Spain

Walking the wall around Girona.

Walking the wall around Girona.

Father’s Day saw us in Teesside putting out 101 fires for the family whilst we were supposed to be packing for Spain. Eventually, we got everything sorted convinced everyone they would survive a few days without us, and we made our way to Newcastle Airport.

When we last stayed overnight at the airport, it was the Doubletree, which was incredibly disappointing, because they were out of cookies when we arrived and the next delivery (What?! For those prices, one can reasonably expect fresh-baked.) was after we checked out. This time, we stayed at the much less posh Britannia. With lower prices come lower expectations, but we really weren’t expecting a bunk bed to be jammed up against our bed, creating a prison vibe with its safety bars. I’m all for making the most of a small space, but I also like to walk around a room, rather than sidle around or climb over furniture.

On our way in, we had seen the restaurant roped off section of the lobby, and decided to take our chances at the gas station. A wise choice, I suspect. Also, I got to hear the guy in front of me ask for jah-la-pee-nos on his sub. It’s the little things in life.

We had a 6:30AM flight. Fortunately, Newcastle Airport is much easier to deal with than Manchester, and Jet2 had sufficient staff working to keep everything moving smoothly. When we arrived in Spain, it was even better—there was no passport control or customs, just baggage claim and out the door. EU FTW!

Inside Girona Cathedral

Inside Girona Cathedral

Girona Cathedral

Girona Cathedral

Craig had made detailed plans, as usual, for maximum enjoyment of our time. However, he made one small error. He thought Girona was a five-hour drive from Malaga airport, but it was actually more like seven hours. It’s a nice drive, so I didn’t mind, but I did feel bad for him, since we couldn’t share the driving.

We had booked an apartment in Montjuic with a terrace, but when we arrived, we were put on the ground floor, and our apartment was missing some things. So, we were moved (to another ground floor apartment) and over the next twelve hours, he brought us a fridge (with someone’s Coke still in it) and a washing machine (still wet from use). The guy was very friendly, and when we would go out in the morning, he would already be at work and he’d still be at it when we got home each evening, but the apartments really weren’t ready to be let out.

Fortunately, we didn’t go to Girona for the apartment. We went there for a soccer final. Which was sold out. We drove to the stadium early on the day to get tickets and when we found someone who looked like they could direct us to the ticket office, he just started laughing.

On to Plan B: hiking. We drove to Montseny Natural Park and hiked a bit of the GR 5. It was poorly marked in parts, and we got lost and ended up walking along the road to get back to the car.

With a map like this, how could we get lost?

With a map like this, how could we get lost?

With right way/ wrong way signs, how could we get lost?

With right way/ wrong way signs, how could we get lost?

Eek! A snake!

Eek! A snake!

Smiling through the pain.

Smiling through the pain.

The next day, we drove to Baza where we stayed in a cave. It was in a “neighborhood” of natural caves, but this one was clearly purpose built. Fine by me. We had a wood-burning stove inside and a built-in grill outside, so we grilled every evening and then had a fire inside.

This cave isn't ready for guests yet.

This cave isn’t ready for guests yet.

The cave hotel came with a dog.

The cave hotel came with a dog.

I would have been perfectly happy to laze around the cave. It was cool inside, and there were chairs to lounge in around the pool. The owners had a very friendly Alsatian who had a rock game he like to play: I would kick the rock and he would chase it. If I took too long, he would pick it up and drop it at my feet. He also made it clear that it was a kicking game, not a throwing game. I kind of wanted to take him home with us.

The dog teaching me to play his rock game.

The dog teaching me to play his rock game.

Lazing around isn’t on Craig’s to do list. So, we drove to Granada for a second division soccer match. We were able to find the stadium with the help of our phones (thanks Blue Dot!). The club shop sold us two tickets for €10 each. We later read in the paper that there was a two-for-one offer. 😛

Since we were in Granada, there was only one way to while away the afternoon until match time: tapas. We wandered from pub to pub having a Diet Coke at each. Apparently, in these times of austerity, that doesn’t rate a free tapa. Only two of the four pubs gave us a snack. They were delicious and filled us (me) up, so I shouldn’t complain. One was a pork loin open-faced sandwich and the other was chicken fried whole baby squid. Sounds yuck, tastes yum.

On our final full day in Spain, we drove to the nearby Baza National Park for a short hike. When we arrived, the information center was closed, so we found a circular path, and set off.

It was an easy walk and the path, leading to a lookout point, was well marked. However, it was very sunny and too hot for Craig, so despite only walking 4-5km, we didn’t look for another path when we got back to the starting point.

Instead, we drove 14km into Baza and just wandered around town (after a refreshing Diet Coke with extra ice). The buildings in the old town are lovely. As a bonus, the town’s small size pretty well insured we couldn’t get too lost. Unfortunately, all the shops close from 2-5PM, and we arrived at 1:45. So, after we strolled around for a while, we headed back to the caves and grilled up some lamb for dinner. A relaxing end to a relaxing week.

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