Off To Barcelona

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Oct 23 ~ Day #166
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$16600
$171.70
$14575.69
$87.81
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15263+288=15551
6378.9
7662
168
29759.9

Current Location: NH Forum Hotel, Barcelona, Spain

Today’s Total Expenses: $171.70

Transportation: $98.46 (€67.72 bus to Barcelona + €2.80 bus to hotel)
Accommodation: $73.24

Miles Traveled Today:
Road Miles: 288 (Dénia to Barcelona)

Taking the Bus from Dénia to Barcelona

There was more than one choice of bus going from Dénia to Barcelona, but only one going during the day.

It turned out that that one was also the shortest (time wise) to get to Barcelona. The ones that went overnight took as long as 14 hours. Yikes!

However, we wanted this to be a sightseeing experience as much as we wanted it to be a mode of transportation, so we took the bus leaving at 10:00am and arriving in Barcelona at 6:00pm.

That’s right – it was an eight hour bus trip.

However, surprisingly enough, it simply didn’t seem like it took that long.

In several places we were able to see the coastline and there were several stops along the way. At some of them we had a half-hour to 45-minute break to get out and stretch our legs or get something to eat.

We had packed a lunch before leaving the unit that morning to take with us on the trip so we had water, sandwiches and grapes. Plenty of food for the trip.

We didn’t want to be forced into buying overpriced food and bus stations along the way.

We Go Where? And Do What?

It seems that when people give directions for things that are second nature to them some important details seem to get left out.

At the information booth at the Barcelona Nord Bus Station, we spoke with a woman whose English was impeccable and asked where we would find the bus we needed.

Geoff had already printed out directions from the Barcelona Bus System’s website, so we knew which bus we needed to take.

Her directions seemed simply enough – go upstairs, out the door and across the street. And, that’s exactly what we did.

However, all we saw were taxis and absolutely nothing that resembled a bus stop – not to us, anyway.

We walked up and down the street the main bus station was on but were still confused.

We stopped to talk to a motorcyclist, who spoke no English, to see if he could help. Just as we were getting across the concept that we were looking for Bus 54, he pointed at a bus (Bus 54) that was coming down the street.

I pretty jumped into the middle of the street and indicated that we wanted to get on.

The startled bus driver pointed to a bus stop just around the corner and we hustled over there and got on the bus.

Geoff explained, or tried to, where we were going. The bus driver seemed to indicate that the street we were looking for was 16 stops along the line. The instructions Geoff had said it was 15 stops. So, we didn’t know if he was counting the stop we were getting on at or not and it was just too complicated for people who didn’t speak the same language to get that figured out.

Finding Our Hotel

We counted the stops, got off at the 15th stop (not counting the one where we got on) and found we were at the right street.

The instructions we had was that it was about a 10 minute walk from the bus station to the hotel.

Now, remember, we’ve both got rather heavy backpacks on and are carrying some luggage as well and we’re very, very tired. But, what do you do?

So, we headed off in the direction that we were pretty sure was right and just a few steps along – there was our hotel! Yay!

The gentleman that checked us in spoke perfect English and we happily dropped our backpacks in the room and relaxed for a while.

We still had some sandwiches and water left over from our trip and that became supper.

We did a quick walk around the area we were in and then just settled in for the night.

The room was fairly basic but also fairly new and very comfortable.

Our bed, however, was two singles pushed together – and made up separately. The beds were also on wheels so you had to make sure you didn’t roll over onto the crack between the beds because if you did the beds would roll apart and you could possibly end up on the floor.

Hey – it almost happened to me!

Last Day in Dénia

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Oct 22 ~ Day #165
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$16500
$33.73
$14403.99
$87.30
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15263
6378.9
7662
168
29471.9

Current Location: Ogisaka Gardens, Dénia, Alicante, Spain

Today’s Total Expenses: $33.73

Accommodation: $28.14

Entertainment: $5.59 (€4.00 – Dénia Castle)

Our Last Day in Dénia

Sometimes we’re just not sure where the time goes, but this was our last day in Dénia and so we decided to visit the Dénia Castle.

We had planned to visit it earlier in our stay but just never got to it. So, today, we made it our top priority.

It was an easy walk from our hotel and we arrived there mid-morning.

It is an impressive structure and we spent lots of time walking around the ruins and up on the walls and ramparts. It has a pretty impressive view over the ocean and the whole town of Dénia. The archaeological museum that was housed in part of the castle, was small but informative.

Time To Pack – Again

The rest of the day was spent just relaxing and then packing for our trip to Barcelona tomorrow.

Finally Found the Beach in Dénia!

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Oct 21 ~ Day #164
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$16400
$44.59
$14370.26
$87.62
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15263
6378.9
7662
168
29471.9

urrent Location: Ogisaka Gardens, Dénia, Alicante, Spain

Today’s Total Expenses: $44.59

Transportation: $6.98 (€5.00 – bus)
Accommodation: $28.14
Food: $9.47 (€6.78)

Miles Traveled Today:
Zero

Costa La Calma

Today we decided to take the bus in the other direction along the coast.

This trip was much, much longer and the end of the line was at a small river emptying into the ocean. There was only a footbridge across this little river.

More Walking

We, again, did lots and lots of walking. Some of it along the beach, some along the sidewalks when we thought there might be interesting things to see in the small towns.

Some of the beaches are groomed, some are not and I’m really not sure what the criteria would be for the beaches that are, or are not, cleaned.

Checking Out Real Estate

We passed many, many real estate agents along our walk but most of them were closed.

We did stop by one that was open and the lady there was very, very helpful.

We explained that although we are looking to move to Europe, we haven’t actually decided where. And, on top of that, we will probably rent for at least a year before we buy anything.

This did not deter her enthusiasm at all and she was happy to give us all the info we wanted. She also suggested that she show us a rental property to give us some idea of what was available in the area.

She showed us a lovely 3-bedroom house on a decent piece of land that was only steps to the beach. It came furnished and with all the dishes and linens as well.

It was, however, a bit out of our budget at about $1200/month (€850/month) if you rented it for a year. If you rented it for just the winter months then it would be only $1050/month (€750/month) because the high season here is the summer. You see, the get about $10,000 (€7000) for just July and August. So, often it’s more profitable for them to let it just sit empty during the low season than lower the monthly rate for a year long, or six month long rental that includes those months.

But, all this did give us some idea of what we could expect to get for what we’re willing to pay.

What Is It About Me and Insects?

It seems that no matter where I go if there are any biting or stinging insects in the area they will find me!

And, today was no different.

While we were walking along the beach a felt something on my thigh and brushed it away. Wrong thing to do!

OUCH!

I saw the wasp that I had just brushed away on the ground at my feet. But, he somehow had plenty of time to sting me!

I immediately headed for the ocean and splashed the sting area with salt water. It didn’t seem too bad – at first. After the next few days it would get much worse, with the read area spreading across quite a large portion of my thigh and swelling as well. Not to mention it got quite itchy for a few days, too.

It seems I just can’t escape this kind of thing no matter where I go. Sigh.

It’s Melting … Melting

On the way back to the timeshare unit we stopped and picked up a few more groceries.

We were both in the mood for some type of dessert and we bought what we thought was simply a frozen cake.

You see, we didn’t have a freezer in the tiny little fridge in our apartment.

Any way, when we took the cake out of the fridge for dessert we found that it was, or rather HAD BEEN, an ice cream cake.

It was a little runny and a little messy, but we still enjoyed it for dessert.

Checking Out Real Estate in Spain

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Oct 20 ~ Day #163
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$16300
$40.99
$14325.67
$87.89
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15263
6378.9
7662
168
29471.9

Current Location: Ogisaka Gardens, Dénia, Alicante, Spain

Today’s Total Expenses: $40.99

Accommodation: $28.14
Food: $12.85 (€9.20 – groceries)

Miles Traveled Today:
Zero

Real Estate Agent in Spain

This trip is about more than just showing how easy it is to travel cheaply. It is also for us to try to determine where we might like to live in Europe.

We have decided that it’s time to consider moving to our “final” house. So, a lot of this trip has also been to get a “taste” of the countries we might want to look into in more detail.

As Geoff is also a British Citizen, that opens up the entire European Union to us.

So, along the way, we have also been looking at the cost of real estate, the cost of living, the culture, the “feel” of each country, etc.

Because our Spanish is very limited – okay, let’s be honest then – pretty much non-existent – we wanted to talk to a real estate agent that spoke English.

As luck would have it, on one of our walks earlier in the week, we passed by an office that seemed to fit the bill. The sign said “Estate Agent” and they also displayed a British flag, so we decided to head back to their office today.

We spoke with Shirley Barker of Abbey Properties who was very helpful.

Even though we explained that our timetable meant we would probably not be back for about a year and even then we may rent for a while before we considered buying, she was happy to show us what properties were available in our price range and explain the process of purchasing property in Spain.

We even left with some printouts of various properties in our price range knowing full well that these exact properties would not be available in a year’s time.

Shirley herself was British married to an Australian and they have lived in Spain for over 40 years. Thanks Shirley!

Planning for Tomorrow’s Adventure

Up until this point we had not been all that impressed with the “beaches” we had found around Dénia. However, after talking with Shirley at Abbey Properties, she assured us that there was over 20 miles of beach stretching from the Port of Dénia North (east?).

There is a bus that leaves from the port heading that way and we decided that that is what we would do tomorrow.

Downtime and Dinner

So, the balance of the day was just a lazy day and some downtime.

We made ourselves a lovely pork chop dinner this evening, that was quite a challenge given that we only have a two-burner stove, but it was delicious.

Exploring Dénia by Local Bus

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Oct 19 ~ Day #162
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$16200
$56.69
$14284.68
$88.18
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15263
6378.9
7662
168
29471.9

Current Location: Ogisaka Gardens, Dénia, Alicante, Spain

Today’s Total Expenses: $56.69

Transportation: $3.49 (€2.50 – bus)
Accommodation: $28.14
Food: $25.06 (€17.95)

Miles Traveled Today:
Zero
Note: we will only record miles when traveling from place to place and not within a town or city.

Looking for the Beach

From the map we got from Tourist Information here in Dénia, it looked to us like the entire coastline of Dénia was beach.

So, packed lunch, blanket and water in hand, we headed off to catch the local bus (there are only 4 local buses, 3 of which drive along the coastline and 1 that goes to the hospital).

The route we were taking was called Las Rotas and we were able to catch it just down from our timeshare.

It arrived more or less on time – hey, this is Spain, after all. We got on and paid our fare – €1.25 each, which seemed reasonable until we realized just how short a trip it was.

We had actually walked almost halfway ourselves the day before. And, as we found on our walk there really wasn’t a whole lot of beach, but we were hopeful that we would find more beach as the map seemed to indicate that.The map also indicated a naturist beach at the end of the bus line.

End of the Line

We hadn’t been on the bus for what seemed like a very long time when it backed up in front of a seaside restaurant and was then headed back in the direction we had come.

Yep, this must be the end of the line.

So, we got off and still couldn’t see anything but rocky coastline, but did not give up hope.

This is a Beach?

We walked to the end of the road and saw a small – very small – hmmm, I’m really not sure I can call it a beach, more a patch of gravel. But, it was on the ocean and it even had steps down to it.

According to our map this was La Cala Naturist Beach. There was barely room of half a dozen people!

We thought perhaps we had the wrong place, so we continued to walk up the hill next to the beach to see if there was anything more beyond here. But, no, this had to be it.

There were actually several people there, none apparent naturists. So, we spread our blanket and had our lunch and spent some time in the sun.

Being “beachologists” ourselves and having written the book, The Elusive Beaches of Eleuthera, we would not have even mentioned something like this as a beach let along named it, but there it was on the map.

Heading Back

Just before 3:00pm we decided to head back to our timeshare. We thought the buses ran more or less every hour and we had been dropped off around 20 minutes past the hour when we arrived, so it seemed reasonable to assume that the return bus should be there at about 3:20pm, right?

On closer examination of the posted bus schedule, we noticed that there was a two hour break at that time of day and the next bus wouldn’t arrive for at least another hour.

More Walking

Rather than wait for at least another hour we decided to start walking back figuring, if we got too tired, we could always head back up to the main road and catch the later bus at some point in its journey.

Coastal Walkway

The coastal walkway at this end (southern?) of Dénia is actually quite impressive and makes for a pleasant walk. For a lot of the way it is paved with flagstone and concrete and closer into town it is paved with interlocking stone.

There are many benches placed all along the route so you can stop and rest and enjoy the view and sound of the ocean.

We so enjoyed the walk that it seemed like no time before we were back to the section that we had already walked the day before.

So, there was no point in taking the return bus anyway, we were almost home and it had only been about an hour.

This was a way more pleasant way to spend the hour we could have spent just sitting and waiting for our bus.

More Groceries

We stopped at the small grocery store just a little ways from our timeshare and picked up a few more groceries – and a little more wine, too!

We had found a lovely Sangria and decided to get some more. Now, don’t go thinking that we’re spending a lot of money on wine that we are reporting in our daily expenses. Any such purchase is included in the Food expenses category. And, this Sangria was only €1.45/litre (about $2.02) and it was very nice.

We also found some red wine and white wine that were in the same price range – or cheaper – but the Sangria was by far the best.

Laundry and Relaxing

The rest of the afternoon was spent doing laundry (that is something that, on such a long trip, we just can’t ever seem to escape) and relaxing.

Relaxing with some Sangria, cheese and grapes, that is!