Colorful Mosaic, Park Güell(Image: Pixabay)
Is Spain calling your name?
The land of bullfighters, flamenco dancers, fiestas and siestas, plus crispy churros con chocolate. What’s not to love? If Spain is on your travel wish list, but you’re short on time, not interested in an escorted tour, and a cruise doesn’t visit all the places you’d like to experience, no worries, I’ll create a custom itinerary based on your preferences. The following suggestions aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. These recommendations are here to introduce you to this amazing country. We will concentrate on two major Spanish cities, Barcelona and Madrid.
Barcelona is often referred to as the cruise port to the Mediterranean. You can read more about this city here in a separate article. In Barcelona, these are the highlights you may wish to visit:
• Park Güell. This is the famous park designed by Gaudi and here you can find several of his works. It is colorful and fanciful, filled with statues and buildings with odd shapes and bursting with bright hues. From here you can get great panoramic views and photos of the city. The is park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• La Ramblas. This area of the city consists of five streets ( one has the name La Rambla) with a pedestrians-only one at its center. Here in this district you will find not only unique shops, bars, and eateries but also historic buildings, theaters, and nightclubs.
• The Picasso Museum. This popular museum is dedicated to the extensive art collection of one of the most famous twentieth century artists who also was a native of Spain, Pablo Picasso. Be prepared to be dazzled, art lover or not, by close to four thousand individual works.
• Mojito Club. Love the beat of Latin music? Here you can enjoy all types including that of the new world, Cuban, and dance the salsa and the night away. If you do not know how to salsa, lessons are given every evening.
Madrid lies in the central part of Spain, and some river cruises of the Porto in Portugal take a side visit to this elegant city full of green parks, magnificent architecture, and history on display. In Madrid, you may wish to visit:
• Palacio Real. Ever wished to see a palace, especially with almost unlimited access? Built around 1764 to replace a previous structure which burned down, the Palacio Real de Madrid is the largest royal palace in Europe. Make sure you set aside a huge pocket of time to explore this massive edifice of nearly thirty-five hundred rooms plus the extensive and beautifully arranged and maintained gardens. Be prepared to be dazzled!
• Teleférico. This is the way to see Madrid – from a bird’s-eye point of view. Teleférico is a cable car originally installed as part of an amusement park. It rises 130 feet to the top of Casa del Campo Park. You will find a restaurant at the top as well as the spectacular view.
• A tablos flamencos featuring the flamenco. The countryside of Andalusia is renowned for this type of music and dance performed by both women and men. They dance to the beat of guitars adding to the music with the clacking of female dancers’ hand-held castanets and the heel tapping of all dancers. Hand gestures and postures tell a story. Many bars and restaurants offer meals followed by a show of dancing.
Spain is a country full of delights. There are festivals, sporting events, religious destinations, and beach-side resort cities. You can revel in the glitz and glamour of some of Europe’s most beautiful cities or escape to the peace and quiet of the countryside where life is lived at a slower pace. No matter where you go, the sun is sure to be there to welcome you on your journey.