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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
This is part 3 of my series on one week itineraries (nine days counting both weekends) in Spain. The third Spain trip took place in 2013 and was very special, since my parents were going with us! They had never been before, so we designed an itinerary with them in mind. This evolved over several conversations as we researched logistics and available hotels. We debated including Cadaques, or exploring Rioja, but thought we’d have to skip the Andalusia region as a result. A week itinerary does require some very tough choices! So we ultimately decided to include Madrid (again, easy to fly into and all-around all-star city), keep Andalusia but visit Cordoba (a new city for me and Jack), Valencia (must-see Spanish coast and another new city for me and Jack), Barcelona (Gaudi of course), then back to Madrid for the weekend. Continue reading →
Lots of us have limited vacation days at our jobs, or restrictions on how many days we can take off at one time. I’ve heard friends say it’s not worth it to go to Europe for one week. I strongly disagree! There are many wonderful itineraries you can put together for a one week trip (really 9 days, if you count both weekends).
In a series of upcoming posts, I’m going to write about three different and equally awesome week-long vacations my husband and I took in Spain. We spent a lot of time researching and considering different routes and destinations, so I wanted to share a summary of our results with you. Continue reading →