Sunday, 22 November 2015

Forgive me Seville – I will come back !

Lo siento Seville

I finally got out of Lisbon and headed to the long awaited Seville but had to do the mad run rush in half a day for by some coincidence Aisyv was also in Seville for work and after a mad facebook discussion for 5 minutes we settle to head to Granada together for 2 days of travel sightseeing. That left me with only half a day in Seville to see as much as I can.
I knew partially in my head I would need to up my expectation on expenditure when travelling with Aisyv. If it’s not a backpacker on the road likely chance you’ll travel more costly than normal. Still I thought 2 days was ok, how bad could it be and the company of old friends is worth spending more money sometime.

Streets of Seville - Spain
Seville in half a day …. Got in at night around 9pm checked in the hostel and luckily they allowed me to cancel my second night and dump my backpack and was out the door in a heartbeat.

Tapas in Seville
Walk around at night, scour a tapas bar, see what I could of the mazely city and head back for sleep only to wake up early in the morning 830 am to check out, left my bag in the hostel and out again to see all the sights I could muster in 5 hours.
The palace grounds were lovely and so was the cathedral but the best was Castle Real and its gardens where the intricate architecture meshing designs from Muslim, Jewish and Christianity culture. The Muslim culture was beautiful, and we don’t see much of it these days.
Palace Grounds Seville

The old Morrish Muslim knew how crate art unlike the bland erratic Islamic culture we have today. In a way it could be look at such that the intricate detail beauty of the Castle Real would have borderline blasphemy in today’s Muslim culture.  Such a shame …. And it is also use as the filming ground of Game of Thrones city of Dawn …. Another blasphemy I think in that sense ….

Castle Real - Seville

Castle Real - Seville

My last minute arrangement to meet Combo a travel buddy I met in Lisbon did not fell through. I got stood up, well he did send a message but no wifi = stood up. Lucky thing I only spend 15 minutes waiting before ditching myself.
Back to the hostel through as many windy road I could detour without being late to meet Aisyv. I stayed in the cheapest hostel in Seville 12 euro a night across the city of Seville. Aisyv was staying smack in the middle next to all the heritage Castle and cathedral, in fact the hotel itself was a heritage and also the most expensive 5 star hotel in Seville. It was no wonder I would break my budget for the next two day.

She looked just the same back in the BRAT’s days …. No changes and no increase in height as well. Long lost friend of 14 years. I now had a travel buddy for the next two days and I finally meet another Malaysian in my 7 months of travels. 
My worry of the travel together for the next two days being awkward was quickly forgotten. Catch up catch up … all the memories, the questions, the Malaysian slang slowly creeping back, a word or two in malay, a snicker and good old reminiscence of home. 

I am sorry Seville …. First glimpse and I was torn apart between an old friend’s promise and a city that seems to call to my soul.
I’ll come back I promise ……..

Saturday, 21 November 2015

What do you miss when Travelling ?

I know what I miss when I am back home and chain down working. I miss travelling!! However when we are on the big open road the things we miss are not so easily defined.

The things that I miss out when travelling long term are the things that makes me homesick. Not the food nor the normality of life working day in day out, having a beer at the end of the day, lazing around singing while your friends imagine they are rock stars on the karaoke bar. No. It’s the special moments that makes me homesick.
Facebook and watsapp nowadays makes it so much easier for people to follow your travels and envy your amazing life. You lucky bastard you. But Facebook goes both ways so when I see a new born baby into the family circle, a close friend getting married, colleagues celebrating the annual D&D, festival gatherings, those are the things that make me homesick.

Today my parents took the keys to my new studio that I bought on impulse 3 years ago. They send me pictures through watsapp, with so much ideas and suggestion on what I could do with the place. I am sure at one point they forgot that it was my place and thought of it as their own. I am a bit sad that I am not there to play with the new toy. So many new surprises that came with the new studio.
What ?? the Condo is totally high tech ??? …
Huh I got a cooker built into the place ???
Wahahaha the studio came with a free mirror in the bath room …
Wow … heating is built into the shower ….

How I miss not being there myself to enjoy the thrill of adventure. Like a kid exploring his new playground my parents are doing that for me now, enjoying on my behalf. While I sit here in McDonald in Faro Portugal waiting for the next bus to Seville Spain I wish I was back home playing with my new studio.
Do whatever you like with the place I told them. It is your holiday home I guess. J

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The things I did in Lisbon

It was a city with an Indianmission and I fulfilled it wonderfully only to get stuck many numbers of days in Lisbon. That said I did lots of mundane things in Lisbon which I almost forgotten but while I recall good friendship that I made in Lisbon and some even rekindled it reminds me of what I partake in and a smile creep across when I think about it.

City of Lisbon - Portugal
The Home for a while – We Love Hostel

I stayed at a petite hostel named – “We Love Hostel” of 3 rooms which squeezed at most 14 bed max with a tiny weeny cosy kitchen (but still manage to cook a full meal) and a common area one must gently butt someone else to nip ones way around. That said the hostel was awesome. At 12 euro a night it was not the cheapest in town but it was the cosiest there was. People come and go but with a hostel that small you can’t really run/hide away from conversation. Even the most shy and introvert will open up for a chatter. That said I found two new friend to explore the town together …. Jay and Combo.

The standard touristy stuff
Walking around Lisbon
Coach Museum Balem - Lisbon
Walking around the old city of Lisbon is a given and if you happen to be in town during the first Sunday of the month like I was; museums are free that one day a month.

A trip down to Balem in Lisbon where most of the museum congregate themselves together, monuments of historic landmarks, and a very eye catching Jeronimos Monastery. Most of the museums barely cost 7 euros but chalking them up together could be painful. A free Sunday and museum hopping saved me nearly 30 euro, while some is really dependent on one’s personal taste the Monastery was a must catch.

Extra bonus if you get yourself one of the oldest still surviving and famous Portuguese egg tart

Lisbon is a great city to explore on foot. Each district has its individual flavour and best explored at different times. The nightlife district of course is best explored at night and the monuments in the early morning but letting the wind carry my feet was the best thing in Lisbon for one can end up in a completely quint neighbourhood but with amazing views with almost no soul nearby.
A Park in Lisbon

Tram 28 - Lisbon
Small enough to explore on foot but large enough that it would take you a few days on foot+tram to cover it toughly
The famous elusive tram 28 which goes around the old city at local price ( some trams goes the same tracks but are 10 euro a ride while this cost about 3 ).

It was a splendid way to explore Lisbon and after eluding me for nearly a week I decided it was time to hunt it down with Jay. Best to find the starting line where one could get a seat and just enjoy the view out the window and watch how the tram narrowly avoid parked cards in incredibly tight corners.

Daytrips – Sintra & Cascais
Tile  Painting
When in Lisbon visit Sintra. Sintra was a short train ride away about 20 minutes and is set at the south western tip of Portugal which had a Castle at the top of the hill which watch out for ships entering the straits.

Mouros Castle was a challenging hike for the unfit. There was a few ways the get there but the cheapest and best way was walking along the back alley / forested footpath that leads to the castle. Walking along the main road is even more longer and treacherous with hazard of being knock down by bicycles, daily rented buggy’s, scooters, cars and huge ass tourist bus.
Mourns Castle - Sintra Portugal
Mourns Castle - Sintra Portugal

The view is worth my lungs torture I must say.

Other than the castle, Sintra is also filled with other monuments, palaces, building that seems to compete for the title “look at me”. A UNESCO heritage site, Sintra can be a costly affair for a budget backpacker if you want to visit the insides of everything. That said the outside is pretty amazing too.

The second daytrip was Cascais the beach. It is a beach town ….. good for swimming and tanning and just lazing. Being from Malaysia I must say I have seen better beaches …. Overcrowded beaches are not really an appeal compared to a desolated lonely beach but then again a huge crowd in an Ang-Moh setting is best for eye candy watching.
Cascais Beach
Graffiti Art in Cascais Beach - Portugal
Things I did not expect to do in Lisbon
I attended of all things a meditation group in the middle of a noisy city. Everything was explained in Portuguese so and so on but I could never be comfortable with people who have the Zen eyes. The pity eyes and the look that says all is well as the cosmic energy surround you and free you of burden. I just don’t get that shit. Meditation is something that I do with a glass of beer watching the sunset pondering life. Don’t quite get the sitting and closing eyes thing.

I had too much time in Lisbon …. Carpe Diem ….