Spain has been on our bucket list for many years. So when we started planning our 20th wedding anniversary trip, we knew it was time to go! We try and travel often and every five years on landmark anniversaries go on our adventures sans children. We missed them terribly, but it was nice to have some time to connect again as a couple.
In planning the trip, we decided if we were traveling that far we wanted to see as much as possible. Both to experience a wide variety of the country and to plan where we might like to go back and linger the next time around. And so we started in Madrid, went to Avila and Segovia, took the train to Seville, explored the white hill towns of Andalusia including Ronda, then ended the trip in Barcelona. It was a lot, I know!
One of the many highlights of our trip was visiting Spain during the Holy Week (Semana Santa) where every day we were able to be spectators in some of the most beautiful and spiritual processionals I have ever witnessed. Although I will say that as an American, it was a little difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that the robes and clothing that the capirotes wore as they look dangerously similar to a hateful organization here in the States. In Spain, the capirote is the symbol of the Catholic penant and worn to show gratitude for a blessing bestowed to them in the previous year (as explained to me by a wonderful woman we met at one of the processionals in Madrid). It was beautiful, solemn, and an experience I will never ever forget.
From our short time in the country, we found Spaniards to be as laid back in their daily life as they are fierce about their traditions and heritage. There, bullfighting is considered an art form and pig is consumed in every way imaginable including it’s suckling form. It’s a way of life they cherish and hold on to dearly and was something I’m grateful that we were able to experience.
It was also interesting to see how much different the Northern and Southern parts of the country really are. Almost as different as Northern and Southern California. The South is the home of bullfighting and flamenco and the influence of the long gone Moors is still everywhere. In the North and in Barcelona you can start to feel the influence of their French neighbors and they even speak a whole different language (Catalonian) that also has a French feel. Every place we went was unique and beautiful in it’s own way.
Like with most of our adventures, we filled it to the brim with activities. So much so that I think I might need a lay on the beach and do nothing vacation to recover from our crazy itinerary. But honestly, I could not imagine doing it any other way. Sometimes I feel like there is so much to see and do in life that too much rest leaves me…well restless!
It was an amazing time and I would go back in a heart-beat. Here’s the rundown on this adventure and a few snaps I took with my handy Fuji x100s (the best travel camera ever):
Day 1: Travel, jamon, tapas, wine and sleep!
Day 2: Museo del Prado, Sobrino de Botín, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Day 3: Day trip to Ávila and Segovia
Day 4: Afternoon train to Seville – Plaza de Espana
Day 5: The Alcázar of Seville and the Catedral de Sevilla
Day 6: Day trip to Zahara, Grazalema, and Ronda
Day 7: Calle Sierpes, Triana, and a show at Tablao Flamenco El Arenal
Day 8: Morning train to Barcelona – Museu Moto Barcelona, and La Rambla
Day 9: Sagrada Família, Casa Milà (La Pedrera), and the Cathedral Basilica of Barcelona
Day 10: travel home!