Today is another guest post from my Dad, who you might recognize for his culinary expertise in the kitchen. After hearing me rave about my travels to Spain, they decided to make a side trip over while visiting family back in England last year. They were accompanied by my brother and his girlfriend, who also live across the pond. At this time, I was at home. In school. It was probably snowing. No hard feelings.
Carrie and I travelled with our son and his girlfriend to Spain in 2012 and spent time in Barcelona, Sevilla and Madrid.
We loved each of the cities, all very different, but all with that delightful southern European climate where people can eat outside, love their food and never seem to be in a rush to do anything. When on vacation, it is very easy to fall into their way of life.
We had read much about the tapas in Spain and wanted to try these wherever we went – tapas are small appetizers, often just bite size but easy to share, and can be a meal by themselves when 3-4 are served together.
The tapas we tried ranged from a simple tomato with a spot of goat cheese to a couple of mussels mixed with fresh vegetables.
One of our favourite appetizers was a simple “tomato bread” or pan con tomate, which consisted of slices of crusty bread, garnished with fresh tomato pieces, olive oil and herbs. Sounds rather a soggy mess, but it was very tasty and not soggy at all. It was often brought to our table while we studied the menu.
We often ordered a beer to go with the tomato bread. A small plate of olives was usually also brought to the table. The pace of the meal was slow – never rushed. At first we found this frustrating, but we gradually learnt to sit back and enjoy. Not once were we pressured to pay our bill in order to provide seats for customers lined up at the door.
Another popular dish that we could order for lunch was a plate of cheese, jambon and a warm loaf of bread.
Meals were presented simply, with little flair. One lamb dish came with a tomato, sliced zucchinis and a baked potato. How I would have loved to have some gravy to dip it all in!
Our trip from Sevilla to Madrid on the fast train took us through the dry central plains and rolling hills, with acres of olive groves.
Another favourite of mine was a plate of tomatoes and tuna. You might have gathered by now that I do enjoy tomatoes.
The one downside of the food selection was the lack of vegetarian meals for our son. Meats and cheeses are definitely preferred to fresh vegetables and fruits. We found a local bar in Sevilla which offered a bucket of iced beer for a few euros, and this seemed to make up for this lack of vegetables!
Overall, we loved Spain and hope to return one day to visit many of the towns and areas which we did not have time to get to this trip.