NOTE: Written December 25, 2010 but posted January 6, 2011.
I had one Christmas present request this year and I got it:
That is Rachel and I at arrivals in the Malaga airport last Sunday, minutes after we hugged each other for the first time in over 4 months. It was a pretty awesome moment.
Since last Saturday Rachel has accompanied me to school and watched me "work," as well as go with me to the academy where we had a Christmas party with the kids. That was a lot of fun and the kids were excited to meet my girlfriend and talk with another native English speaker.
Rachel also got the chance to meet my Spanish friends--we went out for tapas at one of our favorite spots on Monday night. Great time had by all.
On Tuesday morning we made our way to Granada where we walked around and went inside the Cathedral. Unfortunately, you can't take pictures inside, but here is Rachel standing outside of the impressive church.
Although the weather really didn't cooperate for us while we were in Granada, we did get to the Alhambra. Check it out.
It was my second time visiting it so I was able to get Rachel around to see the more impressive parts. We still ended up being there for over 3 hours (Rachel said she could have spent all day there if it hadn't been raining and cold).
We headed back to Motril on Wednesday night where we connected with Emily and her boyfriend, Connor. They had had a long day traveling, Connor from the States and Emily an overnight bus to Madrid to meet him. Rachel and I made dinner for them, ate, and then finished packing for our remaining adventures: Christmas in Algeciras, Seville, and then Barcelona.
Thursday afternoon we headed off to my uncle's in Algeciras. It is an incredible drive that takes you between the coastal mountains of Spain and the Mediterranean and when we stopped for lunch Rachel wanted a picture.
We arrived in Algeciras and relaxed the rest of the day.
Friday afternoon we hopped in the car and went for a Christmas Eve day drive. We headed down towards Tarifa, where my uncle took me when I first arrived in Spain back in August. We found a public beach access and enjoyed the beach.
After exploring the beach we headed into Tarifa to find a tapas bar for lunch. After walking around we chose a place right in the center of the historic district of Tarifa. It was packed with locals and with it being Christmas Eve Day they were creating a rather festive atmosphere in the bar singing and dancing. Rachel and I enjoyed the people watching and took in the experience. I wanted Rachel to try some seafood so we ordered fried calamari and fried fish. Both were delicious. After lunch we returned to my uncles. But before we stopped at my favorite lookout and took one of my all time favorite pictures of Rachel and I.
We spent Christmas Eve with my aunt and uncle, my cousins Daniel and Christopher, Christopher's girlfriend Natalia, and my aunt's parents. We didn't have the camera out but we enjoyed a feast of an assortment of tapa style dishes, a large ham for the main course, and then some flan for dessert. Spectacular.
Christmas morning Rachel and I slept in a little late and made it downstairs around 11. Daniel had already been up for over an hour and was enjoying all kinds of new toys. Once we made it down we continued to open presents. After opening presents we just hung out the rest of the day. Pretty relaxing after a rush-rush couple of days traveling to Granada and a nice slow pace before we start our adventures in Sevilla and Barcelona tomorrow.
Merry Christmas from Spain!