Near Barcelona. 24th January 1969
Took a big plunge and bought Aerograms today, postcards were becoming a drag, and dear. Our last few days have been fabulous weather - after our WEEK of rain from Madrid, all through Portugal, and back into Spain. But, starting from Lisbon: Portugal is delightful, cost of living about the same as Spain but standard's far higher, streets cleaner, buildings newer, gardens and greenery everywhere (AND Lisbon has double-decker buses). We had a fuel tank leak later in Portugal, in a tiny village we sought out the garage, a horde of mechanics, mostly children, descended on the Taxi, ripped out the tank, a more important man covered it with solder, all for 50 escudos (15/-) then on we went.
Seville in Spain was very interesting, we climbed the Cathedral bell-tower, saw the horse and carriage taxi's (as well as all the Fiats), saw orange trees bearing fruit, lining all the streets and camped in the camping site (many of which are well appointed all over the Continent). Malaga next on the coast, all touristy, highly overrated and dirty (grey sand and pebble beaches), so continued to Almeria, camped just before it in a site right on a lovely secluded beach, met a few British, 2 Aussies from Sydney, and 2 young Americans who are going to the U.K. so we hope to meet again. They knew Carmel well, being from San Francisco.
We lazed in hot sun for 3 days, went to Almeria shopping, washed the taxi (fantastic change in her appearance), and were shouted a meal by the Americans at their favorite local restaurant! They've been camped there 6 weeks after bicycling from Paris! He's taking Spanish guitar lessons in town for almost no cost, she's knitting and learning Spanish. Quite a pair. Dragged ourselves away though, did more shopping in Almeria market (bottle refills of Muscatel: 14 pesetas (1/9) fabulous prawns (we have prawns fried in olive oil and garlic every so often) for almost 5/- a pound. Olives too are beaut and cheap, eggs about 6c each, not cheap, bread almost nothing, sardines 9c a can, etc. etc. Frozen fish strangely appears the best buy: we had a beaut piece tonight for 22vpesetas (2/9) where as the same thing in a market could cost 60 or 80 pesetas, oranges, naturally, are 2 a penny (literally) so we have lots of them in far things will be tough when we leave Spain, for France, then Italy. Switzerland, France and back to the U.K.
Fuel is only 3/4 a gallon here, but 6/- in Italy. Had a shopping spree (£5, taken from our 'reserve' of travellers cheques), today in Barcelona. Camped out of town, took the train in (it's a huge city sprawled along miles of coast) bought Pennie a fab. leather shoulder/hand bag, me a pair of brogues (Spanish style, but very well made, cost all of £2/10/-). I'm filling up all available space, hope it's all in one piece when you open this. Julia's birthday came at a time when I fear we were so engrossed in our touring we didn't send greetings --- bur Many Happy Returns, Doodie, love from us both --- hope your skirt is nice.
Big stock-up of cheap Spanish comestibles tomorrow in Gerona, before crossing to France also fuel and oil for the Taxi, at nearly half the cost. All's well, love to all , yours impoverishedly David and Pennie XXX