Panic moment of a rookie solo traveller

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Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here. I try to write at least once a week however, I’ve been travelling during the last week so my schedule has been a little disrupted.

Anyway in my last post I mentioned how there was a little panic moment on the day of leaving Calella. It may not seem as much as a big deal to some but, believe me when your a rookie solo traveller in a foreign country, something small can seem so much bigger.

Moment of being woken up

It’s the day of leaving to travel back home and I’m suddenly woken by the sound of the hotel phone. I answer the phone, it’s reception telling me my bus is waiting outside. I had to ask the gentleman to repeat himself because I was thinking I misheard him. He repeats himself, this time I’m in a state of panic!! I’ve not had a shower, I’m not packed properly and I’m freaking out. I ask the gentleman to ask the driver to wait, and I was coming, in which he said he would. I quickly started to get dressed and pack up all my things and leave the hotel room.

I left the safe key!

I get to the hotel reception and try to check out. The receptionist doesn’t allow me to check out because I’ve not returned the safe key. I try to apologise and tell him the key is in the room in the door of the safe, I’m not bothered about getting my deposit back and I just need to get my shuttle bus.

The thing is my shuttle bus is not directly outside as the street is too narrow for the bus to wait. The bus is actually on the main road which is about a two-minute walk away.

The gentle man doesn’t understand me and begins to speak to me in Spanish But, I don’t understand him either. I figured he was telling me I had to go back to get the safe key. I did this But, it only made me panic more in case the bus left me.

Eventually I returned the safe key and was able to check out and leave.

The bus left me!

I ran down the street, got to the main road, there was no bus to be seen! If I thought I was in a panic before well, that was nothing compared to now!! I was shaking like a leaf and didn’t know what to do!

Now here’s the thing. My flight was at 9.15am, I was told my pick up was at 6am and i would be the last person to be collected. So, I’ve missed my pick up time, the airport is at least an hour away, I’ve only got 40 euros in cash which will not cut the taxi and will need to find a cash point. I was thinking an hour in a taxi! Wow! it’s going to be so expensive!

In my head I was going to miss my flight! I was beyond the feeling of anxiousness in fact, I’m pretty sure this was a moment of anxiety.

Although it was my fault, I still rang the transfer number hoping they could help me. I dial the number several times and I’m either cut off or it’s the wrong number! I take a few deep breaths and try once more and bingo! I get through! While explaining to lady what had happened, she starts to apologise to me and says she doesn’t know what happened and why the driver come to get me earlier. What!! I couldn’t believe it! Here’s me thinking it’s all my fault! Not only that, I’d been in that much of a panic I didn’t even think to check my phone for the time!! Haha

The lady tells me she’s going to contact the driver to see what happened. When she rang me back she told me the driver decided to collect me first but, when I wasn’t ready decided to collect the other travellers at different hotels Wait for it………He had already collected the others then forgot all about me! Luckily he wasn’t too far out and was able to come and collect me. Ahhhhh fewwww!!

Lesson learnt

Now I learnt a valuable lesson here! My mistake was I panicked. If I hadn’t of panicked I would have thought to check the time and spared myself from all that stress!

Advice: Things can go wrong whilst travelling, the best thing to do is stay calm. Staying calm will help you to be able to deal with the situation better, panicking is not going to help you. Panicking adds to the situation and does nothing but makes matters worse.

This is definitely what helped me in the end. As I calmed down and took a few deep breaths I was able to dial the transfer number correctly. It hadn’t been working as I had been dialling the number incorrectly due to my state of mind.

One Last Thing

It was probably a blessing it happened this way because I actually forgot to set my alarm clock!! I can’t even begin to imagine how that would have gone! Haha

Thanks for reading I really appreciate all the support from each and every one of you πŸ™‚

Be sure to follow to read my next blog on my Solo Trip to Salou x

Calella, Spain #2

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It’s Day 6, yesterday I spent the day in Barcelona. Today I plan to have a walk around Calella and see what it has to offer.

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It’s around 13.30 in the afternoon by the time I head outside. It’s not the most pleasant day, it’s raining and quite miserable out however, it’s not going to alter my plans. I’ve seen glimpses of the area on the way to the beach or to the train station but that’s about it.

As mentioned in my last blog I’m staying at the Hotel Neptuno, it’s right on the heart of Calella and only 50metres from the centre so, as soon as you step out your pretty much surrounded by shops, cafe’s, restaurants etc. It’s quite busy, I spent a short while walking Round the shops browsing although, most of the shops were tacky souvenir shops. There are a few high street shops as well as traditional Catalan food shops so, there are many opportunities to try some good traditional food.

As I walk further in to the old town the crowds seem to get less and less but, still I grow bored with the main streets and start to wonder down the side streets, admiring the apartments and the old feel of the town. I soon come to a small museum that catches my eye in a quiet side street.

Museu-Arxiu Municipal de calella Josep M. Codina i Bague

My entry ticket was €2, there is a combined ticket €3.50 which also gives you entrance to the lighthouse and refuge.

Inside is full of ceramics, tiles, archaeological materials, old machinery, clothes, art, Iberian and roman remains, and an old pharmacy. The museum was bigger than first imagined, spread over the ground floor, first floor and second floor, with numerous rooms to enter which keeps the curiosity going. There’s also a pretty garden with benches for people to sit, on better days than today of course. The museum really gives you an insight to the history and traditions of the municipality, it’s definitely worth the €2 and got me out of the rain for an hour or so, as I refused to buy an umbrella.

From here I venture through more side streets and through the residential areas, making my way more towards the sea end near the Sardana monument on Passeig Manuel Puigvert. The shopping streets run parallel to the sea so, as your walking through you get glimpses of the sea.

The Sardana Monument on Passeig Manuel puigvert

I learnt this was where the locals celebrate all their festivals. Many of the festivals are around June to September around the times when there are fewer tourists. One of the biggest and oldest festival is the Aplec de la Sardana. It takes place on the first Sunday in June and a big traditional dance takes place in a circle. The monument shows people holding hands taking part in the circle dance. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of this to display.

Other festivals include The Calella and Alt Maresme Fair, which includes craft shows, traditions and customs of the region. Then there’s the Oktoberfest which lasts almost all of October. This includes visitors from all over the globe, music bands and beer from the Bavarian culture.

Now, I don’t know where the time went but, it was all of a sudden almost 6pm! I made my way back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner.

I’m all freshened up and ready to go down to the restaurant. I’m the second one of the solo travellers to arrive, the German gentleman is already seated and gives me a wave. After getting my food I go to join him at the solo traveller table. Seriously! We actually had a table! We all didn’t speak the same language but, we greeted each other and always sat together.

The Solo Traveller Table

On my third day at the morning buffet, I noticed a lady sat by herself. The tables were rather large so, I sit on her table but at the other end. Moments later another lady arrives, and a few others appear one after the other. They all seem to know each other as they greet each other and have small conversations on what their doing for the day. Then I discovered they actually didn’t know each other as some only said hi and that was it. This was when I realised we were all solo travellers I thought it was really cool. From this day I became a member of the table πŸ˜‚

On this table I met Joanna who was also from the UK. On this night after my busy day walking around Calella Joanna comes quite late, we always talked so much so, I stuck around for longer. Afterwards we decided to go for a drink at the Hotel bar, it was a really lovely ending to the day.

You see travelling alone doesn’t always mean you have to be alone all the time. There has been many occasions when people say they couldn’t imagine, not being able to speak to people for a week. Well, this is the proof in the pudding, it does not have to be that way.

Day 7 Not going to lie I literally do nothing on this day. Its another rainy day and I don’t feel like getting drenched through like yesterday. My day consisted of using the Hotel gym, chilling out watching Netflix then around 4pm I’m a little bored so go to the hotel bar to watch the football and chat with the Hotel staff. It was just a nice chilled out day as I had to be up at 5am in the morning to catch my plane.

This trip was a fantastic trip without as much worry as the first solo trip. However, there was a little moment of panic on the day of leaving. I don’t want to make this blog too long so, I will tell you about this in the next one.

Thanks for reading 😁

Calella, Spain #1

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Calella is a seaside city situated on the Costa del Maresme in Catalonia Spain and is just 50km north of Barcelona.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my Disclosure page for more info.*

It’s a place that is accommodating to all ages and families with young children in particular, as there are a number of lively facilities nearby. PortAventura is nearby and only a short bus ride away plus a free bus ride to water world is also available. It’s also a place that has a lot of history and culture to be discovered. The lighthouse of Calella is one of its main attractions where you are able to get amazing views over the Mediterranean sea. Calella also has three main beautiful beaches where a number of water sports take place.

I had never heard of the place until searching on Teletext Holidays for a cheap getaway. It came up in the search as one of the cheapest packages at the price of Β£290, half board for 7days. The price included, flights, hotels, transfers, breakfast and dinner, I had to book it! The holiday was booked for the end of May just before the summer holidays so, was a little cheaper in price.

Day 3 At this point I’ve been here for 3 days but haven’t seen anything of Calella yet. I arrived late on the first night, the second day was spent in Barcelona, and on this day I planned to do nothing but relax on the beach, after a busy day in Barcelona.

So, it’s around 1pm by the time I’m making my way to the beach, it’s just a straight walk ahead from Neptuno Hotel where I’m staying. To be more precise it’s actually only 250metres away from the beach.

On arrival, I’m pleasantly surprised at how empty the beach was, I was expecting it to be a lot busier. But, thinking this, I was thrilled! It meant peace and quiet.

Platja de Calella, Beach

I can imagine this place to be busy in the summer holidays but, it was perfect for me at this time of the year. Being here helped me to relax from my usual busy lifestyle, it gave me time to think with no distractions. In fact, it was almost like time stopped for a short while, allowing me to think of absolutely nothing, whilst being able to appreciate the surroundings.

Bahari Club

I’m a little hungry after a while, there’s a couple of bars along the beach, I go to one called Bahari Club.

The staff were extremely welcoming from the moment I walked through the door. I’m given a menu, I prefer a vegetarian dish but there’s not much choice, so I go for a fish dish which cost almost €9.

The food comes and I couldn’t believe it! Was expecting a big plate of food Although, the plate was big, there was just not much food on it. Ok, so, it’s a la carte menu which I didn’t realise prior to entering. I totally get the concept of a la carte, the dishes are smaller because you can order separate items, rather than part of a set meal. However, I’m not a fan of a la carte, I always find I’m still hungry afterwards. I ordered another dish which was almost €7, and I was still hungry! Don’t get me wrong, the food was delicious but, €16 to still be hungry!! Ha-ha. Are you a fan of a la carte?

Luckily the wine was nice and at reasonable prices too, which helped me to forget I was hungry for a short while. In addition to this, I did receive a complimentary glass of wine with bottled water, after making friends with the bartenders. Would have preferred free food but, never mind I was still very grateful and hungry.

I stayed here until the early evening it was great! Sat outside sipping wine, people watching, watching the waves of the sea and listening to the lovely Spanish music playing in the background.

The bartenders kept coming over to talk to me, think they wanted to keep me company. But, even without that, I felt completely comfortable with my own company. This was the first time I had actually felt completely confident being alone in a bar/restaurant. I’m absolutely fine with being alone traveller however, lack confidence when it come to certain situations like this but, would often push myself to do it. Believing the more it was done, the more confident I would become with it.

It was around 7.30pm by the time I got back to my hotel. On arrival, I take a shower and go to the hotel restaurant for dinner. I’m not there long before returning to my room, watching a film then falling asleep.

Day 4 Its 11am I’m showered, dressed, had my breakfast, my workout at the gym and I’m good to go. I don’t really have that much of a plan today other than to have a wonder around the local area.

No joke! I’m about to walk out the door and it throws it down! So, instead I go back to my room and watch TV for a while.

It’s 3pm and as predicted by the weather forecast it’s turned nice and sunny. At this point its siesta time so, instead I decided to go to the beach again and take a visit to the lighthouse.

This time around I walk right to the end of the beach, well, it’s not the end but, without a boat I can’t go any further.

It was so peaceful and absolutely stunning here. That was until a naked couple appear from the other side of the rocks! I had no idea I was on a nudest beach!! πŸ˜‚ Didn’t know where to put my face, and they just stroll past me like it was nothing!

Calella Lighthouse

Just above it is the beautiful light house of Calella.

The lighthouse of Calella is one of the main attractions in Calella.

Construction began on the 9th October 1856 and was inaugurated on 15th December 1859. It’s light can be seen from a distance of 35miles and it’s navigation pattern is three short beams and two large every 30 seconds.

The views were breath taking! Right over Calella and over the Mediterranean sea.

Inside the lighthouse is a little museum where you can learn about its heritage and the history of the area.

It was pretty much a chilled relaxed day. Tomorrow I was heading back to Barcelona for my tour and knew it would be a busy day.

The next blog will be the second part of my time here in Calella.

Thanks for reading 😁

Barcelona,Spain: #1

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It’s day 2, I arrived late last night in the early hours. It’s around 8am and I’m heading to the restaurant in my hotel for breakfast. I’m staying at the Hotel Neptuno, a lovely little family run hotel located in the heart of Calella, only steps away from the centre and a five minute walk to the beach. Breakfast is buffet style and has a variety of choices to choose from and everything looks so fresh!

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my Disclosure page for more info.*

Over breakfast, I decide to go to Barcelona for the day as it’s only an hour train ride away. I haven’t seen anything of Calella yet but, I’m just too excited about Barcelona!

Breakfast is done, I’m now making my way to the train station which is around a 10 minute walk.

Arrived at the train station and purchase my ticket at the counter. It’s €10 for a return ticket which is considerably cheaper than paying €30 for a hop on and off bus.

I arrive in Barcelona quicker than expected! Eventually, after walking around for a little while thinking it was nothing like I expected and significantly quieter than imagined. I realised I was in the wrong place after asking a gentleman where La Rambla was, and him telling me it was in Barcelona. I can’t be the first person to mix up Badalona with Barcelona right?

I return to the train station explaining to the lady at the desk. She’s very pleasant, lets me back through telling me the stop to Barcelona is Placa de Catalunya.

The train comes, it’s a lot quieter than the other train with many empty seats. It’s around 2 minutes into the journey when a man comes and places a plastic bag near me accompanied by a note. Can’t clearly see everything in the bag but it consisted of a packet of tissues, mints and some other small items. In fact, he has placed these bags and notes on every seat. Thinking he has put so much effort into making these packages and clearly wants to make some money, I think about purchasing one. Well, that was until another man, then a lady also come along to place their items next to me. Felt kinda bad at this point as it wasn’t possible to buy from all of them so, decided not buy anything.

As we approached the centre, the train sellers quietly collected their stuff without bothering anybody. It was a relief to get off the train, the whole situation had made it a very uncomfortable train ride. In addition to this, the many signs of “Go home tourists” wrote all over the walls in graffiti had made it an uncomfortable journey. Although, I attributed this to a few angry youngsters, telling myself they were isolated incidents and to ignore them.

Barcelona

On arrival walking through the train station, it was surprising to see street vendors selling fake designer goods out in the open. Don’t get me wrong, people sell fake goods in most places but, never imagined seeing so many and how open it was all being done.

I head towards the exit, up the stairs and wow!! It’s the Barcelona I imagined! Nothing at all like Badalona! It looked so exciting, I couldn’t wait to go and explore.

As it was all a last minute plan with no itinerary, I walk ahead and come to La Rambla, the most iconic street in Barcelona.

Walking through La Rambla was a unique experience crowded with tourists, souvenir kiosks, cafe’s, restaurants, fruit and flower shops and entertainers etc. Then there’s the drug dealers who blatantly offered me drugs! On three separate occasions! (No kidding) In fact, there’s a good few extremely dodgy characters hanging around. As well as this, it’s surrounded by beautiful building as well as the Columbus Monument, which was always in view from the beginning of the street.

It wasn’t long until I was distracted by La Boqueria an iconic market, one of the most visited attractions. Here you can buy and taste local products and experience the Barcelona market life.

I take full advantage of this and end up being in here for one hour! Eating, drinking and tasting everything in sight! It couldn’t be helped everything just looked incredibly delicious!

After my binge eating session, I continue walking up La Rambla stopping to look in stores for souvenirs. Although, it all gets very agitating being followed around the shops and being pushed to buy stuff! It was that annoying I abandoned trying to shop! In fact, I’m sick of Las Rambla now altogether! And opt for walking down the side streets, which are much more admirable and calmer.

The Wax museum

I come out near the Columbus Monument then arrive at the port.

There’s a shopping centre here called Maremagnum, it’s very distinctive with its mirrored walls and arched roof. People are sat around it relaxing and watching the boats come in. Inside, it’s a really nice place, with a variety of shops, places to eat and it’s not overcrowded.

From here I wonder around the beautiful city in total disbelief I’m even here. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit since watching the Olympics 1992 as a young child when Barcelona hosted the games. There was just something that looked so appealing to me when they shown clips of the city. And here I was, and it didn’t matter I was here alone, its a memory to last a lifetime.

Parc de la ciutadella

Parc de la Cittadella is a blissful beautiful park in the city. I thoroughly enjoyed my time walking around here taking in all the surrounding nature.

There were many other attractions here such as the zoo, the Catalan parliament, The Museu de Art modern, The Zoological Museum, The Museu Geologia and the lake where you can take a boat ride (it’s definitely worth a visit here).

Learning about Tapas

It’s now around 5. 30pm, I’m making my way back to the train station when I spot a little bar to take a break. I can’t remember the name but, pretty sure it was called Las Ramblas wine & Tapas. It’s a lovely little tapas bar, with the friendliest waiter who tells me how to do tapas the Spanish way. Apparently you don’t order all your tapas all at once in the same place, it’s a social thing. You do tapas the very same way you go for a few drinks in a few different bars.

Vermut The Traditional Beverage

He also tells me to not leave Barcelona before trying Vermut a traditional beverage in Barcelona. On leaving, he points me in the direction of a tavern to try one, sorry, I don’t remember the name of the place.

The vermut was well worth stopping by for. Vermut is an inexpensive tasty wine with spices and botanicals like cinnamon and chamomile. It only cost around €1.55 so, I took two, it was too nice and cheap not to have another one (you definitely need to try one if you come to Barcelona).

Its now time for me to leave but I return in a few days.

If you would like to hear what I get up On my return, follow to receive the alert.

Thanks for reading 😁

Calella, Barcelona Spain: The Late Arrival

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The Late Arrival #Anxious

When I visited Calella it was only the second time to venture out on a trip alone. It was definitely a different feeling to my first solo trip to Malta. I had absolutely no fear whatsoever! That trip to Malta definitely made me feel more confident with travelling alone, it was nothing but an exciting feeling well, until I arrived in the dead of night!

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my Disclosure page for more info.*

Feeling so confident from my first trip, hadn’t even considered how booking a late flight would leave me feeling so anxious!

It was around 22.45pm on arrival at Reus airport in Barcelona. There was just something about arriving late and being alone that left me feeling rather anxious. To top it off my travel documents for my transfer pick up was not making any sense! I had followed all the instructions that had some how taken me outside the airport looking for an office. Pacing up and down looking for this office only made me feel more anxious. I stopped to ask people if they knew where it was, nobody seemed to know! I ended up ringing the office number, turns out there was a miss print on the instructions. Eventually finding the office, the lady was able to instruct me on where to get my shuttle bus. She also informs me it’s about a 10-minute walk and I’m the last person the driver is waiting for. For some reason, this had me panicking and thinking I was going to be left.

I get to the coach, confirm my details with the driver and board. Once on the coach the panics over and I’m able to relax (for now) The coach journey was going to be around one hour and twenty minutes with several drop offs on the way. This meant I would arrive at my hotel just short of 23.55pm.

The coach stops and I hear the driver shout out my hotel. I’m so thankful and grateful I’m still alive! I literally travelled the whole way with my eyes closed! The drivers style of driving was like the fast and furious style. It was pitch black in many places during the journey but, this didn’t seem to slow him down. So, when I say I was thankful to be alive, I really mean it.

He chucks two suitcases out and directs a couple who also got off to their hotel. Then chucks mine out and gives me the directions but, I don’t listen, I’m more concerned with catching up to the couple.

The coach drives off, It’s gone midnight, and we have been dropped off on a main road. There’s not a single person around just a few moving cars passing. I walked quickly to catch the couple up but, they tell me their staying in a different hotel. I can not begin to tell you just how stressed out I am at this point.

I decide to go to the couple’s hotel to see if I can get the directions to my hotel from the hotel reception desk. Whilst walking to the hotel I discovered on Google maps my hotel was just a 2-minute walk away, so began to head towards my hotel.

It was quite possibly the longest 2-minutes of my life. I walked quickly through the tiny empty streets, with my heart racing and only the sound of my suitcase wheels wheeling along the ground. The thought of being in a foreign country alone, walking through the empty streets in the middle of the night was frightening. I told myself off in my head for putting myself in this situation.

Finally, I turn the corner and there was my hotel, Hotel Neptuno, I was so relieved.

#Note to self and to others

If your thinking about travelling solo I recommend you totally avoid arriving to your destination late at night. Spend that little extra and get a decent flight time, your more important than saving that extra Β£10/Β£20

Arriving late also doesn’t give you the opportunity to have a walk around your hotel and it’s surrounding area. Doing this helps to make you feel comfortable during that apprehensive first night.