Split, the second largest city on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, is our point of departure by ferry to Italy later this week. In English ‘split’ means to leave. Although we are less than eager to leave Croatia because of the bonds of friendship we have forged here, as The 6 Monthers we must answer the call to make another country our home for the next six months. The excitement of moving someplace new is building within us as we complete our second year of living in a new country every six months.*
We have twenty days between our departure from Croatia and our scheduled arrival in Alicante, Spain. Thus, we will use surface transportation to travel first to Italy. I have seen Naples, Florence, Pisa, and Sicily, but I have not yet visited Rome. Florence informs me one needs at least a week to see and appreciate Rome. So we will do just that. We will then take another ferry, which is more of a cruise ship, to Barcelona and divide our remaining time between Barcelona and Madrid. In each city we plan to reunite with Spanish friends we have made during our travels. How great is that, to have locals help us discover the wonders of their home country!
Why Spain? One reason is that Spanish is my only other language. In fact, after living in Latin America for over a year I developed this habit. Whenever someone speaks to me in a foreign language, I automatically answer in Spanish. It seems I now have the ability to confuse others in two languages. At least I understand the language of laughter. Since I have learned a few words in Croatian, my pronunciation has also elicited some laughs and smiles. Fortunately, most Croatians speak English, and many quite fluently.
If I were to attend school in Spain, my Spanish might be good enough to get me into the third grade, which is to say I have plenty of room for improvement, and I look forward to that. The history of Spain also intrigues me. The Iberian Peninsula played a strategic role in the expansion and development of modern civilization, and Spain ultimately served as the base of one of history’s most dominant and influential empires.
Now we get to learn about this beautiful land and culture firsthand. So many names of Spanish cities evoke thoughts of something exotic and unique – Cordoba, Seville, Granada, Valencia (the only Spanish city I have visited). I want to visit them all and more: Basque Country, El Camino de Santiago, and of course, the Spanish Riviera which we plan to call home for the next six months. I expect to have many stories to share from Spain.
If you have traveled to Spain, what was your finest memory? If you have not visited Spain, what would you most want to see? I would love for you to share your thoughts.
I loved ‘our’ visit to Croatia! And I am looking forward to Italy and Spain. As a child, my family spent about a week in Lake Garda, Italy. And several days in Barcelona, Spain. We camped around Europe for a month. It was awesome. I was only 11 or 12 yrs. old but I still remember it like it was yesterday nearly 50 years later. OMG. Some day I hope to make it to Rome. I know a young man in seminary there.
I picked up a stone from every country we visited and I still have them today….somewhere. I’m ignoring the possibility that they might not have been stones indigenous to the area!
It is great that you are familiar with some of the places we are going and have already visited. We are heading more or less back onto ‘The Beaten Path’, areas that are much more touristy than some of our previous stops. I hope we don’t bore people with our ‘discoveries’. 🙂 – Mike
I am so thrilled that you are off to Italy soon! I think that I will thoroughly enjoy all your special ‘finds’ and historical facts that you share. Your posts from foreign countries make me feel so full of knowledge, afterwards!
I enjoyed Mallorca, Valencia and Barcelona. I enjoyed seeing all the “real” art of Pablo Picasso. He started as a very fine artist, one who was well trained, his ‘gift’ of cubism and his modernistic trends never struck me, in the same way after I saw “where he had started.” It opened my eyes to appreciate it so much more! We went through the Salvador Dali museum, also. I may have shared this silly high schooler (our Bay High Spanish Club joined my Mom’s Westlake H.S. Spanish Club) did not take more than five pictures! My Mom, having taken photos long ago, from other Club trips, already had a slide show. I always thought we could count on those to trigger memories…
We thought the National Museums in Madrid were awesome, too!
Also, seeing the countryside was so beautiful. We did go to a bull fight, too. I guess we all being young and in high school Spanish, tried to choose some ‘exciting’ things, too.
In every city, the churches and cathedrals are so amazingly gorgeous. (You have shown this in other countries, too.) We enjoyed a meal in a grotto where there was music, also the catecombs under a church, too. This is saying I spelled that word incorrectly, sorry!
I will pray for you both to have a safe journey from Croatia, through Italy and onward to Spain!
[…] a lost weekend even– let’s brainstorm. This past year, I had the honor of meeting Mike at Applecore, when he was in my area, and we hung out for a couple of hours. Read about it here. Mike’s […]
Mike and Florence,
I’m so glad that you’ve had such a great living experience in Croatia. And we’ve all been the lucky recipients of the tales of your exploits. And now you’re off to Western Europe. We enjoyed our time in Rome, but I must admit that the highlight was our jaunt out to Ostia Antica – Rome’s ancient seaport. What a cool place (that most people miss)! Here’s a link to our post: http://gallivance.net/2011/11/23/ostia-antica-ancient-but-oh-so-cool/
And then living in Spain – one of our favorite countries. You are going to have such a blast! We can’t tell you how much we’ve enjoyed getting to know you this year and following your journey. Wishing you a very Happy New Year. Can’t wait for your next adventure! 🙂 ~Terri & James
What wonderful comments coming from you two. I have always thought of you as the folks I most want to be like when I grow up. Maybe that is just blog envy? Seriously, I am equally pleased to have come to know you via the blogosphere, and I feel fortunate that in some ways you have been trailblazers for us, you having already come to know places we have yet to discover for ourselves.
I know Florence is eager to show me around Vatican City, a must stop on the ABC Tour! However, neither of us had prior knowledge of Ostia Antica, so we will have to check that out. I appreciate the link. Thank you for sharing your comments and your insights this past year. Happy New Year to you both from both of us! – Mike and Florence
Hey Mike. Re: Rome. I have another suggestion for Rome. It’s a cathedral (but not in the ABC category). It’s a bit off the beaten path but worth it. It’s the Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Popolo. It has lots of wonderful Renaissance art but I liked it for another reason. So much so, that I did a post on it. Check it out: http://gallivance.net/2011/11/20/skeletons-in-church-high-art-or-ghoulish-reminder/
Also, confirm opening hours before you go. ~James
Nope, never been to Spain. I’m gonna have to experience it through your words and photos. Celeste 🙂
I hope Spain lives up to both your expectations and ours! It should be unforgettable. – Mike