Visit to Spain

Visit to Spain and a Swim in the Atlantic Ocean

I always thought of Spain as to a mystical land of bulls, toreadors and passionate dances (I actually had a list of about 15 things here, but I had to cut down, because my editor is very strict about our maximum number of words). When I visited Spain last year, however, I was welcomed by a modern and highly developed state, in which bull fights and dances do not happen every day at every street corner (and no, fights between drivers are no longer referred to as bullfights).

Another misconception about Spain was that the temperatures would be high here. So as I got there in middle June, I was highly eager to take a bath in the Atlantic Ocean. It borders the country to the northwest and was even more interesting to me as I had never seen an ocean before (obviously, this post is less interesting to somebody who has lived on a coast – so, if you are from one of these places, no need to continue reading).

We were living in the province of Leon, located in the northwestern part of the country and one of the historical provinces of Spain, but we still had to drive for three or four hours to get to the ocean, for the simple reason that we had to cross the mountains to get to there.

So here I was, an innate and long proven acrophobic (honestly, I actually knew this word…), in a situation in which my two greatest fears – heights and movement (I get motion sickness) – became combined to make me pay the price of wanting to see the ocean (the fear of water and depth comes later on, after we got to the ocean). The drive there was in the end pretty OK, as it was a foggy day and could not see much around, although I do remember seeing a sign indicating a height of 1,800 meters at some point.

We eventually got the ocean. If I hadn’t known, I couldn’t have said whether the large patch of water was a sea or an ocean. Nobody was swimming, but I had not gone through so much trouble only to see it. The ocean called out to be tried, the fears wanted to be broken, at least for those couple of cold minutes inside the water. So I did it, I went for a swim. One ocean down, three more to go (well, except that one has huge waves, the other is damn cold and the Indian Ocean: take your pick between tsunamis and sharks).