For the next leg of my trip, I decided to go to Seville because my friend, Joanne, was living there. Probably the biggest highlight of this portion of my trip was that this was a new experience for me. I had never been to Spain, which just seems CRAZY to me because it’s right there and it’s FANTASTIC!
Here are some more of my highlights and lessons learned from Seville, Spain:
- It was remarkable to be in a country where I SO don’t speak the language (in comparison I could probably get by in France, Germany and Iceland if I had to), and to have the culture be quite different in many ways. For instance, it is more noticeably Catholic-based and even Christian-based than what I’m used to, even though I live in a predominately Christian country.
- Another cool thing is that I was staying with Joanne, a friend, who’s from Vancouver, but had been living in Spain for about 8 months. So she was the perfect tour guide, having been there long enough to sort out what’s worth seeing and what’s not worth seeing, and she’s learned enough Spanish to smooth that transition for me. She was right in the middle of the city, so I got the genuine experience, not the tourist experience. And we walked everywhere, which was just so magical.
- I chose to arrive the day that I did, because Joanne told me there would be an authentic flamenco performance to be seen that day. Not only was there one performance, but there were two, and they were both extraordinary! The one in the afternoon was essentially an homage to a woman who’s been involved in the flamenco community for decades. The performances could well have just been happening in her living room, because it was all her children and grandchildren and even great-grandchildren performing. But we had the extreme privilege of getting to be included in this heart-moving, tear jerking experience. To see little six year old girls have flamenco in their blood got me connected to the culture in a way I couldn’t have even imagined. These people are passionate, expressive, vibrant, and they’re not afraid to show it. We could all learn something from them.
- Another extraordinary day centered around a long walk we took, in which we saw the Place de Espana (Spanish Plaza), built in 1928 for the Abiro America Expo of 1929. It was outstanding and remarkable … the amount of detail and care that went into, as far as I can see, every single piece of the building. It just gave a feeling of expansion of national pride, of deep roots and connection. It was just so breathtakingly beautiful.
- Next stop on that day we went to the Maria Luisa Park. It was formerly the gardens of the Palace of Santelmo. It was just so alive and provided shade and visual delight, and in wandering through, I left feeling like the royalty that donated it to the city. One thing that really stood out for me about it was there were all these trees that had purple blossoms, and I guess the green leaves hadn’t come out yet, so they looked as if they were trees with purple leaves. It made me feel like I had been transported into a magical realm beyond earth’s borders. It made me think of a world different from our world, that can only be accessed through imagination and belief. I’m reminded that we can create anything we want, by feeling that it’s possible.
- During my trip, my host recommended I go to this spa called Aire de Seville, which was originally a Turkish bath. I was a bit skeptical, but I signed up to experience the water features. There was an array of different features – hot and cold water, jacuzzi tubs and other pushed water elements, a hamman (steam room with essential oils). I loved the hamman. The essential oils got onto my skin and felt as if they were also getting into me on the inside. It’s like you’re becoming one with the environment and one with something bigger, with standing back from centuries and centuries. It just opened my heart and it relaxed my body and it had me remember who I am at my core. It was a very divine experience.
Looking back on this portion of the trip, perhaps the biggest lesson I learned was to try something new.
Ok, over to you:
What is a travel experience you were at first skeptical of, but ended up being magical?