After our first long day of hiking we enjoyed a big Pilgrim’s meal at one of the two cafes in Roncesvalles. The pasta, wine and bread was gobbled quickly, but Jess and I both had to pause before digging into our fish. Neither of us were experienced with eating too many fish bone-in. Luckily, we had awesome dinner mates at our table. They were patient and encouraging while we fiddled with forks and fingers. After our first few bites we needed very little encouragement to continue.
Like I mentioned, the pasta was typical part of the pilgrim’s menu. Some were better than others. After hiking all day, we ate every bit and slept well with full bellies.
We had several different types of pre-packaged desserts. The cup of flan was on a quality on par with the snack pack pudding cups. A Spanish couple at our table taught us how to flip the cup and hit it against the heel of our palms before opening. This knocked the sugary caramel syrup down so it blended better.
Museo del Jam on was a chain fast food joint. It was a novelty to us in that everyone stood at the bar or around the shop-there were no seats. During busy times, you couldn’t stir them with a stick. It was a mingle, eat and drink type place. The most popular menu choices were dirt cheap. We bought bocadillos (boe-kah-dee-ohs) and glasses of beer. The bocadillos were thick, crusty sandwhiches with a thin slice of Spanish style ham in the middle.
I wish I had gone back to this cafe when I wasn’t jetlaggin’, but it was still good. We had fresh churros, coffee and hot chocolate.
We could see the cook pulling the dough, twisting it and dropping it into the fryer.
The hot chocolate was a bit of a surprise. It was perfect for dipping churros, but was almost took much of a pudding conaistancy for drinking.
The fun Spanish and English menu for the Churros y Chocolate that we went to in Spain. After looking at the menu, I pretty much wanted everything.
This part of the meal was a surprise to us. We ordered it, I loved it. Then we looked it up on my phone back at the hostel.
“Sepia plancha” is grilled cuttlefish. Cuttlefish are boss at camouflage so I felt a little bad, but it tasted so darn good. The consistancy was similar to scallops or squid.
We also split an empanada for our first meal in Spain. It was yummy too. Perhaps I could make empanadas here at home. Anyone know an easy version of this?
At the same meal were some veggies in a light vinegar. They had a good flavor and a nice crunch. Much like a salad served before the meal and along with the bread.
Along the Way, we stopped at a cafe that had an outdoor oven where they baked pizza, tortillas, and other good things. A tortilla in Spain is an omelet. Believe it or not, even the Fanta soda tasted different.
Fell in love with an adult beverage while I was in Spain. Apparently this is a thing in USA too, I just didn’t have a clue.
In Spain it is called a pica or clara and in the U.S. it is called a Shandy.
Whatever you call it, it tastes awesome! Fill a glass half full with light beer and fill it the rest of the way with lemonade. Best cocktail ever. I have been drinking them at every opportunity since I have been home.
During our time in Europe we used trains, planes and automobiles of various sorts. (Sorry, I had to!)
Our first leg of the journey involved driving to Louisville and getting through airport security.
We were ready and left on time but got multiple updates texts saying our flight would leave two hours earlier and then only one hour earlier….of course by the time we arrived at the airport (breathless!) the flight was delayed 30 minutes.
After around 12 hours on a plane and arriving at breakfast time in Madrid we were dragging.
Security was shockingly simple, the uniformed official did not even say ‘hola’. Strange compared to the questioning we get on the U.S. side.
And stumbled to the curb to find a taxi. One horrendously expensive cab ride later we made it to the Barbieri Hostel near Puerta del Sol. I recalled my Spanish teacher going over the differences in floors after we got turned around. Ground floor and first floor are the same thing in the USA, but the ground floor (planta baja) comes first then the first floor (primera planta) comes second.
Barbieri was great and Ana was super patient with our groggy minds. The only downer we experienced was while we were exhausted we could not check into our room until 2:00PM.
The train station that we scoped out the day before we left Madrid had an epic entrance. However, we had to walk around the side to see this because the construction blocked our view. Inside it was sunny, noisy and housed a garden with reaching palms and a big turtle pool.
Sitting and waiting for the train to come was a little odd. We had absolutely no clue which platform ours would arrive at and listening for an echoing voice in Spanish announcing platforms was a little nerve wracking.
However, like most of our other travels it was easier than I had guessed. There were screens everywhere with times and platform numbers and the PA was announcing in English as well.
I was halfway hoping for a whoosh! of air or a rushing crowd to push me between two platforms but this was not a Harry Potter adventure. Finding our correct coche and seat was just as easy.
We had much more room and comfort than our airplane seats but the feeling was much too familiar. Thankfully the ride was fun and I forgot I was in a confined space again.
I liked the rhythm of the ride and the sights we enjoyed during our 3.5 hour train ride. The only part that was uncomfortable was when the train went through the numerous tunnels and the pressure changed rapidly. Even the travel toilets were nice.
The experience of getting back to Madrid by bus at the end of the trip was quite enjoyable. I don’t have any pictures but if I had taken one of myself all you would have seen were my huge eyeballs.
Catching the bus was a bit hard because there were about five buses at the tiny station when mine should have arrived. There were some other Spanish pilgrims that helped me (thank goodness!).
A quote from my trail journal regarding my bus trip:
My eyes were as big as platters while [the driver] cut thru the construction zones and tiny streets of Najera. I think my stomach and anus have unclenched.
Once I reached the highways and countryside I relaxed, but every small town sidestreet we maneuvered was a miracle. I was truly amazed at his driving.
We also a enjoyed English and Spanish pop music, including this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC9Uz7x7pXM&feature=youtube_gdata_player
When I returned from my trip, I asked what types of blogs you have liked in the past or would like to see in the future. So this is what is coming up!
I am currently drafting (weird for me) a blog mini-series in which I categorically break down my adventures in Spain. Brief though it may have been, I tried to soak up the culture and every scrap of food during my stay.
Currently, my mini-series consists of one introductory blog and eight blogs of content.
If, while writing, I find they are too long for the reader of average interest I will break it into better bitesize installments.
More about food
And more…. (probably about food)