Monday, September 18, 2017

My Donostian & Sagresian Life

So, it has taken me a while to write. Sorry but I'm not sorry. I was not inspired to write shite before but this morning was different. Somehow I felt like I needed to write something. A feeling that I haven't felt in a long while...

I have Vodka Juniors in the background (their music have helped me write before), a super bock next to me (which also have been really helpful in the past). I just need to put an order to all the thoughts I have in my head and somehow transform them into words.

I lived in Ericeira for a few months, a bit over 7 to be exact.  Season was coming to an end and I had to decide where to go next and spend the winter. 

At the risk of sounding like a cheesy motherfucker, love made me move to Donostia (San Sebastian in Spanish). I've been know for choosing awesome places to settle for a while: Praha, Kraków, Tallinn, Berlin, my lovely Graná, Ericeira, Donostia and now, Sagres.

There I was, expecting a super wet and cold winter in Donostia. Yes, I'm not used to sub zero temperatures anymore. Long gone are the days which I could use two layers and it was -25ºC. Now, I cannot even think about it! I was using two layers and the tempratura it was close to 0 and sometimes 1 or 2 degrees below. Being 15 minutes in my new hometown and started to rain and a bus splashed me because it drove on my pothole. That reminds me of an unofficial rainy season sport in Xela (Guatemala) called "splash the tourist" in which the driver tries to get the unlucky foreigner as wet as possible. Once, I was walking along some street and I saw how the car changed lanes to try to splash me! 

The life in Donostia was awesome. The city itself it a "bit" posh for my taste... actually it is ranked as the most expensive city in Spain but there are ways to go around it and make it cheaper. I lived in the old town, in what I think it was the most Basque street in the entire town. The food is something else. I think I ate the best tortilla I have ever had during my stay. I once readn an article that depicted the top 10 restaurants around the world... a few were in Gipuzkua, that's the province in which Donostia sits, for those of you who didn't know.

I had a beermance with Keler, the local beer.  While I had better, there was something about it, maybe that it was brewed locally. Regardless, I loved the taste and I would go to the chino and buy a couple and practice some kalsarikännit but sometimes not in underwear.

While I was living here, I had the opportunity to live a really Basque experience. I knew local people and when I went out to the pub, I always went to the local bars where Spanish was the second language. In one of those bars, I met Maripili... (inside joke).

One of this life changing experiences was going to cider house. For Odin, for about 25€ they give you an omelette, cider, bread, cider, pork chops, cider, more bread, more cider, actually, unlimited cider! the first time I was in one of those cider houses, I was with a group of people but the second time... I still don't know how I manage to eat an entire omelette and a kilo of meat all by myself! there are videos to prove it! and to top that, on the way home I stopped at McRubbish to get some fries! To think that only a few earlier I disliked cider.

Basque Country and Navarra are known for being very green, actually the whole north, and the people are really into hiking. one of the hikes other than hiking back home from the bar is if you go from Donostia to San Juan Pasaia.

Flowers started to bloom. Weather became warmer. Days started to get a bit longer. The only thing that remained the same were the astonishing sunsets. I admit it, I do have a thing for amazing sunsets. Sunsets at La Zurriola were... just amazing. One thing I'm sad about, is not being able to go to La Zurriola and watch the sunset while drinkin Keler not wearing two layers with you.

As spring was coming I had to leave. I had an opportunity to go to Porto, which I have never been before but I had to turn it down as it was not good for me. I considered going back to Ericeira but that not an option anymore.

That way I kept looking and found myself in the lovely Vila do Sagres. Not that I have never heard of the place before. I had been to Sagres a few times. Once on my first road trip ever and then a few more times while I lived in Lagos.

Sagres life is slow and easy. Unlike Lagos that has a shitload of restaurants and bars and people doing stupid shit, in Sagres everything and everybody is at a slow pace.

Life went on from home to beach to home to beach to home to swimming pool. Going to the pub occasionally. I didn't learn to surf and I finally gave up on the idea that I will ever learn. I'm not a sports person and the idea of drowning doesn't quite appeals to me.

Apparently this year was one of the busiest seasons ever. Sagres was crowed, although not as crowed as Lagos that all summer long is a pain in the ass to just even walk in the center, let alone attempting to spot to lie on the beach. I've never had that problem here. Which brings me to this: I have never been a beach person and still, this year I think I went to the beach more times that the rest of life combined!

Is know that The Algarve have some of the best beaches of Portugal and the world and Sagres was no exception to that rule. While Sagres have 3 beaches less than 20 min and one less than 40 minutes walk, having a car opens up the possibility to visit beaches that the public transport doesn't reach them. Such as the case of Ponta Ruiva that is literally in the middle of nowhere. There are no stores, restaurants, beach bars. You have to have a car to go there. You have everything that you want to eat and drink.

Others, on the other hand can hitchhike to them. Like Castelejo, close to Vila do Bispo. I actually hitchhike to and from Castelejo once.

There is the hippie beach, Barranco, where you can find... errr... stuff. I spent my birthday there with you when sleeping in the van.

I swam naked at the other beaches, Mareta, Tonel, Beliche (the 3 closest). I said it before, I went into the ocean many, many times this year.

For obviuos reasons, the best beaches to watch the sunset were Tonel and Beliche. For those of you who don't know why are they the obvious places, is because Mareta is on the South Coast. Of course, sunset from the light house (Cabo San Vicente). Why best you may ask? because is the Southwestern-most point in continental Europe.

I mentioned Vila do Bispo before. Nothing interesting here except for the fact that only at the cider house I ate more. There is a small restaurant in which you can give your palate a real treat. Not only is cheap as fuck you will eat as never before and be treated super nice.

Anyways, my time in Sagres has come to an end. It was an amzing what, close to 6 windy and chilly months. Last year in Ericeira I never went into the ocean. Not even once in 7 months. The first time this year it was in Donostia, well my feet but that's better than nothing. In Sagres? A few days after I arrived. And that was just the beginning.

Overall, my stay was nice. Don't know if you know that if you work in a hostel is worse than working in a fucking kindergarten and this was not the exception, even worst if you add a princess or two... But I love a phrase that my mum uses quite often: "treat them like you would treat the sound of the rain",  meaning that you just don't pay attention,  you just hear the sound in the background... I actually used that technique quite a few times with guests as well.

Ahead of me, 8 hours of work are waiting for me. The last 8 hours of this chapter. The last 8 hours before I embark on yet another adventure. The last 8 hours before I get on a bus that will take me back to Galicia. The last 8 hours fighting with children bur here, we called them volunteers. The last 8 hours that are the beginning of the final countdown to be with you again...

I never expected to write this much. Now I'm back to my normal state before my shift: not an early bird nor a night owl but some form permanently exhausted pigeon

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

I had this draft saved from a while ago but decided to write about something else.

This is me, trying to write more often than last year. I don't think I will ever write as much as I did back in 2012. I wrote less than half in 2014, 2015, 2016 and the lonely post of this year than I did in 2012. Maybe the reason is that that was the last year I moved a lot. That's the year I did Central America twice plus, Colombia and Ecuador.

Many times  I have a few ideas of what to write but I seem to never get them "on paper". I even have a draft saved... with nothing written in it. That's how inspired I was. That's how inspired I am!

I haven't been really inspired to write at all. But the other day, actually it was so long ago and I don't even remember who it was with that I was having a conversation with that made think a lot: our lives are made of the decisions we made on a every day. Some are more important than other but, in my opinion, they are all important.

Sometimes, you have to live the rest of your life with the choices you make. Sometimes you have to live and regret that fraction of a second that changed your life forever. Sometimes that fraction of a second happened a very long time ago... but still there. Like that piece of popcorn stuck in between your teeth that you just can't get it out. 

Anyways, I wanted to write something as a way to cope with the burden and it worked. Well, it's working.  The piece of popcorn is still there but now I'm finding a way to live with it. The day will come that I can use dental floss to remove it once and for all!

This is a small piece (of shit writing) but I wanted to write something not with 6 months in between the last post. I'm happy.

Happy Easter, by the way!


Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Super Bock Chronicles: Ericeira

First off I want to apologize for not even writing bad crap... well, I always write crap but I would like to think that is good crap and not bad crap.

I had to take a look at what I wrote last year to know what was it what I wrote...

If you know me personally, you know that I love Estonia. Or loved Estonia? Nah, I still do but not as much as a few years ago. That all changed after I moved to Ericeira.

I would need to be a poet to describe Ericeira and even that wouldn't do justice to describe it. The first couple of weeks I was there it was very tough. The weather wasn't helping, spring forgot how to spring until maybe mid May. The hostel was empty so I had noone to talk to but as the days went by, I started to slowly meet new people that later on became my friends.

As all the places I've lived, it's not entirely of the place itself what makes me like it but the people I meet while I'm there. It can be ten people or it can be just one. 

So back to Ericeira, small fishing village by the Atlantic Ocean. Although I wouldn't say it's a fishing village anymore, instead I'd say that is a surfing village. Some world well known companies have branches there. Some well know companies sponsor surfing competitions there. I don't surf... yet.

One of the things I liked the most was that unlike The Algarve, which gets flooded by tourist and the order of languages you see on the signs are: English, German, French, Spanish, and maybe Portuguese, Ericeira gets a nice balance. Of course you see tourists and every Wednesday one of the bars dyed in blonde (lol). The balance was good enough to try to learn Portuguese.

I have my two favourite place to go for a bite and for a beer(s). I became somewhat friends with the owners... I have local friends! I didn't meet any Portuguese when I was in Lagos. Not saying that my times there were bad, of course not! Lagos was a great experience but Ericeira is a greater experience!

Overall, I will always cherish my times in Ericeira. Like I do with my lovely Graná. I will always go back over and over. 

Maybe next year I will write Sagres? kidding, from now on I will try to write more often.


Monday, June 27, 2016

is traveling a curse?

In 2012 I met a German guy that said "you are one of the few permanent travelers that I know and the only one from Latin America". I felt proud of that, very proud.

 I always thought of traveling as a blessing. As something not many have the chance or the courage to do it. 

That has changed...

Lately I have been finding out about some upsetting things that made me changed my views about my own travels. 

It all started to change when I went back home from Latin America in 2012. It was very intense, not what I wanted and definitely now what I expected. I spent a few months back home and that made me realize that I wanted to take things slower. Staying in one place and get to know the environment surrounding me. It worked and I loved it.

I got that part sorted. I think I have been successful when it comes to that. 

But there is one more important thing that long term traveling has prevented me from: to have a normal life and a routine and to have a partner. 

Yes, I escaped from that kind of life when I started this journey but after almost 7 years I can honestly say that I am tired. I still love hitchhiking but I don't feel the rush I used to feel  a few years back. Now I always get anxious when I'm about to start thumbing.

It always prevented me to have a partner. Traveling can be very romantic, I could brag about all the places I have been. But when I met someone special and she has to go or I have to go is when it stops being romantic.

Friends can also influence a lot saying things like "you don't have future with him, he's a traveler and eventually, he will end up leaving you".

Or it could be me the one actually leaving. Which has also happened in the past. 

I just did a small week-long trip. No hitchhiking, only buses and ride sharing. It was definitely more comfortable and faster (I didn't have enough time to hitchhike anyways) but I still got tired.

All in all, I think I'm ready to hang the backpack. Maybe this is just a temporary phase.  I don't know if this a common thing when you've on the road for so long. Only time will tell...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

where do I start?

I have been meaning to write something for the past (almost couple of) month(s), but where do I start?

Maybe I should start where I left off...

The long bus ride from Madrid to Lisbon. Ticket lady told me that the bus was full but it wasn't. Was a long ride to Lisbon and a short car ride to Ericeira. I was exhausted after the long flight and long bus ride but I've finally made it! I was in the place that will be my home for the season... who knows, maybe more?

Like many of you know already, I always have a hard and long time adjusting to new places. There had been exceptions but this have been the case lately. I arrived to Ericeira still in low season which made things even harder.

Ericeira was small fishing town. Still have a fishing industry but now instead of fishing the major industry is tourism. Ericeira is regarde to have some of the best surf the world has to offer. I'm sounding like a brochure.

It's smaller than Lagos therefore it doesn't boost the same amount of people. That's where I found the charm of this little town.  It's also home of one of only five World Surfing Reserves around the world. A couple of Kilometres from where I live there's a beach, Ribeira d'Ilhas that host regularly a date in the ASP World Tour.

The first month felt like a year. I barely knew people but that's changing now. I'm meeting more people. There were few guests I could interact with but is beginning to change. Slowly but steady.

A bit over a month ago, a intern started working so I have someone to talk to. At least in the mornings and a few weeks ago, a girl started working here as well,

Things are looking good. I have already found a few favourites: restaurant, pub, snackbar...

Like everywhere in Portugal, here is very cheap as well: beers for 80 cents! They're small but the feeling of paying 80 cents for a beer is unbeatable!!

I have been exploring the area so far. I have been to Cascais and Peniche. Other two surf spots in the country.  Cascais is nice, much bigger than Ericeira but nice. I've heard so much about Peniche and my expectations where so high about it, that once I got there, I was actually a bit disappointed but it not lived to the reputation I've heard it had. Maybe Baleal, not far from Peniche is nicer...

I have three goals for this year: learn how to surf, learn Portuguese and learn how to code.

Let's see how it goes...

I leave you now with some photos I've taken since I arrive.