Five weeks after leaving our temporary home in Spain, we’ve already taken part in a wine-throwing festival, walked 300km, and spent time in beer gardens all over Berlin. Being homeless again really isn’t so bad!
The travel diary has been on hiatus for the last year while I did my master’s degree in Alcalá de Henares — I didn’t think “went to work, studied” made for a very interesting story. That’s not to say we didn’t travel during our time in Spain. Notably, we spent Christmas in Morocco, attended TBEX in Lloret de Mar and travelled around Portugal with my sister; not to mention Craig’s trips to the Baltics, Athens, Sri Lanka and London.
We enjoyed having a base and I’m very happy to have done my master’s, but it’s great to be on the road again.
June 28-30: Haro
Our friend Janine stayed with us for a few weeks as part of her year-long world trip, and she suggested we head to Haro to attend the annual wine fight. Despite some planning hiccups, we had an excellent time throwing wine at each other and several thousand tourists and locals. I certainly enjoyed it more than La Tomatina, which seemed to have been taken over by tourists when we were there; the wine battle was certainly still an occasion for the locals.
July 1-14: Camino
Janine had never walked a Camino de Santiago and we are always keen to do another, so after some discussion we chose the Camino Primitivo. Although it’s supposed to be the most difficult of the various ways of St James, we didn’t find it too challenging. In fact, it was awesome: beautiful views, not much road walking, and lots of fantastic people. People were the defining element of this Camino for me: we started as a group of three and ended up with seven, as Clothilde, Gabriel, Nancy and Pablo joined us along the way. Craig had some problems with blisters which meant he was a lot slower than the rest of us and often walked alone, but we caught up with him at our many coffee breaks.
July 15-19: Coruna and Toledo
We had a couple of days free after arriving in Santiago, so we took Janine up to A Coruna to show off our old home. The highlight was heading up the Tower of Hercules only to find the city shrouded in fog — it certainly wasn’t like that when we went in!
Our Corunan friends Oliva and Guille were getting married in Toledo so we hitched a lift there with our mate Alba and parted ways with Janine that night. The wedding was beautiful (though I didn’t particularly agree with the wording of the service) and I stayed up late dancing and chatting to the other guests while Craig turned in early.
July 19-24: Madrid
It was sweltering in Madrid during our four days there, so we spent most of our time inside enjoying the air conditioning. We also had to do a final luggage cull to get back down to carry-on size; it’s amazing what you accumulate over a year in one place! We particularly enjoyed hanging out and having tacos with Dave, Diana and Matt and joining a tour around the centre of Madrid with Context.
July 24-August 11: Berlin
It started badly, when the phone rang as we were boarding the plane and we were told our hotel booking had been cancelled. Luckily things improved and we had an excellent couple of weeks in one of our favourite cities: we joined a couple of Context tours (West Berlin and Nazi Berlin), spent an evening speaking Spanish with our friend Frankie and her Mexican boyfriend Jesus, drank a lot of beer in beer gardens with Claudia and Holger, met the Context team for a drink at the Monkey Bar, went to a beer festival, and even went to the beach.
We were housesitting in the northern suburbs for most of the time, and really enjoyed it. Our temporary dog Lucky is incredibly friendly and well-trained, and we managed to get quite a lot of work done.
We’re heading down to Prague for nine days and then fly to the UK for another housesitting gig. We’re looking forward to seeing friends (including Janine) in Prague and staying still for a bit in the UK — it’s all looking good!