“Travel and change of place impart new vigour to the mind.” So said Seneca, the Roman philosopher. Interestingly, he was born in Cordoba in what was then known as Hispania but we now recognise as the province of Andalucía in Southern Spain. It is to this stunning area of Spanish sunshine and wild flowers that we turn our attention during this dull winter month.
Doubtless you will have read headlines that megaphone “New Year, New You!” across the newspapers and magazines that urge you to make wishes in January that in our heart of hearts we know will turn into wishful thinking by March and an old pipe dream by June. However, one way to ensure that your New Year wish doesn’t die in the dust is to book a trip with us and thereby commit yourself to a new experience!
What better way than to start with a diet! A Mediterranean diet emphasises eating primarily plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Replacing butter with healthy fats like olive oil. Using herbs and spices to flavour food instead of salt. And you can still enjoy the delicate delights of fish straight from the sea or succulent steak or soft lamb direct from the local farmer. Naturally, this needs to be accompanied by a delicious Rioja (or a soft but rounder Duero). Alternatively, if a flavoursome white wine is your preference, discover the Albarino or Verdejo wines from northern Spain.
Whilst you are suffering this hellish diet, why not also take the opportunity to learn to cook like a Spaniard? The cuisine has evolved from a complex history of invasion and conquest which modified traditions and introduced new ingredients. Today, Spanish cooking represents the tastiest, freshest and healthiest foods to be found in this warm and welcoming area of the Mediterranean. It’s simple and easy once you are familiar with the basics.
Without realising you will begin to understand some of the Spanish language so why not widen your skill base by learning how to converse with the locals! Again, it is surprisingly easy to pick up as Spanish and English share more than 2,000 words which are spelt the same and have common meanings. Learning to converse in basic Spanish is a skill which will encourage you to explore the Spanish world with great confidence. South America, for example, that great continent of heavenly beaches, volcanoes, wildlife, rainforests, deserts and waterfalls becomes much more accessible to the traveller who can converse in basic Spanish.
Of course, whilst in Andalucía, you will enjoy the great cities of Seville, Cordoba and Granada which are rich in culture, heritage and history that charts the reach of the Roman and Moorish Empires that still touch the lives of every modern inhabitant of this wonderful region. The seeker of less known cultural and natural jewels has extraordinary scope for fulfilling exploration under virtually year round, constant sunshine.
Following Seneca’s wise words, a temporary immersion in glorious Andalucia will not only impart new vigour to the mind but will also provide you with new skills that will encourage further adventures in the Spanish speaking world that will both delight and surprise in equal measure.
New Year, New You? Let’s do it!
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