Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 1: Sunday, November 20: Washington, London, Barcelona to Garriguela

             We left from Dulles International Airport on Saturday, November 19 at 8 o’clock and took a flight first to London’s Heathrow and then on to Barcelona. We flew through the night from Washington to London, getting at least a little sleep, before arriving in London at nine the next morning, their time. We had plenty of time to find our next gate as our plane didn’t leave until 11:25 AM, however after getting on the plane we ended up waiting to leave for an hour more as the runway was running behind schedule due to foggy conditions that morning. We arrived in Barcelona at 3:30 instead of 2:30, though we didn’t realize this at the time not knowing that Barcelona is another hour later than London. We spent the first hour in Barcelona getting through customs and then getting our American dollars changed to Euros and grabbing a bite to eat. We then realized that it was five o’clock not four o’clock and rushed to find the meeting spot where we were getting picked up. It turned out that we were pretty much where we needed to be, and we met up with another girl who was also going on the tour. Our driver soon arrived and took us out to the bus where we loaded our luggage and began the journey into Barcelona. We stopped at a bus stop in down town Barcelona, which let us catch a glimpse of the beautiful city, and picked up a German couple who are joining us for the trip. We then started the long trek out into the countryside to the village of Garriguela where we are staying for the night. The bus ride took about two hours, and though I tried to stay awake in order to see as much as I could, once it was dark I ended up napping for a while until we arrived. The place that we are staying for tonight us a nice little bed and breakfast owned by an older woman and her daughter, who is not here this evening as she is working in the political elections that took place today. There are only four or five rooms that they rent out and we are staying in one of two that are outside through a little back garden, Ali who we met in the airport is staying next door to us. We put our bags down in the rooms and had a chance to change and stretch out for a minute before we gathered in the main room for dinner and the chance to meet our guide at eight. Our guide is a woman named Denise, from Switzerland though she speaks impressively good English and Spanish as well as German. She had us sign a couple of papers before explaining the rough plan for the week. It has been raining in Spain for three weeks at this point, which is very uncharacteristic for this time of year, and means that some of the trails the trip usually takes won’t be passable. Therefore, tomorrow rather than moving on to another place for the night we will spend another night here in Garriguela. Tomorrow, as long as the weather isn’t raining too hard, we will head out and meet the ponies at ten before taking a two hour trail ride up into the mountains a little way before looping back to the place that the horses live here. We then had dinner of leaks in a cheese sauce and veggies cooked with olive oil that could be eaten with bread. Then spaghetti with a vegetable sauce, or chicken for those who ate it, as well as fruits for dessert. Once dinner was done we said goodbye to our guide for the night, and headed back to our rooms for the night. After a wonderful shower after two days of traveling, I’m going to head to sleep.

                                Dinner on Sunday night in Garriguela: Leaks with cream sauce, bread with traditional vegetables in oil and pizza. 

    Our room for the first two nights of our trip.

                                                               Another photo of our room.

 In the Washington airport before boarding our flight to London.

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