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My own prompt: Last minute trip to Spain

What a pleasant surprise Madrid was! It is a beautiful city, so walkable, colorful, and full of pleasant parks and squares. Parts of it look like any other city, particularly the business district, though it retains its special character as soon as you veer off the main road into the side streets. Lots of churches, big and small, courtyards in front of buildings (didn’t see the backs), lots of trees, and colorful buildings. I enjoyed my numerous cups of coffees and light lunches in the many outdoor cafes and grand parks with beautiful fountains and the occasional statue.

The friendliness of the people was warming, too. They put up with my get-by Spanish, though. Even when their English was better than my Spanish, I asked them to speak to me in their language, so I could practice, and they obliged.

My husband was more skeptical about visiting a city where he didn’t know the language in a country he’d never been in before. But he was soon won over by the ambiance and friendliness. While the Spanish seem quite industrious, they seem a bit more laid back than their counterparts in the bigger US cities I’ve been in, even my own, Washington D.C., beautiful though it is.

I think out brief taste of the country only makes us want to go back; Spain is a big country with so many different landscapes and a long coastline. The wonderful and clean transportation systems should make traveling to different cities easy and pleasant, too.