Budapest


View Overland adventures - UK to Ho Chi Minh City and back without getting on a plane! on Chloemillen92's travel map.

Our next stop (after a fairly horrendous journey) was a three nighter in beautiful Budapest. Getting there took us 30 hours on various buses and trains (including a train that went on a boat) and did have us questioning our decision to complete this entire trip without a plane! The first leg, Gothenburg to Copenhagen, Copenhagen to Hamburg was pretty relaxing and fun. From Hamburg onwards however, sat on Flix buses (European Megabus equivalent) driving on long dark motorways with some screaming kids and lots of other smellyish people with pretty weird habits, we were harshly reminded that night buses in Europe are really shit.

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However on arrival we were greeted by a beautiful apartment and sunny weather and soon forgot our travel woes. A few hours later Mike's family arrived and we celebrated the reunion with a great lunch and a few beers in a pretty little square. We spent the weekend walking around the streets of Budapest, stopping for plenty of coffees and afternoon beer flavoured refreshments.

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We also climbed up a pretty steep hill to the citadel for some brilliant views of the city!

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Visited a cool old market hall which was full of sausages and random souvenir stands...

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And, amongst other interesting sights, visited the Grand Synagogue, built for the Neolog Jewish population of the area. It was actually designed with certain elements, such as a stain glass window and the rectangular interior layout, that make it comparable to a cathedral. There is also an obvious Moorish influence in the design and decoration.

Whilst visiting the synagogue, we also randomly bumped into our mates Mila Kunas and Ashton Kutcher which was quite cool. We didn't want them to be too shocked to see us there, so we did the mature thing and hid behind a pillar whispering about the situation.

All in all, we had an amazing time catching up with everyone and being treated far too much and couldn't quite be bothered to board another 12 hour night bus to Milan.

Posted by Chloemillen92 06:44 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest danube bridge hungary tram citadel jewish_quarter 7th_district grand_synagogue Comments (0)

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