OG Post: March 28th, 2017
Denia Day7 & 8 (Saturday and Sunday)
I’m back in the USA writing this update. I’m back full force and knee deep in projects, reports, and such. I even managed to pick up a little bug while in Spain but that doesn’t get to stop me. Too much to do
We woke up Saturday with a mission. Things left to do on our last day in Denia. First, go to the Mercat Municipal and pick something out to have Roberto cook for us. Then go to the castle there in Denia. Finally to travel to the Prime Meridian since we were just a few miles away.
Off on our first mission, we drove downtown. I parked close to the marina since I wanted the chance to walk and wander around the city. We walk and go a few good pictures in of the local sites and statues before we found our way over to the Mercat Municipal. The original mission was to find a steak to get cooked up but Red liked the look of some hamburger patties so we got those and went over to Bar Bonanza and had Roberto cook us up a Spanish version of hamburgers. It was delicious. They cooked and then sliced up the patties so they fit on a long piece of bread and then put on tomato paste, onions, horseradish mustard, and some other veggies. I wasn’t even that hungry but I ate the whole thing. I washed it down with a cafe solo and we were then off to the Castle.
We walked through the “Portal de la vila” and up around the lower wall. We went until we ran into some stairs that would take us about halfway up to the upper wall and then stop. So we went back and took the winding road up to the upper part of the castle. In the eastern part of the Castle (Tower of the Galliner) is recognized to still have parts of the structures from Roman times. During the Muslim occupation of the castle, it was divided into two concentric enclosures. The lower enclosure was called Al-bacar and was used as grazing area and cattle shelter. In the upper enclosure was called the Alcazaba or Arab palace. In the year 1304 after the Christians took over Jaime II forced the inhabitants of Denia to move close to the walled enclosure constituting the Vila Vella. This is why the Castle remains the urban nucleus today. The upper part of the castle was an esplanade that was the temporary residence of five Marquess of Denia, also the Duke of Lerma and it was a favorite of King Philip III.
The remains of the Palau Vell are still identifiable in the walls. This was the five semicircular towers that used to reside at the top of the castle. Next to those is currently the Archaeological Museum which resides in the remains of the staircase, “to the imperial”. They are doing a lot of restorative work to the castle as it has suffered serious damage during successive wars.
After seeing about half the castle we stopped by the cafe close to the top. After some water and a delicious blueberry muffin, we continued on with our trek. We went to the Archaeological Museum. This was small but had some fascinating displays. It was divided into 4 rooms each corresponding to findings from Iberian, Roman, Muslim, and Christian times. Some very interesting pieces were in there including wine jars that showed the different ancient trade routes because each had a unique design based on its origin.
When we were done with the castle it was past siesta time so most of the town was shutting down. We walked out to the main street square and found a few cafes that were still open. It seems to be where the town gathers for siesta time as it was packed. We continued to walk down and found that a few of the more chain style stores where still open so we went in and did more shopping. Ending our shopping spree with some delicious gelato. On the walk down the marina back to the car we found that the little hippy shops where opening up for the weekend. The lesson there was hippy trinkets and wares are the same all over the world.
Once back to the car we set our sites for driving to the prime meridian. It was only about a 15-minute drive away. We located it on our GPS and stopped. It was simply running through an empty lot and led over to the beach so we snapped a few kissing on the meridian pictures and went on our way back to Kevin and Susan's house.
After relaxing there for a minute and watching the waves roll in on the Mediterranean. We went out for our last night dinner and drinks. Kevin took us to one of his favorite tapas restaurants El Mirall. Man, what a feast we had. This place gives you a larger than normal tapas plates and we had more than we could finish off. The best was the fried prawns, so light and buttery. After some food and drinks there we went down to El Silenci. Since we were out so early we were the only ones there but that bar was awesome.
Our flight out was early the next day and with daylight savings happening Sunday morning I didn’t really want to sleep. So with the power of coffee, I stayed up and we left at 1am in the morning for Alicante. I was hoping to get some sleep at the airport once we got there but no. They had to flick on all the lights like 30 minutes after I got there. So I stayed up and waited for check in to open for our flight to Madrid. We got all checked in and through security with a “random check” (basically they just swabbed my bag and by belt loops and said continue on). Finally on board the plane I feel asleep before we even took off and didn’t wake up until Madrid. The Madrid airport was hellish and again through all the lines, customs, security checks (for another “random check”) and the airport hell to make it to our next flight from Madrid to Chicago. I will have to say the Iberia international flight was pretty good. The seats where roomier and more comfortable than the British Airways flight from Austin. That being said though I’m still a 6’3’’ large guy flying coach on a 9 hour flight. Leg cramps and uncomfortable sleep dominated the trip. The whole time my nose would not stop running.
We arrived in Chicago. I’ve never been a fan of the O’Hare airport. The TSA people would not stop walking around screaming orders at everyone. I really wanted to tell them to shut the fuck up but figured that would not get me on my next flight in a timely manner. It was a huge cluster fuck getting through TSA security. For really no reason other than they are disorganized and have no fucking clue what they are doing. After getting out of the border check TSA nightmare I was ready to seriously go off on everyone. Luckily, at this point at O’Hare I was able to step outside and have a few cigarets before getting back in line for my 3rd security check of the day and then though to my next flight.
Through out all my travels on British, Iberian, and Vueling on this trip they saw, “Hey these two booked their flights at the same time, together, and are both named schooler. Lets give them seats together.” Which was great. But American Airlines… the business I book all my flights through… whose club I’m a member of… decided “Hey, lets give them seats on completely opposite ends of the plane. So before security I went to customer service to get my seats changed so we could sit together. The agent was like, “the only two seats I have together are in the emergency exit row…” She then paused and looked at me for a second and then said, “Which I’m pretty sure you are going to be ok with.” I laughed and of course took the seats with the extra leg room. Then I zipped off to security check after figuring out which of the 10 security checks I was suppose to go through. Did I mention that O’Hare really doesn’t have shit organized? Thankfully though after my third security check of the day I did not have to go through another “random check”. I crashed hard on the flight to Austin and it was glorious. Still landed feeling like shit because as it turns out I picked up a cold in Spain. At least I was back where I could get my insurance to deal with it. But I was not where I could stop at the Farmica for a box of “StopCold”. Which evidently works like magic.
In all the flights I can say that they where all on time, got to the destinations ahead of time and had no problems so successful trip. I’m now readjusting to life in the US. Spain and Scotland, I will see you both again as soon as possible.