Spain... Spain was amazing. Strangely, one of the highlights was a city. Usually I enjoy a large city for a day or two but am soon ready to break away and get out into the country. Barcelona was different. I couldn't really put a finger on it - why I felt so at peace there - but when it came time to leave, I wanted to stay.
One of the days we were there we rented cheap, orange, fixed gear beach cruisers and peddled through the city. It's one of my favorite travel memories. Something about how that city moves; you just hop into the flow and ride it out. We cruised the tiny alleys past every variety of small store. Smells of cheese and fresh bread and coffee would wander by in the rushing air. All the small stores passing in a flurry, no time to stop and see them all. We wove in and out of tourists and locals and instantly felt like we were part of it all. We were part of the city without a care in the world.
Maybe it was all the people out at 10am drinking beer or a glass of wine, or the siesta we took every afternoon, or the fact that we had a wine buzz just about the entire time we were there, but Barcelona is one of my favorite cities. I could live there.
The rest of the trip, from Barcelona through the basque country and up to the northern coast, was amazing as well. Castle after castle atop distant hills beckoned - wanting to be explored... but again, there were too many, and not enough time. We would return to Barcelona on the north side of the Pyrenees through France. I loved France.
Where we were, close to the mountains, everything changed from the rustic country style of Spain, to a darker, gothic, almost sinister aesthetic. The cone shaped black slate roofs of the churches and the dark grays of the rock buildings all helped provoke the feeling that this could be the setting for a small town horror mystery. Everything was black, and gray, and the metal gates were made of spiraled iron with pointy ends. Even the forests we hiked through seemed somewhat sinister with the trees leaning over the trails, perhaps ready to snatch you up if you wandered too far off the path.
It was beautiful though and not nearly as spooky as I am probably making it out to be... but there was always that thought in the back of your mind - if werewolves did exist, they'd live here.
For more info on the trip and all the photos, head over to the Traveling Fork. Becky has also included some recipes inspired by the different places we went such as Artichoke, Sausage and Pine nut Sauté!