In response to specific requests, I am resurrecting the blog to write about our recent trip to Spain and my upcoming trip to Nepal.
I really had no desire to visit Spain … and then I met Keith and he began talking nonstop about wanting to visit … and I gave in. After the trip, I can’t say I hate him for forcing me to go.
When planning the trip, we couldn’t decide which city we wanted to visit so we narrowed it down to Barcelona, Seville, Cordoba and Madrid. Each city had unique characteristics and will be remembered for specific things but our daily routine was relatively stable. We walked until our feet hurt (averaged over 9 miles a day). We ate A LOT of cured meet, cheese and tapas. Manchego cheese happens to be my favorite cheese and coincidentally it’s a Spanish cheese so I was a happy camper. Looking back I think we ate squid or octopus at every meal. We also drank A LOT of sangria and wine. I slept more than I recall ever sleeping in my life. I slept in until about 10:00 am and took a nap from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm almost every day. I was also forced to stay up later than my normal 9:00 pm bedtime. Dinner in Spain is typically 9:00 pm to 12:00 am and I had no option but to oblige since restaurants (and everything else) close for siesta from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
We left to the airport Thursday 9/1 afternoon with plenty of time not to repeat any nightmares from our previous vacation to Grenada. Upon arriving in Barcelona, we went directly to our Airbnb in El Born neighborhood. This area was amazing and I can’t imagine our experience would have been near as great if we stayed anywhere else. Every street was a narrow cobblestone alley. It felt like we were walking in a movie. When I dream of returning to Spain I will dream of returning to El Borne.
While in Barcelona, we walked to the touristy sites. On Saturday, we visited everything Gaudi including Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Casa Batlló, and Casa Calvet. The word “gaudy” has a new meaning to me. We did not go in any of these structures, which is my number one regret from our trip.
On Sunday, we hiked to Mount Montjuic and Olympic Park. I had read online this would be a decently strenuous hike and not trekked by tourist often. Little did we realize how serious they were. By the end, Keith was literally dragging me home. He bribed me with new tennis shoes if I could make it. Monday we went to Mercado de La Boqueria. This market was my happy place. Booths of cured meats, seafood and fruits as far as you can see. We grabbed a quick bite to eat before jumping on the train to Seville.
In Seville we stayed in an Airbnb in the Macarena neighborhood. We immediately found our favorite restaurant from the trip. The foods were amazing and the price was incredible. The restaurant listed menu items with two price columns next to each item. When ordering we assumed the column with the lower price (2€ to 4€) was lunch and the higher price (7€ to 9.5€) was dinner. WRONG! Our meal including a glass of sangria, a glass of wine, and 5 tapa dishes was 22.5€!!!
Wednesday we woke up early to head to Cordoba for the day. We had booked our train tickets before realizing the intricacies of the culture in Spain. You see we booked our tickets with a goal to optimize time in Cordoba by leaving Seville to go to Cordoba at 8:30 am and leaving Cordoba to return back to Seville at 9:00 pm. Little did we realize 1. we would be out late the night before and not want to wake up early, 2. literally every shop and restaurant shuts down at 4:00 pm and don’t reopen until 7:00 pm or 9:00 pm and 3. it would be 110 degrees outside. We made the best of our time in Cordoba by again walking around to all touristy things. Keith hates the heat but he was a good sport. He spotted all semi shady areas and ran between trees and building shadows. He even held on to our list of “10 things to do in Cordoba” to block the sun.
Thursday evening we hopped back on the train to go to Madrid. We arrived in Madrid after midnight and went straight to the hotel to turn in for the evening. Friday we woke up dragging but forced ourselves to keep pushing to the city. It didn’t take us long to realize Madrid was more like New York City then not. We also realized we had walked an average of 9 miles per day and decided we deserved to go back to the hotel to relax.