Saturday, August 31, 2013

Alcazar de Segovia


 This castle in Segovia, Spain is especially pretty both inside and out.    Possibly dating from the Middle Ages, with documented dates from 1212, this castle has a long history. Of particular interest, Isabel first met Ferdinand here.  In the mid-1700's it became the Royal School of Artillery.
 Certainly designed to rest at the highest point of the city, the view was outstanding.


A castle with an Artillery Museum and an amazing Knot Garden!  Everyone was happy here!


Friday, August 30, 2013

At the Market, Segovia, Spain


We love to visit local markets when we travel.  The colors, sounds, smells - markets are such a sensory experience.    The herb vendor was the very first booth we saw at this market in Segovia, Spain.  She had all her herbs bagged up and accessories like strainers, mortar and pestles and bottles available as well.  I particularly loved the brass distiller.
Colorful flowers and mounds of gorgeous local grown garlic!














And of course in Spain, the olives, oh my,  all sizes, all colors, stuffed, pitted, name an olive and it was there.
Bags and bags of nuts.  And the notions! Multiple booths with sewing supplies.  

 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Segovia, Spain


Do you see it?  That impressive structure between the buildings?  As we walked closer to the aqueduct, its grandeur made itself known to us.  This Roman architectural marvel was buildt nearly 2,000 years ago.  Constructed of mortarless granite, it consists of 118 arches.  Impressive.








Equally impressive is this Gothic cathedral constructed between 1515 and 1558.  Isabel I was proclaimed queen of Castilla where the cathedral stands.  It's impossible to capture the beauty and history one finds within the walls of these gorgeous cathedrals.  Majestic.

 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sangria

Cheaper than bottled water in many cases, we made it a point to sample the Sangria as we traversed Spain.  With dinner at the B & B in the outskirts of Madrid, we enjoyed a homemade version of Sangria.

While dining 'al fresco', at lunch or dinner, we enjoyed pitchers of chilled Sangria, with fresh orange slices floating in the red wine.  Definitely the way to savor Spain.

Remedios, our hostess in Madrid, graciously shared her recipe. 
Sangria:
1 orange, peeled & juiced
1 lemon, peeled & juiced
1 c. sugar
pinch cinnamon
red wine (approx. 1 liter)
sparkling lemonade (approx. 1 c.)
approx. 1/2 c. total of gin, brandy, & vermouth
Mix it all together, and enjoy!
Measurements are loose!  It's all to taste... and it tastes best in Spain!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Churros y Chocolate














We were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to sample Churros y Chocolate while in Madrid.  Chocolateria San Gines is the 'must visit' destination for the best churros.  Established in 1894, they have perfected the method for preparation of these deep fried pastries and the thick rich dipping chocolate that accompanies them. 



Another opportunity to order churros jumped out at us while strolling a flea market in Barcelona.  It was fun to find this churro vender where we were able to order piping hot sugar coated churros in a paper cone.  Once we devoured the first order, we were quick to place a second order!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Paella

Paella typically is from Valencia, Spain, but you can find it all over the country.  These signs are posted outside many of the restaurants that are sprinkled through out the cities.  It takes well over half an hour to prepare a good paella, and alas, most of these are simply frozen and microwaved.  If a restaurant is serving this wide of an assortment of paella, they are not making it fresh.  Be advised.
We stayed at a bed and breakfast lodging, where we were offered the opportunity to have our hosts prepare dinner if we wanted.  After a long day of sightseeing, it was a welcome relief to know that dinner would be on the table when we requested it.  What a thrill to watch the preparation of paella in a Spanish kitchen.  Joaquin and Remedios, our hosts, were delighted to prepare paella for our group of 8.  While the kids were splashing in the pool, we were observing our own personal cooking class.

 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Sampling of the Foods of Spain

Petite pears harvested from the fruit trees in the backyard at our first B & B lodging in Galapagar, Madrid, Spain.  Crisp and delicately sweet, a real treat!










Tapas from the small village of Galapagar, a suburb of Madrid: ham and cheese filled croquettes and a walnut glazed crostini. Yummy!


This tasty sampler of assorted pickled peppers and olives was purchased at the Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid. The market place reminded us of the Reading Terminal where you can purchase a wide variety of sumptuous foods to eat there or take home.











Gazpacho, you can't visit Spain and not sample it!  Gazpacho is a chilled tomato soup, and no two recipes are the same.  The flavors depend upon the fresh tomatoes and cucumbers that form the base, and the assorted toppings finish it off.  At this Madrid restaurant, the waiter was pleased to have his picture taken. Both he and I were oblivious to the fact he was being photo bombed by our youngest family traveler.


Steak and French fries. A universal favorite!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Caixa Forum, Paseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain



Vertical Gardens are popping up everywhere.  Many are planted where space is a premium.   This one is located near the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain.  

We had read about it in advance and made sure to tailor our walking route in order to include this beauty.

The variety of plant material makes this vertical garden particularly beautiful.  Thousands of plants create the outstanding depths and color shadings of this evergreen garden.



This little plaza is now a park.  Benches, musicians, and a coffee shop next door named Vertical CafĂ©, make this a pleasant spot to spend some time.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Afternoon Tea in Madrid, Spain

We did it!  After extensive internet research, we found a tea room in Madrid and discovered its location in the city. Conveniently, it fit into our day of adventure in the capital city!  How exciting to enjoy the opportunity to take tea in Madrid.  Sedelu, Salon de Te is located on Calle Santiago, 20, just down the street from the Mercado de San Miguel.












The hazy gray sky and occasional sprinkles did not deter us from dining al fresco as we ordered a few pastries and a variety of teas from the extensive tea menu.


Davis and Susanna enjoyed two different tarts (one lemon, the other pumpkin) and herbal tea, Fruits of the Woods.  Angelica ordered a ham and cheese sandwich.  While Tracey selected chocolate cookies.  All options selected were shared, savored and enjoyed.








Their specialty tea is the Sedelu Tea with Pine nuts.  Described as having exuberant flavor, it is a green Gunpowder tea with toasted pine nuts.  The pine nuts were served in the tea cup. Fun!














Thank you Sedelu, Salon de Te!  We enjoyed our morning respite at your tea shop.