December 30, 2003
We are back in Valencia and are flying out to England tomorrow to spend New Year's Eve with the Dave Clark Five and Fred Nolan. Then back home on Jan. 1.
Travelled some of the back country coming back here, stopping in Cuenca, famous for it's "hanging" houses, although that is a bit of a misnomer. The houses, church and buildings are built on a big ridge, or cliff and they are built right up against the walls and it is scary looking. Of course they did this in the 1650s and it's just amazing they knew how to even do this. We stayed in an old dormatory, built in 1668 and it was way cool.
But let's go back a few days. On Christmas Day, we checked out of our hotel in Granada and had breakfast in a busy, local cafe. Actually, in Spain they have all these places that are billed as a Cafeteria-Bar (coming from the U.S. I expected to see senior citizens slamming down shots of Cuervo at Luby's but here it has a completely different meaning). They do have wine bars at their truck stops though and that's a gas. Anyway, over breakfast in this crammed little cafe, we sat next to this American family and they were sniping at each other good ("so where is the organizer, who's going to tell us exactly where to go today?"), and we were feeling mighty smug. I should have known better, that it would soon be our turn in the barrel.
We took off around 11 and drove for about five hours and finally pulled into Toledo (a town built inside a real live castle) at about five. We had studied two guide books and had a read on finding a hostel in our budget range of 30-50 Euros a night. But when we pulled up inside the castle walls, the whole place was slammed with tourists and as Tommy ran down the hill to check one out, Kathy and Deena ran the other way and I stayed with the car which was doubled parked.
Fifteen or twenty minutes later, Deena came up, complaining that her mother was being picky and tourists were coming in behind them and snatching up everything. Then Tommy ran up and said the place down by the moat was just "okay," so Kathy asked me to help, so I went into the first place I came to, which was the Alphonso VI Hotel and asked if they had two rooms. The inn keeper looked at a crammed ledger and said he only had two. I asked to see them. The porter took me up to the second floor and showed me this suite with a stunning view of the entire town. It was 85 Euros a night and I said, "We'll take it." I rationalized that most rooms in the states would run at least that much and besides they didn't have a view of a castle. I assumed I would be a hero. This was not the case.
Deena cried and said, "Don't ever talk to me about money again!" (she's in college and her mother is always on her case to conserve money). The both of them got into it and the next thing you know, it's my fault!
They got over it and the two rooms were fantastic. In fact Deena wrote to her friend Xavier and said, "We are staying in a hotel room we can't afford, with a view we can't afford to miss."
However, if you really want to find out what someone thinks of you, try driving across Spain in a Ford Focus. Ha.
"The road is the only thing."
-Old Vaquero Saying
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