Costa del High rises & Mountain bliss
10.09.2008 30 °C
Our first stop in Spain was just over the border from France in the fairly non-descript town of Figuras. I had visited it about 25 years earlier on a family holiday and was desperate to return to re-experience and re-live the magic of Salvador Dali, in the town of his birth and the site of his living museum. Unfortunately, we ended up spending more time in the queue than in the museum itself! Despite the crowds, I was still in awe of what we saw and left, wondering what actually went on in his head to come up with such surreal, weird works of art.
The drive along the coast to Barcelona was pretty uninspiring, hundreds of tasteless ‘60s concrete developments full of sunburnt English tourists…. The one and only campsite in Barcelona wasn’t much better either. Once we had just about got our head around the fact that we would be sleeping about 50 meters from the motorway, we were deafened by the sounds of a plane going over our head. Fortunately though, our site at the end of the runway didn’t detract from our time in Barcelona. It was an amazing city, infact my favourite one of our trip so far. It is a wonderful mix of old and new, rough and glitzy.
The cafes, restaurants, shops, museums, markets, buildings and people left us wishing that we could stay for a week, but unfortunately we only had a few days to soak it all up.
We packed a lot in, exploring the modernista Gaudi buildings, the old town, the lanes and enjoying our fair share of pavement cafes and tapas bars.
During our trip we have grown very accustomed to eating outside each night, soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the weather and watching the world go by.
Once we left Barcelona, we had another very boring drive down the coast to Valencia, with hundreds more of those high rise tourist developments lining the coast. We were aiming for the port where we were due to catch an overnight ferry to Mallorca with Ben, Rach and Frankie.
We didn’t however realise that the Spanish Grand Prix was due to take place there the following week, so we somehow found ourselves driving Fernando around the amazing street circuit that had been set up.
The ferry to Mallorca was easy sailing, and we then spent 4 very relaxing days at JPs villa on the beach of Puerta Pollenca.
It really was bliss spending our evenings eating local seafood paellas and the days cycling in the mountains and swimming in the beautifully warm, flat Med.
August temperatures had hit almost 40 degrees by the time we’d sailed back to mainland Spain, so we were relieved to be spending the next few weeks out of the van, firstly in the comfort of my dads house for a few days, then onto my mums in Beniali, a village in the foothills of the mountains.
Enroute to mums we stopped off in Denia to see one of Spains infamous Moors & Christians festivals. The Spanish love to party so put on a great show for us!
Our stay at mums was timed perfectly to coincide with the Olympics, so we quickly established a very Spanish routine of cycling or swimming followed by coffee at one of the local bars, lunch in the courtyard, then an afternoon siesta in front of the TV.
Later on in the evening we would all head up the road to mum and Bernies campo (an olive farm they have bought since moving to Spain) and would then eat outside at about 10.
We were both amazed at how easily we were able to slip into the relaxed Spanish way of life, and felt like we had become locals by the time we were due to fly back to England.