Girona, Good Bye Spain
Trip Start Apr 25, 2007
17Trip End Oct 03, 2007
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Where I stayed
In the morning we had breakfast in the hotel's flower filled courtyard
Having grossly underestimated how long it would take us to make our way up the winding road to Montserrat, we had exactly 20 minutes there to park the car, run to the monastery, look at the Madonna from afar, and run back to the car. I had been there before, but it was still a sight to see those finger-like rocks protrude into the sky, as well as the thousands of tourists and hundreds of tour buses. The entire complex was huge and impressive, nestled into the hillside. All along the way were vendors selling local goodies like honey and cheese as well as souvenir shops selling all sorts of monk-made products. Had we planned it right, we could have hiked up and around those mountains but, happily for Dan, we had to rush to the airport.
The following drive was one of those where your whole body is tense and all you can think about is the fact you are going to miss your flight. We made it to the outskirts of the airport with possible time to spare to fill the rental car with gas, only we missed the entrance to the gas station and found ourselves at the rental car counter. Here was the moment I had been dreading for the past ten days, when I was sure the Hertz employees would shout obscenities regarding their mud-splattered baby, whisk it off to the car wash, and then shout even more obscenities at the long dent down one side
We had spent seven weeks in Spain this time around and had seen more of the country than ever before. We had met more locals, interacted in depth with more people, and spoken more Spanish than I thought was possible! This trip reinforced my previous experiences that Spain really was about the noisy enjoyment of life, food, family, wine, and even religion. I had never seen so many people, from construction workers to street cleaners, walking the streets smiling and singing out loud, nor seen so many people touching each other affectionately while talking, men arm in arm, old couples hand in hand. Spain isn't perfect: the service is slow, the cats are starving, and there is a dire lack of vegetables in restaurants! But when I'm standing in a crowded, noisy bar and the bartender finally reaches over the crowd to hand me a rioja and a tapa, and all I can here around me is Spanish, I'm pretty much in heaven, and I know I'll be back. For now, though, it was on to the Czech Republic.