Our trip to Spain in August 2015 started in earnest in Barcelona. We spent most of the next 4 weeks in Spain, with a side trip into Portugal.
We hired rental cars for most of the trip, driving roughly East to West across the north, down into Portugal and across to Córdoba, then up to Madrid.
I’d visited Spain briefly a couple of times before and had loved it. Deb wouldn’t have chosen Spain for a holiday for herself, but soon found that she loved it too.
We were on the move for the whole trip, generally staying somewhere new each night. We also avoided the cities, in favour of quirky small, somewhat remote locations.
02 September 2015: We arrived at Hotel Ronda in central Barcelona at midnight after some 14 hours of flying and another 4 to 6 hours of getting to and from airports, waiting for flights, going through screening and so on.
I relive last year’s fantastic holiday by bringing posts over from the trip blog. This doesn’t aim to be identical to the trip blog, but an improvement, with text edits and more / better photos. Find all these posts under the tag: Spain2015.
We flew Lufthansa from Shanghai, and what a difference from Air NZ! There was more leg room, the food was much better, the crew seemed more attentive. The lunch meal we were given included an extremely delicious black pepper beef and rice dish I would happily go to a restaurant to eat.
I don’t know if it was some kind of mistake for us in the cheap seats, but we were even given real metal cutlery to eat lunch with. I found that bizarre, as the screeners had confiscated my Swiss Card because it contained an almost microscopic knife. I’d researched the rules and believed the Card would be OK (it had my favourite nail scissors in it), but wasn’t about to argue the point with the authorities.
See my post The pocketknife secret.
Where the tiny knife in my Card was handy for slicing through packing tape, or trimming a loose thread, it would be hard to imagine using it as a weapon, on a plane or anywhere else. If I wanted to damage someone or something, the metal cutlery I ate my lunch with would have been handy tools.
It’s hot in Barcelona — 29 degrees again today — so after a stroll down Las Ramblas this morning we enjoyed a siesta before taking the Metro to the Sagrada Familia cathedral-in-progress this afternoon.
I visited this cathedral some 30 years ago and was awe-struck at that time. An old-hand now, I wasn’t taken aback in the same way, but still find it intriguing, fascinating, provocative. The more you look, the more there is to see.
I love that it’s not a ‘comfortable’ cathedral, in the way so many are. It’s unpredictable, you don’t know what you may see next. You have to ask why there are fruits decorating some parts, texts writ large in other parts, saints, lions and all the other characters to be found in the work.
See my post New Zealand beers: zero for zero for more about 0% beer.
We sat over the road at a cafe table for a while drinking a beer. In my case that was a zero alcohol beer. Who even knew there was a zero alcohol beer? It tasted just the way I recall beer tasting.
Barcelona is hot, busy, friendly, vibrant. Deb’s very pleased to be able to breathe easy again, no longer fighting off the effects of the heavy air pollution in Shanghai. I’m thrilled that the air’s clear enough to take decent photos again, though most of my photos today have been disappointing.
Our hotel is almost next door to the Sant Antoni market and only a moment’s walk from the Metro. There’s a well-used public square only a few metres away and plenty of cafes and the like.
We both crashed this afternoon though, so after a lunchtime snack at the Graniere round the corner and buying some fruit and cheese at the market, we spent the evening napping at the hotel.
Tomorrow our plans include picking up a rental car and heading to Montserrat.