30th & 31st - San Sebastian
Quite an amazing place, a large shell shaped beach surrounded by the town, with the far Southern tip being an old fort with a large statue of Christ at the top. It is like a massive ultra-stylish resort.After setting up camp we caught the bus into town and followed the beach along to Parte Vieja. This is the old quarter an area of tiny streets lined with fashion shops or pintxos. We indulged and picked the busiest pintxos bar we could find and then we finished it off with calimochos (coke & red wine). We discovered the church of Santa Maria del Coro. For the rest of the afternoon we roamed through the streets of the newer San Sebastian before relaxing with a couple of drinks (I write drinks because when we ordered, the waitress asked a whole lot of extra questions in Spanish and we both just said 'Si', however it worked out well as Meeks ended up with a cup of melted chocolate & I got an espresso with a dob of cream on-top). We then finished the day off with more quintessential Spanish cuisine Paella & Sangria. The next day we walked to the top of Mt Igueldo before relaxing the afternoon away at the beach.
1st - A 9hr driving day, from the North all the way to the South of Spain. Despite the length it actually went quite quick, with the amazing arid almost desertlike landscape, our attempts at trying to catch a photo of one of the massive black bull outlines on the side of the road and the homesick remedy of podcasts of Hamish & Andy and Hughesy.
2nd & 3rd - Granada
We caught the bus into town and spent the morning walking around Albayzin, a maze of cobbled streets with Arabic goods for sale throughout (quite a similar feeling to Zanzibar, without the dodgy undertone feel). We then had lunch at a Lebanese Restaurant before getting a little lost; after the third time of passing the same bar we decided it was an omen, so we polished off a little more Sangria and when we left we arrived exactly where we had been trying to get the whole time. We then had a siesta before heading out to a Flamenco show. The next day we spent the afternoon walking around Alhambra, a massive palace/castle, built by the Moors (ancient Islamic race). Alhambra was built and was under Islamic rule until overtaken by the Christians in the holy wars, at the time it was thought to be the grandest palace in the Muslim world and it's not hard to see why. This was our first glimpse into Moorish architecture and decoration, the intricate detail was just amazing. We then finished the night off with some Arabic food and made this one of our first days since the trip began to be alcohol free.
4th - Altea
After spending the previous few days sight-seeing in temperatures of well above 40 degrees we decided it was time to spend a couple of days relaxing by the Mediterranean. Well what a great choice Altea was, a trendy resort town, with some beautiful beaches. The beaches were a beautiful white stone. We enjoyed our first dip in the Med and learning how to swim with thongs on your feet to avoid the sharp pebbles.
5th & 6th - Valencia
We caught up with Greg a mate from work & his lovely new Spanish wife Theresa. We spent the afternoon checking out the beach, walking along what was the formula one track only a couple of weeks ago and looking at the all the new infrastructure created for the America's cup race. We chilled the early night away at a local bar before returning back to Greg & Theresa's, where Greg cooked us up a Spanish tortilla with an Aussie/Saudi touch. We spent the next day walking through the town of Valencia with our tour guides Greg & Theresa, we visited the local markets, a large gothic style building which used to be the trade centre, saw the massive GPO and walked through more of the old town before laying into a serious amount of tapas for lunch. We also tasted our first Bon-Bon (shot of espresso with condensed milk), a tradition we will definitely bring back to Oz. In the afternoon we saw the church of the virgins and another church which has a saint's arm in it. We saw one of the two watch towers in the city which used to be connected to the large walls which surrounded the city, we then visited the opera house (basically a modern version of Sydney's) and all the very modern area that has been built around it. We also saw the lovely park lands through the centre of the city which used to be a river before it was diverted. Before leaving Valencia we were able to have a Paella with locals (pronounced pae - ya).Served in a massive wok type dish - after a massive carb overload it is easy to see why the siesta was invented.Unfortunately the aioli from yesterday wasn't quite agreeing with Chris' stomach, so he had to skip this Valencia famous dish
7th, 8th & 9th - Barcelona
That afternoon we headed for Barcelona where we met up with Russ, who arrived after a mammoth l.14hr train trip from France.After waking the next morning to find our car not where we had parked, we spent the morning at the Barcelona council car impound lot, apparently your car gets towed if you park in a no standing area for too long… well 200 euros and half a day later we had our car back. This story will always be remembered where we tried to save 24euros in the hotel carpark and lost 200 L We all then explored Park Guell, designed to be a residential park but was a massive failure turned government park. It also housed Gaudi's house and many other statues and architectural pieces that he completed. Plus we got to sit on the worlds longest park bench. We then did a quick walk down the main street of town before heading to La Sagrada Familia a massive church that was designed by Gaudi. A highly ambitious project that began in 1827 and is looking like it will still be another 30 or so years before completion. What a crazy church it is, with one of the planned towers to reach 180m, 18 bell towers, and the outside decorated in scenes of the bible so that people don't have to go inside, it is definitely one of our favourite churches so far! Gaudi believed that nature had all the solutions to architecture problems and designed the roof to look like trees and pillars to look like human legs. We then spent the evening walking around the gothic quarter before grabbing some tapas and sangria. We then headed down to the Ramblas, saw the statue of Christopher Columbus and checked out the new docks. The next day we headed straight to our new favourite coffee shop before exploring the rest of the Gothic quarter and walked up the rest of the Ramblas, visiting a local food market and saw an amazing amount of statue type street performers. We then headed out to the Olympic park before spending the afternoon watching a game at the international beach volleyball tournament. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking along the main beach before accidently ending up at the wrong part as it was a gay nudist beach. We finished the day with a few beverages at fairy bar, a funky little bar decorated with trees, waterfalls, gnomes and obviously fairies.
10th & 11th - Tossa De Mar
We spent a couple of days in an amazing campsite basically on the beach just outside the coastal village of Tossa De Mar. With a cute quaint little village and endless small stone beaches all with their own bars it was a case of relaxing the days away. We also tried our first absinthe shot, something will not be tried again. On our way out of Tossa De Mar we saw something we had heard about, yet hadn't seen, women on the side of the road on a sun lounge in a bikini next to a corn field, they are hookers, so if any take your fancy you can just park and go into the corn field!