Posts tagged Western Europe
Solo in Portugal on the Via Algarviana Trail: Marmelete - Bensafrim - Cabo de São Vicente

In February I embarked on a three-week-long hike across Portugal. 300 km on the Via Algarviana trail took me through some remarkable landscapes and tested my body's abilities and mind's strength.

In this article, I invite you to read about the section from Marmelete, through the narrow streets of Barão de São João, all the way to the farthest point in Europe: the Lighthouse of Cabo de São Vicente.

The last days of my Via Algarviana adventure took me through some mighty rains, but also beautiful views. I left the big mountains behind me and could experience changing landscapes as I neared the Ocean.

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Solo in Portugal on the Via Algarviana Trail: From Alcoutim to Vaqueiros

First section of the Via Algarviana adventure: starting in Alcoutim on the Spanish border, and arriving four days later in Vaqueiros.

I arrived at Alcoutim after dark. There was only one bus reaching the town, so there wasn't much choice. On the bus, I met a fellow female hiker, who was also about to start her Via Algarviana adventure. We slept in the same hostel room, so we had a chance to chat a bit later on. Her style of hiking was a bit different: she had no tent nor a sleeping bag, and she decided to rely on established accommodation only. Thanks to it she could hike very light, with just the basics in her pack.

The bus stops right before a bridge you need to cross to find your way to the hostel. Later on, I found out that the trail's start was just meters away on the right. The walk to the hostel was uphill and at least 2 km, so the next day I decided not to be the purist and just continue on my way on the trail.

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Must-see in Málaga: Alcazaba and Gibralfaro

Recently I visited Málaga again. My first time was some five years ago as a chaperone to a group of teenagers. Not exactly the perfect conditions for slow travel. This year I went with my Mom for a week, starting with the Great Friday. We had the freedom to do whatever we wanted and spend as much time as we needed in every place we visited. 

I was lucky to witness the Semana Santa celebrations and processions but I also had a chance to revisit Alcazaba. Five years ago we had to go pretty quickly through it (and with my eyes all around my head to see if kids were behaving) and we skipped the Gibralfaro. This time, we took our time and made sure to walk also to Gibralfaro.

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Walking Solo through Athens and the Acropolis - a Photo Essay

Athens welcomed me with a powerful storm, streams flowing down its streets and train workers strike. I came to hike on Crete but planned to have one day to see the Greek capital.

I’d never been to Greece before that and wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I wanted to see the most important remnants of the ancient city but had no time to properly research anything. And I think it turned for the good. I had only basic memories of what The Acropolis looked like from old history books.

I started to walk through Athens up north as I had to buy a gas canister for my camping trip. I walked a few different districts before finally reaching the oldest parts of the city.

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Experiencing Semana Santa in Málaga, Spain

I am not a Christian but I grew up in a Catholic country so I am pretty well versed in the basics of Easter celebrations. But nothing like Semana Santa happens anywhere in the world. The famous processions are unique to Spain and their history reaches centuries-old traditions.

What exactly is Semana Santa?

During the Holy Week, a number of brotherhoods and fraternities perform processions on the streets of major Spanish cities. The processions are religious and their nature is penance for sins in spiritual preparation for the upcoming holiday. In some places, the celebrations have been taken place for over five hundred years!

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Female & Solo Hiking on Crete: Days 17 & 18 | Archanes - Myrtia - Kasteli

Ahead of me were the two last days of solo hiking through Crete. After well over 200 km, I was tired but still in love with the Cretan nature. This section of E-4 trail takes one through the rural areas of central Crete, crossing olive groves, vineyards, small villages, and occasional small town. The trail became much less wild and much more paved. 

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Female & Solo on Crete: Days 15-16 | Ano Asites - Profiti Ilias - Archanes

I started the day in a very comfortable bed at the Iraklio Hotel. After a proper shower and delicious breakfast (they even had gluten-free bread!), I moved towards the bus station (on the other side of the town) to catch a bus to Ano Asites.

When I got there, I was told I was on the wrong bus station. See, there are two of them in Iraklio – the “A” for long-distance buses and the “B” for local ones. I had to get a city bus to reach the other bus station… which was just steps from my hotel. Oh, well. I was glad I made it to the bus – at the last minute!

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Female & Solo Hiking on Crete: Days 9-12 Agia Roumeli - Chora Sfakion - Rodakino - Plakias

After a very nice rest day in Agia Roumeli, I was ready to move on along the E4 trail. The forecast didn’t sound good - I was getting ready for a rainy hiking. The hotel’s owner said it would be raining only in the mountains – and he was right!

At first, the trail took me to Agios Pavlos along the coast. This Byzantine chapel was a stunning shape against the raw view. Throughout my Cretan hiking, I loved seeing the tiny chapels, dotting the landscape in most surprising places.

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Female & Solo Hiking on Crete: Days 7 & 8 Sougia - Domata - Agia Roumeli

This part of my Cretan hiking was described by the very helpful site Destination Crete as „One of Crete's most tiring and difficult routes”. Their description of the hike from Paleochora to Sougia was dead on with “the most beautiful hike on Crete” so I was really nervous about that part.

On the map it does not look all that bad. There are no high mountains, you go along the coast and there is a bit of up and down. Well, nothing unusual for a hiking trail, right? And yet…

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Female & Solo Hiking on Crete: Day 6 & 7 Paleochora - Lissos - Sougia

The trek from Paleochora to Lissos was one of many on my long-term hiking trip but it is also the perfect destination for a lovely day hike. If you have the time, I highly recommend wild camping in Lissos and going back (or on) the next day – either by walking to Sougia or catching the boat/ferry (if you happen to be there in the season).

I truly believe this was the most beautiful hike I've done on Crete. 

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