Thursday, June 09, 2011

Seville... Windsurfing, Walking and other things beginning with 'W'


1700 (local time)

Another update, another scene of events! So here I am, on a bus that’s taking me to Largos, Portugal from Seville, Spain. Not to sure how long the bus journey actually is, because apparently we are going through a time warp! Amazing stuff.

Anyway, so I might as well pick up where I left off! So I had just left Barcelona to get an bus to Vallencia. I was fortunate enough to have someone that was going to have me crash on their couch via couch surfing. Funnily enough, I was staying with a girl called Anna who is doing a exchange program through her university course. Anna lives in Frankston, Melbourne so straight away we had a lot in common, and I was often found ripping into her because she came from Frankston! Until this day, I am still not so sure why I went to Vallencia, apart from some pretty buildings and nice beaches of the Med, there wasn’t all that much there!
But none the less, I still had a ball, on my first night there, drinks were drunk and we made our way at 2.30am into the city to a night club called Pasha. This is a fancy nightclub that is known throughout the world. (there is a Pasha in Sharm El Sheik). It was a super nice club, but people weren’t arriving until 4pm and by this time I was absolutely knackered! I was so tired, that I fell asleep on the dance floor! Poor form, the next day was a bit of a write off, because we all got up at 4pm, but it was awesome because one of Anna’s mates was having a BBQ on top of his apartments roof. This was awesome, because there were a bunch of people from all over the world who were studying abroad.

Fantastic stuff, the next day was another late wake up, but myself an one of Anna’s housemates ‘Frenchy’ took the train into the old city, and got lost exploring the city! Quite a chilled day, but when we got home we were so tired from walking that we relaxed the rest of the day, because that night we were going for 1 euro for 3 beer night! And 1.50euro tapas! So bonus, beers and Tapas! We sunk a lot of beers, and ate a lot of tapas. We then found out there was a pub close by that was doing free paella I had to go check it out, so we wandered off to this other bar, had a couple of plates of paella and by this time I was knackered again (all these late nights were killing me), and tomorrow I was heading on an overnight bus to Seville.

The bus from Vallencia to Seville left at 9.30pm and got in at Seville by 7.30am, so it was an overnight bus. When I buy these tickets, I think they are a great idea, until I actually get on the bus and get no sleep, and end up getting off at my destination so tired I can barely function.

I was once again couch surfing in Seville. I met Alejandro at his house, before he had to rush off to work. I left me to sleep in his lovely apartment while he went to work. He came home at about 2pm, for his afternoon siesta, made me a lovely pasta salad we had a quick chat, and he told me to meet him at Cathedral in town by 9.15pm.

So I caught a bus from the apartment into town at about 7pm, and wandered around the city. It was fantastic because it wasn’t all that hot, and the crowds were dying down. I eventually met Alejandro and he introduced me to his friends and we all went off for Tapas and drinks!

It was awesome being taken around town by the locals, they knew the places to go and what to order, and I was just happy following them and listening to them speak Spanish. I tried some amazing Tapas and even ate some more snails! Which impressed everyone, which still brings me to the question of, if I find garden snails in Australia... would people judge me if I boiled them up and ate them?

It was almost 1am in the morning before we got home, I was tired and knew that I had a very busy day exploring the city tomorrow, so I went to bed straight away.

I woke up at 8.30am (probably the earliest I’ve woken up on purpose) had some quick breakfast and then got driven to a Spanish Guitar Lesson. Before you ask, no I wasn’t participating, but I was watching all these kids (18 – 26 Y.O) learning to become professional Spanish guitar players. I stayed for an hour, these guys were awesome! Probably some of the fastest fingers I have ever seen. After the lesson, I walked for about 30 minutes until I arrived at this beautiful park with hundreds of doves. I wandered through the park, that took me to a stunning place called Plaza Europa. This was potentially one of the most amazing pieces of architecture I have ever seen. Ill put up some photos and you may recognise it from (I think) the first Star Wars. Awesome Stuff.

From there I then went back to the cathedral and payed my entrance fee and headed up to the top for some stunning views! Took my photos and then headed back down to check out the Alazares (castle) paid my entrance fee again, got lost... and then headed out! When I went in, I didn’t realise how MASSIVE it actually was. From here, then headed down to the river and checked out the Plaza De Torus, which is the main bull fighting ring in Seville!

I was fortunate enough to tag along to a tour group where they explained to me all the different things about bull fighting. It was amazing listening to how it all works. I was shocked to find out, for good seats people will pay up to 700 euros for a good ticket. Crazy! By the time the tour was finished I was absolutely wrecked! I’d been walking for 5-6 hours, so I caught a bus back to the apartment, and just passed out.

The next day... I was so excited about! I was heading to TARIFA!! Which is an awesome place for windsurfing! I caught the bus at 9.30am (another early start) and took the 2.5 hours bus ride from Sevilla to Tarifa! When I got off, I asked the closest surf shop where the windsurfing was. He told me I had to hitch hike about 15 minutes down the road! No Drama’s!

I wasn’t hitching for long, maybe 5 minutes till a dude offered me a lift. He got on the phone to some one, and realised that he wasn’t speaking Spanish instead Arabic. So I asked where he was from, to which he replied Morocco! I eventually found out that he was actually from Essaouira. I knew a famous Moroccan windsurfer called Boujmaa Guilloul who is known for trying triple forward loops! Anyway, so as soon as I mentioned his name, the guy that was giving me the lift was like... “dude thats my cousin” I flipped out, and I couldn’t believe it. He even went to his phone and tried to call him, but the signal wasn’t great and dropped out! It was fantastic! I could have talked for hours, but we were already down at the beach.

I wandered to a windsurfing place, that was hiring out Gaastra and Tabou (which is the kit I ride) paid my 28euros! And just went mental for 1.5 hours! At first I was a bit nervous because it was about 27 – 32 knots and I was maxed out on a 4.2, but when I gained some confidence I started going for big forward loops! I was loving life!!!

The time went really quickly, so I snapped some photos of the beach, and then hitch hiked back into town, to do some shopping. Unfortunately most of the shops were closed, because they were on their siesta, but I bought an awesome Tarifa T-shirt from one of the local surf shops and before I knew it, I was on the bus back to Seville.

When I eventually got back to Seville, I was starving. So I wandered around for some food for a while, until I found a little tapas place down an ally. The people that worked their spoke no English, and I spoke no Spanish, so I told them how much I wanted to spend which was 6 Euros. They went out back, and eventually came out with bread and chic peas... I was like “great I’ve jut spent 6 euros on this” but before I knew it, a massive plate full of Ribs, Salad and potatoes! It was an amazing meal, and I just sat back and watched the world go by! Thinking to myself this is what travelling is all about!

It was late by the time I got home, where I again passed out as tomorrow I was heading to Largos, Portugal!
Before I finish, I must say a VERY VERY big thank you to Alejandro for looking after me in Seville! He was a superstar, and my friend if you are even in Melbourne, please give me a call!

So that s pretty much it!

Enjoy the photos!

And we can all speak again soon!

Much love! Steve

The Uni... How Epic! One Day Ill Get There!

Look at that pretty fella! Stunning!


A Bunch of doves invading!

Plaza de Espania! Where Star Wars was filmed... Check it out on You Tube

'trying' to make a cool photo...

Plaza De Espania!

There she is again... man i took a fair few photos!


There he is again! Standard Thumbs!

Fountain! of love!

Bull Fighting Ring!

There he is, a smile that could light a room! So happy from an epic session!


Absolutely Howling! Windy Enough To Put White Caps in your Tea!


The way to the beach!


My delightful meal after my sesh!



Saturday, June 04, 2011

San Sebastian and Barcelona! BikeRiding, Skateboarding and Surfing!


1732 (local time)

Well Hello!!! Long time no speak... its almost been a week! So im currently sitting here in a hostel in Barcelona not doing all that much because I have a cold or a flu... not exactly sure... but I don’t feel great. (on second thoughts, its probably because we went swimming at 2am in the morning after being out at a club... rookie error) Probably just a bad case of man flu I reckon. Anyway... So I have just come from San Sebastian, which was pretty amazing. I was there for about 4 nights, at some super cheap hostel right in the middle of town.

I arrived via an 100Euro Overnight Train from Paris that left at around 11ish and got me in to San Sebastian by about 9am-ish. The train was fine, got a bit cold but no dramas! My problem was, that I knew that all the hostels were fully booked when I arrived there on the 21st (Saturday), so my first port of call was to just try to go to any of these hostels to let me know if there was a late cancellation. On my way to the first hostel, I bumped into another guy in the same situation. Simon was from Sydney, Australia and he had been knocking on different hostels for about 2 hours until he was fortunate enough to find one!

After I heard that, I was thinking of other options. I found this place where I would be staying after the weekend (San Sebastian gets booked out on weekends). Was this place called Rogers House that is in the old quarters of town.

I dumped my bags there, so I didn’t have to carry them around, and went walking with Simon for a bit to find different hostels. I gave up on that idea pretty quickly and just accepted that something will come up, and if not ill deal with it then.

So myself and Simon went for a hike up to the big Jesus statue that looks down upon the city, and saw the beautiful view that was San Sebastian. We took a ton of photos and then headed back down to the hostel to see if any availabilities had come up on Hostel World (backpackers website for cheap hostels).

On the way back, we noticed all these protesters hanging out in the main square protesting because of the government are changing the way voting is done there? Not really all that sure as I don’t speak Spanish.
I noticed that there were sleeping bags everywhere, so the protesters must be sleeping in the main square as well... Perfect, worst comes to worst I could just sleep there with all the protesters, No Dramas!
When we got back to the hostel, Albert (one of the staff members) greeted me with great news, saying that a bed just opened up, so I took it straight away.

I settled in, and it wasn’t long until Albert was mixing up a cocktail in a massive pot for everyone! Its great when this happens because everyone ends up chatting to everyone and you make some good mates. I got chatty with 2 guys from America. John ‘The Crunter’ and his mate Flynn. These guys were cool, and they were in the same boat I was in... with nowhere to stay.

Anyway, the cocktail was drunk and it was time to hit the streets. It was a pretty tame night... Strange, as we were all hanging out with random French and Spanish dudes! But still good fun! We got up the next day feeling kind of rough, but it was also raining! So I made the use of that, and took a bus to Bilbou, which is about an Hour South – West of San Sebastian, where there was a Guggenheim Museum which is all full of abstract art. Normally I would think it is stupid, but you pay something like 5 Euros, and you get entry into the museum, and also an audio guide that tells you about the different pieces you are looking at, which made it quite interesting. Anyway, so once I toured through the museum it was getting late so I got enough bus back to San Sebastian where I cooked some dinner and had a quiet night.

The next couple of days were nice, not doing much just chilling out on the beach, going for swims, swimming to an island, skateboarding, bike riding around town... Where I got hit by a car, which was great fun and generally chilling out. The last day was wicked, as I met up with another Aussie guy from Perth, Zach had been travelling for a while, doing similar stuff like myself, anyway he brought a surfboard over from Aus, which he then brought with him too San Sebastian. So with a late start we made it over to the surf beach. After he had finished with his board, I took it out for a cheeky surf. It was good for the first couple of minutes, but an onshore wind kicked in and because the tides were changing the swell went from messy to flat, which means I didn’t catch that many waves... in fact I caught none. But it was still good to be out there.
Anyway, so that night I had bought another overnight bus ride from San Sebastian to Barcelona that left at 12 midnight and gets into Barcelona by 7ish. So before I left for the bus, I slammed down a few drinks and then as soon as I got on the bus, fell asleep. And 7 hours later woke up in Barcelona.

So I got in at Barcelona, and I was smart enough this time to book 1 hostel for 1 night and then another hostel for another night. As soon as I got in, I spent at least 10 minutes looking at the Barcelona metro map trying to figure it all out, because at first glance, it looks like someone threw up spaghetti on a piece of paper. Once I had it all figured out I made my way to my hostel, where I dumped my bags, had a shower and then went trekking around the city. I pretty much saw every main tourist attraction there in one day. Which I’m not proud of, but nothing really grabbed me there. There were some buildings which looked architecturally amazing, but all in all, it just felt like another city.

By 5pm I made it back to the hostel, cooked up some rubbish pizza from the shop, and had the idea that I was going to go skateboarding in town after the sun goes down.

By 7ish, I was a wreck, getting hot and cold sweats, muscle aches etc etc. I was in no shape to go anywhere. So I had a long hot shower, jumped in my sleeping back and watched a movie and drank a load of water, hoping that I would be feeling better the next day.

The next day rolled around, and I still wasn’t feeling 100% but I had to leave the hostel and make my way to another hostel, so I found my inner power animal, and made it to this other hostel where I pretty much spent the whole entire day just relaxing to get my energy back.

I caught up with the ‘Crunter’ and Flynn (2 American Boys) for a bit until I retired back to the hostel to chill out again.

It wasn’t until about 9ish where I found some energy and went skateboarding for an hour, but then had to stop early because my right ankle was feeling like it was going to fall off... yeah I think I’ve injured my ankle again... GREAT!, Probably should wear my ankle brace skateboarding as well.

I got back to the hostel by 10, where I was greeted by 4 American girls asking me if I wanted to go out with them tonight... even though I was feeling slightly average, couldn’t really say no...’ it was the polite option’ J. So we headed out to this sangria bar and then made our way to some super fancy, expensive night club on the beach in Barcelona. The girls got us all in for free... Apparently its a 20 Euro entry ($40AUD) We stayed there for a bit, until we all got bored and caught the last metro home!

It was a cool night, it was just good to get out of the hostel for a bit! Big thanks to the girls for inviting me out!
Anyway, that pretty much brings me to the end of this update.

Not all that inspiring, but im not a performing monkey so give me a break!

Enjoy the photos!

Much love!



View of the beach of San Sebastian! 
The Big J Looking Down On The City

Thats right... the beach is just there!

Sponsored Team Rider! Sam Village Racing!

The Big J Loving Life!

Simon: makes any photo awkward!

The Big Arms!

Giving It Some Titanic!

The Island that myself and the Yanks swam too!

Relaxed Steve!

The team! Note my t-shirt tucked in... doesnt matter still look awesome!

Checkin In With The Crunters Hat!

Steve, Matt and Crunter

Standard American Attire!

Team photo just chillin it on the beach!

Rocking some of the greatest ice creams ever!

Zach struggling with the bikes!

Bike Riding! Pre Getting Hit By A Car!

One of the Crunters Greatest Admirers! 


Chris Columbus 

Spanish Guitarist!!! He Rocked!

Tourist Photo in front of the Sagrada Familia!

Park Guell! Looks like something from Willy Wonka!

Some Fat Unit in my Photo!

Overlooking Park Guell!

Andy and Me!!

Protest's in Barcelona! HERE COMES THE COPS!

Heli's Everywhere!

Gum Ball 300 Rally Car! Being pulled over by cops on Scooters.... Massive Loser!

Chilling out near the fountain with the dream team!

Thanks Simo for making this photo awkward we devour a sandwich!

The dream team infront of the Sagrada Familia!

Up Close with Sagrada Familia!

Another One!

Sagrada familia!