· I spent 8 days here in May, so coming back felt a lot like coming home.
· The couple I stayed with were great. One is a musician, so I went to listen at a bar. It was wonderful.
· I didn’t go inside the Sagrada Familia last time, but I did this time — and wow, I was blown away. I’ve seen a lot of churches on this trip and this one was easily the best — I’m glad it was the last.
· I spent my one full day quickly re-visiting all the places I had already been to — my favourite buildings, monuments, cafes.
· Including making sure that I dipped my feet into the Mediterranean one last time.
· Looking out onto the sea, it was fun to imagine that in each direction across the water was a place I had visited.
· The last moments of my last night were spent at the Magic Fountain, staring over Barcelona and contemplating the universe, just like so many nights back in May.
· It was all a great way to end the trip.
Thank you for sharing my trip with me. It is time to go home.
Valencia is a very liveable city. Clean, little traffic and there are bike paths everywhere. The city-centre is surrounded by a strip of park that is filled with paths, fields, playgrounds, fountains, etc. It’s just a great place to live.
Of course, the paella is very good. I also took my last swim in the Mediterranean.
· Lisbon is everything you would expect from a once-wealthy powerful port city. All the monuments somehow incorporate the ocean.
· I was surprised at how diverse the city is. I have never seen so many inter-racial families, both young and old.
· Portuguese is interesting. When you see it written, it looks like Spanish. But when you hear it spoken, it mostly sounds like Russian/east European, sometimes French and occasionally Spanish. But it shouldn’t be! It is a Latin derivative just like Spanish, French, Italian. I can’t get my head around it.
· One thing I’ve learned is that certain places are much more interesting from afar than exploring them directly on site, which can be rather boring — an example are 19th century palaces.
As I neared the immediate vicinity I turned on my GPS only to realize I did not have the co-ords, but I thought, I’m a smart girl (but not smart enough to download the waypoint) I can find this based on what I read on-line, and I did not disappoint. But my task was not made easy, as I neared my intended target 3 other people with the same intention began racing me from the other direction, luckily I was one step ahead. I brought my lunch with me and blended in with the crowd and no-one was any wiser.
· If you’re annoyed with the above statement and haven’t learned by now how much I value freedom then GET THE HELL OUT OF MY BLOG.
· The southern Spaniards really know how to live. I’ve dubbed this “the Good Life.”
· The pressing question is: how can we bring the Good Life to Toronto?
· Jessica once told me that jasmine flowers are the nicest smelling flowers. I told her that she must be mistaken, because lilacs smell the best. Nope, she said, when she was in the south of Spain, walking home one night, passing by jasmine flowers, they had the most pungent, loveliest smell she ever experienced. I told her that I couldn’t possibly fathom anything smelling better than lilacs. She insisted. Well it turns out that, again, she was right.
· In Granada, I lost my Kindle, but was able to track it down and have it returned. This would have never happened in Morocco/Egypt/Turkey. Just sayin.
· Which is just another example of how you can always depend on the kindness of strangers. (Well, in the free world.)
· In Seville, I’ve had some of the best food I’ve ever had — food that I would have no idea how to recreate. And if you know me, that’s a huge compliment.
· In a perfect world, we would all live in the south of Spain.
· When I first arrived in Marrakech, I was so happy to be out of Egypt that I loved everything by comparison. That slowly faded away. I have become so sick of these backward countries, and I’m tired of pretending that they are not.
· I spent a night camping in the Sahara. The sand was a gorgeous orange-red colour (the sand in Egypt is a beautiful golden yellow). I spent part of the night dancing barefoot in the sand to the beat of drums. Most of the group thought I was crazy, but believe me, they were the nutty ones for not joining in. The stars were unreal, so we all decided to sleep outside, tentless, staring at the stars. We travelled there on camels, which was also pretty cool — that’s me in the back.
· Fes is like Marrakech but smaller and less touristy, and thus more friendly.
· In Meknes I met with a Moroccan friend (and her friends) that I had made in Egypt. They introduced me to Moroccan things. I introduced them to McDonald’s french fries with ice cream, and told them about my friend Jessica. A fair trade, I think.
· This was essentially an Islamic Santorini in the mountains. You might think the Islamicness would add charm. You’d be wrong.
· Travelling in these backward countries for so long, I am so anxious to get back into the free world. Looking at Spain across the water in Tangier, all I see is freedom. It’s so close I can taste it. (It might also be the Spanish coffee I’m drinking as I write this.)