Spain part 3: The driving tour
Trip Start Mar 23, 2010
29Trip End Feb 15, 2011
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So a couple of weeks ago when our friends Alex and Magali headed off to Kalymnos, they took our psyche for climbing with them. I was pretty burnt out from climbing non-stop for...I don't know how long. A long time. It was starting to feel like work rather than fun. And it was starting to show in my climbing too. So instead of packing up and heading to Terradets like we had planned, Sam and I decided to retire from climbing and go touristing. So we packed the Peugeot and hit the road.
First stop was Spain's capital, Madrid, which was about a five hour drive from Rodellar. First stop on arrival was 'El Rastro'. These are the biggest street markets in all of Europe. We were there for hours and I know we didn't come close to seeing it alltins of soup. That is art.
After a couple of days, we headed off to Toledo. I guess this is the place where "Holy Toledo!" comes from. Didn't seem that holy. I would have gone with "Holy Vatican!" as a catchphrase, but there's no turning these things around once they've caught on. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage site and a major tourist trap. It's also the region where "Don Quixote a la Mancha" hailed from in Miguel de Cervantes novel of the same name published in the early 1600s. I actually just finished reading this beast of the book before we arrived, so it was nice to see the place with that in mind
We then punched it out to the coastline to Valencia. I was later dissapointed to discover that the Valencia orange was actually developed in California. What a rip! Anyway, Valencia is known for its oranges (there's miles upon miles of fertile orange plantations around the city, particularly to the north). It's also known for the super quality of its agriculture in general, and a lot of the fruit and veg around Spain comes directly from here. The 'Central Market' was absolutely awesome. The quality of the stuff on display was amazing, check out the pics. Sam bemoaned that we have nothing even remotely approaching this in Queensland.
We continued up the coast with a night in Tarragona and then on to Sitges, which strikes me as the Gold Coast of Spain, being only a short drive south of Barcelona. The 20 people with money in Spain all have mansions here and moor their superyachts in the harbour. And if you're gay, this is also your place. Party town. No surprise then that Sam's online research indicated that the best place to get her hair done was - no, not in a salon - in the back room of a house near Sitges owned by a UK expat hairdresser
We're now cooling our heels in Barcelona before flying out to Vietnam via Amman, Jordan tomorrow. Sam loves it as Barca is her fave city after Paris. I'm told it's the new fashion capital of the world and Sam seems to concur. You could go pretty nutty in the shops here.
So this is our final blog from Spain. We now begin the final leg of our world tour - Asia. Bring on the spicy food and cheap knock-offs!