Reflections of Spain

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Bored in transit…a few more hours to my flight home and I’m already missing Spain and my friends.

Madrid is still alluring. This time armed with a bit of basic Spanish and new friends, the city draws me closer to her people, opening up new tributaries of life and cultures, and this is just the beginning.

Unlike the bigger better known European cities, Madrid seems to have a deliberate, almost shy way of going about with her own business. The city continues to function within its classic architecture, restoring as much as possible, replacing without piercing the skyline, keeping buildings and streets as original as the day they were built.

It was cold when I arrived 5 weeks ago and there was some massive snowfalls in the mountains and most of places up north. Yes it does snow in Spain and they have pretty nice ski resorts too that many people outside the country don’t know or bother with.

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One weekend, I went on an hour’s drive from Madrid to Segovia, a sprawling romantic province with a Celtic background, Roman and Arab influence, famed for the world’s best preserved Roman Aqueduct, the massive Segovia Cathedral, and the Alzacar castle which was one of the inspirations for Cinderella’s castle.

In fact just about one hour’s drive from the city is a ring of incredibly well-kept historical cities and provinces somewhat under-publicized but I’m not complaining because there is a bit of selfishness to keep them to myself. But these are no secrets. Google, explore them with an open mind, prepare for surprises and allow yourself to be delighted.

Like many people, I once had the impression that Spain is one big arid plain with bull-fighters and gypsies until my brother Stanley and my sister-in-law Sally introduced me to this beautiful country more than a decade ago. They brought the family to so many wonderful places in Andalucia and other parts of Spain that frankly I can’t remember them all. There was always something new and different with each visit. It will be hard to stay away for too long now or continue to be an occasional tourist.

I will resume my language lessons, complete the walk to Santiago and perhaps start a blog on Spain. Please stay with me, won’t you?

Joan Yap

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