Crossing the border from France to Spain was like arriving home – and it basically was! Because I’ve been living in Madrid, Spain and using Spanish as my primary language since September, I now consider Spain my second home.
I definitely wouldn’t consider myself bilingual at this point, but my Spanish is sufficient . This mediocre knowledge of the language was the reason my Contiki tour manager nominated me to teach the rest of the group some basic Spanish vocabulary. However hello, goodbye, please, and thank you only gets one so far so I spent our 48 hours in Madrid working as a translator.
As a wannabe local, I acted not only as a translator but a tour guide as well. I showed off La Sagrada Familia and Gaudi’s other architectural masterpieces, the gothic quarter, La Rambla, the 1992 Olympic stadium, and of course all the good shopping. At one point we stopped in a little tapas bar where I ordered plates upon plates of tapas for my friends to taste. It was an exhausting day, one that warranted a traditional siesta. Man, had I missed my daily siesta!
I may have fallen asleep as a Barcelona expert, but I woke up as a tourist like everyone else, ready to take in new sites and experience new things. The group got all dressed up and we were off to a Flamenco show and what a show it was. The live guitar playing with fingers the speed of light, deep raspy singing, and traditionally dramatic flamenco dancing made for a great start to a long evening.
Part 2 of the evening was the bars and clubs. It was a very, very long night of drinking and dancing. Actually, the night never ended. We stayed out until 5am, grabbed a cab back to the hotel, took a hot shower, packed my suitcase, ate breakfast, and hopped on the coach where I passed out before I even found out who occupied the seat next to me.
Next Stop: The French Riviera