España

• Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A rooftop with views of the Roman Aqueduct in Segovia.
I just came back from a work-cation with my parents in Spain, where my dad taught a seminar in Madrid to more than 90 TCM practitioners. During the 4-day stay in Madrid, between selling my dad's books and meetings with some of our collaborators, mom and I managed to visit museums and took a day-trip to Segovia. We were planning to go to Avila too but had to cut it out of our schedule. After Madrid, we took a tour booked through Viator because it took us to Cordoba, Seville, Granada, and Toledo in 4 days; something we couldn't manage ourselves in that time frame. Once that tour ended back in Madrid, we headed to Barcelona on our own.

I don't remember any expectations I had of Spain before visiting, but I find Spain a warm and welcoming country. As a traveler, Spain is well-priced, safe, clean, easy to get around, and with lots of food choices. The metro and bus system is well-connected, and taxis are plenty and cheap. Driving may be a bit difficult in the city with lots of large roundabouts, but you will never have trouble finding underground parking near your destination. There are many tapas bars, burger joints, pizza, kebob, Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks. Fruits, cured ham, fresh bread, and gelato seem to be everywhere.  I saw police presence every day and at every crowded place, so I'd say Spain in pretty secure! And checking-in at the airport required an interview similar to that in Israel. Though not everyone speaks English, I never had trouble communicating what I needed and understanding others. 

Apparently people the world over know how suitable Spain is for travel, as there are no shortage of crowds. Therefore to avoid wasting time standing in lines (and the sun), book tickets for trains and famous museums/castles/cathedrals if you already know your schedule. The only thing that may require a little getting used to is the late lunch/dinner hours and the long lull in between when many shops are closed. Restaurants open from 1:30 to 4:30 PM for lunch and then earliest after 7:30 PM for dinner. 

A corner in the Alcazar at Seville.

PLACES I VISITED///
  • Madrid
  • Catalonia: Barcelona, Montserrat
  • Andalusia: Seville, Grananda, Cordoba
  • Castilla-La Mancha: Toledo
  • Castile and Leon: Segovia

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