Friday, February 6

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Today was our last full day of the tour. We started out with a tour of the Alhambra. It was cold today—probably around 30 or 35 degrees. Unbelievably, Mark and Natalie were both wearing flip flops and Mark was in a T-shirt. Crazy. I don’t think they knew how long the Alhambra tour was. We arrived there around 9:00am and we were there until about 12:30. I think about an hour into it, they were regretting their shoe decision.
The Alhambra was quite nice. Parts were similar to the palace we toured in Marrakesh, but this palace put that one to shame. This was so much more grand and in so much better shape. This was a royal palace, so it was fantastically decorated and detailed. We also saw gorgeous gardens with amazing views of the city.
There was a tree there that our guide said was original to the grounds, which meant it would be about 500 years old—if it was still alive. It was just a piece of trunk, basically, that was anchored to the wall. It was atrocious, really.

After the tour was over, we left Granada to head back to Madrid, a drive that took about four hours. At our lunch stop, I saw a Mars candy bar and was wondering what it was like. Natalie was amazed that we didn’t have Mars bars and said I had to try it. So I bought one, and it turned out to be a Milky Way. In Australia, Milky Ways are like our 3 Musketeers. Why don’t they have the same names all over the world? This candy bar talk got us talking about Vegemite, which Natalie just loves, which somehow led to talking about peanut butter. They don’t use a lot of peanut butter in Australia, and as a result, they don’t have Reese’s peanut butter cups. In fact, the suggestion of combining peanut butter and chocolate was revolting to Mark, Natalie, and the two Kiwis. I said I’d have to send them some Reese’s and they could try it for themselves.

For miles, we saw nothing but groves of olive trees that stretched beyond the horizon.

When we arrived in Madrid, we were basically at the end of the tour. We still had an overnight, but we wouldn’t necessarily even see Paul, our guide, anymore. We made plans with Mark and Natalie to get some tapas and sangria later. (I was the only one who wanted that, specifically. I think they would have been content to stay in the room again and drink, but I wanted to do something Spanish, dammit.) We thought we’d probably want some wine anyway, so we went to the grocery store and bought a bottle of red and a bottle of white. Wine in the grocery stores is super cheap. We spent less than 4 euro on both bottles. Awesome.

When we met up with our Australian friends, we drank a couple glasses of wine with them before heading out. They had bought brie, garlic toast, and ham-flavored chips, which we devoured. Mark tried to explain the game of cricket to us. Then we went out. We didn’t know where to go exactly, so just wandered. The first bar we went to didn’t have sangria. When I asked for sangria, the bartender didn’t understand what I was asking for. When Mark asked for it, rolling his R, she understood. What a small difference that was to me. So they didn’t have sangria, but we got some drinks anyway. It was a fun bar—they played ’80s music.

After our drinks, we left in search of tapas and sangria again, but no one else seemed interested in this and we didn’t see anyplace that looked promising. So I said forget it, let’s go back and get sangria at the supermarket. So Natalie and I went to the store and Mark and Andrew went back to the hotel. We bought sangria and crackers and cheese, then went to the hotel front desk to ask for ice. They wanted to charge us 4 euro for a bucket of ice, but Natalie convinced them to just give us a couple glasses of ice for free. Excellent.

So we all gathered and drank and ate and listened to our iPods over Natalie’s tiny little speakers and took a lot of pictures and generally enjoyed our last night together. We talked about everything, from preventing terrorism and privacy rights to music and having babies. It feels like we’ve known them forever. I hope we do get to see them again someday.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

You should definitely send Mark & Natalie Reese’s peanut butter cups... you'll change their world! Peanut butter & chocolate may be the best combination ever.