After the “Hit the Wall” night, we slept a full 12 hours! I mean SLEPT. I was out cold-other then the occasional JUMP out of bed to check the time every 2 hours. Its a jet lag thing. You swear its 8 am and you’ve over slept, but it actually 10:40 the night before and you have a whole night ahead of you. Its confusing and exciting all at the same time.
Apparently, Nicole says it was a total gong show in her room. Gary got up in the middle of the night having to pee. He tried for 10 minutes to get out on the deck until Nicole finally said “what the HELL are you doing???” To which she got a barely audible “trying to get to the bathroom”. Eye roll. She directed him to the bathroom. He returned a few minutes later and then of course she had to go also. She made her way to the bathroom – and thats when she found out he had peed in the bidet. Good lord. Thank god we didn’t have adjoining rooms.
Chris and I go for the Buffet breakfast. There is a great selection of omelettes and meats. Cheeses and fruits. And tiny jars of Fois Grois and pate’s. I explain to Chris that his challenge, should he choose to accept it, is to procure said pate’s and duck fatty goodness and steal them for tonight’s appie on the deck. His stock goes up as I watch him deftly grab the jars and stuff them in his pockets. The British tourists gasp with outrage, and then there is a mass exodus to the Buffet table where jars are shoved into pant pockets like its a sale on Vienna sausages in the old age home.
Today is Chris’s day to drive and this terrifies me. Everyone assures me that I am nervous about nothing. Until he tries to drive down a one way highway. We have him driving and bidet boy navigating. Panic now.
We use Siri as our GPS- which is great, except I tend to activate the GPS by saying “hey Siri”. To which, every time, WITHOUT FAIL, gary says “what?”.
So between Chris trying to kill us, and Gary trying to pee on us and saying “what” constantly, this is a whole thing. I think we ALL need to find our calming goats.
We leave and make our way to our next Parador. This one is supposed to be on the side of a hill overlooking the flatland below. To get there we meander through flat olive tree filled fields. What is freaking us out is that there are NO PEOPLE around. Like, NO ONE. I’m sure people live here- but I’m not sure where. Its disconcerting.
Half way though the morning we stop at a road stop and pick up beers and wine and meats and cheeses and freshly baked bread.
Then we find a small road off of the main and have a trunk picnic. Sandwiches and beer, Pringles and wine among the olive trees. I feel like I’m in some strange land thats a cross between Greece and Italy with a touch of surface of the moon- what with the lack of people. We dub a new Muppet bar, the “Trunk Monkey Muppet Tapas Bar”. After much giggling, We finish up and keep truckin.
We make it to our next Parador and are given, once again, the best in the house room wise. Thank you again Nicole. We have the corner room with a wrap around deck and full view of the quilted valley below. We have been given Champagne chilled on ice in both of our rooms with fresh apricots. High on the valley wall, we can see for miles and miles. Its staggering how much agricultural farm land there is-and how many animals! Sheep and horses, chickens and birds. Its a show in itself and we watch them being herded-all the sheep moved to their night pens and the chickens let out for their supper. The birds are dipping into the pool for a drink one at a time in the most mesmerizing dance. So after sipping on our champagne, we decide that we should walk down to the pool and have a look around this majestic castle.
The pool is a hike, and reminds me of Greece and how far we had to walk and how any steps we have to take to get just about anywhere. But its worth the walk-it is getting quite hot out here- 25 degrees at 5pm-so we are happy when we finally reach the cool water of the pool and dip our feet in. Chris and Gary take off their shirts and sit by the side of the pool…Ebony and Ivory together again. Gary and his near mahogany skin, and Chris and his see through–ness…..its like watching a crow and a jelly fish become friends. Brings a tear.
We leave the pool and go straight to our room for the stolen pate and tapas that will hold us over until dinner. These Spanish don’t understand fat girls like the Italians clearly do. The restaurants here don’t even open until 8:30pm and I’m relatively sure I’ll be dead by then. So we snack and light our candles and enjoy wine and giggle-waiting until the glorious moment when the room service orders can be placed. When we finally get our dinner, it is Veal, Fish, Chicken and Carbonara all accompanied by fresh veggies and breads. Everything we want right now. After rum night caps, off to bed we go, tomorrow is a driving day and a trek to our new home for 4 days on the coast. It isn’t until we retreat to our room that we realize that we DO in fact have adjoining rooms tonight. Terrified of being peed on by Bidet boy, we show him his own bathroom a few times like a couple training a new puppy. And promise him treats if our bed isn’t wet in the morning.

Up bright and early, Chris and I are dry (yay Gary!) and off for Breakfast again while Nic and Gary eat in their rooms. We meet back at the room to bring down the luggage and off we go. The morning is not off to a great start…the boys are in a foul mood and my finger seems to be going out of joint? I have rheumatoid-and lately a few of my fingers have been giving me trouble-but hey! What’s the worst that can happen?? Off we go, cranky men and wankey fingers. We get about 1 hour in, when my middle finger decides to crap the bed. It’s been slowly going out of joint since the flight to Spain. (See pics above) but  I look down now and it is off to the side at about a 45 degree angle- I show it to Nicole and she immediately urges. Not a good sign. i show it to Gary and he’s making x’s with his fingers  and backing slowly away from me. Chris tells me the obvious…I’m going to need to pop it back in. This should be fun.
I grab my finger, have a little talk with myself, pull it outwards, and Nicole hears it when it goes back into place. Which is immediately followed up with “hey Gary….can you pull over while I throw up for a quick sec?”. He obliges, and Spain gets a little more Karen then it bargained for. But, I’m a trooper. I have a vacation to get to and I have no time for swear fingers to get bent out of shape. So, off we go again. With a slight hint of “what the heck just happened” in the air……
We drive to a hilltop town called Zahara. It has the most beautiful turquoise lake at it base. And I’m sure at some point it was very strategically  placed for maximum battle potential, but now it seems it is just quietly passing time peacefully and inviting us to do so along with it. So we drive as far up into the town as we can get, and Nicole and I walk and shop, while the boys walk to the Summit (summitdentistry.net) of the town where the old battle walls are. I am able to buy some beautiful leather for myself and pottery for one of my work girls (at summitdentistry.net) and Nicole gets a few things also. Did I mention Summitdentistry.net? also, Summitdentistry.net. (My boss is shocked by how much traffic my blog gets and has made me promise use subtle placement of summitdentistry.net in order to get more traffic on his website. He assures me that every time I do so an angel gets its wings-or a dentists gets a BMW-or I get a raise? or something. Anyway, summitdentistry.net)
From Zahara we travel along the road to another hill town. I’m not sure the name-and honestly as I write I’m just too dang tired to look it up. Plus I never know the actual names- I play this game with Nicole…..we use the phone as a GPS, and She is very versed in all the actual call names for the letters of the alphabet- you know…alpha, delta, Zulu, etc. But every time we have to look up a new town to navigate to I make her “give it to me dirty”. I insist that she is only allowed to spell town names if she uses dirty words for the letters instead of the boring military issued ones. This provides hours of entertainment for me. Nothing I enjoy more then saying “give it to me Dirty Hersey” and watching her squirm her way though the alphabet.
At the next town-which I only know as ‘babe, arce, nipple, oh yeah, sexy”, we park and have a great tapas meal in the town square. 6 tapas items-seafood croquettes, roasted chicken, meatballs, fried green peppers and venison. Along with cheeses and breads and six beers. All for 24 euro (about $35 CAD). It is soooooo good. And we are happy we stopped in this dirty dirty town.
We leave and are now in full “GET THERE” mode. We have an apartment rented at the coast in Estepona and we are all eager to stop moving. But that is easier said then done. The GPS Says that it is a 70 KM drive, but will take us about 2 hours. Seems odd. Until we get started. It is nothing but winding mountain roads with shear cliffs and dizzying heights. Now we get why this will take a while. The back and forth is making all of us a little ill. We start referring to the road as the “Karen Finger Roads” since the sign they use to show twisty turns up ahead looks like my finger from this morning. At one point in the journey we come Upon a LARGE group of goats in a pen.  We of course slow down for the picture op. But as I get out of the vehicle my ego is put to the test as approximately 350 goats, stop dead, drop the grass out of their mouths, lift their heads….and stare at me. I mean stare. Like I’m bringing beer into a airport of thirsty weigh laid Canadians. Like I’m naked. Like I’m the most offensive thing they’ve ever seen. I tell you it’s disconcerting. After a few pics I slink back to the car feeling goat judged and ashamed. This is not the place to find my forever goat.  Clearly.

By hour 2 I’m at “either crack a window or pull over so I can puke again”. These roads are BRUTAL… but finally we reach the coast and see the water and we are at peace again. This long away from the ocean always makes me unsettled.
We source a grocery store and head in for wine and essentials. Nicole assures me she is cooking tonight as my hand is still looking a little cray. She says she has a real treat in mind. I don’t question it. How much trouble can she get in? She runs around the store gathering her “supplies” – which i explain is actually called “ingredients” in cooking. She laughs like my stomachs future happiness  isn’t riding on this. “Whatever”.
We head to our apartment and find out its lovely! On the ocean with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two decks. A sweet little kitchen and a huge living and dining room. Nicole gets to work putting the groceries away while i take advantage of an apartment night off cooking by running a nice bath. Once chores are done and bath is had, we head down to the beach for some wine and a look around before Nicole starts dinner. We all squeal with excitement when we realize that we can see Gibraltar and Africa from our beach!!! Even thought the haze of the Long hot day! Tomorrow we head to Morocco and yet another country together. We skip back to the apartment in anticipation of dinner……
Nicole sets to work while we set the table….and its then that I see them. The Kraft Dinner boxes. No joke. Giggling I set the ketchup and bowls out-then she tells me to set side plates also. This is Fancy-we’re also having Wieners. And not just any wieners….when I ask why she has out an extra frying pan she explains that she’s “caramelizing” the wieners. I open my mouth to assure her that isn’t a thing…when I see the excitement in her muppetty little eyes. And I just let it go. And you know what? Its the best meal we’ve had so far. OR I’ve given up all together. Hard to tell. But in any case, the Kraft dinner, the salt air, the long day of diving and the bath I just had all come together to make me the happiest girl on the planet. Sigh. Africa tomorrow. Unbelievable.
Oh, also, Summitdentistry.net