After leaving Madrid, we would make a quick stop in Cordoba before heading to Sevilla. Cordoba is most known for its Mezquita and Jewish Quarter. The Mezquita is a phenonomon of architecture that has a Mosque that surrounds a Cathedral. It is always a gorgeous highlight and may be one of the best buildings in all of Spain. Before leaving, we would enjoy Artestian ice cream.
After Cordoba, we arrived in Sevilla (Seville in English) to walk the area of Santa Cruz filled with its charm and narrow streets. We would see entertaining sights here as well, outside of watching the World Cup in Europe. The large Cathedral of Sevilla (the largest in the world by area along with another tall tower to climb), the Alcazar (Mudejin style palace of Moorish and Gothic designs), the art of flamenco (amazing work), a Spanish guitarist doing his busker business, Tivana from afar, and the Plaza del Torros (The bullfighting ring, though we sadly never saw a live bullfight). We would have some glorious sangria at a lunch place we went to twice. Overall, Sevilla is a quaint city with some of the relaxing times you'll have in Spain.
From Sevilla, we would fly to Barcelona, and hit the ground seeing the peculiar works of Gaudi and his Modernista gang in arguably the most lively city of the tour. Barcelona is actually in Catalan and many residents speak Catalan but most will speak Spanish. As such, it has a lot of strange history pulling it in differing political directions. However, Barcelona was the most enjoyable for me due to its architecture and eclectic locales.
These locales include Parc Guell (Gaudi's irrigation system park idea, strange ergonomic seating designs, and great views), Palau de Musica de Catalan (Domenici's well-lit music hall), La Pedrera (the rooftop fun designed Gaudi mansion), Casa Battlo (Gaudi's house design) and surrounding block of discord, Placa de Catalunya (The center of Barcelona), Las Ramblas (the long street whose characters change from day to night), the Picasso Museum (young Picasso and his blue period occurred when he lived here), Barri Gotic (The Roman narrow street sector of the city), Camp Nou(Home of FC Barca, I forgot to mention that we did see the home of Real Madrid, but around this time I started to prefer Barca even with Cristiano Ronaldo!), and of course the Sagrada Familia. More on the Sagrada Familia, this might be one of the top sights, certainly top 5 sights I have seen in the world. It is impressive both inside and out and has huge spires, nativity facades, and an embellished nave. My dad and I got to climb down one of the spires while enjoying Gaudi's masterpiece (which is still consistently worked on today).
For cuisine, we stuck to stuck to Spanish food with the exception of a Basque County tapas bar (serve yourself), rice pudding and a rice dish with a tart and bitter cream. While I wished I could've seen more of the city, we had little time for the biggest city and my stomach issues began here.
Overall, I can highly recommend Spain. Is it my favorite? I'm not entirely sure, but I do know that the Spanish is clear, the food is wonderful, the people are friendly, and the history is plentiful. It may be the coolest country around and certainly one of the most entertaining. Viva Espana y Bisca Catalunya!