Senior Travel Updates on Spain

Aug 27th, 2010 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Stretching sun-drenched and untamed to the south of the wild and majestic Pyrenees, this passionate nation works a mysterious magic. Spain is littered with hundreds of glittering beaches, flamenco bailaors (dancers) swirl in flounces of colour; and toreros (bullfighters) strut their stuff in the bullrings. Summer holidaymakers gather around great pans of steaming paella (at its tasty best in Valencia) and pitchers of sangria. 

Beyond these clichéd images, a vast, unexpected panorama unfolds before you. Emerald green mountains seem to slide into the wild blue Atlantic in the north. Proud, solitary castles and medieval towns are strewn across the interior. White villages glitter in inland Andalucía. My wife and I dearly loved Andalucia.  As you come around a corner, there on a hill is a huge black bull.  Around another corner, there stands a huge guitar.  Along the southern coast you will find hundreds of wind turbines.  Inland are thousands and thousands of olive trees.  Some growing on steep hillsides.  One wonders how in the world they are harvested being on such a slope.

More than 30 years of democracy and rapid economic development have spurred Spain’s cities to bedeck themselves with sparkling new ornaments. An army of local and international architects has left a slew of daring signature buildings in Barcelona and Madrid, to name a few.  Up and down the country, a zest for life creates an intense, hedonistic vibe in its effervescent cities. Indeed, if there is one thing Spaniards love, it is to eat, drink and be merry, whether gobbling up tapas over fine wine in Madrid and the south, or its elaborate Basque Country equivalent, pintxos, over cider in the north. 

Unfortunately at the present time, Spain is undergoing a huge economic problem with 20% unemployment.  According to a recent survey, illegal immigration, as well as unemployment is today one of the most important problems in Spain. This country faces nowadays three major conflicting points, which include: the border with Morocco, the Canary Island and the process of regularization of the Government. 

Lonely Planet chooses these as their top spots to visit in Spain:
1 Barcelona
Spain’s Mediterranean jewel sparkles with its Gaudí and gourmet delights, a buzzing waterfront scene and 2000 years of history
2 Balearic Islands
From Menorca’s crystal coves and Mallorca’s dramatic mountain coast to Ibiza’s clubs and Formentera’s chilled scene, these islands offer it all
3 Granada
Eight hundred years of Muslim rule left an indelible mark on this fascinating city, dominated by the magic of the Alhambra
4 San Sebastián
The elegant old centre of this Basque city, sited on a crescent-shaped beach, is a hive of nocturnal activity
5 Madrid
With its grand boulevards and art museums and outrageous nightlife till dawn, there’s no time for boredom 

Spain Travel Guide and Madrid Travel Guide offer good information for travel in Spain.  For example, they suggest seeing art by El Greco, Rubens, Goya, and others at the world-class Museo del Prado with more than 7,000 paintings. The Prado is one of the most important repositories of art in the world. It began as a royal collection and was enlarged by the Habsburgs, especially Charles V, and later the Bourbons. In paintings of the Spanish school the Prado has no equal; on your first visit, concentrate on the Spanish masters (Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, and Murillo). Tour the expanded Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, one of the world’s largest modern art museums. Bike through the Parque de Retiro, Madrid’s city oasis.  Attend a flamenco performance. Bargain for finds at El Rastro, a flea market. 

Late-night dining has always been a staple of Spain, whether it’s on full-blown traditional Castillian paella or tiptoeing around tapas. But more recently, the concept of Sunday brunch has come to Madrid.  View this assemblage of wonderful photos in Madrid. 

Small world that it is, my wife and I were standing in the exit door of the Prado and it was raining.  I had on my Tilley Hat with a small Iowa button.  A man came  up to me and said “You are from Iowa?”  I responded yes.  He said “I have relatives in Iowa.  The town is called Cedar Falls.”  That happens to be the city where I used to live.  I asked “Where are you from?”  He showed me his passport from Chile.  I asked “What city?”  He said “a small city south of Santiago.”  I asked “What is the name of the city?”  He said “Temuco.”  I responded with “my wife and I were just there last March with a group of students on an exchange.”  Small world.  Like throwing a dart at a board and hitting two cities that match.  Wow!   

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jeb



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