Beth and I are back in Barcelona for the last couple of days of our trip. We are staying in an out of the way hostal just relaxing as things wind down. But here is what has happened in the last week and a half or so.
In Madrid we we started running into a lot of Australians, first two Keith Urban looking guys, then a really cool girl that has been traveling Europe for a long time and before that, she traveled southeast Asia. Then another girl, fresh off a tour of the UK. None of which really knew who Keith Urban was, despite the striking resemblance of the to Aussie boys. We thought nothing of it
On our last day in Madrid we went to a really cool Palace and the best parks we have seen in Spain. Beautiful pools, ponds and fountains. Not to mention that one was full of peacocks and black geese. We left for Segovia the next day. The city is small in comparison to other cities we have been in. I asked a man the bus how many people lived there. He said 55,000 and then started speaking at Beth speed and I lost him. But Beth translated bunch of other cool information. Segovia's wonders start with the 30m.(almost 100ft.) tall roman aqueduct which flows past a towering cathedral to the Castle at the end of the hill. This castle inspired the castle in Disneys Sleeping Beauty. The castle is truly built for function as well as beauty. It is perched on a very steep hill/cliff, the only spot you can really access it is a drawbridge across a very deep moat. After crossing the drawbridge you enter the castle to see brilliant courtyards, ornate halls, towers and gardens. Anyway I could write a whole page about it, it was cool. Another great thing about Segovia was just the feel of the city, very tight streets old buildings, and a generally slower feel.
After spending the night in Segovia we headed back to Madrid and spent one more day there before waking up early and missing our bus to San Sebastian. We caught the next one and we were on our way. When we got to San Sebastian we were greeted by a guy named Lewy, another Aussie, and he told us about a cool hostal he and his friends ran. We had place reserved for the night but told him we would see him tomorrow. The next morning we called Lewy and he walked us to the "hostal". He had been explaining that they had a big party the night before and it was a little dirty. It was an interesting bunch of people, most worked for the company that also owned the hostal. Almost all Australian. Only one out of the 10 or so could speak Spanish despite all of them working in Spain. This is were we learned the truth about Australians: they are serious about partying, they don't learn other languages, and have very low standards for cleanliness. They also just randomly decide to abbreviate things like San Seb., Air con, Speg Bol (spaghetti bolognese), and other random common words.
We spent most of our time in San Sebastian on the beach, eating pinchos, and learning about Basque culture. The city is known as the culinary capital of Spain and the food was delicious! There are two awesome beaches, one with waves and surfers, another for swimming. The water was a little cold but not too bad. One day we went up to a castle on the hill that was controlled by Napoleon's troops during a battle for the city. San Sebastian was our favorite city in Spain.
After San Sebastian we headed to Bilbao for an afternoon. After seeing a little bit of the city and the Guggenheim Museum we got on the night bus for Barcelona. And after a sleepless night we arrived back where it all started and in two days we will be home.