“What took me so long?”is the question I kept asking myself as I traveled with my husband through three cities in Spain…Madrid, Seville and Barcelona. I was so pleased by the scenery, the city life, the art, the food, the cleanliness, and the genuine warmth of the Spanish people that I was eager to come home to share my impressions with you.
I have always been a francophile, having lived and worked in Parish for a year in my mid-twenties, fallen in and out of love there, and having returned to visit on many occasions. Although I have gone to quite a few European countries over the past several decades, I always felt the beauty and “je ne sais quoi” of Paris outshone them all. Since traveling to Spain, I no longer feel that way.
Eager to share my love of Paris with my daughter about 7 or 8 years ago, we made the trip there together. Unfortunately, our week-long experience was marred by two very unpleasant encounters with two locals: one a waiter in a cafe, the other a civil servant in a ticket booth at a major train station. Both were extremely rude, completely intolerant of us as Americans (though I speak nearly-fluent French), and both actually yelled at us for no reason I can think of. My daughter will never get over that first impression, and now, neither will I.
Spain on the other hand, welcomed us with open arms. Their economy has suffered greatly since the worldwide economic collapse of 2008, so I am guessing that they are now largely dependent on the tourist economy and thus have a reason to be so welcoming. But I also suspect that the Spanish people are just more kind and welcoming by nature. My attempts at speaking very limited “baby Spanish,” which I’ve picked up over the years through conversations with my immigrant students, were met with smiles, gentle corrections and an eagerness to help. That made me want to come home and apply myself to learning better Spanish for a possible return trip. I should mention that almost everyone spoke enough English to briefly converse with us and pleasantly answer our questions.
Although I haven’t yet had a chance to go through my many photos of the three cities we visited to sort them out and share them with you, I did want to let you know that I’m back, very happy to return to this unique writing community, and eager to share more of my impressions in my next post.
This picture was taken in my kitchen door, before our Spain adventure, with our new straw hats to protect us from the sun.