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Curious what backpackers do in Spain? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day20

    The morning began with a buffet breakfast. Up until today I have chosen Adalia's food at a buffet, which I did this morning- fruit and a croissant. At this buffet however, they have a kids section which has a lower serving area. Adalia decided she wasn't happy with my selection and wanted to get her own food. She returned with a plate filled with bacon, chirros and chocolate biscuits!

    Then the moment Sammy had been waiting for was upon us, the whole trip was leading up to this day. Today we took the bus to Aquopolis water park!!!

    I am not a fan of water parks. Give me a rollercoaster over a water slide any day. They just don't seem safe, you have to get wet, probably sunburnt, and you walk around all day in your swimmers. Not my idea of fun. But Sammy (and Tom) love them.

    We have been to a Disney water park in Orlando and Atlantis water park in Dubai, we are seasoned water park adventurers. I was pretty sure a water park on the Golden Coast of Spain just wasn't going to compare.

    We got off the bus and immediately took a wrong turn which ended up being fortuitous. We found a tourism shop selling water park tickets cheaper than everywhere else, and you got an extra day free! (Plus a lolly pop for the kids). Now armed with tickets we launched into our day of water sliding fun.

    First impressions of the water park were making me wish I had stayed at home. It didn't have the glamour of Disney or Dubai, but Sammy was in heaven! Adalia immediately decided that everything looked too scary and wanted to stay in the kids section (which was impressive by Dubai and Disney standards). This was fine by me, except she would not move from my legs. She wouldn't play on any of the kids slides. I was getting cranky. Tom had run off with Sammy to have fun and I was spending my day standing in full sun with a child attached to me. At one point I picked her up, climbed some stairs and threw her down a slide. I was hoping that after she had done it once she might be happy doing it again. Instead she screamed at me. I was so glad for the defending noise at those places; hardly anyone noticed her.

    We put our shoes on and went in search of the boys. When we found them it wasn't hard to convince Sammy to play on the kids slides, and he lovingly encouraged Adalia to come with him. In less than two minutes she was comfortable on the equipment and eager to play.

    Tom convinced her to try the Rapids. We had done this in Dubai so we knew she would be fine. She was reluctant, but half way down she shouted "we need to do this again!" So we did...for the rest of the day. By the end she was going down backwards and wanting to go faster. Sammy gave me a break taking me on the "black hole" while tom rode the Rapids, but then it was back to the rapids for me.

    At 4pm there was a dolphin show. Turns out Adalia had never seen dolphins before. She asked what they were and was mesmerised with them! Tom and Sammy missed the beginning but came running in with burning hot feet part way through.

    I was feeling quite burnt by 4:30. So when Tom suggested we go to the beach I wasn't keen and opted for an early dinner. And....the kids actually had an earlish night!!!
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  • Day18

    Today was challenging. We set our alarms for 6am as we needed to be on a train at 8:06. Everyone woke up cranky and tired after a VERY late night thanks to one of our children... We ate some cornflakes (and Sammy's tooth fell out as he was still too asleep to eat carefully) and made it to the station with 15 minutes to spare! That has to be some sort of record for Tom aka Mr last minute. His motto in life is; if you're there five minutes early that's five minutes wasted, or for flights; if they aren't calling your name over the loudspeaker then you aren't late. (Grrr)
    We found our first class seats and Samuel made a comment about how much he loved first class and how we should always travel first class. Apparently when Tom booked them there wasn't much of a price difference between first and second.

    We decided that train travel was the way to go, so much less stress that flying; no security, baggage checks, take off and landings, waiting for bags at the other end, passport control. And it is so scenic! We admired sun flower fields, hay bales and remarked on the different landscape as we traveled closer to Spain. Well Tom and I did, and poked the children who were fixated on their iPads.

    Our first impression of Barcalona was the heat, very warm and humid with a haze to the sky. We opted for a taxi to transport all our luggage to our accommodation which turned out to be an expensive 4km.
    There was no conceirge at the accommodation, only a sign informing us to go to a different location to pick up the keys. We decided that Tom would leave me with the kids and luggage and walk alone- a much faster option. Before leaving he said "if I'm not back in half an hour, panic." Silly Tom, as soon as he said this Sammy started panicking. Every five minutes Sammy would fret. I tried to assure him that daddy is always late, and that I wouldn't panic until daddy was over an hour late, but it didn't help things that at the half an hour mark Tom was nowhere in sight.
    I began wondering what I would actually do if Tom didn't reappear. I had no way of calling anyone. Anyway I didn't need to worry, Tom was back at the 45 minute mark, and relayed the strict hotel instructions; we were not to enter before 1pm or we would be fined, we could not hang anything over the balcony or we would be fined 350 euros, we could not have parties or we would be fined.
    As we were leaving to find some lunch another family arrived with the same confusion regarding check in, and Tom broke the news of the long journey to the concierge.
    I went for a short walk up the street to look for food. I found a market with raw meat, and the chickens and rabbits still had their heads on, their little eyes were terrified!
    We bought some croissants, one with jamom, some bread with sugar on it(?) a doughnut and what I thought was an apple turnover but ended up being pure pastry!
    After eating it was 1pm so we entered our room which had literally just been cleaned, the floor was still wet. But it was lovely and spacious, two bedrooms, lounge/dining/kitchen area and two bathrooms. We ha been in much smaller rooms so we were all pleased to spread out, and the kids were so excited to have their own beds!

    We set out to experience Barcelona, making our way first to their massive Sagrada Familia Basilica. There are no words to describe such a monstrosity, except gaudy; a not so funny coincidences that the architect responsible for it was named Gaudi! It pollutes ones view of the sky with its towering concrete turrets that have coloured baubles atop. Every facade is different, there is no harmony of design or even colour (and they say I'm not arty). It's gothic architecture at its worst.
    We decided to walk the perimeter (after stopping for the mandatory play in the park) but it was so big and ugly we ended up in souvenir shops but were disgusted with their prices.

    We caught the metro to the coast. Everyone was tired, most of us were holding it together but the littlest one was not. We bribed her with gelato which worked initially, but after the gelato, which wasn't even good, she went crazy. There were tantrums, screaming, stomping and general hysteria. Tom and I pretended not to know her at one point, with Sammy and I walking away (more for fear that I would start crying too!)
    Threats were made and she calmed down. She even walked for the next half an hour, silently with a stiff lip. She can be so determined when she wants to be.

    This next part of the day was my favourite. We walked aimlessly through alleys that led to vast openings and grand buildings. We commented on smells, mostly bad and noticed little things like patterns in sandstone, the bumpy paths so iconically European. We saw a wedding party and the photographer was using a drone to capture the memories, and we tried more gelato which was equally as bad as the first.

    We were hot, tired and ready to go back to the hotel when we stumbled upon the greatest find of all; some produce markets. These were mesmerising, fruits boasting vivid colours, nuts in abundance and giant fish and prawns. But the items that caught our interest were the meats and cheese. We bought paper cones filed with jamom, cheese and chirizo, all lukewarm and slightly sweating in the sun, but delicious. Unfortunately even the kids liked them- less for me. We also bought some chopped up fruit for the kids and reluctantly left via the back door. This opened up to a piazza that had people preparing to make a human pyramid! We wanted to stay but they were nowhere near ready and both children were complaining. We caught the metro back to our room, showered the kids and gave them their fruit. This refreshed them enough to happily walk to find dinner.

    We had planned for an early night but once again this was not to be. We walked for a long time in search of pallela and tapas, but most restaurants only had tapas. I was about to snap (maybe that's where Adalia gets it from?!) when the road opened into a piazza with restaurants and one had pallela!
    Tapas, pallela and a mojito, does it get much better? Even the kids who had been chanting "chips! Chips!" to the waiter, were happy with our selection. (Adalia wanted a mojito and growled at the injustice of the world that she wasn't 18, but I couldn't really blame her, it did look good).
    Tom had promised more gelato, but I had to be bad cop and over rule. It was 9:30pm! They needed to be asleep, not hyped up on sugar. Tom was shocked at the time as it was still sunny, and quickly agreed.
    Thankfully, all our walking to find a restaurant had been in a circle and we were a very short walk from our hotel, so the children were quickly in bed and asleep before the sun had set.
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  • Day19

    This trip has seen us continually moving to new and exciting destinations. It has been full of adventure and has taken us to places we have never been. However, doing so with two children is getting quite exhausting. We haven't seen nearly enough of Barcelona which is sad, but the Tom Schipilliti "follow me even though I have no idea where I am going" tour yesterday was great, and we saw many of the top tourist attractions by accident.

    Today we need to be on an 11am train. The kids were sleeping in which I didn't mind as I could scurry around packing and cleaning and Tom went to get croissants and baguettes for breakfast.

    When Sammy woke up he was excited to see that the tooth fairy had found him even though he was from Australia, had lost his tooth in France and was in Spain.(talk about a jet setter) And he was impressed that he received both an Australian dollar and an euro coin!

    I was ready to depart at 9:30. Unfortunately no one else was. By 10:30 we were only just leaving our room and we had admitted defeat. We could not make it to the train station in half an hour.
    But then Tom's "we're not late until the train doors are closed and even then I'll barge them open" mentality kicked in and we were abandoning our subway plans and searching frantically for a taxi.
    Even with a taxi I wasn't sure we would make it in time. At the station I raced to buy tickets while Tom strolled along. I frantically ran around looking for the platform while Tom moseyed to the information screens. Yes we bought the tickets in time, yes Tom found the right platform, but a little more panic from him may have lessened mine!
    We made the train with one minute to spare, and ran to the back of the train where there were less people sardining themselves in. Apparently there was a pick pocket aboard the train, thankfully I didn't notice him and he didn't notice my wallet!

    The taxi driver that drove us to our hotel was so much like Tom's Italian relative Nunsia. She was hilarious, wanting to chat with us in basic Spanglish. My favourite line was that if she were in Australia for 40 degree heat she would go caput!

    We arrived at the hotel but couldn't check in for another hour, so we sat in the lounge area watching the tour, using the free wifi and consoling Adalia who was teary at the thought of me dying (I don't know why she is thinking such thoughts, but nice to know she loves me)

    Once we had our room keys, the afternoon was spent with the kids and Tom in the pool, I did some washing, then a couple of hours at the beach. At the beach there are paddle boats for hire that have a slide into the water! Sammy thinks we might need to hire one. Adalia meanwhile entertains herself by giving me a salt scrub; completely covering my skin in sand!

    As usual our good intentions for an early night evaporate, as we found ourselves dining at 8pm in an Oz family restaurant/ Top one style dining room that is included with our accommodation. The kids are happy, there are hot chips, pizza and watermelon with ice cream for dessert. And I don't mind that my kids have eaten nearly an entire watermelon as it has been days since they have eaten any fruit!
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  • Day20

    Last night in Spain. Best gin and tonic yet! Walked ten miles before dinner and bought a dress! Miss my Camino amiga Terri! Hope to bring my other amigas to the Camino some day. It was truly a one-of-a-kind experience. Gracias Terri for all the planning help and especially NO BLISTERS!

  • Day21

    Our intention was to hit the water park again. I woke up feeling under the weather (some may say suffering from heat exhaustion) and I wasn't keen to spend the day back out in the sun. Thankfully we had a couple of days left in Spain and could be a little flexible. So we had an easy morning, called our families and Tom took the kids to the beach.

    Our new plan was to spend the afternoon at Ferrari world. All the online reviews had slammed this new theme park saying there was nothing to do there and every ride had long queues, so we figured an afternoon there would be ample time.

    Unfortunately by the afternoon I was still feeling pretty unwell. Tom reluctantly left me at home with Adalia, and my boys set of for a father son Ferrari world adventure.

    Poor Adalia spent most of the day watching the Spanish kids chanel (all in Spanish). I took her to the pool, but the only shaded seats were at the deep pool. I told her to stay near the edge, but after seeing the dolphin show the day before she wanted to do dolphin tricks. The poor lifeguard, at one point she genuinely looked as though she were drowning, and this moment happened to coincide with me feeling guilty for not sitting on the pool's edge, so I was taking my clothes off and perhaps it looked like I was preparing to rescue her. He jumped up and ran over. So I made Adalia come and sit with me for a while.

    The boys came home an hour later than planned. And their experience matched the reviews. Rides kept braking down and there wasn't heaps to do. But they still had a great time together, and loved the things they did do. I asked Sammy if he loved his boys day and he replied "I wished you were there mum, dad wouldn't come on the big rollercoaster with me." I didn't want to burst his bubble and tell him I probably wouldn't have gone on it either. It reached 180 km/h in 5 seconds!!!

    We couldn't face another night at the very ordinary hotel buffet, so we ventured out to a pizza restaurant which was pretty good and cheap (bonus!). We got home just in time for the buffet ice cream cones.
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  • Day13

    20+ mile walk through rolling hills and vineyards today brought me to this cute little town of 6500. Lots of restaurants with outdoor seating.
    The weather was good for walking. Not too hot with a cool breeze, and fortunately, not too many hills to climb.

  • Day48

    Just another bus trip today so nothing to report there haha. We had a really good guide and bus driver so I'm going to miss them hopefully I meet them at some stage on the network again. Ciara (the Irish guide) and Didea (the Portuguese driver). Just really lovely people

    We went on a pinxcos crawl last night which is basically a smaller form of tapas which was lots of fun😊

    Photos are from the view along the boardwalk at night (San Sebastián is a very pretty city)Read more

  • Day49

    Today was a beach day which was really good to do absolutely nothing

    For lunch we got burgers and in it they had proper bacon and eggs which I haven't had since I left home so that made me very happy

    About to head out for dinner now off to Bordeaux on the morning😊

You might also know this place by the following names:

Kingdom of Spain, Spanien, Spanish State, ስፔን, 스페인, ܐܣܦܢܝܐ, สเปน, スペイン, 에스파냐, ສະເປນ, እስፓንያ, ସ୍ପେନ୍, អេស្ប៉ាញ, ประเทศสเปน, An Spáinn, An Spàinn, Caxtillan, Esipaɲi, Esipanye, Espaañ, Espagne, Èspagne, Espaina, Espainia, España, Espangne, Espanha, Espania, Espanja, Espánjja, Espanya, Espânye, Espay, Estado Español, Hesperia, Hisipaniya, Hispaania, Hispania, Hispanio, Hispanujo, Hiszpania, Isbeyn, Ispagna, i-Spain, Ispaña, Ispanija, İspaniya, İspanya, Ispuanii, la Madre Patria, La pell de brau, La piel de toro, Nsipani, Orílẹ́ède Sipani, Pain, Paniora, Pāniora, Regne d'Espanya, Reino de España, sangue, Sbaen, Sepania, Sepanyol, Sepeni, Sipeini, Sipen, Sipeyini, Spagn, Spagna, Spagne, Spain, Španělsko, Spania, Spánia, Spania nutome, Španielsko, Španija, Spānija, Španiska, Spanja, Spanje, Spanjë, Španjolska, Spánn, Spanya, Spanyän, Spanyol, Spanyolország, Spayn, Spen, Spēna, Spéonland, Spēonland, Spuenien, Szpańskô, Tây Ban Nha, Uhispania, Yn Spaainey, أسبانيا, إسبانيا, اسبانيا, اسپانیا, اسپین, ہسپانیہ, سپین, هسپانیه, ئیسپانیا, ئىسپانىيە, ספרד, שפאניע, Ισπανία, Гішпанія, Испани, Испания, Испониё, Іспанія, Шпанија, སི་པན།, སིཔཱེན, སིཔཱེན་, Իսպանիա, ესპანეთი, स्पेन, સ્પેઇન, સ્પેન, స్పేన్, ಸ್ಪೈನ್, ஸ்பெயின், സ്പെയിന്‍, স্পেন, စပိန်, ස්පාඤ්ඤය, 西班牙

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