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Spain Stream of consciousness

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I’m in the Bangkok airport where I arrived very early waiting to board my 12 hour flight to Valencia.

While I’m sitting here, I figured it would be interested to inventory just exactly what I know about Spain. I haven’t read much specifically for this trip, so I thought it would a fun exercise.

So here is the regurgitation of everything I can think of about Spain….

The Iberian peninsula was the last stand for Neanderthals, when homo sapiens pushed them to the sea. Then the Iberians were conquered by the Romans and eventually Julius Caesar was the proconsul of Hispania. They mined a lot of silver. Then eventually Rome fell and the Moors took over in the Muslim invasion and built some very nice buildings in Cordoba and Grenada. Then Charleton Heston as El Cid threw out the Muslims during the Reconquestia. Then Ferdinad and Isabella gave Columbus a bunch of money to sail to India but instead he discovered the Bahamas. Somewhere in there was the Spanish Inquisition, which no one ever expected. They built a bunch of boats to invade England, but they didn’t pay attention to the weather reports. Somewhere along the line they merged with the Hapsburgs and took control of the Netherlands and were at war with everyone. Then Napoleon took control of France and installed his brother on the Spanish throne. Then the 19th Century happened and they began to lose control of most of their colonies. Then the 19th Century ended and they went to war with the United States and lost the Philippines and Guam. Then they had a civil war with George Orwell and a bunch of leftists going over to fight on the losing side against Franco. They stayed out of WWII for the most part, then Franco died in the 70’s and Chevy Chase kept reminding us that he was dead. Then Juan Carlos was made king and they had a democracy again. Basque separatists occasionally blow stuff up thinking that helps their cause. Barcelona held the olympics. Bilbao built a cool looking Guggenheim museum. In the words of a Dutch guy I met, “people go to Ibiza to drink and screw”. There are bullfights and flamenco dancing and tapas and everyone eats dinner at 10pm or later.

That is the short summary of what I know about Spain. I hope that list will be much longer when I leave.

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Comments

  1. Steven says:

    One of the best things about travel to Spain is being able to explore its culture. The country is actually one of the most culturally colorful in Europe/ You will surely have a great time in learning such things of Spanish culture like their dances and their food.

  2. You forgot the day where flinging becomes cool and hundred of people throw tomatoes at each other.

  3. This is an awesome exercise. I may try this in my journal next time I travel somewhere where I have never been. I look forward to reading how your knowledge grows over the course of your stay. How long you you plan on staying?

  4. Jocy says:

    Stream of consciousness seems fun. When I think of Spain, a few vivid moments instantly come up: sitting on the beach in San Sebastian; roaming through the narrow streets in Granada; the sleepy haze of Sevilla. I hope you get to visit those places and eat good Spanish fare.

  5. David G. says:

    Hi Gary, have a nice time in Valencia. I’m sure you are going to get a different and unforgettable image of the Valencian Region, more than “toros” and “flamenco”. Enjoy with Joantxo (best to get a Valencia real experience). See you next friday in Invat.tur (Benidorm). Welcome!! David G.

  6. Daniel says:

    Hi Gary,

    First: welcome to Valencia!

    We are fully convinced that your stay here won’t disappoint you and that you’ll enjoy it the most. :)

    I’m the Community Manager of Comunitat Valenciana (Valencia Region) and I would like to invite you to discover our entire region with an open mind, letting yourself be seduced by all the treasures found in eastern Spain, near the Mediterranean Sea ;)

    Luckily, Valencia Region is much more than any preconceived idea! ;) We know, it’s true: we have beautiful sun and amazing beaches; and it’s also true that we have such incredible buildings like the City of Arts and Sciences; and… that our cuisine has jewels like horchata or paella! But … there’s much more!

    We hope you have enough time to find it out… ;)

    If you have any questions, need suggestions for your trip or if you need anything else, feel free to contact us.

    Welcome!

  7. This is a cool exercise; I’ll have to try it for upcoming trips. I like Dutch guy’s comment on Ibiza—mainly because many people make similar observations about Amsterdam…

  8. sky says:

    i had a blast in spain

    Spain from Jan P?ehnal Baterka on Vimeo.

  9. Try not to miss Cádiz in the south. Reconstructed in the 18th century after the Lisbon earthquake destroyed it, it most resembles Habana de Cuba in the New World. Eat pescaíto frito and drink fino (dry Sherry).

  10. Crissy says:

    I’m going to Scotland and all I know is what I read in trashy romance novels and saw in the movie Braveheart. Oh, well and men where kilts instead of pants… I think it’s to keep the women wondering what is underneath.

    Isn’t one of the reasons we travel to learn the real history?

  11. Jose says:

    You know much more about Spanish history than 80% of the population in Spain. Cardinal Ximenez would be proud.

  12. We visited the Basque country a few years back. Loved the food…which we thought was so much better than anything we had the week we spent in Paris the same trip (well, maybe save that Moroccan restaurant we stumbled upon one afternoon on the Ile Ste. Louis).

    I was fascinated by the architecture of the Guggenheim…not so much so by the art inside. The big vegetation/floral covered dog structure in front of the Guggenheim is named “Puppy”, although it’s pronounced “poopy” by the locals (I wasn’t so sure I wanted to walk around -behind- some big dog called “poopy”).

    We went into a Bilbao restaurant one evening around 8:30 p.m., just famished for dinner. There was another British couple there wishing to eat dinner then as well. The bar was full of folks feasting on tapas, but the owner came on out and made sure we had a fab “early” dinner…capped by an icy cold shot of patcharan, which was a sort of anise-flavored liqueur.

    We also went to a fabulous “Barcelona” exhibit a couple years ago at the Cleveland (Ohio) Museum of Art, which covered the art, culture, architecture, politics, etc. of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Barcelona looked like someplace I’d also really enjoy visiting some day. I’m always particularly interested in architecture, so seeing some of Gaudi’s work would be something I’d have on my to-visit list.

    Looking forward to your take on Spain.

  13. Judy says:

    I discovered ‘pesca a la brasa’ in Andalucia : heavenly food.

  14. Karel says:

    Well a thing not to miss is Cordoba, the Mesquita: A large Mosque with a Roman Catholic church inside.
    And Ronda is a village to be seen.

    And there are the obvious places like the Sevilla and the Alhambra, but I guess that they are on your list already.

  15. Karel says:

    Remember the WOGE contest with Marvão?
    Although in Portugal, it is not far from the Spanish border. Maybe there is a possibility for you to get there.

  16. Darcy says:

    Ahhh, well I’m not an expert on Spain, but I know that the British had Gibraltar, and Spain wanted it back, since it is sort of attached to Spain, but the people of Gibralta voted against it. In Gibralta (when I was there at least) you could get slightly over priced British magazines, newspapers and food, and see the Monkeys. Try not to carry any food when seeing the Monkeys. They won’t be very diplomatic or friendly when trying to get it from you.

  17. Global Gal says:

    You’ll discover that although there are bullfights and flamenco and tapas, there is so much more! Did you know, for example, there is a Celtic Spain where bagpipes are more common then guitars and there’s a redhead in every village? For me, the northern coast provinces of Galicia, Asturias & Cantabria are true overlooked gems.

    • Gary says:

      Of course there is much more. What was at the top of my head is really just the stereotypes I have of the place. The whole reason I love going to new places is to learn more!

      • Global Gal says:

        Oh my comment came across wrong. Of course you know that :) Spain is my second home & favorite place in the world, so I just get really worked up thinking about how much there is to see and do. I visit yearly and still have so much to learn.

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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