It’s hard to believe my month here in Portugal is coming to an end in just a couple of days, especially when I will be posting articles from Lisbon and its surroundings for at least a few more weeks! But alas, the time on my blog doesn’t always match my real life, and so I wanted to let you all know about my change in country.
Unlike Portugal, I have been to Spain before, both to Barcelona as part of a cruise well before I began writing, and to Madrid only a couple years ago with my brother-in-law. The rest of the country, though? Total mystery, but one I imagine filled with tapas and sangria, and really, what could be more wonderful?
It is especially interesting to me to head to Spain immediately from Portugal, and to be able to celebrate both former great powers and now relative European backwaters in a single go. After all, the countries would seem to have so much in common: former colonial powerhouses, 20th century dictators, economic booms and busts alike, and similar languages. We will see how correct that assessment is.
So what is the exact itinerary? Here it is, glorious as ever!
February 8-22: Sevilla
I have heard nothing but incredible things about Sevilla, highlighted by a college friend of mine who lived there for a couple years. There will be flamenco! There will be oranges (apparently this is where marmalade comes from)! There will be an inquisition museum, Moorish palaces, and cathedrals! There will not, however, be bull fighting as, though it is culturally relevant, I find it morally disturbing. Mostly, I am excited to enjoy the slower Spanish pace in a smaller cultural hub. I am not looking forward to the 7+ hour bus ride from Lisbon, though.
February 22-26: Granada
I don’t know what to expect from Granada other than the Alhambra, one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. There may also be a day trip to Córdoba in here somewhere depending on how much Granada itself has to offer. Anyone have suggestions?
February 26-29: Valencia
After a second looooong bus ride, I can relax by the sea and enjoy the birthplace of paella, one of my favorite dishes. I am hoping to learn to cook it, as well, since my last attempt was sorely underwhelming. Also, thanks to IHG for offering a pretty great hotel points redemption here!
February 29 – March 23: Barcelona
As I said, I was here once before, but only for a day, so my experience was limited. It is supposedly an amazing quality of life city, with the exception of some of Europe’s highest petty crime rates, with plenty of sunshine, art museums, fascinating architecture, and good food. I also have a fraternity brother who lives here teaching and performing improv, and it will be nice to actually have a friend. I am looking for another day trip besides my currently scheduled journey to Montserrate, and am open to suggestions from the crowd. (I’ve looked at flying to Mallorca, but despite the €21 flights, accommodations aren’t so cheap, so I’m not sure it will be in my budget, sadly.)
March 23-26: Marrakech
Ok, it isn’t Spain. But I’ve never been to Africa, let alone Morocco, and two one way flights wasn’t too too much more than the bullet train from Barcelona back to Madrid. Yay for markets, minarets, and Moroccan food. (As you’ll recall from my time in Marseille, North African food is sublime!)
March 26 – April 1: Madrid
I am excited to return to one of my favorite European destinations, and to see some new things. Memorial to the Spanish Civil War? Heck yes! Segovia? I think I will! Maybe this time I will even find the monastery at El Escorial open. Another big oops from last time. Even travel writers are fallible.
Be sure to follow along on this adventure both here on the blog as well as on my Instagram account, which will actually be current to where I am. Check out the map below for the pins of my places, and I’ll see you all soon!