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"Mountains & Beach?! What am I going to wear?"

Espain - Sierra Nevada

sunny 17 °C
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On our third day we attempted to visit the ski resort in the morning, and be on the beach in the afternoon. Despite calls from other members that this cold-then-hot day would play havoc with their clothing arrangements, I was not worried due to my ingenious trousers with zips that can easily become shorts!

Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada

We first visited Sierra Nevada National Park, where we found a significant amount of snow had already fallen, leaving the area with a very Alpine feel - including much black ice that almost everyone slipped on.

Salobreña

Salobreña

After a few hours we then took the coach back down the mountain and towards the coast, which we arrived at a few hours later, giving us our typical view of Spain for the first time.

We then spent a couple of hours on the beach relaxing, before walking back towards the centre of Salobreña, and taking the coach back to Granada for the evening. It was this evening that I met up with my Spanish Erasmus friends for the first time, all of whom live in Granada, and we went for Tapas. Although it was only a couple of hours I spent with them, it would not be the last I would see of them this week.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Spain Tagged history city friends erasmus espain Comments (0)

Granada

Espain - Granada


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Our second day was spent exploring the city of Granada further, with a small lie in given to us following our busy day the day before.

Us at Sacromonte

Us at Sacromonte

We started off the day by walking into the centre, and then taking the route into Albayzín and Sacromonte, two of the oldest parts of the city, where great views of the Alhambra (the Islamic Palace that overlooks the city) and cave homes can be seen.

Us at the Alhambra

Us at the Alhambra

In the afternoon we were then going into the Alhambra itself, where spectacular Arabic designs can be seen, somewhat similar to the Topkapı Palace in İstanbul. It was here we were spectacularly photobombed by a Chinese man! We then finished our tour of the day by visiting the summer gardens - the Generalife.

Alhambra

Alhambra

With everyone else wishing to go back to the hotel before going for dinner I decided to leave the group and visit parts of the city by myself, as I knew going back to the hotel with the levels of tiredness I was experience would end up with me not wanting to leave again, and so I visited the Elvira Gate, the Gardens of Triumph and the Royal Cathedral, before grabbing some food and going back to the hotel via the supermarket. As I has still not fully recovered from the previous nights sleep, I then took an early night in the hope I could then enjoy the rest of the trip.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Spain Tagged history uni espain Comments (0)

Turkish Delight

Istanbul

sunny 21 °C
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As you all know, last week I went to visit Onur in Istanbul, the furthest place away from home I have been (although Athens was further south, and Kyiv further east). Although a short trip of just 3½ days, it was jam packed with things to do and see.

After visiting Athens in March and from what I had seen and heard before, I was expecting Istanbul to be full of old buildings, but also rather dirty and feel very foreign...but actually I was completely wrong, the city was very clean and welcoming and felt very European (bar the Mosques scattered everywhere). It was rather shocking to find that in a Muslim country, there were much less people in Burkas than can be found in Bury Park in Luton.

View of the Bosphorus

View of the Bosphorus

On the first day, I got up at 3:45am to get to the airport for my 6:30am flight - unfortunately making me very tired all day, but on the good side, it did mean I had the whole afternoon and evening to see Istanbul, after arriving in the city centre at 2:30pm. The first place we visited was Taksim square, the centre of Istanbul, where they have a monument to Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, and the biggest flag I have ever seen. After that we walked down the main shopping street to Galata tower, where views of the whole city can be seen. After this we went down to the Bosphorus and boarded a boat that travels up and down both sides of the strait for an hour.

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

On the second day, we went to Dolmabahçe Palace, the newer Sultan's palace in the city, wherein the deathbed of Atatürk and the biggest chandelier in Turkey are located. Later on we went to the oldest part of the city of Istanbul, and visited the Blue Mosque followed by the Spice Bazaar, a real touch of the east. In the evening I tried a Döner, and then at home we called Camilla on Skype and spent more than an hour catching up.

Topkapı Palace

Topkapı Palace

On my final full day, we went to visit Topkapı Palace - the old home of the Sultans, where hair and teeth of the Prophet Mohammed are stored (if you ask me, that was quite stalkerish) followed by a visit to the most famous sight of the city, the Hagia Sofia, formally a church and then mosque, and now a museum.

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia

In the evening we went to watch the football game of Galatasaray and Manchester United - although not being much of a football fan, it was hard to support a Turkish team against an winning English one, even when surrounded by Turks and wearing a football scarf. Meeting one of Onur's friends at the match we went back to Onur's flat, where I met his other housemate - all of whom were very welcoming and friendly, and even the mosquitoes wanted to say hello!

The next morning I took the coach at 9:00am to take me to the Asian side's airport, which would take me back home after flying over Eastern Europe. All in all I can say that Istanbul is a very exciting city, with a lot to see. The fact that it has so much eastern culture whilst being a very modern city makes it ideal for those who don't wish to be without too many home comforts.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Turkey Tagged culture history city friends Comments (0)

Tallinn

Baltic Tour - Tallinn

overcast 15 °C
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After a day in Riga, the next morning we woke and boarded our four hour coach that would take us to Tallinn by early afternoon.

City Walls

City Walls

Once we arrived at our hostel, we spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening walking around the centre of Tallinn seeing the sights like the Town Hall and the city walls. The centre itself is very small, which was great as we had a very short amount of time in the city.

Town Hall Square

Town Hall Square

After seeing buildings many centuries old, our last sight was the "Linnahall", a Soviet built concert hall on the edge of the sea. Once you climb up the steps on top of the building, you get a great view of the Gulf of Tallinn and can see all the ships leaving the country.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Estonia Tagged history city old baltic Comments (0)

Rīga

Baltic Tour - Rīga


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After arriving by minibus in Riga, we decided to go for dinner only, and leave the sightseeing for the next day as we had more than a full day in the city. After having a busy few days we also decided that we would have a lie in and take our time - however the next morning, my sister, for the first time in her life, voluntarily got up at 8:30am rather than the 11am we had agreed and we were already in the city when our alarms we had set went off!

Freedom Monument

Freedom Monument

We started the day by walking along the edge of the old city walls, from where we were staying, in the market area, towards the Freedom monument and Laima clock tower.

Laima Tower

Laima Tower

Afterwards we went towards the river, visiting the castle area, before coming back across the centre of the city. However by this time it was only 2pm, and so perhaps we should have stayed in bed! We therefore decided to go back to our hostel and rest before going for dinner and another early night before our coach to Estonia the next day.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Latvia Tagged history city baltic Comments (0)

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