Monday, August 13, 2018

Viva España

This summer we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary and we decided that we were going to do it right! We started with a ginormous backyard party, which was everything we hoped it would be - good friends, good food, good music, good backyard vibe - it was a darn fine party!

But the party was just the first step in our epic anniversary plans - a few weeks later (over our actual anniversary) we flew to Spain (Spain! Can you believe it?!?) for nine days of kid-free, agenda-free, computer-free, blissfully-free adventure. It was amazing.

The most common question we get is, "what was the best part?"

Steve's answer is simple: paella. We had talked about paella for the whole trip but it wasn't until we got to Barcelona (the final stop) that we did a little research, found a well-recommended paella place (Tavern Glop... great paella, terrible name) and dug in. And it everything we had hoped it would be! Candidly, my rabbit-and-snails rice dish was a little bland. Next time, we'll keep it simple and just order 2 paellas.

My answer to the "favorite part" question is less definitive - I just really liked being together; no responsibilities, no real plans, just seeing the sights and hanging out together.

Now, we all know that Steve will laugh out loud when he reads this post because our definitions of "just hanging out" are still pretty different. When I say "no real plans" what I really mean is "a mere one structured outing or reservation per day". I mean, we had to make sure we saw the main sights, right?!?

I loved a lot about Spain,  but probably my favorite thing (after cava sangria) was that nobody will kick you out of a restaurant! I loved that we would find a cozy table with a menu that looked good, nurse a beer and a few tapas, and play cribbage for hours.

Of course, the no-pressure approach to table vacancy did mean we had to wait or wander a while to find the perfect cozy nook to hang out in, but it was well worth the search. Plus, we were the crazy Americans eating at the ungodly early hour of 8 pm, so the restaurants were still pretty empty.

I loved each of our 3 stops for how different and unique and fantastic they each were. Toledo was this very quiet, very quaint, mostly walking city with endless crooked alleys and a sword shop on every corner. Besides touring the cathedral, we mostly just wandered, ate, played cards, ate some more, and then wandered a bit more. It was slow-paced, quiet, and the perfect start to our trip.

Stop 2 was Rota, on the southern Atlantic coast of Spain. The best part of Rota was seeing my aunt and uncle, who are living the dream on the Spanish coast!

We spent hours and days walking the beaches, stopping at random beach bars to fortify ourselves, taking a nap, and then doing it all over again. Heaven.

And our final stop was Barcelona - completely different from the other two cities we visited, and also completely wonderful. Touring the Sagrada Familia and other Gaudi homes, hitting the Picasso museum, and just wandering the streets of such a beautiful, artistic, historical-yet-modern city was an excellent end to our amazing adventure.

By far, the best part of the trip was doing it together. We're pretty darn good adventure buddies and it's a blessing to have time away to remember just how much we enjoy being just about anywhere as long as we're doing it together.


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