KMT Travel Diaries: Brea visits the Mediterranean
I took a break from what seems to be a particularly long, cold and wet winter in Adelaide, South Australia… For the month of July, I travelled to parts of Spain, Portugal, Greece and Croatia where summer was in full swing! I could go on forever, but below are a few highlights!
The first ‘leg’ of my trip involved Spain and Portugal, with highlights being Granada, Seville, Lagos and Lisbon.
Granada had this amazing laid back, relaxed vibe which lent itself to long lunches and dinners under vine covered pergola’s whilst learning the difference between a good and a really good sangria! I also enjoyed a lot of paella with fresh seafood. Granada is famous, among other things, for the Alhambra which is an ancient palace which dates back to AD 889 and has been occupied over the centuries by many regimes. The mosaiced rooms and manicured gardens (which were in full bloom) were a sight to see.
Seville had a slightly younger feel to it with great shopping and architecture. The ‘old town’ was beautiful with narrow streets that are easy to lose yourself in! If you’ve ever been to Spain, you will have noticed their different time frame..basically nocturnal…..I joke, however it is certainly different. Most restaurants and tapa bars only open at around 8pm, so you tend to eat dinner at 9 – 11pm.. (I am used to eating at 7pm!) every night, or maybe later. One local lady mentioned that it is customary to have a big three course meal at lunch, with dinner consisting of a light snack at around 11pm. Bars and clubs are only starting to get busy at midnight – 1am, meaning that you tend to stay out all night! (as opposed to a closing time of 2-3pm in Australia).
Lagos was one of my favourite destinations due to its beachside location, white cobblestone streets, salty air, stunning views and lack of ‘hustle and bustle’. After Lagos, I headed to Lisbon. It is a massive university city, full of students, young people, preserved architecture and cool street art!
The Greek islands brought sunshine, salty water, beautiful white buildings and many a traditional yiros. Mykonos had a youthful party vibe, lots of white narrow streets (in town) and lots of beautiful fresh seafood and homemade sorbet. When venturing the island on quad bike, you come across many tiny, well-kept churches that are big enough to fit only a handful of people. Santorini appeared to be a little more laid back. A afternoon and evening on a sail boat, watching the sun set was time well spent!
Croatia..or should I say Tour de Croatia!
I decided to see the Dalmatia coast (Split and the nearby islands) via sail boat and push bike! Every morning our sail boat would dock at a new island, the bikes would be off loaded from the boat, and we would commence cycling . Some days we rode 54km and climbed to altitudes of 1,500ft – a challenge for my unprepared legs when peddling up huge mountains! However the challenge was rewarded when we reached the top of mountains and had a view over the Adriatic sea. I began my Croatian leg in Split. It is the second biggest city in Croatia, sits on the coast of the Adriatic Sea and is home to the Diocletian’s Palace. The old walls of the palace still stand, and the inside has been converted into hotels, restaurants, museums and art galleries. In the evening, as the sun sets, it is magic to wander along the Promenade, sorbet in hand, enjoying the harbor view.
Hvar, Brac and Mljet were my favourite of all the islands and coastal towns we visited. In particular, the Mljet national park is something to behold. The inland lakes are gorgeously blue and warm to swim in (if you search Mljet on Instagram, I guarantee it will be on your bucket list to visit!) All in all, the food, scenery and locals made for the best time! Although Croatia has been ticked off of my bucket list, I would certainly visit again!