El toro. They have these huge bulls on the side of the highway all over Spain. I was impressed.
As you all know, we went to Spain on a last - minute honeymoon. We have since returned to America and are stressed and pressed for time moving into our new apartment. I was just going to skip blogging about Spain, but after repeated requests for info and pictures, I realized I just couldn't let it slide. We here at "She's Gone Rogue" strive to keep our fans happy, yet we really are exceedingly busy and don't have Internet at home now, so we will try to keep this as short and sweet as possible. And now, courtesy of the free wifi at Atlanta Bread Company all the way in Fayetteville, AR, I present to you: Spain:
Day 1 - Madrid
Flew into Madrid. Got there around 9:00 am. Were exhausted, but knew we had to fight the jetlag. Did the only thing we knew how to do: hit the streets with our guidebook and toured the city until we literally fell over. Took an impromptu nap on a park bench for about an hour after we decided to sit for "just a minute." Woke up with all our belongings still intact. Close call. Ate some delicious Spanish food (ie, jamon). Went to bed around 11pm.
Jamon at the jamon store. Affectionately known as "Matt's Paradise."
Metropolis building in Madrid's city center. Possibly the most beloved building by Madrilenos. Modeled after a French building. Oooh, burn.
Day 2 - Madrid
Awoke refreshed and ready to kick the day's ass. Went to the Prado (famous art museum). Got in for free because it was a holiday. Saved 18 euros. Score. Spent far too long at the Prado, but saw interesting art (mostly religious). Bought a magnet of Goya's depiction of Saturn devouring his son. (Said magnet is now located on refrigerator at home to discourage overeating.) Went to park to drink wine. Went to tapas area at Alberto's suggestion (he thought dis was de best place), and had the first of a long list of the very best tapas in the world. Drank more wine. Went in search of chocolate con churros place. Found it, but the line was far too long. Saw a huge demonstration in the plaza. Didn't know what was going on because didn't speak enough Spanish. Resolved to learn more Spanish. Went to bed.
Delicious pintxos (tapas from the Basque region - arguably the best region for tapas).
Huge demonstration. Maybe political? Who can know?
Day 3 - Segovia
Took the high speed train to the medieval city of Segovia from Madrid. Walked with our two rolling suitcases 30 minutes across cobblestone streets to our hotel. Bad idea. Tooled around. It was cool. Ate the local delicacy, roast suckling pig. Surprisingly good. Went to a castle. Walked up a hill to take pictures. Read on a park bench. Fell asleep on said park bench. Had delicious homemade ravioli dinner. Stayed the night.
Cathedral in Segovia. Muy cool.
Aquaduct left over from Roman times. Very big. Very cool.
Castle on which the "Sleeping Beauty" castle was modeled.
View of Segovia from the park on the hill. Worth the walk.
Day 4 - Granada
Took train back to Madrid from Segovia. Rented a car at the train station. Matt drove, obviously. Drove to Granada, approximately four hours. Incredible drive. Amazing countryside. Couldn't find a fast place to stop for lunch, so we skipped it. Went hungry. Arrived in Granada. Checked into beautiful hotel. Walked around the city. Ate Jamon in the room.
View of countryside on the way to Grenada. Those are olive trees.
Day 5 - Granada
Woke early and drove to , an hour outside of the city. Went on a seven mile hike through the mountains to another city. Would have gone further, but we were completely spent. Hike was amazing - possibly best part of the trip. Possibly.
View of a lake from up in the mountains.
Town we hiked to. Don't know the name of it, but it was really pretty.
Day 6 - Granada
Walked around sightseeing, then went and had an unanticipated two hour lunch at a cafe in the shadow of the Alhambra, a Muslim fortress and palace built in the 14th century. Matt freaked out about the time because we had tickets to see the Alhambra's palace at 7, and had to see the rest of the grounds before that. Ran/walked up the hill to the fortress, and sped through the gardens, museums and fortress. Took lots of pictures. Finished in plenty of time to see the palace. Saw palace. Impressive. Took even more pictures. Went down the hill to dinner at a middle eastern restaurant. Had lamb and rice dish. Delicious.
Panorama of the Alhambra from a touristy hill where everyone goes to take pictures. It probably won't show up fully in the blog, so click the picture to see the whole view. Please. I worked hard on it in photoshop.
View of the city from the fortress.
Inside the palace. This is all carved marble that looks like...
this up close. Someone should learn this skill and come to my house and do it on my walls. Please. I'll pay you handsomely in mediocre home-cooked meals.
Day 7 - Sevilla/Seville
Drove from Granada a couple hours to Sevilla. Ate our first and only paella, which was fantastic and very expensive. Saw a beautiful gothic (maybe?) cathedral. Skipped almost all of the other recommended sights in favor of just wandering around. Ate the BEST tapas and drank beer at an outdoor restaurant just underneath our hotel. Went to bed.
Might not look like much, but that's just because of my photography skills. It was incredible.
Seville Cathedral. It is the largest Gothic cathedral and third largest church in the world. You can't tell, but again, that's because of my limited photography skills.
Days 8 through 10 - Costa Brava
Flew from Seville to Barcelona, then skipped out on all the sights and took a bus to the city of Palafrugell, on the Mediterranean Costa Brava. Checked into a wonderful hotel with a gorgeous beach right under our balcony. Went to said beach. Walked all over town and into neighboring towns to visit different beaches, each possibly more impressive than the last. Saw lots of topless women, and one naked man. On the last day, taxi-ed to Aiguablava, a different but no less amazing costal town. Stayed in a Parador situated on a rock that juts out into the Mediterranean. Learned the meaning of Parador (a hotel located in a historic place such as a castle, palace, convent, monastery, fortresse, etc. I don't know what ours used to be. Not a palace or castle, but it was acceptable anyway). Weather was not up to par on that last day, but what can you do? I'll tell you. You can be persistent, take a walk around the beaches, lay out in the freezing windy conditions by the pool pretending that it is 90 degrees and sunny, and finally give up and go drink wine and play cards in your hotel room.
View of the beach and restaurant from our balcony in Palafrugell.
Beach where we saw the naked man. I don't think he's in this picture, but maybe he is. Feel free to look for him.
A rope seen from afar can look like a dead body. Like this one. I was convinced it was a dead body so I had to go investigate. I was wrong. Still, cool rope.
Day 11 - Barcelona/Madrid
Took a bus back to Barcelona. Didn't learn our lesson from Segovia and took our rolling suitcase around the city sightseeing. Went to La Sagrada Familia, or as I call it, Gaudi's church. Walked around it taking pictures and marveling at all the people who were willing to pay 12 euros a piece to go inside. (Note, probably would have forked it over if it hadn't been our last day... my pockets get a little tighter toward the end of a long vacation.) Took bus to airport to fly back to Madrid. Nicest airport I've been to. Good thing, because our flight was delayed two hours. Flew back to Madrid, stayed the night, left early next morning for Amurca. Boom. Spain.
It appears I don't have any pictures downloaded yet from our Parador on the rocks or Barcelona, so I'll have to get those later. Or not at all. Anyway, that was our honeymoon. Now we're back in Amurca, living in the real world, setting up our new apartment, and reeling from the prices of everything.