The Seven Wonders of Spain

Last year I sent out a questionnaire to several travel bloggers I know who wrote about or lived in Spain. I asked them to compile a list of the top must-see attractions in the country. With a country as large and diverse as Spain, this was a very difficult task, but I have finally compiled the results. This list is by no means definitive. It is intended to be a starting point for a discussion of the great places in Spain.

With that, I present to you The Seven Wonders of Spain!

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The Valencia Water Court: The Oldest Democratic Body in Europe

The Valencia Water Court in session
The Valencia Water Court in session
If you should happen to be in Valencia, Spain…in the Plaza de la Virgen….on Thursday…at noon, you will have a chance to glimpse the oldest democratic body in the world in operation: the Tribunal de las Aguas (The Water Court).

Dating back over 1,000 years to the time of the Moorish conquest, the water court was originally set up by farmers to the south of the city to resolve water disputes between them. They delegated certain men to hear disputes between farmers and this tradition continued after Valencia was returned to Christian control.

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My multilingual summer in Barcelona

This guest post is written by Benny Lewis who blogs at FluentInThreeMonths.com where he encourages and helps people learn to speak foreign languages. I met Benny earlier this year in Bangkok and again in Las Vegas for BlogWorld Expo, where we took a side trip to visit the Hoover Dam. Benny currently speaks English, Esperanto, Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, Gaelic, Hungarian and is now is the Philippines to learn Tagalog.


“So, how long have you been speaking Catalan?”

“Actually, this is my first ever conversation in the language…”

It was Susanna, a potential landlady, who had asked me the question. Since the initial Hola, com estàs? the conversation had continued, albeit slowly, just in Catalan. She didn’t realize until this last question that it really was the first time I had ever used the language.

She had already shown me around the beautiful two-bedroom house near downtown Barcelona, but we stopped here in the garden.

“Què?? Parles molt bé el catalá!

…Merci!”

This impressed reaction was something I would see many more times in future when trying to speak a language for the first time. Despite doing poorly in languages in school and only speaking English when I was 21, soon into my travels I had figured out the secret: speak it from day one, no matter what. Study quickly and use the little you know quicker.

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Sobrino de Botín: The World’s Oldest Restaurant

Entrance to Sobrino de Botin, the worlds oldest restaurant
Entrance to Sobrino de Botin, the worlds oldest restaurant
Last month, 47 year old pitcher Jamie Moyer set a record by giving up his 506th home run. For those of you who live outside of baseball playing countries, giving up a home run in a bad thing. You’d think that by setting the all time record for giving up home runs would make Jamie Moyer a bad pitcher. He is not. In fact, the record he broke was held by Robin Roberts who is in the baseball Hall of Fame. A truly bad pitcher might give up home runs, but they never wouldn’t be given a chance to give up so many. To set a negative record, you have to be a good player, because only good players are given the opportunity to play long enough to set those sort of records.

It sounds like a paradox, but it stems from the fact that longevity is signal of quality. Jamie Moyer set the home run record because he has been playing major league baseball for 25 years, and you can’t play baseball for 25 years if you suck.

…which brings me to the Restaurante Sobrino de Botín in Madrid, certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the oldest restaurant in the world.

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Eating Our Way Through Valencia

This guest post is written by Lillie Marshall who blogs at AroundTheWorldL.com. We traveled together for about a week in the Valencia Region of Spain in April, 2010. All photos used here were taken by Lillie.


Stalking Gary

As I stared at the sixth course of our third five-star dinner in Spain, I realized: this was a long, long way from my past life as a schoolteacher!

Lillie eating dessert in Bendiorm
Lillie eating dessert in Bendiorm

My name is Lillie, and for six years I was a high school English teacher in the Boston Public Schools, saving money and scheming future adventures. In August of 2009, I finally flew out of Boston to embrace the world! Since then I have had nine glorious months voyaging through Asia, West Africa, and finally Europe.

From the very day I started my own travel blog in July, I knew full well that the world’s number one travel blogger is Gary Arndt of Everything Everywhere. When I learned a few weeks ago that Gary would be in Spain the same time I was, I sent an email asking if I could meet up with him. When Gary agreed, I hopped aboard a nine-hour train from Andalusia to Valencia to meet him in person.

“So basically you’re a stalker,” replied a woman when I told her this story.

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Spain Update: Madrid Edition

I’m still being kept busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest here in Spain. Since my last update: I spent three nights in the “blogger suite” in a hotel in Benidorm overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Fantastic view. Benidorm is a city I had never heard of before arriving in Spain, but …

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Learning Spanish

My time in Valencia (both the province and the city) have been wonderful. I’ve been kept in constant movement since I’ve arrived either getting tours, giving speeches, or in lengthy Spanish dinners and lunches. That, plus some extremely poor internet connectivity over the weekend, means I haven’t had much time to write or process my …

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Valencia Update

I’ve arrived in Valencia after 24 hours of airports and airplanes and have been kept exceptionally busy since. I’ve been taking photos, exploring the city, eating fantastic food and met some great people. I’ll be writing in more detail as soon as I can find some free time to go through my photos and write …

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