Part 1: Going Back to Spain!
I’m on my way to Spain today. And I was on my way yesterday, too, because air travel is messed up with timezones and such. But other than this, I’m “whoo!” off to Spain again.

This trip is labelled “Jerez 2016” in my email folders. Jerez being the city where the flamenco fesival is and where I will be spending 3 weeks taking dance workshops and watching shows and drinking sherry. The 2016 part is to distinguish it from “Jerez 2012” because this is my second trip to the festival and to Spain.

My first trip was amazing, so of course I would want to go back. But also, I set myself a goal the last time. I said to myself, as the trip was ending in 2012, that I would work hard at my flamenco classes back in Vic, and that when I go back to Jerez I would take workshops at the next level (basico classes instead of iniciation). So here I am, and I’m registered for 2 basico classes over the next couple of weeks. So I’ll see how that goes.

Part 2: Airplane Rides
Overnight airplaine rides mess me up. BUT I add another layer of sleepy-time each time I go. When going to Vietnam, I got the good advice from my manager at work to use a face mask and earplugs. When used together, these create a bubble of peaceful sleepy-time. Last trip, on the flight home from Shanghai, my mum had herbal jet lag pills, that conked me right out (shortest 12 hour flight ever!). This time, encouraged by how well I slept last time, I got myself a neck pillow. So the 9 hours from Van to London was pretty quick today (yesterday? It’s all one big long day when you’re travelling somewhere). I didn’t even watch a movie.

Part 3: Present context
On the plane from London to Madrid. One more plane after this to get into Jerez.

I’m listening to Crosby Stills Nash and Young!

OMG I had some food issues. Somehow my full request for a vegan meal wasn’t “logged” properly by the airline. So I got my supper last night, but there was no breakfast this morning. (I’m not vegan, but I’m allergic to dairy, and vegan is a safe choice). The attendant offered me an apple, but I declined because that didn’t seem sufficient. I pulled out my backup granola bar, and one of my travel companions offered up her rice cakes and jam, so that was OK. But then the attendant came back with a big plate of fruit, along with the apple, and an energy bar. (On a real plate with metal utensils – so from first class). She said something along the lines of this being all she could pull together for me. But it was whole tray of food! It was lovely, and I flagged her down later to thank her again.

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12:45, Spain time — Last few minutes in Spain.  There is a flight delay due to weather in London, but we should ould make our connection OK as there is an hour and a half buffer.

Note: sitting on a plane when it’s not moving is not a satisfying experience.

5:23 Heathrow time — OK so I should have been on a plane by now heading home,  but the trip has been delayed.  First it was delayed by half an hour (it was supposed to leave at five, but delayed until 5:30 like.)  Now it’s delayed until 8.

6:40 Heathrow — still here but plane only delayed until 7:45 now.  We talked to the nice lady at the British Air hel desk and she provided a solution to our not able to make the last ferry: we’ll go to the British Air help desk in Vancouver and they’ll find us some overnight accommodation. She also gave us voucher for food. New best friend.

Evening train to Madrid!  I love trains at night! This follows a nice day in Madrid roaming around.  I think I forgot to mention that since Jerez (so in Ronda and Granada) only 2 smart women remain. And smart we are indeed, as we have been lost only once (mostly thanks to the smart woman who is not myself) and we seem to be making our busses and trains with time to spare.

In Granada today, we tried that age-old tradition of ordering wine and sampling free tapas at multiple locations. Well we did that at two but at the second one we were hungry and ordered lunch as well.  But it was getting close to the time when wd were going to go collect our bags from the hotel and get a taxi to the train station for our 5 hour ride to Madrid, so we thought it best to stuff ourselves with ham and bread and olive oil (that was me).

We just passed a Mercadona grocery store.  This is a chain of stores in Spain, and there was one near the apartment in Jerez that I frequented. I recommend thks store not only for their selection of soy products,  but also because they play their theme song in the store a lot, making for a cheery shopping experience.

Last night was a flamenco show in the Saromomte area of Granada, which is known for its caves, that is, dwellings and such built right into the hill. The flamenco was good. The dancers didn’t have nails in their shoes, probably due to the tile flooring- they would have killed themselves slipping and also the sound would have been jarring since the room was so small. There were castanets and polka dot dresses and sherry.  Part of the fun was getting there and back. They shuttle tourists on a mini-bus that has to navigate the tiny streets of Granada. Sometimes there were just a few inches between the side of the bus and the wall of a building, and sometimes this was when we were moving very fast.

One more day exploring Granada, then train tonight leaving at 6. Madrid overnight, and then airplane day tomorrow. I’d say this month in Spain has gone by so fast, but really it has progressed at quite a pleasant pace.

We just finished at the Alhambra. It’s big and at the top of a mountain.  So it was a good idea that we took a bus om the way up.  The tour guide was good- he spoke im english and half-italian.  Like most big old buildings I’ve been in on this trip, the interiors were freezing cold, but with the blazing sun melting us in the open-air courtyard, it’s understandable why they’d want cool areas. If I’m melting in March, imagine August.  That’s all I’ve got on that.  Interesting mix of Arab and Christian influence.

Tomorrow it’s another day in Granada and then evening train to Madrid.

I just walked all over Granada and now I’m pooped.  Got some great views of the Alhambra, which is a big castle. I’ll visit there tomorrow.

News Flash: just as I was writing the above my food came so I stopped writing and ate, and the food was Sooo good.  We were at an middle eastern restaurant and they served Halal meals,  which I don’t know much about, but in short means that Lindsie can eat.  I had lentil soup that was thick and full of olive oil; then there was chicken with a sause that included onions and raisins. Raisins! Imagine! It was all very delicious. I could even have dessert, which was a sesame/honey thing.

But back to what I was writing before.  I wasn’t going to write any more about Granada or the castle. I was going to mention a shop I forgot to mention that’s in Jerez. It was a deli, full of meat,  with large portions of pig wrapped up and hanging from the ceiling behind the counter.  Then the counter/deli case was full of hams and sausages. Then on the wall opposite the. deli case was a floor-to-ceiling selection of sherries and hard liquors. This store smelled really good.

I’m heading backwards to Granada.  It’s just the way the seats in this train car are oriented.  My suitcase tried to escape before, rolling away from the luggage rack.  This was my fault as I forget that my suitcase has four wheels and can roll where it pleases. I have since trapped it behind another suitcase. Take that, suitcase: you shall never be free!

The view from the train to Granada is rolling hills and olive trees.

Note: my first car was a Ford Granada.  It was the same colour green as the olive trees. I feel a circle has been completed.

Note 2: currently 14:46 and 21 degrees C

Ronda is amazing. When planning to come here I was thinking Oh Yeah, a pretty stop on the way to Granada. Sure. But it’s amazing here- if you like beautiful views. It turns out that I enjoy the views and have taken more photos here than anywhere else on this trip.

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Off to Granada now,  on the train.  The bus yesterday that brought me to Ronda was fine but I had to pee for nearly the entire 3 hour trip. This was poor planning and entirely my fault and I do not recommend it.  But the sights from the bus were quite distracting, starting with Spanish Prairies (or “plains” I suppose) and then moving into the mountains, farms and olive trees the whole way.

Ronda is full of tourists so feels quite familiar and comfortable. Also it’s easier to navigate than Jerez and Seville were: you either go up or down.

Ronda is amazing. When planning to come here I was thinking Oh Yeah, a pretty stop on the way to Granada. Sure. But it’s amazing here- if you like beautiful views. It turns out that I enjoy the views and have taken more photos here than anywhere else on this trip.

Off to Granada now,  on the train.  The bus yesterday that brought me to Ronda was fine but I had to pee for nearly the entire 3 hour trip. This was poor planning and entirely my fault and I do not recommend it.  But the sights from the bus were quite distracting, starting with Spanish Prairies (or “plains” I suppose) and then moving into the mountains, farms and olive trees the whole way.

Ronda is full of tourists so feels quite familiar and comfortable. Also it’s easier to navigate than Jerez and Seville were: you either go up or down.