Spain 2011: Itinerary
I really wanted to do some big, epic trip in 2011. After several, small trips over the years that were limited by time and somewhat restricted due to traveling with friends, I wanted to just go somewhere beautiful on my own and not have to worry about such things. Somewhere different, somewhere awe-inspiring.
With a preface like that, you’d think I’d be introducing an epic trek around Mt. Everest – and before this trip came to fruition I was seriously considering just that (unfortunately it’ll have to wait til I have more time at my disposal – but my goal is to do it before I turn 30!).
But no, I’m actually heading back to Europe – Spain, to be more specific. About a month ago I got a fare alert from Airfare Watchdog about some $150 RT flights to Denmark and Sweden – but I had literally just been there last fall, so I didn’t really feel like going back. It’s funny because I was like “you know, if they dropped a fare alert for somewhere like Spain, I’d totally be on that”. About a half hour later, I found myself scouring available dates and booking a $203 flight to Madrid. Yes, $203. Roundtrip, taxes included. I mean you just don’t pass on something like that!
I have two full weeks in Spain. My itinerary is lightly structured, and looks something like this:
3/14-16 : Madrid & surrounds
3/17-20 : Valencia
3/21-24 : Seville & surrounds
3/25-27 : Barcelona
Honestly, I am not too psyched about Madrid. It doesn’t strike me as having a lot to see and is more about the culture and way of life, so I am eager to experience late night tapas and chocolate Not too psyched about the forecasted rain, but with a little luck it won’t be so bad. (I won’t hold my breath though after the horrendous weather I had on 80% of my last European trip).
The thing that kind of threw my planning out of whack is the inconvenient trek out to Valencia, which I probably wouldn’t have even considered including on this trip had my time in Spain not coincided with the annual Las Fallas festival. Part of me even contemplated skipping it anyway, but I know that this’ll be the best way to see how Spaniards live and celebrate. How often do I have a chance to experience madness like this? There’s going to be FIRE, for crying out loud! Bonfires and fireworks and bullfighting and ceremonies and parties in the streets. It’s a little daunting right now, but I feel like once I’m in it it’ll be insane (but in a good way). I’ve also been in contact with a few other travelers who will be in Valencia so I should at least have some people to touch base with once I arrive.
After Valencia I will somehow make my way out to Seville, though the details are fuzzy here. I’m thinking of going back to Madrid in between, mostly because it’ll be faster than going directly to Seville. Seville is supposed to be gorgeous and warm and full of culture. I need to see some flamenco!
And finally, I end my trip with a few days in Barcelona. I have high hopes for this city and its gorgeous buildings, though admittedly I have not done much research on it yet. That’s what my Rough Guide book and long train/bus rides are for!
I should also mention that most hostels in Spain offer free sangria and nights out for their travelers, so I’m a little bit concerned. I don’t want to be in a daze the entire trip so I’m thinking of limiting the hedonism a bit But it should be pretty easy to meet people at least! That’s why I love solo travel so much – I can be as alone as I want and pretty much do whatever I want, when I want… but if I feel the need to socialize or hang out with people, I can easily do so.
Also, I am gonna try to leave my laptop at home for this trip. I don’t want to be spending time on my computer doing anything photo or business-related while traveling, and want to try to enjoy the moment more on this trip. The only thing is that I won’t be able to do anything with my trip pictures until I get home. Buuuuuuuut I plan on taking a few snapshots with my iphone that I can upload whenever I have wifi there. I’ll have my ipad as well for reading, web surfing, and writing. I think I can survive 2 weeks without an actual computer – I spent 5 weeks alone in Italy without it and had the time of my life, so I hope to have a similar experience this time in Spain!