Spain (Valencia, Terragona, Salou) 1000km in one week
Spain. 2 months and a half before the operation.
Our vacation in Spain had a very bad start. I booked rent a car with rentspain and I forgot to book child seat. When I talked to the rentspain counter at Valencia airport they were extremely unkind and didn’t care about my problem. So I canceled my reservation and rented a car with Hertz or Avis (I can’t remember anymore). I paid at least 100 EUR more but I got a child seat.
From Valencia we drove to the village Ametlla de Mar which was also the name of our hotel. The ride was about 200 kilometers long. I had no problems with driving during our vacation in Spain. Although the driving in Ford Focus was like driving a wooden wagon compared to my Toyota Avensis. Rented Toyota Auris on Canary Island was much more comfortable then that Ford Focus although both needed 10 kilometers of momentum to got to speed limit of 130 km/h. My 177hp diesel Toyota Avensis was a spaceship compared to those two cars.
Hotel Ametlla de Mar had four stars although in my opinion deserved only 3 stars. The hotel had indoor and outdoor swimming pool and private beach, but what was really good about the hotel was the half board food buffet. There were many dishes available at buffet and there were at least two hot fish dishes available for lunch and dinner. Every dinner there was a different theme of cuisine, italian, mexican, seafood…
And the seafood dinner was really nice. The buffet offered two grilled fishs, octopus in the oven with potatoes, mussels, shrimps, squids and all kinds of other sea food dishes. Those were only hot dishes. And then there was a large container of fresh seafood on ice. From crabs to snails and other unknown seafood to me. I mainly took crabs and a few sea snails.
Snails, I didn’t like too much. I remembered when I was a little when we used to go spearfishing with my brother and father to Croatia (which was still a part of Yugoslavia, like Slovenia back then) we sometimes ate sea snails and some kind of mollusks. Those mollusks were better then this Spanish sea snails but it was still pretty much the taste of a seawater. But crab claws on the other hand were something completely different. Fresh, juicy and cold crab meat was delicious. A had a full plate of crab shells and claws. I think that my wife was almost a little ashamed of me and my plate. But she quickly calmed down as she saw other people and saw that I was no exception. Everybody had a mountain of all kind of shells on their plates. But the best dish were mussels in a sauce. It wasn’t like the sauce I was used to in Slovenia or Croatia (white wine and garlic…) it was different. I am a fan of mussels and those mussels were really great.
That was the best thing I remember about that hotel, other things were not so good. My son liked swimming pool and the beach. Sea water was still too cold for him although it had 24 or 25 degrees Celsius. But he was happy with the beach since he could make castles and other stuff. But truthfully the hotel’s private beach and sea was dirty due to nearby fishing village. That didn’t bothered us too much since we were in swimming pool most of the time because sea water was too cold for my son. This hotel could not compare to Lanzarote four star hotel, but that sea food dinner was still amazing.
Valencia Oceanografic – the largest aquarium in Europe
The largest aquarium in Europe was one of the main things that we decided to go on holiday to Spain near Valencia. It was a whole day trip. In Valencia my GPS device left me down a little bit since it wanted to go on different route then the signs were showing. But in the end we finally came to the City of Arts and Science in Valencia.
Modern architecture, space like buildings and domes with huge water pools made an impression of being on another planet. It was like in a science fiction movie. So we walked through the magnificent park on the other side were the Oceanografic was. We were there for 5 hours at least. The aquarium was incredible.
the main attractions were of course sea animals. Although there were also some nice plants and birds. For me the unforgettable was a 30-metre tunnel that ran through aquarium with full of underwater species of sharks, rays and large ocean fishes. Animals in Oceanografic that I must also mention are beluga, penguins, seals, dolphins, sea lions, and sawfish.
SAWFISH. That was my son’s favorite. “wow, look at the saw of that fish dad. Could this fish saw a ship?» »Of course. Don’t you see how big saw it has.« I joked.»what about the tree?« »With no problem.«I said. »What about shark?« »Anytime«. Sawfish was for him the main attraction, he was mad about saws from the moment he started to walk when he was 1 year old. He got his first plastic tool and with that plastic saw he was walking around our apartment and tried to saw everything. He was moving his hand back and forward with saw in his hands and he was all over the apartment. He tried to saw table, chairs, couch, television, kitchen, his toys, anything that he saw that was worth sawing…
In the end we also saw the dolphin show which was boring to him. But I am sure if those dolphins had saws that would be the best performance ever.
The places we also managed to visit while we were in Spain, (since our son was not really a fan of going around, he would rather stay in swimming pool) were Terragona with many Roman ruins, Reus (birthplace of architect Gaudi) city of Salou with long sandy beach which reminded me of the beach in Miami.
In my first job I went with coworker to conference in Orlando in Swan&Dolphin hotel. Where we rented a car and drove all the way to Key West. In 3 days we drove 1500 km. We went to Key West, Everglades and stopped at Miami Beach. Then at the end of the conference we rented another car and went to the Kennedy Space Center, but the thing a remember the most was Daytona Beach where we drove with our rented car on the beach. There we also swam and ate house specialty at crab house on wooden pier.
I was in New York with my wife few years later, but it didn’t impressed me so much as 1500km trip around Florida. Of course New York is a ‘must see’ city, the most famous city in the world. But nevertheless it’s still a city and in today’s world of globalism it’s not so different then other big cities that I saw. It has its own unique sights but it’s still a concrete jungle with huge buildings and a lot of traffic. I am more impressed with nature or some kind of experience. So the best thing in New York for me was Broadway. And if I’ll ever come again to New York I would like to see at least one more musical. That was something really special. We saw Mama Mia, although we are not Abba fans, but the show was impressive. We bought Mama Mia tickets since there was 50% discount that day on those tickets at TKTS booth and we’ve got seats in 5th row. I would rather watch Wizzard of Oz, Phantom of the Opera or Chicago, but that day that was the best option and I didn’t regret it. The show was so fantastic that my wife and I still hold it in special memory. Broadway was the thing we liked the most in New York.
So on our holiday in Spain we only been to Valencia, Terragona, Reus and swam in Salou. Because of the son we couldn’t see more. But then again that holiday was for him. So we spent most of the time playing in swimming pool and on the sandy beach. But the aquarium and the sawfish remained in his memory.
I also do not remember having any real problems with my health in Spain, although I had those strange headaches or tingling in my head and that my close-up sight was really bad. I was also tired all the time and needed to sleep as much as my son did. But after that holiday my symptoms started to evolve rapidly.