When I was 20, I had the incredible opportunity to live in Spain for four months. When time and money allowed, I traveled every opportunity I got. I visited three other countries (France, Italy, and Vatican City-yes I’m counting the last one), traveled to big cities (Granada and Madrid), traveled to small cities (Jerez de la Frontea and Cordoba), and even crossed over the Straits of Gibraltar into Africa, although that involved getting horribly seasick which was just the worst thing ever. But for all the traveling that I did, I still missed out on a lot of Spain. So without further ado, here is my Spanish bucket list that I hope one day to be able to check off everything from!
I feel somewhat bad about Málaga. Why you ask? Well, it was only a two hour bus ride from my home base of Seville. So the fact that I was “that” close and never made it there, well, yes, I feel bad since the alternative now involves a 8 hour plus plane ride along with a $1000 USD plane ticket. All semester long I said to myself, “I should go some random Friday or Saturday,” (I didn’t have classes on Fridays), but I never did. When I got around to seriously thinking about going, I was simply burnt out from everything-it was nearing the end of the semester, the heat in Andalusia was unbearable (daily highs over 100 degrees with almost no place having air-conditioning), and frankly I didn’t want to do a lot but especially take a bus and travel somewhere for two hours. What I missed in Málaga included some Roman ruins, a bullring (I don’t condone bullfighting but love the look of bullrings), and Picasso, lots and lots of Picasso, which was one of the main reasons I wanted to visit. Picasso was born in Málaga and today there is a museum there that houses 285 of his works that have been donated by his family members. As an art lover, I just wish I would have made it there.
When my dad came to visit me, we had time for one day trip from the Madrid area. The capital of Spain has a pretty terrific location as it’s easily accessible to other famous areas. We chose to go to Toledo since it’s billed as this incredible place; we went on a tour and had less than an incredible time but I know it was the tour and not necessarily Toledo. However, Segovia is a city I always wanted to see, namely for its beautiful alcázar (castle) and aqueducts. It’s also known around the world for its cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) and I wouldn’t be averse to trying this either.
Galicia is a region in Spain, not a city, but it’s an area I would just love to explore. In Spain, the regions are drastically different from one another which makes it a fantastic place to visit-it’s like you’re traveling to half a dozen different countries since each region has its own customs, culture, and in some cases, and language. From everything I’ve read and seen, Galicia is the total opposite of Andalusia, the region of Spain that I spent the most time in, and this is what makes it so appealing to me. Verdant greenery, rich hearty foods, and a history tied more to other European countries than to the Moors. Frankly, I would visit just about anywhere in Galicia.
Los Pueblos Blancos (The White Towns)
Being a student, I never once thought about renting a car while living in Spain (on a side note, I’m not even sure if my program would have allowed it). As such, there were many places that public transportation made it hard to get to, but especially the Pueblos Blancos. They’re a series of towns and large villages in the northern part of the provinces of Cádiz and Malaga (both in southern Spain) and are famous for their whitewashed walls and red or brown tiled roofs. There’s nothing overly special or heart stopping about the Pueblos Blancos, but the pictures I’ve seen make them look like a mythical place. It also reminds me of the whitewashed buildings on the Greek island of Santorini, another place I would love to see.
Tenerife, The Canary Islands
While many people want to travel to one of Spain’s Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca), I was always interested in visiting the Canary Islands, specifically Tenerife. Located off the coast of Africa, not “next door” to Spain by any means, they just seemed that much more exotic and alluring to me. And the fact that the people there speak Spanish is a major plus for me of course. Stunning coastline, beaches, even a volcano, Tenerife has it all. In hindsight, after finishing my semester abroad in Seville, I should have definitely tried for a way to continue on to Tenerife, where I could have mentally and physically decompressed from the past four months (did you ever take college classes in a foreign country?). The Jardin Botanico, the Castillo San Cristobal, and of course taking in the sunset at El Medano beach would all have been on the to-do list. I’d probably have gone with a tour operator like First Choice since they well-known on Tenerife and offer visitors everything from five-star resorts to posh self-catered apartments.
So that’s my Spanish bucket list, what’s on yours?