A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: hengel

Picturesque Portugal

The land of "Super Bock" and piri piri chicken

sunny 26 °C

OK so I went to Portugal and yes it was totally sweet. But my tale does not begin so sweet, it starts with me setting my alarm but not turning it on, hence making it to Stansted airport at 7:55am for my 8:00am flight. My destionation was supposed to be Santiago de Compostela just north of Portugal, but the next flight was not until the same time the next morning. After discussing with the friendly Ryanair representative I managed to secure a seat on the next flight directly to Porto, at 6:30pm that night. As a result I had to spend the next 11 hours of my life stuck at Stansted airport sleeping, reading, roaming around and bored out of my brain.

So let's get onto the good bit, the cool parts of my Portugal experience.

Porto
My first Portugese stop was Porto the home of the Australian drunks beverage of choice, Port Wine. One day of my days in Porto I hopped on the train and headed to a beach called Espinho for a little bit of relaxation. Turns out the Atlantic was a bit too rough and real cold to swim in, but at least there was a bar on the beach serving the northern Portugese brew with undoubtedly the greatest name for a beer on earth, "Super Bock".

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When I was wondering around one day I came across this young lady sitting on her balcony overlooking the street. She was just taking it easy in the warm afternoon sun, aspiring for that "all over" tan.

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Whoa easy there, before you all email calling me a pervert, that's just a mannequin. I don't really know what she's doing there, it just looked funny that's all

One final picture of the historic port area of Porto

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Lisbon
Lisbon is the pumping capital of Portugal and was a really awesome place. Lots of little streets and a cool bar sort of suburb where everybody just stands out on the streets with their drinks and has a good time. The next picture is the view down a street with a classic Lisbon tram.

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Here we have the view of the bay from a hill

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Here we have a badass Lisbon guard in front of some government building. Please note the sword, huge boots and tights pants

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Lagos
The southern coast of Portugal is called the Algarve. I visited a town called Lagos and stayed at a hostel where the ratio of Australians was higher than any other place I had ever stayed. The entire town itself was completely overrun with english tourists. I don't think there were any Portugese people living there at all.

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I went to the beach here as well but rather than swim I just jumped off this huge rock. It was only about 12-15 metres high. I only hit the bottom the second time I jumped off, but don't worry it was really deep.

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That really is me about to plunge to the depths, I am such a badass.

Well that kind of wraps up some of the highlights and stuff. Here is one more item for you all. When I was in Seville I checked out this building that had all these small tiled monuments for each of the provinces in Spain. This one had a map on it, I'm pretty sure that I know some people from this town.

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Oh and one more quick item. The man asleep in chair is back! This version is entitled "Portugese man asleep on park bench". This old fellas head kept falling back and nearly snapping off.

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Posted by hengel 17:12 Archived in Portugal Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Holland's Highlights

Be warned, the Netherlands is not all that it seems (plus it's a lot like it seems)

rain 19 °C

OK then let's start with some facts:

LATE UPDATE!!
(I forgot to put this in earlier but remembered today when I had some lolly and realised it was much too salty)
- The Netherlands are home to possibly the world's largest collection of salt based confectionary. When looking for lollies be warned: try one first because when you get that bag of goodies back home, no doubt they will be salty and disgusting. As usual the dutchies love them

- There are tonnes of people in the Netherlands that are huge and by huge I mean massive. On the right is Gijs, I am staying at his house and he was a school friend of my dad's. On the left is Ben, his son. Ben lives in the house behind us, luckily only the door is really low

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- People really do wear clogs and not just for ceremonial purposes, but for everyday life. Milking the cows, going to tractor pulls (more on this later on) and going to the shops, just knocking about, anything

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For the record this old dude is the bloke who now owns the farm where my dad was born (and his dad and his dad's dad built it... you get the picture). The guy on the right bought it off my Opa before they left the Netherlands for Australia

- People ride bikes everywhere. They go on special cycling holidays where they drive somewhere just to ride their bike around. They love bikes so much they even have them in their coal mines

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- There are tonnes of cows. Apparently the Dutch eat about 16kg of cheese per person per year and that milk has gotta come from somewhere. They love milk so much that you can buy this stuff called "Karne Milk" which is basically a carton of sour milk, not the best tasting stuff but they love it

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Secondly, some lesser know facts about the Netherlands:

- They have their own fair share of LARGE attractions. For example near Achterveld there is the egg:

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Please note that I had to ride a bike to get there

There is also the giant cigar:
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Please note that is not just a turd with a cigar label in a plastic tube.

- There are lots of funny signs and street names

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Literal translation, "Middle Arse Way"

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Literal translation, "Ass Chatter Way"

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I completely understand why the dog on the sign has a big smile, he just took a dump on someones neat, freshly cut grass.

Other Highlights:

- Playing the family card game "Skip-Bo" with my mum's elderly aunt and uncle in Terwinslen (southern Netherlands) when the CD we are listening to (which sounded a lot like a dutch version of Kevin "Bloody" Wilson) began playing the song "Livin' Next Door to Alice" in dutch except for one line in english, "who the f*** is Alice". I found it very difficult to not laugh out loud, lucky they don't speak english

- Driving down a street in Kerkrade where one side of the street is the Netherlands and the other is Germany. Street signs on side were Dutch and the other German

- Going to a tractor pull. Not the kind where two tractors battle it out but one where a suped up tractor pulls a massive sled in the dirt. This bad boy had 4 jet engines on it

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The winners of each division we driven around on the dias in front of all the spectators.

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- Visiting the Dutch "Alps" and the highest point in the Netherlands, a staggering 322.5 metres above sea level.

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- Going to some museum and finding this old dutch supermarket product

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Posted by hengel 15:49 Archived in Netherlands Tagged backpacking Comments (8)

Dubrovnik, same Bat time, same Bat channel

Sun, Sea and Scandanavians

sunny 32 °C

Finally the blog you have all been waiting for, since we last checked in with the rampant blog checkers out there we have travelled further down the trail and made it to Dubrovnik in southern Croatia. By all means possible this place has lived up to the hype given to it.

Here are some of the highlights of our visit to Dubrovnik:

Day One:

We arrived in Dubrovnik from Split after a scenic drive down the delightful Adriatic coastline. It took us bloody ages to find the place we were staying due to one way roads and poor signage.

We called the bloke from the Dubrovnik youth service and followed his scooter to our new home. Our hosts we very welcoming and spoke little English, but managed to say "No Problem" at least once per sentence.

Went walking throught the old town that night, top quality as old towns go and quality fortifications.

Day Two:

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Went for a walk around the peninsula looking for quality beaches and nudist beaches (only for the culture points though... serious you see enough nudity at the beach as it is)

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Went to the dodgy sounding and dodgy looking night club "Latino Club Fuego"

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We had an awesome time with Dangerous Dave and Jono

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Melon and Jono, got on like a house on fire when they realised that Jono knew Ed (Callaghan) and went out with a chick that used to live with Ed.

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Dave and Irish friends

Day Three:

Went to the dodgy sounding and dodgy looking night club "Latino Club Fuego"

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We had an awesome time with Dangerous Dave and Jono

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We met plenty of people here the second night. Melon, Jono and a new Swedish friend.

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Morto and Melon made a new Norwegian friend, Anna

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Kerr and Hengel with Russian friends

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Hengel with one of Dave's new Irish friends

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Drunken debauchery

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Later that night Kerr (and the rest of us) felt that some swimming to cool down was in order

Day Four:

Went to the dodgy sounding and dodgy looking night club "Latino Club Fuego"

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We had an awesome time with Dangerous Dave and Jono

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We met more friends tonight. Melon with Norwegian friend

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By the end of the night Dangerous Dave couldn't take very good pictures anymore

Day Five:

Final day in Dubrovnik, we hit the beach again and waited until 11pm for our ferry to Italy. Our sleeping patches on the deck were awaiting us. After 8 hours on the boat with little sleep we arrived in Italy

For those of you out there who require more debaucherous information regarding our exploits during this period of time please feel free to email anyone (except morto, cos he is the biggest dog of the lot)

OK so it sounds like we didn't do much else than go to the dodgy sounding and dodgy looking night club "Latino Club Fuego" and go swimming, which is true. But we have plenty of nice photos of that sort of stuff for those interested, but that is boring...

...and back by popular demand... man in chair

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Posted by hengel 09:13 Archived in Croatia Tagged backpacking Comments (10)

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