Spain. I will remember my time here forever. I will remember how people eat churros, gazpacho, potato tortillas, mussels, paella, and rich meat. I will always recognize Spanish pastries, bunuelos, fartones, churros, and other yummy treats. Street performers and dancers decorate the street, showing off their Flamenco dancing or musical talent. People even build huge sand sculptures by the beach and lay out a blanket for coins from passerby.

The feeling of Spain is just so unique. But when I think of the word Spain, I think of landscapes full of olive trees, performers dancing Flamenco and Bullfighting, and people eating at loud restaurants just talking about whatever pleases them. Two years ago none of that ever popped into my mind when I thought of the word Spain.

I don’t know what it is, but I have a whole new perspective of Spain after being here for a little less than 2 whole months. I have a new appreciation for the whole country, and I know a lot more about the way things work, while I also know my neighborhood here in Fuengirola well.

There are only a couple cities that will stick with me and that I will remember my time there in a special way. First, Ronda. Ronda for me was probably the most amazing of them all. The Puente Nuevo and the 2 other bridges spanning the Ronda gorge, and the huge cliffs of Ronda. We walked all over Ronda, and that is why I will remember it. We visited gardens and touched the cliffs. We walked across the Puente Uuevo, and had the best Airbnb. Ronda is a treasured memory.

(I took this picture from google earth)

Second, Fuengirola. Fuengirola is where we spent most of our time here in Spain, over a month, and I have gotten used to the beaches and the way of life here in this beautiful coastal town. I got to enjoy a fair and a horse festival, climb on castle walls, and some days just flop. We went to a waterpark, Aquamijas. We have Pilar and Maruja here with us, and we are right in the middle of Cordoba, Ronda, Nerja, Marbella, and Granada, all less than a 2 1/2 hour drive away. We can visit many cities in the very southern part of Spain from right where we are. I will definitely miss living on the coast of Andalucia (southern region in Spain).

Third, Mijas. The small mountain village with white houses and red roofs, where we took our hikes and had a whole bunch of fun. The small streets with markets and stores feel like fantasy. People have plants hanging out of their windows. Donkeys and horses trot around the streets. We ate ice cream and made memories up there. I will always remember our time in Mijas.

Finally, Granda. The Pomegrante city. The Alhambra. Eating crackers in my first hostel. Granada was the city with the worst traffic in the streets, and narrow alleys off to the side that had delicious restaurants in them. Granada had a unique feel that I loved. The Alhambra was probably my favorite monument in all of Spain so far. I loved sitting down and watching the sun set on the Alhambra. Granada is beautiful.

After my visit to Spain, it makes me think about the future. I’m sure I want to come back. I want to share this experience again with my family and remember some old things we saw and how they have changed. Our family’s name Alviar comes from the northern part of Spain, from provinces La Rioja and Burgos. My family’s line on Alex’s side comes from that area. We think that the families Saenz de Tejada and Alvear (not Alviar yet, which is our name), both come from that area. Saenz de Tejada most likely stayed in Spain, while Alvear split. The Alvear that stayed in Spain most likely formed the Alvear winery (see Kieran’s post, Alvear winery), and the other Alvear most likely traveled to Latin America when the Spanish Empire rose to power. When the name Alvear traveled to Latin America, then the name might have been altered to Alviar, which is our name. Then, in Modern times, Hector from Colombia (Alviar), and Pilar (Saenz de Tejada), brought the 2 lines together again. I want to visit the place where My Spanish family originated.

We will leave Spain tomorrow. I want to stay. But at least there are other exciting places ahead.

Below: Burgos and La Rioja