Monday, September 22, 2014

Postcard from Andalucía

#AndalucíanRoadTrip2014  |  Postcard from Andalucía on afeathery*nest  |

Oh, where to begin? Our trip to Spain was lovely. Absolutely everything that I had wanted to experience and hoped it would be.

And there's so much I want to remember for myself, and to tell you—but instead of sharing a massive recap as I'm wont to do, I thought I'd break up the (potential) monotony of a Spanish influx here with a few posts over the next few weeks (good thing, too, since I haven't finished sifting through all our photographs yet!).

But first: what made a trip that spanned 13 different places and 1,225 kilometers (760 miles) in 9 full days so amazing?

The gorgeous landscape of southern Spain had something to do with it of course, as did the glorious weather we had. I was wonderfully shocked to discover that Andalucía was not at all overwhelmingly hot and humid (hiya Sicily!). While the thermometer said the temperature was 30C (86F), it felt more like 24C (75F) with a never-ending breeze that made walking around so enjoyable. Not one speck of humidity and only a few drops of rain on our last day.

We seriously lucked out.

And, the reasons I love Sicily carry right over to Andalucía. Having been invaded and conquered by many a tribe, culture, and country, the region is criss-crossed with numerous styles of architecture, food, fragrances, languages and the like.

Also? The highways in Spain are so fun to drive on. Wide, winding and completely empty. We only passed other cars as we neared towns. Otherwise it was us, the graceful windmills and hard-working solar panels dotting the fields (so nice to see!), and herds of cows and flocks of sheep. Driving was peaceful and pleasurable.

It also helped that we opted to rent a Wi-Fi router from the rental car company. For 84€ ($100 / 770SEK) we could be connected wherever and whenever we wanted. If not for that, my little Instagram feed would have been woefully blank (as we basically read and fell asleep as soon as we returned to our connected hotel rooms); we wouldn't have been able to stay in touch with family; and, perhaps most important for a road trip, we'd have understood less of what we were passing and where we were going. I loved seeing something strange and quickly Googling it, or passing a sign for a town that had a nice ring to its name and checking on Wikipedia only to find out that it's famous for its Moorish pastries so a detour up a hillside to experience it for ourselves was absolutely necessary.

Of course we were also happy to just have our iPod speakers playing some appropriate song and our phones / routers shut off and stowed away for the drive.

Speaking of driving, of course my handsome pilot made the trip amazing, too. As we rented a much more economical manual car (and I grew up in the US), only he could sit in the driver's seat. Meaning he was in charge of getting us safely to and from all our stops (I was in charge of the music, the route, and keeping him amused with my chattering).

We're lucky that we're both of the same mindset when it comes to trips, too (which, by the way, I classify as either vacation, i.e., sitting on a beach, or traveling, i.e., exploring new countries): we're happy to understand the history of what we're seeing and experiencing, but that doesn't mean we have to go into each and every single church, museum, and what-have-you. Walking around, visiting markets, having a coffee, going for a hike, seeing a show, etc., those are the ways we both like best to soak up a new place.

And as the last time we "traveled" together was to South America in spring of 2012 (before I began scribbling here), we went at it full-force in southern Spain and the blend of learning something, seeing something, eating something, walking somewhere, and just sitting and soaking it in was perfect.

More to come...

Updated—other Andalucía posts:
After 9 years, 9 days in southern Spain 
Postcard from Andalucía: Málaga   
Postcard from Andalucía: Granada and La Alhambra
Postcard from Andalucía: Nerja + Marbella
Postcard from Andalucía: Gibraltar + Tarifa 
Postcard from Andalucía: Conil de la Frontera 
Postcard from Andalucía: Cadíz + Medina-Sidonia    
Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera
Postcard from Andalucía: Jerez + Carmona   
Postcard from Andalucía: Sevilla  
One year ago:
The art of imperfection + choc-buckwheat-banana bread &
Good things, lately

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