Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Spain- final installment.

I am wrapping this up.
I am so over Spain.
I don't want to offend anyone
but our trip got worse day by day.
Honestly for me I never want to return.
I don't want to blog about it.
I am not a fan of foreign travel anymore.
Switzerland, I love.
Paris, Venice, we are good.
Spain blows.
I know I sound like a spoiled, whiny gripe.
Just keeping it real.
That said , here is the finale of our trip.

On Monday, we toured the town of Alicante where Joel lives.
We returned to the airport to check on the elusive luggage.
We went to the train station to get tickets for the week.
We got pricey tickets for the 200mph train to Madrid
We got more tickets for the train to Barcelona.
Alicante is a really pretty place.
We visited a wonderful castle.
Beautiful water, lovely mountains, cool streets.

On Tues, we traveled at the crack of dawn to Madrid.
We really wanted to see the Royal Palace.
When we arrived it was closed for official business.
Well, of course it was.
We saw the procession ...horses, band,
and a guy with a turban
in a big fancy car.

 I was having a major allergy attack, or cold.
There was a constantly hacking, coughing traveler  on my flight,
so who knows what ailed me.
Allergy attacks do the same to me...
sneezing, fever etc.
I got medicine at a "farmacie" 
and they gave me a powder to mix into water.
It put me into a stupor.
A serious stupor.
Seriously, the walking dead.
We visited a museum.
The workers treated us like 
we were going to slip a painting under our trench coats.
We were wearing tee shirts.
I wanted to tell them 
I wouldn't take one of these if they were free.
Really the gongy-eyed guard/flunky  took his job
waay past the necessary.
It was so bad we joked 
he was talking to the other lady guard
via walkie- talkie about the Americans.
I drug myself through the museum 
counting the hours 'til we boarded the train.
I came outta the stupor into a fever.
We walked the streets to a beautiful park.

We toured a very lovely church.

It was a full and sunny day.
The weather was great.
We caught the train for a 3 hr. ride 
then began the 1 hour drive.

We got lost on the way home.
We got stopped by the "policia" while lost.
They said we ran a red light.
We did not.
We were wandering and it was after 2 am.
They were just checking us out.
That made sense.
Still, it was nerve wracking.
They didn't speak English.
Joel speaks fair Spanish.
Travel books warned that police are not always honest.
You pay the fee up front to them
and it is always your fault.
We finally got the luggage Tuesday night. 
It was in the condo when we finally got home.
Jackie had cold medicine and I was healed.
Seriously, I went from 3 wet hankies, numerous tissues,
and more napkins than I could count to none.
Nada. Healed.
The sisters finally could wear their own underwear.
Mine were all washed up and dried on a rack.
The Brothers Grimm Grime had a reprieve.
Wed. we toured the town of Denia'
the town where our condo was located.
There was another gorgeous castle dating from the 1200's.

We bought some souvenirs and ate a great meal.
It was a pretty good day.
We were home at around 9ish which
seemed like a miracle.
Thursday we left at the crack of dawn again.
An hour drive to station and 3 hour train ride.
Barcelona was on the agenda.
We were warned in the travel book
that Barcelona was #2 in thefts against tourists.
We were cautious
especially on the Las Ramblas
which is a street full of street performers and kiosks.
We saw the most gorgeous church.
A beautiful church.
Google Sagrada Familia.

Antoni Gaudi was the architect.
It was started in 1882.
It is still unfinished.
Absolutely incredible.
So massive, it was hard to photograph.
Beyond description.
It is still being constructed.
The lines were incredibly long.
Like hours long so we opted to not go in.
We explored a musuem's grounds.
We didn't want to go in, after the last "pat down".
Really great views from it's location.

A  musician played to the crowd in the courtyard.
It was very nice.
It was modern art which must
have been racy
because we saw lots of PDA ( public displays of affection)
on the benches outside.
Big time. Hard-core face sucking.
I was ready to break out a hose.
 Then we went to Park Guell.
It was wonderful!
All mosaics and so whimsical.
Gaudi again was the designer.

I loved it.
It was my favorite site of the entire trip.
I wished we had more time there.
We walked the town, took a couple of buses 
and tried to fit a whole lot in.
We hit the metro station.
We needed to go to catch our train.
David thought there was a pickpocket  
trying to get to him on the escalator
but David was cautious and didn't
let them crowd him.
The trick is a woman drops something at the top
right before she gets off
while her accomplice crowds against you
and picks your pocket.
But then we boarded a metro train
and the guy really did try to pickpocket David.
Luckily David is left handed so his wallet was in the left hand pocket in the leg of his cargo shorts.
We think the crook was probably right handed.
Plus David played semi-pro baseball 
for the Cincinnati  Reds.
He plays basketball a couple of times a week now.
He has super fast hands and reflexes still.
He thwarted the deed.
Knocked his wallet outta the guys' hands 
and scooped it off the train floor  
seconds before the doors closed and the train took off.
Then we leave the metro station a little shook up 
and headed to the big train station across 2 streets.
It started to rain.
We crossed and while we were waiting 
to cross over the next street to the station
we see a lady walk out during the red crossing light.
She was hit by a cab right in front of us.
So terrifying.
So sad and disturbing.
We all prayed immediately for her.
We were really distressed.
An ambulance was called.
 I just wanted to be at home,
at least home to our condo.

We started Friday by watching the Royal wedding.
We only watched until they started the readings
and then we took off.
I would like to talk about it.
I am hoping SNL makes fun of Fergie's daughters.
Hilarious hats and raccoon eyes.
Oops, I digress.
We toured Xabia,
a nearby town with lovely beaches and coastlines.
We went to a big pottery store.

We were thrilled because we associate pottery with Spain.
Again, we must have had on imaginary trench coats.
We were followed constantly.
They were on us like stink on poo.
Wth?  It made me feel bad.
We usually had one good meal a day 
and then some snacks at night. 

Our last meal was at a beautiful restaurant
overlooking the above view.
I wasn't into paella b/c I don't really like rice.
I wanted to eat something regional though.
I ordered the fresh fish.

I am not that cool.
I couldn't do it.
My vegetables were good.
Linda shared some chicken.
Thank God for bread.  

Never before have I felt so unsafe while traveling.
I felt disliked.
There was a lot of mishaps taking place too.
My phone sent a picture email 33 times to Annie. 
What's that going to cost???
Jackie was sick one whole night.
Joel had a stomach bug the first day.
We had so much trouble with the flights.
We had major headaches with the luggage.
We have had trouble with the rental car being charged
for 3 times the amount it was supposed to be.
Linda and David have had a large charge
to their card that was not theirs.
Every day something went wrong.
I am a glass half full mostly, 
but even I was ready to chuck it
after about the 3rd day.
Really, I was starting to be a Debbie Downer,
which I am not normally.
It taught me
that no matter how lovely the scenery, 
how great the weather,
if you do not feel safe, or cared about, 
the place seems ugly.

On Friday,  the day after the pickpocket and the taxi accident
David read his morning scriptures.
This is what he opened his bible to.
It was straight from God.
It was what we needed to hear.
I love when this happens.
Why am I ever surprised?
I know He is always with us.

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever present help in trouble.
 The Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
PS 46:1,11

Have mercy on me, O god, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.
 PS 57:1

Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your might to all who are to come.
PS 71:18

Jackie, Linda and David were stuck in Madrid an extra day
because of another late flight.
They landed in Chicago about 3:30 on Sunday night.
When the news broke about Bin Laden
that evening I was so grateful that we were home.
Please keep Joel 
and his brother Jared who is in Switzerland
in your prayers.
Don't forget to give thanks for our military
who serve our country so we can feel safe,
and their families who support them.
We as Americans, are truly blessed.
God bless the USA.
I am proud to be an American.
America the Beautiful.
I may burn my passport.
You get the drift.


  1. Laughing in disbelief! I can't believe all the mishaps etc! So glad you made it home safe...I am with ya, burn the passport :) Love the fish!! ha ha! I can just picture your face when they put this down in front of you :)

  2. I am so sorry that Spain was not good to you. My family is from northern Spain - Galicia - totally different culture really. I am a first generation American. I've never been there though, and honestly have no desire to. I want to go to the Vatican, my mother is appalled - lol !

    I'm so glad you're home safe and sound.... don't burn your passport yet, there's always the Sistine Chapel to visit !


  3. So does that mean you won't be entering the Amazing Race with me next season? :( Ann

  4. A few years ago I went to Spain with my hubby. We only went to Barcelona. I don't ever need to go back. It was my first time in Europe and for awhile I thought I might never want to leave our country again. I had a similar museum experience as you only it was in an antique store where I was not allowed to touch anything. Then I got lost trying to get back to the hotel. Jim was there on business and was working that day. I was in tears by the time I made my way back and spent the rest of the afternoon in bed in the fetal position listening to BBC because it was as close to being in America as I could get.

  5. Oh gosh...Spain was on my list. I may cross if off. But I am ALL about those Churches. I will get to see plenty this summer because I am taking my 1st European trip to Italy! Wheeee! I consider myself an adventurous eater, but those fish....dern is right! No way! Gag!

  6. I laughed! I winced! I checked my pockets! I couldn't look at those fish eyes....

    I had an absolutely WONDERFUL time visiting Spain vicariously through this post! Clearly it was a long way from small-town Illinois. I can "hear" your pain....but honestly now, didn't you see some amazing sights?

    I think your conclusion about the importance of feeling loved/respected is a BIG lesson to all of us!

  7. the pictures are absolutely breathtaking Janie! So glad that you had the chance to go- so sorry for the difficult and frustrating parts of the experience. I can't imagine seeing the pedestrian hit- i would have been sick for a long time :O( those verses are soothing to my soul right now :O)

  8. I just wanted to see/read about your Spain experience when I saw it over in the labels. We went in 2001. It's been a rough week...so THANK YOU for the laugh! :) I laughed out loud when I got to the fish...and the "DERN!" hahahaha and then the verses...needed that too.


Thanks for reading my blather. I read every comment. They make my heart happy!