We took a flight from Brussels to Zaragoza, Spain where my friend (the same from Peña de Lobos) lives with the plan of spending Christmas with him and his family in their small town in Aragón.
We did some sightseeing as it was my brother’s first time in that city. Our friend also showed us the gorgeous medieval tiny city near his home village called Daroca, which offers, from the top the surrounding cliff, a view to the past, not to forget that piece of a tower’s ruin commonly called by the locals as Samson’s dick (la polla de Sansón) and we spent a few days at his parents’ house in Villanueva de Jiloca, a tiny village with a population of 75 people.
We also met at one of the bars of Daroca, my friend’s lifelong friends who played a card game I could never understand, even if I watched them play plenty of times, called “Mus “(not sure if it’s the correct spelling) while they yelled out their lungs. My brother and I were silently watching the whole mess when one of them turned to us and said “this is Spain, the one that yells the loudest wins”
On Christmas night we had a huge and delicious dinner with my friend’s family including grandma, parents, uncles, cousins. I lost count of the number of dishes we had, they were just too many, all of them delicious, from pork to sea food, sweets, wine, etc. We exchanged memories, jokes, stories all during the night and it was really nice.
My friend’s parents took us to some other small cities to sightsee and I remember once when we were walking on the street and we found a very old dismantled car abandoned there, then my friend’s mom said “look! It’s like in Mexico” and we just said that was very mean, but kind of true and laughed.
We also made a trip to a town called Calatayud where we had a lot of fun when we found a small monument that commemorated the “joteros bilbilitanos” some kind of traditional singers from that city. The reason why the name is pretty funny to us is because the word “jotero” in Mexico would basically mean “fag” and “bilbilitano” is just a funny sounding word even though it is the way to call the people from Calatayud.
From Zaragoza we went to Barcelona, a few days before New Year’s Eve, where we were greeted by the sun and 25 degrees starting winter. There we met my Catalan friend who showed us around and took us to eat some delicious and reasonably priced paella near the port.
I was quite upset to see that everything is ridiculously expensive there and many of the things that used to be free, like entering the Parc Güell, had got a pretty high entry fee now if you want to go to the core of it, otherwise you can walk the surrounding path for free and still see a bit of it, but you’ll be missing out the best parts. We wanted to see the Sagrada Familia cathedral from the inside although the super high price of about 20 euros had made me doubt. Anyway we decided to buy the tickets online to avoid the 4+ hour long queue. At the moment I set my first foot inside the building I was blown away, it is really a place you shouldn’t miss if you visit that city. Moreover, it has a museum dedicated to Gaudí’s work which is unbelievably interesting, in the end I didn’t feel ripped off.
Our next stop and the beginning of the actual interrail trip was in Toulouse where we couchsurfed at the flat of a friendly French girl who due to work couldn’t show us the city but we shared some nice conversations in the evening and went to have a few drinks at a bar where we got to try some French cheese.
I was posting my location on facebook whenever we reached a new city and once I logged in, I saw a message from a friend I had met during my volunteering in Poland, who I didn’t remember was living in Toulouse, he asked if we were in his city and wanted to hang out, to which of course we agreed. We spent the day walking around all over, often making jokes telling him he had no idea where we were at and that he got us lost, to what he said “let’s keep walking this way… aha, there’s the church! Of course I knew where I was going, thank you very much” It was a lot of fun hanging out with him until the end of the day.
One time when my brother and I were sitting at a park, a young gypsy girl approached asking for money, we refused to give her any and she stood in front of us, opened her lips and touched a tooth with her finger while looking at us, then left. I told my brother that somewhere I had read that that’s the way they send a curse to someone. My brother then said “what? She tried to curse us? If she comes again I’m going to do the exact same thing to her then, for me it’s a stupid superstition and I don’t care, but for her it must have a meaning” She didn’t come back.
From Toulouse we took a train to Paris with the purpose of spending New Year’s Eve there and see how Parisians party although it didn’t go as expected at all.