That's right. We went to the southwestern part of Andalusia, starting in Madrid (which must mean "nightmare to drive around in, even with GPS" in funky Spain Spanish). Lola, our faceless GPS lady-voice also went on vacation with us to Spain, and took her siestas quite seriously, often taking them between tall buildings and only waking up after we passed the turn. I'd tell you her last name, but I think it's against blogger rules to post such a vile thing.
Lola aside, we drove from Madrid to our base, Canos de la Meca (imagine the squiggly thing over the n, please). This is a traditional Spanish fishing town. No tourists (except us). No English (except ours). Good thing I remember Spanish. For dinner (mind you places don't even open till 9:30 pm if you're lucky) we ate at this crazy little place called La Pirata, The Pirate. It was right on the beach (talk about your fresh fish), and the bugzapper kept us awake, if not the constant self-slapping from what the zapper missed. Luckily, I must still be full of quinine from living in Africa years ago that the mossies stay far far away from me. I ate Tortilla Espanola (again, imagine the squiggly thing on the n), which is potatoes in an egg omelet, not like the tortilla you think of that comes from Mexico. Steve and I ate more olives than should be allowable or possible by two human beings, but hey, they gave them away like pez and we didn't want to be rude.
After a couple of days of olive gorging, we decided to drive towards Gibraltar. It's that tiny UK territory on the bottom tip of Spain. You can see Morocco as you drive there. That's kinda weird. We get there, walk right in with our passports, and get on a bus that will take you across the landing strip. You can walk across the landing strip, but we didn't know that. Plus it was hot. And I was lazy. So we get dropped off in the center of town and eat at the Casements. Everybody speaks English (soo nice). I had jacket potatoes with cole slaw, which luckily my stomach decided not to regret later. No yarn shops on Gibraltar (what do those people do there?), FYI. Oh, and the beers, like the beers in Spain, are so teeny tiny! I guess all beers will seem this way after Germany.
So we go back to Spain, stupidly trusting Lola again who just seems to aim us into accidents (Spanish drivers don't really stop at red lights--it's more like a yield sign to them). After chewing her out and shoving her back in the glovebox we head back home. I think it was this night we tried a restaurant outside of Canos, and the boys had sangria (which we discovered is not on the menu but everybody has it). This place down the street had the best sangria--something coconutty in it (or kokosnubby as beginning German speakers would say). Again, more olive gorging with Steve (above) and a great potato salad thing that had tuna in it and I ATE IT. And I didn't want to wipe my tongue off with a paper towel after. It was that good. So I had to drive us home. Not a long drive, but I am short, the dashboard is high, it's a stick shift, and reverse is where first gear should be. But remarkably I get us home without hitting anyone.
The trip is thus ended with a drive to Jerez de la Frontera (where they have all the sherry places--scroll down on the link to see the horse walk Andalusian-style) to dump the car in a garage and we take a train to Seville to see the Real Alcazar. That place was amazing and if you ever plan on going to Spain you must go here. I have more pictures on my flickr page here. After we wandered around there for a while we headed back on the train to Jerez (pronounced Herr-eth) to see a flamenco performance, which was fabulous. I tried sherry again for the second time, thinking it would be the best place to have it and I have to say I didn't like it again for the second time. Tastes like old raisins; this must be an acquired taste.
All in all an amazing trip. Beautiful sites, nice people, fantastic food, and a culture that is built around napping. How can you not love this? Plus they have fantastic coffee, fried pastries, and olives. All you can eat. Which makes me wonder: has anyone ever brined themselves on vacation by eating too many olives?