Arriving in Spain means falling into her warmth and enjoying her fabulous food! She folds you into her bosom to feast on Tit Cheese, Paella, and for meat-eaters – her famous jamon. Spain favors flavor over beauty – vegetables in stunning deep colors with flaws and bumps and bruises to show they have been well loved – and will do the same for you.
It was great fun to travel across the millions of acres of olive groves towards the sea and reminisce about how much Spain looks like the American Southwest. Of course, we wondered why there are no olives in our land like this, and it turns out it is too hot there.
Spain a huge country, nearly as big as Texas, so once we began to follow the coast, we also began to worry that the draw of the beach might cause us to run out of time to get back to Paris for a rendez vous with a friend. Alas, Spain is not as far south as Texas, so despite the bright sun, it is brisk and sometimes downright cold in November. We actually found frost on the windows in Salamanca and a reading of 30 degrees! In a motorhome that makes for cold mornings! As a traveler just a wee tired of tourists, Spain is the place to be in November – you can have the whole place to yourself! But, looking for a little more heat, we think to Southeast Asia in December and brace ourselves for Northern France the end of November.
Below is one of our campsites right on the beach. In these places we find many Germans, Austrians, French, Dutch and others from the north escaping the cold in their motorhomes, but we are also surprised to learn that these sites have semi-permanent trailers as well. In fact, we have seen this all over Europe. Sometimes the camping parks even have tiny cabins for rent. People have small campers with porches, astroturf “lawns” and potted plants – getaways much the same as the “Cabin up North” in Minnesota. However, folks in Europe seem to be more comfortable with lot sizes MUCH smaller than we would like for our cabins and cottages. The smallest most of us would tolerate would be two acres with at least one unobstructed sight line to the water, but these campers sit on sites that are perhaps 20 x 20 feet if that! The nice thing, the campground provides the bathrooms and take care of cleaning them – one task I can do without!
We have tended to stay two or three days in places we like, but searching out the next campsite takes time. In the beginning of our trip we used an app through a website called, “Camper Contact” that served us well until we entered the “off season.” Camper Contact provides maps with campsites, information about the site and even reviews from previous guests. When we have internet, it’s a pretty handy tool. For some reason, the further south we have gone in Europe, and the later in the season, the less campsites available through Camper Contact. Fortunately, we had also purchased the “Camping Card ASCI” that came with actual paper books with maps and campsite listings of certified campsites that offer discounts during the offseason. Either way, we spend between Euro 17-Euro 30 for a night in one of these places.
When in Granada we knew we couldn’t miss the Alhambra with it’s ornately carved plaster, spectacular gardens and views of the Granada Valley around. We have been so lucky on this trip managing to command sun each day we tour…even if it is a little brisk in the mornings.
Look above Max’s head for the crown! Our little prince stands below it.
The Alhambra provided a bit of family bonding time after a few homesick days.
“Jeff, smile. Make it look like you’re really happy!” Aren’t the walls spectacular? Maybe when I have a little time, I’ll do this to the walls in our house, perhaps a bathrooms somewhere, and make mosaic rock paths like those I admired at the Alhambra!
The day we visited the Alhambra was election day in the United States and heavy thoughts rumbled through our minds as we toured the once Islamic palace. We wondered if our fellow countrymen would vote for a man who allowed the fearful and racist a voice. As we left the Alhambra, this graffiti caught my attention – seemed somehow an omen or symbolic of the man who we would vote into power.