Two years ago, I travelled to Spain for the first time with my parents.
We spent three weeks in the gorgeous country, traipsing around the countryside and into some pretty spectacular towns and cities along the southern coast.
While there is no photo montage which can truly capture the beauty of Spain, I came up with this. It is a synopsis of hundred of photographs and activities I can come up with, to describe the beauty of Spain.
Here is a small surface crack into this gorgeous nation.
1. Travel in by air so that you don’t miss out on great bird’s eye views like this.
2. Walk in parks and gardens.
3. Marvel at the red petals of the hibiscus growing everywhere. Repeat this wonder with the orange trees.
4. Sit under the jacaranda trees.
5. Pluck the petals of a crisp pomegranate blossom. Add these to a pile of purple wisteria.
6. Stroll around lakes at sunset.
7. Enjoy the innovations made from ceramic tiles and fall in love with the murals.
8. Feel like you’re Hanson and Gretel in some of the parks.
9. Get lost in the narrow streets. Meander aimlessly, meander from the beaten tracks, often. Then stop. Admire views like this.
10. Wonder about how ceramic survives as the facade of 400 year old buildings.
11. Drink from public water fountains and admire the cold clarity of the water, even on a hot summer day.
12. Climb up to the top of cathedrals.
14. Engage with aerial views as much as you can.
15. Admire shattered glass artwork in forgotten palaces in the middle of parks.
16. And the mihrabs in ancient mosques along the way.
17. Figure out the Moorish influences. Do this early. Just do it.
18. Observe graffiti from peculiar rooftops. (Kudos to anyone who can figure out where this one is.)
19. Observe graffiti often. Look out for which neighborhoods they occur in. You may just learn something.
20. Look up.
21. Look up often. You will find much to admire.
22. Touch the lowest of the muqarnas in old forts.
23. Learn about the wealth and architecture of the country’s ancestors.
24. Take a horse carriage ride, if you get tired from walking around all day.
25. Walk in the deepening shadows of the dusk, and observe how cities light up at night.
26. Speak with strangers on the way. Share dessert with them. Appreciate that their journeys are so different from your own.
27. Get lost along the streets of old towns.
28. Eat some manchego covered meat tapas.
29. And some delicious fish.
30. Drink pitchers of sangria until you can drink no more. Make sure you observe the grapes that provide the wine.
31. Go to the beaches, walk along the waters.
32. Dance to the beats of the bars on the shore. Do it in flamenco gear.
33. Take a siesta in the middle of the day alongside the peacocks.
34. Chase the peacocks under shaded groves.
35. Go on a hunt of Gaudi’s architecture.
36. See how the architect lived. Find out the tragedy behind how he died. Be humbled.
37. Touch the calligraphy and admire the details of media forms used to construct buildings.
38. Observe doors in strange towns.
39. And windows.
40. Even if they are non-functional windows.
41. Take a train journey, and absorb the emptiness of the roads connecting various towns.
42. Admire the way the buildings are lit at night.
43. Find humor in the swans waddling by in churchyards in the middle of large cities.
44. Chill out, like this cat, in a stone haven created 700 years ago.
45. Drink some Moorish tea and smoke some shisha.
46. Allow yourself to feel wonder in the different colors around you.
47. Embrace the symmetry and asymmetry.
48. Marvel at how only fragments of the whole are ever told.
49. Let the sun fall all over you whilst enjoying the light sounds of fountains next to lotus and goldfish ponds.
50. Most importantly, of course, don’t forget to smell the roses.