Welcome to Valladolid, Spain

Spain is a very interesting, diverse, and a very cultural country. It is believed that the origin of the Spanish language originated in the region of Castillo Y Leon and therefore Spanish is referred to Castillian or Castellano in Spanish to track its linguistic roots. I visited Spain while in Study Abroad and it was amazing. I attended the Universitas Castellae located in the small city of Valladolid. Here I studied Spanish Culture, Spanish literature, and Latin.

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School of Universitas Castellae in Valldolid; Spain, Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

Everyday I would visit the center of the city known as Plaza Mayor. It is here that Christopher Columbus was buried on May 20, 1506. There is a statue in the middle of the Plaza Mayor commemorating Christopher Columbus.

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Statue of Christopher Columbus in Plaza Mayor; Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

This is also the center of the nightlife in Valladolid. It was very safe and the Plaza Mayor area has restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges, and many hang out spots.

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Plaza Mayor at night time in Valladolid, Spain; photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

Valladolid is  a hidden gem. The city still practices “siestas” in which businesses, schools, and the entire city closes down for people to get rest. This seemed ridiculous at first until Thursday and Friday comes around. After taking siestas, I felt so energized especially on Fridays (Party time!). After taking my first siesta on a Friday, I went to a club and it was amazing. I made a few recommendations I was allowed to DJ. I had everyone dancing to everything from Bachata to Hip hop music.

I definitely recommend visiting Valladolid as it not mention often in Spanish travel guides.

In the Catalonia Region of Spain: Barcelona, Part 1

After spending a few days in Madrid, I headed to Northern Spain. North Eastern Spain is very interesting. It contains its own autonomous community known as the Catalonia Region. The Catalonia Region consists of fours provinces including Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, and Barcelona. Barcelona is the largest of all the provinces and is also the second largest populated municipality in Spain after Madrid.

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Catalonian Flag; Courtesy of Google. 

As soon as I arrived, I noticed the diversity of this city. The official language is Catalan but people speak other languages including Spanish, Aranese, French, and English. Catalan is so interesting because it is a mix of French and Spanish. That makes so much sense because Barcelona borders France! I met a Cuban immigrant whom showed me around several places in Barcelona. There were so many beautiful beaches. I felt like I was in the California of Spain. All beach lovers should visit Barcelona!

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Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona; Photo Courtesy of www.renfe-sncf.com

One of the main highlights of Barcelona is the Basilica Temple of  Sagrada Familia. This is a Roman Catholic church that started to be built in March 19, 1882. It still remains incomplete. It is also worth mentioning that because of its Basilica status, the temple receives certain privileges from the Pope. It a wonderful marvel and when I was there I noticed that they were adding modern figures to the building. I spotted an astronaut figure sculptured into the main entrance. It is expected to have 18 towers once completed. These towers are to represent the apostles, the evangelists, Virgin Mary and even, Jesus Christ. It one of the world’s most famous temples and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was mainly designed by a Catalan architect named Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí specialized in Catalan Modernism and used his own highly-unique architectural designs. Therefore, the Basilica Temple of  Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s most visited tourist attraction with over 3,000,000 visitors each year.

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The Basilica Temple of Sagrada Familia; Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco. 

 

Exploring Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain is one of the largest populated cities in Spain with many immigrants, tourists, and Spaniards flocking towards this metropolitan area. One of the first things that I noticed about Madrid is its efficient subway, variety of museums, and entertainment all packed into this urban-city. I felt like I was in New York City in Europe. Even the subways were advanced and allowed me to explore the entire city without a car. The subway was even called Metro following the likes of cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Panama City, and Miami.

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Photo Courtesy of Madrid Metro.

It was crazy how modern this city is compared to other cities in Spain. It is definitely an international hub as people from all over the world reside here. I found myself on the main street, Gran Via. Also known as Spanish Broadway, this street is one of the most popular streets with nightlife in all of Europe (this street is a big deal!). Gran via has museums, shopping centers, art murals, and beautiful architect. I found my way to the Prado National Museum. There was so many beautiful paintings from artists from all over the world. My favorite paintings were those of Pablo Picasso as the museum has one of the largest Picasso collections.

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An evening on Gran Via in Madrid; photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

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Entrance to the Prado national Museum; Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

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A Mural on Gran Via; Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

While in Madrid, I made it my priority to see a bull fight. It was so entertaining and people celebrated like it was a Real Madrid football match (sorry FC Barcelona Football fans). I ordered a beer and found myself participating in the wave and signing Spanish chants. This was not your typical bull fight but an acrobatic bull fight. By the end of the match, the bull was not harmed at all. I highly recommend going to see a bull fight in Madrid to experience true Spanish culture among the locals.

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Bull Fighting Stadium in Madrid; Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

The architect in Madrid is astonishing. Almost every other building in Madrid has beautiful architect. One of the most beautiful building in Madrid is the Royal Palace of Madrid. The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family that is used only for ceremonies. This palace was so big that it takes up several blocks. I felt so special just being there.

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The Fountain of Cibeles at the Royal Palace of Madrid.

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Congress of Deputies in Madrid; Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

Take a trip to the marvelous city of Madrid today!

 

Let’s Travel to Spain!

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The Spanish National Flag and its Naval Jack flag; Photo by Tony Polanco

Spain is a European country with rich culture, profound history, and many sites to see. It is also a backpacker’s fantasy with cities such as Madrid and Barcelona on everyones’ travel bucket list (If it’s not on your list, it should be.) Spain’s official language is Spanish but Spaniards are taught the languages of Basque, Galician, Catlan, and Aranese. The history behind these languages are very interesting, For example, Catalan is a mixture of French and Spanish as it is commonly spoken in Barcelona. Barcelona’s is located not too far from the French Border.

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Photo of Hills in Barcelona; Photo by Tony Polanco

Other interesting cities include Valladolid, Segovia, and Salamanca. Spain’s architecture is beyond amazing with examples shown in museums, cathedrals, aqueducts, and monuments.

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The entrance of the National Museum of Prado in Madrid

It is believed that the origin of the Spanish language originated in the region of Castillo Y Leon and therefore Spanish is referred to Castillian or Castellano in Spanish to track its linguistic roots. I visited Spain while in Study Abroad and it was amazing. I attended the Universitas Castellae located in Valladolid. Everyday I would visit the center of the city known as Plaza Mayor. It is here that Christopher Columbus was buried on May 20, 1506.

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The Statue of Christopher Columbus located in the Plaza Mayor of Valladolid.

It was very easy getting around Spain as they have access to buses, trains, and subways. The subway system in both Barcelona and Madrid were modern and competes with that of New York City. I must admit, I did get lost a few times but it was worth the adventure! So what’s stopping you from taking that trip to Spain?! You won’t regret it!

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An underground subway in Barcelona; Photo by Tony Polanco

Check out my travel video to see Spain’s beauty in all its glory. So what’s stopping you from taking that trip to Spain?! You won’t regret it!