First and foremost we would like to share with you a wonderful film that our talented friend Gonzaga created. It is a lively short movie that documents the first group of gastronomy tourists finalizing a meal they had prepared. We make a fleeting appearance in it (at about minute one), as do many of the usual suspects of Loz Gázquez. We think you will really enjoy it. Click here to view it!
It actually happened: we have made a move! We are now back in Spain’s capital after an 8+ hour bus trip from the little town of Vélez Rubio. We passed neat rows of olive trees for miles and miles. The rows continued on into the distance visible up and down rolling hills for as far as we could see. Olive trees were crammed up to fences along the freeway and were even planted in the center of roundabouts and in dirt patches near overpasses.
It’s been pretty cold and a little rainy the last week. We miss our friends in Los Gázquez and it’s strange to be in a new place with new people. We had a sweet and special last night with the Beckmann’s after a game of frisbee and soccer and silly running in all directions with the kids, Sesi and Soli. We relaxed at the dinner table and talked a little about our last three months and our next stage.
The last few days in southern Spain were spent mainly relaxing, eating, packing and getting ready. On Monday, Simon, Gonzaga and the two of us took a trip to the next ridge over from where we had been harvesting firewood. Because of the rain (and some snow) the last few days the roads were so muddy that Simon decided to go to this new location that had rockier access roads. The location was on the very top of a little ridge with large majestic valleys on either side. We could see caves, mustard colored farm land, circular tree outcroppings and rock formations. We videotaped as the Defender drove up the rocky ridge with cliffs on either side likened to the back of a brontosaurus.
We said our goodbyes and headed to Madrid. We arrived at 6 pm and walked from the bus station towards the center of the city to a bustling place called Plaza Santa Ana where we found a great little restaurant that sat us down right underneath the television during a Real Madrid soccer match. It was loud and riotous and we enjoyed the change of atmosphere from anything we’d experienced yet in Spain. We then met up with our couch surfing host, TC. He is very nice and hospitable and from Coeur D’alene, Idaho. He’s been in Madrid teaching English for three years.
In the morning TC took us through the center of the city, past the 0 Km mark in the “Times Square of Madrid” that at one time all roads in Spain were measured from. He brought us to Decathlon (an affordable French sporting goods store) to get supplies for our walk and then to his boyfriend’s home for a traditional Spanish meal of tortilla, salad and fried beef filets. We were welcomed like family, got to watch everything be prepared and then sat at the dinner table in the sitting room for 3 and a half hours talking about Spain’s history, politics and about their family. There is a tradition in Spain called sobre la mesa, which suggests you stay at the table for an hour or so after a meal to converse. We were invited to stay and sleep at their house and come back anytime to visit or stay. We both feel very lucky for finding such a friendly, warm, welcoming, open family to spend the holiday with (May 1 is a Spanish holiday and today, May 2nd, is a Madrid holiday).
We arrived back to TC’s place and spent the evening with his roommates. A French guy, a guy from Panama, TC and his Spanish boyfriend, a guy from Madrid and one of their Spanish friends who just returned from a year studying abroad in Ottawa, Canada. We had a fun, loud night and enjoyed all the questions, curiosity and conversation.
We are planning to head to Southern France to begin our walk on Friday morning. We seem to have all we need and although the weather is likely to be a little cold and rainy for the next week or so, we are excited to be heading West on foot.