On the road, things quickly got relatively flat and boring. Except for the exciting bulls on the hills, as seen above. My favorite part about driving in Spain is the plethora of "rest stops" along the way. Every 2-10 minutes there is a sign for a gas station & restaurant, hotel, etc and they are right on the exit ramp. You can literally exit, get gas or food and then get right back on the freeway. None of the "Dairy Queen at this exit!!!" which is actually 5 miles from I-5 and impossible to find. Loved it.
But then the question became....which of these fifty bazillion rest stop restaurants is going to be good? Some looked great, some looked shady...and you could never get a visual until it was too late to stop.
Finally we saw a cute town in the distance with a historical marker sign and decided to try eating there. 10 minutes later and a drive through an very quiet, very dusty town with no parking spaces, no apparent restaurants and a strong muslim population, we were back on the freeway. For some reason my travels in the middle east kicked in when I saw women with head coverings and I realized I was wearing a strapless tank top. I just couldn't bring myself to get out and try to find something remotely resembling a restaurant when I was dressed like a complete hussy.
So. Wind power. Really? Have you ever seen a wind generator like the one above? Talk about blight on the landscape. They are obnoxiously huge. Ginormous. Not so sure I want 100's of them dotting our landscape, but that would depend on the alternative I guess. (probably better than oil pouring into our oceans?) Just tell me one of them powers and entire town and I'd be fine, but I have a feeling that's not the case. (if you look really close, there are the those "huge" power line poles in the foreground, completely dwarfed by the windmills)
Finally we "just picked one" and had a boring bland lunch. Oh well.
6 hours later, we arrived in Barcelona. Actually more like 7 with lunch, 8 by the time you reckon finding our hotel in rush hour and going the wrong way several times. Luckily we had Kyle's iphone map working, otherwise we may have never found our hotel. Never ever.
For some reason there are no street name signs in Europe. Yes, there are cute little ones plaqued onto the side of buildings, but they are impossible to read when you are driving. (but adorable when you are walking) So I was basically counting intersections to figure out when we needed to turn. Hellish I tell you. But we made it and got our hotel room. A room whose balcony did not lock and had flies. So we got a new room and free cava. Thank you Hotel Regina.
We finally tore ourselves away and walked through the Raval neighborhood that Rick Steves warned us not to visit. It was amazing. When we stumbled upon a street of plump prostitutes, we finally turned back. Once we were safely in the Barrio Gotic, we went to Taller de Tapas (Translated "the Tapas Workshop") and stuffed ourselves silly with delicious goodies. Grilled squid, apple cider braised chorizo, more padron peppers, roasted pepper & eggplant w/ anchovies....