6 June, 23:55
It was a nice day. It felt good to get out of the Netherlands for the first time in the last four months. Practically speaking, it was the first time I travelled somewhere outside the Netherlands since October last year. I am not counting my trip to India. It felt so good.
For whatever reason, I like the Spanish language very much. I started playing with it when I was in Mumbai. Me and my friend started to learn it on Duo Lingo. I convinced him to learn Spanish instead of French because I felt it was easier to pronounce Spanish for Hindi Speakers. I seill feel the same. Spanish sounds much more nice to me than Dutch or German, for example.
In the flight today I could understand bits and pieces of what the flight attendants were saying. But that’s the language.
This is the first time I have come to Spain. I am in Santiago de Compostella. I have not been to many places in Europe. I have been to Paris and Strasbourg in France, Aachen and Wuppertal in Germany, and many cities in the Netherlands. I can say that I like this city much more than the Dutch cities. It’s a refreshing change from prestinely clean and meticulously curated Dutch cities. It feels much more natural. This city has many more “rough edges” compared to the Dutch cities. It feels natural. It’s a refreshing change.
And these “rough edges” also show in the Spanish culture and people. Well, using the word culture is probably a little too much here. I have been here for only one day, and almost all of what I know about Spain came from my Spanish friends. I am using the phrase “rough edges” in a positive way for people. I feel that people here are much more relaxed. I don’t know. Maybe I am biased. Maybe it’s because I just like their language. I feel that people here are very different from the Dutch. Everything in the Netherlands seems so organised to me. I don’t know how else to say it. It’s like the Netherlands feels more elite, polished and civilised in every aspect (except their cuisine, if we can call it a cuisine to begin with 😏), whatever these words mean. I feel that Spain is much more relaxed, happening, beautiful, and dynamic. I don’t know how to say it.
I have been out with friends for drinks in the Netherlands, but I never felt like I felt today. I don’t know. Ever since I landed in this city this afternoon, it had been reminding me of India and the streets I grew up in. It feels so different from the Netherlands. I never got this feeling in any Dutch city so far. I have gone out with the people I am closest to. It’s not the people that made a difference today. It’s the “rough edges”, I think. I grew up in India. It’s my home. My eyes crave for imperfections in the infrastructure. My ears crave for the noisy streets.
During the flight from Brussels to this city, I felt like I was travelling in a domestic flight in India. People were chatting all the time in Spanish. Quite loud and relaxed, unlike the “civilised” people who “behave”. It reminded me so much of my home. I felt good in the flight today.
And the whole evening I was observing people and places. The bar, the people in it, the way the chairs and the tables were laid, the interior of the bar, the waiter, the bartender, the shopkeeper, the local people. It felt good. I felt different than what I feel when I am in the Netherlands. I felt like I am much closer to the Spanish people than I am to the Dutch in the way I prefer to go by my daily life.
Anyway, it was a nice evening. We sat at a bar until 11pm and had fun. The best part is that you get snacks free with beers. 🤯 My friends had mentioned this to me earlier. I forgot about it, and I was really surprised when I found out that the food I was eating came free with the beer I bought for 2 euros. I was not used to that even when I was in India, but I had no such hopes at all after living in the Netherlands for so long. The Dutch would ask you to pay for breathing if they could. Seriously, it’s hard to find a restraunt that would serve you a glass of plain water for free (along with the ridiculously expensive and really shitty food you bought). You have to pay for that even if it is just from the tap.
It’s getting late. I slept for only a couple hours last night, so I should get some sleep tonight. After all, I came here for a conference 😜, I need to pay attention tomorrow.