There is truly nothing better than experiencing a city through a musical lens. Eating paella on the Mediterranean coast of Valencia, Spain by day, hearing Joshua Redman's band and Richard Bona by night.
The highlight of the trip was Vitoria in the Basque country. After enjoying a stellar performance of Joshua Redman's double trio (or, technically speaking, quintet) with Matt Penman and Reuben Rogers on bass, and Gregory Hutchinson and Bill Stewart on drums, I had the pleasure to experience the transcendent voice of the jazz vocal goddess Dianne Reeves.
And all the musical adrenaline that carried the audience and band members late into the evening lasted through the next day, when I visited the breathtaking Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. I was greeted by Jeff Koons' playful, enormous puppy, before entering into a maze of astonishing installations. Anish Kapoor's exhibition was scintillating, and drew me into an almost dream-like state of contemplating how a void is created through color and shape.
I fell in love with Spain and look forward to learning Spanish and returning again to explore more of this delightful country. Not that Spanish will help me navigate the Basque country...