I have been living in Spain for just over a month now and this week my family came from England to visit me. Whilst one month, for me, is not a particularly long time to be away from home, it was absolutely lovely to see them all!
They were here from Monday to Friday and so I wanted to make sure they had a fun-filled five-day break! Luckily, my dad hired a car so it was easy to get around the area (even if roundabouts were a little scary at times as he is used to driving on the other side of the road and going round roundabouts the opposite way!!). So, we visited Zaragoza for the day, went to see beautiful vineyards and wine factories and my family even came to the school I work at for the day to meet my fellow teachers and to see where I work.
We had such a lovely time together (as they say, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’) and I was so happy to share my new life with them. Yet whilst the guide-book recommended day trips to new cities were a lot of fun, it was my sister who actually put into words why the trip had been so special, ‘Tasha, I have loved staying here because the people who you know and the people who we have met have all been so welcoming and lovely – it’s them who have made it so special.’
She was absolutely right of course! One of my best memories from that week is taking my family to visit my ‘Spanish family’ in their village (I worked as an au pair there last summer). Whilst my family speaks zero Spanish and my host family speaks zero English, somehow (with me acting as translator) everyone seemed to get along really well... They even managed to start making fun of me despite the language barrier!
Another example of the people here making the trip so special was when we visited the vineyards in a tiny village and one of my colleagues told me her parents would meet us there to open the Church for us to see. Despite the language barrier this was a fantastic experience we would not have been able to have had if the people here weren’t so welcoming and friendly.
On future trips to new places, I will always try to ask the locals for their help and guidance because they know exactly what makes a place special!
Is there anywhere in your hometown that you would recommend to tourists which might not appear in a typical guidebook?