Spain has been amazing. Truly.
We have had the most amazing weather. Swam in a crystal clear lake at Lagos de Sanabria, bathed at the most stunning beaches, paddled in the ocean and built more sandcastles and collected more shells that you can imagine.
We’ve had the most stressful drive of our lives, forcing poor old Winnie to scale the narrow windy roads of the Picos Mountains. But jeez, were the views worth it.
We’ve celebrated Halloween, motorhome-style, watched sunsets on the beach and snuck out in our jammies at night to gaze up at the stars.
Countless bottles of €1 wine, a few cocktails, as well as tapas, paella, the most amazing beef and potato empanadas we have ever tasted, oysters and headless baby eels. And a €3,50 dragonfruit. Half a dragonfruit.
(I’ll get to that.)
We’ve visited the big cities; Seville, Valencia, Madrid and Barcelona. And I even managed to persuade Jason to a few days at Marbella. Not one TOWIE celeb to be seen by the way. Not a single one. Gutted.
We spent a great couple days at Gibraltar. And we still can’t decide if it’s its own country or not. Do we count it? Who knows.
But Barcelona, for me, was the stand out. There was something about it; the streets, the atmosphere, the people….I don’t know, but it just felt special. And I can’t wait to go back some day.
We stayed in a free aire just outside the centre of Barcelona so it meant we had to get the metro in. We’ve already used the metro systems in Paris and Madrid so by the time we got to Barcelona we felt like total pros.
We spent the full day in Barcelona, from morning till night.
The metro stop we got off at brought us right out at the Christopher Columbus monument, and from there were sauntered up La Rambla (the equivalent to Paris’ Champs Elysees). From there we spotted Gaudi’s famous Casa Mila, as well as the odd, but beautiful Casa Batlló on the Block of Discord.
We then stopped in at the Mercado de La Boqueria, an over 100 year old market just off La Rambla where there is every type of fresh food produce you can imagine. Fish, meat, cheese, fruit, vegetable, nuts, seeds & lentils. Pop up cafes, wine stockists and so much more. We spent over an hour in here, taking in all the stalls and sampling some food.
I tried oysters for the very first time. Picked my own after being advised of the varieties and watched as they were shucked right in front of me by this tiny little girl and a huge knife.
We then decided to buy lunch here; there was a stall selling the most delicious looking empanadas, and as we had never tried them before we thought it only right we indulge! It would have been rude not to.
And this, this is where the €3,50 HALF dragonfruit happened.
So, as we are standing there trying to figure out where we had seen that specific stand (the place was huge!) all of a sudden I heard this commotion behind Jason. In Spanish obviously so I couldn’t understand a word of it.
Turns out, our ever inquisitive Elsie had spotted the display of halved dragonfruits and decided to stick her finger in one. I imagine, to see what it felt like.
So before I even know what’s happening, the stall-holder is shouting about “the girl” pushing her finger into her fruit and now it’s damaged and she can’t sell it, while Jason has already pulled the money out to pay her.
Fair enough, I think. You break, you buy. Right?
Until I looks at the fucking thing which has been double wrapped in clingfilm and not even so much as has a pucker on it, let alone been pierced by said finger of “the girl”.
Still, I thought for the sake of a euro, I’ll just pay it.
“How much?”, I ask. And with a face as serious as a heart attack she answers back, “€3,50”.
So before I knew it, I was going off my head. I don’t know if it was the amount of walking we had done, the fact I was due my period, my mama bear instincts kicking in, that I’d had no wine all week or the fact that I have seen these dragonfruits in Asda and it sure as shit doesn’t cost £7 for a whole one!! Whatever. But I was fucking livid.
So I told her I wasn’t paying for it. (I think the words I actually used were ‘fuck off’ but I’m writing a blog here and trying to sound less Newmainiac and more bloggy, but you get my drift).
There was actually nothing wrong with it. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen inside a dragonfruit? I hadn’t before. But it’s basically like frozen yoghurt consistency. So aye, Elsie had caused a dimple in the fruit – and I say dimple as an exaggeration, we’re talking about a 4 year olds finger here – but all you had to do was run your hand over the cellophane and it smoothed back out. Good as fucking new.
Anyway, I now have the woman shouting ‘lady, lady, look’ in my face, and Jason staring at me with that “please don’t start” face on, while trying to cram the money into the stall-holders hand. Which is only making me madder.
I’d just like to point out here, that Jason gets us ripped-off at every opportunity. First there was the man “handing out” seeds at Notre Dame. Two big handfuls later and thanking the man for his generosity, Jason swiftly goes about scattering his seeds and sharing them with the weans, loving the moment. Aye, until the “generous” man stoats up with his hand out looking for €3.
Then there’s the deaf lassies in Porto, walking about with their School for the Deaf sponsor sheets. Turned my back for a second and they pounce. On Jason of course. Before I know it he’s signed us up for €5!! Not one of them can sign a single fucking word in sign language and all three previous “sponsors” on the sheet coincidentally had the same handwriting.
Seriously, I need to keep a close eye on him. He just cannot say no. (Hence why we had 3 weans in under 3 years ha!)
But, at this point I can see I’m getting nowhere, me and Jason are now fighting with each other and headed for divorce. So after about 3 full minutes of this, raging, I demanded a spoon and fucked off to eat my dragonfruit. My HALF dragon fruit. That I paid €3,50 for.
I mean, I’m not overreacting here am I? We were being ripped off!
Ok, maybe I was overreacting a little. A little.
Anyway, day almost ruined, we bought our empanadas, had lunch and then turned the corner onto Plaza de Catalunya where “the girl”, Elsie, somehow managed to blag a selfie-stick from a lovely merchant working on the square, for free.
And the universe always finds a way to balance everything out. And now I feel terrible for overreacting. That little bit.
Finishing off our day we headed to see Gaudi’s Magnum Opus, his masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia. If you haven’t seen it before, then we recommend it highly! Even if you aren’t into churches and cathedrals (we aren’t religious at all) it’s still an amazing building to view. The sheer scale of it and the detail is unbelievable. And almost 100 years after his death, it’s still incomplete and still being constructed. Insane.
Our only regret about Barcelona is that we didn’t have longer to spend there. These next few weeks we are on a time scale as we want to get to Munich for the week leading up to Christmas to do the markets and then straight after that we head to Italy. We have a few stops on the way so sadly, we only had the one day. BUT, we will definitely be back.
And I’d even buy some dragonfruit again. It was actually really nice.
Anyway, speak soon