Trip Start Apr 18, 2014
Trip End May 04, 2014

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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Catalonia,
Tuesday, April 29, 2014

On Sunday, at least I think it was, but it's hard to keep track anymore, which was also our 1 year anniversary, we left Carcassonne in the morning.

Setting out for another long drive, it was time to say goodbye to France. We spent a good chunk of the day driving, and began to find our way into some extremely beautiful terrain as our bus took us through the Pyrenees. As we entered Andorra, a "country" of about 50000 known for shopping and skiing, we topped out at about 7000ft. Our driver pulled over at one point so those Aussies and Kiwis on board who had never seen snow could make a snowball for the first time.

The town, Andorra la Vella, was nice and did offer some decent prices, a steal compared to over-priced France, with clothing prices comparable to those of Canada and bottles of wine starting at just 99 cents! (And btw all tax is already included). It was chilly at ~5000ft, and after about 90 mins, we were off again with no major purchases in hand. We also had our first experience with Catalan, and some shopkeepers who couldn't speak English. However, there was some common ground in basic French.

Entering Spain, we experienced our largest hassle to date at a border crossing, when the guards asked our driver a few questions for about 2 minutes, much less than we routinely experience at Buffalo. We still only have one new stamp in our passports. We stopped at a gas station where we could see the mountain of Montserrat in the background and were very refreshed at how cheap Spain is. A cerveza at the gas station for 65 cents and food at similar prices to Canada. We had a driving tour of Barcelona as soon as we arrived, with stops near the Olympic stadium overlooking the city and a photo-op in front of la Sagrada Familia, which will be touched on more in the next post.

We checked in, then lady for an early dinner at 8:30-9:00. Seriously, most restaurants in Spain are barely open yet. We enjoyed sangria, some potato cake things, meatballs, potatoes with ketchup and mayo, and croquettes of some sort. We also got a bottle of cava( Spanish champagne) so that our table could toast to our marriage. After dinner was time for some Barcelona nightlife, but again, going out at 11-12 and coming home at 2, we were a little early for most of the action. We are all on edge about pickpockets, as apparently they are rampant in Barcelona, and left our wallets in the room. We also can't believe the constant harassment from vendors trying to earn a living but hassling you to buy roses, or hats, or glasses that light up, or other garbage when you are sitting at a table eating dinner or are in a bar, never mind on the street.

More on Barcelona mañana,

Steph and James
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