My first trip to Europe last October was a three city trip to Paris- Barcelona-Rome. I was so overjoyed with my obsession coming true (visiting Oui Paree), that it hardly mattered where else this trip would take me. I had designed the trip in such a way that Paris took most of the travel time, with only a couple of days more in Barcelona and Rome. However, as I traversed into the lanes and bylanes of Catalonian streets, admiring the Gothic look and feel of the city, that I almost forgot the rosy chilly romantic Paris, smashing some of the most traditional cliches surrounding Spain.
Beyond sun, sand and the Mediterranean beaches: One of the common perception surrounding the country is that Spain is all about, sun, booze and sand. While it is true, that Spain has one of the most azure Mediterranean coastline, it is far from being the country’s only attraction. For me, Spain turned out to be everything really ‘European’ -right from the colourful streets doted by local talented artists, to the Gothic looking streets exuding the rich and vast heritage of European renaissance. The country’s social, economic and political fabric are marked by strong historic ties to Catholicism, which played a pivotal role in the country’s formation and subsequent identity. Spanish art, architecture, cuisine, and music has been shaped by successive waves of foreign invaders, as well as by the country’s Mediterranean climate and geography. The centuries-long colonial era globalized Spanish language and culture, with Spain also absorbing the cultural and commercial products of its diverse empire.
Something for everyone’s palette: When I decided to fly the European skies, one of the serious nightmare that played in my mind was finding Vegetarian food! Almost all of my friends are non-vegetarian and everyone warned me of some dire days and nights. My mother just fell short of packing khakras into my backpack. PHEW! Though she did managed to pack me some soup masalas. But what I discovered in Spain left me speechless. Spain turned out to be a heaven for a vegetarian like me. Starting from the yumilicious pizzas, colourful cheesy nachos to the Spanish version of Indian khichidi, called Paella, the country has to offer everything, a bit of everywhere. No worries on this account 😉
Meh Tapas! Seriously: One of the perils of traveling to unknown and unexplored places is the misconceptions, we carry in our heads and minds- some romantic, some silly. One of my silly ones (I found out) is that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the characteristic flavour of Spain- Tapas! I was so certain of giving it a skip, that when I found that Tapas is also available in vegetarian flavours, I fell off my table. And when I tasted one of those, I fell of my table, this time literally! Seriously, this is Tapas? Meh, it was nothing more than one of the appetizers like Garlic bread that they offer in Indian restaurants. I finally decided it is a case of ‘Grapes are sour’, because Tapas on a vegetarian appetite is next to impossible. May be, someday!
Spain’s most precious artworks (and fun) are on its streets: While we were in Spain only for a couple of day and nights, we spent our time mostly on Barcelonian streets, exploring cobbled streets dotted with Gothic age churches, museums and pretty street art. Besides that, Barcelona streets are also filled with choir groups singing, artists sketching, travelers cycling the streets, quaint, bohemian looking shops and walking men without heads! Oh yeah baby! 😉