It seems like the longer I travel, the faster this trip seems to go. Three months has quite literally flown by.
But it is still scary to think that I’m now only a fifth way through my planned journey of 15 months. If all goes to plan, there is still a whole year left before I’ll board a plane from Rio de Janeiro back to Melbourne.
My budget is still a little bit scared of the fact that there is still so much more to go, especially after I just spent a whole week in Switzerland which is crazy expensive! But hopefully I can start to be a bit more frugal soon.
1/2 – Granada, Spain
2/2-3/2- Valencia, Spain
4/2- Tarragona and Poblet Monastery, Spain
5/2- 11/2- Barcelona , Spain
12/2-14/2- Toulouse, France
15/2-16/2- Avignon, France
17/2-19/2- Aixe-en-Provence, France
20/2-22/2- Nice, France
23/2-24/2- Lyon, France
25/2-27/2- Interlaken, Switzerland
28/2- Luzern, Switzerland
29/2- Bern, Switzerland
Some Interesting Statistics
Countries Visited- 4 (Spain, France, Monaco, Switzerland)
Trains- 14 (excluding local trains)
Buses- 7 (excluding local buses)
Bla Bla Cars- 8 (Bla Bla Car is HUGE in France)
Cable Cars- 9
Things lost- 1 x lock, 1 x cover for sleeping sheet
Things needing to be replaced- 1 x Macbook Charger (lucky the Apple store in Lyon replaced it for me for free), 1 x pair of jeans (seriously how do Uniqulo pants lose their elasticity so quickly?)
Couchsurfing hosts- 5
- The Alhambra in Granada. I spent my whole last day in Granada visiting it’s most famous site- the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Alhambra. At this point in time I was feeling just a little burned out but the Alhambra managed to reinvigorate my wander lust with how beautiful it was.
- I usually don’t list a whole city in my favourite moments but I think Barcelona qualifies. I had such a great week in Barcelona, catching up with some friends from home, visiting the works of Gaudi including the spectacular Sagrada Familia, going up to Montserrat and wandering the Latin Quarter.
- But the absolute highlight was getting to stay in the newly opened Yeah! Barcelona Hostel (owned by the same guys as the Yes! Hostels in Portugal that I stayed in last year). I got to catch up with one of the owners I met in Lisbon who were there to open the hostel, got taken out for lunch by all of them, got a room to myself for most of my stay and just generally fell in love with the newly renovated and decorated hostel. Whilst this hostel doesn’t have too many reviews right now, it is going to be the best hostel in Barcelona.
- A day trip to Albi. The main reason I headed to Toulouse was that it made a convenient base for day trips to the UNESCO listed old towns of Albi and Carcassonne in the Mid-Pyrenes. It rained the whole way there and I was super sceptical about my decision to go in such bad weather. But as soon as I arrived the weather cleared and I got to explore Albi in all of its beauty. I fell hard for this small town with it’s beautiful old brick buildings and old brick laneways. It still remains one of my favourite places in France.
- Catching up with Camille in Aixe-en-Provence. This trip wasn’t my first time in France, I was there back in 2009 when I stayed with three host families in Normandy, one of the Northern Provinces. Not only did I stay with Camille during that trip, but she then came to Australia and lived with my family for two months in 2010. After almost 5.5 years we were finally reunited when I went and stayed with her for three days in Aixe-en-Provence. Hopefully it won’t be so long before I see her again!
- Falling in love with couchsurfing all over again. After a long month without hosts, I was finally able to couchsurf again in France and Switzerland. I had some truly amazing experiences, including having dinner with a Swiss Family and being taken hiking just outside of Nice by another host. The hike was spectacular, there were about 20 of us and when we got to the top everyone pulled out food (cheese, baguette, chocolate, saucisson etc) and beer and wine and we had a picnic right up there on the mountain. It was such an incredible day and not something I ever would have been able to experience without couchsurfing.
- Visiting the Swiss Alps in Interlaken. When I first arrived in Interlaken it was a miserable day and all I could do was stay in the hostel and watch Netflix. Whilst rest days like that are great, I found myself regretting coming to Switzerland in winter. But that all changed the next day when the weather turned sunny for my trip 2600m above sea level to the top of the Schilthorn. On the way I stopped in small carless villages with snow covered chalets that reminded me that Switzerland is at it’s most beautiful when covered in snow. Nothing could beat that view from the top though, it was exactly how I always imagined Switzerland to be.
- Paragliding over Interlaken. After my spectacular day in the Swiss Alps I knew I wasn’t ready to leave Interlaken the next day as planned, especially because we were in for another sunny day. Instead of booking a morning train to Luzern I booked to go paragliding over Interlaken. I haven’t quite built myself up to skydiving yet but paragliding was a great alternative. It was one of the best experiences ever flying over Interlaken. I felt like a bird and we got an unforgettable view of Interlaken and its lakes.
Favourite Dishes (New this month)
- Ham, Potatoes and Eggs from the Jamon Jamon Valencia– Whilst I didn’t really like Valencia the city I did eat well during my two days there. My favourite meal was also one of my favourite Spanish dishes; Iberico ham, fried eggs (although some do scrambled) and potatoes (although some do fries). For something so simple it is seriously delicious.
- The La Boqueria Market in Barcelona- The food at el Quim de la Boqueria was some of the best I ate in Spain. Whilst pricey I devoured dishes of scallops, tacos and patatas bravas (fried and roasted potatoes covered in spicy sauce, another one of my favourite Spanish dishes). I also went crazy when I saw all the fresh seafood and produce and bought enough stuff to cook a seafood dinner for myself for two nights.
- The best cake in Toulouse at Le Flower’s Cafe- After visiting this tea salon on my last day in Toulouse I seriously wanted to stick around just to eat more cake. It was seriously out of this world good, and the best cake I’ve ever had in my life.
- Bistrot d’Abel in Lyon– I was told by many that Lyon is considered the stomach of France so I couldn’t wait to check out their food scene. After some research I had planned to eat at Le Bouchon de Cordelliers but they were booked out. It was the best thing that could have happened because it forced me to wander down another street nearby and find Bistrot d’Abel. I had the best meal so far in France here for a pretty affordable 22 euros for three courses. The entrée was a spectacular beef terrine that had the perfect amount of salt (I sometimes find them too salty) and wasn’t dry at all. The meal got even better with a main of delicious confit beef, a piece of ham and the best mashed potato of my life, all topped with some delicious red wine sauce. But the standout, as usual in France, was the dessert of the praline Mille Feuille. I love Mille Feuille and the addition of the pralines made it taste like a ferrero rocher!
To discover more of my favourite food moments add me on snapchat (which is 90% food porn) at brittytt!
- The worst tinder date ever- some of the other blogs I read and my friends had recommended this popular dating app as a way to meet guys on the road. When I got to Barcelona I finally decided to try it out for the very first time and it was a horrible disaster. I met the guy at the train station and as we were walking to a bar I thought things were going really well. Apparently I was wrong because when I got to the bar, he told me to wait while he took a call outside. It took me ten minutes to work out that he had unmatched me and disappeared. Seriously- are all Spanish guys like this? I was mortified and really bloody pissed off, he could have at least made up some terrible excuse! Lucky for me the amazing guys at Yeah Barcelona looked after me with cocktails after I returned.
- A trip to the hospital in Avignon- I swear every month being sick makes it to my worst moments. Hopefully next month will be different. I picked up some very terrible food poisoning from sushi in Toulouse and by the time I arrived in Avignon six hours later I was miserable. After a long sleepless night of vomiting and not being to even keep water down, I took the advice of my doctor friend and headed to the hospital. Thankfully it wasn’t too serious and I was only prescribed bed rest, but it was good to have the peace of mind of getting some professional advice particularly given how miserable and terrible I was feeling. I’ve never experienced anything like that before!
Money Spent- $3611
Despite the fact that I was able to couchsurf almost half of the time and this month was two days shorter than the last, February still ended up being my most expensive yet. And that was for one reason; Switzerland.
I spent almost a third of this month’s total in my last five days in Switzerland, including a whooping $720 in Interlaken alone. Switzerland is notoriously expensive and my number one piece of advice for visiting this country is don’t do it unless you have money to blow. Whilst you might save some money by skipping some activities- what is the point of even visiting Switzerland if you can’t afford things like the cable card up the mountain (my return trip to the Schilthorn cost $150 AUD).
As always you can see a full breakdown of all my costs in the google spreadsheet here.
I managed to write a lot more posts this month and I expect it to be even more next month. I’ve finally gotten more organised with a posting and writing schedule that should have me releasing a post every two days for the next month. I’ve come to the realisation that I’ll always be two months behind but I’ve decided that is ok. For the most live updates it’s definitely best to follow me on snapchat (brittytt) and instagram.
This month expect posts on Chester, London , all of Portugal, San Sebastian and Salamanca. I’m all hoping to do a travel tip post in March on how to avoid theft in Europe.
Instagram Top Five
As always I can’t predict what the people of instagram are going to like. I thought my best photos yet came from my day in the mountains in Switzerland but they didn’t even make the top five.
I love this one!
So in case you needed another reason to visit, here is another photo from Albi. It’s an easy day trip from nearby Toulouse and the sort of city where you just want to get lost in and wander the streets aimlessly.
A photo posted by Britt Jeffs (@adventureliesinfront) on
After almost a month in Spain I unfortunately have to say goodbye to the land of churros and Iberico ham. I woke up this morning and I didn’t want to leave. But I’m super excited to be moving on to a country that feels like home. I’ve spent three months in France before but I’ve never explored the south which is my mission for the next two weeks!
Lyon is absolutely stunning. A series of errors meant I only had a couple of hours to explore this town but I managed to see almost everything on a 15km walk around the various districts and old town. And have the best meal I’ve had so far in France.
A photo posted by Britt Jeffs (@adventureliesinfront) on
And the most popular of this month! Nice
My Personal Favourite:
Where I’m Off to Next
I’m spending my first week of March in Paris before heading to Brussels. I’ll then stop over in England for five days to have some R&R and then fly to Copenhagen to visit my friend Stine. I’ll finish the month with a 2.5 week trip in Norway including Oslo, Bergen and a 12 day return cruise to the Arctic with the Hurtigruten. Fingers crossed that I’ll have some photos of the Northern Lights appearing on my instagram before the end of the month!
Thanks for following!