This Way to Spain https://www.thiswaytospain.com One man's journey to reach Spain by any means necessary... Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:11:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 118043950 An unexpected event https://www.thiswaytospain.com/2017/07/an-unexpected-event/ Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:09:50 +0000 https://www.thiswaytospain.com/?p=752 I’d rented a place in Playa del Carmen for a couple of weeks to get some focused work done. It’s not my ideal city, but it was a good place to take a bit of time out. While I was there I got an email from a friend who lives in the USA. She was heading home to Spain and wondered if I wanted to crash at her place for a month or two of free accommodation in Cadaqués. Spain you say?? FREE you say??? Well what does this place look like? Ok I’m not gonna lie, that’s pretty awesome. But let’s […]

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I’d rented a place in Playa del Carmen for a couple of weeks to get some focused work done. It’s not my ideal city, but it was a good place to take a bit of time out.

While I was there I got an email from a friend who lives in the USA. She was heading home to Spain and wondered if I wanted to crash at her place for a month or two of free accommodation in Cadaqués.

Spain you say??

FREE you say???

Well what does this place look like?

Ok I’m not gonna lie, that’s pretty awesome. But let’s not get too hasty, better check the price of tickets from Mexico to Spain…

$200?!

Decision made – I was on a plane!

When I got to Barcelona, I would have exactly 40 minutes to get off the plane, get out of the airport, and get a taxi to the bus station which was 30 minutes away, so I could catch the last bus to Cadaqués.

My Spanish friends told me it couldn’t be done, but I’m always pretty optimistic about this kind of thing. That is until I was standing in the check-in queue and they told us that the flight was delayed by an hour.

Crap.

Oh well, you know what they say – take the actions that are under you control and accept the rest as fate. So I did the only logical thing I could think of: had lunch. And it was awesome. Double cheeseburger with Oreo shake from some diner lookalike chain. Soooo good.

The flight left an hour late as promised, but due to some magical air currents, we arrived 5 minutes before the original un-delayed time! The cheeseburger must have done something right.

Taxi to the bus station, bus to Cadaqués… and I was there 🙂

In Spain!

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Into the Yucatán https://www.thiswaytospain.com/2017/05/into-the-yucatan/ Sat, 20 May 2017 17:04:38 +0000 https://www.thiswaytospain.com/?p=719 Here’s the trip so far – Oaxaca is in lower-middle: San Cristóbal is a quiet oasis in the east of Mexico. The town has kept true to the original Spanish colonial architecture, with narrow cobblestone streets and red clay roofs. It’s everything that I love when I think of the Mediterranean.   The streets are filled with open air cafes and markets, and there is a strong culinary influence from all the expats who have made this their home. It’s actually got a strong Auckland vibe, in that every second building is a cafe, and the coffee is extremely pretentious. Despite the […]

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Here’s the trip so far – Oaxaca is in lower-middle:

San Cristóbal is a quiet oasis in the east of Mexico. The town has kept true to the original Spanish colonial architecture, with narrow cobblestone streets and red clay roofs. It’s everything that I love when I think of the Mediterranean.

 

The streets are filled with open air cafes and markets, and there is a strong culinary influence from all the expats who have made this their home. It’s actually got a strong Auckland vibe, in that every second building is a cafe, and the coffee is extremely pretentious.

Despite the fact that San Cristóbal is literally heaven, I make the strange and foolish decision to not sleep there, but go straight to Palenque.

I need visuals for this.

So San Cristóbal is here:

And Palenque is right here:

As you can clearly see, it’s about a 2 hour bus ride away.

Well at least that’s what I expected when I booked the bus after my research online.

But MY bus didn’t travel in the direction of that arrow… oh now. My bus decided that this was the best route from San Cristóbal to Palenque:

11 hours.

11 HOURS.

Luckily, I’m a totally organised traveller who never books anything in advance, so there was no accommodation to miss out on in Palenque – I just Booking.com’d it when I arrived.

But I have to say, the town just didn’t have the same charm as San Cristóbal. It’s very high up in the mountains and very damp, so the room I was in was fighting a losing battle against the dark forces of mold.

But it didn’t matter, because the ruins were incredible!

The area is swallowed up in the jungle, as if you were discovering it for the first time. With just a little bit of cloud overhead for atmosphere (and if you can ignore all the other tourists), you can almost imagine what it would have felt like to be the first person to stumble across it.

I was little miffed that I’d already paid for accommodation because there were some premium options right there on the site:

Fit for a king!

The best shot of the trip so far was on the way back to the carpark. There was a swing-bridge over a river, and an absolutely stunning waterfall. The sun was pouring through the trees and lighting the water up like silver.

After Palenque was a much more predictable bus ride to Campeche.

Now this place was pretty damn interesting. The centre of town is the original fort that the Spanish built in 1540, and is surrounded by a 2.5km pirate-proof wall:

Just look what happened to the pirates who tried to beat it!

I stayed at a hostel called Hostal Boutique Casa Balché, which was top notch! Highly recommended. They had a balcony overlooking the main square which was sticking with proper Mexican tradition and hosting an orchestra:

 

Seriously, is there anything to dislike about this country??

But the coolest thing I’ve seen since I’ve been here was the Campeche Spectacular Light and Sound Show.

Here is the main square, taken from the hostel balcony:

Pay attention to the building at the right.

At 10pm every night, the entire face of that is lit up by 6 linked data projectors, and tells the story of the history of Campeche. The entire history, from the big bang until now.

It was incredible.

Technically it was a masterpiece. Artistically it was a masterpiece. Musically it was a masterpiece. Whoever it was running that project, I salute them. And if you get the chance to be in the area, do yourself a favour and stay in Campeche for a night to check it out.

Let’s celebrate Campeche. Right on!

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Oaxaca https://www.thiswaytospain.com/2017/04/oaxaca/ Sun, 23 Apr 2017 23:03:06 +0000 https://www.thiswaytospain.com/?p=707 It was an 8 hour bus ride from Mexico City to Oaxaca, but it was so so worth it. It’s a melting pot of Zapotec and Mixtec cultures, and original colonial buildings. Compared to Mexico City, the pace of life was so slow and relaxed, and all the locals were so friendly and happy. They take a lot of pride in the chocolate and coffee in this region, so of course the first thing I had to do was get myself a cuppa and find out. It was pretty good. Pretty good, but no Auckland flat white 😉 The markets […]

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It was an 8 hour bus ride from Mexico City to Oaxaca, but it was so so worth it. It’s a melting pot of Zapotec and Mixtec cultures, and original colonial buildings. Compared to Mexico City, the pace of life was so slow and relaxed, and all the locals were so friendly and happy.

They take a lot of pride in the chocolate and coffee in this region, so of course the first thing I had to do was get myself a cuppa and find out.

It was pretty good. Pretty good, but no Auckland flat white 😉

The markets were next on the list, and it was finally time for me to try that classic Mexican delicacy – fried cricket.

Honestly, just tastes like the spices they put on. Nothing even remotely gross about it… however I draw the line at eating a fried cockroach. You can’t convince me that any amount of cooking would make those things safe!!

Of course it wasn’t all edible bugs, there were plenty of safer food items too.

There was an meat section which was all well and good, nothing too dodgy about that… except for the seafood section. We’re 11 hours from the coast on slow, winding roads, and those prawns have been sitting out in the hot Mexican air for about 6 hours now.

Yeah, that’s a hard pass on that one.

In the main square there were performers and musicians everywhere. I watched an amazing family band – dad on piano, son on guitar, and 12 year old daughter on saxophone. She was incredible!! Just down the path an orchestra was going nuts, there were food stalls and balloon sellers everywhere – just a normal Oaxacan Sunday.

The next day we headed out for a guided tour. I hadn’t been on a package tour yet, but our hostel (Hotel Casa Nina) had incredibly cheap tour prices. Turned out to be a great move – they packed a lot into one day.

First up was a tour of a textile village. They farm merino sheep and produce wool products using only hand processes, and colour them with all natural plant and animal dyes.

They gave a really interesting explaination of the whole thing and walked through the different dye ingredients. To get one of the blues, they dry and crush a certain type of beetle, and then add lime juice to it. That kind of thing always amazes me. I mean who was the first person who figured that out and why?!

The kids in this village learn to weave from an early age. One of the boys was 7 years old, and runs home from school each day to get back into his weaving. Couldn’t help but think of that Flight of the Conchords episode…

After the weavers was a mescal distillery. It was pretty interesting, but the unlimited free “samples” was probably the best part!

Our last stop was by far the best. It’s called Hierve el Agua, and it’s a petrified waterfall. Not the scared type, but the type made over thousands of years by limestone and mineral deposits:

The waterfall itself is completely stunning. It’s set high up in the Oaxacan hills, and from a distance really does look like flowing water. If that wasn’t enough, there was a very small set of limestone terraces that you could swim in:

Absolutely worth the trip out there, and the $7 I paid for the whole day!!

As the sun was setting we arrived back into town and in true Oaxacan fashion there was a parade down the street. We asked the bus driver if he would let us out to join in, and he said no problem!

There was a brass section and drummers, lots of fireworks, and a bunch of dancers with fluffy hats. I love this place!!

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Giant pyramids and sinking churches https://www.thiswaytospain.com/2017/04/mexicocity/ Thu, 06 Apr 2017 19:09:27 +0000 https://www.thiswaytospain.com/?p=659 If I’d been surprised by the lack of people on the coast … let’s just say there is no such problem in Mexico City! The night bus drops me off at a pleasant 6:30am, and I take the Metro into town. Auckland city – please pay attention! Mexico City’s public transport system is a flat 35 cents per ticket to ride the Metro, and that Metro system can take you pretty much anywhere in the city. And it’s obviously working well, because even at 6:30am it was already getting packed. Most of the people at that hour seemed to be university […]

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If I’d been surprised by the lack of people on the coast … let’s just say there is no such problem in Mexico City!

The night bus drops me off at a pleasant 6:30am, and I take the Metro into town.

Auckland city – please pay attention! Mexico City’s public transport system is a flat 35 cents per ticket to ride the Metro, and that Metro system can take you pretty much anywhere in the city. And it’s obviously working well, because even at 6:30am it was already getting packed.

Most of the people at that hour seemed to be university students, so I applaud their dedication!

I’ve booked into DF Suites hostel, but my check-in is 12pm so I have some time to kill. And what better place to see in the sunrise than with the free wifi at Mexico’s oldest and most traditional establishment – Starbucks.

Ok, so maybe not too authentic, but damn that is some FAST internet. My photos haven’t been synced for a few days so it was good to get everything up to date.

I check into my hostel dorm room and say Hi to my three roommates – Amy and Titi from Portland, and Steve, from Auckland. Too funny!

Off to the city to check it out! First stop is the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

If you pay careful attention, you might notice that something is a bit off about that photo.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe has a bit of an interesting history. The original chapel was built in 1622, but quickly became too small for the growing city.

So then they built the new “Old Basilica” that you see above. Only problem is that Mexico City is built on an old lake, and over the years the church started sinking.

Here’s how it looks compared to a new vertical building:

So the only remedy was to build an even newer “New Basilica”. It’s the very modern looking building to the right and front of the old church:

From the outside, kind of sports-stadiumy, but the inside is like no other church I’ve been in:

Behind the main area was the most unusual feature I think I’ve ever seen in a church.

Because so many people come to visit an want to pay their respects to the image of Our Lady, the church has installed a series of travelators! You start at one side, and get gracefully transported in front of the image while filming on your phone and making the sign of the cross. Then you jump on the one heading back to where you started.

I can’t put my finger on why … but it’s definitely odd to have one in a church!

The next day we jumped on a bus out to Teotihuacan.

No question, it was pretty epic:

 

I have HUGE respect for two phases of this site. First off, just building it was incredible. There is just so much stone and so many structures involved here. There really is something amazing about standing on stones that were put into place more than 2,000 years ago.

And then the second phase is when the invading nations destroyed it.

I mean really … who could be bothered tearing down all that stone! It’s tragic that we don’t get to see these things in their original glory, but still you have to respect the effort involved in taking them apart again.

We spent a few hours out at the site and then capped off the trip with a tasty lunch of ant eggs.

Yup, ant eggs. Big gross squishy ant eggs. What are you waiting for? Get yo’self to Mexico!

 

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Zihuatanejo https://www.thiswaytospain.com/2017/04/zihuatanejo/ Sat, 01 Apr 2017 19:31:36 +0000 https://www.thiswaytospain.com/?p=627 I’m writing this in the Shawshank Restaurant. Pictures of Andy and Red are all over the walls. Guns & Roses is screaming from the radio, The Shank is playing on the TV, and I am in heaven. It was a journey years in the making … but I’ve finally made the pilgrimage to Frank Darabont’s mecca, and I am here… Zihuatanejo. I find I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey […]

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I’m writing this in the Shawshank Restaurant. Pictures of Andy and Red are all over the walls. Guns & Roses is screaming from the radio, The Shank is playing on the TV, and I am in heaven.

It was a journey years in the making … but I’ve finally made the pilgrimage to Frank Darabont’s mecca, and I am here…

Zihuatanejo.

I find I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain…

I hope I can make it across the border. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams.

And it is.

I could retire here. It’s an absolutely magical town.

It’s Monday, and it seems like no one has anything better to do than head down to the beach and soak up the sun.

Buildings recline against the cliffs, eyes drifting shut in the mid-day heat. A girl skips stones in the sea. Her dress dances in the wind as boys wrestle kites across the city skyline.

The water is warm, and the margaritas ice-cold. What more could you ask for?

When I arrived, I booked myself into the only hostel in town. Much like Manzanillo, I am the only person staying here. In the guest book the last traveller was 5 days before me. Still I can’t complain – just more opportunity to practice my Spanish.

And I’m loving it!! It’s amazing to witness the development of learning a new language first-hand. Every day I add a word or two, and every day my conversations are becoming more enjoyable. And everyone loves to talk to new friends here!

After a night in the empty hostel, I decide to splash out and get myself a hotel for a couple of days. It’s only $20, so why not?

As I’m walking there, I pass a girl wearing an odd shirt. I would have taken a photo, but I was half a minute down the street before I figured it out. Shame on any New Zealander who doesn’t get the significance. Here’s a hint 😉

I gotta confess, I didn’t actually do much in Zihua except laze on the beach, but it was so so worth it. Sometimes you need a break for all that hectic travel, right? This is my last stop on the Pacific before I head inland for the next month or so. Gotta make the most of the coast!

Oh yeah, and EGGS BENE!!! Saaaahhhhh good. 😀

Next stop Mexico City and the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan!

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Manzanillo https://www.thiswaytospain.com/2017/03/manzanillo/ Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:52:37 +0000 https://www.thiswaytospain.com/?p=611 This time I board the bus as a king; a noble. Amazing what difference a little language makes. I purchase a boleto. I’m asked about la comida and I say “Si, gracias!” Picante? “No, gracias!” Hoy es bueno. “Si, es muy muy bueno!” The bus ride is amazing. Shimmering coastlines give way to serpentine valleys. Valleys climb into rocky hills, and hills fall down into sandy plains. Everywhere is life and music. Colour and laughter. The painted yellow lines whiz by and remind me of home. We arrive at the central terminal and disembark. I repack my bag – the daypack […]

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This time I board the bus as a king; a noble. Amazing what difference a little language makes. I purchase a boleto. I’m asked about la comida and I say “Si, gracias!” Picante? “No, gracias!”

Hoy es bueno. “Si, es muy muy bueno!”

The bus ride is amazing. Shimmering coastlines give way to serpentine valleys. Valleys climb into rocky hills, and hills fall down into sandy plains. Everywhere is life and music. Colour and laughter. The painted yellow lines whiz by and remind me of home.

We arrive at the central terminal and disembark. I repack my bag – the daypack disappears. Who was the genius who came up with the idea to get everything into one tiny 30 litre backpack? I love that guy!

It’s a gorgeous day, so rather than take a taxi from the bus station, I just set out to walk. My completely authentic and not-at-all-gringo hat is doing an amazing job keeping the sun out of my eyes.

After quarter of an hour I decide to flag down a taxi. It’s about half an hour to my destination so I suggest 120 pesos. Luckily the guy misheard me as saying 20 and counters with 60 pesos. This is a far cry from the prices in Puerto Vallarta – I’m going to have to get used to this new normal!

The sand in front of the hostel is sprouting more surfboards than a Ripcurl store. Of course there’s the traditional broken-down VW. As soon as I walk through the entrance I’m greeted with mural after mural, the creative legacy of backpackers past.

I didn’t bother to book ahead, so I hopefully ask if they have a dorm bed available. Sure, no problem she says, and takes me on up. There are 12 bunks, and all 12 of them are empty.

This is the 3rd hostel in a row with nobody inside it! Where is everybody?!

Manzanillo is pretty great – it’s a port town so there’s a whole lotta shipping going on. In fact, there are two main industries running here. One side of the town is occupied with the freight business and everything related to that, and the other side is completely taken up with…

IGUANA LAND!!!

IGUANAS!!!

 

IGUANAS EATING LETTUCE!!!

 

IGUANAS IN THE TREES!!

 

ATTACK BADGERS!!! (not necessarily a badger)

 

SNAKES!!!

Literally the best day out.

GG Manzanillo, you have my vote on best Mexican getaway destination.

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San Sebastián https://www.thiswaytospain.com/2017/03/san-sebastian/ Mon, 13 Mar 2017 02:25:30 +0000 https://www.thiswaytospain.com/?p=595 On Saturday a group from my Spanish class went on a road trip to San Sebastián. It’s a tiny pueblo nestled in the mountains a couple of hours’ drive from Puerto Vallarta. It’s called a Pueblos Mágicos – literally a magical town. And it truly, truly is. Just arriving across the bridge into town and you can feel the peace and tranquility of this place. The residents of the town take enormous pride in where they live, and it’s evident absolutely everywhere. The houses are pristine, and the paint looks like it has only been done in the last month. It has many buildings that are […]

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On Saturday a group from my Spanish class went on a road trip to San Sebastián. It’s a tiny pueblo nestled in the mountains a couple of hours’ drive from Puerto Vallarta.

It’s called a Pueblos Mágicos – literally a magical town. And it truly, truly is. Just arriving across the bridge into town and you can feel the peace and tranquility of this place.

The residents of the town take enormous pride in where they live, and it’s evident absolutely everywhere. The houses are pristine, and the paint looks like it has only been done in the last month.

It has many buildings that are unchanged since the 1600-1700’s, including Church, which was built in 1608:

It was originally founded as a mining town, but now does a roaring trade as a tourist destination. The vast majority of people visiting are turística nacionales, rather than international visitors, and it was just so nice to get out of the big-city-life of PV and step back in time to a place like this.

Originally there were 25 gold, silver, and lead mines, but these days there are only a couple in operation. Which is a bit tough because someone seems to have stolen their picks!!

Probably not the look the artist was going for…

Like everywhere in Mexico, the food was absolutely incredible. The highlight (not pictured) was polle con mole, which is chicken cooked in a mole sauce. Now this is the name of a style of sauce where the recipe changes everywhere you go in Mexico. This particular one had over 30 different ingredients, including chocolate, and was just mind-blowing!

Honestly I feel like I could cut my trip short and just live in a place like that forever. And the property prices here are insanely cheap when you compare it to back home in Auckland. If you sold a 3 bedroom house in Auckland you could live like a king here for years and never need to work. Really makes you think…

We went to an artisan tequila distillery and got taken through the whole process from agave plant to finished product. I don’t know what the process is like elsewhere in the country, but here at least the whole thing was completely done by hand.

And of course no road trip in Mexico would be complete without a guy on the side of the road fixing his old VW 🙂

Viva México!!

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Puerto Vallarta https://www.thiswaytospain.com/2017/03/puerto-vallarta/ Wed, 08 Mar 2017 02:46:36 +0000 https://www.thiswaytospain.com/?p=578 I’m sitting on the balcony of Miss Sadie’s, looking out over the ocean. The sky is a perfect azul, like pretty much every single day since I’ve arrived in Mexico. It’s times like this when I really sit back in amazement and think about how grateful I am to be here. Not just in Mexico, but simply on this planet at all. It’s a beautiful place to live. Just along the Malecón the voladores de Apapantla are starting their performance. Every day these five guys sit on a platform at the top of a 20 metre pole and perform a stupidly dangerous musical performance. […]

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I’m sitting on the balcony of Miss Sadie’s, looking out over the ocean. The sky is a perfect azul, like pretty much every single day since I’ve arrived in Mexico. It’s times like this when I really sit back in amazement and think about how grateful I am to be here. Not just in Mexico, but simply on this planet at all. It’s a beautiful place to live.

Just along the Malecón the voladores de Apapantla are starting their performance. Every day these five guys sit on a platform at the top of a 20 metre pole and perform a stupidly dangerous musical performance. They start off playing pan-flutes at the top while the platform slowly rotates, and then suddenly four of then fall backwards towards certain death … only to be caught by a rope wrapped around their waist.

Then for whatever reason, the fifth guy keeps playing a haunting tune on his pipies while four suicidal maniacs spin in a circle upside-down 15 metres above the ground, trusting their lives to highly enforced Mexican safety standards.

If the nail-biting stunt in front of me wasn’t enough, my head is also killing me. I’d love to say it was from a wild tequila bender, but it’s from trying to overwrite 35 years of language programming.

Learning another language is like saying a tongue-twister that never stops. Example: I’ve spent my entire live pronouncing ‘e’ as ‘e’. Makes sense. But now ‘e’ is ‘ay’, and ‘i’ is ‘ee’. And the sounds that have always followed other sounds have been taken hostage, and replaced by strange foreign phonemes that don’t make any sense at all!

Our teacher’s name is Jovanny, and he’s the kind of guy who rolls out of a bed every morning with the biggest smile on his face. Basically he’s exactly the kind of guy you want teaching your Spanish classes. The most surprising thing about it all is that the vowels and the letter ‘r’ are the identical pronunciation to Maori. So thanks New Zealand, because of you I have that part down nearly perfect!

Puerto Vallarta is a city with so huge contrasts. If you want you can stay in the tourist quarter and speak English, eat European meals, and pay tourist prices for the privilege. But you walk just five blocks away and ordering a meal becomes a hilarious game of charades and poor Spanish, and you’re rewarded with a tiny cheque at the end of a meal. The houses range from mansions to tin shacks, and the cars range from Ferraris to beat up rust-buckets, that people jumpstart every morning. And there are VW’s everywhere!! I love it!

I’m taking the opportunity to use my slowly growing Spanish vocabulary as much as possible. At the corner a few blocks down from my house is a taqueria. The owner of the taqueria is a guy named Omar. He has a soft accent and a delightful way of speaking English. We’ve been chatting every day – him in English and me in Spanish. The food he makes is fantastic, and so so cheap. Tacos here are 34 cents!

In the shop where he works he has an assistant named Dahlia. She is dark haired and shy, quick to hide a smile behind her hands. Omar tells me that she’s in love with me. I laugh and say I bet she says that about all the tourists. We sit at the table outside in the sun and he tells me about his life in Puerto Vallarta. There is nothing better to do in the hot midday in Mexico than simply sit down and talk with people. I show him the business listing I’ve created for him on Google Maps and he’s delighted. I left him a 5 star review as well.

It’s going to be the hardest thing to say goodbye to this city … but if I don’t move on at the end of the month then I might never do it. I’ve already been offered a job, and it would be so easy to just rent this place for another month… But there’s so much to see in Mexico – coastlines and jungles and ancient ruins. It’s one of the most warm and inviting countries I’ve ever visited and it would be a shame to turn down that invitation.

One month. One month, then I’m on a bus.

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I found an apartment! https://www.thiswaytospain.com/2017/02/i-found-an-apartment/ Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:49:54 +0000 https://www.thiswaytospain.com/?p=542 After Guadalajara I headed straight for the coast on a 5 hour bus trip – destination Puerto Vallarta. It’s amazing here. So amazing in fact that I decided to stay for a month so I could get some focused work done … and take Spanish lessons! I’ll have to go back and do a proper post about my first few days here, but I’m just too excited right now. I met a guy at my hostel who told me that he managed to find his own place to rent for only US $400. Sounded like a great deal to me considering […]

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After Guadalajara I headed straight for the coast on a 5 hour bus trip – destination Puerto Vallarta.

It’s amazing here. So amazing in fact that I decided to stay for a month so I could get some focused work done … and take Spanish lessons!

I’ll have to go back and do a proper post about my first few days here, but I’m just too excited right now.

I met a guy at my hostel who told me that he managed to find his own place to rent for only US $400. Sounded like a great deal to me considering a shared dorm room in a hostel is US $380 for a month, so I started wandering the streets and talking to everyone I could to see if they knew of any apartments for rent.

Eventually I met the amazing Filiberto from this little shop right here. He found me an unbelievable place to rent right near the centre of town for 5000 pesos. That’s $351 New Zealand dollars … or $254 USD. For a month!!! With water, gas, cable, internet all included!

Check it out. Here’s the view off my balcony:

Down the street:

The kitchen:

The dining room:

The lounge:

The bedroom:

I am so psyched right now! This is going to be an awesome month.

Link to super cool 3D Google Maps so you can see exactly where in town I am.

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Guadalajara https://www.thiswaytospain.com/2017/02/guadalajara/ Tue, 21 Feb 2017 21:51:35 +0000 https://www.thiswaytospain.com/?p=527 It’s a beautiful day! I mean who could complain with views like this for breakfast? After a second-rate sleep in my first-rate dorm, we headed out to explore what this town has to offer. This place is amazing with some incredible history. A short walk from my hostel and we were in the historical centre of town. It starts off with the Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres, a gorgeous monument to the famous people of Jalisco’s history. Next up is the landmark Guadalajara Cathedral. I couldn’t get a great shot out the front because they were doing some massive roadworks. But the inside was just […]

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It’s a beautiful day! I mean who could complain with views like this for breakfast?

After a second-rate sleep in my first-rate dorm, we headed out to explore what this town has to offer.

This place is amazing with some incredible history. A short walk from my hostel and we were in the historical centre of town. It starts off with the Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres, a gorgeous monument to the famous people of Jalisco’s history.

Next up is the landmark Guadalajara Cathedral.

I couldn’t get a great shot out the front because they were doing some massive roadworks. But the inside was just stunning:

The atmosphere was very respectful inside – no crowds of tourists talking loudly and using flash photography. There was an eclectic mix of ancient artifacts, modern plaster sculptures, and statues of various saints with LED strip lighting casting a holy glow around their heads.

Back outside, and it seemed like half the block was being torn down:

There were so many quirky facets to the city that I would love to see at home. Like this outdoor children’s art class that we just stumbled across walking down a random alleyway:


And absolutely everywhere in the town were these incredible full wall graffiti murals. Some of them were just stunning and there was so much variety. Street art seems to be a HUGE part of Mexico so far, and I’m loving it!

Now I think it’s time to go full local and have an afternoon siesta. Maybe just maybe catch up a little bit on that sleep 😉

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