Probably I will always remember 2011 as the most exciting, weirdest and most surprising year of my life. I started the year as far as I could be from my hometown: in Gisbourne, New Zealand; I ended the year as close as I could be: in Barcelona, Spain.

I keep a text that I wrote the first minute of 2011 to remember that we didn’t start the year dancing Eurythmics, Ina and I went further dancing a catalan sardana while Shihad were playing.

This year I’ve been through all New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and I came back to Barcelona. Not bad, don’t you think? But it wasn’t only travelling, it was also growing, learning about myself and meeting all sorts of amazing people on my way.

Guys, thanks for making this year unforgettable.

 
 

#5 Fujiya & Miyagi – Knickerbocker

Vanilla. Strawberry. Hoky Poky Glory.

Singing this song, Ina and I drove more than 4000 kilometres along New Zealand. Half of it with Marty. Every single meter was worth it. Every single minute was worth it.

 
 
#4 Antònia Font – Icebergs i Guèisers

I don’t know why, but I became obsessed with this album and this song. I think it’s the most beautiful way of saying how much you miss someone. And this might have been a travelling year, but it has also been a year of missing people: the ones that I left home, the ones that I keep leaving as the trip went on. But missing is not bad, it just means that someone went through your heart. Missing people is just a sign of the amazing people I have met in my life.


 
 

#3 El Guincho – Bombay

This song is Melbourne: roast chicken, parties, dancing and realizing that nothing lasts forever, you just have to enjoy it on the meantime.

 
 

#2 George Harrison – My sweet Lord

The hippiest hippies in New Zealand were definitely us.

 
 
#1 Talking heads – This must be the place (Naive melody)

This must be the place. Not a physical place but an emotional one.

 
 
 

Thanks for sharing another year by my side. Wherever you were, wherever you are, Happy 2012!

With almost tears in my eyes I left my beloved Melbourne, knowing that I want to go back to that city, and I arrived to Sydney last Wednesday. In Sydney some old friends were waiting for me. Bonnie and Micky have hosted me most of the week. It’s amazing because, although they are kiwis, I met them in Melbourne with David, Vin and Jon. The funniest part is that I knew Bonnie’s mum (awesome Ana!) when I stayed at the former Polish Embassy in Wellington. The world is small, and kiwis are all around. And know that I’m half kiwi (or I wish! hahaha), I feel really lucky to keep meeting them.

My first impression of Sydney is that it looks like a big Auckland. Probably the truth is that Auckland is a tiny version of Sydney, but nevermind.

In one week I’ve visited the most important areas of the city, and I have to say that one week is more than enough to visit it. The city center is like every other city. Sydney’s beaches are the supposedly beautiful part of the city, but I found them totally overbuilt and crowded with tourists (and it’s winter here!!), so I don’t want to imagine how they look like in summer. Sydney’s beaches are like Spanish Benidorm or Lloret but bigger, wider, and more crowded with surfers. Do you think I am exaggerating? Look at this picture of Bondi beach on a Sunday of middle winter. All these little black spots are surfers waiting for their wave.

Bondi beach crowded with surfers

Besides the touristic stuff, I have to admit that Sydney has some beautiful things. The Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are just stunning. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of them!!!

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Sydney Opera House

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Sydney Harbour Bridge

My favourite area was Surry Hills. Not only because Bonnie and Micky live there, but also because it reminds me of Wellington, of Melbourne: a small suburb with cozy bars and cafés, nice shops and beautiful Victorian houses.

I visited two markets, the Glebe one on Saturday and the Bondi one on Sunday. If you ask me, go to the Glebe one. It’s quite cute and the area has some cafés to go afterwards.

On Monday I went to Manly with a ferry. apparently it’s something that you have to do. But Manly was embarrassing. Did I say that Bondi is overbuilt and crowded with tourists? Forget about it. Manly is way worse. The whole 20 minutes ride on the Ferry I couldn’t stop remembering the famous “coastal law” in Spain when I saw the overpopulation of hotels, houses and boats in the coast line. Not a single meter free! It’s just terrible! When I arrived to Manly, me and the 300 tourists that were there on a Monday morning in the middle of winter crossed the street. After 5 minutes, I went back to the ferry station to go back to Surry Hills.

Lloret? Benidorm? No! Sydney!

My overall impression of Sydney is quite bad, yes. I guess if you come here in summer and you are a surfer it has to be pretty nice. But it’s not summer and I don’t surf. I’ve been raised in one of the most touristic areas of Spain, and Sydney reminds me too much of all that. So, thank God I had the company of Bonnie, Micky (you guys are awesome!), the kiwis that they introduced me and my couchsurfer of the weekend (Alastair! you’re great!!).

Sydney is nice to visit as a regular tourist. But I would never live here. (now it’s when Karma punishes me and I end up living here… hahahahah)

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Harbour Bridge with a ray of light

I’ve been thinking in writing this post for a long time, but I didn’t know what to say exactly or how to start with it. I just wanted to make a list of places (bars and restaurants from Melbourne) that I wanted to stress for different reasons. So, there it goes! This is just me judging some of the places I went to, so, 100% personal opinion.

Cookies in St Kilda

North Melbourne

Prudence: my favourite bar in the area. Pretty hipster, but amazing music and reasonably priced.

Fandango’s: good food, not that good coffee.

Grigons & Orr Corner Store: good coffee, cool place, I love the water with strawberry and mint!

CBD

Carlton Club: reasonably priced, relaxed atmosphere, cool place in the center.

Shanghai Dumplings: cheap. Bad service, ugly place, but damn cheap! An institution that you should visit if you are in Melbourne for a while.

Gaylord: I found the name hilarious. It turned out that the food is pretty good, reasonable price and moreover, you can drink as much as you want (it’s a BYO) because they will never kick you out.

Degraves Expresso: amazing coffee.

Rooftop Bar: really cool place, quite overpriced.

Cherry Bar: paradise. Best music ever, I love the atmosphere, I love the people. It felt like being in Wurlitzer in Madrid, my favourite place ever.

Sister Bella: quite unknown but really nice place with good music and good people.

Section 8: totally overrated. It’s a shame because the place is cool, but it’s overpriced and crowded with hipsters that go beyond the word hipster.

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Melbourne skyline from the Rooftop Bar

Fitzroy

Yah-yah’s: not only closes at 6 and it has free entrance, but also has really good music. The only bad thing is the people, way too wasted. But if you don’t mind it or you are actually as wasted as them, is perfect.

Atomica cafe: good coffee, good food, good place.

Bimbo’s: cheapest dinner / lunch you’ll ever find. Their 4 $ pizzas are not the best thing ever, but hey, for 4 $, who cares? By the way, the rooftop is pretty cool.

Umago: despite what you’ll think reading the menu, order the Poncho pizza. You’ll never regret it. Best pizza ever.

Worker’s club: nice and quiet place, reasonable price for drinks, good music.

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Melbourne from Brighton Beach

Last but not least I have to mention Revolver, THAT place, that institution. If you are ever in Melbourne and all the places are closed, Revolver will be open, no matter what. Probably the music is not good, and neither is the atmosphere, but hey, it has something cool. Well, no, it hasn’t anything cool. But if it’s 7 in the morning on a Saturday, it’s the only place to go. That’s it. 100% success.

And to finish this post, I also have to say that no matter what, no matter where, the important thing of any bar or restaurant is with whom you go. If it wasn’t for Jon, Vin, David, Jarrod, Rose, Jeffrey and all the rest, Melbourne wouldn’t have been the same. Love you and miss you guys. Thanks for everything!

when I close my eyes I see roast chicken…

Last days in Melbourne have been totally hectic. I wanted to see a lot of people, I still had to visit lots of places and, above all, I wanted to enjoy a bit more this amazing city.

So I had the visit of Laura, who I met in New Zealand, and I realized how some friendships will last for a long time.

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Brighton Beach

With her I enjoyed a week as a tourist. And it was amazing to see Melbourne again like the first time I arrived and show her why I love this city so much.

After her, Jai came to visit Melbourne too. And with him I realized that some friendships go beyond the word friend. He is just family. The kind of person next to whom I am exactly who I am. It feels like I know him for ages, and it feels good to see how much you can share with someone from such a different part of the world.

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Victoria State Library in Melbourne

I guess travelling is all about this: meeting new people the whole time, people who teach you as much as they can and as much as you allow them. The most interesting part of a trip is how those friendships develop through time. And that takes me back to my friends in Barcelona, and the ones in Madrid, and the ones I met in Holland. All my friendships are based on a short period of time living in the same city and then dealing with the distance and the online contact. Sometimes I feel I am really useless with mails and keeping in touch. But sometimes I realize how big is the amount of people still next to me, and I feel incredibly happy and incredibly lucky.

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Coffee with Laura and Jeffrey

Oh, my dear Melbourne! I am soooo coming back as soon as I can! But now I have to leave you, Sydney is waiting for me. And after that, Indonesia. And after that, Barcelona and Madrid. And the circle will be complete. Back to where I come from.

I’m so excited about all! I just think of the last year of my life and it has been amazing. And then I think of seeing all my beloved ones and it will be amazing too.

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Melbourne at night while waiting for Jarrod and Toothy

I’m sorry but when I think of leaving Melbourne, all that comes to my mind is this:

 

So yes, my dear Melbourne, this is the end. I could stay here forever, but I’m not allowed to work, so, I have to end this some day. And the day will be next week.

I’ve been checking my bank account again (lately is the only thing I do!!) and the facts are:

– With the same money that I would spend travelling a week in Australia, I can be in the south east of Asia for a month.

– I’d rather visit Indonesia and Thailand than the coast of Australia mainly because I can stay there longer. And hey, Indonesia has to be pretty awesome!

So as a conclusion, I’ll fly next week to Sydney and stay there for a week. After that, I’ll take my flight to Singapore and fly from there to Indonesia first and then visit probably Malaysia for another two weeks. After all of this, I’ll be damn poor and I’ll fly back to Spain (around the 20 – 23rd of August) where I’m sure my mum will feed me. hahahaha!

I feel really sad to definitely realize that I’ll have to go back to Spain two months before planned, and is also really sad not being able to afford travelling through Australia. But on the other hand, Indonesia! Malaysia!

I still don’t dare buying my ticket to Sydney. I just cry when I think of it!

My dear Melbourne. I’m soooo coming back here!

All I do lately is thinking about the last 8 months travelling and how amazing it has been. So well, I’ll have to shorten the trip, but at least I had the chance to travel. Isn’t it? When I left I said that I would be back when I run out of money, and it’s exactly what I’ll do.

Nobody said the trip was going to be easy. Nobody said that we had to follow our schedule day by day. So, the time has come. Change of plans.

After checking my bank account and realizing that flying through Australia is WAY more expensive than expected, I have to shorten my trip. First I thought of coming back in September instead of the end of October, this way I would have more money to travel a bit through Australia. But I think I’ll need to have at least something when I get back to Spain, money to survive a month while I look for the shittiest job ever.

So, dear all, I’m coming back in August. I still don’t know the exact day, because I’m not sure if going back to Barcelona or going back to Madrid and staying definitely there. But I’m coming back in August.

As Marina and I are independent adults, we are going to travel separate. Well, she’ll travel more and I’ll stay in Melbourne three more weeks trying to decide which two spots of Australia I can’t miss. Yes, only two. Considering the price of flights here and the huge distances, believe me, two spots is a lot.

After 7 months and a half together, it’ll be really hard to separate from her. But I also know that we both need it. 7 months being 24 hours together, even sleeping in the same bed hasn’t been easy. In order to save our friendship and our own minds, I think we both need some time apart.

Ok, I’m writing this and I’m still not crying. I am a grown adult. I can do it. Well, I can’t do anything else! Australia is actually that expensive and I am actually running out of money. No matter how bad I feel about this, no money will appear in my bank account.

August in Spain.

Does anyone know of any job that I can do in Madrid? 🙂

Hanging out. This is what we are doing so far in Melbourne. Enjoying our new and our old friends. Melbourne is incredible. And we don’t dare buying any tickets to leave the city. Until when will we stay? Until we still have things to do.

Last week we did so many cool things!!

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Me at the gallery

We visited more touristic stuff, we had too! The National Gallery of Victoria is awesome. I was really surprised with their collection. Seeing a Rothko always makes me feel good! We also registered to Yoga and Pilates lessons, totally integrated with the city! hahahaha! And we kept on discovering awesome bars and cafes in the laneways of the CBD.

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Bingo night at Terminus Hotel

Our friend Simon took us on Wednesday to the Terminus Hotel Bingo night. So much fun!! It was pretty stressful to play with so many numbers, but we laugh, we drank, we met new people and we enjoyed a really nice evening. Probably we’ll repeat again this week! And no, I didn’t win anything. But a guy that was with us won a dinner for two!

On Thursday we moved to Katy’s house. She was away for the weekend, so we were house sitting her place. By the way, thanks to her I met a hairdresser who cut my hair. After 6 months, it was about time!

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Tram 55

On Thursday evening was time to meet again some New Zealand friends. And eating jamón and manchego cheese bought in the Queen Victoria Market. So good!

And after meeting old friends on Thursday, Friday was time for more kiwi friends but also for new ones. Through a friend from Barcelona I met Rose, Maka and Erica. Such cool girls!

Oh God, as I write I’m realizing of how many things we did the last week!

So, on Saturday was karaoke night. Awesome!!! After eating some delicious dumplings, Simon took us with his friends to a karaoke. It was a private room for us, and it was incredible! Some of the funniest 2 hours in ages!!

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Essedon bombers wining a match

And on Sunday was time for Australian Football. A friend took us to an Essedon match. Go bombers! In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, believe me, Australian Football is something incredible: 36 guys in a ground literally fighting for a ball. Then can kick each other! They can virtually do what they want to each other! So much fan to watch! We ate the traditional four’n’twenty pie and enjoyed the match. Essedon won! Yeah!

This was our week. The 25th week. We have already been travelling for 6 months. Still haven’t had any fight at all. Still enjoying every single day. With our moments, but knowing that this experience will change us forever.

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Me and Marina at the karaoke