I am in Spain now. To be more specific, Madrid. I had been to Spain so many times but only stayed in Madrid for a day or overnight. I decided to stay in the city longer and know it this time. Coming from the Philippines, Spain has a unique role in our history and culture, so it is worth exploring.
To prepare, I augmented my knowledge of Spanish (24 units in university) by learning the language online to get by when I got here quickly. This learning turned out to be very useful.
I can say that my experience of traveling to Spain during a pandemic was not stressful at all. I filled out the Health Visa form online, which was all I needed when I got to the airport. All the information they needed was there, and after submitting the form online, they sent you a QR code which you print and bring with you.
I traveled a few days before the Omicron variant surfaced. At that time, Canadians who were doubly vaccinated need not have a test to enter Spain. I did take the test just in case the airline or any other authority asked for the negative test result at transit.
I lost a piece of luggage. Losing a piece of luggage was not the first time for me, so I immediately went to the Lost Luggage counter to fill up the form. The next day, the airline delivered my luggage.
Now, I am in my new neighborhood of Santa Engracia. Ponzano Street, where people eat in its array of restaurants, is very close, an effortless walk to my delight. So, my first afternoon, a friend joined me in a cheese and wine in one of the restaurants.
This morning, I walked around the neighborhood to familiarize myself with the area. I had discovered the closest grocery store, and it has everything.
I ventured out to look for anything to make my place comfortable and relaxing, and I found a flower shop where I saw some orchids. It says it's open, but the door was closed. Seeing my hesitation, a lady came to open the door and pointed to me the door chime that I did not see.
I went in and saw there were several orchids. With my limited Spanish, I arrived at my choice and even a vase to hold it. The lady prepared it and called me where she was working. We introduced ourselves, and before I knew it, she offered me a bunch of lavender and a few flowers, which she said I could put in my bathroom. I was surprised to get all these freebies.
I went home satisfied with my purchase. Watch out for more of my adventure here in sunny Spain.