Day 12 (6-19-17) was our last in Spain. We took it pretty easy – after breakfast at the hotel, we drove into Girona’s center and walked around for a bit. We saw the cathedral, a nicely preserved set of Arab baths (which are basically just the next era’s version of Roman baths), and went to the Jewish History Museum. The museum was nice, though it was more of a read-all-about-this-topic kind of museum rather than a look-at-these-artifacts kind of museum. It was cool to learn about this history of the Jewish neighborhood in Girona, as well as more about the Inquistion.
After our morning, we had a lovely lunch at Probcador, near the Jewish History Museum. We each got the set menu (salmorejo, grilled tuna, and chocolate truffles for Chris; salad, steak, and a strawberry mousse cake for me) and enjoyed our food with a nice glass of rosé. It was so pleasant to just sit and enjoy – it was our last meal in Spain! (Our last real meal, I should say – we did buy sandwiches in the airport for dinner)
Once we had finished lunch, we hit to road and drove back to Barcelona, where we dropped off the car and then headed to the airport for our flight to Lisbon. The drive was really nice – we could see lots of little towns and hilltop castles from the highway.
If you’ve never rented a car while traveling before, I highly recommend it. Depending on your itinerary, it can actually be cheaper than trains, and it allows for a lot more flexibility. Driving also makes it easier to get to some less-visited places, exactly the type of places you might want to go. 😉
I was definitely scared the first time we rented a car in Europe – during our honeymoon in France – but it’s really not that much different from driving in the US; in some places, like Spain, it’s actually more pleasant! Morocco last year was truly horrible, but only in the cities, and luckily, Chris is an amazing copilot. It is important to make sure that you have either a paper road map or a digital one downloaded onto your phone – that’s what we do: Chris uses google maps and sometimes maps.me, both of which allow you to download customized areas, though maps.me allows you to mark points of interest while offline as well, while google maps required internet to see anything that you’ve saved. Parking is another thing that you also have to consider, though again, Chris is amazing at figuring out where parking is before we arrive, so that’s usually not a problem for us.
I don’t think I’ll be driving in a place like England or Thailand anytime soon (wrong side of the road!), but for now, renting a car has allowed us to really get the feel for a place and explore it a little more in depth.
But, at the end of the day, we traded our car (a Mercedes, I should add) for a plane and flew to Lisbon!