Fly from Germany to Spain - 29th May 2011
After a VERY early flight out of Munich we arrived safely in Madrid in company with a stowaway we spotted whilst passengers were picking up their luggage off the baggage carousel. His owners must have drugged this poor dog before stuffing him a handbag and smuggling him onto the aircraft. However he seemed in fairly good shape when they gave the poor thing some fresh air in Madrid Airport (see first photo below).

We picked up our Hertz rental car and headed eastwards into the centre of Spain. We have a 320 kilometre drive ahead of us today before we reach our Parador hotel in the small city of Teruel. We're booked there for 4 nights, then we'll have a 430 kilometre drive to Barcelona where we will spend another 4 days.

After driving south eastwards into the sparsely occupied centre of Spain for several hours, hunger motivated us to seek some nourishment. In Spain lunchtime is usually between 2.00 to 3.30pm and most Spanish diners usually opt for the fixed 3 course "Menu of the Day" rather than ordering a la carte from a printed menu. This is always the best value option and may or may not result in a terrific meal. It's been our experience throughout Europe that a 12 Euro or higher menu won't disappoint. As we drove into a very tiny "one horse" village we saw an obviously popular place advertising a 15 Euro menu. However all the nearby streets and lanes were parked solid which was disappointing. Just as we were about to leave the village we spotted a restaurant offering an 8 Euro menu which seemed too low but as it was almost 3pm we parked and went in. On this Sunday afternoon the restaurant was one large chaotic room filled with very ordinary looking rural families with a giant loud television playing soccer videos and hordes of noisy children chasing one another in and around all the tables. A fifteen year old boy came to take our order but we couldn't understand the menu choices on this particular day. I tried using sign language along the lines of "you choose for us..." but this didn't work. In the end the teenager ushered us into the kitchen where his mum and dad were slaving away at the stove  The young lad pointed at three different cooking pans which contained the three main course dishes. We pointed at the one which contained what looked like fried lamb chops and returned to our table. Some really low quality olives, some disappointing bread and an absolutely delicious bowl of soup hit our table in rapid succession together with some ordinary but quite drinkable wine. This was followed by the lamb chops which were tough but tasty and finally a reasonable kind of ice cream dessert. All this for the equivalent of $12 represented terrific value but the best part was the incredible ambience within the room. We felt as if we had truly stumbled into a truly grassroots chunk of rustic Spain. What a great way to start our first day!!

This successful handbag stowaway was on our flight to Madrid

Brian beside our Mercedes B-180 outside our Parador in Teruel

A rather old and rustic church or monastery en route to Teruel

Had to use maximum zoom in the early evening to get this one


Lynn asked me whether I could see my resemblance

One of many Moorish towers in this part of Spain

Another Moorish tower, now converted into a Catholic church

Brian submits to a "you can't put it off any longer" haircut


Part of the castle which dominates village of Mora de Rubielos

Did I take this in Mora de Rubielos or was it
Rubielos de Mora ?

Castle look-out tower in Mora de Rubielos

Huge colourful modern sculpture in Barcelona


We took a three hour city tour with this bus company

Two bus drivers from the opposition company having a brawl !!

Dozens of whopper size cruise boats visit Barcelona every day

Dramatic late afternoon sky over Barcelona


We watched some buskers then put a donation into a coconut

Large bronze statue of mythical marine legends at fountain

"La Boqueria" on Las Ramblas is world's largest food market

Just one of 245 food stalls under one roof at
"La Boqueria"



All the women on the seafood stalls had incredible knife skills

Side of a guard box at entrance to Police headquarters

Very interesting building by Gaudi, a famous Spanish architect

High speed peddled rickshaws in the Barcelona style


Anti nuclear demonstration below our hotel window

8,000 pro-renewable energy people marched under our balcony

We got a free jug of sangria as an enticement to dine here!!

Giant size langoustine sculpture beside the Marina in Barcelona


The most incredible and best value sushi train in the world

Immense variety and unbelievably low cost sushi chain deal


73 metre Aussie luxury motor yacht "Ilona" in Barcelona marina

Smaller and less luxurious Aussie yacht in same marina