After months of planning and preparation the time finally came for my family to come visit. For my dad and younger sister it was their first time in Europe, for my twin, it was her first time in Spain and for my mom it was her first time in Andalucia or any city other than Barcelona. We had a tight schedule with a lot of things planned, a tour of Andalucia, places I have seen and visited over the last two years living in Jerez all packed into 9 days. I was excited to show them the country that’s been my home for the last three years, but nervous and stressed about the timing of our plans. They arrived to Madrid on the 24th. The night before I hardly slept, the hostel was hotter than a sauna and I went to bed thinking their flight was going to arrive early, only in middle of the night I checked and it was delayed by almost an hour. On top of this Madrid was the epicenter of gay pride week, so I imagined more traffic than NYC at rush hour, being that Madrid has one of the biggest gay communities and parades in Europe. We had a specific train to catch and if there had been a line at customs and if their luggage had not been the first out, the trip might have started very differently.
In 9 days this is what we did:
6/24: We arrived to Jerez at 7pm
– We walked around the city
-Saw a 10 pm flamenco show at Tablao Pura Arte
6/25: In the morning we walked around the gypsie market near the Alcazar
-Went beach in Cadiz
-Took a train to Seville
-Had dinner on the waterfront
-a failed attempt to see Plaza España at night
6/26: We did an Alcazar tour in the morning
-Toured the Seville Cathedral and climbed the Giralda, we waited for a half hour at the top so my dad could see the bells move, but they didn’t. A hammer hit the bell. I guess some hours they move, other ones they don’t
-Walked to Plaza España
-Took at taxi to the mushrooms and walked atop them during sunset
-Had dinner at the oldest restaurant in Spain, el Rinconcillo. Established in 1670.
6/27: Picked up the rental car
-Drove to Jerez
-Saw the 12 pm dancing horse show
-Did a 2pm Tradición bodega tour
-At 7pm we drove to Cadiz, walked around the city and ate dinner at 9:30 at la Tapería Columnela. One of the best places I’ve eaten at.
*the morning was very stressful because originally I had planned to drive to the hotel my mom and dad were staying at in Jerez, drop the car off and then take a taxi to the horse show, that way we could walk to the bodega. However due to the long line at the rental place and other foreseen events we drove straight to the horse show. The horse show got out at 1:45, but we were able to drop the car off at the hotel and walk to the Bodega making it just in time for the 2pm tour. Until we got to the Bodega I was stressed about the timing all morning.
6/28: Toured the market where I bought my fruit and vegetables over the last two years and introduced my family to my meat friend Abraham
-Stopped by my school
-Drove to Ronda
-Walked around Ronda and toured the bull ring
-Drove back to Jerez, at 9:30 we saw some flamenco, just for 20 minutes because I wanted my family to experience it in a different way and then we had 10pm reservation at a nice restaurant, La Carbona where we did a Sherry and food pairing
6/29: Caminito del Rey at 2pm
-Drove to Granada
*getting to the Airbnb we drove through the oldest part of Granada, Albacin, through streets where cars have gotten stuck. Luckily ours didn’t, but there were moments where on either side of the car there was only an inch of breathing room. My dad was directing me and did an excellent job, while my mom was having a panic attack in the back. We got through unscathed, but I would never want to drive through those streets again
-We ate some bad watermelon
-We spent the rest of the night enjoying the view of the Alhambra from our terrace
6/30: We didn’t know it was the bad watermelon yet, but we had an 8:30am tour of the Alhambra and my dad had been up all night sick, my mom felt a little ill and my stomach wasn’t feeling that great. My two sisters were fine
-We made it through the Alhambra tour
-I showed my mom and sisters more of Granada while my dad stayed home, I joined him after some time, while they did shopping and navigated the city on their own
-Had dinner at El Agua, a fondue place (except my dad)
7/2: A sleep in day!
-Mitch came to visit, we met him in the center around 2 and did a tapas tour
-Mitch left at 7, we chilled on the terrace then climbed up the mountain and made our way to Casa Juanillo in Sacramonte for a 9:30 dinner reservation.
*in Granada we spent a lot of time on our terrace looking out at the Alhambra because it was, without a doubt the best view of the Alhambra you could get.
7/2: the final day with the fam and another sleep in day!
-Left Granada at 12:30 and arrived to Jerez at 4:30
-They had a 7:30 train to catch so we spent the rest of the time packing. We had to make two trips because all the luggage couldn’t fit in the car.
-At 7:30 I said goodbye and helped them load their stuff onto the train trying not to get trapped on, I didn’t.
-Dropped the car off
– I met Jose at 11pm for dinner
9 continuous days together, morning afternoon and night with the only reprieve coming with sleep; more consecutive time spent together than ever before and everything went perfectly. Colombus or Magellan couldn’t have planned a more perfect route around Andalucia and WD-40 wouldn’t have made it go any smoother. I’m glad they came and even gladder that they enjoyed it at much as they did.
*I didn’t know where to put this, but I did have to put up with answering a million questions, many of which were answered more than once, many that had an obvious answer if only it was thought about and many of which I didn’t have the answer to because it was my first time doing something. I wish kept a record of some of them.