Spain – beautiful, vibrant, and full of color

  • August 27th, 2009

Syl and I enjoyed an awesome 2.5 weeks visiting parts of Southern Spain with a group of friends and their significant others. We made our way through Chiclana, San Fernando, Cadiz, Granada, Seville, Conil, El Bosque / Benamahoma (for a 5km hike) and Gibraltar.

As I type this, our bags have yet to be unpacked. Both lay haphazardly across the entry way to our condo – a makeshift obstacle course to stumble over as we leave or return home. Mentally, I am still in a state of disarray. Our return flight departed at 7AM, our final arrival into Seattle was 9PM (the same day).

The Flickr slideshow above is comprised of photos from my Nikon D90. I tried something new carrying a larger Sigma 70-300mm zoom lens rather than the lighter Sigma 18-200mm. I frustrated myself a few times with missed opportunities because I did not have a wider lens. Syl carried a smaller point and shoot and hasn’t found the time to pick her favorites to upload (post will be updated with her slideshow).

Memorable notes

  • Spain is a beautiful country. Hills covered with sunflowers and olive trees, distant mountains with small towns nestled in the cracks, vibrantly colored buildings, smiling people… The list could go on and on.
  • Next time I visit, I better know Spanish. The basics like bathroom, beer, favorite tapas, coffee, and bathroom can only go so far. Fortunately, most people we interacted with understood what we were trying to say.
  • Food. Absolutely delicious. Fresh seafood (daily catch if you’re near a body of water), tasty Tapas, and Jamon – cured Spanish ham. How special is Jamon? Try ordering Jamon outside of Spain and your price can be anywhere between $70-$120 / lb.
  • Kiss the standard 12 hour day good bye. Your typical day in summer starts around 10AM with a small meal or walk through the city, return home for a nap during Siesta (2PM-5AM), and out again for dinner and drinks until the early morning (3AM-5AM). If you’re not a fan of mid day naps, you’ll find yourself adjusting. Shops and restaurants close during Ciesta because of hot weather.
  • Owning a large sedan or SUV would be a great disadvantage if you ever plan on visiting a small town or city. Parking is a premium which means your tiny car will get bumped, moved, or boxed in. We rented a Citroen Jumper 9 seater for the duration of our trip. It would be much more convenient to jump on a train to travel between cities.
  • Scatted along highways or throughout parts of any small town or city you will find historical remnants of the past – old castles, fortresses, and roman ruins.
  • It was fascinating to see rolling hills covered with giant wind turbines and vast solar panel fields surrounding small towns which looked as though they had been frozen in time.
  • Jaw dropping hand carved detail in the Alhambra fortress / palace.

There is much more to share but doing so would turn this post into a short story. The entire vacation could not have been possible had it not been for Raul and his awesome family (who extended all of us a place to stay). So thank you Raul, your home country is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.