Many people were surprised when I told them during my trip to Mallorca this February that I had never been to Spain before. Spain has always been a popular holiday destination for Irish people.
But, there were no foreign holidays while I was growing up, apart from the rare trip to America. My family always looked West, not East. I’ve slowly been seeing more of Europe, but I never did the inter-railing thing during the summer off from college or the sojourn in France or Italy. It was always a race to the first flight to New York once exams were over so I could work in the city for the summer.
To get to Mallorca in February I had to go via Madrid, which made for a long journey. But, when I landed in Madrid airport in the evening, with temperatures of 20C and an orange crushed sunset wooing me through the long glass building I fell in love with the place. I only had two hours, so I roved through the shops and snapped pictures of the beautiful architecture. I instinctively knew that Madrid is a place that I must return to again.
Even in the construction of its airport I sensed an easy-going yet sophisticated attitude.
Afterwards, a friend of mine familiar with Madrid spoke in ecstatic terms of her visits to the city and ordered me to return for a proper stay.
I will be back. And next time I’ll see more than the airport.