The Rain in Spain?

If “the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain” then we certainly haven’t found the elusive plain because we haven’t seen a drop in our 2 1/2 weeks in the country. However, it feels like we have had a significant portion of the Sahara Desert fall on Hazel.

Hazel’s main solar panels with Saharan dust and the iconic “Wash Me!”

In hosing her down today in preparation to sail tomorrow, the first water to run through Hazel’s scuppers was a distinctive red color.

A week ago we were planning to depart the town of La Linea de la Conception, Spain (just north of Gibraltar) and sail east, with the goal of reaching Islas Baleares—the Spanish Mediterranean islands of Ibiza, Mallorca, and Minorca. However, when we woke up on Sunday, August 7th and started final preparations for our noon departure, the winds just didn’t look promising for the 360 nautical mile passage. We probably would have made 100 or 150 miles of progress eastward but then would have encountered strong east winds and would have had to sit for several days in a marina somewhere on the Spanish Costa del Sol waiting for favorable winds.

After a quick boat huddle, we decided to make some lemonade out of our lemons and scrub the departure and take a road trip to Madrid and Granada. In retrospect, the contrary winds and our decision to not sail was the best thing that could have happened. We rented a car Monday morning and made the six hour drive to Madrid in time for a paella dinner. Actually, given how the Spanish like to eat late, making it “in time” for dinner was easy. We had a 7:30 reservation at the restaurant and were the first seating. By the time we left around 9:00 p.m. the place was just starting to fill up.

Paella in Madrid

The next day was a lot of on-foot exploration, finishing with a top-notch flamenco show and dinner.

Flamenco in Madrid.

Our second full day in Madrid was spent at the Prado art museum and the morning after that, our last in Madrid, we toured the royal palace with it’s 3,000+ rooms and 1.25 million square feet of space.

Royal palace in Madrid.

That afternoon, we drove 4 hours south to Granda and the next day toured its Alhambra moorish castle.

At the Alhambra.

Long story short, we had a great road trip and our now confident that we will be departing La Linea bound for the Baleares first thing tomorrow morning.

Now, time for bed and a good sleep prior to 3 or so days of sailing. Fair winds and following seas!

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