Everyone wants to go to Spain. It was the country I was most excited to visit when I started Remote Year. It has great food, good weather and a long coastline stretching the Mediterranean. Its had beautiful islands off its Eastern Coast and has many great cities and destinations throughout the entire country. I spent the month of August living in Valencia and had the opportunity to travel to Barcelona as well. I would’ve loved to see more of the country but the month went by so fast that I wasn’t able to make that happen. I will just have to go back to visit one day.
It is really too bad to hear about all the turmoil in Spain, especially Barcelona, recently. There was a terror attack in Barcelona a week after I was there. The previous Sunday, I was walking around the exact street that guy drove his van through. Now, the region of Catalunya is trying to break off from the rest of Spain which has caused political unrest and social turmoil. It is tough to read about all these things as this isn’t the Spain I saw even though I was in the country during some of these recent events. Below, is the Spain I saw.
The Spain I saw was a beautiful country with warm people and warmer weather. There is lots of green space, amazingly-unique architecture and a laid back culture that encouraged daily naps. The food was filled with tastes from the ocean and the wine flowed and flowed from every direction. The ocean shimmered and the beaches went on for miles with all types of people littered in between. The party never stopped and the weather never seemed to cool down. It was summer in Spain and there aren’t many other places I’d rather be.
I lived in Valencia for the month. A town right on the ocean on the eastern coast of the country. It is Spain’s third largest city after Barcelona and Madrid. Valencia is laid back, slower paced and they take their siestas and summer vacations seriously. The locals are passionate about their Valencian paella and oranges. They have a great mix of city life and beach life. No one ever seems to be in too much of a hurry and the city is able to absorb all of the tourists without feeling overcrowded. It has a checkered history in the sense of many different empires ruled it. This has created a diversity among the architecture and the art in the city. It has huge beautiful cathedrals and long pedestrian-only promenades. The sun and humidity are un-relenting but there are always blue skies. It has pushed modern architecture with its stunning Science and Arts Center seen in the picture above. It has transformed an old river basin into an amazing green space that stretches for a few miles. Throughout the green space are soccer and baseball fields, jungle gyms, parks, bikers, runners and rollerbladers. It is a really fit city and all day long you see people exercising in this park that runs through the northern part of the city. They say their V’s like B’s and are proud of it.
Barcelona is a destination for almost everyone in the world. You’ve either been there or thought about going someday. It is Spain’s crown jewel on the ocean just far enough from the French border to be Spanish. It has one of the best soccer teams in the world and does a good job of mixing tourists with locals. It has a huge beach with bars and restaurants everywhere. It has really unique architecture thanks to its famous architect, Antoní Gaúdi, and has one of the most recognizable (un-finished) churches in the world. I was only able to spend a weekend in Barcelona but I could understand all the hype. It had a great food and a friendly atmosphere. There was plenty to do and see and it never sucks having ocean views.
My month is Spain was just what I needed. It is the perfect place to spend the last month of summer and its culture of sangria, tapas and siestas are just the right combination. I hope everything gets figured out in this country and the news shifts to a more positive light because it truly is an amazing country with amazing people.