Look who’s back! Me! As I’m sure you’ve seen on the official Interiorator Instagram feed, I’ve made this extremely cool road trip through northern Spain and Portugal. I was in dire need of a vacay, as they say, and this 2,000 kilometer drive hit all the right spots. So now I’m back in good old Rotterdam, the battery has been fully charged and I’m revving up for a new season of interior design blogging, a new job, a teaching gig and a super secret project I’ve been working on. Phew! More about all of that later though. . First, a look back at Spain and Portugal. I’m not a listicle kind of guy, but I thought sharing my travel tips with you would make things a bit more exciting. I’ll do five today and five this Friday if that’s okay with you (UPDATE…here’s part two!). ¡Vámonos!
1 – Plan ahead – but not too much
Before we flew to Madrid I made an itinerary in Google Maps so that I could figure out how much we’d have to drive each day. Pretty nifty huh? No use in booking all your hotel rooms ahead – every morning, we figured out which town we wanted to go next and then booked our hotel room for the night. That way, you can save tons of money on sites like booking.com because wherever you go, there are always still plenty of hotel rooms available. We spent about €40 on average for a decent last-minute hotel room with a private bathroom (important!) and wifi (essential!).
2 – Forget you were ever a vegetarian (or a vegan)
People in Spain and Portugal love to eat meat and automatically assume you do, too. Case in point: terraces. Give me a full terrace and a cool drink and I’m a happy man. The thing is though, unless you’re very clear upfront, waiters in Spain and Portugal serve tapas with every drink you take. Which is all fine and dandy if you get olives or a little potato salad with your cañas…
…but not so cool if you end up with a slice of this little piggy that got progressively smaller during a long and hot siesta in Porto:
3 – Don’t climb the Segovia aquaduct
Seriously, don’t do it. Both the police and fire brigade will come and get you. I know, I know, the aquaduct is a World Heritage thingamajig well worth checking out, but that doesn’t mean you can scare innocent bystanders like me! I took some quick pictures and then left as fast as I could. Didn’t want to run the risk of seeing those guys jumping all the way down (in the end, they didn’t by the way).
4 – Leave the beaten path in Asturias
I’m not a big nature fan BUT even I had to admit the Picos de Europa national Park in Asturias looked pretty darn spectacular. And do you know about the famous battle of Covadonga that took place in the region in 722 AD? Well, neither did I – but as a history buff my interest was piqued when I found out what it was all about. Oh and that handsome looking fellow in the first picture is me!
5 – Here’s how you order pintxos
So, did you ever wonder how you actually order all those delicious pintxos that you see stacked mile high in an average Spanish bar? Just ask for a plate (un plato, por favor – see, Spanish isn’t that hard) and then you simply pile on whatever you like. Don’t overdo it, you can always go for seconds. Oh, and by the by, that drink you see in the last picture? Don’t have too many. They’re called kalimotxos and are made of red wine and Coke. I kid you not.