Viva España: Visiting sunny Barcelona, Madrid and Ronda
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - October 3, 2019 - 12:00am

Seville, Barcelona, Madrid — Today is ''bisperas'' of the town fiesta of Dumanjug, my father's hometown. I should be there in the house of Atty. Edgar and Madam Marna Gica, eating the famous and most delicious ''lechong manok'' ala Gica, in the hometown of my late father, and where my relatives Gungun Gica and Wado Gica are mayor and vice mayor respectively. But here I am with family in the sunny country of Spain, from Portugal the last few days, and here, rediscovering the Kingdom of España of King Philip II, in whose honor our country was named "Filipinas.

Spain colonized our country from 1521 to 1898, or for 377 years. Many of our provinces, cities and towns are named after places in Spain. I will soon visit the original places called Toledo, Asturias, Murcia, Pamplona, Santander, Valencia, and, of course, Ronda in the province of Malaga. Because of time limits, we can only visit some top tourist destinations like the Alhambra, the Mesquita of Cordoba, the El Escoreal, the fantastic Cathedral of Sagrada Familia, the Palacio Real or the Royal Palace where the King officially resides. Also, the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, the Seville Cathedral and Alcazar.

Spain is located in southwestern Europe. It is the only European nation having a common border with an African country, Morocco. It is bounded in the west by Portugal, in the northeast by France, in the south by Gibraltar and Morocco. Spain is bigger than Portugal, smaller than France and is a little larger than the state of California, USA in size. It is a secular parliamentary democracy, but is also a monarchy with King Felipe VI as its head of state and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez as its head of government. In earlier history, Spain was the world's first global empire with almost all the nations in the whole of South America as its colonies.

We arrived here by land trip from Lisbon, Portugal, crossing the border to Seville, Spain, then to Granada, Cordoba and Madrid. After a quick breakfast in the nice Hotel Corona de Castilla in the City of Burgos, we proceeded to Barcelona, where we checked in an impressive Hotel Catalonia Barcelona Plaza, along busy Plaza España. The morning after, we visited Barcelona's most famous landmark, the La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, the unfinished colossal masterpiece of Spain's most famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi, who died in 1920, after 40 years of constructing the edifice. Until now it remains unfinished.

From there, we proceeded to Barcelona's famous Olympic Stadium, then to Plaza Real, the Plaza Cataluna, where we saw the monument of Christopher Columbus. Then, alone, I took a quick side trip on a chopper to the southernmost province of Malaga, where I visited Ronda, a mountaintop city dramatically located atop a deep gorge called El Paso. Well, I should have been in Dumanjug with the wonderful Gicas, but I am here in Barcelona, after a sneaky side trip to Ronda. Just opposed to be nearby Dumanjug.

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