Reign in Spain: Second Time Around

February 4, 2011 — 8 Comments

In less than 12 hours, I will be heading out of the country to participate in the 2011 Reign in Spain event with a very small handful of other architects, interior designers, and members of the media. As excited as I was to be selected, this is not my first time to Spain. It was exactly 20 years ago when I was 22 years old and still in college that I made my first trip to Spain so counting this upcoming trip, this will be the … aahhh, let me see … uhmm, carry the one and … okay, yeah, that’s right. This will be my second trip to Spain.

It is a bit disappointing that so much time has passed between these trips but that is one of the major contributors to me being excited about this trip. What I was able to experience and see in a country with the history and culture of Spain as a 22 year-old college kid will make this trip a comparison of extremes. Twenty years ago I didn’t know anything about Spain and I didn’t take the time to do any research or preparation work prior to arriving -unless you count working on my tan that summer as “preparation”. This time around I have read volumes of information on the economy and the political environment in addition to looking at historical and current architectural projects. I plan on experiencing a completely different Spain this time around – one not seen through train windows while traveling on Eurail passes. I plan on eating food served on a plate not prefaced with the word “paper”, and I won’t have to wonder if my pants can go another day without being washed.

The Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències in Valencia, Spain

I plan on spending my time looking at different sorts of things this time around. Yes, you can probably make some safe assumptions of what garners the attention of a young college aged male traveling in a foreign country … and you would be right, but I’ll save the stories about my discotheque experiences for my travel companions (or on second thought, maybe I won’t). This trip will put me in 3 cities I have never been to before; Zaragoza, Teruel, and Valencia – and my focus this time will be on Mudejar style architecture and the world-class design and production of the tile of Spain.

The Torre de San Martin in Teruel, Spain

Yes, there is no doubt that I will see Spain in an entirely new light the second time around. I am older, more focused, and have a thirst for a different sort of knowledge. Now I am able to understand the craftsmanship and technical skill that goes into the tile manufactured in Spain. Seeing the products and attending Cevisama (the International Ceramic Tile show), coupled with my current knowledge of how to properly use them, will add a level of appreciation that was non-existent 20 years ago.

But I wonder what the statute of limitations is for parking on the dance floor?



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  • Kerfliberdyjiggle

    I’d love to go! Spanish architecture is really what inspired me to consider architecture as a career.

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  • I know what you mean. I was all of 14 when I visited Spain with my parents. At that time I had no idea who Antonio Gaudi was! I yearn to return to Barcelona.

  • Santiago Calatrava architecture is so beautiful, I swear we need his work here in Atlanta.

  • The original Bob borson

    Don’t feel bad, Bob. It took me 35 years to get back to Spain after living in Madrid for two years in the 1960s (1968-1970). That was in the days of Franco. Que diferencia! Look forward to hearing more about your impressions of Spain, written with your inimitable style.

  • It is great to see how excited you are about your trip to Spain. I find interesting that you talk about the tile craftmanship of Spain. But actually right next to Spain, in Portugal you will find probably the European Country who has used and still uses tiles with a very artistic approach to it. Since the majestic tile paitings that you find on the interior of the churches, to what is common to see in Portugal, the tiles being used to cover the whole of the buildings façades, historically because it is faces the humidity of the Atlantic Ocean, so over the centuries, great craft techniques have been developed in the making and painting of ceramic tiles locally called “Azulejos”. Check out here for a whole history of the use of tiles:

  • Your blog site is really awesome! You’ve done lots of excellent work! I hope your success.


  • John Cruice

    I experienced something similar with Italy. The first time I went, I was 24 and didn’t really prepare for the trip; a group of friends just decided to go and we loved it. I returned several years later, this time I was much more “mature” (it’s amazing how much changes between 24 and 30) and took the time to study the language and culture before going. Completely different experience. I was actually able to immerse myself into the surroundings and appreciate things I hadn’t before. Spain is still on my list of places to see. I look forward to your recap when you return.