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Madrid + Portugal

In June and July of this year, I made my way to Spain’s capital Madrid. I was picked up by a good friend of mine and got to stay at her shared apartment. She’d been living there for almost one year now as a student exchange via Erasmus. Certainly something I deeply regret not doing: why’d I miss my chance to live in another country for a year while studying?! A note for potential children: tell them to do this, urgently.

Anyway, she of course knows all the best spots with a view

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and all the best caf├ęs.

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Madrid has some impressive galleries, here one on a Japanese artist capturing society’s pressure on a person: cafe

And the city has some very cool street art! While roaming around, we saw lots of fantastic graffiti, and some very good ones had already been replaced by new pieces, to my friend’s dismay. :)

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But after a while of sightseeing, eating tapas, drinking wine and general tomfoolery, it was time! Time to go hiking.

The famous Camino de Santiago, the Road to Santiago, is not far from Madrid. Actually, there’s more than one way. There’s a whole lot, even. The most famous one is the Camino Frances that starts off in France. Its segment that was closest to us seemed not all too exciting though, and we didn’t have the time to go all the way.

So instead we went for the Camino Portugues, and on a bus to Porto, Portugal. We were greeted by a beautiful town and great food with this really refreshing portuguese vino verde. Also, the perfect summer drink (sorry, no picture of it): Portonic! 1/3 port wine, 2/3 tonic water, ice and some lemon juice. Seriously, try it! And port wine on its own, too. cafe cafe

The next day we started on our five-day, 100km hike to the border of Spain. And let me tell you, this hiking trail is at least as good as people say it is. First, it is impossible to get lost. Both our senses of orientation are sub-par, and we got lost zero times. A big thank you! to the people who draw all of the signs.

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And then the picturesque towns on the way…

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And of course: the nature.

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The toughest day we hiked 36km. My hip barefoot shoes made me pay: I still love ‘em, but for long hikes, feet really have to get used to walking so much, and the second day that has generally not yet happened. Learned my lesson. That day we arrived at our hostel for the night and had a tough choice to make: hurry up, shower (seriously very necessary) and get some dinner (we were so late things were about to close), OR take our time. We chose the latter, and had several hundred grams of peanuts for dinner. Good choice, this one, there was no more walking left in me that day.

After five days we arrived at the border: cafe

and took a bus back to Porto (man cars are so much faster than people), and another one back to Madrid.

Thanks for a great trip! :)


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