The day I fell in love

Spain has been interesting. I’ve wanted to come here for years.  Ever since I started learning Spanish in middle school, in fact. That was a LONG time ago.  I’m not saying how long.  Just trust me on this.  When we arrived in Madrid, I immediately suffered culture shock.  The more time we spent in that big city, the more I was ready to leave Spain.  As they say in Spanish:  No me cayó bien.

Not falling in love with Madrid

When our time was up at our apartment, we eagerly left the bustling city life and headed for a smaller town.  It was tough to decide between Seville or Granada, but in the end the size of the city won out, and we headed to Granada.

We had a rather uneventful bus ride, and I enjoyed seeing the beautiful Spanish countryside as we headed further south.  As soon as we left the bus station, I immediately smelled olive oil.  People smiled when I smiled at them, rather than glared as they had in Madrid.  “I think we’re going to like this place,” I thought.

We had rented a room in a lovely house up in the hills outside the city.  The cute young couple picked us up from the bus station free of charge.

The next several days would be cold, cloudy, and sometimes rainy.  In fact, when we went to the Alhambra, the amazing 10th century Berber fortress/palace nearby, it rained almost nonstop for the entire freakin’ day.

Falling in love with Granada

Our time to leave Granada was drawing close, though.  I enjoyed meandering its ancient streets and discovering little tucked-away places, but I was ready to move on by this point.

In the morning we were greeted with sunny, blue skies.  We headed to the train station to pick up our tickets for the next day’s journey and then went walking.  The sun warmed my skin while I breathed in the crisp fall air.  This is my favorite time of year, and I had so missed a splendid, sunny fall day.

As we walked by the buildings and fountains that are hundreds of years old, mixed in with some that are much more modern, we discovered an amusing little tapas bar so we popped in.  The food was excellent, and I enjoyed a couple of tasty drinks as well.  We had 3 drinks with 3 plates of tapas for a whopping 6€.  At tapas bars, you order a drink for 2€ and the plate of food is free,

Falling in love with Granada's Albaicin

We continued walking.  Being a Sunday, most stores and shops were closed, and the streets were full of friends and families eating in outdoor cafes, strolling down the streets, enjoying the parks, etc.  It was fabulous.

Eventually, we found a park that Tigger deemed wasn’t “too much for little kids” and stopped to play.  We discussed the value of sitting on a park bench while soaking up the sunshine.

Then it was time for ice cream.  He had a gelato while I enjoyed a strong cup of coffee with a wonderful little pastry.  While it’s chocolaty goodness spread over my tongue, I smiled.  Not one of those “oh this is nice” smiles, but the kind of smile that begins from your toes and works its way up until it lights your whole face with sheer joy.

This had been a perfect day.  I was filled with the type of contentment that makes everything you see and experience wondrous.

I was, once again, in love with my life.  And I had surprisingly fallen in love with something else, too.  With Spain.

What and where was one of your “perfect days”?

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  1. I’m glad Granada warmed up and that you warmed up to Granada! I enjoyed Sevilla as well – it has fanciful architecture and some beautiful gardens. It’s also the warmest city in Spain, apparently? And very youthful in feeling. Looking forward to reading more.

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    • We ended up not making it to Seville. Perhaps another visit,

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  2. Big cities are the same all over the world. Whether it’s London, Madrid, Tokyo or Jakarta, people just don’t have as much time for you as they do in smaller places. The flipside is that these places have great night life and plenty to keep you occupied. I’m glad your idea of checking out Granada worked out for you. Spain is such a great country.
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    • I had different experiences of Quito and Paris, though. In both I found them to be somewhat uncity-like even though they’re large. Paris was definitely big city, but I found people to be helpful and nice which is always appreciated.

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      • I liked Quito as well, but it’s been a long time since the last time I visited (I don’t really have an excuse for not returning as my sister lives there). I’ve never been to Paris though, will put it on my to do list and get back to you after I’ve visited…

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  3. Sometimes we need to give second chances to places, people and other things (like food). Good to see you ended up loving Spain (and you give it a chance). I enjoyed the country a lot when I visited (I think I enjoyed it more than Italy which was my dream country at the time, ohh and I liked Madrid a lot by the way).

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    • Definitely important to give places some time and try out different areas. Especially when we’re in a big city, because I just generally don’t like them. Although there have definitely been exceptions such as Lima (particularly Miraflores), Quito, and Paris.

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  4. This is a lovely post 🙂 I haven’t been to Spain, although obviously I should go. P.S. Your son is adorable!

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    • Thank you! Granada is definitely worth it. I’ve heard good things about Barcelona, Sevilla, and Cordoba, but I haven’t been there yet. And thank you. I think he is, too, but I’m a bit biased. 🙂

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  5. Granada looks gorgeous, even in the rain, and has been on my list of places to visit for ages too. I love those kinds of days too when you can’t help but smile. 🙂

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    • It is definitely a photogenic city. Even in the rain. 🙂

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  6. What a lovely story. I too have always dreamed of Spain since I was a child. Maybe I should totally skip the large cities rather than be disappointed! Thank you for the warning! Oh, and I am so happy you found an ‘appropriate’ park for Tigger!

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    • From what I understand Barcelona is worth a visit, but we didn’t go this trip. I just think people are nicer down south. 🙂 And yes, it can be a challenge finding a park when your child is the ripe old age of 11.

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