May 4, 2008 - Posted by Erin in Food and wine, Travels in Spain

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In Spain they often have a weekday or two off at a time – when this happens, people go on vacation for those days and then all the way through the weekend. They call this a “puente”, or a bridge. This week Spain had both Thursday and Friday off (their “puente de Mayo” or May bridge), and as a result everyone went out of town for the puente.

For our trip we decided to go to Almeria, a province in the southeastern part of the country (still a part of Andalucia). We chose to go there because a friend of ours has an apartment at the beach that we could stay at.

We left Wednesday evening, but unfortunately, so did the rest of Madrid! It took us seven hours to get there (really should have been 4.5)! Fortunately, when we got there, we managed to find a nearly vacant Flamenco bar that was open and willing to serve us some food. Much to our surprise, they served us the most impressive salad, assortment of cheese, and even some complementary chupitos (shots) to finish it off!

On Thursday we headed out to the beach to enjoy the sun (I have a sun burn to prove it). The weather was perfect! What is so lovely about the beaches there is that most of them have chiringuitos (small restaurants on the beach) where you can get a beverage and lunch/tapas. It was great to break up the day with a tinto de verano (wine and sparkling water) and salad. That same evening we had a delicious dinner on the beach and drinks with a couple of friends, Nacho and Sofia, who were also out in Almeria for the puente.

On Friday we decided to take a small road trip, first heading to the nearby town of Mojacar. This town is built in the rock on the side of a mountain. Such a charming little town with the typical white buildings of the south, as well as many beautiful flowers decorating the houses similar to those that you often see in Cordoba, Sevilla and other cities in Andalucia.

We then drove farther to a place called Cabo de Gata (cabo meaning cape). It is there that we were able to drive to the top of the cape and have a breathtaking view all around us of the rocks and clear blue water of the Mediterranean, followed by lunch overlooking the sea. Doesn’t get much better than that!

That evening we headed to dinner at a place renowned for their seafood. What was so unique about this place is that they have on display all of their freshly caught seafood – from clams, to lobster, to shrimp, and more – and you are able to go up to the display and select how much you want of what and then they prepare it for you. The seafood, especially their gambas rojas (red shrimp) and carabineros (they look like small lobster, not sure of the translation though), was insanely delicious!!! And then desert….I don’t even want to talk about desert because my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

We headed home yesterday, Saturday, to avoid traffic, but not before heading to the beach once last time to enjoy the sun and some paella at the chiringuito. What a trip though!

PS – I spent a couple hours at the gym today :-).

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