Spain – We arrived in Barcelona after a long flight via London buggered, but in true backpacker style and wanting to set out as we intended to continue we resisted catching a taxi to our hostel and caught the bus. Catching a busy bus with a full backpack is an interesting experience, it is too easy to turn around and send a little Nanna with her weekly shopping flying, however we made it safely to our destination causing no damage to us or our fellow travellers.
That destination was Place Cataluyna which was quite close to our hostel..but which way? Alex having been to the area before insisted he knew where to go set of at a cracking pace around the Placa with me trailing behind. Around and around the Placa in the boiling sun we went, it felt like we circled that damn square ten times until he spied sometime familiar and shot off down a side alley with me still trailing behind…litlle did I know at this point that this would become a general theme of our journey.
Our accommodation was an apartment that was part of the Hostel Itica. It had four double rooms with a shared kitchen and bathroom with a great location close to Las Ramblas and in the Bario Gothic. Barcelona has one of the best fresh food markets I have ever been to so we were keen to buy and cook some of the great produce available there so a kitchen was a must for us.
We walked miles in Barcelona visiting all the sites the Sagradia Famiglia still remained my favourite, Gaudi was such an such amazing talent. We also wandered around the harbour along the route of a 4th century Roman wall and spent time in a beautiful palm fringed square. The one down side of Barcelona for me was the constant smell of urine, it appears that the Spanish men live by the rule ‘all the world is a toilet’ and urinate any where they like. This habit may be ok in the cooler months but come high summer it makes the city stink.
On day two I woke up with blisters on the bottom of my heels and soles of my feet – I guess that is what happens when only reason for buying that particular pair of walking sandals is that they match your pack!
But it was time to move on so no time to feel sorry for myself destination Perpignan, just over the border in France. The train was packed to the rafters with what appeared to be an entire college of American students, who if you showed a map to I am positive they would not have been able to point out what continent they were on never mind where Spain was on the map.
Anyway our journey north meant a change of trains at the border, which also involved a passport check which is unusual given we were travelling within the EU. I wandered about this out loud and one of the college flossies turned and said to me “didn’t you know we are crossing a border, they always check passports when you cross a border” I did not have the motivation, strength or manners to tell her about the EU.
Aisa, Jacca and San Sebastian
We spent some time in France before meeting up with friends and heading back into Spain with them for a weeks road trip. We once again crossed the Pyrenees and spent the first night in Ainsa, a pretty and historic old walled town. Then it was onto Jacca which has an ancient citadel and interesting old town where we stayed in a hotel off the main square. It was in Jacca we experienced the areas famous apple cider, something I can do without trying again and ate some fairly unmemorable food. Next stop was San Sebastian which for me was possibly the most disappointing place I’ve ever been. It didn’t help that we arrived in the town at the same time as a massive storm and it pored rain the entire time we were there but the town was full of drunken Brits on bucks nights and the pinxtos (tapas) were over priced and in my opinion over rated, we stayed one night and moved on.
Heading back toward Barran we stayed a night at St Jean Pied au Port, which was were one of our friend travelling with us had started the Camino de Santiago from a few years before. St Jean is another pretty old walled town at the base of the mountains, but highly touristed and quite expensive.