Reichart Ramblings
The Thoughts & Travels of Shane & Amanda Reichart

spain and andorra

Oct 31, 2023 - Amanda Reichart

We arrived once again at our intended destination well after midnight. This time to our Airbnb in Madrid and so had a late start to our exploring the next day. We began at a Peruvian restaurant that Shane was excited to take me to as he remembered his trip Peru. We ordered ceviche. It had a wonderful flavor, but the sight and texture of the fish made me more than a little squeamish. We then spent the day wandering around Parque El Retiro, a huge park filled with walking paths, fountains, gardens, peacocks and beautiful architecture. Honestly, this park has it all!

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The next day we found ourselves at my favorite palace so far on our adventures! The Royal Palace of Madrid was stunningly beautiful with room after room of ornate art, a royal armory, fine china and of course a throne room. Unfortunately, many of the more ornate rooms did not allow photography. So, you will have to picture in your mind the crown molding, the floors with hand-placed tiny marble

Royal Palace of Madrid

designs so intricate it must have taken hours upon hours to lay them, the velvet wallpaper in black and white flowers, and the gold detailing throughout. Every ceiling is painted with scenes of angels and gods and goddesses clothed in flowing robes, or more often barely clothed at all.

While our day included an incredible palace and walking the streets of Madrid, it also included the more mundane: like finally finding travel-sized shaving cream and mousse! And even better yet, stumbling across my favorite gelato ever! Violet gelato. Suffice it to say, anytime I find violet gelato I will be indulging in it!

If only every day could be royal palaces and violet gelato! But the following day found us on a train to Barcelona. On the way Shane’s computer completely crashed and he got the black screen of death! He had now lost a Nintendo Switch and his computer on this trip, he was not happy. And neither was I.

We were about to stay at our first hostel and because it had been last minute, we also would have to stay in separate rooms. I was not looking forward to it! As we both grieved in our own ways, Shane for his electronics and me for upcoming accommodations our train ride ended and we began walking to the dreaded hostel. On our trip we encountered an outdoor elevator that unfortunately was not running because it was after 11 pm, so we then had to tackle at least one hundred stairs to make it to our accommodations with our bags! Arriving at the hostel did not alleviate any of my fears! Except that we did manage to be put in the same room. Still, it was awful. It smelled gross, people were sleeping in one of the beds that was supposed to be ours, and most of the curtains were at leastWild_goose_chase.jpg partly falling down on the beds. After having a sufficient cry, we managed to find beds that were not occupied, get our belongings into one locker and get a fair amount of sleep under the circumstances. ( I do have to interject that my experience at a hostel is not typical if you get a good one. At least this is what Shane has told me many times and I believe him. Just do your research beforehand. I would hate for someone to not travel because they’re scared of the hostel experience but don’t feel they can afford to travel another way based on my experience with this particular hostel!)

Shane and I did get out and explore beautiful Barcelona the next day but not before discovering his computer could be resurrected! We took the time to praise God for His kindness and goodness! It felt like a huge thing to us but we recognize that the problems we found ourselves in were very privileged problems to have! We are traveling the world together and are unhappy about one of our accommodations. We had a computer crash, but I am carrying an identical one (just not with the work saved Shane had been doing) Shane would have been able to use my computer to continue working and yet God still cares. He cares about the little details of our lives and He answered our prayer by allowing Shane to find a solution to get his computer working again. And Shane managed to find a Nintendo Switch on Facebook Marketplace to buy on the last day in Spain as well!

Barcelona did not disappoint! We visited Park Güell and downtown Barcelona to see the famous and unique Guadi architecture. It was so fun visiting the park and exploring at our own pace, taking pictures and being in awe of such a unique style. We also visited Sagrada Familia. Now if you’ve ever been to Europe you no doubt have seen many cathedrals, each elaborate and beautiful. And we also have seen plenty of those! But this one really outdoes them all! It is more modern and still incomplete as they continue to add towers with plans to finally complete it in 2026 after it has been worked on since 1882. It has a forest theme and the soft light from the stain glass gives it a peaceful natural feeling. I have always felt closer to God in nature and wonder if this was why the architect chose this theme bringing nature into this place of worship.

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While staying in Barcelona we took a day trip to Andorra. I know it sounds made up, but it’s a real country! Tucked between Spain and France we had the most spectacular mountain views as they seemingly soared above us on the bus ride through North Eastern Spain. When we arrived at the bus station to begin our journey I suddenly realized I hadn’t brought my passport! Shane was unconcerned since we would still technically be in the EU and didn’t think we would need it. However, when we pulled up to Andorra’s border and two uniformed border control officers stepped onto our bus I again began to panic. I thought I might be seeing those spectacular mountain views again more quickly than expected! Thankfully as I sent up a prayer and handed the officer my license, he glanced at it and moved right along!

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Andorra is indeed a tiny country and aside from the beautiful river that flows through the center and some beautiful mountains surrounding it there was not much to do! A day trip was certainly enough time for us to explore and still be left with some time to relax with some ice cream and wait for the bus back. And after all the highs and lows Spain held, we welcomed the rest. We are, after all, only a month into our journeys! So much more exploring to do!

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