RCPTA visit to Espana – The Kingdom of Spain

Some members, their families and friends of the Royal College Past Teachers’ Association totaling 23 visited the beautiful Kingdom of Spain from the 24th April to 2nd May 2016.

Spain is located at the Iberian Peninsula, of which it occupies approximately 80% (the remaining 20% occupied by Portugal), in the southwest of Europe. In the north Spain borders on France and Andorra, with the Pyrenees as a natural frontier. Spain is the 3rd country of Europe in extent and the 5th in population Widely known for Flamenco music and dance, bull-fights which none of us wanted to see , fantastic beaches and lots of sunshine, Spain we found has much more to offer than that.

We experienced a climate mostly like Nuwara Eliya with temperatures ranging from 15 to 24oC during daytime but getting much cooler in the night.

Our itinerary included visits to cities starting from Barcelona, then to Valencia, Granada, Seville, Cordoba and Madrid. We traversed most of the important cities and it was a journey to remember.

Spain has an extremely varied landscape, some almost desert-like, others green and fertile, and of course from Barcelona to Valencia the long coast in the east along Mediterranean Sea. On the second day, early morning some of us went for a walk along the beach of the Mediterranean Sea. There were fields and fields of Olives on the way and also saw vast areas of turbines with massive wind propellers used for generating electricity and also vide open areas with solar panels. The snowcapped mountains in the background still lingers in our memory. The trees with sour oranges used for making Marmalade lined many streets and in some historical places. All the cities we visited were well planned lined with Maple trees which gave ample shade to the passerby. Beautiful flower beds of roses, geraniums and the well pruned bottle brush trees which were full of red flowers was a treat to the eye. Our memories went back to the old Ceylon when we saw the Tramcars on most of the streets as a mode of transport. A sight that caught the interest of most of us was the “Hen Party” where a group of young girls with a bride to-be, all on board an open carriage-like vehicle peddling away along the street, laughing and singing and also drinking beer. Hope this will not catch up in Sri Lanka.

Spain’s most famous street La Rambla is a broad, tree lined Pedestrian Boulevard crowded every day until the wee hours. The soaring spires of the Sagrada Famllia decorated with messages for the angles is the next most visited place in Barcelona.

Granada nestles in the foothills of snowy Sierra Nevada mountain range where we saw the most outstanding Arabian palace Alhambra.

The largest aquarium in Europe with over 500 marine species like dolphins, belugas, walruses, sea lions sharks jellyfish etc., a dolphin show, the Olympic Village for the 1992 Olympics in Mount Montjuic, Madrid with its elegant squares, restaurants and art museums are some of the other places we were fortunate to visit.

The unforgettable “Incoming Bull” our comfortable coach and the energetic Spanish driver saw to it that we had an enjoyable journey from Barcelona to Madrid. The Spanish guides did their best to explain about the various sites in English but with a strong Spanish accent. Paella a different kind of rice dish was served in several restaurants which was somewhat sticky, and pizzas along with Indian food in other restaurants helped to satisfy us during mealtimes. The invigorating aroma of coffee with or without lathe (milk) is heavenly and it was very refreshing after a very hard day of sightseeing.