Sunday, October 4, 2009

Spain's beauty just amazes me


When I visit Spain -at least once a year- I always come back home thoroughly amazed of its beauty and hedonistic lifestyle. It never fails. Specially impacted by the never ending beauty of all its smaller cities and towns, where the architecture is amazing and History has left such a strong mark.

On a recent trip to Madrid -and a full day in Segovia, walking through its many 'recovecos' and small alleys and plazas- I was SO happy to be there! ....Madrid has a "joie de vivre" that grows and grows, because there are so many vibrant and joyful young people, everywhere!....Wherever there is a small space, 3 tables are set-up and a cafe is born!...And soon people are having cañas (beers) and small 'chatos' of wine --and eating 'tapas' and laughing and talking and filling the air with enthusiasm. It´s so very wonderful!

I also love the historical side of Spain, where so much has happened and such a rich past enriches the cities. As I walk and look up --beautiful facades, balconies and the most amazing tile walls-- strike our eyes. It´s so pretty and it has so much history behind it all! I am fascinated with the well preserved old churches, many with plaques that list the famous writers and historical figures that were baptised or married there, like the Iglesia de San Sebastian en la calle Atocha!...The building where Cervantes lived and died centuries ago (where my friends Linda and Carlos Alberto Montaner once lived and we visited many times!)...Fountains, statues, gorgeous old cafés and plazas --it´s never ending!.....So much and so beautiful!

Still, I dont know if the tourists that visit Spain appreciate the vast treasures it offers them. Most of them go there because Spain is so much fun!....They love the nightlife....The toros...flamenco....the food....the music....And maybe all this dilutes the historical heritage of its cities and small villages. It should be ´compulsory´ to read a book on the History of Spain before visiting it!...This would make its visit so much more magical and rich!

Maybe this is why when I came back to New York this time --I missed Spain the minute I was here.

Such a strange thing to happen, since I always have a longing for my home and my city when I go away!...But in the last few years the United States has lost a lot of its 'quality of life' and things are difficult and very rough. More and more each day. The concept of 'service' has been lost and I notice people acting more and more rude each day. Somehow we are been 'mistreated' constantly --and somehow we must accept it. Mistreated by rude salespeople, rude waiters, rude regular people who seem to be on edge --and strike out at anyone!....Maybe it´s the crisis?...But I think is much more than that. It is a much more complex problem. And it worsens the quality of life. And it is sad. Very sad.

So now I am already scheming, thinking and planning....Maybe this winter I will go back to Madrid for 2 or 3 weeks and stay with my friends Gladys or Martha Larraz and make-believe that it is my home, at least for a little while? Food for thought!