Planning a Trip to Spain

Most of my adult life I’ve been attracted to traveling to France (which I’ve visited several times and where I lived in Paris for a year), Italy (which I visited once) and Germany (which I’ve visited several times in the past ten years. But both my grown children have been to Barcelona, Spain and both have insisted that I would really like it.

I confess to having no prior interest in Spain, but that feeling has changed somewhat since I have learned enough Spanish (through osmosis as an ENL teacher, building on my fluency in French) to negotiate the simpler things like getting a room or taking a bus.

I am the kind of traveler who likes to blend in, so I prefer to use the native language whenever possible. I am guessing that the Spanish locals would be somewhat tolerant of my feeble attempts to speak in their language and more inclined to be welcoming and helpful.

So, I’ve taken the plunge and booked a trip for me and my husband for early May, for 11 days total, including travel. I signed on for an ambitious itinerary of three cities: Madrid,

Seville

and Barcelona, in that order.

My thinking was I’ll probably never return to Spain so I might as well see as much as I can on this trip.

My new life motto is Do It Now! What Are You Waiting For? This is a result of being a recent retiree and cancer survivor. (They occurred simultaneously.) I have various aches and pains, which I am told is normal for a 70-year old, and traveling is becoming more challenging since I don’t sleep overnight on the plane and can’t walk as much as I used to, and can’t stand for long periods of time.

But I am not ready for the rocking chair yet. There are still places I want to go, things I want to see. I feel I must see and do them sooner rather than later, given my recent health challenge. Today I signed up for a language course online to boost my speaking knowledge of Spanish a bit before departure, and to put me in a Spanish-speaking frame of mind. Learning languages has always been fun for me, so I look forward to doing this.

If any of you intrepid travelers out there have any suggestions or comments about my itinerary, please don’t hesitate to chime in. I’m looking for non-touristy places to eat and experiences I should not miss in any of the three cities we are visiting. Tapas, El Prado, flamenco dancing (viewing, not doing), and, of course, all of Gaudi’s creations in Barcelona are on my list. Oops! I almost forgot paella. It would be such a delight to have an authentic dish of paella.

Lots of planning to do in the weeks ahead!

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17 thoughts on “Planning a Trip to Spain”

    1. It seems like my motto struck a chord for a lot of writers in this community. After going through a difficult time in my life (2 years ago), now at age 70 I can no longer afford to put things off. And, yes, planning is a BIG part of the adventure.

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  1. Love that: DO IT NOW!!!! Funny, we loved Madrid more than Barcelona. B has become very touristy and more expensive than it has to be, by far Madrid won hands down. Loved that city- museums, street walking, food, wine, public green spaces- just more low key. Great train trip from Barcelona to Madrid.
    Enjoy!!!!

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    1. Thanks for the very good advice about Barcelona v. Madrid. Now I am feeling more excited about Madrid. Sounds more like my speed at this stage of my life. Since we’ll be going by hi-speed train from Madrid to Seville, and then Seville to Barcelona, it’s good to know you enjoyed the train ride. We’re looking forward to it. Trains are so much better in Europe and you get to meet people.

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  2. Good for you. Love your life motto. Go for it. Looking forward to seeing fabulous pictures and seeing wonderful photos. You will be in Spain while we will be in Australia. May we both have wonderful times.

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    1. I look forward to hearing about your trip which will be wonderful. My daughter lived in Australia (east coast, Byron Bay) for 6 months and loved it. You can be sure I’ll be writing about my trip, too, when I come back from Spain in late May. I hope your flight isn’t too much of an ordeal. I think you are courageous for undertaking such a long journey.

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  3. What fun! And I totally agree with your motto. I always enjoy the planning, reading about places, people, food, history… and then there’s the actual going and experiencing. And in the experiencing, I document photos and journal my noticing to revisit on a day yet to come. I get three for one.

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    1. I’m not sure I’ll have the energy to document with photos and journal. Usually it’s the journaling I give up on…too busy and then too tired at night.
      You sound like a diehard traveler who enjoys the experience of traveling from soup to nuts!

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  4. Barbara! So excited for your trip to Espagne. Frank and I have been to Barcelona and sometimes use it as our landing airport on the way to see his parents in Argeles-sur-Mer. We usually have our paella in France, and the best manchego ever eaten too. We both enjoyed Barcelona, even in the intolerable August heat. Just remember that you will need to have your arms covered if you want to enter a church… The Dali museum in Figueras is fab, but I don’t think you will get that far north to get there. When you head to Parc Guell, make sure you go via the main entrance (where the house is), and not the entrance with the 10,000 steps to the top ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have fun learning espagnol and planning your trip.

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    1. It’s so good to hear from you! Thanks you for your tips. I will certainly keep them in mind for our trip. We will have only three days in Barcelona so I probably won’t make it to the Dali Museum; I’m sure I would have liked it. I will certainly be writing about the trip in late May, after we return. It will be fun to hear from you again.

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