I visited the Iberian Peninsula 13th May to 30th May 2015. I was preparing a while in advance and I had the same problems getting a host like in Italy, but finally I got hosts for most of the destinations, but I had to change my plans a little about the route. I am always open for that, because one never knows what one could miss. Furthermore I was disappointed, that I did not get the member list for Spain from Servas, did not get answers from most of the members I contacted of the Hospitality Club, BeWelcome and Couchsurfing. But I am very grateful for the others, who answered me and very pleased for the few hosts, who welcomed me.
The route I planned was:
Barcelona – Madrid – Granada – Estepona – Córdoba – Sevilla
The route it became was:
Barcelona – Madrid – Talavera de la Reina – Toledo – Valdepeñas – Granada – Estepona and Marbella
I was going by bus throughout the country, which I liked very much even it was impossible to know in advance when which bus departs from where, because there are more than one company and none can tell you about the others time-table – even when you have to change the bus. You cannot find the timetables on the Internet either, especially because a tourist does not know which company is operating the planned route. There is no place either where you can ask for it, but in Sevilla, where I unfortunately only had time to change the bus. You more you want to go to the countryside you more difficult it is. Therefore I could not tell my hosts in advance at what time I will arrive. I could only tell them as soon as I had bought the ticket to their place.
I have had a wonderful and interesting time. I had no idea how Spain really looks like. It was amazing. There are lots of hills and mountains, but also plains. The hills and mountains have very interesting shapes, all different, and are mixed in such a beautiful way that I really like this country. I met very kind people, particularly my hosts.
Before starting my travel I had been warned about pickpocketing, especially for Barcelona, but I did not get rid of anything. There was neither need for my “robbery purse” where I put in my last banknote from Hungary (because it has a high number on it, but such a low value) and an old credit card, what is not working anymore nor my old smartphone. They money belt in front of my belly, but under my clothes, did give me a look like a pregnant, but was worse it.
The only negative thing was, that I could not see all I want, because the frequency of the busses, the much longer distances than expected and most of all the lack of time I had. I would have liked to see almost Córdoba and Sevilla as well, but could even not take a look at Sevilla because the timetable of the bus to Portugal. On 24th May 2015 I was going by coach from Marbella (Spain) to Faro (Portugal), where I had to change to another bus for Loulé, the home town of my next host. I learned before, that it is the easiest to make good pictures while sitting in a coach or train by making videos. So I did of all the amazing views after we passed Ronda. I have not only seen olive trees, like before, but also cows, some horses and big fields with sun flowers. The mountains are now more far away, but there are still hills followed by planes as long as one can see. We also passed the cities Montequinto and “Dos Hermanos” before we arrived in Sevilla.
In Sevilla I had to buy my ticket to Faro in Portugal. First I tried to buy one to Loulé, because my next host is living there, but that was not possible. I asked for the possible buses and there were only two more that day – one would leave in around an hour (at 2:30 pm) and another one was in the evening (at 11:30pm) arriving in Faro around 3am next day. I could not ask my host for picking me up in Faro after midnight, of course. Though I had to go with the one leaving soon. By that, I could not take a look at Sevilla, what I had liked to do. My first planes had been to do so, but time was running away for me as usual on such short trips. Certainly I will be back in Spain after my trip to other continents – and I will have as much time as I wish in the future.
Before entering the bus to Portugal I ate my lunch pack on a bench at one of the bus stops. There I also saw an interesting coach for people in wheelchairs. It was such a usual coach where the luggage is underneath and the passengers are seated quite high over the road. This bus had a special lift for the wheelchairs and was used for the one, people where sitting in them. That also means, that the wheelchairs were in the space for the passengers and not in the luggage area. Another interesting thing was, that there was a polling station with voting booths at the bus station for the Spanish community elections. It was such an open place, but it was working, because it was highly frequented.
This time the bus trip was only throughout plains until the Spanish border. For more information about this trip please see: Faro (Portugal)
About Portugal – see here: https://dorotheeinternational.blog/portugal/
Please take a look at this amazing country!