Christmas in España
This Christmas season, I went to Spain for the first time! Since I’m just now finally getting around to writing about this trip, its going to be a condensed version. I’m starting to realize that one post is not nearly enough to write about my experiences in a whole country.
BUT IT IS WHAT IT IS.
I wasn’t sure what to expect on this trip, because it wasn’t a trip that I had personally planned. Randy and I were flying into Madrid from our respective countries to meet up with family friends that had a house in the Spanish countryside. The plan was to stay with them in their country house two hours northwest of Madrid in a small town called Cuevas Del Valle.
When I say small, I mean SMALL.
But what it lacked in size, it made up for in beauty and charm. The people of the town were welcoming and invited us to multiple Christmas gatherings. There were chickens and farm animals in many backyards, and the sides of the cobblestone streets were spotted with olive trees. The mountains were a majestic sight, and the Calzada Romana (a winding ancient road to the top of the mountain) was calling my name. The vino came in gallons, and the weather was perfect nearly every day. I think I slept soundly for over 9 hours every night. What more could you ask for in a vacation?
Next, we visited Granada, a city in the south of Spain, at the foot of the Sierra Nevadas. I have to admit – this was my favorite city by far. I loved seeing the Arab influences in the Alhambra (massive castle in the center of the city), and the orange and lemon trees blossoming with fruits all over the city! I kid you not.. Alex tried to eat an orange, but it was way too bitter…
Randy and I did a beautiful (and long) hike from a town called Beas de Granada to Granada. It was a point to point hike, with beautiful rolling hills, fields and fields of olive trees, and ice cream mountain (Randy’s nickname for the Sierra Nevadas). It was a beautiful hike, but it brought out the worst in me as I tried to help Randy navigate the vague instructions on which turns to take. We followed the guide provided here!
Towards the end of our trip, Randy and I headed back to Madrid by bus. Madrid was a bustling city, full of tourists on vacation to celebrate Christmas and ring in the new year. The food was amazing. The tapas were limitless and the wine glasses never empty. I think my favorite tapas are the croquettes. Basically, a ball of creamy mashed potatoes and ham (or whatever other kind of meat/seafood) that’s been deep-fried to perfection. I liked that in addition to tapas, you could also get any other kind of food you wanted here. One afternoon, we were craving ramen, so we went to this amazing hole in the wall ramen place.
And don’t even get me started on the chocolate churros, and paella…
The only thing that kept me from gaining weight was the endless amounts of walking.
All in all, it was an unforgettable trip! Since I had never had a dying urge to visit Spain, I went with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised by the mild and beautiful weather. At the risk of sounding like a spoiled American, I realized the importance of speaking even a small amount of Spanish, as literally NO ONE in Spain spoke English. Our trip consisted of a ton of hiking and sight-seeing (the highlight was seeing Picasso’s “Guernica”). Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for the new year, as my nursing duties called me back home.
One thing is for sure: I’ll definitely be back to Spain soon! Maybe Barcelona, maybe the Canary Islands…. We shall see!