The rain in Spain

Trip Start Feb 18, 2004
Trip End Dec 05, 2005

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Thursday, May 6, 2004

I was beginning to think it's always sunny in Spain, but then the last couple days I was in Sevilla it started to get a bit cloudy and kind of cool. Well, when I left for Cordoba it was raining and that trend continued for a while. I only stopped in Cordoba for a bit to look around town and see the castle. I can't remember too much about it so I obviously should've spent more time there. From there I went to Ronda. It's a cool small town up high on a cliff with a gorge splitting the old and new town. There's a big bridge spanning between the two and impressive views (more impressive if it wasn't cloudy and rainy). I saw a bit of the Simpsons in Spanish while I was there...that was funny. And it was an episode I hadn't seen before (Homer writes a song about hating Ned Flanders then they run off to a ranch).

I took the train on to Granada and hiked up some slippery hills to my hostel, the Rambutan. There were great views of the Alhambra from there.

I went right off to the Alhambra, got my ticket and eventually got in to look around. The Alhambra is another castle built by the Moops (Moors :) ) and was their last holdfast before the Spanish drove them out of Spain. It's BIG and has some cool architecture (and carvings). I wandered back into town and the plazas were filling up with people for a fiesta (I guess May 1 is a holiday of some sort). Each plaza had tents setup with music blasting and were serving beer and food. I wandered around checking out the various plazas and went back to the one I liked best (figuring participating in a fiesta would be better than seeing more tourist sites). By that time, it was fairly packed with young people drinking, dancing and having a general good time. At one point they played the theme song from the A-Team and people were excited and dancing. There were quite a few songs that sounded like melodies I knew, but set to Spanish lyrics. I met some Australians having a good time (they were easy to pick out) then ran into a couple Spanish girls I had met up at the Alhambra. I hung out with the Spanish girls, but turns out they must be the only girls in Spain not into dancing/partying. Nevertheless, we stayed out 'til around 12:30am. I went back to the hostel and there was a mini-party going on there so I hung out with people there another hour or so before passing out in bed. Me duele en la cabeza maņana. I decided I'd take a night bus (trains full) from Granada to Valencia even though I've hated those in the past so that gave me the day to wander around Granada and see more sites. The fiesta was going strong again by late afternoon. I just hung out and watched mostly this time. I think I liked the informal party of Granada much more than Feria in Sevilla.

So then begins the traumatic tale of my overnight bus ride to Valencia... I knew from past experiences that overnight bus rides are never fun (can't sleep, several stops, etc...). I get on and am seated next to a large man with a prosthetic arm that he repeatedly jabs into me throughout the trip. He smells, he talks to himself and snores. Somebody save me! Eventually I put my inflatable pillow between me and this guy's arm to spare me from being constantly elbowed. I have absolutely nothing good to say about the trip. It sucked in all ways. Anyway, it did get me to Valencia. I took a bus to the central plaza area and went looking for a place to stay in the rain. A couple hostals I checked were full (most were closed) and the only other places open were expensive hotels. I thought, "well, there's not much here but plazas and beach (in rain) so I'll just go to Barcelona". So I did.

I got checked into a pension in Barcelona then went looking around the city at some of the sites. Barcelona has A LOT to see. At the Picasso museum, there were some ladies from the southern USA looking at the paintings and saying "that's horrible". I wonder if they even knew who Picasso was before coming to the museum (their guidebook probably recommended it to them). My favorite things were his early drawings - they looked like typical doodles of people you do when you're bored. The second day I got checked into a hostel and went looking around at all the Gaudi stuff - La Pedrera, Park Guell and Segrada Familia.

I met a guy from Portland and we went out for tapas and drinks. He told me about this cruise he did from Genoa (Italy) to Barcelona that was fun so that put the possibility of doing that into my head. I checked the weather for Andorra and southern France for the next several days and saw lots of rain in the forecast (hiking and beach in the rain aren't so much fun), so the cruise was sounding better. Thursday turned out to be sunny...not so warm, but sunny. I got myself a ticket for the cruise and spent the rest of the day casually hanging out in the park or by the beach. Barcelona seems to incorporate several aspects I experienced around the rest of Spain - plaza to hang out in (Salamanca, Madrid), beaches (Cadiz, Tarifa), pedestrian promenades, big cathedral (Santiago, Sevilla). It's very artsy with sculptures and architecture too. It's a great place to finish up a trip around Spain. ...but not to worry, I plan on being back in late August for La Tomatina.
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