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this is a cross-post but it took me a long ass time and I realize now it might be more pub material than otd, so if the mods don't mind...
Spain was an awesome time. It was me and my fiancee and since we have similar interests we were able to go into Spain with a general idea of what we wanted to do, but then change it on the fly depending on how we were feeling.
While on the plane into Santander we literally changed it on the fly and decided take a bus to Bilbao instead of staying in Santander. It was Palm Sunday and there was some sort of festival going on in the city, we couldn't tell if it was Easter celebrations or some sort of Basque pride celebration (Bilbao is the center of Basque country) as everyone was wearing shirts with basque writing on it.
We arrived around 6.30 pm and already the entire town was fucking plastered. At about 7.30 when we dropped off our stuff and went out, everyone had gone to bed and the place was just a mess of garbage and smelling of piss from people who didn?t want to wait for the line at the portapotty. Still, I was damn happy when I went to a bar and ordered two red wines and the total was $1. I thought for sure I had heard the price wrong when he said it
Next day we woke up and just as we were about to head to the Guggenheim (our main reason for heading to Bilbao) we realized it was closed on Mondays and we had only planned a one-day stop. That was a downer but the reason we wanted to go was more for the architechture of the museum itslef than the art inside.
^^^^that's a sculpture of a puppy they had in the front completely covered in real flowers.
Then we took a furnicular (a train for climing steep hills) up to where we could drink box sangria, with some spanish food from the supermaket and get incredible views of the city:
We took a night bus that night to Barcelona, arriving at 6 in the morning. That was a bit wretched but it saved money on accomodation and gave us another day to do things. ^^That's the famous Ramblas street in the center of downtown that has a giant pathway in the middle of the street for pedestrians along with street performers, restaurants and stands. Pretty good but a bit touristy. One good thing about it was that I was able to pick up some hashish there at night.
Barcelona ended up not being my favorite city, but that might have been influenced by the lack of sunny weather (unlike the rest of the trip)
One part that was great was the market they had there: [image]http://files.shroomery.org/files/05-15/330044060-Spain_Holiday_2005_332_WinCE.jpg [/image] [image]http://files.shroomery.org/files/05-15/330026970-Spain_Holiday_2005_212_WinCE.jpg [/image]
This is a shot of the Sagrada Familia cathedral. I had no idea people were still building huge cathedrals, I thought it ended centuries ago. This was designed by some modern architect who put fancy colors and designs on it. Its hard to make out in the shot though. Like I said, it was consistently cloudy there.
Shot of the palace there:
The best part of the stay in Barcelona ended up being going to Mont-Serrat which is an old monastery on top of this mountain where there are no roads to it, only one of those furniculars and a cable car. We took the cable car and it was well worth it. Just stunning views.
^^It?s hard to see it, but you can just see the monastery in the middle in the distance.
^^On the way up
^^Looking down from above
Next we headed for Valencia, stopping off in Taragona for a lunch, smoke and walk along the beach. It was then that I was rolling tobacco sprinkled with hashish and realized how bad I was it. But I got better as the trip went along
The weather there was beautiful and it seemed like a great idea at the time to stop there [image]http://files.shroomery.org/files/05-15/330028024-Spain_Holiday_2005_221_WinCE.jpg [/image]
Unfortunately, when we went to go catch a train to Valencia we found out that there were no seats available to get there until the next day. For Spain, Easter is like Christmas and the Thursday before Easter is like the Wednesday before Thanksgiving where EVERYONE is travelling to get to their families. Ah well, we made the most of it, found a restaurant that had great food once we managed to order off of the nationalistic Catalan-only menu (it came across clearly that they purposely did not carry a menu even in Spanish, much less, English).
Next morning we got into Valencia which was a fantastic city, I loved it.
Their famous orange trees were planted throughout the city in full bloom which looked really cool
One of the best parts about the city though was how they had a river bed where, due to flooding, they had diverted the water and created a huge park there instead:
We ended up coming across a zoo there and went in. It was one of those small zoos where the animals are in small cages but you can get really close to them.
The only problem there was the Spanish people. I couldn?t believe them, the zoo had had to put a sign on EVERY SINGLE EXIBIT saying not to bang on the window and still, every person I saw looking at the animal would eventually start banging on it. The worst were these group of stupid teenagers who couldn?t get over how funny they were being by feeding zoo animals cheetos and Pringles
This was my favourite sign there, clearly warning about some sort of dinosaur roaming the zoo [image]http://files.shroomery.org/files/05-15/330035007-Spain_Holiday_2005_262_WinCE.jpg [/image]
The next day we found out about a place they had just built about a 20 minute bus ride outside the city where they had an IMAX, aquarium and science museum, again with modern new architecture (I had no idea how much the Spanish must love architecture).
Unfortunately, yet again we ran into the problem of Easter weekend. Since it was a pretty new place, all the Spanish were taking their families to go see it. Here was a picture of the 1.5 hour line to buy expensive-ass tickets to an aquarium (that?s a first)
We decided to go anyway since we didn?t really know what else to do and we?d already made the bus trip there. When we finally got inside though, the architecture was brilliant.
The exhibits weren?t the greatest, partly because they were so crowded, this was yet another line just to get into a specific exhibit:
I did learn there though that apparently Spain doesn?t recognize the state of Oregon
The dolphin show was pretty good though (though we had to get there an hour early to ensure a seat), even if the Spanish guys looked pretty gay in their wet suits (I noticed at sea world, almost every trainer was a girl, here they were almost all men?which is what you would expect from Spain though)
That night I had Paella Valenciana (Valenciana=with rabbit and chicken) from a restaurant run by a chef?s school. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it [image]http://files.shroomery.org/files/05-15/330000687-Spain_Holiday_2005_149_WinCE.jpg [/image]
Next stop was Madrid which was a gorgeous train ride (no photos cos of the glass) though nauseatingly bumpy for 6 hours. Madrid had by far the best nightlife. The first night we found a section of tapas bars recommended by the Rough Guide to Spain book we brought with us (which ended up being indispensable). One served shrimp fried in garlic and olive oil that was so fucking good even my vegetarian girlfriend ate some.
We finished that night at a relaxed bar where we ordered glasses of Cava when we realized how incredibly cheaper it was compared to sparkling wine at a bar back home. It seemed a relaxed atmosphere so we were able to light up a joint with it. Ahh, gotta love hedonism
During the day Madrid wasn?t the greatest place, really busy and dirty in parts. This was the Palace
But then this was the line to get in (it goes even further than my camera could catch) So we decided not to go inside it.
Instead we went around the gigantic park there which was a fantastic place, reminded me of central park, though instead of right in the middle of the city it went along the side. ^^Conservatory there with a weird free art exhibit inside
We also found the dirtiest pigeon I?d ever seen (including London, Paris, Florence, et al.) which I just had to take a photo of
After Madrid there was Salamanca which is known for its Cathedral which was pretty stunning both outside and inside with its abnormally brightly colored stained-glass.
One really cool thing about that region of Spain is that they have storks flying around everywhere building huge nests on anything tall.
Apparently it?s a sign of good luck, so some houses will actually go out of there way to make a place where a stork can build a nest on their roof.
After that we made two one-day stops at San Vincente and then Tarragona
San Vincente was great because somehow, though I don?t completely understand the economics of it, every bar served free tapas with every drink, even if it was ?corto??a $1 mini-beer. And each place served different tapas so we just found a spot with a bunch of bars and practically ate dinner for free
We finished off staying at guest house in a small village near the North of Spain where my fianc?e used to work when she was a teenager. In other words: free food and accommodation
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