9 countries down...one to go!

Just a few more days left of this amazing adventure, so I wanted to check in one more time.  Our stop in Sevilla was phenomenal.  The city itself was great, weather amazing and our hosts there made it even better.  I was able to meet people from all over which really makes any place more special.  We took two trips from there, one to Ronda and the other to Cordoba.  I almost decided against Ronda after reading some pages online about how hard it supposedly was to get there.  Thank God I didn't give up that easily because Ronda was one of the highlights of the entire trip for me and one of the most special places in Spain.  I found a direct bus that leaves multiple times a day from Sevilla, which was a pretty easy connection to make and took us straight there through the stunning Spanish countryside.  The big highlight of Ronda is the Puente Nuevo (new bridge) which connects the city over a massive gorge.  We took some recommendations and hiked down into the gorge to get the best pictures of the bridge and the canyon, but we went even further than most.  Below the bridge was a gorgeous, towering waterfall emptying into a picturesque pool which we managed to find a way to get to.  After hiking all the way down the canyon walls, we made it to the river bed which was full of boulders and some smaller stepping stones.  We hoped, jumped, climbed and repelled from rock to rock going up the river until we made it to the waterfall.  It was quite an adventure, one that most people don't really take.  Once we got there, I was determined to get as close to the fall as I could so I waded out to a rock about 5 or tent feet in front of the fall.  After heading back to a dry rock and rethinking the situation, I decided to go back - all the way underneath the fall one way or another.  I climbed around to the big rock under the fall, and then scaled to the top of it and leaned back with the waterfall crashing in on me.  That moment was so freeing and so exciting for me - I definitely felt like I was on top of the world for just a little while.  That whole day was one I'll never forget, but being in that spot there was something special words can't describe.  
Cordoba was really fun too, there is an amazing mosque converted into a church there with some really unique architecture.  We also explored a royal palace which had some of the best gardens I've seen.  Today, we hit Lisbon hard and basically saw ALL of the big tourist sites and then some in just one day so we could take the whole day tomorrow to explore the historic Sintra town about 20 miles from here.  It was a busy day, but worth it!  Lisbon's Christ the Redeemer statue kind of pales in comparison with Rios, but it was still a great experience (albeit VERY windy).  There is also a copy of the Golden Gate bridge here which is pretty cool.  One of the highlights of the day was eating at a famous pastry shop that's been doing business for almost 200 years here.  They sell a unique Portuguese pastry, warm filled with a special type of cream and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.  It was truly phenomenal (and cheap)!  
Can't believe this adventure is about to come to a close, definitely time to reflect on the last 40 or so days and look ahead to the future.  I feel like I have my life in a new perspective now and this trip has really made me feel even more comfortable in my own skin.  I can't wait to start looking into more adventures around the world, but before that we've got one more day here and then off to the Queens Day celebrations in Amsterdam!

1 comment:

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