13 Days, 3 countries , 8 flights.. multiple Buses,trains and cabs…. ==>> Memories to cherish. #solo woman traveller
It was my heartfelt DREAM to visit SPAIN for my 1st international solo trip. And I was just dying to make it happen. By the end of 2017, I was damn sure that I am going to make this happen. soon…! 2018 ringed the bells and I was eager to plan my trip within this year. I wanted to plan this trip around my birthday, So I planned it for the 1st week of August.
I roughly decided the dates 1st and started to explore the country. Within just a few days of research, I realized that 1). Spain is the hottest in August (Unbearable SUN) 2). It will be crowded, as August is the holiday season in Europe. At first, I was disappointed with these facts but then I continued my search to discover the “Best of SPAIN in summers”. I started reading blogs, visited multiple websites, contacted travel agents, and also took suggestions from locals (Thanks to FB) but still, I was in dilemma. Hot weather became so much big constraint to me that I even planned to change my destination. But then, I got suggestions to stay near coastal areas of Spain and to avoid the places with high heat (South of Spain). I follow the same.
A couple of months passed by and I was still clueless about the trip itinerary. (I was looking forward to do early bookings to save the cost). Phweee..!!.. After so much brainstorming and thought process; long story short; I planned to add two more countries to my itinerary. Keeping 4-5 days for SPAIN and moving to a different country for the rest of my vacation.
My itinerary was for 13 days. Barcelona(Spain), Ibiza (Spain), Bergen (Norway), Flam (Norway), Amsterdam (Netherland).
For the above European countries, a Schengen visa is mandatory. Here comes the long and painful process. It took me one and a half months to gather all the required documents. (So much paperwork). There was no one to sponsor me. I applied for the tourist VISA personally. I was afraid that my visa will be approved or not, But….
There was a small moment of Happiness, In the 1st week of July, I got my VISA stamped from the SPAIN Embassy. I was very happy. I could see my dream coming true J.
Now it was time to freeze all the reservations from flights to hotels, Trains to buses, etc., etc…I planned everything. I was spending lots of sleepless nights researching in detail. Made TO DO lists for each place. Whenever I had free time I was exploring the planned Cities/Countries on phone. I was so so …so much excited that I couldn’t even sleep at night. All this went on for a month.
FINALLY, 31st of July 2018, the most awaited day of my dream. I was flying to Barcelona. With a mixed feeling of excitement, worry, and joy I left for the airport. It was real now and I was happy.
Almost 15hrs lonnnggg journey still I was not feeling tired, I was so much excited that It was visible all over my face. Arrived at airport and commuted to Hotel in Barcelona by bus and metro. (Hotel Catalonia Sagrada Familia.).
I was feeling different in the new land. Different people, new language, everything seems amazing. After checking into my hotel, I took some time to dress myself up for the new city and went out for a walk around the local city. I stopped by the small street to have some Veggies and apple juice.
Soon after that, I realized, Some money was stolen out of my bag, Completely disheartened by Barcelona city on the very 1st day. But I didn’t want that incident to spoil my further trip, so I just let it go and enjoyed my trip. Guys, please keep yourself safe from pickpocketing in Barcelona.
Next MORNING I started my day with Antoni Gaudi Park Guell Barcelona https://www.parkguell.cat/ (Their official website). Park Güell is a public park system composed of gardens and architectonic elements. It has specific timings of entry and some entry tickets as well as it’s a World Heritage Site. It’s a pretty cool colorful place. Gaudi’s house architecture is something that you can see inside. The hot sun was harsh but still, I managed to take the complete round of the park. Coming to the outer area of the park artists were performing Flamingo dance which I enjoyed watching.
People here usually speak Spanish, English is not spoken much, So it was difficult talking to many people here…
Later in the evenings, I went to
- Las Ramblas
- Plaça de Catalunya also called Catalonia Square.
- And the famous fruit market La Boqueria Market
Las Ramblas is a street in central Barcelona which connects with Placa de Catalunya. It’s a big shopping area, So many people strolling around. It is even more expensive as it’s a major tourist area.
At Plaça de Catalunya there were countless human-friendly pigeons eating seeds all around.
Spent Another beautiful at Barcelona, Visited Sagrada Família
No doubt I thoroughly enjoyed Barcelona, It’s a beautiful city. Local city commute services and roads are nicely built and maintained. People are helpful. Cabs here are too expensive so local transport is always suggested. Within the city, you will find so many bars and cafes on a roadside at a nominal cost. The worst thing …drinking water is only available as mineral water bottles. Many Indians working in general stores as sales or cash persons. Even Indian food is also available in the market near Las Ramblas.
The fruit market is must visit in Barcelona…So many different options of fruit and each one of them is just wow. Juicy fruits are sold in small packings. Many vendors are selling it similarly in this market.
After spending 2 days in Barcelona, I headed to the party Island IBIZA…JJ
Ibiza is an incredibly beautiful island. I reached around midnight but the city was still alive, I could still see people moving on the streets, City was full of energy. Views from my hotel’s window were mesmerizing, I only realized it when I woke up the next morning. Sunrise on an Island like Ibiza is refreshing. The reflection of orange-red rays of sunlight in the ocean makes it a picture-perfect view.
The early morning beach was very serene and less crowded. Only a few people walking along the shore. I had never seen such kind of beach before, I was entranced by the beauty of this new experience. Crystal clear blue water with white sand makes it stunning.
Ohh.. it was breathtaking to view…
It was my birthDAY….!! I started my day by clicking many pictures and selfies of mine. I enjoyed each moment of it, I had a wonderful breakfast and then joined a boat cruise party… So many people, loud music, drinks, and an Attractive DJ… WoW… I think I could not have asked for more… It was just awesome..!! “I will come back Ibiza.. :
It’s the best place to party in WORLD. I spent 2 Days in Ibiza…Both days, I was on Playa d’en Bossa Ibiza, a major holiday resort on the Spanish island of Ibiza. The next day I just spent moving around the city and small market.
Tapas is one of the famous food items you will get here. Tapas has a variety of appetizers, one of the famous Spanish cuisine.
Minus harsh heat/Sun of Ibiza, Everything else was good.
After spending a fabulous time in Ibiza I headed to my next holiday destination. Bergen (Norway). Oh God, It was damn cold. It was raining when I reached Bergen (Bergen is Norway’s second-largest city). I easily got the bus from Bergen Airport to the Hotel in the Bergen city center. My hotel was very well placed just 2 mins walk from the bus stop.
I planned 4 days for Norway (Bergen, Voss, Flam). With its very small city center and clearly defined suburbs, Bergen is a city where it is easy to navigate. I observed the most friendly people at this place. My place of stay was Thon Hotel Bristol. The hotel staff was superb.. very helpful. And the mouth-watering breakfast just made my date.
Bergen is one of the Scandinavian countries. The city is surrounded by mountains, fjords, including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest. The city itself is very safe, Solo travelers can make most of their trip without any fear in their head. Below are few clicks from Bergen City center…
As it was a rainy day …So it was densely clouded and cold.
You will find here Bergen light rail, Buses and cars using the same road. I walked from Byparken towards the Bryggen. It was scenic. Bryggen in Bergen is famous for its medieval wharf and historic harbor district known for its colorful, wooden-clad boat houses.
Later on, I visited Fløyen or Fløyfjellet which is one of the city mountains of Bergen. Fløibanen is one of Norway’s best-known attractions and the only funicular railway in Norway. It’s a short 6 to 7 mins travel by this rail. It will take up uphill, And the view from the top is fantastic. Its aerial view over Bergen city and its major viewpoints. It is must visit place for any tourist.
In the evening I had train booking for Voss, Rail travel from Bergen to Voss and Flam is quite famous for its stunning scenic view, no doubt, throughout the journey you’ll be mesmerized with amazing mountain views.
Voss village is surrounded by rivers, mountains, fjord, and lakes. My place of stay was Vossestølen Hotel. It’s a very small village with few houses, But it’s a very pleasant and peaceful place. The view of Opheim lake makes it even more beautiful. I couldn’t find good veg food here but still managed with slices of bread n tea..!!
The only thing that was surprising me here (In Spain as well) was the length of the day. I checked into the hotel at 09:00 PM and still, it was complete daylight. . Till 11 PM in the night as well it was not completely dark. And this was new to me. The below picture was taken at 09:00 PM, Please have a look…
The next morning I took a bus to travel Flam for a day tour and came back to Voss in the evening. Thanks to the navigator and their local bus application. One can easily check the timings of the bus online and plan based on that. On your way to Flam, you’ll find beautiful huts from houses all around on green land, which will just steal your heart. It has steep mountains and valleys that will leave you speechless and the rivers cutting through deep ravines. ..
Reaching Flam I could see a big cruise and people were boarding the train on the other end. Flam cruise ship dock and the railway station are at the same place.
Flam is one of the most beautiful places on this earth no doubt. Flåm village is located in southwestern Norway, which is known for its fjords. Flam is at end of Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the vast Sognefjord.
Beautiful huts from houses all around on the green land will just steal your heart. It has steep mountains and valleys.
Norway is a country that you will just fall in love with. It’s so clean, beautiful, and scenic that it made me forgot other countries/places I visited in the last few days. It was an unforgettable excursion.
The final destination of my trip was Amsterdam.
How can u call a Euro trip complete without going to one of the most happening destinations of Europe Amsterdam(Netherland)1st thing u see after moving out of the airport is “I AMSTERDAM”. Everyone getting clicked in front of that.
Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ capital, known for its artistic heritage, The canals of Amsterdam are a city symbol and of great culture. The 1st place I visited here was Dam Square Its notable buildings make it one of the most eye-catching and popular places and all the roads lead to Dam Square, the real heart of Amsterdam,
The place was quite crowded and people walking from one end to another. Nothing much to see here other than admiring the architecture of buildings around. There are few shops in next lane which had souvenirs shops, eating joints, etc.
Later I walked towards Burgwallen Nieuwe Zijde(Amsterdam central), Also known as Amsterdam Central. The weather was a bit cold, It was a rainy day. On the way to Amsterdam central, I moved through few canals which give altogether a different look to this city. Coz of lesser time I didn’t take any canal tour. Reaching Amsterdam central you will see the largest railway station in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Crossed few more canals and I was at De Wallen which is a medieval city center, with narrow streets lined with small bars and Surrounded by the neon-lit red light. Yes, Red light district, heard a lot about this place, This was one of the bucket lists. Both sides of the narrow street will see sex toy shops and female escorts behind the glass in dim light. There were not many girls in this area, only men were around. Very light atmosphere, with very different vibrations. I think it’s the must-visit area at least once in a lifetime.
Later I went to Holland casino, It was my 1st time at the casino, That was a huge place, loud music, and so many casino tables, vector displayed on large screens. The Roulette Wheel was new to me. But once I started to understand the game I started to enjoy it…Dammmmmm it’s so cool. I WON around 50 Euros at the end. It was a whole new experience for me… Amazing fun..!!!
The next morning, I went to Giethoorn, Netherlands a small village in the northeastern Dutch province. It’s even called Venice of Holland as there are no roads here. Giethoorn is a dreamy village. This was one of the highlights of my Netherland trip.There are no roads in Geithoorn. Only canals are covered with green plants, flora, and canoes moving around. Footpaths and canals are joining thatched roof cottages on both sides of waterways. Very peaceful place.
I had one day trip to Geithoorn, Came back to Amsterdam in the evening.
The next day @ Bataviaplein Lelystad for shopping, Small charming village is a hub for fashion lovers. So many fashion u0026amp; lifestyle brands like Hugo Boss, Michael Kors, Fossil, etc.
Finally next day I had to come back to India. I didn’t want this trip to end. I boarded the flight back home, again 15 hrs of long travel but this time I was just sleeping on a complete journey. One thing that I was realized was that traveling gives you a whole new level of experience and when you are doing it solo it’s almost life-changing. Every time eating your food alone. No one around you to ask “if u r ok?”. You just start to love yourself, even more, Coz you company to your self in good and bad times. My family back in India was quite worried about me, traveling alone was something completely strange to them, Once I reached back home my mom has a sign of relief on her face.
Few Souvenirs I bought during my trip
It was an unforgettable journey for me…. I never thought that it’s going to be such a pleasant memory of my life. Before going on this trip I had fear and many doubts in mind but I relished the trip, that is what inspired me to write this post. I would like to thank and appreciate SWTT (Solo women travel tribe) group on FB. The ladies in the group are very helpful, their stories inspired and motivated me to live my dream. :-)♥♥♥♥♥♥
Thank you for reading my blog…..!! Keep Smiling…!