Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly on the Plain

I had this dream last night - the rare good dream - that I received the passport I've been waiting for in the mail. It was a normal, blank passport, and stuck inside was my old passport with a hole punched in it like my first passport in real life, which was returned to me after renewal. I assumed this would be the case this time around.

Alas...while I scrambled to open the door this morning hoping that my passport was being delivered, I discovered that, in fact, it was my new passport, but also that my old one had not been returned to me, the one with all but one page full of stamps and visas, nearly half of them being Lebanese. Those stamps and visas are badges of honor; I do hope that it will be returned, and the webpage does say they may arrive separately.

I was getting anxious - we leave for Spain in less than three weeks. Spain! I have never been but have wanted to go for a long time, because everything I've ever heard about Barcelona is great and I remember the Gaudi cathedral from the 1992 Olympics and I was fascinated by George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia and because I took Spanish in high school and because I've wanted to see Andalusia since I started learning about the Middle East and Muslim culture and because I read Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, especially because I read The Sun Also Rises.

For awhile I had the sentence "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain" in my head but could not remember what it was from. Was it something they said to us in school to teach us about rhyming? And what does it even mean? Does the rain in Spain fall mainly on the plain, or does it also rain in Barcelona and in the mountains? Is it referring to Spain as a desertous country? Is desertous a real word?

Thanks to Google, I "remember" it's a song from My Fair Lady, when the professor and the colonel are trying to teach Eliza proper English pronunciation. Chris and I watched that not too long ago, which probably put it into my mind.

As it turns out, the rain in Spain falls mainly in the northern mountains. That bodes well for us having a nice sunny trip, though if the extended weather forecast for Barcelona is correct on my phone app, it will rain on our first day there. Fortunately, for once, the extended forecast is often wrong.

I've spent all day jumping from one website to another, trying to figure out where I want to go and how I want to get there and all that stuff. I mean, our plans are to go to Barcelona, Granada, and Seville, with a daytrip to Cordoba from Seville, but aside from our nights in Barcelona, the plans are pretty flexible. On purpose. I've never been one to have set itineraries - you miss out on so much that way.

I was thinking about renting a car. I've never driven a car in Europe - or any foreign country for that matter. Even when I took a daytrip to Cuidad Juarez, Mexico when I was driving from California to Texas, I parked my car in El Paso and walked over the border. I don't really like driving in the US (and don't have a car), so I definitely won't like it in places where the road signs look different. However, we have to get from Barcelona to Granada somehow, and driving down the coast of the Mediterranean and passing through small towns we'd not see on a plane or train is something that sounds very appealing to me.

So I began looking for other things to see. The drive from Barcelona to Grenada is eight hours without stopping, and if we drove, I'd want to stop many, many times. Given that we only get eight days in country, I'm not sure I want to take a full day to drive, even if it means seeing those little towns. I may go ahead and get the international drivers license and rent a car for a day in Barcelona and go to Montserrat monastery or Costa Bravo or some place within two hours of Barca. We'll see.

I ordered a nice camera, something I've been wanting for many years, and I bought two lenses for it, one that is for long distances. The camera should arrive within a week; I will have to practice with it before we leave. I'll post the photos on the Tumblr site. I may try to go to the second Nats game, and if I do, I'll definitely take a lot of photos.

Another prep I did today struck me as odd. I added an international data plan to my April phone bill so I can use my phone without worrying that I'll get a $400 phone bill from posting too many photos when we're traveling. You can actually get a global plan that costs $30 a month, but these days, sadly, I don't travel enough.

I also went through all of my travel toiletries to see what I needed to purchase. This led to me basically packing for the entire trip, or at least choosing all of the clothes I will be bringing. April is a difficult month for packing because the weather can vary greatly. It will be in the high sixties in Barcelona but in the high seventies in Andalusia, with nighttime Barcelona temperatures requiring additional clothing. I packed some t-shirts I know I won't be wearing here in Washington for the next three weeks, including the Reds won I also wore in Amalfi, and I loaded up the socks and underwear because I have plenty of those to last me for the next three weeks. I'll pick up a couple of things at the store tomorrow, but otherwise, I'm ready now.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoy your vacation, looking forward to seeing pictures & hearing about the foods you will be eating.