Monday morning we arrived in Madrid and I must say it feels fantastic to be back in Spain again. I’ve missed it here! It’s a nice change to know my way around again and get to be a bit on tour guide mode here showing Van around. Unfortunately we were quite time pressed in Madrid as we only had the one day and night there. I think I managed, however, quite thee day for Van and I think she has been falling in love with Spain as much as I did when I first arrived almost a year ago. Our hostel backed onto the Palacio Real de Madrid and we spent the afternoon (unfortunately in 36 degree weather) wandering the streets and hitting all the main squares and avenues. Of course I had to take her to Chocolatería San Ginés because no trip to Spain is complete without trying churros dipped in chocolate. Afterwards we went to San Mercado de Miguel and Van got to try her first tapas and paella and to experience the first taste of what I’ve come to know Spain for – the busy, crowded and lively place I love. We finished the night off at Corral de Morreria watching a Flamenco show that kept you in constant awe and fully captivated your emotions.
Tuesday morning we got on a bus and headed back to Pamplona. Upon arrival I was flooded with memories of my past semester spent here and the wonderful experience I had. The city was a lot livelier than when I had been there before. The atmosphere and excitement surrounding San Fermin transformed Pamplona into a completely new city. Red and white clothing coloured the streets, parks, and squares. As the day prior to the beginning of San Fermin began, music started to fill the streets and masses of people attended opening events, parades, and fireworks. It truly was amazing to be a part of something so soaked in tradition and such a demonstration of the love of life and fiestas the Spanish people have. On the first day of San Fermin we got up at 4:30 to secure our spot to watch the bulls run. It was a tad anticlimactic the run itself as we witnessed a whole 30 seconds of it. We didn’t go to see the bull fight inside Plaza del Toro either because Van and I both agreed that’s something we can’t watch. However, it truly was something magical to be able to take part in the festival and for the locals to welcome us so whole-heartedly and allow us to celebrate with them. From our airbnb hosts to strangers we met at dinner, it truly was a time of festivities, love, and friendliness and of course a tad bit of craziness. It was a sad farewell but it won’t be forever. I will return a third time to do the Camino; it will just be a matter of when.
Our final two days we spent in Barcelona. I have to admit, Barcelona still holds the place in my heart as my favourite city. Something about it is truly amazing. We spent our final day together wandering through the city, tasting delicious food, and enjoying each other’s company one last time (okay for 6 weeks – I’m being a tad overdramatic). I got to try to drink out of a porron which had been something I had wanted to try since my semester abroad. I must admit I sucked quite horribly at it and I ended up wearing a good portion of the wine but it was worth it for all the laughs we shared over it. Now I’m off to Amsterdam and Vanessa is enroute to Canada as we speak. It is crazy to me how fast time is passing by this summer. Six weeks and I will be seeing all your lovely faces again!