After nearly three weeks in Spain, I have worked my way through the highlights of this beautiful country. I experienced the insanely dry desert heat of Seville and its history, the beautiful coast line of Valencia and San Sebastian (both the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea!), shenanigans on Ibiza, Bulls and Sangria in Pamplona and finally the classic Barcelona sights. Here are a few highlights, memories for the books!
Naturally the coastal cities were a highlight for me. Valencia felt like a proper Spanish town. Finding English was slightly more difficult, stores closing between 2pm and 4pm for the siesta, and more people than you would guess having cervasas and vino with breakfast. A highlight for me was easily the beautiful park which runs through the entire city, as it was an old dried up river bed that reaches the ocean. Renting bikes and strolling through, I felt like I escaped the noise of the city.
To that note, I also felt like I escaped it all as I was phoneless. No longer could I snap a quick photo, or map where in the world I as. Which does enhance my feeling of freedom, but still sucks! It was actually stolen off my bed while I was sleeping. I rolled over to look at the time, woke up an hour later and it was gone – along with the creep in the dorm bed next to me. Thankfully I had a gut feeling to lock up my iPad instead of charging it that night. Anyone in Canada have an iPhone for me when get back in a few weeks?! 😉
Next up was Island hopping to Ibiza – we had planned our whole trip around these dates (the opening shows for all the resident DJ’s that summer). It ended up feeling like a music festival. I couldn’t have planned it any better. Pool party by day, and venue jumping by night. To that note though, I was pleasantly surprised by how chill the island was during the day. Lots to of chill hippy vibes. It wasn’t the intense showy scene I was expecting – which made it ten times better for my gypsy soul. We also did our first Air B&B here, what a nice experience. It was refreshing to be in a home rather than a hostel. Space to unpack, kitchen to cook in, clean showers, and lovely locals that hosted us.
As if we werent tired enough from the island, we were off north for the Sanfermin (running with the Bulls) festival. Luckily we planned two nights in San Sebastián to rest, and eat all the vegetable see we could find. I wish we had more time here actually, I would go back in a heart beat. Nice size city, with beautiful beaches and chill surfer vibes if you searched. Anyways, Pamplona, I am not sure where to begin. This was the craziest thing I have ever been apart of in a city. To clarify, I didn’t even run and I feel this way. We stayed out at a camp site which added to the fun, and made fellow travel friends to get amongst with.
The festival kicks off with a massive Sangria fight. Everyone from grandparents to children are dressed in white and red throwing bottles of perfectly drinkable Sangria – FYI it does not feel pleastent in your eyes and does not come out of clothing. After the kickoff, for ten days the city hosts a three min run through the old town streets with hundreds of men (only a few women) and ten or so 600kg Bulls. Mental is the only way I can describe it. They all run into the stadium and continue to chase around the bull, or rather the Bulls chases them around. It was the most barbaric thing I have ever witnessed and it shocks me that it still goes on in 2016. In the evening they hold the bull fight/killings, which I did not attend. I could only last fifteen minutes of the ‘bull chasing’ as it was. I was filled with fear for the men and sadness for the animals. It was a cultural experience – and and for that my travel adventure soul is greatful I participated, but I would never go back 😉
Lastly, we headed to Barcelona to actually relax and sightsee. From beautiful views, beach naps, delicious tapas and remarkable Gaudi designed buildings, it was easy to breath and take it all in. I also met up with a great friend from home for a few nights – a familiar face from Calgary. Sure makes the world feel small when you tackle new countries with fellow Canadians 😉