Spain is a very popular destination nowadays. And it’s nothing strange – it has beautiful beaches, interesting cities, great bars and discos, tasty food… If you have a chance to visit one of the places below, you won’t regret!
BARCELONA – for architecture lovers and all crazy people
- If you happen to visit Barcelona, go along las Ramblas. It’s the most vivid and cosmopolitan city in the world. You can see singers and performers, cages with birds and spiders, paintings and kiosks, bars and cafés. You could stay here all the time and you would never get bored.
- If you love architecture and modern design, you’ll appreciate colourful organic forms of the Spanish architect Gaudí. In Parc Güel don’t hesitate to touch the dragon guarding the stairs. See la Pedrera (house made of stone) and it’s soft, white shape. Did you like, as a kid, mixing sand with sea water and pouring high constructions? Go to Sagrada Familia which looks like a huge organic sand castle. a You simply must see Palau de Música Catalana! The beautiful stained glass of the only concert hall in Europe which uses only day light is something you will never forget.
- To shop for food, fresh fruit – and antiques – go to la Boqueria – one of the most colourful markets in Europe. In els Encants market shop for fashionable clothes.
MADRID – for art lovers and people who don’t hurry
- If you are in Madrid, you must visit two galleries: Prado with a great collections of painters such as Velazquez, Rubens and Goia; and Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in which you can see Picasso’s “Guernica”.
- Madrid is elegant and peaceful. It has class. Start visiting Madrid from Plaza Mayor – a great square of Old Madrid. Sit for a moment in a café on the square. Don’t hurry. Madrid is for people who have time. Try to feel the city, pretend you live here.
- When you are tired of heat, go to one of the parks – for example Parque del Retiro and feel the atmosphere of luxury and peacefulness.
- Atocha railway station is a must. The station is full of exotic plants, among which you can see lazy tortoises (no, they are not artificial!).
WHAT TO EAT
- In Spain you must eat tapas. These are small portions of fish, seafood, olives, small sandwiches, etc. Traditionally there were given free to clients who drank alcohol to prevent them from getting drunk, then the tradition developed into tapas bars specialising in these small meals. Go to a tapas bar and simply point with your finger. Tapas are usually shown to clients behing glass.
- Try things you have never eaten. The octopus or other kinds of seafood are a must – always fresh and tasty. Look at what people eat and order the same – that’s a good idea to taste something new.
- In big cities you can usually order Menu del Día – a starter, main dish, a dessert and something to drink for a very reasonable price.
- A cheap option is patatas bravas – brave potatoes. Depending on the region, fried potatoes will be served with either a mayonaise garlic sauce, or with a garlic sauce with tomatoes. Also try fried squids (calamares) – when they are fresh, they are lovely! Tortillas are great both hot and cold. You might find eat strange but tortilla espagnola – an omelette with onions and potatoes is very often served also in sandwiches.
- There are shops which sell big hams (jamones). Jamón serrano is raw ham dried in the air (in the mountains). When you see a shop with huge ham legs, don’t hesitate to enter. Usually such a shop is a bar at the same time – buy a piece of this excellent ham and taste! If you like meat, try also Spanish sausage – chorizo. It’s like salami – hot and tasty.
WHAT TO DRINK
- Wine. The Spanish drink wine with meals. Sangria is a mixture of wine, lemonade, juices, sugar and fruit – a traditional drink for summer parties.
- Coffee. Coffee is everywhere and is always good. The Spanish do not drink tea – it is treated like herb and used when you feel sick or you have stomachache. They don’t always have tea in bars – sometimes they might have camomile tea instead.
- A cold drink is usually water. In the bar you can ask for tap water – it is free. Fresh orange juice is very popular, too. If you want to taste something really strange, try horchata. It’s a drink made chufas – kind of almonds.
WHAT TO SEE
- Corrida. Disgusting? Perhaps. But you can’t understand real Spain and the Spainish if you don’t see it once. It is a long performance whose aim is to kill the bull, of course. It consists of three parts which have their own choreography and rules. The best arenas to see corrida are in Madrid and in Sevilla.
- Flamenco dance. In Andalusia, the capital of flamenco, you can sometimes see people dancing in the street. If you are not so lucky, you can buy tickets – and watch a special performance. There are lots of famous performances in Madrid and other parts of Spain.
- Fiestas. There is no city in place in Spain without its own holiday – fiesta. The famous fiestas are Las Fallas in Valencia in March, when huge paper figures are burnt, La Tomatina in Bunol in which people throw at one another thousands kilos of tomatoes.
Improve your vocabulary!
vivid – żywy
hesitate – wahać się
a must – konieczność, mus
octopus – ośmiornica
herb – zioło, ziele
stomachache – ból brzucha