I saw Madrid for the first time out of the window of the taxi. I saw small roads full of lights. The taxi driver recommended a bar. He drove fast around corners of the one way streets. Throughout my 3 days in Madrid my perception highlighted the difference to everything I had taken for granted.
I saw the south of Spain for the first time out of the window of the aeroplane. I saw hot, dry, desert country. I saw palm trees and light brown clay earth. I landed at Seville Airport. My broken Spanish mislead me to a small town outside of Seville called Carmona. I stayed in Carmona at a Guesthouse for two days. I saw the small town of Carmona. I saw its small plazas filled with old men having conversations. I saw a different Culture.
I began to live in Seville. For over two months I lived there. With daily classes my Spanish improved and I began to feel at home. I understood the streets and the culture. I saw Flamenco many nights in Seville, it's birthplace. I began to become more accepting of the widespread smoking, of the different and more rare usage of courtesy and of the closing of shops between 14:00 and 17:00 for lunch.
I passed through Cordoba and Granada, other southern towns. Each different. Each unique.
Barcelona was a city I could identify with, trapped between three languages (Catalan, Castilian, English), a city brought to modernity by the futuristic architecture of Gaudi, and the large, straight boulevards between city blocks, a welcome change after the claustrophobic small winding streets of Seville.
I wrote this while still in spain, nearly 3 years ago