I’ve always wanted to visit Spain, and this past summer, I flew over on my own to explore the country. I had a blast exploring the cities, tasting tapas and wine (it’s hard not to!), and spending time with family members. In fact, it was one of the best vacations I’ve ever taken! So here are some highlights from my trip that might inspire you to plan your next vacation:
Ate too many tapas.
In Spain, tapas are a popular way of eating. They’re small portions of food that are usually shared from one plate to another. For example, you might order some bread and cheese, which would be served with olives or some other kind of pickled vegetable that you eat with the bread and cheese. You could also order an assortment of different meats or seafoods and try them all at once on a plate–sort of like Spanish nachos!
One thing I love about tapas is how easy it is for me to meet people with my limited Spanish vocabulary. If someone speaks English well enough, we can just talk about where we’re from in English; if they don’t speak much English at all (which happens more often than not), then I can use my basic Spanish skills to communicate with them instead! Plus since tapas are shared plates it’s easy for everyone involved–you get a chance to taste each other’s food without having any awkward moments where nobody wants what’s currently on their plate anymore but no one wants anyone else’s either…it works out great in this situation because everyone gets something new while still being able to enjoy whatever they ordered originally! Also since tapas tend be cheaper than regular meals–usually less than €5 per dish–you’ll save money too so there will always be plenty left over for drinks later on after dinner 🙂
Another cool thing about this style of dining experience is learning about culture through food: each region has its own specialties so when tasting these dishes together as part of an experience like this one might lead us into conversations about why certain ingredients were chosen over others within various recipes as well as
Learned a few words of the tongue-twisting Spanish language.
You’ve probably heard about how difficult it is for English speakers to learn Spanish. I found this to be true when I first started learning the language. The words are often seemingly random and the sounds are completely different than your native tongue, so you’ll find yourself repeating them over and over again until they stick in your head. But don’t worry, because there’s actually a method to their madness!
There are some recurring patterns in the way words are formed by native Spanish speakers:
- Most of them end in -o (or -a if it’s feminine)
- They can be made up of two or more syllables with one consonant before another vowel or diphthong at the beginning of each one (for example: algo [something], noviembre [November])
Most importantly you’ll notice that many of these words have Latin roots—which makes sense if we consider that Latin was one of Spain’s official languages for centuries!
Ate seafood paella at sunset on the beach in Valencia.
Paella is a classic Spanish dish consisting of rice and seafood, with tomatoes, onions and garlic. It’s usually eaten outside at sunset on the beach in Valencia. The best place to eat paella is at El Palmar Beach Club, where you can enjoy your meal while watching the sun set over the Mediterranean Sea.
The best time to eat paella is during sunset because it’s one of those things that really looks better in person than online. Plus, eating a delicious meal while looking out onto an ocean sunset is truly one of life’s great pleasures!
The best way to eat paella is by scooping up some rice with your fork or spoon (a fork works well if you don’t want to get messy), then topping it with some seafood or vegetables before taking a bite. Eating seafood with hands isn’t common practice but it’s not frowned upon either; just use your judgement based on how much food there is left when other people are done eating around you!
The key tips when eating paella: Don’t be afraid if something falls off your plate onto someone else’s plate – everyone will understand that accidents happen when people are trying new things together! Also remember that different types of seafood taste better than others so try eating different kinds until you find one (or two) that suits your tastes best!”
Visited family members in Seville and traveled onward to Cadiz with them.
My family is part of the minority that stayed in Seville. To be honest, I was kind of surprised when they said they were going to stay there when I visited them because it’s so far away from where we are living now. But it turns out they have a lot of friends who still live there and aren’t quite ready to leave just yet. So I had a great time visiting them (and their friends) while staying with them for a few days before heading back north to Cadiz.
Cadiz is one of the biggest cities on Spain’s southern coast, but it doesn’t have anywhere near as many tourists as other places like Barcelona or Madrid—which makes sense since it isn’t as well known outside of Spain or Europe at all! It was definitely an interesting experience seeing such a different side of Spain than what I had seen before: instead of being surrounded by tourists speaking English everywhere you go, everyone seemed much more interested in speaking Spanish with each other than trying out their school-learned English skills on me!
Toured the Alhambra in Granada, still one of my favorite places to visit.
The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Granada, Spain, that was once home to the Moorish rulers of southern Spain. It’s a beautiful place to visit with amazing architecture and gardens.
The Alhambra is an old palace and fortress built by the Moors over 800 years ago. Today it’s visited by tourists from all over the world who marvel at its beauty, including me! I think it’s one of my top 10 favorite places in Spain (and top 20 favorite places ever).
Travelled to Toledo and drank hot chocolate in a quaint restaurant between sightseeing excursions.
While touring Spain, I traveled to Toledo, a city in central Spain that is known for its beautiful architecture and history. It was my favorite place on the trip because it was so unique.
The cathedral is amazing and there are many other beautiful sites to see in this city. One day while touring Toledo we stopped at a restaurant called El Rincon de Medinaceli where they make hot chocolate with cinnamon sticks and fresh whipped cream on top. It was delicious!
Climbed up to the roof of the cathedral in Barcelona and looked out over the city.
Barcelona Cathedral is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona and for good reason. The building itself is beautiful, especially when you look at it from above—it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site after all!
Once you get up to the top, it’s easy to see why this cathedral has been around since 1450. From there, you can see not only Barcelona but also other parts of Spain such as Valencia and Madrid. There are usually some people walking around the roof so expect to meet other travelers who are just as curious about climbing up there as well!
If you want something more than just a view of Barcelona and surrounding areas like I did then there’s also another bonus: food! You’ll find plenty of restaurants here too so if hunger strikes or even just curiosity about what else tastes like abroad (because trust me—if I hadn’t tried octopus yet then neither had anyone else).
Had an impromptu picnic lunch in an olive grove on the way to Cordoba (pickled fish are not my favorite but the wine was good).
You know what’s awesome? Picnics. There’s something about eating outdoors that makes everything taste better. Well, except for pickled fish. Pickled fish are not my favorite thing in the world so I was super happy when we stopped for lunch at an olive grove and I found out there would be no piquillo peppers or other things that make me feel sick to my stomach after eating them (the wine was good though).
Tried flamenco dancing on a whim and loved it!
Flamenco is probably the most well-known dance style in Spain, so it’s no surprise that they have lots of different ways to learn it. You can try flamenco dancing on a whim, in a flamenco bar or school (which will help you get the hang of it), or even at one of their many shows.
If you go to one of their shows and decide you want to learn more about this intriguing style, you can find classes throughout major cities like Madrid and Barcelona.
I’m glad I got a chance to see Spain. It was an amazing experience, and I feel like I have a better understanding of what it’s like to live there now. One of the things that surprised me most about my trip was how much fun it was to meet new people and make friends while traveling in Spain. There were so many interesting people who shared their stories with me as well—I really enjoyed learning about their lives!