I have been back from Europe since Saturday. I have been battling jet lag ever since, which I don’t really mind since I have been enjoying the early mornings. All the running I planned on doing hasn’t really happened because of the constant rain and cold weather (I’m a baby, I hate rainy runs). Anywho, thought I would wrap up the travel blog by writing about what I loved about Spain/Paris, the highlights, and what I didn’t really enjoy.
- The overall attitude of Spaniards: calm, cool and collected. No one is ever in a hurry and stress doesn’t even seem to exist, even though the country is dealing with increasingly scary unemployment rates. Don’t go to a restaurant wanting to have a quick meal, it won’t happen.
- The pastries and ice cream: how I didn’t see more fat people (that weren’t tourists) still boggles my mind. Bakeries and ice cream shops are on EVERY street. Bread (white baguettes) is eaten with every single meal and dessert is considered an essential part of lunch and dinner. Even Starbucks offers beautiful pieces of cake and pie and whatever other sugar creation.
- The transportation system: The Metro and buses are fabulous. Never had a problem going anywhere and it seemed the bigger the city got, the better it was. Taxis are definitely not needed. Even Paris offered a special bus (with direct service!) that went to the airport, equipped with suitcase shelves. Tickets were 10E compared tot he 70E a taxi would cost.
- The people: Every server, seller or whatever we dealt with was wonderful (except for one mean guy in Paris) and always very helpful. The idea that Parisians are snobs? I can’t agree with that, we had such great service while in Paris and every single person we met was great.
- Grocery shopping: I adored grocery shopping, so fun to see the different things that exist there that we don’t have in Canada. Plus its so nice how people go to the bakery for bread, fruit/veggie market for produce and butcher for meat. Once again, never in a hurry.
- Cost of peeing: yep, you don’t get to pee for free. Public washroom “officials” will make you pay .50E and even some restaurants that you have paid to eat at will charge you to use the washrooms. ANNOYING! I actually hated this with a passion. What’s a girl with a small bladder who drinks gallons of water/day supposed to do?
- Showers: TINY. Holy moly, no wonder no one is fat. They actually wouldn’t fit in the showers. They are so small it is a challenge to just wash your hair or turn around.
- Food: As much as I adored the food, it was often a challenge to find restaurants that offered vegetarian or healthy options. Often the only meatless dish is a plain salad with only lettuce and tomatoes, not really a fun option. Cheese pizza was often my only choice (very yummy but defs not healthy). It did become easier in Paris.
- Food poisoning: not fun. I thought bringing pepto tablets was good enough. Well those will do nothing when food poisoning decides to visit. Apparently I’m the only one in the world to not know about a prescription you can get from your doctor before a trip that saves your stomach in times of distress.
- VERSAILLES: beautiful, grandiose, breathtaking. I adored visiting the palace and the gardens. A must!
- Barcelona runs: Going for morning runs in Barcelona will be a favorite memory for a long time. So beautiful and exhilarating.
- Cheap food: I mean, you could get a glass of wine at a really nice restaurant for only 1.80E.
- Nighttime: Anything that is beautiful during the day is even better at night. Barcelona’s magic fountain, Paris’ Eiffel Tower and Seine cruise, Seville’s cathedral.
Back to Calgary tomorrow. University grad in a few days. “Real life job” starts in 2 weeks.