When Shagun, my little sister, and I decided to visit 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 its architectural beauty.
In Mumbai, gentrification seeps through each street, but Madrid has kept its history alive. At every turn, there is a building older than some of the countries in the world and yet they are glorious to look at. On our way to the hotel in a taxi, I kept admiring the city’s beauty.
Madrid is the perfect blend of history and modernity and is similar to Mumbai in ways more than one. Firstly, the colours seen in the city are very similar to what you see in India. There is colour everywhere —on clothes, in cafes, and on cars. The food is delicious and colourful which only adds to your sensory delight. Finally, it’s also a country with great music, like ours.
We spent three days taking in all that Madrid has to offer — plazas with stunning statues, museums, palaces, cafes buzzing with Spanish conversations, ice cream treats during siesta hours and lazing in a park on a sunny morning. Madrid is the perfect way to begin your Spanish holiday.
From Madrid we headed to Seville, pronounced ‘Say-we-ya’ in Spanish, by road. I cannot stress enough how important it is to see a country by road. When you take a flight, you miss out on the little towns by the side of the highway, you don’t see the wheat fields or forests of olive trees.
Seville is the city with the largest Gothic church in the world, called the Cathedral of Saint Mary, and the most stunning alcazar (castle) that we have 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.
Our next destination was Valencia. We made it to Valencia by mid afternoon and as they say, it was ‘love at first sight’. Time has stood 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 science’. One of the museums we visited was one of a kind — it is interactive, has a vast collection of artefacts 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. I left behind a piece of my heart in this gorgeous city.
The last leg of my Spanish sojourn ended in the most talked about, Barcelona. What can I say about Gaudí’s (Antoni Gaudí, the Spanish architect) city? I won’t ever be able to do justice while describing the city for it has all — stunning buildings, a great night life, beaches, lovely people and food that you will devour in minutes.
My sister, 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, so pack wisely when you’re going on a 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 Barcelona, we bid adios to the city and the country, with a heavy but content heart.
When I close my eyes, I can still smell the olive oil being poured on some delicious Tapas at the corner bistro. I can imagine myself walking on those cobblestoned streets that I wandered through. I can hear Spanish all around, not to forget the roadside buskers playing some magnificent tunes.
Spain has made an indelible impression on my mind, and the memories will stay for a lifetime.