Family Fun in Spain Part II
As I wrote about in my last post, my family paid a visit to me in Spain in March, which turned out to be a truly wonderful week. Here’s the second (and final) part to my visit recap.
On their next day in Spain, my mom and sister explored Italica while I went to work, and then they met me in the town I worked in, Villarrasa, to see my school and the town. I also showed them the neighboring town, Niebla, known for its ancient Muslim walls. Back in Sevilla, we enjoyed a quiet night at my family’s hotel.
The following day, my aunt and uncle, who had been in Madrid on business, came down to Sevilla for the day. After work, I joined my family for a relaxing lunch followed by a boat tour down the Guadalquivir. I normally laugh at those both tours, taking them for tourist rip-offs, and, true, it wasn’t a great tour, but we enjoyed floating down the river. By night, we went up Las Setas, the bizarre-looking, modern “mushrooms” in Sevilla’s Plaza de la Encarnación, where we got a great view of the twinkling city (and some impassioned protest!). We dined at the Italian favorite La Mia Tana and then went to La Carbonería, which offers free nightly flamenco shows. As we walked home, we spotted groups of men practicing for the quintessentially Sevillano Semana Santa processions three weeks an advance. Teepeecahl espahneesh.
Next stop: my once and future home, Madrid! We took the AVE (high-speed train) from Sevilla to Madrid (my first time upgrading from the long, dull Socibus bus ride!) and settled into our hotel, perfectly located right in Ópera. In Ópera Plaza, an area that had been under construction the whole time I was studying there, we had drinks and the best olives I’ve ever had. On the way to dinner, we ran across a mini outdoor food festival, where the group (my mom, sister, aunt, uncle, mom’s friend, her son, and I) had drinks and checked out the fun treats for sale.
Then, we reached our dinner location, a fabulous Cuban restaurant called La Negra Tomasa right off of Puerta del Sol that my uncle had been to a few times. The food was delicious (and wonderfully foreign compared to non-diverse food I got in Sevilla!), the atmosphere was fun, and things got even better when a Cuban band began playing lively music. An incredibly fun night overall.
Since we had all been to Madrid before, we didn’t feel any need to hit up the traditional tourist spots, so we decided to spend the next day taking advantage of free admission for women, in honor of International Women’s Day, to a NASA exhibit in Casa del Campo. Sounded pretty neat, because who doesn’t love space?, and pretty neat it turned out to be! Displays on early astronomers, replicas of space shuttles, artifacts from space… Awesome.
After the NASA exhibit, we wandered around the beautiful Parque del Retiro, stopped for drinks across from the rowboat lake, and later had a delicious meal away from all the tourist hustle and bustle.
I bid farewell to my family, feeling blessed to have spent that time with them in Spain. The next morning, I met my college friend Liz at El Rastro (Madrid’s giant flea market) and then had lunch at the guiri-beloved 100 Montaditos before I caught my train back to Sevilla, somehow even more enamored with Madrid than ever before, and incredibly excited I would be living there the following year.