Spain Part 1

Day 106: June 26, 2018

We slept in a very long time this morning. My alarm went off at 9:00 am before we realized how late it was. We really needed the sleep.

We wandered out to the hall and met our host’s husband, Peter. He brought out breakfast for us. He mentioned that his wife had knocked on the door the night before to ask when we would like breakfast, but we slept right through it.

We had toast, cereal, meats and cheeses for breakfast. Peter seemed like quite a character and we were disappointed we weren’t staying longer. He suggested parking at the border to Gibraltar rather than driving in. The car line up over the border is always long and there is not a lot of parking in Gibraltar.

We parked with the intention of catching a bus on the other side of the border. We got through the border no problem then realized we didn’t have small change for the bus. We resolved to walk the forty minutes to the cable car. The airport runway crosses the road into Gibraltar. The cars were backed up and the pedestrians were stopped as a plane took off.

After about a ten minute wait we were allowed to cross. We walked along the main street which was full or people and shops. It seemed very quaint and I immediately loved it. We bought round trip tickets for the cable car. You could also buy a walker’s ticket or a nature reserve ticket to see other sites, but we didn’t think we would have time. It was a six minute ride up the cable car. At the top there were a couple of platforms you could look out from. There was also a cafe where you could pick up a free audio guide. It had some interesting information.

Rock of Gibraltar

We saw some of the monkeys around. They are barbary macaques and are the only wild monkey population in Europe. Approximately 300 live in Gibraltar Nature Reserve. There is a fine of 4,000 pounds for anyone caught feeding them. The monkeys are fed and watered by the staff to ensure they don’t venture into the town.

Danny was going to take a picture of me next to one monkey when another jumped on his backpack. It was pretty funny until the monkey started opening the top of the bag. I tried to get him off, but I was scared he would bite me. Eventually, Danny bent down and he jumped off.

From the top, there was a beautiful view of the bay in Gibraltar. You could also see the port at Algeciras and across to Africa. We went back down and walked along the main street. We stopped at a book store and I got a new book. Then we stopped for gelato which was amazing. I’ve been disappointed the last couple of times I had ice cream, but this was top drawer.

We walked back across the border and to the car. We stopped at a grocery store to pick up groceries for the next couple of days. We weren’t able to do any of the other things Danny had planned as we were already running late.

We drove to our next Airbnb just north of Granada with one stop at a gas station for a bathroom break and lunch (salad pack with tuna). It was delicious, likely because we haven’t had many vegetables the last couple of weeks. We’ve been filled with bread and restaurant food. It will be nice to cook our own meals again.

We arrived at the Airbnb and were shown the place. It is just big enough for the two of us and will be a nice place to relax for a bit. The host didn’t speak English, but was able to tell us everything we needed to know. They have a beautiful German Shepherd and Golden Retriever. Both very friendly. I called and chatted with my parents which was really nice. Danny went for a run then made supper. We watched some more history videos then hit the hay.

I never felt unsafe in Egypt or Morocco, but I did feel uncomfortable. Maybe it was partly due to being a white minority and sometimes a female minority in the streets. It felt like a relief today to be wearing shorts and a tank top and not feel like I was being looked at. I felt like I could stand with my head up whereas in Egypt and Morocco I felt I had to keep my head down. As much as I enjoyed the two countries, it is nice to be in a more familiar culture.

Day 107: June 27, 2018

We woke up and had yogurt for breakfast which was a nice change from all the bread we’ve eaten in the last couple of weeks. We decided we would have a relax day as we were both overtired. I watched some 13 Reasons Why before we drove into town. I mailed the postcards I bought in Morocco. It’s hard trying to switch to a different language again. Danny and I were practicing our French on the ferry. We were surprised how much we both remember from high school. Our Spanish, however, is basically non-existent.

We came back and Danny booked hotels for his trip to Beaumont-Hamel. We had sandwiches for lunch then I laid down for a nap. I was awoken by the host’s family playing in the pool. His wife was playing with their granddaughter saying, “Hupa, hupa, hupa….” over and over. I decided to do some reading instead. Danny made gnocchi and broccoli for supper.

We started watching Crash Course: World History on YouTube from the beginning which is pretty interesting. We have become much more interested in history and religion since we started this trip. We went to bed after watching about ten of the ten minute videos.

Day 108: June 28, 2018

Yogurt for breakfast again. Danny had booked a via ferrata tour today, but after looking into it a bit more discovered the physical difficulty would be very hard. We would be climbing basically straight up. He found a hike to do in Sierra Nevada instead. Sierra Nevada is a mountain range near Granada and contains the highest point in continental Spain.

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Boca de la Pesca

We drove there through a nice forest. We parked just inside the park boundary and started our walk. We realized we could have driven up further, but it wasn’t a hard walk. We weren’t sure where the trail head was located so started walking one way. There was a sign that said, “Private”. We looked back and Danny said, “I think we are supposed to be over there.” So we walked back down then up the opposite path. It wasn’t too tough of a walk up Boca de la Pesca. At the top you could see into a valley of Sierra Nevada and the opposite way you could see over the plains to Granada. We ate our salad lunch there then climbed back down.

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Sierra Nevada

I was feeling a bit down this morning after being bored yesterday. It was nice to be outside in the fresh air and not surrounded by people. Back at the car we drove to Gaudix. It has a neighbourhood of troglodyte houses carved into the rocks. We walked up to the rocks above the houses and it seemed like more houses were going to be there. The houses were very interesting. I wish we could have gone inside.

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Houses in Gaudix

On our drive back I was downloading some music and my internet stopped working. Somehow since we landed in Spain my SIM card from Greece was still giving me internet. I must have had some money left on it. We went into town and both got SIM cards for the month. We also went into a store that was similar to Walmart. It was pretty fun to walk around. All the stores we’ve been to in the last month have been small. We picked up some items for lunch tomorrow then drove home. I made taco salad for supper and Danny chatted with his parents before bed.

Day 109: June 29, 2018

It is so easy to get behind on journalling. I catch up then get relaxed again and fall behind. We started our drive to Seville by checking out a couple of sites we missed on our drive from Gibraltar to Granada. The first stop was Júzcar. Sony Pictures painted all the houses in the town smurf-blue to celebrate the new movie. The town has voted since to re-paint, but it has brought so many tourists that the town votes it down.

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Júzcar

There were some murals as we walked around town. Gargamel was even hiding in the shadows. Papa Smurf was hanging out in the main part of town.

We stopped and had a fresh orange juice then continued our drive. We drove to Ronda where there is a very interesting set of three bridges. The road down to the viewpoint was a bit iffy, but we made it. We ate our lunch near there then drove on to Seville.

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Ronda Bridges

We were early to check in so we sat on some benches in a nearby park and laid down for some quiet time. We are both still recovering from lack of sleep. We checked in and the hosts’ parents showed us the place. They spoke a bit of English and lived just across the hall. The apartment was very nice. There was a bunch of breakfast food as well.

We had some toast with peanut butter as pre-supper and I made tea. I soon realized what I thought was sugar was actually salt. My tea had to go down the sink.

We ordered a myTaxi, which is similar to UberTaxi, to take us to our Flamenco dance class. We arrived a bit early. We were allowed into the studio to watch an intermediate class. I’ve never seen Flamenco before and didn’t realize how it is so passionate. There was lots of stomping which I thought I would really enjoy to participate in.

Our class started and we chatted with a mom and daughter from the USA. They were shocked when we told them about our year of travel.

For the class, the women were given little shawls to wear around the waist and a flower for the hair. Danny was given a scarf to wear around his neck or waist. We started with some basic steps to get the feel. By the end we had a routine that we danced to with music. It was really fun. It didn’t matter if you messed up or couldn’t remember as it was only one class.

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Flamenco dance class

After the class we walked into the old town of Seville. We saw the Cathedral which was very impressive. This is our first time in Spain so I was shocked by the size and ornamentation of it.

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Catedral de Sevilla

We walked through the old town to Bar Europa which was suggested to us by someone on our Morocco tour. We ordered a salad that had ice cream and a couple of tapas not knowing how large they would be. When we finished them we ordered two more. They were all very good as well as our wine.

After supper we got some ice cream and walked towards our Airbnb for a bit. Once my feet were getting sore we tried calling a myTaxi, but no one wanted to pick us up. We ended up walking the full hour back. There were lots of locals out eating. We got back to our apartment and went to bed right away.

Tomorrow we continue our road trip into Portugal. I wish we had a bit more time in Seville as it seemed to be a very nice city. We are both still quite tired and are looking forward to some relaxing in Portugal.

M

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