I Went to Spain, Fell in Love and Planned a Honeymoon
I am absolutely besotted with him.
We went for walks together and he pointed out all the hydrangeas on the hillside. And I knew that he had been listening when I rambled on about how hydrangeas reminded me of my Granna. He knew that she used to let me water the flowers out the back of her apartment when I was a child. And I remember thinking what a rare quality it was that when he listened, he caught the things that mattered, the things that would give me comfort in this foreign country.
He is beautiful. In a wild way. The kind of beauty that cannot be tamed. Beauty that might change and weather with the seasons. But I know that in my eyes, he will always be as majestic as medieval ruins. A magnificent testament to glimmers of his past self even as the daylight fades.
He makes me laugh. Once as I was walking with him, a local farm dog came running towards us. And then it followed us, excitedly jumping at us and sniffing at the mountain grass as we walked. That simple pleasure of sharing a mountain path and a dog with him — the simple surprises of the world, drew deep, joyful laughter from my belly as we walked across the landscape. I could have stayed there in that moment forever.
His name is Errezil.
Errezil is a teeny, tiny town in the north of Spain. Only a long, winding, bus ride can get you in. But it’s well worth the nail-biting trip, because the mountain views are spectacular. Driving in from the town of Haro, home of the Batalla del Vino, it was mind-boggling to see the landscape change from sun-soaked fields and vineyards to cool, mountain air and rolling green slopes. As the landscape changed and the misty clouds rolled in, you couldn’t help but want to jump out of the bus and smell the air.
As you climb the narrow mountain road, you begin to pass quaint farmhouses. The kind that make you think of the storybooks of your childhood. The ones where children roamed the hills with nothing but a rucksack filled with sandwiches and a treasure map. It is the kind of dreamland that makes you think deep romantic thoughts and fills you with a sense of longing.
And so, I found myself on the hillside in Errezil standing on the winding mountain road looking across the landscape. With a ramshackle old manure shed next to me, I dreamt about my ideal honeymoon.
I could see myself and my hypothetical partner wandering the hills hand-in-hand, blissfully and disgustingly in love. I could see us packing a simple picnic lunch: bread, tomatoes, cheese and a bottle of wine, and wandering as far down the mountain as we wanted. I dreamt of laying a picnic blanket wherever we pleased and toasting to a future together that we hoped would be as beautiful as the scene before us. I could see us curled up against each other in a little farmhouse after dark, content in the simple pleasure of being together and knowing that an abundance of days stretched before us. I could feel the longing for a love that might one day end up in a fantasy like that.
I am, after all a hopeless romantic. I believe in happy endings, and fairytales, and love that lasts a lifetime. I fell in love with Errezil. And then I had to leave. But I believe we all have many soulmates. And if Errezil taught me anything, it was that as long as I’m in love with travelling, I will always find romance on the road.
Photos by Aoife Picken, Claire Leonard-Dyer and Tara Lee Gardiner