True to form, I’m finally getting around to sharing my trip to Spain (nine months later). Last year was a busy year for travel (thanks funemployment), and I got to close out the summer and welcome the fall with a trip to Spain with my mom and our Dutch family friends.
I took a red-eye from Boston and had a layover in Madrid, so I decided to take advantage of the time to quickly see the city. My main plan was to eat some churros. I befriended a fellow traveler on the train on our way into town, and together we enjoyed churros con chocolate from Chocolatería San Gínes–as recommended by Rick Steves, and now, by me.
Once I had my fill of churros and chocolate, my friend and I parted ways, and I went on a bus tour of the city. When it was time to go back to the airport, to continue the adventure, I accidentally got on the wrong train, and ended up in another part of town. I finally made it to the airport, and waited for my connecting flight to Alícante.
After finding my family at the airport, packing up the car with all of our suitcases and bodies, and being awake for 24 hours of travel, we finally made it to our apartment in Mar de Cristal, Cartagena, Spain.
Mar de Cristal is in the province of Murcía, which is on the south-eastern mediterranean coast of Spain, so we spent many days relaxing on the beach and swimming in the bluest ocean. My personal favorite was Playa de Calblanque. We toured the cities of Alícante, Cartagena, and Lorca, covered ourselves in mud at Las Charcas Mud Baths in San Pedro del Pinatar, visited nuns at a convent, and consumed plenty of paella, cerbeza, and sangría.
We took a break from the beach for a few days and drove to Seville. We visited the Plaza de España and watched flamenco dancing at the Flamenco Dance Museum. Back at the beach, I managed to get stung by a jelly fish, not once, not twice, but THREE times, two days in a row. Out of all the humans swimming in the sea, the dang jelly fish chose me. Maybe I should feel special.
I’ve never enjoyed a beach vacation more (despite the jelly fish stings), and reminiscing about this trip has made me even more excited for the trip to Maui that my mom, sister, and I are taking in a few weeks.
Here are my quick tips for staying sane whilst on a family summer vacation in a non-air-conditioned, internet-less, Spanish apartment:
- Drinks lots of water, lest you faint from dehydration in a restaurant bathroom. This may or may not have happened to me.
- Go to dinner alone (ESPECIALLY if you’re an introvert, like I am). There’s nothing more liberating than eating dinner alone in a foreign country for some recharging alone time. Plus, I got to eat Indian food in Spain.
- Be prepared to start your day much later than usual. Not only is it true that life is slower in Spain, but trying to get a group of vacationing humans out of the house will always take longer than you think.
- On that note, make use of the siesta!
- Invest in jelly fish repellent.
Until next time, Spain!