For many of us, this summer is a strange one. Like so many people, we had to cancel our holiday a couple of months ago, but I hadn't really processed it until this week. We save all year for one trip, a real adventure, where we can explore and discover and ultimately experience different things. This year we were already reining it in from the last two epic road trips of previous years by focusing on one country, not far from home. This was our budget year, and where better to go than sunny Spain?
Our interrailing trip in 2018 covered many destinations, but we couldn't work out how to get all the way back west to Spain and Portugal. It's therefore one of the big European countries that I haven't been to with T. Spain instead, makes me think of happy childhood memories with my family. From a really young age, I visited Benhavis every summer, fascinated by the blue painted tiles and abundant bougainvillea. My Mum and Dad took Spanish evening classes in preparation and they had many friends they'd met out there. It was a safe, happy, sunny place with water, mountains and novelty - different food, different landscapes and different air, fragrant with pine needles.
I was curious to go back this year and see how much I remembered, and of course to share this happy place with T. Plus, my parents were coming too, for a short while. This was Benhavis with a twist - we were combining our love of roadtrips with my Spanish memories.
We were due to fly out tomorrow, but after Ryanair and Easyjet (after an age!) cancelled our flights, we set about cancelling accommodation. Our thoughts are with all of those who have been affected by this horrific virus, plus those small family businesses who are feeling the knock on effects too.
To honour our best laid plans, I thought I'd share our trip on here, and offer up our itinerary for anyone who's looking for a Spanish adventure!
Days 1 to 3 -
Fly from London STN to Seville with my parents.
Check in to Airbnb in the Old Town (Triana).
Explore gorgeous Sevilla: eat, drink and be merry.
Day 4 -
Get a train from Seville to Malaga (2 hours).
Explore/reminisce in Malaga with my parents.
Mum and Dad fly home in the late evening, after a couple of bottles of wine.
Day 5 & 6 -
Explore Malaga and its coastline.
Sap up the sun, eat all the things and learn about tapas.
Hire a car and drive up to Caminito del Rey - an incredible gorge walkway up in the mountains, known as 'The King's Little Path'. Before its repair, it was known as the world's most dangerous walkway.
Days 7 to 9 -
Drive and drop off the car in Granada.
Check in to accomodation next to Granada's Cathedral.
Explore the old town.
Visit the many palaces of Granada - including the Alhambra (this has been of T's number one things to see for a long time).
Visit a vineyard for wine tasting.
Day 10 & 11 -
Get the train back to Malaga and see the gorgeous Franky - one of my best friends from university who lives in Gibraltar.
Drink our last sips of wine and nibble some olives. Buy stacks of chorizo and manchego and board a flight home.
In a way, it's helped me to write this. To visualise the trip and to smile at the plans we had made. I know that it's due to a complete world catastrophe that we, and many others, won't be exploring this summer, and it's ok. I've made plenty of discoveries at home too. I have an entirely new 'camino' to follow next year, and vouchers for EasyJet and the hotel in Granada. I'm coming Spain, whenever you're ready for me.
In the meantime, here's a picture of our homemade paella - our homage to España.