The Mediterranean Part One ... Spain
I can't believe next week is August and I still have not posted about our Mediterranean trip that we took in June! If you want a summer to fly by, have a child graduate high school. Nothing makes time go faster than wanting it to slow down!
We really wanted her to have a travel experience for her graduation gift, and the Mediterranean coast by boat seemed like the perfect way to get a lot of exposure to a lot of cultures and art in a shortish amount of time. We made it to Spain, France, Monaco, and Italy.
Let's start with post one of four: Spain.
First up, Barcelona!
The first thing about Spain that I noticed is the beautiful dialect. I have spent a lot of time around Spanish speaking people in the dance world, and I think in the back of my mind I knew that they pronounced "s" as "th", but I had totally forgotten it and found it completely endearing for some reason.
Second, it's hard not to notice several eye-catching buildings around town. Multi storied, bedazzled, and straight-line-defying is the architecture of Antonio Gaudi. We visited two of his buildings, on which was a privately commissioned residence called Casa Milà, popularly known as La Pedrera or "open quarry" and another residence that he remodeled, Casa Batlló. I still cannot get over the fact that they were residences! I think it's comparable to the first time you visit the Biltmore in Asheville, NC.
Also worth noting: these guys know how to do floors!!
Next up, Palma de Mallorca.
We started our trip at the Cathedral, a Gothic landmark begun in the 13th century, overlooking the Bay of Palma. I absolutely loved the surrounding gardens and fountains and found them and their shade to be a much needed respite from the incredible heat. It is a super dooper touristy place - It was impossible not to pick up bits and pieces of history from the guided tours going on all around us. Mallorca, Formentera, Menorca and Ibiza welcome some 14 million tourists every year. Whoa.
The next place we visited was a little off the beaten path villa with horses and sculptures and a restaurant and the most incredible views. We had tapas and Sangria and watched a Flamenco show. It was so dramatic and beautiful it made me tear up a little bit.
And lastly, my FAVORITE Spanish city, Valencia!
I loved every single thing about Valencia. Especially in the Old City! Hands down if I had to pick one of the three cities to revisit it would be this one. The streets are very narrow and quaint (when it was under Arab rule they had the genius idea to build the building very close together to create uninterrupted shade!). That means no cars, some scooters, but mostly foot traffic. There were not that many tourists and it was very quiet and clean. It was also the first time in Spain that I successfully ate and enjoyed it! The cathedral was so beautiful and I was so glad for my child who basically memorized her AP Art History text book and gave me a tour! Every street is beautiful, the cafes are charming and the architecture is gorgeous.
Next up... France!!