This past weekend was a very exciting one for me...my parents came to visit Murcia!!! They flew into Alicante, and after a little bit of getting lost, they made it into Murcia at about 2:30. We started by going to out lunch at Dad's new favorite restaurant of all time, Lizarran. Basically it is the dim-sum version of tapas. The waiters come around with platters that have pieces of bread with a tapa on top and you take what you want. You then pay by the toothpick (holding to tapa to the bread). 50 cents for small toothpicks and 1 euro for the big ones. It's pretty amazing! We then walked around the city and hung out. We went out for an early dinner at a nicer restaurant near their hotel.
The next day we woke up early to have churros con chocolate at Valor, basically the Godiva of Spain. Dad had Mayan chocolate, with cinnamon, and I had Mediterranean chocolate, with oranges. Mom did not partake. Then we drove to Cartagena. Although I had already been there, it was a lot of fun to go again. We went to the Roman Theatre, the castle (which was really just a tower), and the Civil War Refuge. This was topped off with potato chips and beer before heading out the La Manga (the beach that has the Mediterraean on one side and Mar Menor on the other) for lunch. As it turns out though, La Manga completely shuts down during the off-season so there weren't any restaurants open for lunch, so instead, we came back to Murcia (by this time it was 4 pm) and had pastel de carne and wine for a snack. We then met up with Andy (my roommate), Annalisa, and Bre for tapas.
On Sunday we woke up early for churros con chocolate at Valor, again. This time Dad had 52% dark chocolate and I had regular milk chocolate (Dad's was the best) took a drive to Guadalest, a little mountain town of 200 people about 15 miles north of Benidorm (which is north of Alicante). According to the Fodor guide this little town has the distinction of being the second-most visited attraction in Spain after the Prado. It was definitely cool, but not what we expected.
We thought it would be a little (a lot) bigger with more space to just wander and explore. But anyhow, we went up to the castle and we went to the museum of Microminiaturas (basically this guy made a bunch of paintings or statues that were invisible to the human eye on things like pieces of hair and needles. There was one that was a little camel passing through the eye of a needle.) The town has 7 museums, one of which being the museum of salt and pepper shakers which boasts a collection of over 20,000 sets, and the one we really wanted to go to, the museum of torture, was not open. It was very sad. We then drove back down to Murcia, making a loop which caused us to drive on windy mountain roads for about 3 hours. We did stop and have a wonderful picnic (which I packed myself. Mom, rubbed off on me!) on a rock overlooking the Murcian valley.
Later that night we had dinner at an amazing restaurant behind their hotel where I ate waaay too much food, but it was delicious.
Unfortunately I have class this week, but Mom and Dad are driving up to Barcelona (first stop Valencia) and I will meet them there on Thursday after my classes.
¡Hasta la semana que viene!
P.S. My newest blog post at Pink Pangea is up. Dancing the Night Away: Exercise in Spain