Two aching feet, 8 cities, 500 photos and 604,800 seconds later, I can finally rest after my whirlwind trip through southern Spain. If Spain in general is the crown, then southern Spain is the jewel that rests atop and dazzles the crowd. Southern Spain is a whimsical wonderful world, offering something for every type of person.
Throughout the week I had to the opportunity to wander the Arabian streets of Granada, overflowing with the natural perfume of tea leaves and spices. I watched my first Flamenco show, filled with fiery passion, singing and a flurry of foot stomping. I witnessed the very castle that inspired the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty. I woke up to incredible views, interesting places and irresistible food.
Southern Spain hits all five senses with a powerful punch. We had a gastronomic tour of everything from pulpo (octopus) to ponche (a typical Segovian dessert that tastes like cotton candy, marzipan and cake). We listened to street performers practicing their art with accordions, guitars, fiddles and the like. We smelled sugary sweet marzipan batter made fresh in the stores. We saw sights of castles and cathedrals too beautiful to be real. We felt the rough plaster of the elaborate designs in the Mezquita in Cordoba.
I never realized the incredible diversity of Spain until visiting the south, where every city is like a brand new world and every street represents years and years of history. Each city is filled with friendly people who have no qualms about stopping and chatting with you for hours on end. While sitting in a park, my friends and I met the owner of a sweet golden retriever, who told us her entire life story along with showing us over 50 pictures of her pets. In Sevilla we met traveling nomads in a bar who came from all ends of the Earth (Australia, London, Oregon, etc) and were making their way across Europe one hostel at a time. In Mérida we got into a lovely conversation with a woman who grew up in Boston, joined the Peace Corps, taught all over the world, and was now enjoying the quiet retired life in Spain. Each story reminded me of how much happens in this world that we cannot possibly know. Each person is filled with an incredible wealth of stories and histories, if only we stop and talk to them.
I wish I could write a novel on all the amazing adventures I had over the past week, but for brevity’s sake I will try to keep it short. I’ll be focusing on my five favorite cities and hopefully make you feel as though you were there right along with me, living and breathing the amazing life of southern Spain.