You’ll want to visit the places you’ll be reading about in Spain Destinations. They’re every bit as charming and irresistible as the writers say! Besides, you won’t have any problems getting there; they’ll tell you how.
The rowdy crowd has gone home, you don't have to jostle and jockey for the precious spots on the beaches, the weather is pleasantly warm and bright, there are still fiestas to go to, and don't forget the discounts and great package deals.
The EHIC, available free of charge, confirms that a person is entitled to receive medical treatment that becomes necessary on a temporary stay abroad from the host country's public healthcare system on the same terms and at the same cost as nationals of that country. The card is issued for free by their national health insurance provider in the home country.
“'The Madrid of the Future'” is a subject which I prefer not to contemplate until I have lowered several stiff slugs of coñac. As the oldest surviving foreign resident in the Spanish capital, I´ve seen some horrific changes here, man, boy and fossil. When I first arrived, the wheel hasn't been invented yet but come 2001 and the whole peninsula will be undermined by 100 layers of underground car parks. The Moorish tourists demanded hot and cold running fountains, and the good old Las Ventas Plaza de Toros is slated to become the Monumental Platillo Volante de Toros. . . "
If you are not careful, you’ll miss spring in Spain altogether and spend most of your life wondering how you did it. It’s not hard, because the meteorological border is pretty indefinite; one day it is a dull, cold, rainy winter day and POW… suddenly it’s summer. There are ways to catch it though, and it all depends on how much attention you pay and where you are in the very changeable land of Spain.
During my thirty years as a TWA flight attendant, I spent many a layover at the Hotel Plaza. Whether coming off a new Boeing 707 in the sixties, the whale-sized 747 in the eighties or a sleek 767 in the nineties, the Plaza was my home away from home. The hotel was nestled inside the Edificio España, wrapped in a cozy cocoon of cafeterias, bars, restaurants and watering holes that catered to all tastes. There always seemed to be fruit floating in the water of the pool in the top floor from someone's sangria. And once in a while, a naked Maja was seen running across the balcony chased by a Don Juan Tenorio.
Although some passages in his book are dated, they make us realize what hardships The Original Tourist endured in roughing it on horseback across torrid plains and hostile mountains. Much has changed since Ford's day, but among the trifles of which he wrote so well remains unaltered today. "Gatherings from Spain" is more than an extraordinary eye-witness report on Spain in the early 19th century; it is more than a travelogue teeming with adventure and erudition; it is an honest record of a remarkable Englishman's reactions to a country he described as "the most romantic, racy, and peculiar of Europe, which hovers between Europe and Africa, between civilization and barbarity".
Rich with racy flavour, "Gatherings from Spain" is the earliest comprehensive account of Spanish travels that exists in English, written by Richard Ford, the master of vivid description of the country, Spain, that he loves so deeply, and the singular people who are "scarcely European living on a neutral ground between the hat and the turban". With characteristic zestful perspicacity, Ford would underscore above others the "Orientalness" of the Spaniards.
George Borrow: "How the rage for scribbling tempts people to write about lands and nations of which they know nothing! Vaya! It is not from having seen a bullfight at Seville or Madrid, or having spent a handful of ounces at a posada that you are competent to write about such a people as the Spaniards, and to tell the world how they think, how they speak, and how they act." But there was one, an erudite traveler, Englishman Richard Ford, who did justice to the endeavor. Living in southern Spain for three years and traveling across the peninsula on horseback, he wrote "Handbook on Spain" in 1845 and the even more riveting and timeless "Gatherings from Spain" published the following year and proved immensely popular.