7/11/2014 3:07:22 PM
|written By : Shobha Tsering Bhalla|
A voluptuously rich culture, stunning architecture, siestas in the sand after one-too-many sangrias, wild gypsy music and flamenco are among the things that come to mind when thinking about Spain. The reality isn’t too different as I found out over eight exhilarating days in November.
Since my college days, the idea of fiery, romantic Spain had always beckoned me. I had this notion of it being one of the most romantic places on earth and my wish was finally fulfilled when I was invited on an all-expense paid trip by the Spanish Tourism Board.
The flight to Madrid was by Turkish Airlines who very kindly saw to it that there were two empty seats next to mine to accommodate my cast-encased leg. I was grateful for the ample room that allowed me to sleep well and all would have been hunky-dory if it wasn’t for the theft of 525 Euros from my handbag by no other than my wheelchair attendant at Istanbul Airport! How low is that? Winning the trust of an invalid and then stealing from her! That put a damper on things for a while but Spain – especially the Costa del Sol - made up for it.
Our first stop was the iconic capital city – Madrid. As one of the largest cultural centres in the world, it is home to important museums of historic masterpieces and buildings dating back to the renaissance period. It’s also got a vibrant night life and immense creativity as is evident in the many designer ateliers and stores. As journalists we were invited to check out their best wares by many well-known fashion houses such Loewe and Desiguel and it was a revelation to see how much better the prices were there. But Madrid is so much more than museums and fashion and Spain is so much more than Madrid.