10:00 Mon.
26 Oct, 2020

Holla Spain

12:00 am
12:00 am

Next morning Jakob and I went through the old city again, as I didn’t saw it yet. It was truly magnificent, haven’t seen fortress on so many levels before. After about an hour of walking on the high wall and through some tunnels and underpass we were on the other side, the only thing separating us from Spain was a  long bridge over the river. Soon after we were able to say  ¡Hola Espagne!

It took us 5 days to reach Spain, about 125 km were behind us and about 140 ahead of us. The first city on Spanish side was Tui, we didn’t spend much time there but continued walking. We were pretty lucky with the weather so far, it has been more or less clear sky, well until now. The weather forecast for today was some scattered storms, luckily it wasn’t as bad as we were afraid. It only rained on us enough, so we unpacked all our rain coats and waterproof gear and then it stopped after about 10 minutes. Still, we were happy when we reached our destination, O Pporino, it was relatively easy day, just 20 km.

This was an optional stop, which at the beginning we weren’t planning to make, but since the weather wasn’t the best and the next stop Redondela, was additional 15 km away, we decided there was no point in hurrying and stopped here, and wow, we weren’t sorry.

We were back to CET timezone, which meant it was getting dark one hour earlier.

The albergue in O Pporino was amazing, it must have been quite new, no more than 10 years old, had actual floor heating! The downside was, that it had no kitchen utensils. Supposedly people didn’t clean them enough and people started to get sick, so there was some law, that forbade albergues  from having them, supposedly for whole Galicia – which is basically the whole north-western part of Spain. Luckily in a couple of days, this turned out not to be true. Though we were quite sad about it, and since we knew that Spain was more expensive than Portugal, I was already carrying couple kgs of pasta.

Next day was nothing truly remarkable, the weather was so-so, so we had to walk a bit in the rain, nothing too bad though. We reached our next destination Redondela in early afternoon. What was exciting about it was that the albergue was in an old defence tower in the city centre. We were quite excited to sleep in it, although to be fair, when we actually saw it, it wasn’t as poetic as it sounded.

The albergue was without kitchen utensils again, so we decided to try to buy a pot or at least pan in the local supermarket. As it turned out, it was mission impossible. As it seems in Spain they only sell kitchen utensils in some specialized stores, and since it was Saturday afternoon when we went on this mission they were all closed, as opposed to the supermarkets that are open until 9 or 10 pm. I must say, I was really annoyed but it, much more than Aljoša and Jakob, maybe it was that kg of pasta that I was carrying for 35 km already.

Since it was still early afternoon,  and the sky cleared up, I again went for a run on a nearby hill with nice views. In the evening we sat down the table and played some games – yes, Jakob actually brought Settlers of the Catan board game with him, not the whole box, but just playing pieces. We were laughing at him about it at the beginning, but I must admit, it felt pretty awesome to play the game, in the following days we actually managed to though the game to some other pilgrims.

The next day was nothing exceptional either, the path lead us through some villages, near the coast. It rained for most of the day, so that took all the joy from the hike that day. When we reached Pontevedra in about 20 km. The albergue was again very nice, with floor heating, but what was even better, it had kitchen utensils! I don’t remember, when was the last time I was so happy to eat pasta – plain pasta without a sauce that is. Note: I have (or rather had) something of begrudge against it (all kinds of pasta), since in my childhood, we ate it literary every other day... We spend the evening playing the board games again and talking with our friends, it was a nice end to a mediocre day. Also, Aljoša bought a couple of slices of the expensive Iberrian prosciutto in Redondela and today was the day we tried it!

17:00 Sun.
25 Oct, 2020

Portugal Edition

12:00 am
12:00 am

I have been thinking about going on an adventure, go somewhere and don’t plan the whole trip well in advance. See how you feel each day and find hostel/hotel in the city you are at the end of the day.

Luckily such an opportunity presented to me at the beginning of January, when two friends, Jakob and Aljoša asked me if I want to join them on their hike – the famous Camino de Santiago – Portugal edition.  Everything happened so suddenly, after three days we already bought plane tickets and in two weeks, we were off to Porto, Portugal. I have never done anything so spontaneously like this before, but I was really excited about it. To me, it felt like the perfect thing to do, a new experience, a new me, journey to my 4th decade. As it happened, I have turned 30 on the day of our departure.

The last days before the departure were a bit frantic. We were all scrambling to buy the last of the supplies, we thought we would need. Some waterproof  water-resistant pants, rain jackets, this and that, the list goes on. The hard part was balancing what is really needed and should be brought with us and what we could live without. In the end, I ended up with full to bursting 30l backpack, the majority of space was taken by the sleeping bag. In total, I took with me 4 underpants, 3 pairs of socks, 1 running pants, 1 hiking (water-resisting) pants (which I wore most of the time), 3 long and 3 short sports shirts, quick dry towel, chargers, kindle, headphones and a bit of food for the first day of walking – Sunday, since we expected the stores would be closed. In retrospect, I think I could also manage with 2 pairs of underpants, but in total, I don’t think I brought much more than I needed. I don’t think there was an item in the pack I didn’t use – if I don’t count the first aid kit.

Luckily we had couple of sleeping bags at home, so I could pick up the right one, which required some extensive testing, nights before departure.

The 1st of February came soon enough, and I barely manage to have a nice meal with my parents and a piece of cake. This year, I made it myself, wanted to experiment a bit with red velvet cake with lemon filling, it turned out quite ok, but next time, I really need to go back to my favorite type of cakes – fruit cakes. It was nice chatting with my parents, they bought me a new Garmin watch, and I was truly happy about it. I’ve been doing much more sports lately, and the FitBit Charge 3, I had for the last year just didn’t cut it anymore.

Together with my parents, one last time.

So on Saturday afternoon, my ride was ready, I picked up my backpack, boarded GoOpti (popular shuttle service in Slovenia) and I was on my way to the adventure of my life. Because of the birthday(s) (fun fact, Jakob also has a birthday on the same day as I do) we decided that we were going to meet at the airport, since we wanted to spend some time with our families, on our birthdays.

We arrived at  Treviso airport in the early evening, went through the security and were excitedly waiting to board our plane. Our first destination was Porto, Portugal, from where we would start our journey and hike around 240 km, to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. We were planning to do it in roughly 10 days, and if weather would permit, we would continue to the Finistère at the Atlantic coast, about 90 km from Santiago.

Me, Aljoša and Jakob, meeting at the airport.

Waiting at the airport went by quickly in the good company and soon we were in the air, the adventure awaited us. But not before extending our birthday, for 1 more hour (yes, Portugal is in UTC+0 time zone).

15:26 Sun.
19 Aug, 2018

To Africa and Beyond

Arguineguin , Spain
21 °C
7:35 am
8:36 pm

More than 6 years have passed, since my friends and I planned a trip to Canary Islands. Sadly back then, just couple of months before our departure Ryanair cancelled our flight and we had to change our plans and go to mainland Spain. Since then we waited for the right moment to take that trip again and this year that moment had came. In the end of April Veronika, I and two of my friends Vito and Eva finally left Europe and landed in Africa.

Our destination was Gran Canaria – the third largest island of Canary Islands. The round island is of volcanic origin, it is relatively small – only measuring 50km in diameter. It is located about 200 kilometers west of Western Sahara in Africa.

The only day we could see, volcano on the neighboring island Tenerife. I think it's around 4.000m high.
The only day we could see it, volcano on the neighboring island Tenerife. I think it’s around 4.000m high.

The flight from Venice took about 5 hours and I think it is the longest (by far) flight operated by Ryanair or some other low budget airline in Europe. We landed about 4pm on the island where we rented a car. We have pre-booked the car, while we were back in Slovenia, I still cannot believe how cheap it was. We booked our car at AutoReisen, and for 7 days we paid less than 50€ (not per day, in total). Noted, we did rent it out of the main tourist season, but still, it was actually cheaper to rent a car for whole week than to take a taxi from the airport to our apartments on the other side of the island.

First sunset in Africa.
First sunset in Africa.

We arrived to our apartments in the evening, we choose the south of the island for our home base – a small town of Arguineguin. Surprisingly the weather on the island varies differently on the location, the south is better for summer holidays, it is warmer, sunnier and as a bonus it has a small desert couple of kilometers from our location.

We spent our first two days exploring little towns around us and swimming. Despite this being Africa and getting burned really really fast on the sun, the water was cool – couldn’t have had more than 20 degrees, so in the end we didn’t swim that much. The area is very touristy, with lots of activities, beaches and paths everywhere.

To our amusement the people there seem to like Spar (the store) very much, it was literary on every corner.

On Sunday (3rd day) we decided to go check out markets in the northern part of the island. The weather wasn’t the best but at least it wasn’t raining, yet. We took the highway on the eastern part of the island to go north and then went through the middle of island back. After about an hour of driving, we reached small town of Teror where the market was located. The market was nothing special, but Vito and I managed to “pirate” a recipe from some tourist cuisine book, that we later replicated. It was the Spanish pancake thingie, that Mikel did in Luleå once.

After the market we continued toward the middle of the island. There are two very high “rocks” in the middle, from where you can see half of the island. Sadly the closer and higher we got, the more clouds gathered. In the end when we finally reached the Roque Nublo it started to rain a bit, we stopped the car just below the fog. Since we already came here, we thought it only makes sense to actually hike to the top, it was suppose to be about 30 minute hike on a nice path to the top. This turned out into a fun adventure, soon after we left the car we found ourselves in a dense fog, the rain started pouring down on us, the paths literary turned into streams. After about half an hour we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of steep slope, below some cliffs and in some dense vegetation. The fog was so dense we weren’t sure where we were or where we had to go. After searching for another half an hour, climbing the steep slopes we finally figured out we were lost. After some intense backtracking and searching we finally found the correct path and soon climbed to the top where we could see exactly nothing, the fog was so dense the visibility was about 5m .

At one point we noticed we aren't on any path anymore. How could we miss the big wide road?
At one point we noticed we aren’t on any path anymore. How could we miss the big wide road?

We returned to a car about 3 hours later, all wet and cold. As we lowered from the mountains the fog dissipated and we were greeted by incredible views of the valleys below us. I think we were stopping every 15 minutes to take some photos, combined with a narrow and windy road it must have taken us more than 2 hours to make the last 25 kilometers to our apartments, where the skies were clear and of course there was no sign of rain.

23:18 Wed.
26 Jul, 2017

Time to make some paella!

Valencia , Spain
27 °C
Partly Cloudy
6:56 am
9:19 pm

Near the end of the year (2015) we randomly found out a return plain ticket from Venice to Valencia, Spain cost only 45€, of course we had to buy it, it was almost cheaper than bus ticket from Nova Gorica to Ljubljana.

Soon after, on the 20th December, we were on the plane flying toward Spain. We landed in the evening and took metro to the city center where we had hotel. Next day we had reservation in a nearby restaurant for paella.

Underground from airport to the city center.
Underground from airport to the city center.

Early in the morning (at least early for Spain) we woke up and went for a walk through the old city center. The city is old but fairly clean, there were a lot of people but not too much, since it was out of season. Despite being December it was quite warm, almost 20 degrees during the day in the sun. City was full of trees, not just any trees, the trees were full of mandarins. After trying one we soon learned why no-one ate them – they were sour as lemons.

Mandarins in December through the city of Valencia.
Mandarins in December through the city of Valencia.

In the city center there was the largest closed market in Europe (if I remember correctly). They were selling all sorts of fruits, vegetables, meat and fishes. The biggest surprise was strawberries. They had really big and juicy strawberries for less than a quarter price of the ones in Slovenia. After buying 1kg of them we learned they were also much better than the ones we get here in Slovenia (during the late spring/early summer – we have no strawberries in December), they were very sweet as oppose to the ones we get in Slovenia which are watery almost without the taste. After enquiring a bit we were told that the season for greenhouse strawberries has just begun.

In the afternoon we had a chance to try paella at last. It was so good, almost worth the whole trip just to try it.

Paella in Valencia.
Paella in Valencia.
Paella in Valencia.
Paella in Valencia.

After the lunch we had a chance to explore the city some more.

The next day we had a chance to visit the famous beach in Valencia.  It looked so nice, very very large full of sand, you almost wanted to go for a quick swim in the sea. We had a nice lunch at the beach-side – again paella of course, with some snagrias to  have full Spanish meal.

Valencia's beach.
Valencia’s beach.

After the lunch we went to the other side to visit City of arts and sciences. 

Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències
Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències

It was really interesting inside. They had tons of experiments that you could try everything from space and stars to animals. We also saw a 360 degree  movie about Jerusalem, it was quite a fun experience.

Preparing to see the movie. The thing I have around my head are headphones. The movie was dubbed to different languages.
Preparing to see the movie. The thing I have around my head are headphones. The movie was dubbed to different languages.

After we finished with everything it was already night and time to go to sleep. Next day we had something really special planned.


The next day we had “How to make a paella” cooking course. It lasted for about 5 hours and we did everything. In the beginning we went to local market (from previous days) to buy the ingredients. We also bought few grams of zafran alongside with snails, rabbit, chicken and other ingredients. After it we went to the restaurant where me Veronika and another two couples from USA were instructed how to do everything from cleaning to cooking ingredients.

Cooking paella
Cooking paella

In the end we tried our creations and while it was ok, I think I will stick to going to the restaurants there, theirs is better. 😛

After the course we went to visit the bullfighting arena near our hotel. It was closed few years ago and turned into a museum.

Bull fighting arena
Bull fighting arena

This was our last day in Valencia, but we couldn’t leave without trying one more thing: The black turtle burgers. We read online that it’s a must try after paella and spoiler alert, it was really worth it. Note: you really need a reservation before though, it is packed full all the time.

Veronika enjoining her burger, while I did a fatal mistake and took a burger with pancakes instead of bread buns. :(
Veronika enjoining her burger, while I did a fatal mistake and took a burger with pancakes instead of bread buns. 🙁

The interesting part is that the fries are even better than the burgers. They are dipped in the cheese and spices sauce.

The black turtle french fries.
The black turtle french fries.

After big dinner we went to hotel and took the bus next day back to Slovenia. It was a fun trip and we will definitely go again if we find another cheap flight. It’s a good trip for a few days and if you go outside of summer season it is fairly cheap.