Three days back into reality and I am fighting the post vacation blues with doses of focus on work and thoughts on where to go next.
I don’t know if the daze I’m still in is residual jet lag or sheer exhaustion from the non-stop activity days experienced, but I am finding it difficult to embrace the swing of routine things.
My brain keeps processing the lessons I’ve learned and there are moments where I find myself staring off into space as I get caught up in one of the favorite moments that lingers in my nostalgic mind.
This is the final post I will write about our vacation, but I wanted to document the highlights of my experience.
These are my moments of red. The moments that inspire happy, the moments that invoke love, the moments that make me wish I were reliving them right now…
Toasting with Caña and Vino: Spain has the coldest beer I have ever had anywhere in the world. I didn’t think I would be drinking a lot of beer, but lots of it was consumed at hours that might otherwise be deemed unacceptable in my conservative United States life. When I wasn’t drinking beer, I was drinking wine. Wine in both Spain and France goes down like water (and I mean that in a very good way).
Traveling on the AVE: Riding the high-speed trains of the RENFE system in Spain to get from city to city was one of the highlights of traveling through the land of Cervantes and Almodovar. I saw windmills and small villages and people crossing streets as the windows repainted themselves with changing panoramas at 300 kilometers per hour.
Hop On/Hop Off Buses: I try not to do ‘touristy’ stuff when I travel but I will make an exception for this mode of transportation. Simply on picture opportunities alone, these buses that transport you from one place to another and give you a running commentary of the sights are worth the money paid and the photos captured.
Breakfast of Croissants/Butter/Jam/Cafe au Lait/Orange Juice: Plain and simple, there is no better way to start a morning in Paris or Breakfast of a Hard Roll/Tomato Spread/Olive Oil/Cafe con Leche/Sumo de Naranja: Plain and simple, there is no better way to start a morning in any Spanish city.
Taking a break with Chocolate and Churros: For when you are tired, for when it is late, for when you’ve been walking, for when you’ve had enough, for when you need a break…for anything and at any time this combination of a warm cocoa pudding like concoction with pieces of sweet and salty fried dough to dunk is heaven on earth.
Attending a Flamenco Tablao in Seville: Listening to the wail of a flamenco singer, accompanied by the angry steps of her dance and the strumming of the haunting guitar is simply one of the most emotional stages experiences I have ever witnessed.
Cruising the Seine River in the Evening: Seeing Paris at night from the viewpoint of its left and right bank dividing river, is a simple way to see how the city comes to life with the illumination of its numerous lights. The reflection of the City of Lights on the dark river is a sight not to be missed.
Paella in Valencia: need I say more?
Doing a bar crawl on Calle del Laurel in Logroño: This is the best training ground for learning how to Tapear or Pinchar in Spain. A close second to this is eating in Bar Bergara in San Sebastian or Ciudad Condal in Barcelona where the Pinxos are as beautiful as they are delicious.
Visiting the Santa Teresa Chapel in Avila: I was moved by the stillness and sanctity of the small place. This was clearly a vessel into something much greater than ourselves on this earth.
Sharing meals and time with family and friends in Spain: What could be considered by many an inconvenience of duty whilst on vacation, turned out to be the most rewarding aspect of this trip for me. Meeting up and spending time with Rosa Maria, Tonio, Ana, Emi, Mayra and Manolo, was the highlight of Basque Country, Madrid and Barcelona. I was touched by their generosity of their time, their kindness of heart and the bounty from each of their respective tables. They will forever be the voice of a welcoming, loving Spain to me.
And while I’m sure other moments of red will come to mind for me and my fellow travelers, I’m done for now. This is my final homage to this memorable journey that has left me with an inner smile I will not soon forget. The beauty of memory is that it can be accessed at any second as the sights and sounds of an event transport us back through those banks of recollection. No doubt, I will access these memories from time to time and they will continue to elicit joy.
Until then, au revoir, hasta pronto and goodbye.