or, may I move to Spain yet?
I find that most of my journeys I have a bit of a sense of trepidation and anticipation; most of the time this is due to arriving at a new place, unaware of what lies beyond the safety of the airport’s sliding glass doors. This trip however, my nerves were slightly on edge because I was about to meet my boyfriend’s parents for the first time. While I had been continually reassured that they would love me (by both boyfriend and my own mother), I was keen to make a good first impression – sadly, something I don’t think I accomplish on most first meetings. We landed in Madrid mid-day after a long flight and had several hours to wait until the arrival of the parents, so we checked into our hotel (it had a gym on the 50th floor with an amazing view, couldn’t have been more pleased) and relaxed until it came time to hop into a cab. Having chosen my best outfit for the occasion – my 4” nude stiletto heels and little black dress from Dublin – I managed to give myself a bit of confidence.
As it transpired, as one would have expected – being as Tommy is such a wonderful person – Mr. and Mrs. Corr were absolutely lovely people, extremely welcoming and with a good sense of humour. Mr. Corr seemed delighted that he had “finally met a Canadian with a sense of humour” and we had a very enjoyable five days with them. We had a wonderful find in the Mercado de San Miguel, or San Miguel Market, which was an indoors farmer’s market housing everything from fresh produce and groceries to perfectly sculpted desserts and mini sandwiches. Tommy and I were delighted in the 6 kinds of cheese and two glasses of wine for 10 euro deal, and I tasted the best cooked peppers and asparagus with sea salt and seasoning I’ve ever had. We browsed scarves and bags, sushi and fine baked goods, and made several return visits to the market in later days.
Madrid is a wonderful city. It’s the epitome of European culture and I fell in love with it very quickly, enjoying our long, exploratory walks and frequent stops for glasses of wine. The city is alive in a way that is both exciting and homey, and much more reasonably priced than I expected. On the day I opted to sit out of watching the bull fights (my moral compass was pointing towards a very decisive NO) the Corr family discovered a little café up the road from their hotel that offered cheap (honestly, 1 euro) and delicious sandwiches, ice creams, and most importantly, wine and beers. It was a great experience to sit and enjoy their company, hear stories of Tommy’s childhood and just learn more about the people who raised the man I had fallen so much in love with.
After Tommy’s parents left to continue on their European adventure, he and I ventured down to the south coast of Spain. Unfortunately, due to my motion sickness, I can’t say I enjoyed the scenery as much as I would have normally, but once we arrived in Marbella, we were greeted with beautiful sea views and a whole new kind of Spain I never would have expected. It was a more touristy area but so beautiful you could forgive it, and the weather blessed us with sunshine every day that we stayed on that gorgeous coast. The locals were incredibly friendly, the food excellent, and all too soon, it was time to board yet another plane, heading east to our friend’s wedding in Koh Tao, Thailand. My time in Spain had been filled with sunshine, love, and more wine and cheese than I thought possible, and I sincerely hoped I would find myself on it's sunny coast again soon.