Happy Holidays everyone! I imagine you are all back to the grind… unless you are in America and never left the grind.
I missed seeing you all and being with the family this year. But Christmas in England was lovely. We spent the week at Rick’s sisters in Wales. She has recently moved in with her partner in a beautiful new house in the country so they had both sides of the family over for the holidays. They cooked Christmas eve, Christmas and boxing day dinner for 18 adults and 3 kids (god bless them) and it was all very yummy. We made a wrapping paper mess of the lounge Christmas morning and drank a whole lot of wine, champagne, beer, vodka, etc.
Rick’s Christmas present to me, among other wonderful things, was a trip to Spain for New Years so we stayed for a few extra days in order to get our flight from Liverpool December 30th. We flew to Santiago (north west Spain, above Portugal) on a terrifying flight that took two attempts to land. I was 150% convinced when we began to ascend at top speed from 5 ft above the runway that we were hijacked and going to land in the ocean, but there was supposedly too much crosswind and this was ‘standard airline procedure.’ I don’t think forgetting to tell the passengers till you were at top height should be considered standard procedure – not if you don’t want people peeing the seats.
After my heart began to beat at a normal pace again we went out to enjoy the town. It’s old, beautiful and full of people who don’t speak English. It is supposedly the 3rd most significant city in Catholicism and has a huge cathedral as its centrepiece. People supposedly made a pilgrimage there back in the day for religious reasons. I wish I knew more about it but all the explanations and guides were in Spanish so I just took pictures of the pretty buildings.
We found a great local bar the first night that gave you free tapas with every drink and Rick made friends with a random Spanish woman who couldn’t even speak English. She seemed to love us but she could have been cursing us out for all we know.
We spent New Year’s in the town square outside the cathedral. They had a free celebration and gave everyone a goodie bag with party hats, blowers, masks and fangs (don’t ask) and a bag of 12 grapes. Supposedly it is good luck to eat a grape with every chime at midnight. I tried to but they had seeds in them and I kept gagging… so I guess I won’t have good luck with this year. Oh well, I tried! Due to everything being either closed or pre-booked New Year’s Eve turned out to be less drunk than expected but we made up for it the next night.
We spent the last, and only sunny, day climbing a little mountain next to the town. Its peak sported a very old stone cross statue and a very new telecommunications mast… interesting. It was a beautiful view so we took our time hiking up and down being careful to not spend too much time on top getting brain cancer. On the way down we stopped at café for an expensive coke (in the little green glass bottle) and a less expensive coffee and found ourselves in the middle of a liverpoolian drinking match. I don’t think the bartender was entertained at the fat guys screaming at him in English… no wonder foreigners hate English tourists invading their culture.
The place was overflowing with seafood so our last night there we went out to spoil ourselves. We had a bottle of wine to start with and headed to a restaurant recommended by some Brits (not the screaming ones) we met during the day. I figured I’d go for the gold and ordered the grilled king prawns. These prawns were definitely king and it was the first time I have ever seen prawns in full shells. It might have freaked me out if I wasn’t so drunk. We had a bottle of Cava with dinner and for the first ever in my life drinking career, I left, after eating, drunker than I entered. So we went back to the bar we had started at and ordered another bottle of champagne… and come cocktails… and finally a few tapas. (Did you know you could get spreadable pepperoni?)
Few more memories here and there and the next thing I knew it was 7.30am, I was sick, and we had to be at the airport in an hour. I managed to contain my vomiting to the toilet in the hotel room… lobby… downstairs airport… upstairs airport, etc. Once on the plane, I discovered that when I sat with my head in my hands and pressed my palms into my eyeballs the spinning would slow and I managed to suppressed the sickness till we landed.
After the longest most turbulent plane ride of my life, we were back on land and I felt like a new woman. All in all an excellent trip and an enormous learning experience. Rick’s sister was able to sympathise as she relayed her own tale of being sick in the little baggy as the plane was landing. Bet her seat buddies loved that.
All in all, 2006 went out very merry and 2007 came in with smiles… must be a good sign!
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!