I have contributed travel articles over the past 20 years based on my trips to over 60 countries.
Two years ago, I launched Multicultural Travel News newsletter which covers sights of particular interest to multicultural and niche travelers including African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, as well as gay & lesbian travelers, women and people with disabilities. The Travel Industry Association of America has published reports on Minority travelers which show that these travelers have interests that dovetail and also vary from general market travelers. We should say so-called minority because, combined, the African American, Hispanic and Asian American population will be the majority in this country in our lifetime, and already are the majority in major urban areas around the U.S.
In fact, Convention and Visitors bureaus of major U.S. cities are beginning to publish multicultural itinerary brochures to help tourists add a multicultural focus to their visits. These brochures offer self-guided tours of historical neighborhoods, heritage-specific trails, cultural festivals, and more. What is the genesis of this initiative? Cities recognize and acknowledge the diversity of cultures and the people of varying ethnicities who have contributed greatly to each city's development and history. The number of multicultural visitors is increasing. At my website, an article gives a round up of cities that provide multicultural travel information.
Norm, I invite your readers to request a free subscription to Multicultural Travel News by visiting the home page and signing up for MMRnews.
The newsletter also includes marketing articles which feature campaign insights on how destinations are striving to attract these travelers.
My favorite topics to write about are these marketing stories, multicultural sights, cruises and, most importantly, Spain, where I lived when I was in my 20s.
I understand that you have lived in Madrid for a few years. If you had to name some unique romantic venues in Madrid, which ones would you choose and why?
Madrid is a lively city and there are many outdoor plazas and venues that are romantic. Being a late night city, some are especially spectacular in the evening.
Madrid's CityPark, El Parque del Buen Retiro, is perfect for a romantic stroll especially on a Sunday afternoon.Rent a rowboat on the small city lake in the heart of the park
Plaza Mayor at the majestic vistas of this beautiful courtyard are wonderful at night where you can sit in an outdoor café and people watch.
Café Gijon, an old world restaurant and café, which for over 100 years, has been the hangout of the literary and political glitterati of the city, has a special charm.
As a follow up to the last question, what are you favorite romantic getaways in the Barcelona, where you also spent some time?
ˇIn Barcelona, a new hotel comes to mind, Gran Hotel la Florida. It is located on Mt Tibidabo and from the terrace of the hotel's outdoor bar and pool, you have a sprawling view of the metropolis below. It wasn't around -- as a luxury hotel-- the first time I visited Barcelona in 1979. It's a romantic hotel to stay in when visiting Barcelona, but also worthwhile to visit just for dinner, since the dining room also overlooks this marvelous vista.
ˇIn Barcelona proper, all the Gaudi buildings are beautiful to view and visit. You can tour the Temple of la Sagrada Familia and other buildings such as La Pedrera and Casa Batllo. Architecture can be inspiring and romantic!
ˇNear Barcelona, along the Coast is a little seaside village of Begur. There, The Hotel Aigua Blava, on Platja de Fornells,is incredibly romantic with rooms overlooking the Fornells Coves on the Bay.
How safe is it to travel in Spain?
I have absolutely no worries about safety when traveling in Spain.
I would recommend that any tourist employ the same street savvy they would use when venturing forth from their hometown.
When is the best time to travel to Spain?
I would go to Spain any time of the year. If you like fairs and festivals, there are the Feria de Seville, Madrid's city fairs, Valencia's Fallas, and other festivals around the country in the Spring and Fall.
Of course, it's lively in the summer, the most popular time for tourists, but many local Madrileno families use this time to visit their own country home and may stay away for a month.
What is your favorite city in Spain and why?
Madrid is absolutely my favorite city and admittedly, I am biased, since the days I had an apartment there. To me, it feels like New York City, with its cosmopolitan feel, yet very Spanish flavor.
How easy or difficult is it to travel throughout Spain if you don't know the language?
If you don't know Spanish, you will get a lot of help from English speaking hotel concierges, museum information desks and taxi drivers. Menus in restaurants printed in many languages are designed to accommodate tourists.
How expensive is it to travel around Spain and what suggestions would you have in order to cut down on expenses?
Spain is still a good bargain as are the famous tapas bars, loved by tourists and Spaniards alike. They are an inexpensive way to get a great meal.
Tapas are appetizer sized portions and it's easy to make a meal of them.
I can recommend:
ˇLa Trucha, near Plaza Santa Ana, the area where many of these tapas bars can be found.
ˇMuseo del Jamon, the chain that specializes in that famous Spanish ham that can be a meal, is a great spot for an inexpensive lunch.
ˇCasa Mingo, a restaurant specializing in roast chicken and sidra (bottled cider with a kick) is informal, inexpensive and lively.
Also both Madrid and Barcelona have discount CityPass type cards, which offer reduced admission to museums around town.
ˇThe 24-hour 25-euro (about $30) Madrid Card provides free entrance to 43 museums, cultural institutions and attractions in Madrid and its environs, unlimited use of the Madrid Vision tour busand discounts and reduced prices at shops, restaurants, night spots and on car rentals, among other elements.
The Barcelona Card features unlimited free use of public transport, complimentary walking tours, and free or reduced entrance and discounts at over 100 establishments, including museums, restaurants, shops, attractions and entertainment venues.The card is valid for one to five days with discounted rates offered for children 4 to 12 years of age. Prices range from about $20 (17 euros) for a one-day card to about $36 (30 euros) for a five-day card.
Thanks Lisa and good luck with all of your future endeavors.