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.