My first trip to Europe, we decided to go to Spain – not my choice but my husband’s, who has been to Europe before and feels that Barcelona is the best city in Europe and he wanted me to see it, rather experience it. Did I mention that he is an Architect, of course that’s why Barcelona, is his favourite city. Now it’s mine too!! This city has so many things to do, so much to see and there is vibe here that just inspires you (maybe its Gaudi’s influence that leaves an impression. To know more about the genius architect Antoni Gaudi refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoni_Gaud).
By the end of my trip I was clicking walls, tiles, floors .. there's a pattern, a story, an inspiration everywhere in Gaudi's city Barcelona!!!
We planned this trip to be a backpack trip, yes, because its cheaper to travel that way! And because I had seen in so many movies where young people just pack, roam around on metros, eurorail, live in hostels and explore the alleys of European cities. I always wanted to do something like that, and did just that! But beware in films its always easy and rosy. In real life there is no room service, no bell boy to carry your luggage, no pickup & drop off to/ from airport, no Indian veg food organized by tour operator and no tour guide to tell where you should go and what you should see. Add to that the language barrier. I didn’t know even ‘Hola’ (Spanish Hello) then. Ask any Dubai kid (expat) where we are spoiled with luxury at every step this can be daunting but actually in a way it was liberating to travel on our own and explore a new city where all we had is the research done at home and big city maps.
We went in (early) November when the fall season just sets in and it was my first experience of cool chilly winter. Coming from Dubai it is definitely something new to experience. Seeing the green leaves turn yellow/red or waiting for the sun (hiding between the clouds) to come out, just added some magical touch to European winter experience. I suddenly had a greater appreciation for the simple things in life like a chap stick or that hot cup of coffee. I hail from South India where coffee is a common household drink and I don’t like coffee but in a place where the temperatures drops to less than 10 degrees, a hot cup of coffee is the best thing you can have.
Coming from tropical/desert climate the first time I saw autumn leaves.. it was magical...
Coffee and City maps our Companions on a Cold day in a new City!
In Spain we stayed three days in Barcelona, two days in Madrid and two days in Granada. In Madrid I was left speechless at art museums which initially I thought was a boring idea. But it was first time I got to see works of genius artists like Picasso and Van Gogh (To know more refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pablo_Picasso and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh). While Granada transported me back in time as we walked around the old forts & palaces of Alhambra.
Art & Museums could leave me speechless.. never thought so..
old alleys of Granada... I wanted to stay here forever
We took Air France from Dubai to Paris then to Barcelona. We reached Barcelona mid morning and took the airport tram to reach the city and stayed in a hostel, which was run by a Spanish family. After refreshing and lunch, we head to most iconic attraction of Spain – the Temple of Sagrada Familia. And right from there I was on ride of awe, surprise and wonderment, and that’s how my Spain trip remains with me in my heart and memories.
Gaudi's masterpiece - Temple of Sagrada Familia