It’s days like today that I miss the Barcelona heat. Although we’ve had an unseasonably warm winter this season in NYC, the cold days still leave me missing my beloved Barcelona. Last summer, I finally got the trip to Barcelona I’d won in a family bet from the 2010 World Cup. I’d cheered for Spain faithfully while everyone else in my family cheered for Brazil, then Germany, then the Netherlands. On the day of the World Cup Final I prepared empanadas for breakfast, and paella, tapas, and a big batch of sangria for game time. If there was a God Spain was going to win and so they did.
A year later, I toured around Barcelona, from the suburbs into the city and back for a week. I paraded down Las Ramblas, ate tapas and paella (bottom left) with the obligatory sangria at restaurants I stumbled upon in cobblestone lined alleys, and took a few dips in the gold-fleck-laden waters of the Mediterranean Sea at Icaria Beach.
In addition to the touristy stuff – I spent my days taking trains all over the city and walking (and walking). Every morning my mother, sister, and I hiked one and a half miles to the train station in a suburb called Bellaterra, and every day we passed my little door that we affectionately dubbed – mi pequeña puerta (bottom right). I skipped through and around the Barcelona Arc de Triomf (top left) and posed with my sister perched on mermaid sculptures in Barceloneta (top right). I hiked up to Parc Güell, and then hiked further to the top of the expansive and stunning park that overlooks the breathtaking city and the landmark Sagrada Familia church (middle left). Although my mother was insistent that we find a flamenco dancing show to watch, I left unsure of what it really represents to the Catalan or Spanish culture. It was one of those moments that felt too contrived, if only for tourist amusement, and I’m not sure that I’d do it again.
Nevertheless, I left Barcelona with an amazing appreciation for the city’s culture, it’s undeniable that from the food to the art – there’s nothing quite like the spirit of that city. My next visit will be spent touring the Balearic Islands and perhaps I’ll catch a glimpse of my favorite tennis player – Rafael Nadal.
While I’m coveting that vacation in the Canary Islands of Spain, I’m contemplating a detour to Majorca to visit the Spanish king of tennis. Rafael Nadal’s one of those guys with the humility of a saint, the body of a god, and the professional game of a man with a serious guardian angel. He’s a walking talking store of sheer power that blows onto the court, hitting shot after shot with an artistry and ferocity that gives me chills. Rafa appeals to me like no other men’s tennis player in the game, he’s got the kind of genuine soul that’s apparent even through a TV screen or a camera lense, making his Popeye muscles, tanned taught skin, and furrowed brow even more hypnotic than it would be on a man with an enormous ego (enter Roger Federer). His recent appointment to the face of Emporio Armani serves as a delicious piece of eye candy, but I can’t wait to see this man put it down on the court. We all have our celebrity crushes and Rafael Nadal just happens to be a big one of mine.
This winter weather and those pictures of Rafael Nadal for Emporio Armani has me aching for a trip to Spain that have almost been satisfied by the photos of the landscape of the Gran Melia Palacio de Isora in Spain’s Canary Islands. I’m fantasizing about eating tapas and drinking wine and sangria from night until sunrise on this beautiful landscape. And while the Caribbean has its merits the Canary Islands possess a certain kind of grandeur that’s the kind of thing dreams are made of.
The resort boasts a staff of personal butlers, five restaurants, and private gardens, and for utter relaxation, the property offers seductive tango lessons and the tranquility and services of their YHI Spa facilities. The seascape is a hypnotic true blue and the poolside canopy beds speak to true luxury. And while Luxury Link is hosting this divine destination on auction for a minimum of what is a steal of half price at $347.00, my dreams seem more in reach than ever before.
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