Thursday, 18 April, 2024

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.

our podcast

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, including a food-centric travelogue, a modern classic set in Gothic Barcelona, a sexy literary thriller, a family story with unusual narrators, and a graphic novel that reminds us why ‘The-Ladies-in-Waiting’ might be the world’s greatest painting. (show notes / transcript)

recommended books

When I Sing, Mountains Dance

buy | read review

Grape, Olive, Pig

buy | read review

The Seville Communion

buy | read review

The Ladies-in-Waiting

buy | read review

The Shadow of the Wind

buy | read review

The Angel's Game

buy | read review

The Prisoner of Heaven

buy | read review

The Labyrinth of the Spirits

buy | read review

Top image courtesy of Semisatch/Shutterstock.

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