On Monday the 24th we made our way to another city along the Mediterranean coast, Valencia. We scored round trip bus tickets for €40, great deal and also a great way to travel. The bus was close to empty so we were all able to get a row to ourselves, the bus was large and comfortable. I really enjoyed the time it allowed me to really reflect on my past few days in Barcelona and how blessed I was to be exploring Spain. We drove along the coast for part of the time and caught some really beautiful views of the ocean. It took four hours to get to Valencia, once there we headed right to our flat and were awe struck by our new accommodations. Having come from the Buddhist flat our expectations were rather low, so what we walked into was utter luxury. Our flat offered two floors, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large living room, full kitchen, and last but not least, a rooftop terrace all to ourselves. For get this, almost half the price of the Buddhist flat.
Tuesday we got up and rushed out to catch a walking tour we had booked for 11:00. Well, the guide never showed. Later on we were informed he “broke his alarm” in his sleep and didn’t wake up in time. This ended up working out in our favor, we were able to catch a different walking tour at noon that turned out awesome. The guide did a great job, we were able to learn so much interesting history about the city, and finish off with a “tapas tour.” Tapas is Spain’s thing. Basically it’s a general name for appetizers, although it’s not uncommon to eat multiple tapas for a full meal. For €8 we got tapas and a drink at one restaurant, as well as unlimited tapas and a glass of sangria at another restaurant.
Mind the flag on the left of the first picture, that’s the one I climbed up to in the second picture. And quickly got kicked off the tower for doing so. Ope 😛
This same day we experienced something magnificent. A giant chocolate pastry filled with Nutella. I went to town on this pastry, here was the result
Wednesday was for the beach.
We found another bargain at a restaurant close to the beach. For €6,50 we could get a drink, veggies, coffee, and a sandwich that was easily 1.5 feet long, maybe even 2 feet long. I got the deal for €5 which gave me everything but cut the sandwich in half, it was still too much for me to finish. From there we trekked to see the Formula 1 track that is no longer in use. Finally we topped off the day with the beautiful City of Arts and Sciences.
Thursday and Friday were days filled with travel. We left Valencia and took the bus back to Barcelona. We got into Barcelona early in the evening to catch our flight back to The Netherlands at 6:40am the following morning. Knowing we’d have to leave early to get to the airport anyway we didn’t book any accommodation, which meant we were homeless in Barcelona for the night. We hopped around various cafes until about 10 when we made our way into McDonald’s and put up camp for the next few hours. From there we walked around a bit until finally we could go to the bus station and wait for our bus that was going to be leaving for the airport at 3:30am. An hour later we were at the Girona airport waiting to head back home. Unfortunately I am coming to learn how little my body can handle with regards to traveling. I got very sick in the airport that carried on well into the plane ride. I was also very sick on my way back from Belgium and the days following after. On the bright side, at least my body lets me enjoy my time while I am at my destination and holds off until I am finishing off the trip. But I really need to find a remedy to this problem. Once our plane got in, we had a bus ride to the Eindhoven train station, then a three hour train ride back to Groningen until finally I was home.
I returned to Groningen on February 28th, exactly one month from the day I first arrived here. I knew time would fly by, but the swiftness of it is astounding. It was truly incredible to reflect on my first month here, how in such a short amount of time I have found a genuine sense of home. I can’t believe how blessed a life that I am leading, and all I hope is that I am doing it justice.
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” -Anais Nin