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,
and Barcelona, in that order.
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!