This country takes my heart away. Somehow I love the enthusiasm of the people, the richness of their culture and the influence of all their colonies albeit their dark history. I did not have that great an impression when I visited Barcelona a few years ago, due to my hurried nature of travelling and the inability to understand the language. Our experience was also marred by the pickpockets on the subway en-route to a football match.
However this time my trip to Spain was after spending 2 months in Latin America, absorbing the language as diligently as possible, soaking in the roots, branches, stems of this community. Taking my time in each city, not just hoping to “see the sights” but to feel, smell, taste and experience.
To get started in Spain, every part has a different special palate, and it is not wise to just go in search for Tapas and Paella. Also, raw and intimate Flamenco is best experienced in Granada where it was born, but the best dancers are found in Madrid and Barcelona where they are geared towards an international audience.
The transport system is great, buses connected the cities well, and even getting to Lisbon was a breeze. In cities, walking was enjoyable and every street corner had something of interest.
Tapas at 8pm means drinking and bar hopping, having snacks until 11pm when it becomes officially late enough to actually sit down to eat dinner. I was completely incapable of dinner after 3 cups of wine with my asian alcohol tolerance. But it was pretty fun trying.
Locals were very friendly in bars, buses, markets and restaurants. The passenger next to me in the bus from Madrid to Segovia was able to ramble on for 2 hours straight. A well dressed man bought me and my travel friend a copa of the specific wine that he frequented that bar every evening for. The old man serving us at a bar let my friend crawl under the counter to have a picture with him and he gave her a beso on request. And so on. Make conversation and you will have a good time.