Day 34-36, Breda, Redhair Day ’14, Breda – Berlin

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Day 34, Breda II

Breda at the first week-end is full of gingers. Normally when we arrange a meeting it’s like “I’m the one with red hair. You cannot miss me.” This week-end it would be the opposite. People with every tone of red hair and beard are walking through the town. Each year it gets bigger.

But what’s special about that day, what is going on there? Well, we all sit together and discuss a plan how to take over power, for the new red world order. But frankly it was mostly about the people. Of course there were some activities like photo-shootings or styling events. We e.g. went for a differently organised speed-dating. In the evening we joined a pub crawl.

Earlier that day we changed our host. So at midnight we left the pub crawl and went back by bike. Our new host wanted to take us to an illegal rave. It was so well hidden, that we didn’t find it. We were not the only one. With the time we were a group of about 25 people cycling around a specific area without finding the spot. When the police arrived, we returned home. But still on our way home, people were coming from the opposite direction, looking for the rave.

Day 35, Breda III

At noon was supposed to be the big group photos. Whereas at most events non-gingers were gratefully “allowed” to join, the group photo was for redheads only. We got up at 12.30pm.

Nevertheless we cycled into town because our host and her housemate wanted to see the redheads and there were still some events going on. In addition my friend wanted to take some photos with nice red-haired-chicks.

In the evening we made some barbecue.

Day 36, Breda – Berlin; 800km, 4 cars, maybe 14h travel time

T36_1 Breda-BerlinThe last step on my journey: Going back home to Berlin. According to the hitchwiki homepage the industrial area in the west of Germany, Ruhr Area, is best avoided while hitchhiking. So I decided to try the route via Utrecht and Apeldoorn in the north to Germany. Unfortunately the third driver thought he would do me a big favour in going south in the direction to the Ruhr Area again. So I found myself at a gas station where people were going to the Ruhr Area or even more south near the place I’m living, but not where I wanted to go.

Then I saw a Polish van. I approached to driver. “Are you going to Germany?” – “Yes.” – “Are you going to Poland?” – “Yes.” – “Do you pass Berlin?” – “Yes.” I was afraid to ask the next question. “Can you give me a lift to Berlin?” …….. “Yes, no problem.” Whooot whoot that was it! I managed it – cool. But before, Piotr had to pick up two Polish seasonal workers and sold a bike. That’s why we were going a bit zigzag at the beginning. But I didn’t care. One of the workers was annoying since he wanted me to find some jobs for him in Germany as if I was the German Labour Office. Even Piotr kind of lost patience with him, because every 10 minutes he asked for some paper and a pencil.

Anyway Piotr even drove me near the station where I had to take the train home. Well and that was basically it. On the way home to Karlsruhe I had the fasted hitchhiking trip ever. I got there in 6 hours, which is as fast as going by train and even faster than going with my family’s car. Till Nuremberg I went with a guy that had worked for eBay. At the service area I saw a Russian car and was really happy, when they agreed to take me to Karlsruhe. Actually, they were on their way from St. Petersburg to Lisbon via Barcelona.

It was nice talking to them – of course about Putin and Crimea and interesting as well, because I could proof some facts, like Russian soldiers had been on Crimea due to my trip there early that year. In addition they told me – I already knew it – the EU/US sanctions mainly aimed the population. But another interesting fact had been, that pensions of babushkas are taken to build up Crimea again, which they were upset about.

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Day 34-35, Breda


Day 36

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Day 31-33, Granada (ES) – Breda (NL) – Insane 2300km hitchhiking

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Day 31-33, Insanity: Granada – Breda I; 2320km, 13 cars, 53h

T31_1 Granada-BredaLet the fun begin. Get up at 7am, starting hitchhiking at 9.30am. I waited maybe 90minutes till I found a truck driver who took me about 100km to Braza. There I found a Moroccan, who was going to Strasbourg and was already happy. BUT I forgot that the Moroccans have every possible space covered, so of course all three passenger seats were already reserved…quel dommage.

But soon I found two Spanish guys who took me another 240km to a service area near Elx (Elche). At this service area I thought to won the jackpot. There was a truck with a Dutch number plat. I had to convince the driver, Jeffrey, to lie down the fear of taking hitchhikers – or at least me as a hitchhiker. He was going directly to Breda. How lucky can you get? But my luck didn’t last long. It disappeared the sooner we came to Valencia. Jeffrey had to load his truck. At first the spot was Barcelona, which was not a problem at all. Then Valencia, and staying overnight there, which was bad. Then Barcelona again, yeah. But then it finally changed to Zaragoza and one day stop there. How I hate that place. Of course I couldn’t join Jeffrey now, because I had to be in Breda on day 33. But my unlucky “streak” continued.

At the gas station where I got out I asked a driver, if he was going to a specific place, I showed him on the map. He agreed. Fine. But I had to realize, that he was going somewhere totally different and when I realized, I was already nearly in Valencia at a gas station where nobody would stop to continue north to Barcelona. Though the stuff said, there has never been a hitchhiker at their place, who had to stay overnight. And just when I wanted to cross the highway to hitchhike back, they found someone who was going to a better spot.

T31_2 Granada-BredaIn my opinion that gas station was not a better spot. I checked the internet for hitchhiking spots and found Sargunt, north of Valencia, a train was going there. The first driver I asked, it was a sweet girl who has never taken a hitchhiker before, drove me to the station. I had to run, because the train (only 3,25EUR) was leaving 5 minutes after we arrived. From Sargunt train station I had to walk another maybe 80 minutes until I arrived at the service area. It was already about 11pm. There I found a Romanian truck driver who went to Barcelona and agreed to take me the 325km. Finally I got some luck. He was on the phone all the time, so I hardly found some sleep.

At 4.30am we arrived there. The service area was sleepy. No cars or trucks were going at this time. So I ate some bread with Nutella and at maybe 6.30am I found an old German couple who, against my prediction, hadn’t have a problem to take me. They were going to Germany via Lyon so the way I wanted to go. There was the hitchhiking luck again! 600km and the man didn’t drive slowly. They played a big part in arriving in time in Breda, thanks for that!

But to be honest the next stages that followed I lost the time I had “saved”. We arrived at an aire before Lyon at noon. Not until six hours later, at 6pm, I could continue. The reason was pure laziness. I just couldn’t run around asking people like in Malaga on my way to Granada. However at 6pm a guy going to Paris took me 150km further near Dijon. After one hour of searching a Czech truck driver, who was even taking some extra driving time for me, drove me another 150km near Langres. There I spent the night. But not sleeping. Nobody drove in my direction. Well a father with a baby son did, but he (not the son) didn’t have the balls to give me a lift. But ok, a little child is a fair reason….though even young mothers with children had already given me lifts.

Anyway after the second night with no sleep and a Dutch driver who said his boss wouldn’t allow hitchhiker, a Belgian truck driver drove me the last kilometres in France and through Luxembourg near Brussels. There it took me at least two hours to find a ride. Just we I started to talk with a British biker and man whom I asked before came back to me and said I could come with him. He was passing Breda.

So I was finally there….only 5km left to the centre and I was exhausted and lazy so I figuratively thumbed a ride for the last time, which I got after 10min. I arrived at Breda station at 2.30pm.

Summary: I hitchhiked more than 2300km in 53h which is an average speed of 43,4km/h – pretty bad. I barely slept, only for minutes and although I sometime tried with a sign, I always got my rides (besides the last one) after talking to people.

But why did I even want to go to Breda? Well the reason is as simple as this: International Redhair Day. I had heard of it before and a friend of mine has been there in 2012 and convinced me to join him this year. Since my hair colour and the date fits well into my journey schedule I agreed. I would have been really sad, if I had managed hitchhiking there in time.

But everything went…more or less smooth. At 4pm I met my friend who was arriving by train. Then we met our Couchsurfing hosts, ate something and went out. But at midnight, I got really tired after 65 hours of not sleeping – I beat the “record” from 2012, when I travelled from Egorievsk (south of Moscow) to St. Petersburg and continued to Petrozavodsk, by one hour.

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Day 25-30, Gibraltar – Granada, Granada

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Day 25, La Linea – Granada I; ~245km, 5 cars, maybe 3,5h waiting time

T25 La Linea-GranadaCovered in ashes I got up and saw that the smoky cloud was now covering the Upper Rock of Gibraltar. I didn’t eat breakfast, but started hitchhiking nearly right away. A guy from Ireland drove me to a service area where I asked to guys who then drove me to a service area at Malaga. There I met a Polish couple, who wanted to hitchhike along the coast but didn’t have any success yet. I asked people for about 90 minutes until I found a Polish guy who drove near Granada. The hitchhikers had decided to stay and go with a Polish truck driver to Paris the next day.

It took two more rides until I finally was in Granada at 4pm. On the way I picked some of the special cactus fruit.

In Granda a friend of mine, E., whom I know since kindergarten studied for 2 years now. I waited for her at Plaza Nueva with some ice cream. She picked me up some minutes later and took me to her apartment which terrace had a stunning view of Alhambra, the famous fortress.

Together with her friend Borja and their two dogs Lanu and Umbra we went to a small stream to chill. In the evening her French roommate made crêpes with different tastes, very delicious, for us and some of his friends.

I chose the terrace as sleeping berth, because it didn’t get colder than 22°C at night and the view of Alhambra was just too nice.

Day 26, Granada II

We were invited for dinner by two friends of E. and I was shown the town for a bit. In the late afternoon till evening we went across the Alhambra are a bit and rented a car for the next day to go to the beach.

So I enjoyed the cliché day of Spanish lifestyle, siesta, relaxing, taking things easy (and slow).

Day 27, Granda III, beach near Motril; 80km, 1 car, no waiting time

At noon we went to the airport to get the car – a Volkswagen Polo. I was the one who should drive to the beach. We were 5 persons and three dogs – if that was legal, I don’t know, but it was quite an experience.

It was a bit difficult to find the beach but we managed. I just went swimming for some minutes and then searched for shelter from the sun.
E. and her friends intended to stay overnight, but I wanted to return the same day. So when the first people started to go at 7pm I just approached two of them asking if they were going to Granada and if so, whether I could go with them. And well, yes and yes. So E. needn’t drive me to a bus station where a bus would have left a time none of us knew and I saved the money of the ticket.

So I before I returned home, I stopped by at a supermarket and then had a relaxing evening on the terrace.

But this day really made me thoughtful. At home I would have never ever asked strangers that are about to leave a beach if I could go to town with them. I guess it’s mainly because I can hide behind the English language and “just being a stupid” tourist/traveller when I’m abroad.

Day 28 (Sunday), Granada IV

I slept till the heat of the sun woke me up. That was at about 11am. After a fruity breakfast I started a walk around the area. There are little mountains, since Sierra Nevada is not far away. Caves can be found in some of these hills in which people are living. You can see chairs in front of even wooden entry doors, washing lines with clothes on it. These caves are no temporary “apartments”. Since I thought E. and her friends would return late in the evening I arranged a meeting with some guys from the crêpe-event.

The bar we went to served ridiculous sized beer. It was more of a beer shot than a glass of beer. I wanted to go on quickly, that was depressing. On the way to the next bar, we saw some Serbian basketball fans partying. We went into the bar that served Tapas as well and ordered some beer. Among the guys was a Polish girl, A., and because the other guys were kind of afraid of the Serbs we both decided to join them alone. They were already in a good mood and invited us for some more beer. I was soon called Albert Speer or Albert….that’s how a part of Serbs are. When they started to fight each other, because one of the Serbs was given a shirt from the opponent, we left for another location and at 4am I went home.

Day 29, Granada V

I visited the famous Alhambra fortress, but since I’ve already been to Iran, honestly I didn’t find it that interesting.

Since I wanted to hitchhike directly to the Netherlands the next day, I bought food and nice falafel. But there was something inside, that made my stomach revolt again.

It is strange; after all these journeys, where I honestly didn’t pay much attention to what I ate or what I drank – sometimes I drank water from the tap although most people didn’t recommended it – never had any health problems. And now, in Europe, I have problems two times in a two weeks.

Day 30, Granada VI

That’s why I had to stay in Granada. Fortunately E. was OK with it, because I couldn’t have done extreme hitchhiking in that shape since it’s a 2300km trip to Breda.

So we cleaned the apartment, ate some ice cream and looked how I could get to my hitchhiking start spot. In the afternoon two funny friends of a friend of E. arrived and we had a nice chat altogether. But I didn’t join them going out, I had to be fit for the 2300km-nonstop-hitchhiking.

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Photos of the inside of Alhambra
Day 25


Day 26-30, Granada


Inside Alhambra

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Day 17-19, Lisbon/Lisboa

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Day 17, Lisbon II

At least I woke up and was clear in my mind. My mood instantly increased when I saw that I received a positive reply from Couchsurfing. We called and agreed on meeting in the evening. I left my backpack in a locker at the railway station and strolled around town a bit. But since I was not fully recovered I lay down in a park near Cais do Sodre and Rio Tejo. In the evening I met with O. ate some food and went to bed early.

Day 18, Lisbon III

Ok, I spent two days in Lisbon now, but didn’t do anything. I haven’t had any plans though, but it felt kind of wrong.

O. let me use her bicycle, so I rode to some view points, the EXPO 1998 area in the east and Belem in the west.
It seems typical in Lisbon that people approach you to offer “Hashish? Cocain?”. They don’t even bother running in front of you bike while you are riding.

In the end I searched for a restaurant that would serve snails (caracois) which were recommended to me. In one restaurant I was told they are served as a snack at noon. So I ate codfish instead which was really nice.

Day 19, Lisbon IV

Another day in Lisbon. This time I had to get around without bike. So at first I made a tour with the famous tram 28 which charges more than other trams because it’s the typical tourist line. I passed a wall with a nice graffiti, but was to slow to catch it on photo. So I searched for about 45 minutes till I found it. On the way I had the chance of other great pictures.

At noon I visited O. at her working place – a bar. Then I ordered the snail in the place next door. I paid 7,50€ and got a huge box of snails; more than a snack for one or even three persons. However I couldn’t finish all of them at once. Though I have to admit there were delicious. Hence I told O. I’d prepare a snail omelette in the evening. She sceptically agreed.

Before I went to the Botanical garden, that suddenly cuts you off from the rest of the city. Without the city’s noise it was like being in a different world, but a rather small world. After returning I met with O. at Marquês de Pombal, the central round-about of Lisbon. She had to arrange some things, showed me some interesting graffiti on the way before I took her bike to ride home and buy some food for the special dinner.

I can tell you, it is hard work to peel all the snail out of their house plus you need much time. But it was totally worth it. It was quite a dinner: I prepared tomatoes, zucchini and mixed them with eggs and the snails to create the snail omelette and a salad whereas O. made two kinds of humus and avocado crème…..exquisite.

It was also my last night in Lisbon. It is such a nice city. When you like Berlin, you definitely have to visit Lisbon – a smaller, hillier Berlin. And if you don’t like Berlin, maybe you start after having visited Lisbon.

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Day 17


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Day 19

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Day 20-22, Lisbon – Faro, Faro

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Day 20, Lisbon – Faro I; 300km, 2 cars, 9h travelling (5h waiting)

T20 Lisbon-FaroAs usual I got up at 8am and ate breakfast. Then I said good-bye to O. who gave me some ticket for the tram. I should go by tram for one long stops and the card should have given me a discount on the ticket.

When I arrived at the stop, however, I didn’t know how to get advantage of the ticket. That’s why I just didn’t buy a ticket. It was 2,85€ for one stop, so no. At 11am I finally arrived at a possible hitchhiking spot….but no one stopped. Therefore I walked to an alternative spot which was illegal as one the highway. And yes, I was lucky as in Zaragoza to just bump into a highway employee you told me to get lost.

Very upset I went back, wrote another sign with a closer destination than Faro and really after I don’t know how many additional hours a woman took me to the next service area having a McDonalds. There I met a girl and a boy from Lithuania who intended to hitchhike to Faro as well. So we took some drinks first, the girl Enrika, got hers sponsored for a spontaneous painting.

We had to wait again for a minimum of two hours, but then the car that stopped was at least going all the way to Faro…finally! He didn’t had much space in the trunk so we took our backpack on the legs again, but who cares we were going to Faro.

Faro was the second and last destination were I couchsurfed. A. and A., two nice and cool Polish Erasmus students studying in Wroclaw were doing their internship at an architect’s office. After I took a shower, we went to the supermarket, cooked something and walked inside the huge city with some port wine.

Day 21, Sunday, Faro II

After breakfast we all went to a local market where we met with the Latvian colleagues of A. and A. and their friends. We bought some fruits I’d never seen before and agreed on meeting in the afternoon to go by ferry to the beach, since between Faro and an Atlantic Ocean beach is a natural reserve park.

At 4pm we cruised through the park and enjoyed the fresh Atlantic. At 10pm after we all ate some dinner we met for some wine at the harbour again. We thought we could watch a local international/traditional dance festival but it was quite boring, so we went to take 18 shots of different kinds (regional, strawberry, kiwi and passion fruit) of Poncha instead, which was a better decision.

Day 22, Faro III

A and A. had to work again. They worked quite too hard. I made myself a chilled day. I slept longer, wrote some postcards and was happy to recognize that my boss didn’t had a problem if I came a week later, which I wanted to spend in Berlin.

Then I bought ingredients of potato pan cakes, so that the girls needn’t cook after a hard 12h working day and also the pan cakes taste quite good and would give my stomach some buffer for the next long hitchhiking stage to Granada via Tarifa and Gibraltar.

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Day 20


Day 21


Day 22

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Day 14-16, Ponteareas – Valenca – Cabo da Roca – Lisbon I

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Day 14, Ponteareas – Valença do Minho (Sunday); 30km, 2 cars

Of course we got up at around noon the next day. The girls went swimming and before we wanted to depart we wanted to make some pasta. But the water was just about to boil when the camping gas went empty, so we ate some Gaspacho and baguette with cheese and tomatoes.

The girls then left me at hotel where I sent some Couchsurfing request for Lisbon and continued towards Portugal. But I only got to Tui, the Spanish border town. But foot I continued over a bridge to Portugal. I didn’t have any luck there as well, maybe because already dark. Anyway when I left the spot to go to a possible place to pitch my tent I realised, that there was a pilgrim’s hostel just opposite of my hitchhiking spot. Although it was late, someone opened the door and I was able to sleep in a bed that night.

Day 15, Valença – Mafra via Cabo da Roca; 510km, 4 cars, not so much waiting time

T15 Valenca-MafraThe next morning I went to the spot again and it didn’t take much time, since the first car stopped. I also replaced my “Lisboa” sign with a “Porto” sign. At the service area I ate breakfast and was then picked up by an engineer who first thought I was a girl… He drove a brand new Audi A8. It had a lane departure warning system (so in theory it could keep the lane automatically). But when I showed me, we nearly crashed into the beam barrier. At noon he invited me for lunch.
When I was close to Cabo da Roca (the westernmost point of Europe), an old lady, Linda, stopped. She spoke French and, because nobody was waiting for her at home as she said, drove me around. In the end she even let me crash at her place.
Apart from regular speed radar controls, there are cameras on the traffic lights that register speeding and turn the lights to red. That’s a pretty nice concept, I guess.

Day 16, Mafra – Lisbon I; 55km, 1 car, some minutes waiting time

Before I went to Lisbon, Linda showed me the cosy surfer village of Ericeira and then brought me to the highway entrance. From there I got to Campo Grande, in the north of Lisbon. I haven’t had any reply from a CS host yet, so I sat down in the cool park, read and apparently ate too much chocolate and peanuts – but I’ll come to this later on.

In the early afternoon I decided I waited enough and walked zigzag towards the centre. So I got a good first impression of the city.

But somehow my stomach started to hurt and the hostels I asked for room had prices starting 20€ per night. So I decided to go to the 10km far away camping site although I felt weaker and weaker and made multiple stops on the way. I already had the feeling, but then I reached a point, where my stomach couldn’t reach it any more. I spare the details, but was “happy” to find a quite hidden place to let it happen….damn low quality but cheap peanuts.

I felt a little better and trailed myself further. I didn’t reach the camping site, but a place next to the highway that somehow part of a park but separated by some building. But I couldn’t care less in that situation, pitched my tent and had a horrible night and drank all 3 litres of my water.

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Day 14


Day 15


Day 16

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Day 11-13, Ézaro – Cée – Finisterra – Cangas – Ponteareas

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Day 11, Ézaro – Cée via Fisterra; 45km, 1 car

T11 Ezaro-CeeAfter having gained enough sleep I was guided by a local fisherman to the tourist information to get some hints about Monte Pindo where I intended to hike. After I assured the lady behind the desk multiple times, that I will return before she closes (sooner than 7 hours from that time), I could leave my backpack there.

The mountain area was affected by a huge fire a couple of months before, so dead black trees rose between the stones everywhere. On the peak the view of the beaches was nice and it was possible to see even Fisterra (Finisterra – The end of the world).

Two hours before the information desks closed I arrived and could visit Fisterra together with a Spanish-French couple. In ancient time Fisterra was believed to be the end/westernmost point of the known world (Europe and Asia). It was the official final destination of the Camino de Santiago as well and it seemed common to burn a part of clothes, which resulted in many small fires and a strange smell of burnt shoes and T-Shirts.
Because it was Thursday I wanted to check out the festival in Cée. The couple drove me there, I pitched my tent next to a church after I reassured two times, that nobody would care. Unfortunately it was not a traditional festival but only a commercial whoopee. At least when I came back, neither of my things was stolen, which I was a little afraid of. That is one negative fact when travelling alone.

Day 12, Cée – Cangas; ~160km, 6 cars

T12 Ezaro-CangasIt was Friday and I intended to stay the week-end in the Portuguese national park of Gêres. After two rides, I had to walk through a small town and ate two super delicious balls of ice – white chocolate and pistachio.

Later that day I ended up partying with 3 Spanish girls, but before hitched with 5 different cars, went too far and had to hitchhike back. Then Matilda, Moira and Icía stopped. They were on a week-end trip to relax at the beach and do some partying. While we drove Matilda and Moira, who was driving, were already preparing for relaxation smoking one joint after another. First we drove to a beach and to a spot which seemed to be famous for its sunsets. Then we drove to an octopus party in Cangas. Due to the high prices at the party, the girls asked some police men where to go instead. There they ordered multiple different meals: pizza-like pieces with seafood, cucumber called “Padros” (if I’m not mistaken) that can be very spicy or not – it was lottery and dumplings.

It was very delicious and made me full until next after-noon. Before we returned, we went to a bar and ordered Liquor-café, which is what the name describes and very tasty.

We pitched our tents near the beach we’ve been early that (or the previous) day although according to a sign it was forbidden and could be fined with 600 EUR. Anyway at 4.30am it was time to close the eyes.

Day 13, Cangas – Ponteareas; 55km

T13 Cangas-PonteareasWe spent a calm day at the beach and I did a little hiking tour with Icía around the coast. I was sure I wouldn’t need any shoes, but it was a very bad, stupid and painful idea. After my feet were kind of painfree again it was also time to visit a small festival. We made many detours before we arrived there. Then we ate some can food and joined the festival at midnight.

Around 30 people were attending the “festival”, where fortunately no electronic music was played. The place was outdoors. It was basically kind of a parking lot with access to a small river. In the middle were the speakers and the DJ. We danced till the early morning respectively when the music was shut down. But because there was still some cakes and beer left, we were given two litres of the delicious – and in my opinion only real beer in whole Spain – Estrella Galicia (Star of Galicia). At 6am we returned to our tents.

 

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Day 11


Day 12-13

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