|     |  

Kingdom of the Sun that Never Sets

杨雅茹Lann Yang 2019-01-22 16:12

Last August I packed and flew to Spain, where I’ve been to several times in recent years, yet always marvelling at its wonder and amazing charm. This time, I am as excited as before. As we all know, Spain is located on the Iberian Peninsula in Europe. With its unique natural environments and abundant history, Spain is a dreamland for many travellers around the world.




As the capital and the biggest city ofSpain, Madrid is one of Southern Europe’smain centres of tourism and culture.Meanwhile, it’s also been a laboratory formodern and contemporary architecturein Spain for more than half a century.


Although my plane lands in BarajasAirport at early evening, the sky was still blueand clear, and the sunshine warm and rich.This time, I chose to stay around Puerta delSol for convenience. This is the centre ofthe radial network of Spanish roads. Crowdsgather around in all surrounding streets,laugh and feel at ease. Without questionit is a perfect place for strolling around.



I rent a bike and head for MuseoNacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía(MNCARS) through the narrow streets. Onthe way I passed by the enormous squareshapewonder Plaza Mayor, and took aclose look at the Philip III statue, since Ihad heard that the plaza used to be a drypool outside the old Madrid rampart. Busyand disorderly, the place was the most prosperous market in Madrid at that time.Time elapsed, the plaza has transferred froma mere marketplace, to the definitive centreof political, cultural and social life in Madrid.


Bidding adieu to Plaza Mayorand riding on, the neo-classic palace,the Old Post Office Building came intoview. Not far away is the famous Plazade Jacinto Benavente, which is namedafter the Nobel laureate in literature.


Crossing Plaza de Jacinto Benaventeand heading east, I passed by Plazade Santa Ana. I notice the ancient lanethat bears the remarks on Don Juan.


Soon, I reached Museo NacionalCentro de Arte Reina Sofía.


Museo Nacional Centro de Arte ReinaSofía is located on Ronda de Atocha,and is one of the biggest museums in theworld housing modern and contemporaryart. The magnificent museum boastsmore than 20,000 pieces, includingPicasso’s masterpiece, Guernica.


Here I wander through the magnificentworks of art by Picasso, Juan Gris, JulioGonzález and many others. These fantasticartworks witness the transformationof Spanish contemporary art fromlate 19th century to 20th century.



All of a sudden I feel like I travelledback to their times – standing behind them,images of their hardworking paintbrushesflashing in front of my eyes, and theirdecisive contribution to European art.





Leaving Madrid, I started my adventure to the north. Residing on the Pirineos close to the French border, a beautiful coastal city shines with its amazing azure colour – San Sebastián, one of the hottest destinations in Spain.


San Sebastián lies on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, stretches along the coast and forms a bowl shape, among which is decorated with dots of sail boats. The old city locates on the eastern ridge, with a 16th century castle on the hill. If travelling by train to the hill, you are offered the breath-taking birdseye view of the “most beautiful seashore in Europe”. With breeze and sunshine, nothing is parallel to this fabulous scene.



It is also known as the most “delicious” city in Spain. On the menus you won’t miss the iconic “Pintxos” – infusing typical Spanish flavours and the local traits in Basque. These legendary snacks were invented by a Spanish king in the 13th century to enliven his people before sunset. From then on, P intxos became a crucial part in Spanish cuisine. Nowadays, restaurants and pubs offering Pintxos are centres of social occasions. When night falls, the locals gather here with friends for a chacolí and Pintxos, to end their busy days with these refreshing delicacies.


Every location has their own unique recipe for Pintxos. For example, the crowded El Bar features their own Pintxos with salted peppers and olives, seafood, ham and pimentos, accompanied by crispy bread slices and juicy sausages. On the bar close to the kitchen, you’ll find dishes and dishes of fresh mushrooms and local peppers.



Salted peppers and olive skewers are the specialty in San Sebastián. The delicious combination is a wonderful match of sour and salty flavours, along with an aromatic freshness inherited within the materials. Recommended by the enthusiastic locals, I tried the exotic mushroom and egg, freshly baked shrimps, and alienlooking edible barnacles. After peeling off the outer shell, the meat in the middle is exceptionally tender and flavourful.



Hams are often seen hanging above the bar to dry in local restaurants. And when Pintxos are spread over the table, the locals with goblets and Pintxos in hands would go out and eat. The leisurely lifestyle undoubtedly reflects the national character flowing in their blood. It’s this unrestrained passion for life that contributes to the perfection of the Spanish art.

follow us
Thank you for subscribing Vantage Shanghai newsletter. We will provide high lifestyle stories and interactive event invitation for you via the newsletter.