It was a heavenly time of life
When first I went to Spain,
The lovely land of silver mists,
The land of golden grain..
― Ellen Mackay Hutchinson Cortissoz

The view from Gibralfaro Castle down into the town of Málaga, with seasonal clouds.

¡Viva Valencia!

In mid-December we flew from Dammam to Valencia, via Frankfurt. We chose Spain for Adrian’s winter break for a few factors: it has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, we each speak a little Spanish, and we would have decent temperatures in which to look at beautiful sights.

Sipping sangria in the sun with a sublime regional salad, surrounded by chatting Spaniards, was a perfect alliterative start to our holiday.

Valencia’s architecture is a wonderful mix of beautiful classic and daring new:

Top: One of many fountains in many squares. Middle: Science Center. Bottom: Opera House.

We visited museums filled with inspirational art and crafts from across the centuries:

Even the food market was artistic!

And of course, Valencian orange trees around every corner!

The Colorful Coast

We rented a car just so we could go see scenes like these as we made our way south down the coast:

Definitely gained an understanding of why people retire to the Spanish coast!

Cartagena: History Preserved

The port city of Cartagena was named “new Carthage” when Hannibal’s navy arrived. As in Italy, throughout many West coast Spanish cities you can find remnants of the Roman Empire mingling with modern buildings.

A faithful re-enactment of Roman and Moorish times in the port town of Cartagena!

The view from our hotel balcony was glorious:

City Hall, lit up for the holidays, was next door to our hotel. Here you can see families lining up on Christmas Eve Eve, not to see Santa but to thoughtfully get their free Covid test before traveling:

Merry Málaga

We chose to spend Christmas in Málaga, as we were promised pretty lights downtown. And lights and a full light show with music was what we got!

We climbed up to a 14th century castle, build on the remains of a Moorish castle, and looked out at the city. I would like to return to Málaga at some point as we were unable to get to the Picasso and other art musuems.

Behind me, another Moorish castle, Alcazar, called a “mini-Alhambra” in one guide book.

Next stop: Madrid

We spent our last few days together in Madrid, before Adrian had to fly back to work in Dammam. I stayed another week in Madrid, and then travelled on to Bilbao, from where I am sending this. So my next edition will feature those two cities. Until then, please take very good care of yourself! Con amor d’España –