Linda's Tour of Spain 2006 travel blog

Sunrise on my last day in Spain - Santillana del Mar

Ducky on the dockside, Santander

Bye bye Spain :-(

Me on deck

Ah there's Plymouth, grey and very wet - home sweet home


Well hello for the last time

I am sitting writing this in my daughter's house, it's dark outside and it's been pouring with rain on and off all day. My big adventure is all over, and the two months passed more quickly than I had imagined possible.

I got so much from my trip. Spending two months touring one country let me see the huge diversity in terrain, in language, in food and in climate. I spent years at school sitting at desks with history and geography teachers dictating notes that I then parrotted back in essays, and neither subject touched me at all. A week's field trip to Wales had almost no appeal at all!! But on my trip around Spain I came to understand how geography and climate, religion and culture are all linked to each other. Spain, with it's numerous Sierras has been fought over, won and lost, for centuries. Different people have left different marks on the country. All those terraces that are farmed on hillsides are the result of muslim farming methods. Christians have built all the churches and cathedrals that form the heart of most beautiful city centres, and where christians have won land from muslims, they tend to hack a few bits of obvious muslim decoration off, cover a few up and lob a cross or two on when they take over. There were many towns that had a wealthy background until the jews or muslims were expelled, when the prosperity faded away. I saw the influence of Celts in the north, and that of muslims in the south. In a country that must have been so hard to navigate until major roads started to be built quite recently, it is hardly surprising that there are such sharp regional differences in tradtional foods, drinks and dances.

I met Spaniards who told me that I spoke Spanish really well, some that pretended that they didn't understand a word I said, some that were happy to help me and others that were plain grumpy. I found places that I loved, a couple I would even consdier buying a house in, and a few that I hated (eg Costa de Golf). I've got lots of ideas for future holidays, when I hope to go back and spend more time in some of the areas that I passed through too quickly.

Living in a motorhome, and relieved of all the things that usually occupy my hours and thoughts, The small things in life took on more importance, so having a clean towel when getting one filthy was easy and getting it clean was not gave me more pleasure than I have ever experienced before. Living very much in the open air and close to nature, my days have been more structured around changing weather and and daylight hours than they ever are at home. I think I felt things more than I usually do, so when I was happy I was very happy (eg singing silly songs to myself) and often for the smallest of things and sometimes I was very upset by small things too, the number of times I cried at a book was unbelievable!!

I am really pleased that I fulfilled my aim of driving around Spain in two months. Three would have been good, and then I'd have been able to spend more time in ALL the places I liked a lot, and wouldnt have missed visiting a small number of towns that had been on my wish list. But I'm not sure I could have coped with another month away from my loved ones (nor them cope with another month without me!)

I've been told I look a million dollars, and got lots of attention from Spanish men especially in the last few weeks, I guess the tanned, laid back look suits me :-). Now I just have to get back to real life without losing some of the benefits from my lovely long trip. There is very little that I would have done differently if I had known before the trip all that I know now.

Thanks for reading my updates, thanks for all the lovely messages you left on here and the emails you sent me. You will now find lots of extra photos loaded against the entries they relate to, hope you find something that brings a smile to your face. Many thanks to everyone that helped me before I went, gave me things to use or eat or just look at while I was away - and especially thank you for the lovely welcome home that I have had already. Tomorrow I start my new job - back to reality with a bang!!

My beloved Ducky is now up for sale so if you know anyone that plans to follow my example and go travelling for a while, point them in my direction! In fairness to Jane, she was often a real pain and did let me down badly, but having her allowed me to roam more easily around the country, navigating between destinations via villages that meant I took the smaller prettier roads - if I had had to rely on maps, my routes would have been more direct and less beautiful.

My email address, for anyone that doesn't have it and wants to stay in touch, is lindaredknap@hotmail.co.uk

See you soon

xxx

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