Espana

I have finally arrived home from Spain!! After a disastrous day of traveling home yesterday, which included a cancelled flight, I made it back to find it snowing this morning. Worst April Fool’s Day joke gone wrong. I have a slight tan on my face, a burnt chest, and arms that are peeling; I don’t belong in snow! It can’t be denied how pretty it is though. Almost reminds me of Kansas weather…

I’m not exactly sure how to begin my tales of Spain. May be best to just work in chronological order. I’ll skip through some of the boring bits and only share the true gems. So, here it goes:

Day 1: Jill and I arrive in Madrid, only to catch the first bus to Granada. We travelled with our Spanish comrades south and finally made it to the beautiful city by 10:30 P.M.. Upon arriving at Hostal Arroyo we discovered we would be slumbering in the Princess Suite. This is a self-coined names as there is no such placard. It just happened to sit about 80 floors up and was tucked away in the corner. We spruced ourselves up a bit and headed out to find some decent tapas. We stumbled around the streets a bit before settling on a seafood joint. With a sangria sitting in our hands, we were a happy duo. Now, I have debated telling you what happens next, but I must share because it is one mistake I hope you never to find yourself making. In Granada the tapas are free and plentiful. With the ordering of one drink you are treated to a smattering of tasty bites. So, there we are, a couple of Americans just sitting, imbibing in a sweet cocktail and this plate of fried sardines is placed in front of us. I love trying new foods and Jill has no qualms so we just popped those suckers in our mouth. The whole thing; the entire fried fish. I am talking fish head, spine, fins.We assumed this is how you eat it. Thirty minutes later we are sitting at a new table and Jill happens to look at the plate of our neighbors. Her eyes wide, she catches my attention and directs my gaze to follow hers. There, sitting clean and organized on our fellow diners’ plate are discarded bones and heads of the fish. Being natives, they know to eat only the meat and leave the skeletal portion for the trash. Why we didn’t assume this is was the correct, and frankly more palatable option, escapes me. We burst into a fit of laughs, drained our drinks and uttered the phrase that was to follow many more uncomfortable situations, “We need to leave here immediately.” We busted out of that joint, vowing never to show our shamed faces again. We found another tapas bar and were served the World’s Strong Mojito Ever. Again, this is a self-imposed title, but it’s still true. Two ham and cheese sandwiches and a fistful of fries accompanied our drinks and we were thankful we knew how to eat them. First night in Spain and we had only made one major faux pas. Off to a good start.

Day 2: A visit to Alhambra was on the agenda today. We strolled through through the gardens and admired the views of the Sierra Nevada range. Afterward we found a square at the base and enjoyed a beer and some time in the sun. On our walk down the hill I shed my cardigan, under which was only a tank top. Sitting in the sun after a 7 month hiatus leads to uber-sensitive skin. After only a short while Jill ventured a guess that I was getting pretty burnt. Turns out I was tremendously so, and am now sporting one of the trendiest looks of the season- a farmer’s tan. That afternoon with increasingly sensitive skin and some red wine we jumped on a train and headed toward Cadiz. We had a layover in Dos Hermanos with just enough time to run through the streets and find kebabs for dinner. To wash down our Middle Eastern delights we grabbed a couple of Spain’s most DISGUSTING beer–Cruzcampo. It should be noted that Spain is apparently not known for their beer. Coming from a Germanic country I am used to particularly good brew. This beer was so gross in fact, we were using our overcooked, soggy fries as chasers. I would rather drink 29 kegs of Milwaukee’s Best than drink another Cruzcampo. This beer ended up becoming the running joke for the remainder of the trip in the fashion of a “Would you rather…”game. Such as, “Would you rather drink water that the pigeons are bathing in or have to drink Cruzcampo for the rest of your life?” The choices we came up with were ridiculous and it was clear we were the only ones entertained by it. We met some guys (more on them later) in our hostel that night that actually loved the stuff. One guy even declared it “full-bodied.” If you are indicating that it makes you feel bloated and rotund, then yes sir, you are correct. Otherwise, you have no idea what you’re talking about and are clearly too drunk to know what good beer tastes like. In any event we arrived safely in Cadiz only to discover we were staying at a commune/hostel. A full-on jam session was in progress as we entered the lobby. It was apparent our J. Crew ensembles and perky attitudes were in stark contrast to many of the other residents. We were led to our accommodations– an eight person mixed dorm. This normally wouldn’t be a problem but Jill and I were the only girls so there was no “mixed” about it. We were in a straight-up dude’s dorm. The bathroom for use was one step up from an outhouse. The water pressure in the shower was practically non-existent; I think I have woken up drooling harder. I don’t want to complain by any means, but the reviews and descriptions on hostelworld.com made it out to sound much different. Had we been properly prepared I want to believe our attitudes might have been different. Jill and I feel asleep in the same bed with dreams of beach time in our heads. Big hopes for the following day.

More to come…

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