Spanish Sojourn

Dr. Vikas Gowd combined work with pleasure during his time in Spain. Read on as he speaks to You & I about his exciting trip.
 
An international dental implant conference in Barcelona was scheduled to perfection - just in time for me to take a much-needed break. I definitely could use a short holiday, so I managed to take a few days off and decided to spend some time travelling around Spain.  
 
Barcelona strikes you as a charming cosmopolitan city that combines history and culture. The Mediterranean climate is yet another reason why tourists flock to this part of the country. Though I could easily make do with English, it was fun to greet someone with hola or end a meeting with a gracias or an adios! Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and they speak Catalan. I didn’t have much time to pick up the language, so I made do with the little bit I knew. Barcelona will keep you occupied – a vibrant nightlife, cafés and clubs at every corner, historical monuments… and so much more! It was as though this city had decided to please every tourist and pack in everything.
 
After the conference, I decided to take a walk down the cobblestoned streets lined with quaint eateries and tiny souvenir shops. Living in a city filled with noisy streets and constant traffic snarls made me appreciate this walk down the quiet streets. That is, until I reached the beach! With its year-round perfect weather, Barcelona’s beaches are popular with sun-worshipers from around the world.  


     
I spent a lot of time exploring the older part of town. History seems to come to life here. The medieval buildings, some of which are bordered by the remains of Roman walls dating to the 4th century, really take you back. The best and most fun way to get around is to rent a bicycle or a little scooter. Don’t worry if you lose your way; wherever you end up will be intriguing. Barcelona is filled with plenty of treasures from the past.  

From Barcelona, I went on to visit their sworn rival - Madrid. The charm here is different, but it too boasts intense artistic and cultural activities, as well as a colourful and lively nightlife. There is so much to do here - theatre, opera, museums, art galleries and stunning gardens. It has its romantic and dramatic side, too. Home to flamenco, Madrid comes alive with its beautiful music and dance. Walk into one of the many quaint bars and enjoy a dinner of tapas accompanied by sangria, all while the Spanish guitar serenades you. Need I say more?
This is a controversial one, but I wanted to witness a bullfight, too. I timed myself just right as these are open only on weekends during the off-season. There were plenty of heart-in-the-mouth moments every time a bull charged the matador; but I found it quite thrilling. If you are not adventurous enough to explore the city on your own, a hop-on-hop-off bus is the best way to get around.
 
Ibiza was next on my list; I did save the best for last! Without a doubt, Ibiza is one of the most beautiful cities I have visited. It is not just the natural beauty which makes it so breathtaking; it’s also the warm and friendly people who go out of their way to make tourists feel at home. Ibiza makes the best place to relax on the white sands, take a dip in the sea or just sit by the water’s edge sipping on a cocktail. As the day comes to an end, wait till you see the spectacular sunset that announces the coming of the night. I managed to do it all!
It was soon time to head back. But since I came without my family this time, I have the perfect excuse to come back.  This was one of those trips that will definitely feature in my memoirs!     - Vikas