Friday, July 20, 2018

TRAVEL

By Luke Douglas


Reasons to Drop Everything and Go to Spain

Barcelona (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)



The Spanish peninsula is a treasure trove of gaudy wonders every step of the way. The Iberian Peninsula might appear dauntingly expansive, but don’t be fooled by its size – trust me, there is hardly a patch of land that doesn’t look like a landscape out of a fantasy realm or a town that doesn’t ooze irresistible charm. If such praise from an experienced traveler doesn’t sell you on the idea of traveling to this country stuck between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, here are some undeniable reasons to drop everything and go to Spain.

Pyrenees

The Pyrenees easily rival the Alps when it comes to the utter magnificence and expansive ranges which are covered in diverse flora and fauna. What makes the Pyrenees particularly intriguing to me lies in the fact that it does not only serve as a natural border between Spain and France (and therefore the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe), but the fact that both of its ends disappear into the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic, respectively. The mountains are a topographical stretch that “bridges” two bodies of water and they are an incredible hub for adventurists like me, those who simply want to get lost in its countless peaks and valleys for weeks on end. 



Photo courtesy of Unsplash


Food

As a certified food-hedonist who likes culinary escapades but still likes to keep weight in check, Spain is as close to the Promised Land as a country can get. Practically every traditional meal has a piquant, gourmet quality, yet it retains that Mediterranean quality that doesn’t put additional fat on your hips. Just watch not to gobble up too many carbohydrates! Still, considering how utterly rich the menu is – from light tapas to cooked veggies with shrimp and other food of the sea – you’ll hardly want that extra slice of baguette. Spain is absolutely renowned for jamón just as it is for seafood and fresh fruits promptly plucked from nearby trees. It’s an utter gastronomical paradise that offers just as many delights as the Italian kitchen, yet it suffers the absence from the spotlight for some mysterious reason!


Architecture

I was absolutely gob-smacked by how little I actually knew about the history of Spain, but one thing is for certain – even if you are not a history buff, the long tale of this country is written in architecture. All you have to do is walk around and be amazed. From the Roman theater of Mérida to Moorish palaces in Granada, get ready for the most surprising urban adventure ever. Since there is simply too much to see, it might be prudent to choose one of the superb Spain packages that will set you up with a neat guided adventure. I was fortunate to have my freshman Spain adventure through one of such guided tours and, I must admit, it gave me a convenient rundown of some truly amazing architectural wonders. It’s a good inauguration in the alluring aspects of Spain that will only “open your appetite” to return again and again. 

A quick side note – go to Barcelona and revel in Gaudi’s masterful work before you do anything else. It is a rite of passage for every newcomer. 



Photo courtesy of Unsplash (Click to enlarge)


History

Of course, the aforementioned history is written in clay and masonry, but it can also be read in very informative on-site pamphlets, books as well as listened through audio diaries. Since the country stretches across the peninsula that connects two major bodies of water as well as two continents – Europe and Africa – it can be safely said that it had a long and dynamic history that turned Spain into the melting pot of cultures and traditions. Thankfully, there are plenty of museums as well as those sweet preserved facades, and if you are interested in these intriguing historical facts, take it from me, reserve a whole two-week visit just to explore the rich past of two or three cities. 


Weather

Are you one of those people that are really sensitive when it comes to weather? Then Spain is, once again, the country of your dreams. Apart from the aforementioned mountain areas in the north, Spain is mostly enveloped in the Mediterranean climate which is characterized by long, hot and dry summers which are coupled with mild and rainy winters. Take note that the central plateau has some continental influences, but summertime still tends to be on the smoldering side. It is an ideal destination for people who suffer from all kinds of allergies as well as chronic arthritis and joint pain. 



Photo courtesy of Unsplash



Spain is an assembly of incredible topography and masterful architecture that is steeped in colorful history. It is a country with renowned cuisine that boasts some truly magnificent, gourmet meals and its residents are known to be particularly easygoing and relaxed. In fact, most globe-trotting travelers claim that residents from the Iberian Peninsula are the most easygoing people in all of Europe. So why not hold them to that and go check for yourself?


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