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Spain -walking, coffee, tapas, walking, coffee, train, walking.

Written on: Tuesday January 7th, 2014

A journal entry from: Mega Trip

A new year and the beginning of a new adventure. This journey marks Laure and I's first big trip together. After spending a large percentage of our relationship together doing long distance with her in Guelph, this comes as a nice and refreshing break for both of us. 

The goal for this trip was for it to be an adventure. 26 days, 5 different countries, always on the go. 

We left a chilly (-26) North Bay on the morning of December 30th and were dropped off at the airport in Toronto by Laures parents. Although we have done some smaller trips together already, this was our first big trip and first time flying together, so needless to say we were both very excited!

We had a nice and uneventful flight with Jetairways to Brussels for a quick transfer to out first destination of Malaga, Spain. I always enjoy that first deep intake of air when exiting an airport in a new country, and this one did not disappoint. It was a whopping 44 degrees warmer then when we left home! We found our way to our hotel by train and by foot and took a well needed quick rest before heading out to ring in the New Year. 

Our hotel was conveniently located right next to the old town and was quite nice for it's reasonably cheap price with a breathtaking view from its rooftop terrace. We spent the evening walking around the old town and celebrated the New Year in a packed piazza with live music. 

The following morning we headed out for what turned in to a marathon of walking. With no set agenda we explored at will as we saw new areas. There was a beautiful waterfront where we had lunch by the sea, followed up by a walk straight up to an old Muslim castle overlooking the city and sea. Malaga had a strong Muslim influence as it was ruled by Muslims for roughly 800 years until the mid 1400s. It was really neat to see the mix of architecture and designs from the different eras. 

Orange trees seem to be everywhere in the south and add beautiful colour to the streets. In the evening we did a bit of a tapas/bar hop where you receive a drink and a small appetizer together. The key seems to find places on side or back alleys away from the main streets. At one tapas, we enjoyed a drink and app for 2? each! ($3)

The next morning we had a quick breakfast before packing and walking back to the train station to head inland to Seville. The trains is such an easy and comfortable way to travel with lots of leg room and travelling at times over 300km/h without spilling a coffee. 

Seville is a very old city with approximately 700,000 inhabitants. The streets are very narrow and an absolute mess to navigate, but that is what gives it it's charm. It certainly was not built for tall or larger people as my head can brush the ceiling of our hotel staircase and restaurant umbrellas seem to be the perfect hight for me to lose an eye ;)

There are a lot of interesting landmarks to visit from an ultramodern gigantic parasol only a few years old, to early 20th century palaces and churches hundreds of years old. One of which we visited closely is apparently the 3rd biggest in the world. 

After two nights in Seville we made our way by train to Barcelona for three nights. The subway system made it very easy to get around the city, and our hotel was a short four stops from the main train station. As soon as we walked out of the underground, there it was; La Sagrada Familia! 

This was one of the things Laure was most excited for on our trip. Our hotel was located only a few steps away and somehow unknown to us we managed to get an upgrade to a 7th floor room with a direct view of La Sagrada! We had never expected to have a view and to be so close was quite amazing. We walked around a little that night and just took in the city life. Barcelona is the 4th largest economic city in the whole of Europe. 

The following morning we visited La Sagrada, it truly is amazing and unlike any other church that either one of us had seen before. Designed  by renowned architect Antonio Gaudi, it along with his other famous works had brought well needed life to the city after the Spanish Revolution. One must certainly visit this awe inspiring building when in Barcelona. We followed this up by an afternoon in the old town and a little shopping. And to cap off the day we enjoyed a Tapas buffet where we got to try many different foods. 

The next day we explored Parc Guel, also designed by Gaudi. The park offers a beautiful view of the city and coastline. Afterwards, we made our way down to the sea and spent a few hours walking the boardwalks and enjoying the view. The shoreline is so well utilized with bike paths, lanes for runners, boardwalks, lots of nice areas to sit and relax. Home to many yachts and sailing schools, the casino, Olympic village for the 1992 Olympics and much, much more. I loved this area and it really reminded me of the area in which I would windsurf in Australia. To have more time I would have loved to have rented bikes along the waterfront. 

We also went out to a very unique little bar named Absenta which was recommended by Laure's uncle. A really neat spot famous for their absinthe. It was the first time for both of us to try absinthe.  

Although one could probably take a week to see the whole city, I feel like we covered a lot of ground and managed to see a lot. 

All in all the first week of our trip has been really nice and gone by quickly. We have seen a lot and have been very fortunate with the weather, always seeming to just miss the rain by a day or two. The days really have been prefect for travelling with highs of 18-20 and not many tourist or lines to contend with. 

As I say goodbye for now, we are sitting on a TGV in southern France, headed for Cannes for a quick night and then on to Monaco. 

Hope everyone is doing well, thanks for reading. 

David W. 

 

From Carmen on Jan 7th, 2014

David and Laure. thank you for sharing this blog with us. Reading this, I can't help but notice how the two of you have similar interest: history, art, architecture, sports..., great food and sense of adventure just mention a few. We love you and we are thinking of you from our deep freeze village. :)

From Diego on Sep 10th, 2014

Woah nelly, how about them apespl!