Category Archives: europe

#OrangeTravels: Porto & Lagos, Portugal

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Porto

My Portugal adventure continues up north in Porto, a beautiful city rich in arts and culture. And on the opposite end in the south, I visited Lagos where it looked like an ordinary beach town during the day (probably cause everyone was hungover) which turned into a crazy party beast at night.

Lagos…

In the southern part of Portugal, you’ll find this little beach town called Lagos. Home to the Algarve, best known for it’s breathtaking cliffs and (nude) beaches. We stayed for 3 days at the Nick’s newly opened G-Spot Hostel, I’m totally biased but if you’re looking for a wild and crazy time, book a bed there!! First night we were there, we went barhopping and from met up with a few of Nick’s old hostel workers and after that, I just remember drinking out of fishbowls and getting annihilated at beer pong.

Second day started with some much needed hangover breakfast at Odeon, best breakfast you can get for 3 Euros! After that, we packed our mini backpacks and headed to the white sand beaches under the cliffs for some R&R. After a nice tan burn, we took off to hike the Algarve. Words can’t even describe how postcard perfect the cliffs were….so just look at the pictures I took and take my word for it.

Porto…

Porto is best known for it’s blue tiles that line the building walls and francesinhas. Think of a ham sandwich, stuffed with beef, covered in cheese, then stack on another meat sandwich, smother with cheese again and finally pour gravy on top. Yea – and that’s just the basic version, you can triple or quadruple stack that bad boy. I know what you’re thinking, “that sounds disgusting delicious”! Of course Nimi and I tried it and and of course we spent the rest of the night in a food coma.

We stayed at Yes! Hostel which I highly recommend. It’s right in the city centre, they have the friendliest staff, and a bed that doesn’t squeak – ahhh yes, that is always a bonus. So after one night’s stay, it was time for us to part ways. She was headed back to Lisbon, while I was off to Madrid to begin the Spanish leg of my journey.

At this point of my trip, I was 4 weeks in and had 8 more to go. But oh man, I was just getting started.

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#OrangeTravels: Lisbon, Portugal

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Cabo de RocaI have nothing but love for Portugal. It was by far one of my favourite countries to travel in. My best girlfriend for life, Nimi who was living in Lisbon during the summer showed me around all the local hotspots, festivals, and bar districts. It was seriously the best two and a half weeks of bliss and beaches.

I started off my adventures in Lisbon, Portugal’s capital. I stayed at Nick’s (Nimi’s boyfriend) penthouse apartment that had a killer view of the whole city. One of my favourite memories of that apartment was sitting on the balcony with Nick’s Jungle Juice creation (beer, vodka, sprite, koolaid, orange juice?) and just watched the airplanes come in one by one across the cityscape.

Funny thing about the Portugese, if you want the best view, you gotta work for it. The apartment didn’t have an elevator so on a hot summer afternoon, six floors of narrow winding stairs up to the top meant that you really worked for it.

Lisbon wouldn’t have been the incredible adventure it was if it wasn’t for Nimi being my personal tour guide and Nick for letting me stay at his sweet pad and giving me that authentic, local experience. Obrigada!

What makes Lisbon so beautiful is their love for street art. Where ever we went, there was always be a kickass mural decorating the walls, doors, or even entire buildings. A snapshot of my faves:

But wait, there’s more! The Portuguese adventure continues in Lagos and Porto in the next blog post.

#OrangeTravels: London

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London

From how fast and loud my heart was beating, I swear my airplane seatmate thought I was about to have a heart attack. This was the first European city I’d ever been to and I was doing it solo. Needless to say, I was scared shitless, but it was do or die and I love a good challenge.

I stayed at the Phoenix Hostel for 3 nights, it was located near the Underground and within 20 minute walking distance to the main attractions. Location and price wise, I would say it was pretty decent but facilities wise, it was pretty run down and dirty.

So when I first arrived at the hostel, I realized that I actually had to make friendswith strangers… oh gawd, what was my pitch? How did I look? Clearly I was still in my Vancouver mindset and needed to calm the fuck down. Hostel life took time to get used to but I eventually got a routine down. Meeting people became easier when I finally let my guards down, said ‘yes’ more often, and learned to just go with the flow. Most of the folk you meet at hostels come from really cool backgrounds and are happy to share their crazy travel stories and tips. In my opinion, the hostel you choose can really make or break your experience. If you’re in a crappy location or there’s no social atmosphere, be prepared to spend a lot of time by yourself – which is perfectly fine and I’ve really learned to love and value from this whole trip.

And a crazy thing happened on the first day I went exploring, I ran into an old Starbucks co-worker who had moved there 2 years ago on one of the busiest streets of London, Oxford Street. We totally had a slow stare-down, ‘brains process reality’ moments before we threw out hands in the air and jumped at each other. Seriously, what are the chances?!

K, enough text, let me show you my British adventure!