A long time ago , a wise man, lets call him the ” professor”, told me too learn a “wee bit ” of Spanish in view of our intended itinerary. That idea was duly ignored, resulting in us confusing the local severs to the point of near starvation. Alas , we survived ….
Landing from Turkey to the nation’s capital was something we both welcomed as it brought us closer to home .
Madrid offers you everything taking little in return . Cobblestone streets , tapas , great wines, markets, tavernas and the locals who bind it all together makes for an experience you will never forget . Immerse yourself,lose your way, discover, this lady doesn’t disappoint . The simple pleasure of sitting on a side street cafe watching a smorgasbord of activity, tourists and locals warm the soul.
Do the staples , Royal palace , Prado ( You have too see Guernica by Picasso )then just walk, as this is a walking city . We witnessed the Easter procession right to the door of the main cathedral with all the locals out in their
finery. It’s very liberating to see people openly expressing their beliefs when religious institutions are been put through the ringer.
Vallilod and Bilbao are small cities in comparison to Madrid and Barcelona. Easily accessible by a very efficient train network , these cities can be seen in a few days . Highlights include the Guggenheim in Bilbao , Valladolid cathedral and church San Benito.
Last stop was the Catalan region and its capital Barcelona home of Gaudi. You see his influence everywhere , Sagrada familia his masterpiece is still 15 years from completion.( Gaudi died in 1926). Best way to get around is on foot as there’s an abundance of parks and promenades to enjoy. We stayed in a serviced apartment near the arc de triomphe enjoying a week of fine weather. A great deal ! Worked out at €20 per person.
Scratching the surface, Spain has its issues and they’re obvious to see. It’s depressing to see so many street beggars some immaculately attired cap in hand looking for a few cents. Shops remain quite , locals spend where necessary, still you don’t see the affluence witnessed during the tiger years. New immigrants offer competition remaining open 7 days neglecting siesta time as most are tenants.( one Chinese couple pay €2500 a month rent for a small shop near our apartment). The locals need to break the mould, push traditional boundaries down the street for the next generation otherwise, Spain may suffer a very hard landing.
So the professor was right! Learn Spanish, even a few lines will get you far.
This student should have listened !
Spain leaves its mark . Go there , it’s worth every cent …….
Viva la Espana !