A few weeks travelling through Porto and Spain with my parents before heading up to France with my Sister.
Christchurch, New Zealand
This trip was a bit of a family Holiday. My parents hadn't been to Europe since their honeymoon almost 40 years before so I was paying for flights over to Spain as Dad had always wanted to go there. My Sister was in that part of the world as she was sailing across the Atlantic later in the year. We hadn't had a proper family holiday in a long time and it was an interesting experience :)
+18/10/2011Quick stop in Bali for Marks' Wedding
Mark was getting married in Bali so I had a few days to stop over and break up the flight back to Europe.
Gili Islands, Indonesia
I had a really good time on the Gili Islands last time but this trip with Jani was all a bit rushed as we had to get back in time for the Wedding.
Mark and Sandras wedding was a very modern affair on the Southern end of Bali and he flew his entire family from around Indonesia to be there.
+25/10/2011Parents in Porto
My flight was from Bali to Kuala Lumpar to Paris then Porto. I'd sorted a nice central apartment near the river which had pretty nice views and was convenient to most of what we wanted to see. Mum and Dad had arrived a couple of days beforehand to had already had a chance to see most of the site. I only had one full day here but we made the most of it visiting the port caves and stocking up on a few bottles of port for the next few weeks.
+27/10/2011Flew to Madrid
I would have prefered to take the train but there didn't appear to be a simple route so flew to Madrid. There was a Jamon festival of some support in Plaza Mayor but it was here I found that Dad can be pretty fussy about what he eats. We'd had some the day before and he decided he didn't like it so it was just me and Mum.
Little sister arrived in the evening showing all the effects of jet lag. We got some food and wine from the local store and had a quiet nite in.
+30/10/2011Hire car and off to Andalusia
We picked up a rental car from one of the train stations and set of South. Dad proved to be a bit of a speed hound on foreign roads but took on the driving. I crashed when we got to Seville. Think all the jet lag and trying to organis my parents got to me and I slept a whole day away and left Charlotte to guide them around. Was also at this point that we found out Mum and Dad don't really like Tapas or it would seem most Spanish food. Seville itself had a pretty impressive cathedral but I didn't get to see much else.
Córdoba a lovely place but also where my sister ran out of patience. I'd fogotten how fun she can be to travel with. The Mezquita was incredible, loved all the red and white arches.
The Alhambra was the reason for stopping in Granada and it lived up expectations. Funnily enough Dad had his favourite meal here, the Hotel we stayed in had and all you can eat buffet full of familiar food.
This was a transit stop. We had a wander around the town but weren't that impressed. The stop earlier in Almansa was awesome, it's kind of what you expect a medieval castle to have been like rather than the palaces you normally see.
This was Mum and Dads contribution as they have a timeshare so we had a week to chill out. And god did we need it. With the hectic travel schedule we were all frayed around the edges and getting on each others nerves. Having a kitchen so we could make our own food was a real benefit as well. Overall a much required break.
Barcelona is one of my favourite cities and I think it lived up to Mum and Dads expectations more than anything else had. Good food, impressive architecture, it was a perfect way to wind up the trip before they headed back to NZ.
+13/11/2011Parents fly home, Matt arrives
A couple of days before Mum and Dad flew back Charlotte's boyfriend Matt arrived. It was the first time they met him and probably wasn't the best plan given that he was a bit jet lagged. He skipped the meal on the last out which went down a treat.
But after we saw the olds off it was up North to Bilbao. Matt showed up in a two door after we'd already booked a decent sized car so I was squeezed in the back which didn't do much for my mood. Especially after I'd suggested we travel by train. As soon as we left he hit the mirror on the a rubbish then turned the wrong way down a one way street. This was going to be fun.
The reason for heading to Bilbao was that Matt wanted to see The Guggenheim which was a great choose. It's a pretty fantastic building and I'd always wanted to see it.
Donostia / San Sebastián, Spain
This was a nice little town. We had a decent meal out then Matt and Charlotte ran off giggling down some pier. I got pissed off at that stage and decided I'd just walk home to blow off some steem. Very maturely I didn't inform them of my plans. Eventually they drove past me up the hill. By the end we were a happy bunch.
+16/11/2011Across to France
Dropped the car off and jumped onto a train to Bordeaux. I was delighted to see the end of Matts driving.
Matt decided he was sick at this stage so I didn't see much more of him. Had an enjoyable day wandering around Bordeaux with Charlotte then made my escape to Paris. I love travelling by train.
+18/11/2011Staying with the locals
I stayed with Simon who I've worked with for a few years now and Dom. Was great having some local residents to show me around. Had a really nice chilled out weekend with good company to end the trip.
+21/11/2011Back to work
And then back to London and work for a month or so before heading to NZ again.