We pay for our train ride and are released from the underground train station. We meet our Air B&B host and get the keys. We glance over the maps and make our wish list of places to visit. . After 5 weeks of adventure travel and Natasa killing me in Colera. , I don’t want to walk 5 blocks. We decide to buy the all day tourist bus ticket, on & off all around town I’m looking forward to the bus ride. They give us headphones to listen to our recorded tour guide.
I notice a lot of the apartments all have outdoor patios, there are no patios here in Skofja Loka.
Were go to Sagrada Família first, but can only get a ticket for a 4:30 entrance. We hop back onto the bus and head to Park Güell, can’t get an entrance ticket until 6:30 pm. So we get back on the bus, we’re full fledged tourist now.
The bus only stops at designated stops, not like when you ride a bike. After all the walking in Colera, I’m super happy just sitting and riding around on the outdoor top deck of the bus.
Were back at the Sagrada Família ( outside google images) (inside google images) for our entrance time.
We grab the last bus home, but must ride the whole route around town before we can get off at our destination.
I’m so done, I tell Natasa that I don’t want to walk anywhere or go see anything tomorrow. After 5 weeks of adventure travel I’ve reached the limit. I just want to take a shower, write some postcards and have a hit. I agree to meet Natasa at the church square, but even that is a bit too much for me.
Natasa went out alone, to see and explore more of Barcelona. When we met up she asked “did you miss me?”, we were laughing so hard. So were walking down to the beach for lunch and see this rock shop.
THESE ARE SOME OF THE LARGEST “FLAWLESS” AMETHYST CRYSTALS I’VE EVER SEEN.
We go out for our last meal in Barcelona, paella, which is a traditional Spanish meal.. We order the cod and vegetable paella, 2 little pieces of fish and not a vegetable in sight. Then they’re shocked were not buying any wine. But then they too pull the same “appetizer scam” , they bring us toast with ketchup and a bowl of olives just another 10 euro. Lunch was 60 euro or 60 dollars. I can’t wait for a home cooked meal.
We must fly to Rome first, then fly to Triesta for our 2 hour bus ride to Ljubljana. As old as Italy and Rome is I couldn’t believe this.
We must wait another hour in Ljubljana for our final bus to Skofja Loka-HOME!
It’s so great to be home.
Thanks for reading and commenting
Jeff & Natasa
NEXT? I’m going to America in a few days. I will be comparing America to Slovenia and Portland to Skofja Loka, this will be fun!
Corey from France via Portland is visiting for the next couple days. I’ll keep you posted
When I first arrived in Colera 2 years ago, I thought I was just staying for one night, France was only 8km away. I paid camping for one night, then I rode my bike into town. Looking around, I knew right away I would be here longer. I stayed 2 weeks and did something different almost everyday: hiking, biking, kayaking, snorkeling, beach combing, hitchhiking, ride the train to the Dali Museum, The town has 800 year round residents, the rich of Barcelona have homes and apartments here too.
From Tavira we took the bus to Seville and flew to Barcelona the next day. We got the train through Colera, the problem is that this train didn’t stop in Colera So we stopped in FIGUERES , home of the Dali Museum where there were 150 people in line. It’s the second time I’ve been to the Dali Museum and I still haven’t been inside.
I’m pretty excited to get on our way to Colera. Were staying at CAMPING SANT MIGUEL. I highly recommend it for camping or renting a small cabin. It’s only a 5 minute walk to downtown Colera.
THE CAMPGROUND WAS CROWED ON THE WEEKEND BUT BY MONDAY WE HAD THE WHOLE TOWN TO OURSELVES, IT WAS ALMOST A GHOST TOWN.
There’s some great hikes in the area, one is to the abandoned village of Molina. I was here last in mid. June and I don’t remember seeing so much wild lavender, rosemary and thyme (maybe that’s because of Morocco?).
This trail is also suppose to be one of the best mountain bike trails in Spain. Last time here I met some locals who were going to rebuild a house. When I met them there was only 6 left of the 12 that started together.
Once we left Molina the real climbing started
THE VIEWS FROM THE TOP WERE SPECTACULAR AND THAT’S MOLINA IN THE EDGE OF THE SHADOW
It’s a long 14.5 km (9 miles) hike up & around the mountains I was beat when I got back to the campground. There was an event in town, crafts, salamis, cheeses and 3 people baking bread.
THEY WERE BAKING OLIVE, SUN DRIED TOMATO, SPELT, SEEDED AND CHOCOLATE BREAD RIGHT ON THE STREET. THE GUY PLAYING THE BREAD BOARD KNEW JUST ONE ENGLISH LINE & EVERY TIME WE SAW HIM “HOW ARE YOU?” WE GOT THE SPELT, OLIVE & HOT CHOCOLATE BREAD.
I wrote about the artist Nuria Surribas after my first visit here. I bought one of her signature ants last time. We finally went over to meet her and she had an art project for us.
Nuri has art around town and at the campground too! She’s the true artist. When I was here, 2 years ago, I suggest she get a sign on her “business”, she promised.
SHE’S A TRUE ARTIST. ANYWAY I NOTICED HER WINDOW’S NEEDED CLEANING. SO I BROUGHT OVER MY WINDOW WASHING KIT I GOT IN ROYAN, FRANCE. SHE WAS HAPPY.
HERE’S A SAMPLE OF SOME OF NURI’S ART:
The next day we hiked to Portbou, which is only 2 km from France and plan to take the train back.
(update) My friend Jill translated the dog sign. “If yours doesn’t know how, you do it! There are people and children at the park and in the streets. For everyone’s good, pick up your dog’s poop. Be a civic-minded person. We all come out winning.”
THE TRAIN LEAVES YOU AT THE CERAMIC TILED “ART” PARK OVERLOOKING COLERA
It took an hour and 40 minutes to hike over and 4 minutes for the train back (tunnels help). We got back quick, so we rented a couple bikes from the campground and rode through the “exclusive” neighborhood.
Today were walking along the beach to LLanca about 12 km.
I like giving back to places I visit and last time here I picked up garbage on my beach walk. I asked Natasa, if she would, she agreed.
We waited to come Llanca until after the holidays. Nearly everything was closed? We did have some goat cheese salads that I’ve made at home twice now.
We take the train back to Colera
Natasa wanted to pick a little lavender and rosemary, on the hikes it was everywhere, but not close to town. She brought home a little lavender. Colera is my favorite place, I don’t need to go to Barcelona to know that. If you want a super active vacation, Colera is the place.
We catch the train which will follow right along the beach to Barcelona. We board the train and Natasa looks around and announces “we hiked every mountain”, I’m thinking no shirt, I’m so sore I’m happy to be riding the train and saying goodbye to Colera (that I love).
There’s no train ticket office in Colera, your suppose to buy on board. No one ever came by? But when we got off in Barcelona we couldn’t get past the turnstiles without a ticket. They gave us a super deal, it was great ( I guess?).
Thanks for reading & commenting
Jeff and Natasa NEXT? Barcelona and Gaudi I ride my first tourist bus-ever
Our first day was the warmest of the 4 days we were here. So we rented bikes, rode to the dock and go to Tavira Island. (3euro). Last time I was here I walked to the dock, I tried to hitchhike, no one would give me a ride, but then I saw those same people waiting for the boat. Were they scared of me now?
TRAVELING THIS TIME OF YEAR IS THE BEST, THE FLOWERS ARE BLOOMING NOT A LOT OF TOURIST AND IT’S NOT TOO HOT. WE DID GO IN THE WATER, STILL COLD.
Tavira has a castle too, like almost every city I’ve visited n Portugal.
There was a local photographer who had collection of photos of local doors and doorways. So it sparked our interest so we walked around town, to look and take pictures of architectural features.
I had the best meal of my whole bike trip here in Tavira, but where? I couldn’t find it, I asked everyone, I downloaded the photo and showed people if they recognized the interior. Miguel thought he knew too, so we went to a place O CICLISTA (who’s logo is a chicken ridding a bike)
I LIKE THE MATCHING HAIRTHE OUTDOOR TERRACE BED
There were some fun photos to be taken too.
Tavira, Miguel and family were all awesome, they said come back in Sept. when it isn’t so hot. Natasa got a big smile on her face.
THANKS FOR READING
JEFF AND NATASA
NEXT? Get ready to go hiking is Colera, Spain (is that like walking?)
I arrive a few days early from Bordeaux and stay at the Oasis Hostel, the place I stayed at when I started my bike trip 2 years ago. They remember me!, go figure right? I just work on my blog and wait to get my first Air B&B apartment a day before Natasa arrives.
I arrive at the airport an hour + early to pick up Natasa. So I drink coffee and a use the bathroom.
The apartment is small but if your visiting a new city, your not in your room, accept to sleep.
Riding a bike in Lisbon, is difficult at best. There are trolley tracks everywhere, plus it’s a city of hills. (where’s my E-Bike?). I’ve traveled to 20 + countries in the past 2 years, as a pedestrian Lisbon is the safest city I’ve ever walked in. When you look to cross the street, the cars practically skid to a stop to let you cross.
There is a nice but somewhat confusing bike path that is on again and off again along the Tagus river. We rent bikes and head to the Belem Tower.
I had to post this drone shot of the map, that is stone inlay around the map. It’s an amazing piece of Art.
We make it to Belem Tower, the line to get inside is at least 2 hours, nope. HERE are some google images of the interior. We have the famous Belem Creme Cake, good with coffee.
We return the bikes and talk with the shop owner and he suggest we take the ferry across the river and have dinner. We go
There is a habit (or scam) of restaurants in Portugal, they bring you multiple appetizers, that you never ordered. They brought us a big chunk of goat cheese, smoked fish, olives, bread. I was full by the time the food we actually ordered came.
Our Air B&B host thought one roll of toilet paper was enough for 2 adults for 4 days. So we thought to buy some, we could only buy a 6 pack. So while in the restaurant bathroom, I spotted a small roll sitting on the back of the toilet, so I stuffed it into my pants. On the walk back to the ferry, I was so proud of myself, I showed Natasa my score. Then she said she saw one in the women’s bathroom too. Did she take it? She confessed that she put it in her purse, but overwhelmed with guilt, she put it back. She wasn’t paying attention in Jeff’s budget travel ideas class. We paid an extra 20 euro for food we didn’t order, I say next time give me a full roll.
The next day were walking the streets of Lisbon. It’s my 2nd time here, but with another set of eyes you see more.
Walking the pedestrian streets is a great way to see a city and it’s many characteristics.
Delivering vegetables and the blue tiled door entry, laundry hanging, security door and graffiti–this photo defines Lisbon’s diversity.
We waited till Monday to go so SIntra a mountain of multiple palaces, castles & gardens, I’ve been here twice and still haven’t seen it all.
A SELECT PHOTOS FROM INSIDE THE PALACE: PALACE, DUAL TOILETS, CARVED ARCH, WOOD INLAY FLOOR MORE GOOGLE PHOTOS INTERIOR PICTURES–EXTERIOR PICTURES.
We took the bus to the Pena Palace and walked down the Castle of the Moors
IT’S WARM AND WINDY YOU CAN SEE THE OCEAN IT’S A GREAT PLACE FOR SELFIES, i WATCHED HER TAKE 10 PICTURES.
Then we took the bus to the Monserrate Palace . It was being remodeled, but still there was some things to see. The carvings are plaster castings with marble supports.
The best part of the palace were the gardens.
Lots of the cacti were blooming in the Mexican Garden. It’s been a long day and we will have to list Sintra as a “must re-visit.” There’s just too much to see in one day. Leave yourself 2 FULL days to see it all. Maybe visit one day then hang out in Lisbon, then head out for another long day.
Thanks for reading.
Jeff and Natasa NEXT? WE VISIT TAVIRA PORTUGAL.
I met Stanley, when he was bike touring in Portland 6 years ago. He joined us on our annual Oxbow Park introduction to bike touring camp out. I toured Europe in 2011 with The Dandy Warhols, I had to have my Euro-Rail sent to his house in Royan. Stanley’s mom didn’t want any guest, so I rented an apartment from their friend. We’ve been face-book friends and last saw each other in Prague, Czech last summer. I always seem to hit the ground running, when visiting friends. Stanley bought a little house in Morocco and has learned to cook Moroccan style. So we packed the car (yes car) and brought all the ingredients to Christophe’s house.
I ask Stanley if we can just walk around town a little, OK. They had a great farmers market everyday I was here. We walk around Royan, which I don’t think Stanley does very often and probably most of us don’t walk much around our cities.either? I love walking through the shops just to see what I can see THERE WAS AN ECLECTIC ART SHOP WITH THESE BIKE SCENE TILES. SUPER NICE!. I usually like to write about biking but that said walking can be a great way to explore a new city. We walked along the docks, shops, a sardine shop, and the super farmers market. Stanley told me his mom didn’t want me in the house and he would bring me coffee in the morning. OK? I guess. But by morning Mom came around and welcomed me into the house. Mom ended up extending a very warm welcome, she cooked us several dinners, authentic French Food. We go biking on these Fat Tire bikes, which made riding on the beach sand, AWESOME! AND FUN!
People were constantly staring and asking questions about my bike, in French of course ( go figure). Stanley said it was fun for him the first couple times, then he said he started to just ignored them, so
I took his advice and just kept on riding.
. THESE ARE FISHING HOUSES ALONG THE BIKE PATH IN ROYAN, FRANCE, A SUPER RIDE I’m staying in an apartment attached to the house, it’s basically in the backyard. Stanley got his mom to agree to make an Air B&B out of the apartment. I guess I won’t be staying for free anymore. But Good Luck anyway. So my 25 years of landscaping skills kick in and I see where I can make a difference. I love giving back to my host, it’s makes my traveling adventures more meaningful.
I’m an early riser, so I’m up and start working my Yardtamer magic on this yard. It takes me maybe 2 hours?
Stanley’s Mom asks me where I got all the stones? They were there all the time, just buried. Then she got excited about what we could do. She wanted these thorn tree branches cut off, (French Style trimming). I hate ivy so cutting it is always good, it was growing into the shed and starting up the side of the house.
We had cut the thorn tree first, then attacked the ivy. Were standing there and Stanley asked for my camera? He takes a head shot of me? What?
Mom cooked us dinner every day so, to give her a break, I went to the Farmers Market and bought Spanish Seafood Paella for us. I also bought a window cleaning kit at the Farmers Market. I was skeptical at first, no solution, just water with a scrub pad and bamboo cloths. I did 2 windows testing it out, it worked great. Now I have my traveling window cleaning kit.
Active travel is hard work and I’m getting tired. I don’t want to be dead when I meet Natasa in Lisbon in a few days. I opt to stay in Bordeaux before flying out to Lisbon. i say my goodbyes to Stanley and thank him.
I TAKE THE TRAIN TO BORDEAUX AND STAY AT THE ONLY HOSTEL IN TOWN.
I RARELY SAW ANY BUILDINGS THAT WERE PAINTED AND IF THEY WERE IT WAS SOME SHADE OF STONE OR CONCRETE.
Walking around Bordeaux I can smell coffee roasting, I ask at the Hostel and they tell me where it is.
I’m flying Easy Jet to Lisbon, which means you can only bring 1 small bag, nothing more. The last day I packed my bag early to see if I had room for some more coffee. If your in Bordeaux, visit cafebastouil-alvarezetfils for the best coffee I have found in Europe.
SHE DIDN’T SPEAK ANY ENGLISH-NONE, BUT THAT’S OK THE COFFEE’S GREAT! Thanks for reading and by the way, Stanley-“I Love Mickey Mouse too”
NEXT? After 3 weeks of solo travel I’m finally meeting Natasa in Lisbon, now the fun really starts.
I met Carole in Portland when she married my friend and past employee Corey. She was originally from Poitier, but was now married and living in Portland. Like half of marriages, they separated and she moved back to Poitier, close to her family. I always liked Carole, if I was at a party in Portland and she was there, I immediately went over and talked with her. I had planned my visits with Vincent and Stanley (next post), as an after thought I thought maybe Carole lived nearby? Coincidentally they all lived with 100 km of each other, AWESOME!
Vincent and I meet Carole for lunch in front of Notre-Dame-la-Grande,
We walk and talk, it was super great to see Carole and how good she’s doing.
The next day we walk, what feels like, the entire city of Poitier. Anywhere you walk in Poitier it’s hills– everywhere. If you’ve read this blog you know I Love the E-Bike. You wouldn’t bike here very efficiently unless you had an E-Bike. I had suggested we rent an E-Bike, so we called the city sponsored program and all the E-Bikes they had were rented out, to residents. They using a locally manufactured E-Bike, it’s good all around!
Carole’s mom invited us for dinner. I met both her and her aunt during the wedding celebrations in Portland 8 years earlier in 2007. They rented the house next door to me for a month during the wedding visit. They said they actually remembered me, I’m feeling special now.
There is this weird tradition that the French have which is after every meal they have a plate of different cheeses.
Being the American that I am, an after meal desert is something with sugar! and France is the best place to accomplish that.
Visiting people and places is awesome and having a local guide is great too. But the biggest reward for me is to give back to my host. She lived on the 6th floor with a great view of the city but through dirty windows. I HAD CAROLE TAKE ME TO THE STORE WHERE I BOUGHT THIS WINDOW SQUEEGEE
(I had to show my best side)
It’s farmers market day, another great activity to do in a new city.
Europe is full of immigrants from all around the world and Poitier is no different. THESE TURKISH WOMEN ARE MAKING TRADITIONAL VEGETARIAN WRAPS
WE HAD AN AWESOME FARMERS MARKET LUNCH: OLIVES, FRESH APPLE JUICE AND TURKISH WRAPS
When I wasn’t looking Carole bought some turkey for dinner, little did she know that turkey is my favorite meat (if I’m eating meat). CAROLE IS COOKING A FRENCH DELICACY WE GOT AT THE FARMERS MARKET SMALL QUAIL EGGS
It’s my last day and Carole offers to do a small village tour loop–with the car. After walking up and down hills for 2 days, I’m ready to just sit and enjoy the sights.
THIS IS KNOWN AS SMALL VILLAGE PUBLIC “ART”
CHATEAU DE DISSAY, THIS IS WHY EUROPE IS MORE INTERESTING THAN AMERICA, HISTORY. THIS CASTLE IS 500 YEARS OLD.
IT’S TIME TO SAY GOODBYE, THANKS CAROLE FOR HAVING ME AS A HOUSEGUEST. Now Carole can get back to the hitting the books, preparing to take the teachers test. Good Luck.
Thanks for reading
Jeff NEXT? MIICKEY MOUSE LOVER STANLEY IN ROYAN FRANCE