View from the Hotel Continental
The tile work and mosaics inside the Hotel are incredible!
The markets are endless! Stroll through the fish and meat market for a glance at the local hustle and bustle. If you do, make sure to roll up the cuffs on your pants- there’s about a centimeter of raw meat and fish “juice” covering the floor. I learned the hard way…
Stroll through the Medina, navigate through the dozens of alleys, and take a walk by the beach. There is so much culture and history to see!
One of the cleanest beaches I’ve ever been to!
View from our room at the Kenzi Solazur Hotel. Despite this beautiful view, I wouldn’t recommend this hotel. You can read my review why on TripAdvisor here.
As one of the lesser known “coasts” in Europe (Amalfi being the the usual go-to for travelers), the Algarve Coast is a quickly growing tourist destination thanks to the hundreds of picturesque snapshots floating around on social media (and really the only reason I knew this place existed). After discovering some of these pictures myself, I immediately added Lagos to my “while living in Europe” bucket list. I mean, come on:
A few months ago, I was on a work trip to Cologne and expressed interest in going to Lagos to one of my coworkers and sure enough, he wanted to go to Portugal that same weekend. Yay! I had to do zero convincing and we booked the flight immediately (literally on the bus en route to Cologne). We sent the flight info to a few others in hope they would join and before we knew it, we had a group of five to travel with. The more the merrier! The following two months crawled by as I anxiously waited to get back to some sunshine. It had been way too long since I was able to drink some fruity beverages with a cute umbrella on the beach.
Memorial Day weekend finally came and I was headed for some saltwater and sunshine! A mid-afternoon flight was quite the treat as RyanAir flights usually leave around 6:00AM and I live 90 minutes from the airport, so you do the math- those days are usually a little rough. However, leave it to me… I still had to rush to make that afternoon flight (thank goodness for the unrestricted speed limits on the Autobahn otherwise I definitely would’ve missed it). We made it to the airport, checked in, and were off! Shout out to RyanAir for randomly putting me in the front row (without the extra fee). I was spoiled with leg room and it partially made up for my horrible experience with them a few weeks ago… We arrived around 5:00PM, hopped in our rental, and drove the the 90km from Faro Airport to Lagos.
Our Airbnb was in an apartment complex walking distance from city center and the beach. It couldn’t have been more perfect! Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a pull out couch- perfect for our group of five. Our host greeted us with a beautiful ocean view, fresh fruit, and a delicious bottle of wine. We freshened up, drank the wine, and headed into town for the night.
For dinner, we ate at a restaurant called Nah Nah Bah and it was honestly one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life. It is a burger joint run by a group of ex-pats who know exactly what they are doing in the kitchen. After a few drinks, we were able to convince the owner to join us for a round of shots and it was exactly what we needed to kick-start the night.
As a major weekend destination for college students who are “finding themselves abroad” [no judgement- that was me five years ago 🙂 ] it was very easy for us to revert back to our college days. Beer bongs and all (sorry mom). This place knows how to party!!! After dinner, we roamed around town to check-out a few more bars and for sure danced off all the calories from dinner. I can promise you if you’re ever in Lagos, just walk into any bar and you wont be disappointed. Night one was a total success!
Today’s post is a throwback to my trip to Beijing- one I thought would actually never happen. I made the trip last May, and while it wasn’t one of my beautiful beach vacations, it’s near the top as one of my favorites. Visiting the Great Wall of China was always on my bucket list, but who in their lifetime actually gets the chance to go?
The preparation for the trip was quite a headache (and a bit more expensive than anticipated). For some reason when applying for my visa while living in Korea, it made the cost nearly double and I ended up paying a whopping $230 (more expensive than the flight itself). I also had a bit of an issue because my IDs didn’t say the “same name”… and by this I mean my passport says “Flynn, Megan R.” and my license says “Flynn, Megan R” …I mean, seriously? I bet you had to go back and look. The visa was submitted but I wasn’t going to find out if it was approved until a few days before my departure. Fingers crossed, it was approved and we left a few days later!
After a short 2 hour flight from Seoul, we made it through customs and hopped in a cab to take to our hotel. We stayed at the PentaHotel (highly recommended) in the most perfect location! We were in the heart of a large shopping district equidistant to everything we wanted to see- The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Silk Market, Pearl Market, Wangfujing Food Street, Temple of Heaven, etc. After checking in, we turned in for the night and quickly connected to our VPNs so we could use Google to plan out our next few days (Yes, it’s true. Google/Facebook/ Instagram are blocked in China).
SHOPPING & EATING: WANGFUJING FOOD STREET
GREAT WALL OF CHINA
Our last day was a bit rushed so I focused more on getting gifts for my family instead of pulling my camera out. After checking out of our hotel, we walked to the Pearl Market and unfortunately got lost along the way (the whole no Google maps thing was a pain), so we didn’t have a much time there as we wanted. The market was dozens of floors filled with electronics, make-up, clothing, jewelry, toys, pretty much anything (and everything) that has ever had a “made in China” label on it. It was so overwhelming!
We bought our trinkets and headed off to the airport where it was much more difficult getting out of the country than in. I had to go through a few extra screenings as well as have my entire suitcase dumped on the metal counter at security. No hesitation- they unzipped it and dumped it. I wasn’t pleased to say the least. We made it through, bags in hand, and headed back to our lovely homes in Seoul.
I often forget how long I’ve lived overseas and I become complacent with the opportunities around me. Part of my new years resolution is to be more spontaneous with traveling, and for those of you who have seen my Instagram posts for the last two years may wonder how that’s even possible. Well, I spend many weekends binge watching Game of Thrones or House of Cards, that six months have gone by since I moved here and there is so much more I could be doing! Everyone needs those Saturdays once in awhile, but I prefer to stay busy.
Yesterday started off as a regular Saturday. Woke up around 9:00am, had my coffee, and lazed around for a good part of the morning. Unfortunately, pneumonia and bronchitis got the best of me the last three weeks so I haven’t been able to kick-start this resolution and do anything exciting. I planned on spending my weekend meal-prepping and moving my bedroom/bathroom essentials to the main floor of my house as I get ready for knee surgery tomorrow. Stairs will be my enemy for the next few weeks so the only thing that will occupy my second floor will be the mystery rodents who I hear in my floorboards at night. Farmhouse living at its finest! I’m praying for a speedy recovery, but I’m not quite sure the next time I’ll be able to travel as recklessly as I usually do. With this in mind, I knew I needed to get out!
I made a few phone calls and within 20 minutes, everyone was onboard! With limited hours of daylight left, we needed to pick somewhere relatively close. My first pick was Heidelberg (about an hour drive), but a few people had already gone so it was crossed off the list. Next pick was Trier- the oldest city in Germany filled with Roman baths and ruins. Seems like an obvious pick, but with so much to see we decided we’d need an entire day (at least). Our final pick was Saarbrücken, a city located on the French border less than 30 minutes away. I knew France was close, but didn’t realize THAT close. We filled up the car and were off!
We spent the afternoon shopping and wandering the streets enjoying the warmest day we’ve had in awhile. As the sun began to set, the boys decided to grab a beer and us girls spent some more time walking along the river. It wasn’t the cleanest or most scenic walk- graffiti under the bridges and clouds of smoke in the air- but a sunset over the water is always nice and we weren’t going to turn it down.
We caught up with boys for a drink and switched up locations for dinner at a local brewery. It was a hipster corner bar with an awesome vibe, but we unfortunately fell victim to the “lets put the Americans in the back” curse, so they brought us up the stairs, around the corner, down the hall into a completely empty room…despite all the empty tables we passed along the way. Nonetheless, the food was delicious and the company was great! We spent a few hours eating and drinking before hitting the road for the drive back home.
My next big trip isn’t scheduled until the end of March, so until then I’ll be rehabbing my knee to make sure I can fill my weekends with more spontaneous trips like these. Here’s to many more!