A friend of mine coined the phrase “You’ve been Spain’d” to refer to poor service here in Spain.  This country, like Portugal, has come a long way in customer service since the ease of travel brought the flood of tourists… but every once in a while, you still might ‘get Spain’d’.  Spend an hour going the wrong way with directions from a local?  Wait an extra 20 minutes for the check?  Train cancelled with no replacement?  Yup, sounds like you’ve been Spain’d.

But now that I’m leaving this beautiful country and its intense sunshine day after day, the required 3-hour afternoon lunch/nap combo and endless historical surprises around every corner, ‘I’ve been Spain’d’ is starting to take on a new meaning.  The country with its own rules has captured my heart, and my leaving feels like a bad breakup.  So here goes… my goodbye letter and photo tribute to you, Spain.

Valencia, because you were my home: I loved your narrow, crooked streets, brightly colored Street Art, Art Deco Market, Santiago’s Sci-Fi Arts and Sciences Buildings, the river bed of Turia Park (where I spent every morning running), all of your (inedible, but showy) orange trees, your endless beautiful buildings filled with history, and your welcoming people… just know, I’ll come back:  

Barcelona, you and your Gaudi architecture, your perfect slope down to the ocean, your own style and independent attitude- you already know I’ll be back again:  

Madrid, you’ll always be special because I got to know you with my family in tow: your stunning layout, old but new-looking architecture, your green parks and grand museums… we’ll always have Madrid:  

Seville, with your flamenco dancing, Catholic history, Palm Trees and squares… you were the Spain I read about when I was younger:  

Granada, you and your world-famous Alhambra high up in the rolling hills… your intense Moorish influence brought me back to Morocco, and your backdrop of snowcapped peaks brought me back to Colorado.  I spent my time with you alone, and though I’m sure you were real, you will always be a fairytale city to me:  

Yup, I’ve been Spain’d.