Ah Spain!

Be Well Be Happy

As I write my column this week, I am grateful for the moments I get to spend traveling. I have always been someone who yearns to see the world and how other cultures live. We are not that different but we seem to live much differently. For one thing, we are so fast-paced here in New York and other cultures seem to move much slower with dinner time starting at 9 p.m.! My favorite places to visit are places of worship. The churches in Europe are ancient and magnificent. Recently, we traveled to Spain, and the first church we wandered into was St. Francis de Sales! Nothing happens by accident. It was a perfect place to say a prayer and thank God for always leading us to safety. We arrived and it felt like home.

Barcelona, you are a city that never sleeps! Many Barcelonians are Catalonians. They want their independence from Spain and I must admit they are very different from the rest of the country. Their language dialect is a cross between Spanish, French and Italian. At first, I thought it was absurd that a city in Spain wants to separate from its country, but then I realized they are unique and want to be recognized as Catalonian. The Catalonians work very hard and know how to live well. Moreover, the Gaudi architecture alone is extraordinary. It felt as if I was walking through a fairytale land. But the life once lived centuries ago is beyond the imagination. We took a Gaudi bike tour around Barcelona (five hours) and it was so mind-blowing to see the intricate detail and design up close.

Our tour guide was a devout Catalonian, and at the end of the tour she stressed how important it is to travel. Traveling enables us to witness and respect all the unique cultures in the world. We all want peace on Earth and to be free. While traveling, it became clear that despite cultural differences, peace is still a common connection among people. “If we have no peace, it’s because we have forgotten that we belong to one another,” Mother Teresa said.

Towards the end of our trip we went south to hang out in Cadiz. It was so beautiful and unique. We were blessed to rent an AirBnb directly across from La Caleta Beach. So naturally we floundered in the water and rested on the incredible clean beach before we headed back to New York. They were selling shirts that read, “Be Yourself.”  Acceptance of all who entered the city and words of encouragement to be who you are! Great message to everyone, especially young children who are trying to find themselves.

If you have never been to Spain, I highly recommend a visit. The people are friendly, the food is delicious and the wine flows faster than water. There is a large older population who are always outside with one another socializing. They appear to be very happy and healthy. Most importantly, they have an active social life, stay close to their family, and are well cared for. The secret to a long life. Not to mention the olive oil, fish, tapas, and wine!

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