Got up at 6.15 to get to the airport. Was going ok until we arrived in Kingston. There were 4 Russian guys, well behaved, but minimal English. At least one immigration officer walked off with each of them, leaving no one at the desks. The queue didn’t like this. I’ve never seen so much yelling and arguing going on at immigration before. After a delayed flight and a long queue, immigration wasn’t happy that I didn’t have an address to stay at. He sent me to the information office, who let me use their computer for half an hour to ‘find it’. I was worried immigration would give me a hard time and check my flights, quite the opposite, just waved me straight through.
Curly went to Barbados and Dasha to Puerto Rico. Then the plans were for Curly to continue to Jamaica and for Dasha to visit her friend in NY. Meanwhile in Barbados…
We weren’t sad about leaving Antigua. From sailors and people we had spoken to, a little island nation called Dominica, very often confused with the Dominican Republic, sounded much more like our kind of paradise.
We knew we were getting close – we could smell it. Still miles from the island, the smells of flowers were drifting out across the ocean. After 25 days and 8 hours we arrived in English Harbour, Antigua. White sand beaches, palm trees, rum and Rastafarians. A tropical paradise…
The assumed length of our journey was 20 days. We did the provisioning ourselves (not Captain Morgan), which in my opinion was quite successful, and sailed out of Las Palmas bearing south on a 34 foot Gyb Sea on the 1st of December.
Another short flight and we were descending toward Gran Canaria. From here the picture was not at all what we were expecting. A green tropical paradise it most definitely was not. It is a brown, dry, harsh, rocky Island, generally peaked at the centre and tapering down in all directions. Our primary reason, however, was not for a tropical holiday, or in fact to explore the island at all. We were staying in Las Palmas with the intention of hitch hiking on a boat across the Atlantic to the Caribbean.
When a flight for an hour or so across the country is cheaper than a 24 hour bus ride it’s hard to say no. I arrived in Malaga a little after midnight to find that I’d just missed the last bus and train to the city.
I loved every second of it. I was quiet happy and excited about going alone somewhere and spending time by myself. I got to Oslo late at night because our funny flight was delayed. Funny it was because drunken russian girls (who else?!) would smoke in the toilet and disturb everyone around, making me feel embarrassed to be russian, as always. Lucky my couch surfer was nice enough to meet me even late at night, even knowing that I am going away the next morning and share his lovely couch. Martin was his name. Thank you Martin!
In the North West of Spain is an autonomous community called Galicia. Near the middle of Galicia is a city called Ourense. Near Ourense is a town called Monforte (de Lemos). A 20 minute drive from Monforte and you’re in a village called Ferreira. Half an hour walk from Ferreira is a farm house called Tanquian. About 300m from Tanquian is a caravan, which is where I lived for 2 weeks.
From Barcelona we hired a car and drove 6 hours North to San Sebastian, or Donostia in the local Basque language. The first couple of hours was really quite boring, with not much other than desert to see. Approaching a typical Spanish fortified town, compressed upon a hilltop for safety against the invader in a vast open space, made a welcome change. We passed through Salinas in about 2 seconds, ok, maybe slightly longer, but it was very short – no surprises there Marz. We called in at Huesca, about halfway, for lunch. It was a nice town and super quiet due to the national public holiday. We were lucky to find a place open, which had excellent tapas, much better than anything we found in Barcelona. Also, people in the cafe didn’t speak much English, but lucky enough the waitress turned out to be Ukrainian, speaking perfect Russian. The second half of the drive, particularly Huesca to Pamplona, was much nicer and should be added to any driving holiday itinerary. We drove along a gorgeous gorge and passed by some beautiful cliffs, over 100m high, which took me back to my rock climbing days. Shortly after we passed by a massive lake with scenic flat rock surrounding hills. The colour of the water looked pure and fresh. I was very tempted to stop at the campsite for an evening, but chose to stick to the plan.