Recap of the Best Year of My Life

If I measure 2016 by the one yardstick that matters to me, how much I travelled, it was the best year of my life. That’s hard to reconcile with how horrible the year was to the world in general, but it’s my truth.

This was a rare year of my life where there was enough money to do what I wanted to do. I prioritised paying for the big stuff, like making sure I had a roof over my head, could get from point A to point B, and that I stayed healthy. I savoured the little stuff I could afford. I refused to be a glass half empty person and bemoan that I couldn’t do X, Y, or Z because of a tight budget and instead celebrated that I was wherever I was at that moment.

I covered so much ground this year that you might have forgotten where I started. So here’s my 2016 travel retrospective.

January started in Mazatlán, Mexico. It was the second year of my life starting there and the novelty hadn’t worn off! I spent many hours cantering on a beautiful tropical beach, a weekly ritual that made me feel like the richest and luckiest woman in the world.

The lagoon at the Isla de la Piedra botanical gardens.

The lagoon in Mazatlán’s Bosque de la Ciudad.

February brought me to Mérida, in the Mexican state of Yucatán, on a scouting mission in anticipation of possibly moving there!

I saw ancient Mayan ruins!

The Mayan ruins at Uxmal.

The Mayan ruins at Uxmal.

March had me discovering the wonderful botanical gardens right in my backyard on Isla de la Piedra.

The lake at the heart of Isla de la Piedra's botanical gardens.

The lake at the heart of Isla de la Piedra’s botanical gardens.

April found me seeing Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

…and exploring Arches National Park

Landscape Arch, Arches National Park

Landscape Arch, Arches National Park

…and the town of Moab, Utah.

May took me to Cody, Wyoming

downtown Cody, WY

downtown Cody, WY

…with plenty of time to explore the Center of the West

Sacagawea at Center of the West

Sacagawea at Center of the West

… and a Japanese internment camp

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center

… before going home to Haven…

Sunset at Haven, May, 2016

Sunset at Haven, May, 2016

… before getting on a plane and technically visiting my last Canadian province.


So June took me to London, England (really!)…

London from the St. Paul's Cathedral

London from St. Paul’s Cathedral


… and to Bulgaria!

Malak Izvor, Bulgaria

Malak Izvor, Bulgaria


July took me on two trips to Sofia, Bulgaria.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia

August took me to Plovdiv

Plovdiv from Nebet Hill

Plovdiv from Nebet Hill

… and across Bulgaria in a Chevy to Nessebar

Old Nessebar, Bulgaria

Old Nessebar, Bulgaria

…to Soviet ruins



Veliko Tarnovo

Tsaravets Fortress, Veliko Tarnovo

Tsaravets Fortress, Veliko Tarnovo

…the scenic town of Teteven



Prohodna (Eyes of God Cave)

Prohodna (Eyes of God Cave)

Prohodna (Eyes of God Cave)

…the Etropole Waterfall

Etropole Waterfall

Etropole Waterfall

…and a the magnificent 15th century Glozhene Monastery.

inside the Glozhene Monastery

inside the Glozhene Monastery

September saw me quit Bulgaria for Serbia and finish the month in Belgrade.

Zemun, Belgrade, Serbia

Zemun, Belgrade, Serbia

October found me in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, BiH

Sarajevo, BiH

Kotor, Montenegro

Old Kotor, Montenegro

Old Kotor, Montenegro

…blipping through Albania

an Albanian fortress

an Albanian fortress

…staying out too late in Prizen, Kosovo

Prizren, Kosovo

Prizren, Kosovo

…not being impressed by Skopje, Macedonia

Archaeological Museum, Skopje

Archaeological Museum, Skopje


…ambling through Barcelona, Spain

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona


… then through Alicante

Alicante, Spain

Alicante, Spain

… before settling in Almería for seven weeks.

The port of Almería

The port of Almería

November was spent in lovely Almería learning to live in the real Spain.

Pedestrian street in downtown Almería

Pedestrian street in downtown Almería

December saw me in Málaga for a few days…

Málaga from the top of the itinerant Ferris wheel.


…before jetting off to end the year and ring in 2017 in Amsterdam, Netherlands!

Quintessential Amsterdam scene


What a journey 2016 was, from getting more and more comfortable in Mexico to becoming a seasoned European traveler!

But the most amazing thing that happened? I was offered my key to Mexico. So my 2017 is well plotted. But before I return to the blistering tropical heat of the Yucatán, England, Quebec, and Haven beckon. So clichéd as the saying is, the best really is yet to come.

Happy New Year to all of you lovely readers!

Alicante to Almería

This morning, I finally began to understand why Spaniards are such night owls — it was still dark at 8AM. I thought it was very odd that Spain is on the same time zone as Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, etc. As it turns out, it used to be on the same time zone as Britain, but then the dictator Franco changed the time zone to put Spain on the same time zone as Germany and the country has been out of whack since.

I woke up without an alarm, but it had not been a good night of sleep and I knew I was going to have to nap on the bus. I was already packed, so I was out the door by 8:30, with the bus being at 9:30. I had about a half hour walk ahead of me, so I wanted to stop for sustenance along the way and then hopefully get a coffee at or near the bus station.

Alicante was busier than I expected at that “early” hour, but there was very little open. I finally came to a proper bakery and was a little taken aback that two pastries and a large bottle of water were only 2.15 euros. There was a café at the bus station and when I asked for a coffee with a bit of milk, I was offered a “cortado,” which ended up being the best not-made-by-me coffee I’ve had since I got to Spain! The barista had a super thick accent, though, and his “1.20” sounded a lot like “90.” He was annoyed with me when I handed him just one euro and even more so when, still not sure what he’d said, I passed over two euro (instead of exact change). His grumpiness is forgiven for the perfection that was his coffee!

I then went to my… okay. I have to say this. I just blanked out completely on the English word for the Serbian peron. This is how I get when I’m tired — I lose my English! My platform, I went to my platform! There was a huge crowd waiting for a 9:15 bus to Madrid. That bus came and went and then nothing. 9:30 came and went. I thought I heard Almería on a loud speaker, but it was super tinny and I didn’t get anything else. I asked a couple of people and they hadn’t understood the announcement either. I was concerned our bus had moved to another platform. It finally pulled up around 9:45!

The driver did not get out to help load luggage and he didn’t check anyone’s ticket! Seating was assigned and very strict. I’d picked a window seat near the front and was satisfied with my selection even though, like on the train, the windows weren’t line up well with the seats and I got a lot of wall with my window.

We drove… If it wasn’t for the gas stations having different names, I would have thought I was in the Sonoran desert in Mexico. I eventually drifted off to sleep.

At almost bang on noon, we pulled into a station and the driver announced that we would be taking a 15-minute break and would be arriving about 30 minutes late in Almería. I emailed my host to let her know as she had offered to pick me up at the bus station. Thankfully, she got the message.

We finally pulled into Almería at 1:51, 31 minutes late. For all I heard people complain about buses in the Balkans, they ran like clockwork. So far, I prefer the smelly Spanish train. 😀

My host was waiting for me. Her house is in a suburb about 15 minutes from downtown Almería so she showed me where to get off and back on the bus when I come into the city. She then took me to her house, introduced me to my feline charge, showed me my room, and then we sat down to discuss practical matters regarding my gig. Out of respect to her, I am not giving any details about exactly where I am, the house, my responsibilities, etc. I can show pictures of the neighbourhood, local restaurants, the beach, etc. so give me time to get properly landed and all of that will come.

We went for a nice walk along the beach and through her neighbourhood, then came back for a rest. Around 7:30, we headed out to her favourite bar so I could have my first tapas! We had two glasses of white wine each and two tapas for just 8.50 euros total! The first tapa was a large chunk of seared tuna on tomato toast and the second one was a small order of fried calamari. Yum! I was really famished by this point, so the fish was welcome protein and the calamari gave me that bit of moreish I needed to not feel I was going to bed hungry.

Tomorrow is going to be a full day. We’re going out for breakfast, then my host will show me around a bit more, then I have work to do. I’ll be on my own as of Wednesday morning and will be here through to about December 16th.

I can’t believe I’m currently about the same distance from Africa as Haven is from Regina…


On a Ramble in Alicante

I finally got going around 1:30 this afternoon. Sundays are quiet in Alicante, so I decided to do like my last day in Barcelona and focus on having a nice lunch and then going to the beach before ambling around the old town.

It was very, very, very dead in Alicante early this afternoon. Just a few restaurants and the odd shop open. But I quickly found the super touristy part of town with lots of people coming off the cruise ships where there was more happening.






I saw a lot of menú del días for 11-13 euros for two courses, drink and dessert not included. Not a great deal! I brushed off the touts and continued wandering until I found a quiet alley and a restaurant with a Spanish-only 10 euro menú del día that looked good. Service was slooooow, but the server acknowledged me right away, so I knew he was just being run off his feet and not ignoring me. I eventually ordered my two courses and he confirmed that I could have a glass of white wine with my meal!

Considering I’d ordered pasta as a first course, I was a little confused when he brought me a big salad. I squinted at the menu board and, sure enough, it did say salad above the first course. So this would be a four-course meal! I was almost done with the salad when he brought me my first course (I was surprised he didn’t wait till I was done).

I was a bit shocked when I saw the size of the pasta portion. It could have been a meal unto itself! It had a really lovely sauce and the meat was cooked with a touch of nutmeg. So far, I was really impressed with my meal.


I chose the baked pork ribs as a second course and was surprised by how much meat was on them and also how flavourful and tender they were. The beans/carrots/eggplant were well seasoned and very tasty as well. I was surprised to have the veggies. I was shocked when the server came to ask me if my meal was okay, something that I’m told really doesn’t happen in Europe.


I wasn’t done yet… The included dessert was flan. I declined, telling the server I’m allergic to eggs. He offered me ice cream instead! This vanilla and three-chocolate confection came shortly thereafter…


Maybe Spain won’t be as unaffordable as Barcelona makes it out to be…

I headed towards the waterfront and found this trio of fine American dining options.



I really think I’m meant for this climate…









My favourite captain! 😀


Um, wow…






Can’t believe I was all the way up there yesterday!





I can’t believing people were swimming. It wasn’t that hot out and the water was cold…


Taking my first steps into the Mediterranean Sea. 😀





Sandy feet are the only thing I don’t like about going to the beach. Surely, there had to be a place to rinse off…


I was right!


This tiling job is incredible!



At first, I thought this walkway is a waterslide. I bet that’s the effect they’re going for.







I must have gotten “Je parles français” tattooed on my forehead at some point and forgotten about it because how else can I explain tourists coming up to me and asking me for directions to the castle elevator in French?! It’s funny how I end up giving tourists directions everywhere I go.


I was rather impressed by this retaining wall.


The Polvora tower. I like how they are rebuilding it with the same material to show what it would have looked like new.


That stone is really gorgeous!





I got back to the Rambla, a main street, when I realised I wasn’t quite ready to go home yet. So I headed towards this interesting building, with the water behind it.


I passed a shop with notebooks that had funny messages on them. My favourites are: “Come on. Eat the world!”


and “Life is a journey, not a race.”


I had such a laugh when I was looking for lunch and headed off to this giant TACO sign in the distance. What a disappointment!


Bast, did you open a restaurant in Alicante?


I can’t quite make out the last word in this, but rico would make sense. So “Marry someone who cooks well. Beauty is fleeting, but hunger isn’t.”


Am I following my dreams if I follow this arrow?


This ad for a new real estate project had me burst out laughing in public. The wife: “New construction homes. What more could you want?” Husband: “A steak.”


The arrow above took me to this wonderland!




Children were playing hopscotch. I had to wait for one to finish to take this picture and you can see a bit of his shoe.






This sign told me something very interesting about Alicante. This area was the original elevation of the city, which for a very long time impeded its development. Levelling works ended in 1946.



Here’s something I’ve noticed since I got to Spain. They use the verb “alquilar” for renting, as opposed to “rentar,” like I saw in Mexico. I did some research and learned that Mexico is the only Spanish-speaking country that uses rentar for this meaning.


Here’s the park outside my window again. It’s prettier from this angle.


I had a lovely walk around Alicante today and didn’t need to pull out my map once!

So on to Almería tomorrow! I am beyond ready to stop for seven weeks and replenish my coffers.

Exploring Alicante’s Santa Bárbara Castle

Yes, this post is a little late. I am feeling very run down and have a sore throat. I really need a few nights of interrupted sleep!

Like in Barcelona, it’s insanely loud in this building until just past 1AM, then quiet until about 10AM. I guess that’s just the normal Spanish rhythm… I didn’t even bother trying to sleep until it got quiet on Friday night/Saturday morning and then I slept like the dead since my room was surprisingly dark and quiet. I only woke up because I was cold and had to find another blanket.

I went out Friday night to get some breakfast stuff at a nearby supermarket, so I was all set to make peanut butter with banana and coffee on Saturday morning. I ended up buying a large bag of powdered milk for just 4 euros (6CAD). Twice what I’d pay in Mexico, half what I’d pay in Canada. It’ll last me for months and since I only have one more stop to make before I land for seven weeks, it made sense to get some last night so that I could make coffee here.

I dropped my groceries off and then went out again to look for a fast food supper around 8:30, eventually stumbling on a kebab shop that was opening up for the night. Thank goodness for the Turks! 😀 I could have kebab just about every night and, really, as long as you go easy on the sauce, there could be worse suppers. It’s a very popular late night fast food option all over Europe.

I then had to put in a couple of hours of work before bed. It’s very rare that I leave work for arrival on a traveling day because I’m always afraid of contingencies, but Thursday night was not conducive to working in the public spaces in my Barcelona flat. Since the job was super easy and not due till Friday night, it made sense to take a chance and finish once I’d landed in Alicante.

I pretty much picked Alicante as my stop this weekend by throwing the proverbial dart at a map of the Spanish coast. I couldn’t afford to stay in Barcelona any longer and I also did not want to have to travel straight to Almería in one day as it would have been something like 12 or 13 hours of traveling time. Alicante is about two-thirds of the way to Almería from Barcelona, meaning a shortish traveling day on Monday, and boasts a charming old town and a magnificent castle to explore. Sounded pretty good to me!

So it was a very, very, very late start Saturday morning. It was really nice to stumble into a super clean kitchen and put together coffee and breakfast. After that, I did a bit of my work for the weekend and then headed out to find a town map and the castle.

My flat is located on a public square and is making me realise I do not want to live right on a public square in Mexico!


My wonderful host here oriented me as to the main street in town and the pedestrian zone, so I had known where to go look for food Friday night and where to find the info centre Saturday afternoon.


I love how an interior wall became an exterior wall and that you can still see where the old staircase was.


I thought I’d found tacos on Friday night, but they want 10 euros/15CAD for two!!!


The tourist info centre was just past the Mexican restaurant. I came in and was sized up by the person at the desk who yelled towards the back, “We need your English skills!” Bemused, I shook my head and said in Spanish, “I just want a map and walking directions to the castle…” “Oh!” was the reply and then aid was forthcoming. The map I was given was pretty terrible in that it’s not particularly portable, being printed on heavy paper, but it is pretty detailed and colour coded. The instructions on how to walk to the castle seemed clear…

I headed UP into the old town.







I found this wonderful poem on a building. I photographed all of it, but am only sharing my favourite stanza, the one at the bottom: “How many days does a week have? Seven days, and no more. But I would give it eight days, one more to travel.”


The Santa Bárbara castle is a rather impressive. It started as an Islamic fortress in the 9th century, with the Christian castle built over top in the Middle Ages.


Getting to the walking path up to the castle was insanely frustrating. I will never again complain of the dearth of signage in the Balkans as Spain appears to be worse. I think that in this case, it is intentional. The castle is free to visit, but there is a new elevator to get to the top that costs about 3 Euro. I think that the walking path is hard to find so that people will choose the paid option. That had the opposite effect on me. The more I climbed up to a dead end and had to backtrack, the less inclined I was to pay the elevator fee! And, yes, I asked multiple people for directions.



One man finally gave me good directions, as opposed to a more vague, “It’s that way,” response. I started to climb.




Spoiler: I would end up higher than that little tower you see jutting out of the cliff at the top!





It became evident as I climbed that there are actually a few different walking paths of varying degrees of difficulty.



I ended up on what I would, at the descent, confirm as being the official walking path, and it was very difficult as the step risers were super high.







This is the part where I got really annoyed with the lack of signage. Right through that door.


From there, I could go up these very scary steps strewn with broken glass or move ahead on a dirt path.



There was a bunch of us who were confused and it took a local to tell us that the least obvious of the paths, the dirt one, would lead us to the paved access road to the entrance of the castle. On the way back, I came across a few different groups of tourists all as equally confused as I was at that point and I had to guide them to the entrance. What could have been a really lovely walk up was incredibly frustrating because I was expending a lot of effort to climb up things that seemed to lead to the castle but which ended up being dead ends. To meet other people who felt as frustrated as I was spoke volumes as to the validity of my feelings.




But I finally made it to the entrance!





Right through that arch, I saw this sign about a sci-fi exposition. Curious..


I went in and as soon as I started to look at the exhibits, I just gasped. I was looking at case after case of mostly original props from many science-fiction/fantasy movies, some of which I really love! This was such a random and unexpected part of my day! These are just a few of the original props that I enjoyed viewing.

Hydra’s cosmic energy battery from Captain America: the First Avenger.


Bruce Banner’s laptop and drink from The Incredible Hulk (2008).


Obadiah’s sonic taser earplugs from Ironman.


A piece from the Tumbler in Batman Begins!



I could not stop staring at this original mask, hat, and wig from V for Vendetta, one of my favourite movies of all time.


What a surreal exhibit, and free to boot!

Then, I wandered around the ruins. You can go almost anywhere.



At the top here, you can see the café. I didn’t plan my day well and got to the castle at about 2PM, lunchtime. I should have had lunch first and then gone exploring. So I decided to pay a premium for a mediocre burger with a great view and didn’t regret it one bit!





The castle complex is huge.














This is that little tower we saw earlier and I’m above it, at the very top of the castle. The view was so spectacular!







I would not want to be a bus driver having to go around that hair pin turn!









Here’s that archer again.




I haven’t had ice cream in ages and 2.50 euros was insane for gelato after an afternoon of wandering around flat Barcelona, but was a fair price for this treat after all that climbing!




The figures fighting in the background of this picture amuse me immensely.


Found the elevator. It’s free to go from the 1st to the 2nd level and to go down from the 2nd level to the beach.


The sci-fi expo is showing off some of the best sci-fi movies of recent years! *snickers*









As some of you know, I did my BA in medieval history and so I know a bit about the construction of these sorts of structures. What I’m seeing here is that there was some sort of wooden construction jutting out of the stone foundation.





The Mediterranean at Alicante is just…















Ruins of Saint Barbara’s Hermitage.
















I thought this was a weird coincidence in that at this time two years ago, I was near Arco, Idaho, wandering through an equally amazing space





It’s forbidden to feed the cats and the doves. Saw lots of gulls, but no doves…



The hike down was hard on the knees. Just like after the climb in Old Kotor, I’m shocked that I wasn’t sore the next day!




I may have yelled to this guy that he was doing a fine job with his painting…










Ah, a dove!



I was done by this point and just wanted to get in. I thought to stop at the market, but was disappointed to discover I’d missed my only chance as it closes at 2PM on Saturdays and is closed on Sundays.


I made two stops before coming in. The first was at a fruit and vegetable store for a tomato and small cucumber, the other at the grocery store for ham, cheese, and yoghurt so I could have dinner in when I was ready for it. I am surprised that Spanish grocery prices appear to be low. Four single-serve containers of yoghurt were about 0.75CAD (about four times cheaper than in Assiniboia). A package of good ham was about 1.50CAD. A cheese similar to Boursin, which was 8CAD last time I didn’t buy any in Assiniboia, was just under 2CAD.

I came in and did more work, then made dinner. I have access to not just the kitchen here, but a whole cupboard full of spices and condiments! I had a few things in Sarajevo, but nothing like this, and I had to build a pantry from scratch in Bulgaria with not much available to me locally. So being able to not only pull out oil and vinegar last night to make a dressing from scratch, but also sugar, salt, oregano, garlic powder, and a few other things to make the dressing extra special felt like an incredible luxury.

Even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep that early, I went to bed around nine, just as the noise level in here started. I managed to fall asleep around eleven, was woken around one, then slept from two to four, five to eight, and 8:30 to ten. Not a great night… I have to leave early tomorrow, so I don’t expect much sleep again. It will be a relief to land in Almería!

It’s 1:30 on Sunday now. Nothing’s open at this hour on a Sunday, so I’m just going to wander around, find a nice lunch, and enjoy the Mediterranean sunshine. 🙂

Barcelona to Alicante

My train was at eleven this morning, so I wanted to leave my flat around 9:30. Thankfully, I managed to get to bed almost early yesterday and was awake without an alarm around eight. Packing is still a lot of work because I don’t have any spare room and everything has to be packed perfectly and just so, so I like to give myself lots of time.

I really enjoyed my stay in my host’s flat. Another girl joined us the night before last and I saw that if I had to, I could live with the right roommates, a huge revelation. I felt comfortable setting up my office and working even when they were there and I never felt like I was taking up space or annoying my host by staying in the public spaces when she was home. My stay cost me 175CAD for four nights and the cheapest alternative I found, a bed in a dorm, was over 200CAD. So I was really motivated to make this place work and it absolutely did. The only thing that rather sucked was the loooooong climb up to her flat. Here I am on the landing. That is a scary way down!


There are so many stairs to climb. I told her she needs to be clearer in her ad about how bad the stairs are and that her listing isn’t suitable for someone with huge luggage.


One of her neighbours has this great mat that I want for Haven: Welcome to the independent republic of my house.


I had about a half hour walk to Sants train station. As I ambled along, I checked out menus and prices, looking for a decent deal on a croissant and coffee. I almost stopped at a place that advertised a ham and cheese croissant with a coffee for 2.50 euros, but something told me to wait.

I got to Arenas de Barcelona, a shopping mall.




Just after it, I found a café that offered a ham and cheese croissant with a coffee for 2.40 euros. Every little bit helps! It was just shy of ten so I felt that I had time to sit and enjoy my breakfast.

A few doors down, I passed a bakery with nice sandwiches, so I thought I’d found my lunch for the train. But all their sandwiches had mayo. 🙁 The clerk suggested I try their “pizza” and pointed me to large squares of dough with different toppings that she began to describe. I stopped her at “barbacoa,” which is BBQ, as it obviously had a BBQ sauce base, with chicken, ham, and olives. 3.50 euros wasn’t cheap, but the portion was generous and I knew the sauce would be a welcome change to my diet.

The train station was just a short distance later.


I had an electronic boarding pass, so I quickly located which direction I had to go for my platform and then found the bathroom. There was just one entrance for men and women and I overheard an American woman and her husband having an argument over her having to use a unisex bathroom (she preferred to hold it, he said she was being ridiculous). I went through the turnstile and found separate entrances for the men and woman so I called to her that there was a woman’s only bathroom. I’d hate to see her in front of a squat toilet… Personally, when I have to go, I have to go!

I then got in line to go through the check-in desk, and what a long line it was! It was about 10:30 by this point. I don’t suggest getting to Barcelona Sants at the last minute!

Last night, I did some research on Spanish trains and my host confirmed that the fleets have been updated and are super comfy with power outlets and tables for working. So I was very disappointed to find waiting for me a smelly old train with no modern amenities. Moreover, I had to go to car eight and none of the cars were labeled, with just one attendant directing traffic. I was not impressed and will not be eager to take a train again in Spain. Last time I took a train was 16 years ago between Ottawa and Toronto and it was one of those “never again” experiences, with me favouring the bus after. I’m taking the bus to Almería on Monday, so I may feel the same way…

But, thankfully, the train wasn’t full and my seatmate moved to an empty row and I was able to spread out. I was very annoyed that I’d asked for a window seat and that I actually got a wall with a sliver of window behind me. I barely saw anything on the entire six-hour journey. 🙁 But what I did see reminded me so much of Mexico…

Most of the compartment disembarked in Valencia and then we started moving backwards, which felt very strange.

I did some non-transcription work on my computer for most of the trip until I started to get sleepy, then I just played Scrabble on my iPad. It was a pleasant enough journey, but would have been better if there had been a USB charging port and I hadn’t had to conserve battery power as that would have meant I’d have internet the whole way.

By the time we arrived in Alicante, I had 20% battery power, which on my phone means anywhere from all the time I need to no time at all of map usage, so I quickly plugged in my destination, got oriented, and set off, glad that I didn’t have many turns. My hostel was a bit hard to find (no signage), but once I was there, it was obvious. The host is lovely, and greeted me with a cold beer!

My room is huge and has a proper desk, so it will be a good place to work this weekend. My host says that almost all the museums are free, so I may do more exploration than I expected, although I had planned for this to be a work stop. She got me orientated and told me it’s safe here after dark, so as soon as I finish my current job, I’ll head out and look for food. My pizza (which was fantastic!) is starting to feel very distant. 🙂