I have always wanted to do a trip through Europe for my vacation. There are many exotic and historical places I have imagined visiting and my chance came last summer. My wife and I had finally saved enough to take a vacation outside the country and I managed to convince her to take a tour of various countries in Europe including Spain.
While each country we visited had its own exciting experiences, I will limit my tale here for the story of my holiday in Spain. Spain has always been on the top of the list of countries that I would like to visit. However, our trip started out in France. We left for Spain on the regional train from Avignon in France. We chose to use the train, as it would be a more scenic way to travel rather than watching the landscape from thousands of kilometers in the air.
Our trip began early in the morning. This is the best time to start any train journey. The landscape is picturesque in the light of the rising sun. We boarded the first of the regional trains that would carry us into Spain slowly. It was like stepping back into time. The carriage had an old-fashioned design. The carriages had couches that faced each other with space for three passengers per side. We therefore sat like the folks of old times with our legs intermingling. This was the perfect beginning to our holiday in Spain.
The destination of the train was Barcelona. We were in for a shock when we arrived in the city. The train ride exposed us to the true Mediterranean summer heat that the city is known for. The train had air conditioning that allowed us to stay cool during the trip. However, the temperature rose as soon as we entered the area surrounding Barcelona. We were actually getting drowsy because of the heat. It turns out we had planned our holiday in Spain at the same time as a heat wave. The city was experiencing record high temperatures.
Visiting a country that speaks a different language from you is never easy. Finding your way around is probably one of the toughest parts and we learned this lesson during our holiday in Spain. I could speak some French therefore, France was not so difficult. However, neither my wife nor I could speak Spanish save for the greetings. It was therefore difficult for us to find our hotel.
If you are used to the continuous rush of people in big cities, you will find that Barcelona is different. Although it is a major city in the world, the people there are in no rush. As we tried to weave and hurry through the masses of people on the street, I could not help getting irritated at their slow ambling along the streets. Many stopped to watch mimes and other street performers. This was something that the travel guides never warned us about. We therefore spent several hours weaving through a mass of slow moving human traffic to get to our hotel.
We were only spending two days as part of our holiday in Spain. We therefore decided to get things started that very evening. We went out for dinner then a few drinks in different bars around the city. The nightlife in the city certainly is not dull.
We had decided to ensure that our holiday would allow us to take in the culture of the local people and not simply visit historical sites. We therefore headed out the next morning to the market known as Mercat de La Boqueria. The market had the authentic air of any local market with strong smells of spices, fruits, and other commodities sold mixed with the putrid smell of dirty water flowing from where the fish sellers had set up their stalls.
We ended up at the harbor and strolled along this picturesque stretch for quite some time. It was afternoon and people were stretched out on the strip of beach. We decided to join them for the rest of the afternoon. It is not easy walking around in the humid heat of the city at high noon. It was not until late in the evening that we returned to our hotel.
The next day was spent visiting several beaches that have made Barcelona famous including Sagrada Familia. We also visited the great Barri Gotic. This is a cathedral considered one of the most famous in Spain. The Spanish are very religious and the cathedral is considered a sacred place even though it is also a tourist attraction. This was a fine way to conclude our holiday in Spain.