Tag Archives: drinking in Europe

Favorite Dive Bars

by Wendy
What constitutes a great dive bar? I’ve read articles and watched television shows dedicated to the topic. Does a dive bar by definition have to be at least 10 years old? Can a dive bar serve delicious food? Is a dive bar allowed to remodel anything? What if it gets “discovered” – still a dive bar? Who knew it could be so controversial.

I’m no expert. The older I get, the more I gravitate to places not too crowded but lively, not too expensive but with a decent menu, not overly-stylized but with clean facilities. Yet I can think of a few dive bars that have been special to me in the past. Continue reading

Madrid Restaurants, Rooftops and Ordering Rueda

by Wendy
Spending an evening in Madrid? Lucky you. Jack and I would prefer at least one date night here every week. Here are some of our recent finds.

Sidreria El Escarpin– We enjoyed a drink here during a previous stay in Madrid and made the right call to order dinner this time. This restaurant features cuisine from the Asturias region in the north of Spain, including the refreshing fizzy cider (sidra). We discovered the appetizer of our dreams: fries topped with chorizo and fried eggs. This beauty pictured above, along with hearty entrees (fish for me, oxtail for Jack) and two bottles of sidra were perfect and also reasonably priced at around $70. Continue reading

Dinner in San Sebastian: Part One

by Wendy
It’s evening in San Sebastian/Donostia and we are going for a walk. We join locals and fellow visitors strolling the long stretch of boardwalk that follows the curve of the beautiful coastline. We’re on our way to have dinner in Old Town. Continue reading

A Round of Spain Style Gin & Tonics

by Wendy
If only we could have a virtual cocktail party, featuring amazing gin and tonic drinks like the ones they serve in Spain. For those who do not drink alcohol, might I suggest the incredible fresh squeezed orange juice they serve in Spain. Yes, the theme is Spain. We’ll have plates of snacks too, of course. Continue reading

I Heart Stairs. And Heights

by Wendy
There were a lot of stairs on the Iceland and England trip. Not like running up and down my basement stairs to deal with laundry. Not like walking up and down a few flights to my office floor instead of waiting for what must be the city’s slowest elevator. This was more in the line of trudging up hundreds of steps in a narrow corridor or next to a steep drop-off. The work was usually rewarded with an impressive view, but that didn’t stop me from complaining. Continue reading

Random Iceland Tips from Jack and Wendy

by Jack and Wendy
Iceland is such a popular destination right now. Flip through a travel magazine and you will likely see an article on the country. There are decent deals and free stopover options on Icelandair and WOW. We just missed running into several acquaintances who were visiting in the weeks prior or after our trip. There is a lot of information available if you’re planning to go to Iceland, but we are here to offer a few hopefully helpful tips from our perspective. Continue reading

Feeling at Home in Madrid

by Wendy
Follow me on twitter @wendylooksleaps

My husband Jack said I am a collector of cities. I love trying to find a connection to the energy and color and diverse daily scenes of cities I visit. Cities offer reinvention and reassurance. They spark imagination. You learn to share your living space with others, while you’re also challenged to showcase uniqueness. There is an art to living in a city.

Madrid is the city we’ve visited most often in Spain. It is magical to me. History and cutting-edge are side by side. The landmark plazas and modern restaurants. The seedy and the sophisticated. The architecture and museums. It can feel like New York City, a night owl’s haven, a refuge for the weird, a sense that there is always a new discovery no matter how many streets you wander. I’ve heard other visitors sound less enthusiastic, but I love Madrid and will always try to claim it as one of my cities. In my mind I pretend that I’m more than a tourist. Instead, Jack and I have a relationship with Madrid, we’re on familiar terms. There’s no real must-see must-do list. We keep the camera-crazy gaping to a minimum and instead, play it cool. Well we try. Here are some city scenes/observations from our recent stops at the beginning and end of our fall road trip. Continue reading

The French are Charming. And so are You.

by Wendy
Even though Paris is one of the most popular destinations on the planet, some travelers worry they will encounter icy or disdainful attitudes from the French. But we know better, don’t we! We know one of the rewarding things about travel is dispelling stereotypes and kicking unfair generalizations to the curb. We protest the descriptions of rude French and ugly Americans. We realize people can be annoying in every locale, but they barely register as a blip compared to all the nice people we know.

For anyone still feeling skeptical, here are a few tips on getting to know France a little better. Quit being the kid in school who teases France because you secretly have a crush. Find your courage and invite France to prom already. Use these suggestions at your own risk. I’m not liable if you start watching Amelie every weekend and reserving your entire travel budget for trips to Paris. Continue reading

A quiet guide to Copenhagen

by Wendy

I love reading travel blogs, and there are so many talented writers out there. While I like travel stories about exotic locations and adventures, I also like stories that celebrate more accessible experiences and find joy in simple things. During trips near and far, I try to balance the sensory overload and thrill of the journey with taking time to pause and appreciate the setting. With that, I give you my quiet guide to Copenhagen, Denmark. Continue reading