I’m on an all-girl tour of Spain.
It wasn’t planned that way. I signed up for a tour starting in Madrid, finishing in Barcelona and covering a number of historic locations in between.
There are only seven travellers in the group, which is perfect, and they are all women. Even the tour leader is female.
Having shared in my last blog my own realization that I’m a comfortable solo world traveller, I’m delighted to join with six other amazing Australian women who are all here travelling on their own.
The youngest in the group is 26 and making her first overseas trip, incredibly to Morocco and now Spain. All the rest are seasoned travellers. The oldest has just turned 70 and is enjoying a free trip as a result of frequent traveller status with the tour company.
All seven of us are single women – five from Victoria, one from Sydney and one from Queanbeyan, near Canberra.
Our mutual solo touring status has led to much conversation about travel and Australians – Australian women in particular – as well as how we compare to other nationalities.
I won’t repeat any of that here because there’s always a risk in making sweeping generalisations and I would no more attempt to claim that this group of women is representative of Australian women.
After a couple of days together, the group has bonded well and we’re enjoying the kind of uninhibited conversation that women enjoy when there are no men around.
Our first stop after Madrid has been the incredible city of Granada in the south.
As we’ve made our way around this ancient place over the past couple of days – the hillside cave homes and the hill-top fortress and palace of the Alhambra that dominates the skyline – the conversation has flowed thick and fast.
We’ve talked a lot about our travel experiences and it’s not quite Sex and the City, but we have spoken about men, marriage, dating and yes, an occasional reference to sex.
So it was fascinating for four of us who went out for drinks last night after dinner, to be mistaken for a group of lesbians (as Seinfeld would say, not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
We enjoyed a good laugh about it, and we thought at the time that the man was joking, but we later heard him telling someone at the bar that we were a group of lesbians.
In the conversation that followed, it turned out that several of us had been similarly misidentified during previous travels (in each case by men) – for one woman while part of a group of women travelling in the United States and for me, while sharing a room with a friend in Paris.
Why is it that some men (and possibly women?) cannot fathom women travelling together as friends. Women think nothing of sharing a room, or a bed, if the situation requires. It’s actually great fun to room in together when travelling and a number of the women in our group are sharing rooms.
On day one, our tour leader told us all to get lost – and we took that in the nicest possible way! Of course she meant that it’s great to explore and lose yourself when travelling because it’s all part of the adventure.
But in Granada, we didn’t have to worry about forgetting the name of our hotel and not being able to find our way back.
Right at the turn-off to our lane, prominently displayed near the sign pointing to the hotel, is another sign.
We’ve used it every day to find our way home. It’s in English and it says simply, and memorably: “Sex Shop.”
Note: this post was originally published as ‘Sex and the city of Granada’ as a play on the title of well-known sitcom. The title was later changed to stop the flow of visitors to the site looking for things mentioned in the previous heading.