How to: Solo Travel as a Woman #2
During my three-month solo exploration, I was able to see the world like I never had before! I adventured to anywhere and everywhere that would have me. Oh, how I loved it, every step I took was new, and everything I ate as well... BETTER THAN HOME (shhh don't tell my mother).
Out of all my travels, there were a few places that struck me, and I believe those are the places that are worth sharing with you today. So let's jump right in and get exploring, first stop...the South of France!
South of France
Gosh...where do I even begin to explain the essence of this beautiful place? Well stating that I love the South of France would be a huge understatement, but the damn truth. The moment I stepped off my plane in Marseille I knew that France was going to become my home and grandest adventure. From the airport I hopped on a bus that took me to a small town called Aix-en-Provence, and man was I blown away. This petite town is known for its beauty, calm demeanor, and is also referred to as the "city of fountains". Just by reading this you can imagine the beauty it posses, am I right?
I decided to stay a whole month in Aix-en-Provence so I could truly get the feel of the city and the locals who reside here. I remained in a small Airbnb (there were no hostels close to Aix) that had a small kitchenette, bathroom, and bed which was all I needed. This little apartment located in Place des cardeurs, which filled with cute bars, cafes, and shops all available to me. I would spend my mornings in various cafe's drinking coffee and plan out my daily adventures, then followed by a few pints for lunch- who needs food when you have amazingly cheap alcohol?!
While I spent my time in the South of France, I explored towns such as Casis, Marseille, Lyon, Nice, Toulon, and more! In these cities, I explored every rue I could and every sandy beach I could stick my toes in. Simply heaven!
You might be thinking...how in the world could you get around so much? Well, it's cheap to travel y'all, you just gotta know where to look! If you are under 25 years of age, you can acquire "le carte treize", by having this card you can travel anyway in the Provence area for 2 euros round trip. See...cheap! You can also take affordable trains, flights, and even shared car services to get around- not only the South of France but all throughout the country if you wish!
Once my month was up, I was sad to leave my new found home in the South of France, but man was I ready to explore more countries!! Throughout my next month's journey, I ate pizza in the heart of Rome, devoured waffles in Belgium, experienced the cannabis scene in Amsterdam, and had the most amazing fish and chips in London. I couldn't believe this was my life! As it was coming near to my last month, I decided to head on over to Spain where I spent a couple of weeks in Barcelona, and let me tell you...this place knows how to have fun!
MAN! Was Barcelona one of my favorite places to visit- the locals are welcoming, the food is to die for, and the bar scene is meannnnnn (in a good way). Don't be fooled though! Barcelona has a high pickpocketing rate, and man is this right.
Ladies this is when the extra money pouch comes in handy! I was merely standing on the metro waiting for my stop when I caught a man discretely taking my wallet out of my purse. THANKFULLY, I was able to grab my purse in time and give him a scolding look before jumping off the metro. In these situations, it is best to stay confident and fearless-especially being a woman you must show that you are not vulnerable.
Despite the close call of my possessions stolen, I had the most unbelievable time here in Barcelona, Spain. I decided to stay at a hostel in the Gothic Quarter where I was able to mingle with other travelers my age who were also flying solo. By making connections, I was able to explore parts of the city that I would've never seen before! We ventured into hidden bars, beautiful parks, and various districts throughout Barcelona, and all of these had a common factor that drove me crazy... UNBELIEVABLE FOOD.
Eating had become my favorite thing to do while I was there, not surprising right? In Spain, known for having Tapas (small appetizers), and you traditionally wouldn't eat dinner until about 9 pm, I pushed aside that cultural tradition and ate every moment I could. I indulged in fried calamari, paella, pan con tomate (bread with tomato and salt), their version of tortillas (no traditional tortilla that we know here in the US! It was almost like a big omelet, super tasty!), the list goes on and on.
Not only does Barcelona, Spain has an endless amount of bomb food, the city itself is also quite breathtaking. Everywhere you turn you are in a new district with an entirely different look than before. Their architecture flair is quirky, different, and I fell in love! The coolest thing about their style was the randomness of it all; you could be walking down the rue and then all of a sudden BAM a funky cool building was right in front of you. A must see!
My time spent in Barcelona filled with an enormous amount of food, wine, sun, and meeting amazing people. Even though I had no desire to leave this beautiful city, it was time for me to move onto my next and final adventure....IRELAND!
I had always dreamt of this green paradise ever since I was a little girl. Not going to lie... I've also always had the hots for Irish men (Colin Farrell and Gerard Butler-Scottish by example), so coming here I had some high hopes of catching my Irish lad to bring back to the US-sadly, I was not that lucky this go around.
During my time in Ireland, I decided to visit three cities: Dublin, Cork, and Galway. The moment I jumped off my plane in Dublin I headed straight to the pubs. I am a beer fanatic so it's safe to say that I was meant to come to this country. I went bar hopping over in Temple Bar (very popular tourist destination) and it was PACKED. It felt as if everyone in Dublin was in the exact same spot all looking for a good time, and man did we all find it! As I walked down the strip of bars, I could hear beautiful Irish ballads coming from almost every pub. Since I couldn't decide which bars to choose from I just went to them all! I limited myself to one pint of Guinness each pub, which kept me with a good buzz and never too sloppy. Remember ladies you never want to become too intoxicated while on your travels alone, you must always be alert and guarded!
I had never truly understood the deliciousness of Guinness until I stepped into my first REAL Irish pub. It has a smooth, creamy finish that can please anyone's palette- which explains why this was the only thing I consumed while there. Not only was the beer fantastic, but the locals even more so. Out of all my trips thus far in Europe, Ireland felt the most welcoming and friendly to me. I met so many people who have become life long friends, as well as fellow travel buddies.
From Dublin I jumped on a 10 euro bus ride that took me three hours south to Cork. This town had a slightly different feel from Dublin. It was much calmer and less populated, which by all means was all right with me! I stayed at a lovely hostel away from the center of town, which happened to be just a short 10-minute walk to all the nearby pubs and shops-this is where I spent most of my time, drinking, eating, and reading. Oh how I loved this little city, so calm yet so much to offer!
From Cork, I took another 10 euro bus ride to Galway. Galway was the town I was most excited to arrive! Galway happens to be a small town populated with college students and so much beautiful history. Not only was it a favorite destination for myself because it was mentioned in the classic Gerard Butler film, P.S. I Love You, but also due to the Claddagh Clan originating from here.
While I was in Galway, I stayed at a hostel near the city center, about a 10-minute walk, and I spent my time trying out every pub and food place I could find. I was in love and never wanted to leave. Each morning I would wake up and take myself to get a traditional Irish breakfast followed up with some tea and my favorite book. I used every minute that I was there to soak up every cultural aspect available to me.
As my time was coming to an end in Galway, I decided to treat myself to an item that would help me remember this town for the rest of my life. Before leaving I purchased a stunning gold Claddagh ring, and I couldn't have been happier with my choice of souvenir.
As my time in Galway came to a close, I jumped back onto a bus that took me to the Dublin Airport to fly me home. Oh how sad I was, but I left Europe feeling alive more than I had ever before!
The End to a Beautiful Adventure
After three months of traveling Europe solo as a woman, I came back with a whole new perspective on life as well as myself. I never truly knew what it was like to live until I actually went out there and did the damn thing! Experiencing new cultures and being forced to adapt, especially when on your own, you are able to see the connective beauty of your own culture to someone else's way of life- there is not one that is more unique than the other nor more important, we are all humans living out our lives the best way we see fit. Despite family and friends having skeptical thoughts of my three month journey, I still took life by the reins and rode with it- by doing so I was able to shift everyone's opinions as well as inspire others to follow my footsteps.
Bring Treehut.co with you on your next adventure!
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