I’ve been home for six days and I think I’m firmly back on schedule now. The first two to three days were tough due to the jet-lag. I went back to work the day after I arrived home and worked a typically full day from 7 AM to 6 PM. I sneaked in a 30-minute nap during the afternoon and crashed fairly early that night. But by the third day I was re-adjusted to the time zone and getting by just fine.
I took over 550 photos, but judicious pruning resulted in a final photo set of less than 450. I uploaded them all to my Flickr account with each photo titled and described (be sure to click on the Show Info link in the upper right when in slide show view to see the descriptions). I’ll be writing a travel log of the experience with key photos featured, blogging from the extensive notes I jotted down in a little notebook I carried with me every day.
Also planned is a review of all those notes and my receipts to add up the amount of money I spent on this trip. At a minimum I can say I stayed within budget, and I suspect I actually spent less than budgeted. During the trip I checked my spending status a few times, so I could make corrections as needed.
As I reflect on my trip to Spain, here are a few general things I noted about the experience.
- One of my best purchases while in Spain was a power strip. (In Spain, these are called a “ladron” which literally translates as thief.) I usually had a single power outlet near the bed in the small hotels and alternate accommodations I used, yet I wanted to plug in multiple electronic items each night. My iPhone (which I used for Skype each evening) and my tablet (a “rooted” NookColor ereader) were usually low on power at the end of the day, and with one outlet it would have been difficult to charge them both. I’ll be lending this power strip to a friend who is traveling to Europe next month, so it was well worth the 4,80 €.
- From a fashion/function perspective, nearly everyone wears a scarf in Spain. It was an exception to see someone not wearing a scarf. Men, children, and women of all ages were observed wearing scarves. I also saw many women wearing very tall boots (some above the knee) with leggings or slim pants, and shorts with tights. The latter look was not something I thought was very flattering for many.
- I was surprised by how much less I spent on food than was allowed for in my budget. I ate very well in Spain, but the cost of good food was much less than I thought it would be.
- I also budgeted way too much for public transit; I rode buses and subways in the major cities, but did much more walking, which meant less money spent on transit. That said, I overspent on a transit card in Madrid. I purchased a 10-ride ticket good for subway or bus and only used about six rides. Conversely, in Granada I rode the bus enough that I should have purchased a five-ride ticket; since I hadn’t done so, I paid a bit more for public transit than I could have. (I was staying way uphill and at the end of a day with lots of walking, I welcomed the bus ride to get me up to my hostal!)
- I could have packed one less pair of pants and not packed my flip-flops at all. I was traveling as lightly as possible so any small bit of weight removed from my backpack would have been a good thing. Nonetheless, I probably would have saved only about one pound if I hadn’t packed these items.
- Those microfiber travel towels are awesome! I packed a decent sized one and used it mainly to squeeze extra water out of my clothes after washing since the places I stayed provided towels for bathing. I would hang the microfiber towel and my clothing, and they would be dry by the next morning. Amazing.