Spain is a loving assault on all your senses. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s colorful. And yet — it’s also intimately beautiful and ripe for quiet, perfect moments.
Snuggled onto the Iberian Peninsula with Portugal, Spain is not just one thing. It’s the imposing Pyrenees in the north and the sunny, lazy beaches of the coasts. It’s the spiky Gothic architecture of Barcelona and the intricate design of a Moorish cathedral in Córdoba. The classics hung on the walls of the Prado in Madrid and the playfulness of Dalí’s home in sun-dappled Cadaqués. You can marvel at Gaudi’s nature-inspired architecture in La Sagrada Familia or sit peacefully in a sun-dappled square in Seville. A little exploration yields big surprises and rewards.
But wherever you go, there are a few things on which you can rely: an enthusiasm for the good life, friendly people, and ridiculously delicious things to eat and drink. There’s seafood fresh from the coastal waters and patatas bravas, crisp and hot from the fryer. Perhaps you’ll start your day with a rich cup of hot chocolate (hello, churros!) or dig into a potato-and-egg tortilla any time. You can sip spicy-sweet vermouth in a bar with friends and get romantic over a smooth glass of Andalusian wine. Or raise of glass of cava — and stamp your feet with flamenco rhythms — in celebration of simply being alive.
In this episode, we get all dreamy-eyed about everything that makes Spain a fantastic place to visit. We get curious about a unique but frequently overlooked statue on the streets of Madrid and nerd out on Spain’s distinctive languages (and cuisine and art). Then we recommend great books that took us there on the page.
Here are the five books about Spain we recommend on the show:
When I Sing, Mountains Dance by Irene Solà
Grape, Olive, Pig: Deep Travels Through Spain’s Food Culture by Matt Goulding
The Seville Communion by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
The Ladies-in-Waiting by Santiago Garcia & Javier Olivares
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
For a complete roundup of all the books we recommend, plus a full transcript and the other cool stuff we talked about, visit the Episode 45 show notes.
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