Holiday in Spain (part 1)

So here it is, the summer of Spain 2017. Really I should say it’s the summer of the Costa Daurada, because we are sticking close to the coast between Barcelona and Valencia. But Spain is easier to write.

It doesn’t make sense to talk about this vacation chronologically, mostly because the days blur together with a relaxing routine that doesn’t really distinguish themselves from each other. I will start at the beginning though, with our travels here and then maybe split off into other posts about some of our activities.

We had an easy departure from HK on our first Aeroflot flight to Moscow, with very little to mention about the trip. It was about a 10 hour flight, and we were anxious to get off the plane after having been cooped up for that long. But we were all in pretty good spirits. We traversed my least favourite airport (it’s just one big long hallway with no walking space), to our gate. We had some time to kill, so we backtracked to a cute beer garden built inside to enjoy some refreshments before our last leg. It was at that point that my stomach started to hurt. It came in waves of cramps, but by the time boarding had come along had progressed to full blown nausea and constant cramping. We got on the plane and I started throwing up, which lasted for the next 4 hours during the flight. About halfway through I started having to go to the bathroom too. It was horrific. Full blown food poisoning or something for the entire flight to Barcelona. Traveling for 24 hours straight is hard, but doing it that sick is nearly impossible. Luckily, the throwing up stopped when we landed and we made it to our hotel. By that time I could hold down water, which was good because I was soooo thirsty. There were some issues with our reservation, so it took about an hour to get our room sorted out and I’ve never been so happy to have a bath and a bed.

We woke up the next morning ready for breakfast and to get to our rental house. I was still a little shaky, but so much better than I had been the night previously. We got back to the airport and rented our car for the summer, a cute fiat like the one we drive when we go back to TX to visit.

The drive from Barcelona to our place in Les Tres Calas is about an hour and a half on toll roads through the mountains, but next to the beach. I remembered it from our trip to Barcelona in 2010, riding the train from Reus to Barcelona. It was one of the reasons I’d wanted to come back to this part of Spain. Watching all the fun on the coastal beaches from the inside of a train, I knew in that moment I’d want to come back and see more.

We stopped in Reus for a shopping trip (as much as we could squeeze into the Fiat), and then made our way to the house. It was everything we hoped it be. We found it on homeaway.com (usually we use airbnb), but it has all our needs. It’s got A/C, wifi, a barbeque and a private pool. We wasted no time settling in.

Jetlag hit us for the next few days. We didn’t make it to see the sun set, and were up super early. We explored our little area of Les Tres Calas, and were happy to discover 3 cute beaches within a mile or two, each with restaurants and protective coves. We made another trip to the market to get the things we couldn’t fit, but after that it was vacation mode for sure.

We settled into a routine of me getting up to run after coffee, then swimming as a family, food, naps and beach trips, then swimming again, before grilling on our Spanish style open BBQ. It was simply blissful to have nothing to do and just be in each other’s company.

Although we were perfectly happy to just be beach and pool bums, after a few days we felt the need to do something cultural. There was a sign for a castle on the road between here and Reus that had piqued our interest, so we looked it up. Castle Miravet was about an hour away and was only 3 Euro to explore, so after our morning swim we piled in the car and made the trip out there.

There is so much open space here. It’s filled with mountains covered in olive groves and wineries, dotted with ancient looking villas and villages. It’s beautiful, so the drive was a pleasure, until the last winding road up to the castle. But it was worth it. Even though it was  a Sunday afternoon, the castle was empty and we took our time going room by room, up in towers and looking over magnificent vistas. The castle was originally built by the Moors, before being taken over and used by the Knights of Templar before they disappeared. It felt like a movie set.

We had a few more chill days before a quick side trip to Munich (which I’ll post about separately). We made lots of yummy food and drank local wines that we found at a cooperative nearby. We couldn’t have asked for better weather and all of us were content with the slow pace of our days.

Our week in Spain had been delicious and relaxing. Exactly what we all needed. But being so close to our favourite spot in the world was too tempting for us to pass up. So we packed up and headed to Munich for the weekend…next post for details.

Hope everybody else is having a fantastic summer as well. Love to all, j.

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