#9 ¡HOLA! ESPAÑA : OLÈ, OLÈ !

Let's continue OUR ROADTRIP, PART TWO...on the way through Spain...if you missed part one, you can read it here first. 

Somewhere in the mountains just a few kilometers away from Cadaqués...

Spain welcomed us with the sun and continuous great weather! Immediately after passing the boarder you could felt the typical spanish vibes. We just drove and drove for miles without having any certain destination in mind.

The beautiful landscape with its mountains and its huge open spaces were simply breathtaking. Not to forget the coastline with its ocean. The first overnight stop we made in L'Escala when we noticed that we missed out one of the must-have-seen places once you are in Spain: Cadaqués! So that night we've read a lot about this lovely charming little fisher village to make us even more excited to go there on the next day as soon as the sun wakes us up.

It was approximately one and a half hour drive back up North until we reached Cadaqués, hometown and inspiration of Salvador Dali. The passion for art is one of many things my boyfriend and I share. All the facts we've read last night didn't promise too much. Passing some narrow serpentine roads through the mountains, Cadaqués is located in a valley, directly on the ocean. Driving into the village felt just magnificent, a little bit unreal because of its magical setting. 

Cadaqués...down in the valley, directly on the Mediterranean Sea.

Once we found the perfect parking spot for Mr.Brown we started exploring this enchanted place with beautiful weather.

Too excited where to go and what to see, first of all we treated ourself to a glas of red wine and just enjoyed life, à la 'La dolce far niente' ! Spotted the 'Bar Galeon', where they not only offer really good red wine, but also serve delicious tapas, turned out to be our favorite spot during our stay. I really can recommend it. You have to go there when you're visiting Cadaqués. So satisfied and happy we took off our route through the unique streets and strolled around. Before the sun went down we found the way to the house of Salvador Dali in Portlligat and planned to go there for a guided tour the next day.

We were just overwhelmed by all the details inside the house of Dali, which was packed with extraordinary pieces. Dali and his wife collected so many things from everywhere. All of them have their proper space in each room and behind everything there's a meaning. Considering it, led me to the thought that art can be so messy sometimes, but in a good way. At this point I just wished to  step back into the past and take a look inside Dali's mind. That would be awesome!

But back to now- after the guided tour through the house we got time for ourselves discovering the garden and the pool area of Dali's property. Unbelievable how he planned building the house the way it looks like today. Step by step, year by year. 

Swimming pool area in the garden of Dali...

On the way back to our van we were still so impressed and it took the whole night to process the great inspirations with a glas of wine...or even two! ;)

Lake Banyoles...

The next day we head off to Girona and stayed at the camping site 'Camping El Llac' in Banyoles, just half an hour drive away. Over the weekend we charged our batteries there, in the true sense of word! We enjoyed not being on the road, rest a lot and took a walk to the nearby lake. We were really lucky that this camping site has been still open in off-season, compared to France where literally every campground was closed. Anyway it felt a little bit strange and creepy as therefore we were almost the only ones at this huge place with loads of bare trees around and all the rustling leaves blowing in the wind. BY NIGHT- it could have been definitely a film location for a horror movie. But happily I'm typing right now, so we didn't die. Haha! :D

After some back and forth thinking whether to stop in Barcelona for visiting the Sagrada Familia, we decided not to (save it up for another time) and just passed by Barcelona on our route along the coastline and did a stop in Tarragona. It already became dark when we arrived. We drove straight to the beach side, parked the van, listened to the sound of the ocean and enjoyed the view by having a beer.

Moments like these are priceless and became very special to me. The fact that you are on a roadtrip with your partner and best travel mate in one, that you can stop wherever you want to and stay there for as long as you want to, just fulfills me deeply. Happiness does not need material expensive things. It is just about living the moment to the fullest. And for me, luxury means exactly what I'm living right now. So why booking a five star hotel when you can sleep under all of them?

The next day we explored Tarragona in our way, which means strolling around the old village, coming across with the cathedral and the old amphitheater. The historical part of the city is really worth seeing with its little cafés, bars and unique boutiques. 

Our next bigger destination was supposed to be Valencia. So we crossed the Delta de l'Ebre, Sant Carles de la Ràpita and Chilches to get there. I've heard and read before that Valencia should be one of the most attractive cities on the spanish mediterranean coast and for example even more beautiful than Barcelona. With its mixed architecture, a combination of old historical buildings and new futuristic ones, Valencia creates a specific vibe which everyone needs to experience by themselves. Although we didn't do a proper sightseeing tour, we soaked up as much as we could in one day. We strolled around the streets and just went with the flow, observing the spanish people living in a big city. Of course it was crowed and everywhere was so much going on, but people weren't hectic and stressed at all compared with the german city life. 

After I did some shopping at Brandy Melville (italian brand) and Pull & Bear, treated myself with a few lovely pieces which I'm gonna show you in another blogpost, we got ready for the night. Looking up the vibrant students bar area before, we knew exactly where to go! Arrived in those streets we were invited to a reggae and jazz session in one of these edgy bars. A few beers later we ended the night and walked through the empty streets back to our van.

Streetart in Valencia...

The next day, one and a half hour drive away from Valencia we found ourselves in Xabia. Influenced by different cultures we passed by all the restaurants, bars and cafés on the beachside. Enjoying the sunset while we had a delicious milkshake in one of these bars, made us aware of how lucky we are and reminded us that we do not ever want to exchange our lives for another. Not at all! 

Lost in the jungle of palm trees in Xabia....

As we were woken by the sun the next morning in Moraira, we had breakfast with a view! I dreamed away in that rocky bay with crystal clear water. I could have sat there for hours getting lost in the vastness of the sea.

But we took off the route further south to get closer to our final destination Tarifa. After almost four hours drive we stopped in Carboneras, another lovely place where we stayed for two days. We discovered the surroundings by driving steep and narrow serpentine roads again, as we found a dry riverbed under a bridge. Attracted by the colorful rocks we made it down the steep unsecured path. The silence and the beauty of untouched nature kept us there for hours, until the sun went down. Letting the evening die away we had a couple beers and pleasant talks in one of the bars on the beachside. 

Granada should be the next stop. On our way we drove through the endless Sierra Nevada, which at 3.483 m is the highest mountain range on the Iberian Peninsula. Unbelievable what the empty, desert-like landscape looks like. Big signs were announcing all the western cities, the so called 'Mini Hollywood'. These western villages are used to shoot numerous films and western movies with Clint Eastwood and other Cowboy stars, from the 1950s until today. All of them are located in the desert of Tabernas, and the biggest is called 'Fort Bravo'. So we didn't want to miss out on that and had a look around. 

At night we arrived in Granada, took a ride through the city and parked with a great panorama view over the entire city for the night. Big city lights were on and we emptied a glas of wine before heading to bed. The next day visiting The Alhambra was on the plan. We went there with high expectations but in the end we both were kinda disappointed.

Sure the patterns on the walls inside the buildings were quite impressive, also the one palace we visited was nice to look at. But beside the unique architecture in moorish style, which is considered as one of the most beautiful examples in islamic art, the hype of Alhambra itself is simply way too overrated and expensive for what it is offered to you. Including parking and something to eat we spent there roughly 60€, which for me stands in no relation to what you get there! Anyway, now we can say that we've been there. :D

Granada from above...

As The Alhambra was the only reason for our stop in Granada we moved on to Marbella. We spent one night there before we finally reached Tarifa. At that time we had no idea what stopping in Marbella would mean for us. Later then, just a few days before christmas it turned out that we've been at the right place at the right time. More on this later, in another post! But this much I can tell you: we definitely will be back in Marbella soon. :)

As we drove along the road from Marbella to Tarifa we've remembered what it was like going by bus from Malaga to Tarfia, driving exactly the same road when we came here in 2015. By passing the entrance to Tarifa, everything felt so familiar and we were spotting out what changed within the year. It felt so good to be back and this time even with our own beloved van. 

Ending this post right here, leaving you guys behind curious for our almost two months time here in Tarifa! 

Sunset at Playa de Los Lances - Tarifa

So thanks for reading and stay tuned! 

xx, Mietz.