Lisbon, in my view the food capital of the world. Eat at as many restaurants as you can, sample their wines and don’t forget their custard tarts since this is where they were invented – Pasteis de Belem.
Like most things, I did the Camino de Santiago a little differently from others. I went from Tui, on the border of Portugal straight up North to Santiago. I arrived only to find the scale of my map was not going to help me find the trail.
The next day, with a little help from the local people, I found where it began. Rather disappointingly the first part was pretty drab and industrial, but then it passed through small towns, quiet countryside and interesting tracks. I stayed in Albergues where many locals get up early wearing head torches due to lack of street lighting. It was pretty unpleasant having these shone directly into my face, but seeing the sun rise made my early start worthwhile. Since nobody spoke English and my Spanish was not up to conversation levels, it was just me, Nelson Mandella and the Long Road to Freedom, which seemed appropriate.
If you see mountainous landscapes and green valleys on Instagram, more often than not the picture would have been of Switzerland. The walks between green hills are almost too perfect and are accompanied by a soundtrack of cowbells ringing in the distance. Visit intimate Art galleries housing private collections of works by Picasso, Paul Klee, Giacometti to name just a few. I recommend:
Each of the larger Cantons also has their own Museum of Modern Arts. Bern’s has the best Picasso gallery I have ever been to, with hundreds of paintings. Although I was more impressed by Giacometti’s work housed downstairs in the same gallery. Zurich’s Kunst House also has a fine and varied collection with many very familiar works that I have only seen before through reproductions. It was exciting to stand in front of so many famous works without the queues of people that we experience in the UK.
During the winter, the skiing and views are incredible. Skiing was not my parent’s thing so we went mountain walking and then single ski sledged all the way down, brilliant!
Got it! At last a break from persistent rain. It wasn’t looking promising and the girl in the YHA said she hadn’t known it to be so wet and grey. It’s been tipping it down so hard that every time I needed to look at the sat nav on my phone, I had to lean over to create a body umbrella. However, as you can see, the views up the Old Man and along the ridge were well worth the journey.