Shout-out, if you know where that is from. if you do or don't it's now time to talk about my travels in Spain (Espana). Over the summer, I had a wonderful trip with my parents that was cathartic while being another travel experience to add to my fun. Spain is the 14th country I've traveled to and one where the language is convenient for me. As such, I found communication between people to be engaging. Without further ado, Vamos Espana!!!
While my parents had originally planned to come to NYC and travel with me, that would not be the case as I would have a rough plane fight alone. Anyways, I landed in Barajas Airport in Madrid alone and was treated to a return to easy going Western Europe. I met my parents soon after and took a trip into downtown Madrid. In Madrid, my new smartphone was proven to be useful as it found location of even minuscule side streets. We placed our bags in the hotel and began our journey around the city.
Some of the highlights in the city include Plaza Mayor (most expensive real estate in the city and site of executions back in the day), the Prado (known for Velazquez Las Meninas and more 1600 century Spanish art), the Reina Sofia (Notable for Pablo Picasso's works, especially the Guernica), Plaza del Sol (the main hub of the city), the Palacio Real (The Versailles of Spain and ostentatious in all its glory in both the palace and the treasury).
Another fun highlight was the pub crawl through tapas bars I did with my parents. We went quite hard on both nights and it was amusing to see my parents tipsy. Furthermore, we had a variety of food consisting of jamon iberico (Iberian ham), manchego cheese, vermut (the best vermouth ever), baranjas (caramelized eggplants), octopus, pig ears (amazing; I'm not kidding), grilled/salted peppers, anchovies, and a whole lot of beer, wine, and more. At one of the various bars, I met some Filipinos who I spoke a little Tagalog with them for fun. Most of our food highlights were at tapas bars, but we also had some delightful churros con chocolate.
We would also have a brief romp around Toledo filled with escalators and cobblestones. Here, we would see the variety of religion (Jews, Catholics, and Moors) all living together until Ferdinand and Isabel took over. My mom had the brilliant idea to bring flip-flops to a cobblestone walking tour....ok.
Other thoughts: the floor system has negatives and 0 floors - it's odd. Also, elevators have weight capacities that they adhere to; so more than 3 people really can't get on the elevator. My Spanish was great here, it made me wonder about the Spanish in the DR because everyone understood me in Spain. There aren't too many words of caution because Spain is in Western European and relaxed at that. I would be aware of trying to get food during siesta though.
Stay tuned for Part 2 which will highlight charming Sevilla and glorious Barcelona.