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  • Day10

    Our first full day in Madrid is done. We arrived late last night after a delay in our flight of an hour leaving Porto. We scrambled a bit knowing our hosts were waiting for us to check-in in Madrid. We took the express airport bus as far as we could then jumped in a cab to our air bnb. No answer when we rang the bell. Freaked out slightly. 😜 We we into a Bar/ resto that was shutting down for the night. They were kind enough to let us use their cell phone to contact our hosts. By now it is 1:00am! No problem , they would be there in 5 min to meet us. Sure enough they came in their pyjamas lol😂. Sweetest young couple ! They checked us in and gave us info we needed for their great apartment. Needless to say we passed out not long after 😴. Today we explored Madrid. Such a contrast from the cities we visited in Portugal. Portugal had such an old world charm, hardly any fast food places at all. Madrid is much more cosmopolitan , Starbucks , McDos , fast food etc... it does however still have a very historic side to it with beautiful monuments , palaces and the most gorgeous city centre square , Plaza Major. We ate churrios dipped in melted chocolate At Chocolateria San Gines! Highly recommended by Taylor from when she visited Madrid. Tonight we ate paella and sangria. 😊. We watched a beautiful dance show in Plaza Major before coming back to our apartment. Tomorrow... there are a few sites left to see. Cheers to another fantastic day in our European adventure 🍷💕Read more

  • Day15

    Our last day in Spain started with an unsuccessful search for the perfect breakfast! Then we relaxed for a couple of hours on the beach near our Airbnb before venturing out for a good lunch and our favorite beach. For lunch, we had a delicious green salad, shrimp in garlic sauce, and mussels in marinara sauce. Then we continued the long walk down the boardwalk to our favorite soft sandy beach. On the walk back, we decided to stop in and watch the Mountain Dew street skateboarding competition. Then, after a little rest and showers, we headed off into the crazy busy part of Barcelona for dinner. The end of summer festivities are going on this weekend and things are a bit crazy - parades, drum circles, and fireworks all over. We ended up going to a delicious ramen restaurant for dinner - not quite the typical Spanish meal for our last dinner in the country, but it was so good! We walked back and enjoyed a bit of the festivities before returning home. We fly to Venice tomorrow afternoon!Read more

  • Day44

    Now three weeks in and we are starting to find our feet! We finally tracked down churros & it goes without saying that it was hugely popular!! The boys have joined a soccer club & Chris has somehow found himself again in assistant coach position. The boys hang out for the Tuesday & Thursday games. Last night while having dinner we had to leave the Barcelona match on in case they scored!! It seems our football obsession is transferable across boundaries.

    School continues to go well. Max has scored a seat next to a girl that gives him lollies everyday. Tom is learning the numbers & doing lots of coloring in & Ivy has made a friend.

    Chris & I have done our first tapas night with some other expats. Delicious, lots of drinks, out too late!
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  • Day12

    After checking out of our Airbnb and grabbing a quick breakfast, we set off up the mountain (on foot) to visit the Alhambra - a massive that fortress overlooks all of Granada. The Alhambra visit has three main attractions - the giant fortress, the palace, and the gardens. We spent about 4 or 5 hours up there exploring. It was pretty unbelievable and the views of the city were amazing. Then we had a late lunch, picked up our bags, and we are now sitting at the airport (3 hours early) for our flight to Barcelona! We are exhausted!!

    Overall, we loved our short visit to Granada. We were staying in a cool little part of town near the university, filled with students, cheap vegan restaurants filled with healthy food options and fresh juices, and a short walk to all of the city's attractions.

    Update: Made it safely to our beach Airbnb in Barceloneta! Goodnight!
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  • Day13

    We walked about 21kms today, along coastal roads and paths with beautiful views of the sea. As it was a Sunday, there were lots of people on the trails and at the beauty spots along the way. We expected this to be a quieter walk with no services, but there were a few cafes and even an ice cream van when we needed them!

    We got some strange looks in the seaside places today. Hikers with full packs are an oddity around here. The beaches are full of families and sun worshippers enjoying the good weather. We are an alien species among these beautiful people!

    We decided to stop in Soto de la Marina, rather than doing the thirty something kms to Boo de Pielagos.
    This is a nice little place and the Posada is very well located. I've just had what might be my favourite swim so far. Lovely little beach with big splashy waves.

    I'm not sure where we'll walk tomorrow. Boo is a bit too close, but Santillana del Mar may be too long a walk. As always, we'll figure it out as we go along.
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  • Day18

    One of the hardest things about the Camino is staying on it. Th route is marked with yellow arrows, supplemented by signs, shells, and other markers. When you consider that there are more than a thousand miles of routes to mark, it's not surprising that there are a few spots that are less-than-clearly marked. Also, when the path takes to the scrub brush, or the beach, there's really no place to put a mark. (It's amazing how much yellow moss can look like an arrow!). I think I've only been totally off the trail once, but there have been many times that I thought I was lost, and it made me so happy to see a friendly little yellow arrow. In Asturia, you go in the direction AWAY from where the shell points, but in Galicia it's the other way around. Shells are pretty but arrows are clear.

    I'm happy to report that we've had 2 beautiful rain free days! Usually I'm walking with the Picos (like the Alps) on one side and the ocean on the other - stunning scenery all around me!

    Play the game of "find the arrow" below!
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  • Day10

    We set out this morning from Castro Urdiales, thinking about walking to Liendo or perhaps as far as Laredo. 38kms and about 10 hours later we arrived in Santoña.

    I should clarify that this wasn't quite as hardcore as it may seem. Firstly, the 38kms includes the little boat ride from Laredo to Santoña. And secondly, we took lots of breaks and ate nice food along the way. In fact, we blame the menu del dia in Laredo for our decision to keep walking. After a nice lunch and some wine, it seemed easier to walk along the beach to the boat, than to walk around a busy tourist town to find an albergue or pension. 😊

    Today's route had a number of options and everyone we met seemed to choose the road wherever possible. We took the road from Islares to Liendo, but followed the Camino arrows after that. I expect that it was longer than the road, but it was a really nice walk with some beautiful sea views.

    When we eventually arrived in Santoña, I looked at the Buen Camino app and phoned a place that offered a pilgrim discount. Thinking that it was a basic pension, I expressed surprise at the price of €65 for a double room. They agreed to include breakfast, so I went ahead and booked it. Imagine our surprise when a couple of kms later we checked into Juan de las Cosa, a very nice 4 star hotel on the beach! It even has a swimming pool and a jacuzzi. And a buffet breakfast tomorrow!
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  • Day7

    This afternoon words seem inadequate to express the wealth of delight of every sense that made up this DAY. Leaving the Orisson Albergue in France as the sun rose, heading up, up, up over the Pyrennees and down, down, down to Roncesvalles on a perfectly clear day. Amazing, magnificent....such splendour. What an incredible journey. There are other pilgrims and greetings are shared....everyone heading in the same direction...most of us taking tiny steps and labouring up steep slopes with our possessions on our backs.

    Lena, a Danish woman who also stayed at Beilari in SJPdP and who was the only person staying there who was taking the Napoleonic Route over two days became my companion for the day. Easy sharing and conversation...a similar pace. Great excitement when four others from Beilari spotted up 2km before our destination. They had taken the alternative route and were thrilled to see us where the two routes merged. "You made it!" They exclaimed. Perhaps I should be offended....if course I made it! Get over my mountain? "99 and 3/4 percent guaranteed!"

    So I'm at the Monastery Albergue in Roncesvalles. Tired happy pilgrims of various ages and nationalities...the limps, shuffles, smiles easily understood. My bed assigned in a two bunk cubicle...lower bunk. Two large Spanish males are my room mates so far. The fourth bed yet unassigned. Showered, clothes on the line, a pilgrim mass at 6pm, a peregrino dinner at 8:30...working WiFi and a few minutes to post this. Tomorrow? Maybe time to check the route ? The relief of arrival ends at 8am tomorrow. The next potential bed is in Zubiri 21.9 km away... Tomorrow the first of the days where lodging is uncertain.
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  • Day11

    Today might have been the best day of the trip. We woke up and had our best breakfast yet - fresh mango juice, fresh peach juice, cafe con leche, and two falafel tomato sandwiches. Then we wandered around the streets of Granada for several hours. One of the highlights of the day (and the first real planned event of the trip) was the Arab baths and massages. 90 minutes of different temperature baths - hot, medium, and super cold, with a 30 minute massage. Followed up with a siesta and a walk up the mountain to Mirador de San Nicholas. We drank a couple of glasses of wine with a beautiful view of the Alhambra and then decided to chase the sun until we found the most beautiful sunset view imaginable. We sat there for what felt like hours, basking in the beautiful view of the sunset and the city. Then we made our way back down to the city for a delicious dinner of mussels, peppers, and scallops. Now time for a good rest before our Alhambra visit tomorrow!Read more

  • Day13

    What a great day! We slept in after a late night of travel (and three jam-packed and amazing, but exhausting, days in Granada). Then we worked out, did some much needed laundry, and went out for a delicious breakfast of avocado and strawberry toast with fresh orange juice! Next, we relaxed on the beach for hours and then walked a couple of miles down the boardwalk, grabbing an amazing lunch on the sand - grilled mussels, eggplant tempura, sea bass with salad, chocolate mousse, and espresso. We walked some more, swam for awhile in the Balearic Sea (!!), and headed back to our awesome Airbnb for a warm shower and some rest.

    We headed out to a local restaurant, recommended by our host, for dinner. As we waited outside for our table, several people on balconies on the street, and all of the surrounding streets, began banging on pots and pans in protest of the Spanish government's suppression of the Catalonian region's vote for sovereignty. We have been witnessing these protests since our arrival in Madrid two weeks ago.

    The small local hole-in-the-wall restaurant that our host recommended ended up specializing in fried fish. We split a small meal (fried fish and peppers) and then went to grab second dinner...the burger than Tim has been craving for about a week. Now I need to sit up in a chair and read and digest for about an hour before I can sleep!!
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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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