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  • Writer's pictureRyder Lyne

2023-05-04 Espana

April 21 – May 2, 2023, Days 11 – 21


"Where have you been?" you ask. This will bring you up to date. Ignore the sketchy prose. And don’t even suggest this is a good photo. 

This was the Spain leg of our trip. Our schedule left little down time. Starting the journey fatigued didn’t help. I hadn’t slept well for weeks. The over night flight from Chicago to Madrid was uneventful, but we sat behind the wall separating first class from the peons. Although I no longer experience the extreme motion sickness of my younger years, sitting in a box with no visibility made me nauseous. I leaned into the aisle to look ahead through the long fuselage.

There was a foretaste of things to come when I requested decaf coffee after dinner and the attendant presented instant coffee. I haven’t seen that for years. I was to learn that coffee in Spain is not what it is elsewhere in Europe.

Due to exhaustion, I didn’t get oriented very quickly and recall a few sites but very little specific as we moved quickly from town to town. Monica was our guide on the Globus tour, friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. So, a few points that I do recall:

  • 1492 was a very bad year for everyone in Spain except the Catholics

  • Spanish history is a microcosm of the intolerant Catholic patriarchy

  • Franco was a terrible leader

  • Strict driving laws have reduced traffic fatalities, ranking them now 11 from the previous 1. Gunshots don’t rank at all.

  • I love that Europe believes in large bath towels albeit not plush

  • Barcelona is in the region of Catalonia with its unique language and desire to separate from Spain, as proclaimed with the Catalonian flag (single star imbedded in the Spanish flag) and yellow ribbon to demand the release of political prisoners. Monica said those flags flew from every window a few years ago. Now, rarely. Perhaps Covid halted the movement.  

  • Other than paella, the food is nothing to write home about. We were surprised that, although the Spaniards are reported to eat a lot of seafood, it was rarely offered on menus.

Someday I will write more about Spain. I guess it isn’t in my DNA; I did not feel a connection with it although the people were lovely and, except for the amazing amount of graffiti, the land is pleasant, especially along the coast.

I was looking forward to Barcelona and my expectations were met when Mike and I explored La Ramblas our first evening, walking to the water front for supper, which was, mediocre. (Why would I expect anything outstanding at a place in Spain called Kurz u Gut?) Unfortunately, that was all I saw of Barcelona because I awoke the next morning with headache, stuffy sinuses, and body aches. A doctor was called to the hotel and diagnosed COVID. Although there is no quarantine these days, I could not join the tour for the final dinner (as if I could move out of bed). So I missed Montserrat, city tour of Barcelona and everything that is always recommended. However, I don’t plan to return.

Two and a half days in bed, and I was ready to go again. That prescription strength Tylenol is great! So on to Portugal!

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