I think I’m still yet to feel the profound impact that Spain has had on my mind and heart, much like the past two years of travelling, because right now these memories and experiences exist on the edge of my consciousness in a dreamlike state.
The tangy scent of orange orchards basking in the golden sunrise lingers with the taste of warm coffee con leche, and the feeling of the crisp early morning breeze against my face during my cycles into town. I lived in the suburbs of Palma Del Rio, a town small enough to consider a suburb in its entirety, and my daily routine included a 30-minute long cycle into the downtown where all the cafes and shops were located.
On my first night in Spain, after the Parra’s picked me up from the airport, I remember crossing this particular bridge for the first time. The bridge is nothing special, but it lays about halfway between my Spanish casa and town, just overhead Palma’s Rio, meaning there wasn’t a day I didn’t spend a minute or two crossing it. During the very early mornings, practically at the crack of dawn (for the sake of burning off all those tostadas) Sam and I would run across and around the bridge. In all its simplicity it’s quite a sight to behold, and the golden hour sun casts a beautiful glow on the iron construction.
But during my first drive home, the darkness and unfamiliarity obscured everything, yet it wouldn’t be long until this bridge and town would seem not just familiar but normal. By the end of three months, I couldn’t believe that a life I had been completely immersed in and completely comfortable in would be coming to a close. I spent a lot of weeks craving the weekends, craving an escape from small-town life, but I also spent some of my best days and weekends in Palma. Coffee and laughs at Menta and Carmelo, where the camerros knew all the English girls’ names and orders by heart. Vasos (occasionally one too many) of Friday night vino tinto at Meri’s while joking with friends and flirting with locals. Dancing at Casino, where the previously head-pounding Reggaeton music became something I now listen to with fondness and a somewhat cringy, tipsy, nostalgic feeling. Sunday afternoons after all my friends and I had come back from our weekend trips (sometimes separate, sometimes together) we would spend the day relaxing in the sunshine with tapas, coffee, and tiramisu.
There are memories of nostalgic train rides through the countryside into the city, weekends spent wandering (sometimes solo, sometimes with new friends) down quaint streets which smelled distinctly of tostadas, sun, and fresh laundry.
I now have 1,000 and 1 inside jokes and an infinite tenderness for Palma Del Rio, which may be an odd little town, but is my odd little town. I would never have traded my 3 months in a city of 15,000 for three in Seville, Madrid, or even Barcelona.
Te quiero muchisimo.
Published July 5th, 2018 from Golden, Colorado, USA