After leaving Kerry in Annecy, we bee-lined for the coast and rolled into Barcelona on Halloween. We spent that afternoon drinking wine on the Mediterranean and evening eating tapas and wandering the eerie streets of the Gothic quarter.
Two things made our trip to Barcelona slightly less than perfect. First, we camped at a trucker stop that looked like a set straight out of American Horror Story. We stayed because we could walk to the subway station, and camping in a creepy, carnival lot was still better than driving the RV through a European city. Second, we said goodbye to Brad, and although we were looking forward to a few weeks alone, we knew we’d miss our friends.
Huntley and I spent most of November drifting along Spain’s Mediterranean coast. Plans, timelines, and specific destinations ceased to exist. Eventually, we wanted to go to Granada. We gave ourselves two weeks to make the 550 mile drive.
Looking back, the days and places between Barcelona and Granada meld together. Though the details seem fuzzy now, the sense of freedom and warmth that engulfed me that November remains. The day we left Barcelona established the hippie-kind-of-life we wanted. We started the drive with the intent of making it some distance, but less than two hours into it, the sun and ocean breeze lured us off the highway and onto the beach.
We established a pattern. Whenever we sensed ourselves growing restless, Huntley hopped on ParaglidingEarth to pinpoint his next flying site. En route, we made a game of finding the best camping spot. Spanish law prohibited RV camping along its beaches, a law enforced during the peak season but overlooked in the off. With luck and a little law breaking, we regularly occupied beachfront property.
A favorite lucky find was the town of Alcossebre. Unlike the states, Spain has many paragliding sites accessible by car, and I helped Huntley take advantage of them by chauffeuring. Some days, karma rewarded my shuttle driving, and that day was one of them. Alcossebre’s launch, perched 1,000 feet above the Mediterranean, also neighbored the tiny chapel of Ermita de Santa Lucia. The chapel courtyard provided the perfect vantage point for me to play lizard while I photographed Huntley flying above me.
Not knowing how long he’d be in the air, I took my photos and headed down for a run. When I travel, a great run feels like a treasure hunt. The find that day happened after the path I’d followed merged into the street, the street turned to dirt, and the dirt led to a lighthouse surrounded by a system of trails and protected beaches.
Fate was rather generous that day. I scored a cool photoshoot, empty beaches, miles of trails for future exploration, and the perfect camping spot next to a lighthouse, a spot we relished for three days. I could have camped there for a week, but we wanted to see what else Spain had to offer. She ended up giving us quite the adventure in the town of Alicante.
As I’d done in Alcossebre, I dropped Huntley at launch, then drove down to the beach where Huntley would land. Somehow, the fact that the LZ happened to be a nude beach had escaped me, but I’m sure it hadn't escaped Huntley. What man wouldn't want to swoop down like Superman onto a beach lined with naked bodies?
The wait on that beach quickly turned awkward. I grew uncomfortable being clothed among the unclothed. Oddly enough, my discomfort made it easier to join the other topless women.
Although my white bits relished the vitamin d, I couldn't relax, and the man sunbathing in front of me was to blame. There's no way to put this delicately . . . let’s just say he was rather . . . uhmmmm . . . well-hung. And he knew it. I think this pompous dude frequented this beach just to flaunt his junk. I didn't mean to notice. Or stare. But it was impossible not to watch Mr. Pompous as he rooster-strutted his way down the beach every five minutes. I was terrified he’d come talk to me. Every two-year-old in Spain had better command of Spanish than I did. Plus, in what world is it normal to meet and converse with strangers in the buff?
To add to my angst, pilots were landing on the beach, but my hubby wasn't one of them.
After what felt like hours, Huntley made it, but he was caked with dirt and gashes. Apparently, a turn to the left instead of the right created a last-minute, cliff-side emergency landing.
The wrong turn happened after he transitioned to flying over the water, and the lack of lift over the water that day made that one decision a costly error. The extra turn took him away from the LZ, which meant he no longer had enough altitude to make the LZ. Rather than hoping for the best, he accepted reality, spotted a tiny patch of flattish land midway down the cliff, and made his emergency landing. He picked up the gashes and dirt on his scramble back to the top to relaunch himself.
As Huntley ended his tale, we looked around. Except for Mr. Pompous, we had the beach to ourselves. Huntley needed a bath, so we skinny-dipped and watched the setting sun. By nightfall, we were alone, and we remained alone until the fishermen came out the following morning.
A few days later, we dusted the sand off our feet and ventured into Granada. As much as I still wanted the ocean breeze in my hair, Granada, a hodgepodge of the modern and ancient, did not disappoint. I loved losing myself in the marbled and tiled streets overflowing with spice merchants and flea markets. Granada’s bar scene won over our foodie hearts as we received free tapas with every drink we ordered. Gardens and parks sprinkled the city with the biggest and most beautiful being the lavish grounds surrounding Alhambra Palace.
Granada marked the remainder of our solo time, at least until Thanksgiving. After our metropolitan days, we returned to the beach and reunited with Brad and Kerry for our last hurrah in La Herradura, Spain.