Travel To Spain – My First Europe Trip, My Unforgettable Experience

Travel To Spain – An Introduction

My travel to Spain to see the historical places and other Spain attractions was not only a dream come true but turned out to be my most unforgettable experience while on travel abroad. It happened during my first Europe trip as a member of the 15-man Philippine Delegation to the Study Tour on the Development of Cooperative Integration in Spain.

Travel To Spain – The Hard-To-Forget Experience

I was really ecstatic upon knowing that I was given the opportunity to travel to Spain courtesy of the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacionale para el Desarollo (AECID) or the Spanish Agency for International Development. Really, I had first and second reasons to rejoice. For one, such travel to Spain was my first Europe trip. Secondly, it was my second travel abroad with the first being in Singapore last 2007.

And the most awaited moment for my first Europe Trip came in April 18, 2009 . . .

At NAIA for Travel To Spain

At the Departure Lounge of the Ninoy Aguino International Airport in Manila eagerly awaiting for our flight schedule

While my body was still at the departure lounge of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila but my mind was already in Spain as I was imagining the scenes of Spain attractions being vividly described by Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the Philippine national hero, in his accounts about his various travel destinations. While reclining on my seat at the airport, I was telling to myself how lucky am I to have visited the place our forebears fondly called Madre España courtesy of the 333 years Spanish colonization of the Philippines.

Travel To Spain Manila to Doha Flight

On board the Qatar Airways bound for Doha, Qatar

We flew for 9 and a half hours, more or less, on board the Qatar Airways Flight QR 647 and landed at the Doha International Airport for a 4-hour stop over.

Travel To Spain at Doha International Airport

A pose for posterity with some members of the Philippine delegation at the Doha International Airport

While waiting for our trip to Madrid, I found pleasure in strolling around the airport terminal and doing window shopping at the duty-free shop.

Travel To Spain at Doha Airport Duty Free Shops

A pose at the Doha International Airport Duty-Free Shops

Travel To Spain Doha Airport Window Shopping

Window shopping pose at the Duty-Free Shops of the Doha International Airport

Little did I know that I would experience a near tragic event that almost spoiled my dream travel to Spain.

As it was already past midnight, my body was already longing for a much needed rest. Hence, while waiting for boarding time, I reclined on a seat to relax. Meanwhile, I covered my face with a sweater to shield it from the chilling effect of the centralized air conditioning unit. I was really struggling to keep myself awake but in vain as I fall asleep. My ears then caught the bark of the loudspeaker which made me jump from my seat instantaneously. Thereafter, my eyes quickly rolled on a 360-degree search for my companions only to find that they were all gone. Candidly, I had that mixed peeing and excreting sensations as I was searching for my co-delegates in vain. Afterward, I hurriedly approached a male airport staff who happened to be a Filipino and I almost dropped to the floor in frustration when he told me that he saw a group of 14 of his compatriots boarding the plane bound for Madrid. Hence, I ran at full speed downstairs towards the boarding area where I caught the last trip of the bus that ferried the Madrid-bound passengers en route for the waiting Qatar Airways Flight QR 69 at the tarmac. I was still catching my breath upon reaching my seat assignment only to find that my companions were already blaming each other on my predicament as they were on the verge of informing the flight attendant about me being left behind at the airport terminal. My reaction was only a double sigh of relief, the first for catching up the flight and secondly for my name not being subjected to final call for boarding announcement. At any rate, mine was a case of all is well that ends well, hence, I reclined to my seat and relaxed for the 8-hour Doha to Madrid travel . . .

Travel To Spain Doha To Madrid Flight

On board another Qatar Flight from Doha to Madrid

We then set foot at Barajas International Airport in Madrid, Spain.

TRavel To Spain at Barajas International Airport

The Philippine delegation in their happy moments at the arrival area of Barajas International Airport in Madrid

Ms. Katia Oceransky, our tour guide, met the group and toured us to the various historical spots of Madrid . . .

Travel To Spain Madrid Royal Palace

A souvenir pose at the Imperial Palace in Madrid, Spain

The group then travelled via chartered bus about 70 kilometers south of Madrid and reached the former Spanish capital city of Toledo. After checking-in at Hotel Eurostars Toledo at Paseo San Eugenio, we had another guided tour around the small fortified city which was founded by Jewish colonists in the year 540 BC.

Travel To Spain Toledo Fortress

The heavy fortress serving as entrance to various historical sites of Toledo City

We spent the next seven days of our travel to Spain to visit and have a study tour on the identified cooperatives in the rural region of Castilla-La Mancha composed of the 5 provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara and Toledo as well as in the autonomous region of Valencia before going back to Madrid in preparation for our flight back to Manila.

Travel To Spain – Lessons Learned

My hard-to-forget experience during my travel to Spain had brought about a tremendous impact on my life. For one, I learned to make reservations in whatever agreements I entered into with other persons to provide an elbow room for precautionary measures. Such is anchored on the fact that, had I not entrusted my full confidence to my buddy who vowed to alert me but forgot to wake me up when boarding time came, I could have set my cellular phone alarm up for the purpose. Most importantly, my exposure to the Spanish culture and traditions as well as the various Spain attractions, which made me more appreciative of the country that colonized my native land for more than three centuries, were the real reasons that made my travel to Spain worthy of the undertaking.

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Travel To Spain

This Travel To Spain blog post is my 7th entry to the Blog Carnival of the Pinoy Travel Bloggers with the December theme Travel Is The Journey hosted by Kara Santos of Travel Up.

19 comments

  1. For your first trip to Europe you could not have chosen a nicer country. With its history, culture and cuisine, Spain is wonderful. I’m so glad you had a terrific experience.

  2. Thanks for the visit and the nice comment. Truly Spain is such a beautiful country with colorful history. My future post would tackle on Spain’s cuisine in relation to their culture.

  3. Good choice with Spain and fun write up! Spain was also my first European country…back in 1991 and I’m still in love it. Makes you addicted, doesnt it?

    • Thanks for dropping by and for appreciating. Yeah, I so love the country often misunderstood by majority of us Filipinos due to the bad impressions brought about by the abuses of the friars during the colonial times. I will be tackling in my future posts some other aspects of Spanish culture as seen from my eyes.

      • I think it is very interesting how you in the islands of the Pacific and me here in the desert mountains of the southwestern United States were both once a part of the Spanish empire…and there is so much that would be familiar to you here and me there because of the world wide empire of the Spanish! Loco!

        • Yes Jim, I am certain that we have commonalities in our customs and traditions given that our states were both colonies of Spain and I am open to future engagements and discussions for a deeper understanding on what we have had inherited, good or otherwise, from Madre Espana.

  4. Waaaa blessing in disguise po na nagising ka agad! Kung nagkataon uuwi kang luhaan 😉 Pero sana ginising ka ng mga kasamahan mo para di ka na naiwan 🙁

    • Yun na nga eh! They were pointing their blame on my buddy who got carried away with so much excitement to take the plane ride without checking if his buddy was in the company.

  5. It almost happened to me. I fell asleep in KL. Good thing my water bottle fell and it was boarding call na.

  6. Thanks for joining the blog carnival! 🙂

  7. “Spain is a mountainous country and is blessed with hundreds of beautiful beaches. Spanish food is awesome! I like Potato Omelette the most.

    • Yeah I had been to the mountainous regions of Spain but unfortunately was not able to savor the beauty of beaches thereat. Potato Omelette is indeed great in Spain.

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