Beach

Cádiz

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The Easter holidays are just one week long in Spain; as opposed to two at home (or five if you go to university!) but the time off was much needed and much appreciated nevertheless. I spent four highly relaxing days in Cádiz where I lazily flitted between the beach, the park and the town square, taking time to read my book and sunbathe. This has actually been my first Easter break without revision in about six years and it was quite blissful.

Cádiz is smaller than I expected and very easy to walk around. It reminded me of Manhattan, New York for the sole reason that its surrounded by water and the streets are in a grid formation. Its beautiful because you can get lost amongst the shops and bars then glance to the right and catch a glimpse of the turquoise ocean.

I spent most of my time being a lady of leisure, listening to podcasts, sleeping and eating frozen yogurt… However when I did get my camera out I captured these snapshots of the seaside scenery.

Cadiz2Cadizcadiz3IMG_0592IMG_0642IMG_0555It was a little sad not to be at home for the holidays, but these beautiful views certainly made up for missing the family Easter egg hunt… For now though its back to another eight weeks or so of teaching Spanish teens. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone and I know I’m going to miss all this sunshine and traveling next year, so I’ll be enjoying every last second of the next few weeks. Happy Easter weekend!

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Morocco: Camel riding and sea views

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This weekend I visited Morocco for the first time. I have always wanted to travel there and it seems that dreams do come true! Living in Spain this year means that a journey to Morocco is only a boat trip away and I managed to discover the northern cities of Tangiers, Chefchaouen and Tatouan in just 3 days – amazing.

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The first stop of the trip was a visit to Cap Spartel, the point at which the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean. There was a stunning viewpoint with a lighthouse and a cluster of market stalls selling traditional Moroccan items. We arrived at about 10am so the sun was bright and the air was cool and fresh. It was beautiful.

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Next was a camel ride on the beach. This experience has been added to my list of life highlights, joining the likes of TukTuk riding in Lisbon, Latin dancing with US marines in Costa Rica and morning beach swims in Greece as my favourite travelling moments.

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The camels were both incredibly unstable and predictably smelly but they were also surprisingly soft. I got to ride up and down the beach at a slow (and wobbly) pace, taking in the scenic views. It wasn’t all as glamorous as the picture looks – the way the camel stood up involved terrifying jerky movements whilst the dismount consisted of the camel suddenly dropping to his knees throwing me forward like a sack of unwanted potatoes. However, the whole thing was unforgettable and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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The next part of the trip was Chefchaouen, aka the blue city. More on that in the next few days…Untitled

A Long weekend in Lagos

Last weekend I had four whole days to play with. I always have Fridays off and Monday was another national holiday so I thought I’d make the most of the long weekend and go on a little expedition. With so many places to see in Spain my flatmates and I struggled to come to a decision; in the end we decided to profit from the extra day and head a bit further afield to Portugal, Lagos to be exact.portugal1.jpgFrom Seville it was a three hour bus-ride and we went with a company called Discover Excursions so it was all organised for us. We had two nights in a lovely beachside hotel called Hotel Carvi. Given the last-minute booking and the affordable price we had quite low expectations for the hotel, however we were pleasantly surprised. The rooms were spacious and the most important factor – the buffet breakfast – was close to perfection. Yum.

portugal4.jpgOur days were spent exploring caves, doing cliff walks, sunbathing, swimming (in October?!) and discovering the gorgeous town of Lagos. We also managed to squeeze in a Kayaking trip along the coast.

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Lagos is beautiful but absolutely FULL of English people. This came as quite a shock after living in Zafra – a town where speaking English causes locals to stop in the street and observe your conversation in disbelief. However, the abundance of English tourists meant that there were plenty of English-friendly restaurants, so we took advantage of this and went for an Indian! Normally I’d opt for authentic regional dishes but living in rural Spain means that I’ll be deprived of anything other than tapas for the foreseeable future, so we thought we’d make the most of some home comforts. And everyone loves a curry.portugal3.jpg

Despite not actually trying Portuguese food, my first taste of Portugal as a country was very good indeed. The coastline was stunning, the people were friendly and the weather was beautiful. Next on my list is Lisbon!Untitled

Cap Taillat

Cap Taillat is a hidden gem. It’s near the town of Ramatuelle, just along from St Tropez, and is a little bay of beaches only accessible on foot. It was recommended to me as a really beautiful place to visit and I wasn’t disappointed. The water is amazingly clear (it feels almost tropical) and there are little inlets with big rocks to lay on, driftwood to be used as diving platforms and plenty of passing yachts to oggle enviously. I can confidently say that it was the perfect place for swimming, sunbathing and photography. Fortunately, it’s also a protected area of natural beauty so should be around for years to come.

Warning: Cap Taillat is quite popular with the nudist community, so you may exposed to more than just a sea view.10489697_10203058224830648_5201406919567191991_n 10492292_10203058224190632_1456847702062502890_n 10460279_10203058223870624_5292672374887692485_n 10342990_10203058224670644_4437392094226067371_n 10399437_10203058229270759_8374746622114500730_n 10409449_10203058224390637_265239202439882734_n

Monday musings #2

Having spent the last two years living in Durham I have seen my fair share of water (mainly in the form of rain), but it is so nice being near the ocean. Especially when it’s the cote d’azur which is named specifically for its blueness. The hotel I work and live in is at the top of a hill overlooking the town below, so while this ensures brilliant views it sadly means that I am not within walking distance of the sea. However, due to my family’s visit with the car, and Friday’s late-night excursion with the rest of the staff, I am starting to get my fix of the the region’s fantastic beaches.

So far I have visited les plages of Frejus, Les Issambres, St Aygulf as well as the slightly further afield but infinitely more famous – Cannes. They have all varied in terms of pebbles, sand, size, population and cost (you have to pay to sit on the beach in Cannes!) but all share the same iridescent water.

It’s impossible not to get the holiday feeling when you’re at the beach; so living in a location with so many to choose from makes the endless hours of waitressing much more bearable. I am going to try to visit plenty more whilst I am here, even if it means risking a few journeys with the scarily infrequent bus service, because I’ve been deprived of sea views for far too long. IMG_6117