Spain

September-October 2018

Girona. Portbou. Barcelona. Valencia. Granada. Ronda. Seville. Salamanca. Avila. Segovia. Madrid.

Being the first and last legs of a 3 country trip we technically travelled to Spain 3 times: Spain-Morocco-Spain-Portugal-Spain. And for the first time, from Barcelona onwards, we tried an organised bus trip - an option that had its pros and its cons.

From Barcelona our expanded travel group was made up of well-travelled fellow Aussies of a common, past-our-prime demographic. 20 boomers (old white boomers) who all got along well enough. The logistics were taken care of, no hauling of luggage down never ending, narrow and crowded streets (the clack clack clack of wheelie bags on cobblestones is a sound I did not miss) with well situated hotels that allowed for on foot explorations. But there are down-sides.

 "Byooodiful!", "amaaasssing!" Lucy, Bunnik Tour's on-board minder had these two superlatives in constant use. She reached peak hyperbole when so describing a traffic roundabout upon leaving Valencia. All credit to Lucy though; she was a likable old bag who spent long periods away from home, demonstrated significant cat-herding skills and wrangled all paperwork. Despite Lucy's indiscriminate usage there are beautiful and amazing aspects to Spain - an abundance of well-maintained heritage and history, pine covered mountains of the national parks, stereotypical dry, rolling hills of cork trees and spectacular mountains of the Sierra Nevadas and southern Spain.

The negatives? The Mediterranean coast is rooted; massed high rise eye-sores squeezed together as cheap accommodation for pissed, pink, packaged-holiday pommie chavs. Similar housing surrounded Barcelona and Valencia, rampant graffiti covered rail and road infrastructure with no apparent attempts to control it, mountainsides scarred by enormous quarries is a common sight and there's a somewhat weird Spanish fondness for huge, ugly prefab sheds along with seemingly mandatory industrial detritus creeping out from big urban centres, scattered somewhat randomly amongst orange orchards and fields. Overall the good outweighs the bad - hopefully the Spaniards don't allow "progress" to continue to swallow up what's worth preserving.

The route

Arrive in Barcelona - train to Girona, day trip to Portbou. Train to Barcelona. Valencia - Granada - Tarifa Port via Ronda - Tarifa ferry to Morocco. Tangier - Fez via Meknes - Marrakesh via Ifrane - Casablanca - Rabat - Tangier - ferry to Tarifa, Spain - Seville. Lisbon - Coimbra via Sintra - Porto. Salamanca - Madrid via Avila and Segovia.


Girona

Barcelona

Valencia


 

Granada

Ronda

Seville

Salamanca

Avila

Segovia

Madrid

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