So my site has changed a little and I thought I'd try to take advantage of that. I now have a comments section so I'd like to ask for some advice.
I'm planning a trip to Spain and Portugal in September. I last went to Europe in 1995 after finishing college. I travelled for more than 2 months and it was a fantastic experience. I travelled with a friend for 3 weeks then on my own for the rest of the time, about 6 weeks. Travelling with my friend was great. Travelling by myself was enlightening.
I was never good at making friends, being very shy. Suddenly I was on trains with strangers, in cities with strangers, in youth hostels with strangers. It was be bold or be bored sometimes. I chose to be bold. I talked to people and found great playbuddies. I had some romantic adventures. I would walk up to people on the street who looked interesting and ask them where they were from. I shocked myself.
Travelling alone also proves something to yourself. It proved to me that I could do anything I wanted to do. I made up my mind on a moment's notice to go to another city. I went out to bars alone if I felt like it (something I would probably never do in San Francisco, afraid of ending up drinking alone). I mangled languages in every country I went to but I still managed to communicate everything I needed to. I walked for hours on end across every city I went to. I spent an entire week in my bathing suit in Greece and felt beautiful (I'm not a bathing suit kind of girl). I became the very best version of myself.
I'll be travelling alone again this time. It didn't even occur to me to ask anyone else to come. This trip is about me, and finding that best version of myself again. Plus, goodness knows I need a vacation like a nomad needs water. It's been years since I had a real one. And I'm going to be gone 4 whole weeks. Let me say that again. 4 whole weeks.
I went to Spain on the last trip--Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Grenada, Sevilla. I also went to Portugal, but just to Lisbon. I've been working on my Spanish and I'm getting better. I'm getting some Portugal tips from a friend of a friend. So what I need from you all is some advice.
Is there anywhere you went in Spain or Portugal that you thought was fantastic and not to be missed? Do you have any recommendations for a young-ish woman looking for fun nightlife type things to do there? Is there a guidebook you thought was particularly useful? (I could use a lot of advice on this one, I used a Berkeley Guide last time but I can't seem to find one now.) Is there a Spanish language book/tape/software that helped you learn Spanish? Any tricks you discovered while travelling that might help me? Any packing tips? Anything useful you can offer will be much appreciated.
Just click on Comments below. Thanks.
Posted by Alyssa at June 25, 2002 10:30 PM
I'm participating in the 24 Hour Blogathon for charity on July 27/28th. I'll be updating my site every 30 minutes for 24 hours. I'll be loopy from sleep deprivation and heavily caffeinated. But I hope to make a lot of money for Global Fund for Women which supports women's human rights organizations around the world. Please sponsor me by clicking the Blogathon button below my pic on the left and filling out the form. Thanks.