London


HAH! Finally! USB!

Alrigh, here goes. Ready thine eyne.

I believe I left you…

…here:

Fabric, floor one. By which I mean, one DOWN (from ground level), not up.

Fabric, floor one. By which I mean, one DOWN (from ground level), not up.

That was London. This (points round at surroundings) is Rome. Now for for how I got from one to the other. As I believe I have mentioned before, it involved a great deal of train.

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FRANCE

France, for me, began in Paris. That is where I popped out of a tunnel and into sunlight. The ride from London was only about two hours but even with a Eurail Pass it set me back £85. That’s like $160 Canadian, for you lazy converters. Anyhoo, didn’t stay in Paris long, so there were only three things that really impressed upon me.

One: big, wide boulevards.

Two: OMG PASTRIES!

Three: Hey! Isn’t anybody going to say Bonjour? I don’t know if it was just the fact that I loked like a scruffy backpacker or maybe I smell, but nobody seemed particularly friendly. Oh well. Their pastries covered for them there.

French Pastries! Mmmmm!And, of course, up the tower with me.

We weren’t sure what the dealio was with the elevator and the paying for it and whatnot, so we took the exit stairs up. There was no sign not to…

Tower of Eiffel

Tower of Eiffel

I walked, I talked to Emily, I headed south without a real plan but intending to go to Madrid. I scored a night train with a small booking fee to Toulouse. I didn’t really stop there. It was cold, it was morning, and I just kept heading south. Wound up in Narbonne around noon. From there, I soon found yet another southbound and made my last French stop in a place called Cerbére.

Here I got a bit worried, as it didn’t really look like there was anything there and it didn’t look like I could get to Madrid, either. I would show you the shabby shot that I thought was the entire town, but instead I’ll show you the lovely little Southern French town that I discovered as soon as I got around the corner and under a bridge from the train station.

Cerbére. Most definitely NOT just a train station.

Cerbére. Most definitely NOT just a train station.

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SPAIN

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I couldn’t get to Madrid from Cerbére, but I COULD get into Spain. My first Spanish stop was a station/town called Portbou. I then found a train to… Barcelona. Not Madrid, but hey! It’ll have hostels and I did want to go there anyway, so no biggie. Only trouble was, I couldn’t get in contact with Emily. Our phones were being problematic.  She wound up in Madrid. Moving on…

A street in Bacelona.

A street in Bacelona.

I’m lying, a little bit, in showing you this photo first. It wasn’t this nice when I arrived. In fact, Barcelona rained on us pretty much the whole time. Blegh. But it had some damn cool architecture! We went around and saw as many of the Gaudi buildings as we could, and got to go insode the Sagrada Familia! My god, what a place. It was incredible to get to witness the construction of a modern-day Cathedral. And this guy’s work really is modern-day. It’s incredible.

Sagrada Familia, front entrance.

Sagrada Familia, front entrance.

Close-up of one of the statues.

Close-up of one of the statues.

Seriously, you’ve got to love the style. Modernism meets religion. They were made for each other. Oh wait…

Anyhoo, I was seriously impressed. The overall effect was both stunning and inspiring.

The finish on the ceiling, just starting to go in. This place is going to be stunning when it is finished.

The finish on the ceiling, just starting to go in. This place is going to be stunning when it is finished.

The above photo is worth a click. Go on, click it. Click!

Barcelona was also equipped with some pretty fantastic food markets. The main one we found, along Las Ramblas, was like a visibly loud and olfactorily overwhelming circus of edible delights. It would have been an almost sinful sight of sweets and gastronomic indulgence if not for the vastly predominating fruit vendors with their naturally brightly coloured and healthful wares.

Mmm! Fruits!

Mmm! Fruits!

Oooh! Sweets!

Oooh! Sweets!

There were also meats and fish and little restaurants and juice spots. It was pretty intense. I kept my bag in my armpit and my camera tucked well inside my clothes.

We went walking along the beach but the weather wasn’t cooperating as well as it could have…
Still, there were some cool sights.

Fish building.

Fish building.

I think there was a restaurant under there or something.

And some cool art:

A cool sculpture on the beach. It was actually a sort of tower thing... quite odd, really.

A cool sculpture on the beach. It was actually a sort of tower thing... quite odd, really.

We stopped several times in Madrid, as well, but didn’t get far from the train station, unfortunately. This was kind of in the middle of us getting a bit lost and turned around while trying to get South and not spend our ENTIRE trip stuck on trains.

Cool Madrid Buildings

Cool Madrid Buildings

Eventually, after much hulabaloo and trainarounding, we managed to get South. We wound up in this really nice little town called Mojàcar. It was beautiful!

Hello Cactus!

Hello Cactus!

Mojàcar, a white city.

Mojàcar, a white city.

It turned out our hostel was quite a hike from the bus station. You can see where sea level is here, and the bus station was down there, a ways up the shore. We had to hike up here with our 35-pound bags and groceries and water. Did I mention that on the way here I dropped said bag on my face? Well I did, and now I have a black eye and a band-aid. Bummer. But Mojàcar was nice!

From here we went back up to Barcelona and across to Italy by Ferry. Like I said before, I am now in Rome.

I will show you Rome later.

Right now, I am off to the Vatican, if possible, and Florence, if not.

Ciao ciao!

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>>UPDATED<< with more photos 😀

I am, once again, short on time and having to cut a few corners on this blog post. Seeing as I did a nice texty one just recently I figure it’s time for another mostly-photos post! Yay! A picture is worth a thousand words AND can upload faster than I can type.

LONDON.  <<It earns the allcaps.

As I may have mentioned, what really struck me upon arrival was how BUSY this place is!

As I may have mentioned, what really struck me upon arrival was how BUSY this place is!

Another thing that I found… unexpected? Interesting? Something, anyway, was how the atmosphere of the city centre changed with dusk. Aesthetically, it’s quite stiking.

Picadilly circus, daytime.

Picadilly circus, daytime.

Dusk.

Dusk.

Picadilly Circus, at night.

Picadilly Circus, at night.

Run, guy, run!

Run, guy, run!

Nelson, hogging the spotlight.

Nelson, hogging the spotlight.

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Trafalgar quare was a bustling panorama of lunch the first time we got there. It was sunny, it was Saturday, and every horizontal was filled with people holding (partial) sandwiches. The second time, it was abandoned. Rather dramatically so.

This is right in the centre of town, but the busy kind of spread everywhere. You would be walking along and it would get kind of quiet and then you would hit another pocket of crowd and have to really hang on to your hair!

Emily and I just kind of wandered through it that night, poking our heads into any placethat caught our interest. Quite by accident, we discovered the toot-sweets machine from Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang in Ripley’s Believe it or Not. If we hadn’t needed tickets to get beyond the atrium this place would have warranted much further exploration!

The next day, we moved out of the centre of town to stay in this Hostel, Palmer’s Lodge, that had gotten a load of ‘Top 10 Hostel’ awards and sounded very cool. Also, we found a night that we could stay there for £10 each. Win-win! It really was an awesome place, located in this old Victorian mansion in the northern part of Camden.

I’m so glad we decided to stay here! If we hadn’t, I might never have discovered Camden…

Camden

Camden

Camden Market, Sunday.

Camden Market, Sunday.

Camden is quite a ways out of “the centre of town”. So it makes it’s own centre around its market(s). There are a few and they all kind of connect. The Horse Tunnel Market was my favorite location-wise, but exploration soon found me in the Camden Market and the Stables without ever really being aware of crossing a border.

Man, do I love shopping in TUNNELS!!

Man, do I love shopping in TUNNELS!!

There was also this awesome rave store called Cyberdog. It had the coolest interior and music (sorry, I can’t demonstrate that part) of any store I have ever been into. It was like walking into a briefly-emptied nightclub that just happened to not sell any drinks.

Cyberdog, exterior, just insode the Stables.

Cyberdog, exterior, just inside the Stables.

 

Cyberdog, interior, complete with awesome rave musics.

Cyberdog, interior, complete with awesome rave musics.

The markets also had at least one cool Bar, the one we went into being the Proud Camden Bar, in which we enjoyed our drinks in one of many converted stables. Everything was very horsey here, in a club-space kind of way.

Inside the Proud Camden bar, taken from one of the stables.

Inside the Proud Camden bar, taken from one of the stables.

I’ll do one final post on London before I leave, but I am headed off to Paris tomorrow, so expect a lot more from there!