I thought that I would start my Spanish summer travel adventures with our trip down to Motril, Granada, in the very South of Spain, the place that we returned from shortly before the start of fashion week.
After spending a week at my parent’s house in the South of France, going to the beach, walking in the mountains and eating amazing seafood, we took crossed the boarder into Northern Catalunya and took the train from Figueres, home to the amazing Salvador Dali Museum, to Barcelona, a trip that I usted to do it fairly regularly when I played professional tennis at the Sanchez Casal Academy. It is a pretty easy journey and one that I would recommend to any travellers wanting to go from the South of France into Spain. It is so much easier, quicker and cheaper to cross the boarder by car and then join the local train network at either Girona or Figueres, which will then take you directly into the heart of Barcelona, rather than attempt to go directly from Perpignan.
The giant white eggs of the Dali Museum loomed above the rusty red mosaic towers that jutted into the sky. The air was already hot even though it was quite early in the morning. We bought out train tickets and then had some strong Spanish coffee, croissants and chocolate pastries in the small little station cafe. The timing was perfect, we were just finishing when the train was announced in Catalan and before we knew it, we were speeding off into the dust and sun, towards the big city, towards Barcelona.
Barcelona is one of my favourite places in the whole world, I have so many great memories there and whenever I return they all just come flooding back. I remember when I was just 14 having finished tennis practice, racing my friends up the steps at the Park Guel and wondering the Gothic quarters in search of tapas and earrings. Every weekend we would take the bus into town, we would walk down the Ramblas, go shopping along the Diagonal, have coffee at Starbucks and go then go on to Port Olimpic. Indeed simply arriving at Sants and walking passed the McDonald’s where my friend Federica and I had been stranded at 1.30am and seeing the vending machine that we had searched when we arrived at the station another time only to realise that we had no money to get home because we had spent all of our money shopping, was a real trip down memory lane. It all felt like yesterday that we were all on tour together!
We had some time to wait before taking out connecting AVE, Spain’s super fast train, that would take us down to Alicante in 5 only hours! So we left the train station and walked around the beautiful city, passed the first nightclub I ever went out to and onwards into the distance, to Plaza Catalunya, to the old streets and passed Gaudi’s Casa Battlo. We walked around el barrio Gotico and had smoothies at La Boqueria. It was all so magical and it was shame that our stay was so brief.
On our way back to the station after an exhausting day walking around admiring the mosaics and blue sky, we stopped off at a nice looking restaurant and had a great lunch, perfect for preparing us for our trip down to Alicante. One of the best things I learned while I living in Spain was to always go for the lunch menu because they are usually around 10-12 euros and include drinks (wine, coke…) three courses and coffee. If you find a standard decent place to eat then the food will be fresh and of really good standard.
I was sad to say Adios to Barcelona but excited for our next stop, Motril a sea side resort close to Alicante which was now only 5 1/2 hours away!