Sooo I've not been good about keeping this up to date over the last while so allow me to tidy this one up. After leaving Amsterdam, Grace and I flew into Barcelona and made the most of that city. It was so cool to be able to use a bit of my limited Spanish. We toured the city looking at the normal touristy sites but also did a tour of Gaudi architecture. This tour culminated in a walk within the walls of La Sagrada Familia. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! Go to the spring break collection on my flickr site - http://www.flickr.com/photos/nalgene1080 for more looks at this place.
After leaving Barcelona, we met up with Grace and my friend, Sarah, and rented a car (with GPS) to drive south. Our first day on the road we made it into Alicante amid explosive festivities - literally. People were dropping firecrackers all over the place in celebration of the Las Fallas festival. Basically, the neighborhoods of Alicante build these large statues and scenes out of very flammable materials. They party and celebrate all through Holy Week and then they burn them on the last day of the festival - we were there for that night. We met up with friends of friends in the city and they showed us around a bit until we retired to our car and slept in a parking lot, in the car, for the night. That was enough for us because the next day we found a place to sleep in beds.
< ![endif]-->The next day we walked around the parks and museums of Alicante before pushing on to the beach and then off to Valencia. We saw the sites as best we could whilst there and enjoyed a relaxing night. The next day we took in the beach and scenic vistas and even toured an old Moorish fort atop the highest point of the city. It was absolutely gorgeous to look out over the entire city as well as the beach. It was definitely the nicest weather we had had all week. With heavy hearts we headed further south to Granada.
Granada was where Grace had been studying for the semester so she owned the town. We stayed with a friend of hers in a very nice hotel. Absolutely a gas. We went out that night and sampled the local haunts, namely the tapas bars. Granada is the only place around that will give you food with every beer you order - it was tasty too. The night wore on meeting up with friends and new people until eventually we made our way back to the hotel. The next day, we played it cool touring the city a bit and getting a beautiful glimpse of the Sierra that looms high above the city center much in the way that you'd imagine the Alps would in Switzerland.
With heavy heart, I departed Granada the next morning en route back to Dublin. I thought that I might MIGHT be able to get onto an earlier flight into Heathrow so that I could get a flight back to Dublin before the night was out... unfortunately that definitely didn't happen. On the other hand, I rolled into Malaga not knowing where the heck I was going from an hour and a half bus ride from Granada. Being the inventive guy that I am, I went to the rail station nearby to the bus terminal and was able to navigate my way on the light rail system out to the airport. This too was in vain as I found the British Airways office closed for a 4 hours making my attempt for moving up my flight a 6.5 hour wait in Malaga Airport. I read my books, did some work, listened to podcasts, watched some shows I had on my iPod while waiting, trying to be productive.
Finally, the time came when the desks opened and we could get through security. I ended up meeting a graduate student from George Washington University in line who had been out traveling and learning more about the culture. He was an international marketing strategy guy - very interesting to talk to. We chatted and met up after security and have kept in touch since. That night was a horrific overnight in quite possibly the worst terminal ever. It started with a sleepless night in an ice cold terminal wing - the Brits didn't want us near the shops so they herded us into one wing that was sooo very cold. It was awful but I ended up meeting a nice old man that told me his life story around 3am. I has some calls from friends and family around the 4am time that were interesting (oh how I love time changes). At about half four, the Biometric office opened and we all had to register with them - they took 4 finger palm prints and a head photo. This was apparently a recent security measure to control international travelers when in common concourses.
Anyways, the story ends with me getting a hassle at every checkpoint for one reason or another, not getting any breakfast, and then finally got on the flight. Upon arrival in Dublin, they told me they had lost my bag but didn't know where it was... I wasn't really batting 500 that day. I headed home, and took care of some of the work that had piled up and then got myself into bed for a long deserved nap. I woke up in the afternoon to word that I had gotten the Accenture internship which was amazing and then woken up again a few hours later to news that they had found my bag. All in all, it was a great end to a horrible 48 hours. It was a great trip and a nice way to spend my spring break.