We have just spent the last twelve days trekking around Spain in our beloved Pug. We collected our friend Han from the airport in Barcelona and set out from there.
As per usual, we decided to do things the hard way, and only discovered when we were merrily sitting outside Terminal Two that we had no idea which terminal Han was arriving at. After a sprint up and down by yours truly (difficult when you’ve been eating carbs on carbs for the previous three weeks) we discovered that Han should in fact be in Terminal One! A quick hoon across the car park and we were there. Meanwhile Han had been standing inside of the terminal, terrified about going outside as the last person who called her in NZ reminded her that the movie ‘Taken’ does have true elements to it….Excellent!
We made our way into Barcelona centre and for the next three days hit the sights. We strolled Las Ramblas, paraded down the ocean promenade and stood in awe of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia. It hit Han hard that Spain actually has winter and that her three bikinis might not get a showing. We were also surprised by how FREEZING it was. Spain gets cold, who knew!? Despite this, the discovery of Snickers ice-creams was promptly followed by the purchase and consumption of the ice-cold treats. I can confirm that they are truly delectable and purely based on their existence and lack of availability in New Zealand I would move to Europe.
From Barca we were due west in Madrid where we were staying at the local YWAM (Youth with a Mission) base. Our decision to stop at the hills of Monserrat was rewarded with amazing views before driving the further five hours cross country. After three nights sharing a room at the Barcelona Travelodge, it was truly luxury! Our own kitchen, our own bedrooms and a lounge! We set up camp and cooked for ourselves every night! Huzzah!
The first morning we were there, Mr Kiss received news that he may have to present for a Skype interview later that night (morning NZ time) and with a beard/yeard that had the potential to be plaited and disheveled hair that stood on end, we knew something drastic had to be done for him to be considered an appropriate and sane looking candidate. It was with great sadness that the beard met its trimmy end and we headed into the centre in search of a hairdresser that wouldn’t make him look like a sleazy 80’s rock star (seemingly rather difficult). We wandered the streets of Madrid checking out the park, the Plaza Mayor and the main shopping streets where we needed to take a time out after Han and I managed to get separated from Mr Kiss and nearly have ourselves pick pocketed. Day one without the beard and we were targets! We managed to find a hair dresser and then took ourselves back to the safety of YWAM.
Justin’s sister, Alexandra is currently living in Spain and was arriving to Madrid airport the next day. We collected her and made our way down country to the small town of Jaén. Here we were able to meet some of her friends who have come to study there from all over the world. We enjoyed real tapas… although in unfortunate fashion the waiter managed to spill an entire glass of red wine over me…. his response was Madre Mia! and a complimentary plate of chicken nuggets… unusual to say the least but who can be angry after getting free chicken nuggets!
While in the south we managed to have a night in Seville and it has been by far one of the most beautiful places we have been to. At every turn there are beautiful alleys, classic buildings with amazing wrought iron balconies and of course the key attractions of the Plaza de España, Alcazar and Metropol Parasol. Walking though the city was relaxing as the sun shone on our faces and we breathed in the wonderful warm air.
We briefly returned to Jaén to wish the Sis a merry christmas and after a quick stop in Valencia we are now back in Barcelona! As I write this Mr. Kiss is driving the car back to France after farewelling Han at the airport this afternoon. We’ve had a blast in Spain and seen some amazing things – we will definitely be back. With just over two weeks left in Europe we will spend the next couple of days rationalising our belongings before heading to Berlin. Christmas Markets, here we come!