In my experience, people of means who live in Europe tend to spend a lot of time travelling on the weekends. In an area that has so much concentrated history, plus cheap flights and train tickets, a weekend away is the common tradition. And from keeping in touch with Zoya, I knew already that she and her friends, and her partner Shripal, often organized weekend group trips. It just so happened that they organized one such trip while we were in Madrid, and so we tagged along!
Because my work schedule was so flexible, Kevin and I didn’t do weekend trips while we were in Portugal, so this was our first experience of what I consider to be a mainstay of middle to upper middle class European culture.
Kevin and I have a good routine that we follow when travelling, and I was admittedly nervous to jump into a 10 person travel group, but we had a really great time and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Spain has one of the most thorough rail networks in the world, including several high speed rail corridors. This makes it easy for those living in Spain to get from city to city. Zoya and Shripal and their friends have thus visited many of the historic towns and cities in Spain, and Cordoba was next on their ‘to-do’ list.
Logistically, Shripal lead the way. He researched food options and booked our reservations. He also managed “the kitty”, our group fund. We all put an equal amount of cash into the kitty at the start of our trip, and all group meals and drinks were paid from this fund. When the kitty got low, we all topped it up equally. A simple concept, expertly managed by Shripal, that made all our group outings as simple as could be imagined.
This was also probably the most sleep deprived weekend of our lives. Our Friday night outing quickly bled into Saturday morning. Most of our group had gone out together the night before, and didn’t go home until after 5am. We then had to meet at the train station around 9am for our train ride to Cordoba. To say we were all tired would be a major understatement.
Surprisingly, we all rallied and made it through most of our train ride without sleeping. That says a lot of how much fun we were all having together.
After we arrived, we checked into our rooms. There was a bit of drama with mine and Kevin’s AirBnB, but Zoya helped us get booked into a new location right away, helped me move our stuff, and AirBnB gave us a full refund. It was a rocky start, but things picked up as soon as the vermouth and tapas started flowing.
And did they ever. We were all tired, but still managed to spend nearly 3 hours in the sun sipping vermouth and snacking on an incredible selection of tapas dishes.
That afternoon we all napped, and then reconvened for a typically-European late night dinner, following by several hours of drinking and dancing in a club on the waterfront. Day 1 of the weekend was officially a success.