It is a good thing I enjoy planning my travels in advance, for spontaneity in travel (abroad) is denied to those of us holding Indian passports. Even more so, it seems, for married couples.
You might remember I was required to submit a no-objection letter from R for my solo visit to Venice last year. That, I discovered later, is mandatory for married women travelling solo to many countries. This time, VFS – the screening body for most Schengen visas in India – demanded proof of marriage! Never mind that our numerous passports from 1985 to date proclaimed our marital status in no uncertain terms. My rant was halted mid track by R’s “What if I want to take my girlfriend to Spain?”.
Our pre-historic marriage wasn’t even registered, so a notarised affidavit sufficed. If you know anything at all about India you will know that such affidavits aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, so I didn’t quite get the purpose of that requirement. Nor the refusal of a booking.com printout because it just stated ‘max. 2 persons’ instead of ‘no. of guests: 2’! It could just be that VFS is currently staffed with freshly retired bureaucrats, but I suggest any Indian readers considering staying in charming B&Bs that will only send simple email confirmations, make alternate plans. Nothing stops you from staying wherever you please once you have your visas in hand however…..go figure!
Visa woes and a nasty virus attack aside, the most important thing is that we are finally here. And Spain, so far, has been as lovely and welcoming and delicious as we remember it. The couple of free and easy days in Madrid and a wonderfully relaxing night in Cuenca were just what the doctor ordered. We are enjoying the liberation from ‘must dos’ afforded by this return visit to Madrid, although I might just sneak into the Prado this evening for a quick peek at some Velazquez masterpieces.
We depart tomorrow for San Sebastian and onward to Getaria, the first destination on our Basque itinerary. Do follow along on Instagram.
Buenos Dias. See you soon.