Hola From Spain!

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.

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on instagram.com/theurgetowander

44 thoughts on “Hola From Spain!

  1. Bienvenida! Have a wonderful stay. Love Madrid and the art galleries, Thyssen is one of my faves. And San Sebastián is beautiful 🙂 Probably busy in August though!

    1. Thank you Roughseas! Thyssen is my favourite too, but I just had to take a peek at ‘Las Meninas’ one more time. The Rembrandt “Judit at the banquet of Holofernes’ was also mind-blowing in its details! We don’t generally travel during August, but we are celebrating a milestone anniversary so decided to brave the crowds. Fingers crossed that we won’t regret it.

      Hope all is well with you and your ankle has healed fully.

  2. Hola Madhu! Am excited for you on this trip because I LOVE Spain though I haven’t been there but would LOVE to get there soon…if only exchange rates turn around and be in my favour fast! Btw, I didn’t know that there was such a thing about asking for permission from spouse to travel! Geez…especially in this day and age! Anyway, you’re finally in Spain, so enjoy! Will look forward to your Insta pics…

    1. “Geez’ indeed! 🙂 My medication had me dozing off everytime I looked at my screen! Hopefully over my virus enough now to update Instagram regularly.

  3. Holy cow! I learn something new every day. I can’t imagine not being able to just pick up and go somewhere if you feel like it (although I know visas, tickets, etc. can be required.)


  4. I’ve not been to Spain, so will have to see it through your eyes. Enjoy and relax your way through the remainder of your time there. 💃🏻

  5. As an Indonesian I can so totally relate to all the bureaucracies and paperwork needed to obtain a visa. Have fun in Spain, Madhu, and stay healthy and hope the virus goes away sooner than later!

        1. Roughseas, it did rain! Not so surprising in the Niorth, but our plans for a last meal in our favourite tapas restaurant in Madrid got washed out! 😉

  6. I hope you have a great time in Spain, my dear Madhu and …no more trouble with having to prove the obvious! Bureaucracy many times defies logic! 🙂

    1. It sounds as if the travelling will outweigh passport fury. I thought Australia was ante-diluvian. In the early 70s my mother-in-law divorced her estranged husband against her anti-divorce principles to ease the way to a passport for Ethiopia where she was going as a missionary. But that was 1970. Your bureaucrat stories make my blood boil in sympathy against irrationality! I’m about to embark on an attempt to get a Polish visa for unlimited access for a year – last time, after six months paperwork, I was told there was no such thing as a Visa D! my email string luckily proved otherwise.

      At least Spain has been welcoming. I’m looking forward to your Basque journey.

  7. I know all about the problem with visas and believe me it’s not only aimed against Indians. I remember being informed our children should be included in the Mother’s passport when we checked with the US Embassy in Mumbai for our first trip to the US and one visa would suffice all three, mother and two children. Then when we arrived in New York they wanted to return us on the same aircraft because there were not three visas in the Mother’s passport. What a circus that was! We made sure we had separate passports next time but that made no sense because all babies look somewhat similar and don’t have a lot of distinguishing features. Good you sorted it out. Some day perhaps the world will discover women are separate individuals and not slaves. lol

  8. OMG, what troubles you had to go through with visa issues. I do hope that it will easier for me going into India with a tourist visa, as a German living in the U.S.A. Yes, just a few days ago I booked my flights, Los Angeles to New Dehli. I am beyond myself so far I can’t believe it. Enjoy your time in beautiful Spain.

  9. Ooh I love Spain! Looking forward to your posts… 🙂 and I hear you on the visa woes! Schengen is quite a pain; in fact I’m in the process of applying for a Russian visa for my trip next month and that’s got it’s own set of woes coming with it!!! Have fun in Basque though!

  10. Welcome to the ‘real’ world of travel with Indian passports! I’ve had these experiences too, and after 30 yrs. of (unregistered/un notarized) legal marriage certificates, I too had some running around to do last year. 🙂
    On a another note, yes Madrid’s museums are a must visit, also enjoy the laid back late night dinners on the piazza, as the summer sun sets.
    Yet another note..DON’T miss the city of Granada…where history comes alive and it’s a different Spain.

  11. Buenos dias, senorita…oops…senora. Como esta? So what you are really trying to say is that it is better to stay single. And to be born in America, or France? Do I have it right?
    Are you going to a bull fight? To Majorca, or Ibiza? Both cool. And don’t miss Gaudy’s stuff in Barcelona!

  12. Permission from the husband to travel solo – ha, my husband would have be signing a lot of paperwork over the years. It is so humiliating – as if women are minors who need to be supervised!
    In any case, I hope you enjoy Spain.

  13. If this wasn’t an interesting post Madhu – from the States we don’t have to deal with any evidence of proof of our marriage in order to travel. Amazing to me in 2015 . . . for another day right? Hope you are feeling better and that you truly enjoy your time in Spain. Have a wonderful week ~

  14. Have fun there, Madhu! My wife would be insanely jealous if I told her you’re there, since she loves Spain and always wants to go back. The visa situation sounds crazy. I guess you really have to be determined to go abroad. 🙂

  15. Cannot believe there are restrictions with a passport from India ~ wow, but I hope that just makes the adventures all the more perfect, and from what I see and read it does. 🙂

  16. Hahaha I I know what you mean 🙂 Love your blog! Just started a food-travel blog and would love to get your comments and ideas… aworldoftaste.wordpress.com

  17. Hope feeling much better now Madhu, exciting times in Spain or rather exciting times anywhere once you make it out of India and over all those visa hurdles!

    1. I reread your comments on affidavits and had a chuckle. I remember the birth certificate given us by the hospital in Pune on a piece of paper which read. “A living female child was delivered on seventh of July 1967. You can imagine what fun we had getting that sorted out with the Australian Embassy. 🙂

    1. Did you go on a tour? Or from another Schengen country? We never had a problem on our two previous visits either. The first was an escorted tour and we hopped over from Paris to Barcelona the second time. Thanks for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts Indrani.

  18. Having gone through the entire charade for my own schengen visa last year I can feel you! And yes lets hop along with you on this wonderful spanish tour!

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