Slowly sipping the sangria (I am quite bad with alcohol), I couldn’t take my eyes off the rhythmic feet stomping, the flamboyant ruffled flamenco outfit, clapping hands & the fierce expressions on the face of the flamenco dancers.
Tap Tap Tap. The delightful staccato sound from the dancers’ shoes was sheer music as the guitar notes paused. And played again to even more vigorous stomping.
No wonder the shoe is an integral part of flamenco.The claps only got louder.
If Spain were a person, I would describe him/her as ebullient, warm and generous. Visiting a country for the first time is no less than getting acquainted with a stranger. Our first taste of Spain was Valencia which is a breezy, relaxed and interesting mix of old Art Deco architecture and new age swanky glass buildings. The City of Arts and Sciences, a short walk from our hotel, had an impressive modernistic facade. We anyways love to walk around a lot. It’s the best way to explore the culture and character of a place. Our HOHO bus tour took us to the Valencia Cathedral, Plaza del Mercado, Serranos Towers and Oceanográfic. We took in the sea breeze and the unique beauty of the city.
The Sun stays up until 8 PM in the summers here which thrilled me the most. We decided to hit El Saler beach in the evening which turned out to be a little risky. We took a taxi to the beach, swam and walked a lot until it got dark. Sadly, no taxis were available for the return trip to Valencia. Only two buses after 8 PM and (sigh !) we had already missed one. I was sitting in my wet romper dress with my husband at the bus stop while he quickly got me a waffle. There was no one around and it was getting dark. It was a mixed feeling of apprehension, amusement, and a bit of romance. What would happen had we missed the last bus? My husband knows a little Spanish and he asked a cafe owner who assured him that we had 10 more minutes. And there it came. And we were so happy and relieved to see it arrive!
The train to Barcelona that we took the next day, ran parallel to the Balearic sea. We were treated to spectacular views. The green ocean was playing hide and seek with us.
The moment we entered downtown, Barcelona felt like a big city as compared to its quieter sister Valencia.
Antoni Gaudí’s magnum opus was right in front of me. Too grand to be captured in a single frame. 135 years and still in the making. Sagrada Família is undeniably the biggest attraction in Spain. Estimated to be finished in 2026. What a marvel!
Gaudi’s home Casa Museu Gaudí is perhaps the best living representation of his style which was influenced by Neo-Gothicism, Art Nouveau, and nature.We were provided with a tablet equipped with a virtual reality program that displayed how things were back in time when Gaudi used to live here with his family. You just had to point the device anywhere inside the house. Sounds exciting, right?
We spent our evening on Tibidabo mountain relaxing and enjoying the panoramic view of Barcelona and the ocean beyond.
Back to the night of the flamenco performance, we concluded our Spain trip by digging into paella ( Spain’s signature dish ) and roaming on La Rambla. The vibes on the street were cheerful as Barcelona had just won a football game. As a kid, the name Barcelona conjured up images of football games!
The best thing that I personally liked about Spain is its people & their love of culture and heritage. Spaniards are friendly, open, helpful and easy-going people.Besides food, architecture & art, the gentleness of the people of Spain is a major reason why the country attracts millions of tourists from all over the world.
Been to this beautiful country yet?
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