Guess What!?! They found an almost intact plesiosaurs in the tar sands!

Today you get the pleasure of following our heroines on a journey to a new country. Yes today is the day we headed to Spain! This is the last new country of our trip (#21 for our Europe trip, #24 that we’ve visited in the course of our lives so far) and the one we know the least about. You may remember our day of rearranging that turned our trip from one that went through Greece to one that travelled through Spain, so our extensive pre-planning didn’t even cover the next week. The internet is an amazing invention though and we are feeling ready to see Spain’s top sights…at least the ones in the Barcelona & Madrid areas.

Our journey was a little more complicated than it had to be (with more transfers & layovers than necessary) but it allowed us to get all the way to Barcelona without needing any reservations. Oddly it was also one of the fastest trips options as well. 6 hours and 45 minutes and four trains later we arrived in the exciting new city. Then we sat around the station for almost 2 hours waiting in line to make our reservations for our future journeys. It was annoying to do, but now it’s done and we are all set for the rest of the trip! Our hostel is not within walking distance from the train station for once, so we had to hop on the metro and then do a quick 2 minute jaunt to our residence. The hostel is nice…seems like it might be a fun place.

We don’t have much planned for the next couple of days so it’ll be a bit of whinging it…we will report back of all of our adventures!

What We Miss:
Justine – Being able to do my hair like I want to…having a good blowdryer and a hair straightened…
Kristin – BACON!!!!!

Love, Luck & Lipgloss,

…not squeaking metal everyone you fool over tonight!

This morning we hopped on a train and set off for our 5th last hostel of the trip. Crazy to think we are getting so close to the end…less than 3 weeks less. It’s very sad to think our adventure will be over, but we are getting quite excited to get home to familiar land, the people we love and some semblance of a normal life.

Carcassonne was only a quick 3 hour train ride from Marseille, so even with the hike to the hostel (which the website said would take 5 minutes, but Google Maps had a better estimate with it being a 22 minute walk) we were there by 1 o’clock. The only problem with that is the hostel closes from noon till 3 pm….which is a ridiculously long time for a hotel to close in the middle of the day. The most annoying part was that none of the confirmation emails mentioned this and Kristin had even put 1 o’clock as our estimated time of arrival. So we ended up sitting on the street drinking Fanta, eating Haribo eggs and playing war. At one point Kristin did a lap of the building to see if there were any other doors to sneak into so we could wait inside. On her walk Kristin fell down and scraped her knee…it was bound to happen eventually…she was literally just walking and totally ate it. Check out the nice scrape (Warning! Graphic Content Below!):

Our hostel was worth waiting for though, as it isn’t a hostel at all! Here are some photos of it:
20111124-195039.jpg 20111124-195048.jpg 20111124-195055.jpg
We got a wicked deal online and those “common areas” are actually all in our room! We are in a little one bedroom apartment with a tv and bathtub and everything.

Looming above our hotel is the reason we decided to stop here in Carcassonne: the castle. Unlike many cities we’ve been to, the historic centre of Carcassonne is a fortified castle. This castle has 3km worth of double surrounding walls and 52 towers. In the 3rd century the Romans decided to fortify the town. The town was used as a strong French frontier between France and Spain throughout history. No worries, the site is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As we climbed the hill and got a more detailed view we could tell this stop was totally worth it. The Carcasonne castle looks exactly like a castle should look in our minds. There are pointy turrets and puzzle piece topped ramparts. The walls and towers are all built of rough stone, giving a thoroughly medieval effect. And the whole thing spans the length of several city blocks. When we got inside the walls we were surprised to find Old Town Carcassonne. This is not just a stand-alone fortress, but an entire medieval city contained inside the protection of the fortified cattle walls. The quaint buildings had a wonderfully rustic feel that made you feel you’d been transported back in time…or into the fantasy world of Harry Potter…we’d take either!
20111124-185018.jpg 20111124-185026.jpg 20111124-185035.jpg

We decided to eat supper inside the castle, because who wouldn’t want to eat supper in a castle? Being as we’d skipped lunch, we went for French Onion Soup (which is just called Onion Soup here in France) as a starter before the main course. It was ridiculously hot, but also ridiculously good. Whoever thought of putting bread & cheese into soup was a genius. Now we’remleft with the question: is there anywhere to get good French Onion Soup in Edmonton?
For a main Kristin had a ham & cheese omlette (she really likes being in a place where she can have “breakfast food” for dinner). Justine had a crepe with ham, cheese and eggs (aka Kristin’s omlette) in it. It turned out to have the egg randomly on top…how are you supposed to eat that? She used a piece of the table bread to dip in it. Our thoroughly French meal was most delicious!
20111124-184906.jpg 20111124-184915.jpg
We forgot to mention the kitty! When we got to the restaurant Kristin picked a booth by the window so we could people watch. When Justine went to sit down she found a cat in her seat. He was white & black and super friendly. He also had a stitched up bite mark in his side…poor kitty! We gave him some lovin’ in the form of pets & scratches 🙂

What We Miss:
Full Sized Towels…it will be nice to actually be able to wrap yourself in a fluffy towel…and walk around it without feeling sketchy…

Love, Luck & Lack of Coordination,