I started writing about Spain way back in January, as a way of distracting me from the Long Winter (aka the second wave). And it worked, for the most part. But I never could have guessed I’d still be writing these posts near the end of 2021. (Or that we’d be in the middle of a fourth wave.)
What can I say? Pandemic brain is real.
But yes, all things must come to an end, even my reminiscing about Spain, and so I’m going to finish off the series with this photo of a street corner in Madrid. It’s appropriate as a metaphor, I’m thinking, because in many ways we are at a crossroads as we look ahead to our second pandemic winter and all the uncertainty that comes with it.
Spain is all about the number three for me. I’ve visited it three times, and on two of those trips I visited three cities each. I’ve spent three days in Barcelona and I’ve been to Madrid three times. All of that was a happy accident, but I’m glad my trips to Spain covered such different regions: Catalonia, Castille, and Andalucía. We Canadians tend to think of European countries as tiny and uniform, but they’re not. The culture and geography between regions are often as varied as different parts of Canada.
On my last ever night in Spain, I was wandering aimlessly through the centre of Madrid. It was a chilly night near the end of November and the streets were teeming with people. I never did figure out what the crowds were about, but it made for a festive evening. I had that sad melancholic feeling I often have on the last night of a trip, and I was delaying my return to my hotel.
Then, softly, gently, it started to snow. And I knew it was time to go home.
Just in case I am giving you the impression that only Paris knows how to dress for Christmas, here is a photo I took in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol in November 2010. This is the famous Tio Pepe neon sign framed by a towering Christmas tree of lights.