February 15, 2009 - Posted by Erin in Food and wine, Travels in Spain

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It appears that I have neglected my blog a bit! Well, it’s been a busy month. Filled with more day trips, and busy with work. So I will give my best shot at catching you all up.

A few weeks ago I headed out to Bucharest again. Just another trip to Romania…I am stewing about a blog in tribute to the intriguing country. It’s coming people – get ready, you won’t want to miss it. Let’s just say that whoever writes the guidebook about Bucharest is none too fond of the city and I think it might be worthwhile to share some of the highlights with everyone!

A couple of weeks ago Jacob and I made a day trip out to a province that I had not yet visited – Guadalajara. No, not Mexico! It’s actually a region northwest of Madrid. We headed to a charming village there called Sigüenza. Much to our surprise though, on our drive there we started to encounter snow. When we got there, it wasn’t quite snowing, but it was darn cold. We did a quick jaunt around the town – very charming little city, but unfortunately, just too cold to be enjoyed properly. We grabbed a quick lunch and had to hit the round again. Little did we know, the drive home would be blizzard-filled (it is worth reiterating that my definition of a “blizzard” might not match with that of folks who live, say, in Canada). By the time we returned home to Madrid, the whole city was covered in white again. It didn’t last long though – rain the next day melted it all away.

Last weekend was extra eventful as my friend Heather arrived! You may remember Heather from an earlier blog – we met because she was interested in moving to Madrid. Well, she finally made the big move, so this last week we’ve been introducing her to her new home. On Sunday we took her out to Segovia where, sadly, we encountered snow yet again. With the heavy snow (again, “heavy” might be a debatable description here), we decided against climbing to the top of Segovia’s Disney-like castle – the Alcázar. We made up for it though by having an amazing lunch at the famous Candido restaurant (for those of you who’ve watched “Spain On The Road Again,” this is the restaurant they visited in Segovia). Jacob stepped up to the plate and enjoyed Segovia’s famous cochinillo (suckling pig), while Heather and I savored warm bowls of Castilian soup. All followed by a hypnotizing Tarta Ponche Segoviano – a dessert that Heather and I are bound and determined to reproduce. Good lord, the thought of it is actually driving me insane.

Last night brought even more amazing food! Jacob took me to one of the best restaurants in Madrid. The restaurant belongs to Chef Sergi Arola, a student of Ferrán Adriá (who literally has the title of best chef in the WORLD). The dinner was amazing – quite a treat. I think there were something like 13 different dishes, three of which were desserts….need I say more?

Well friends, here goes another week. I continue to live the rough life here ;). Tomorrow we’ll be having a little mini gazpacho fiesta with my colleague Miguel – he’s moving from Spain soon so we thought we’d teach him how to make gazpacho, his favorite Spanish dish, before he goes. Should be fun!

Until next time…

September 4, 2008 - Posted by Erin in Traditions, Travels in Spain

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As if Spain isn’t already great enough, sharing it with friends makes it just that much better. This last week I was able to share my love of Spain with my dear friend Robin. We tried to mix it up a little so that her itinerary wasn’t a carbon copy of Kim’s, but of course even though there was some overlap, I couldn’t complain. I am officially an expert on giving the walking tour of Madrid, and I will gladly do it many, many more times.

Her trip began with a return to the last day of the running of the bulls here in San Sebastian de los Reyes. While exciting, I must say this time around was a bit more intense than my previous experiences. Several people were trampled during the run, and then in the actual Plaza de Toros it was a similar outcome. I learned quickly that bulls and people together are only fun to watch when nobody gets hurt. I think I will pass on the actual bull fights….

During Robin’s trip we made the journey down to Sevilla for a night. It had been over a year for me since I had last visited the South, so I was super excited since it is my favorite part of Spain. Sevilla was as beautiful as ever and boy did we ever luck out with the weather! Usually during this time of year Sevilla is scorching hot, but lucky for us it was relatively mild with a refreshing breeze. In fact we’ve had impeccable weather during Robin’s entire trip.

After our trip to Sevilla we took Robin out to Avila, a city I visited earlier this year and fell in love with. We really wanted to share the charming city surrounded by its famous walls, along with a fabulous restaurant that I had discovered via one of my English students. Robin loved it, so our mission was accomplished!

Upon our return to Madrid we took Robin to a Flamenco show, as well as dinner at one of our favorite restaurants – La Favorita. The restaurant is owned by the opera school here in Madrid and the waiters are actually students who do various operatic performances throughout the evening. For Robin this was especially close to her heart since she sings opera.

In addition to Flamenco and our night of opera, we also had the chance to have dinner at our friends Carolina and Jose’s house. Then last night we took Robin to the same restaurant we took Kim – a restaurant that is nestled in the caves of a local town – each table having its own little cave. A very special way to sum up a fabulous trip.

So now it’s back to reality for me – well almost. I have one last excursion before I really return to work. This weekend Jacob and I will be heading out to Ibiza for a friend’s birthday. After that, I will officially end my hiatus from work and begin my new job here in Madrid. I hope to keep the weekends filled with new adventures though as there are so many more to be had here! More to come very soon….