It’s a fait accompli: we’re going to Spain. Yes, I’ve read about angry Spaniards protesting over the rotten economic situation. And I certainly don’t want to get involved. I haven’t even gotten involved in local (Israeli) demonstrations over the cost of living and so on. Besides – by spending my money, in euros, in Spain, I’m contributing to their economy. So I’m one of the good guys, right?
So the long and the short of it is, we’re flying to Madrid, carrying on to Valencia, stopping there for a few days, in a conveniently located apartment we found on Airbnb, then picking up a rented car and driving south along the coast.
As my readers already know, we don’t just call the last-minute flights company Daka-90 (sorry it’s only in Hebrew), but plan each trip thoroughly in advance: Hubby researches stuff on the Internet, in Michelin and other guides; while I research my wardrobe and break my head over which tops/bottoms/shoes/socks etc to pack, and explore my library to decide which book to take with. Not to mention which face cream, which bag, and so on.
This time, there are two important variables that have varied, or deviated, from the routine:
1. Books. As you know, I am now the proud owner of kindaleh, a.k.a. Kindle Touch 3G . I can take with me three thousand books and not feel it at all. Or at least feel all 215 gr of it. In fact, I now have too much to choose from. Last time we were in Spain, in October 2002, I was reading Tolkien’s The Two Towers, and was just as involved with the fate of Pippin and Merry (who had just escaped the Orcs and were about to enter the forest of Ents) as I was in the fate of Spain, past and present.
2. During that 2002 trip (2 weeks in Spain & Portugal) I kept a travel journal, like I’ve been doing for years on every trip. So now I could consult my notebook, refresh my memory, and make a note of a few things to pay attention to this time around.
Here are a few select insights from that travel journal:
- The coffee was good
- The shrimp were delicious.
- The salads were awful; most restaurants, cafes etc couldn’t for the life of them put together a decent salad.
- Meals were between 30 (at a taverna) to 50 (in the hotel) euro.
- When you’re driving in the mountains, take into account that low clouds can make visibility very poor.
- Where the speed limit is marked as 80 kmh (50 mph), you can count on locals to drive at 110 at least.
- Getting off a highway and trying to find your way to your hotel or your hosts can be very tricky. Whether it was Cordoba, Sevilla or Granada, we went round and round in circles until we got it right.
- Ten years ago, everybody smoked, everywhere. But they were polite about not blowing the smoke in your face, if you asked them (in pantomime; don’t know how to say it Spanish.)
- My French, Spanish and Italian got mixed-but-not-matched in my head, making it difficult for me to find the right word. However, I got one thing right: It’s cervesa in Spanish. As opposed to birra in Italian & Greek, bière in French, pivo in Slovenian, and something unpronounceable, though vaguely familiar, in Thai and in Chinese. Travel is so mind-broadening.