To Spain, With Love
- Published 27.05.18
When Shagun, my little sister, and I chose Spain, we chose it keeping in mind the diversity in each town, the culture, the sights and, most importantly, the people.
We landed in Madrid and the first thing that caught my eye was what an architectural marvel the city was. I was coming from Mumbai where gentrification was seeping through each street, but Madrid has other plans. The capital as I saw on each corner was holding on to so much history; at every turn there was a building older than some countries and they were glorious to look at. While we were in the taxi to our hotel, I ogled at how beautiful the city was.
Madrid is the perfect blend of historical and modern and it is like Mumbai in more ways than one. Firstly, the colours are very similar to India. There is colour everywhere — on clothes, in cafes, and on cars. Second, their food is delicious and colourful, much to our delight. Finally, they are also a country with great music, like our very own.
We spent three days taking in all that Madrid had to offer, from the many plazas with stunning statues to the museums, the palace, the cafes buzzing with Spanish conversations, to ice creams during siesta hour and lazing in a park on a sunny morning. The capital city is the perfect way to begin your Spanish holiday.
From Madrid we headed to Seville, pronounced Say-we-ya in Spanish, by road. One cannot stress enough how important it is to see a country by road. When you fly, you miss out on the little towns by the side of the highway, you don’t see the fields of wheat or forests of olive trees. Seville is the city with the largest gothic church in the world, called the Cathedral of St Mary, and the most stunning alcazar (castle) one has seen. As if our eyes hadn’t already enjoyed the beauty of the place, we ended our stay with some hard-hitting (pun intended) flamenco, a dance form that needs to be seen live to be truly appreciated.
Bidding goodbye to Seville, we made our way to Valencia. We made it to Valencia by mid-afternoon and as they say, it was love at first sight because I left a piece of my heart in this gorgeous city. Time has stood so still in one part of the place and in the other, it has moved much faster than the rest of the world. This port city is also known as the city of sciences. Their museum is one of a kind, it is interactive, has a vast collection and the building is very cool. The city surprised me and I am sure once you see it, you’ll know why. The Valencia vibe as I like to call it, had me hooked.
The last leg of my Spanish sojourn ended in the most talked about, Barcelona. What does one say about Gaudi’s city. Can one say enough? I won’t ever be able to do justice to the city that has it all — stunning buildings, a great night life, beaches, lovely people and food that you will devour in minutes.
Shagun, who had seen the city before, had many sights to show me and if it weren’t for my trusted shoes, it wouldn’t have ever been possible. Good shoes and sunglasses change the mood of a trip; pack wisely when you’re going on holiday. Something that Barcelona taught us was that umbrellas and raincoats need to always be in your bag because passing clouds spare no one. After four fulfilling days in Barca, we bid adios to the city and the country, with heavy but content hearts.
Spain, when I close my eyes I can smell the olive oil being poured on some delicious tapas at the corner bistro. When I think of you, I think of those cobblestone streets I wandered through, where getting lost was almost something I was hoping would happen. When I hear you, I hear Spanish all around and not to forget the roadside buskers playing some magnificent tunes. Lastly, when I think of you in my entirety, I think ‘WOW!’ That’s the word that will always come to mind. Because, you wowed me.
Thank you, Espana.
With love, Taapsee