Christmas in Spain – The Puke Drive

No, the title is not a fancy Spanish term for something else. We literally ended up calling this particular (low) part in our vacation “the puke drive.” Sunday morning we did not wake up in the best of spirits. There are moments like these on every vacation, I suppose; moments in which things just don’t go well. In our case, the moment managed to last all day.

It started out with morning coffee. Tony and I are accustomed to going to coffee on weekend mornings in Amsterdam. In fact, our favourite dates tend to be these coffee mornings, where we can just relax, connect, and enjoy one another’s company. And it doesn’t hurt that Amsterdam is so packed to bursting with wonderful cafés that even though we have tried dozens, there are still dozens, if not hundreds, left to try.

The next town over did have a nice enough bar with internet–the one where Tony had gone the night before. Here I suppose I should say that in Spain, as in Amsterdam, a “bar” is not what Americans would necessarily think of. Bars here do serve alcohol, but there’s no age restriction to enter them, and they are in general quite family-friendly places. They also usually serve food of some sort, sometimes just basic sandwiches, but often a lot more. In fact, the distinctions between bars, cafés, and restaurants can be quite blurry here. This particular bar also served breakfast, in the form of lovely fresh Spanish bread (I’ve been thinking for the past while that I’d lost interest in bread, but actually I just hadn’t had really good bread in a long time) with serrano ham and tomato, liberally drenched in olive oil. The olive oil was excellent too, not surprising considering the fact that we drove through a pretty considerable percentage of the countryside in southern Spain, and nearly all of it was covered in olive groves as far as the eye could see.

We’d brought along a laptop, since I wanted to get some blogging in. My first order of business, though, was to get my phone on wifi so I could upload photos. Kind of a lot of photos. I connected my phone to wifi and started uploading. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line the wifi kicked me off, and my phone continued to download photos using my data plan. Even more unfortunately, my data plan included only 500MB of “fast” European data (not really all that fast in rural Spain, but still). It doesn’t take long to use up 500MB of data when you’re uploading photos. As well as causing me to use up all my fast data in one fell swoop, the wifi apparently blacklisted my phone as well, and no longer let me get on wifi at all. For the rest of the trip, I was relegated to super slow internet, which actually didn’t turn out to be so bad, except during the (multiple) times when it failed to load Google maps right at a crucial juncture. It takes only moments to recount this, but the whole internet saga took place over a couple of very frustrating hours, after which I admit to having been in a very bad mood.

By the time we got home, it was time to feed the kids lunch and take a much-needed nap. When we finally got up and out the door for our outing of the day, it was after four in the afternoon. The person who owned our house had told us about a couple of beautiful Moorish villages up in the mountains, which she said were a must-see. We set off on one of those kinds of roads that I haven’t been on for years because I’ve been living in flat Florida and the Netherlands, but suddenly remembered that I hate: the kind that wind precipitously around a mountain with a dramatically fatal drop on one side.

Even worse, both of the children got progressively more carsick. Eventually, we did end up pulling over multiple times for possible and then actual puking incidents.

I would love to say that the drive was worth it, and the villages were magical. And it’s possible that I’ve just seen too many magical mountain villages. But after having seen the first village, we determined that the other one was not worth any more mountain driving, or the inevitable puking that would ensue. Still, because we drove up there, I took this photo, so that we can all get the utmost enjoyment out of a very unenjoyable drive.

Moorish village

Also, when we pulled over for the last time, and just after the actual puking occurred, we did witness quite a beautiful sunset over the mountains.

Sunset

We cut our losses and went home and put the kids to bed. Since I hadn’t gone out with him the night before, I had promised Tony that we could go out on the town in Granada that evening. I privately wondered whether there was anything even happening on a Sunday evening, but there was no harm trying. We parked near the Granada Cathedral, and started off wandering through the cobblestone streets of Albaicín, the Granada Arab quarter, ducking into an adorable little Tetería that could have come straight out of Arabian Nights. The menu really did have almost nothing but several pages of various sorts of tea: black, green, flavoured, herbal, everything. There was also a page of hubbly bubbly, of which we did not partake, except if you count the (liberal) second-hand sort.

Teteria

Once we finished our tea, we resumed our hunt for something, anything, happening with regard to nightlife on the Sunday before Christmas in Granada. Tony’s persistence eventually paid off in the form of a live jazz night at Boogaclub Groove dance club. Yes, it was really called that. At first I thought it was odd and a little boring that the band in question didn’t even have a saxophone. But then they brought in a guy with a pennywhistle, and things started getting interesting. When he pulled out the bagpipes I had to take a video. In the end, he was piping along on just the chanter. Jazz as I’d never heard it before.


So our terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day turned out to be not so bad after all. What can be so bad when you’re on vacation to Spain?