the Amazing Race continues


Originally written on September 6, 2004 

Buenas noches from Barcelona!!!

I´ve got a chance to use the Internet again, and decided to give you another update on our travelling adventures! Two thirds of our vacation are gone, and neither my sister nor I feel like coming home.

Time spent in Andalucia was very nice and very hot. Thank God for the air conditioning in our hostel room, otherwise we would melt over night. It was nice to wonder through the cities over there, and the mix of Moorish and European architecture was amazing. You have to see the pictures!!! 

Palacio Nazaries, Alhambra, Granada

 The tomb of Christopher Columbus was marvelous, and I only wish I got a chance to visit the royal tomb of the Catholic Monarchs. Churches and royal chambers are sites that I never miss out because they usually display splendour, wealth and power that one had possessed. Nevertheless, I didn’t see the tomb of the Catholic Monarchs because of siesta.

The Tomb of Christopher Columbus in Sevilla

» Siesta

The afternoon rest is really necessary, especially in hot regions of Spain. It’s usually from 2-5pm, and during that time everything is closed. I wouldn’t mind working in retail in Spain because the working hours are great, 9.30 until 2pm and then from 5-8.30pm. It was surprising, however, that even some bus drivers have fiesta. In Seville we were almost late for our plane because the airport bus did not show up. Apparently, the driver went for the siesta and never came to pick up passengers. Luckily, we shared taxi with other two unfortunate travellers, so the cost wasn’t great.

» Palma de Mallorca

It was very nice to go to the Balearic Islands, and dip for a couple of days in the Mediterranean Sea. Each day we went to a different beach. One day we found a secluded sandy beach, surrounded by pine trees, with crystal clear, azur water. It was the best beach I’ve ever been to, and it has replaced the Aegean coast of Greece as my favourite.

Cathedral, Palma de Majorca

Palma is a magnificent city, and in the nighttime, the Gothic structure of buildings along with lighting gives the city a dramatic appearance. It was surprising that most restaurants and bars close around midnight over there, after all Mallorca was supposed to be the second best place after Ibiza for clubbing. Later on, we found out that major parties don’t start until Thursday and then they continue till Sunday. Our timing was not great, but at least we went out once. 

Palau de l'Almudaina y la Catedral, Palma de Majorca

Tito’s was the name of the club we went to – it was wicked although my sister was not in the mood. Something had gotten into her that night. Nevertheless, the theme of the night was tribe, and all staff was dressed as cavemen/women.

» Language

I have to say a couple of words about language. Not many Spaniards speak English, and that could cause troubles. S.’s Spanish has improved, and she can fluently say ”two tickets for …” in Spanish. lol… That’s all we’ve needed after all. One girl stopped me in the metro station this morning to ask for a direction in broken English and said at the end, “thank God you are foreigners. Nobody speaks English here”. Her statement summarizes it all.

When we came to Palma, the least we heard was Spanish. On the west end of the bay where Palma is located, Britons vacation while on the east coast Germans could be found. Germans have chosen better beaches, but both areas
do not reflect Spain at all. Right next to Prince William nightclub, one can order fish and chips while in Arenal, where Germans are, German music is blasting from bars, and bratwurst is served everywhere. I honestly don’t see a point of vacationing abroad if one doesn’t experience local culture.

» Barcelona

Getting to Barcelona was an interesting experience to say the least. At 7am there were so many people in front of the security checkpoint that no queues existed. It simply looked like mob was trying to go through small passages. There was no organization whatsoever, and took us forever to get to our airplane. We had to run through the terminal to our gate … To make the story short, our airplane waited for us. Had we came several minutes later, we would missed the flight. Spaniards are not very good when it comes to organization. They should learn a thing or two from British, especially when it comes to queuing.
The flight, itself, was rocky as we experienced some serious turbulence. I had never been afraid of flying up to that point. I’m not a fan of rollercoaster, so going up and down in an airplane was not fun.

Tower Peaks of La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

We arrived yesterday morning to Barcelona, and so far I’ve seen about half of the city. In my honest opinion, the city seems to be overrated, and cannot stand up to Madrid in nearly anything but the beach. That’s the only thing Madrid misses. Barcelona is full of foreigners, while Madrid did have tourists but most of them were Spaniards from other regions. Comparing these two cities is like comparing vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Everyone has their own preference, mine is of course Madrid.

La Font Magica, Barcelona

At the end, I have to say that up to now our accommodation has been good. I’m very glad that my intuition worked out well for us.

That would be all for now. This is a longer email than I intended it to be. Summer thunderstorm is about to start over here, and it’s nearly 1am. These are going to be first drops of rain I’ve seen in two weeks.

I hope everyone in North America had a good Labour Day weekend, and enjoyed the last days of summer.

In a week, my trip shall be ending although I wish to stay longer. I have, however, promised myself to come back to Spain, and I’m certain the promise will be fullfilled soon.

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