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The journey begins

sunny 28 °C

On a bus now from Frankfurt to Prague, with an hour's stopover a Mannheim.

I love that the scenery out the window has changed since March. Not just with regard to the place and climate and particular fauna, but also with regard to the seasons. In March the trees were bare and cobwebby with birds' nests, and the fields were brown and solemn green. In April the trees had fresh young leaves of a peculiarly light green, and the flowers had begun to bloom in profusion. Come may, the flowers had started to fall, but the trees matured. It's finally the end of July, and I see rolled bales of hay dotting flat yellow fields, and crops grown up in their straight rows. All of the trees are a dark thriving green.

I love that the weather has changed too! And this is more a personal preference because I think everyone knows my sensitivity to the cold :D in March I would be freezing in my 3 layers plus winter jacket. Then, I learned to walk quickly outside, both for warming up purposes but also to get back into a warm place sooner. At the end of April, the knob on my heater was turned for the last time. In may the end of 3 layers (the winter jacket was discarded in April). June signalled the gloriousness of single layers and shorts, but also reminded me of the existence of sweat. July has actually been much better, with less days above 30 degrees. Wearing shorts again is the best thing about summer!

On Sunday night I sort of finished packing at 2 am haha. Then, exhausted, I went to sleep, and continued packing in the morning. That entailed throwing a lot of things away, and just stuffing things into both bags. Checked out, will have to pay for the walls which I didn't clean (I forgot), and handed over the keys. But I got tricked, cos I thought I'd get to go in one last time, but she locked the toilet door from my side too so I couldn't even say goodbye! S helped me to bring my stuff down 3 storeys, bringing down my yellow suitcase was the WORST. And after just about managing to get it all the way to E's place in darmstadt, I regret ever thinking I could make it back home by mrt haha. Taxi here I come. Very worried that I've overshot my 23kg, E said she'd try to borrow a weighing scale from her neighbours. Had ice cream with E, then back to Frankfurt to sleep.

Also, I finished Joan yesterday. I lament the end of Joan, more literally than figuratively though. Mark Twain was a little too obsessive about how awesome Joan was, and ended up with a draggy trial section. He did win me over to his perspective that Joan was amazing. Apparently he wrote a fairly accurate account of her life. I think I'll read some non-fiction about her when I get back. Rather interesting.

But now I'm struggling over whether to start on the Neverending Story on my phone (which beguiles me with its fantasy pedigree, and also I really like children's books) or the more non-fictional Seabiscuit (which was there first). Okay, never mind, I've decided on the former since a charger is on hand. K bye

Posted by seaskimmer 04:48 Archived in Germany Tagged bus books weather frankfurt hamburg luggage darmstadt Comments (0)

Goodbye Iberia

semi-overcast 13 °C
View SEP Pre-Trip on seaskimmer's travel map.

We finally got to Porto at 3pm. Put our bags in our hotel, whereupon I happily munched on my tarts which I'd bought on the way for 1.15 :) hehehe

Decided to have a quicker run down of what I did in Porto:

Thursday

Café majestic, much too expensive for us so picture outside

São Bento train station and the gorgeous blue and white tiling. Oldest train station in Portugal!

Sé Cathedral, walked up and up

Random hobo path up rocks, strewn with litter and leading to an abandoned house. Kinda gross but interesting and fun. Looks out at the

Don Luis Bridge, second most spectacular iron works structure in the world, after the eiffel tower (and built by the same Eiffel), spanning the Douro River

Football-playing kids in the plaza outside the closed photography museum

Francesinha (awesome sandwich with cheese, beef, pork, and sausage inside, and smothered in more cheese and a fried egg on top, served with fries), a famous Porto speciality eaten at the famous Cafe Santiago

Friday

Bought groceries (12 pastries to last me a few days, some oranges for some vitamin c)

Crossed the river to book a port tasting tour, randomly picked Offley at 2.15pm

Cafe Adao for lunch, cheapest place in the area which is obviously quite touristy cos full of wineries.

Offley port wine tour of half an hour, but good 3 glasses of port after. We had the fruity white, the nutty tawny and the full bodied ruby reserve. Favourite was the tawny. Mmm. Had a good chat with a polish guy, he recommended us a Krakow visit and polish beers haha. He was a cool guy, we talked about lots of random stuff! And I really like port. Seriously, so good.

More pastries for a total of 2 more eur, but I've got an idea if what I like now so it's better. Ate some then, kept some for later/breakfast

Photography museum, it was cool but we only spent a short while there. Watched some people climb up the Colegios tower in an old video to replace the flag with a Portuguese one. Tried to find more info but a cursory Internet search reveals nothing about the incident. Obviously I was very taken by that video, totally looks climbable Hahahaha. The museum used to be a jail! Lower floors had poor crammed conditions, upper floors for more genteel law breakers. Famous prisoners included writer camilo castelo branco and his future wife Ana.

Livraria Lello! Beautiful old carved bookshop. Made me really really wish for one in my home! Tried very hard to buy a book there but the only English fiction books were expensive.

Pasties and more pastries.

Dinner at recommended Cafe Carça! And it was certainly good, and cheap, and so much food for the 6.80 menu do dia that I was bursting. Yayyy. Finally got my Portuguese cheese, it was alright I guess haha. Oh Yaaaa and it hailed while we were there! Thought it was a very heavy rain, but when we left we saw snow/hail on cars outside. Mind blown, that was amazing. Too bad we didn't go out to see.

Back to the room, watching castle while D packs for his 6am flight to London for **Singapore day!** which I will not be going for. Oh well. T went out to send him to the metro, I initially wanted to go but it's too cold outside. Need to pack tonight, my flight leaves at lunchtime tmr so not much time in the morning.

Posted by seaskimmer 16:20 Archived in Portugal Tagged food books portugal porto Comments (0)

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