“For one person who likes Spain there are a dozen who prefer books on her.” Ernest Hemingway


I am in London until tomorrow night, when I will go down to Southampton to work for a few days. I had a lot of good intentions when I got off the plane from Madrid a few hours ago involving going into the city for dinner and then going to check out the Margaret Thatcher activities in Trafalgar Square. But… in reality, I am exhausted. It is pouring down rain, there is a huge bathtub in this room, Chinese food in the hotel, and Midsomer Murders on BBC so… I think I’m in for the night. I will spend tomorrow in the city instead, and then somehow my 9 days of holiday is going to come to a screeching halt and reality will hit me in the face. Ugh.

Spain was wonderful. It is so beautiful, the food is amazing, they drink gratuitously (always good) and the shopping was pretty great. The thing is, though, and this is a small thing – but, they kind of hate us. I was surprised at the lack of friendliness – not everywhere, but more than I anticipated probably. I am sure they have good reasons for this, but we were as respectful and polite as we could be and it didn’t really help. We were immediately pegged as Americans everywhere we went – I guess the Asics are fooling no one.

Madrid was my favorite, I think. It is a stunning place architecturally, it is almost overwhelming. The history and the grandeur are fascinating. Barcelona was lovely, although my expectations were probably too high. I’ve never heard anyone say anything about Barcelona that was without hyperbole, and I think I was slightly disappointed. I was probably expecting more of the same in terms of history, but so much of it is waterfront and very modern and just not what I expected it to be. The food was great there, so there is (a very big) that.

One last thing that really needs to be addressed about Spain is the men. I am sure this sounds slightly ridiculous, but I was absolutely unprepared for the sheer volume of gorgeous men. Actually gorgeous is underselling it – I mean truly frigging beautiful men. I. Mean. Wow. Is this sexist? Because, sorry, but I am not exaggerating at all. Some of them are too pretty to look at – kind of blinding like the sun. If I ever decide to get my groove back, I am moving to Madrid. At one point, we tried to count how many men we walked past in one day, but, sadly none of us can count higher than 199 in Spanish, so the game was up by lunch. Only a slight exaggeration.

Do these men even know that they are this stunning? I don’t think so, or at least, it hasn’t seemed to make them vain. The Spanish are not afraid of eye contact and I felt like a trout being tickled. You know, because if you tickle a trout you can put them into a stupor – true story – and I could barely put some sentences together in English, or Spanish.

My friends Bibi and Edd have a code word for “there is a hot guy right there” and that word is “hola.” I use this automatically (because I am super covert like that – no one would ever crack this Da Vinci-like code) and soon enough I got Linda, Deb and Jenn to do the same. But when you think about it, this really does not work in Spain for obvious reasons, so shouting “hola!” every five seconds on the streets of Spain is almost interestingly stupid. However, it kept us very entertained, and that’s all that matters.


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