Monday, November 26, 2018

Spanish Tapas

November 2018 - Spain

Pink Saturday Queen St. W
Six Word Saturday Elora
Weekly Photo Challenge 

It's the first full day of the tour. We have to meet in the lobby for 9 AM for the city tour. There was nothing new on this tour for us but it was so quiet as we went around.

Plaza Cibeles

Gran Via

Christopher Columbus

Real Palace

Plaza Espana

We then went to the Prado Museum. No photos allowed. Our guide, Antonio, was great. He clearly had a passion for the Spanish artists.

Lunch with Bob and Anne, another couple on the tour. John had tortilla Espanola and I had aguachile.

After lunch back on bus to Toledo and the weather was perfect.

Toledo is known as the "Imperial City" for having been the main venue of the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and as the "City of the Three Cultures" for the cultural influences of Christians, Muslims and Jews reflected in its history. It was also the capital from 542 to 725 AD of the ancient Visigothic kingdom, which followed the fall of the Roman Empire, and the location of historic events such as the Visigothic Councils of Toledo. Toledo has a long history in the production of bladed weapons, which are now popular souvenirs of the city.

Back in town we decide to take a cab to Plaza Mayor for dinner. 

Everybody had raved about Mercado San Miguel for dinner but it was so packed!
San Miguel Market is the most popular market in Madrid among tourists since it is located in the center of Madrid, within walking distance from Plaza Mayor. The market is not a traditional grocery market but a gourmet tapas market, with over 30 different vendors selling a wide variety of freshly prepared tapas, hams, olives, baked goods and other foods. Beer, wine and champagne are also available.

Back in Plaza Mayor we are spoiled for choice for dinner.

Love muscles!!

It was a little cool outside so we chose a cosy restaurant for dinner. John had a steak.

I chose the roasted lamb.


Inspired Sunday Elora ON
One Word Sunday Viewpoint
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge

We enjoyed a scenic and sunny drive through the arid landscapes of Don Quixote's La Mancha, featuring panoramic views of its famous windmills. 

This was our morning stop, the most enjoyable of the whole trip.

Venta del Quijote -- Desde 1966 a cute cafe/restaurant/museum playing on the Don Quixote theme. This is the kind of stop tourists enjoy even if it might be a bit hokey.

We arrive early afternoon to a rainy day in Cordoba.

We were on our own for lunch and we headed to a recommended place with Anne and Bob. John and I shared an oxtail rice dish that was so delicious!

Settling the bill with our great server.

We then met for a tour of the mosque with a great guide, it was 90 minutes long.

The most famous site in the city is the Mezquita de Cordoba, once the largest mosque in the world that was transformed into a cathedral in the 16th century.

The walking tour of the city includes the ancient Jewish Quarter, with its labyrinth of winding narrow streets and picturesque squares. The medieval synagogue on Calle de los Judios is one of only three originals still remaining in Spain. 

It had rained all afternoon but the skies opened on the way back to the bus. There were not a lot of happy campers on the bus to Seville for the evening. There was a group dinner as part of our package. We arrived sopping wet at the hotel at 7:45 and Andrea informed us that the dinner was at 8 around the corner. We wanted to at least change but he insisted on the 8 pm.

We walked around the corner to the restaurant where our salads were quickly thrown at us. John got a gluten free meal, ahead of everyone else.


Deep fried aubergine.


Beef cheeks.

Finally we can go back to our rooms and change and relax.

Overnight in Seville.

Foto Tunes Seville
Monday Mural Chinatown

The Melia had a great breakfast buffet.

The morning tour of Seville begins at beautiful Plaza de España.

Followed by the fragrant gardens of Maria Luisa Park by the Guadalquivir River.

Then we visited the quaint Barrio Santa Cruz with its narrow, winding streets.

Next was a visit to the Cathedral of Seville, one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world and burial site of Christopher Columbus. Built on the site of the former great Mosque, its original minaret, the Giralda Bell Tower, still stands.

We had the rest of the day to ourselves.

Lunch first!

We decided to visit the Alcazar and the four of us were blown away with it.

We had bought tickets for the optional Flamenco Show and were very disappointed in it. It was also overpriced.

We were only allowed photos at the end, here is a quick clip.

But when we came out to get the bus, there was total chaos as the taxi drivers were staging a protest. This was the highlight of the evening!

John and I headed out to dinner near the hotel.

Salmon for me and John had pork.

Tuesday Treasures and Travel Tuesday Campbell soup
Tuesday Photo Challenge

Seville to Granada with a stop in Cordoba.

Alhambra is Spain’s most visited monument for a reason. Beautifully located on the al-Sabika rocky hill overlooking the city of Granada, the fabulous complex is not just another architectural treasure in an already incredibly rich country, but the last remaining Moorish stronghold in Europe, as well as the oldest Muslim palace in the world.

But it is pouring rain!!! And it didn't let up until we were leaving. 

There was some grumbling among us as we were wet and cold but it was well worth the visit!

After this tour we were back on the bus for a quick drive to our hotel in Granada. Once checked in we headed out.

We ended up having lupper, lunch and dinner around 4 pm.

Complimentary appetizer.

Blood pudding, very different than British.

Pork for John.

Octopus for me.

The sun came out as we wandered about town.

Looking up at the Alhambra.

Gluten free beer!

And we experience the Granada tapas, when you order a drink they bring you a complimentary tapas, order another and you get another plate. Too bad we had eaten.

ABC Wednesday

Granada to Valencia

Another early start at 8 am as we head north through the groves of olives, almonds, lemons and oranges to the garden city of Valencia.

The bus windows are casting a blue tinge to these photos.

A bio break at a truck stop.

With delicious fresh squeezed juice.

Arrive at the huge Arts and Science City designed by contemporary artist Santiago Calatrava, with its extraordinary avant-garde architecture that includes impressive buildings such as the Hemisfèric and Oceanogràfic.

We then did a walking tour of the city with its treasure trove of Roman and Arabic architecture before continuing to the City Gates, City Hall and Gothic Cathedral. 

Valencia is known for its traditional fan making.

There was another group dinner tonight but based on the last experience the four of us opted to head downtown on our own by taxi. Valencia is well known for paella.

We had the traditional rabbit, chicken and snails!

Thursday Doors
A Photo A Week

We were on the road at 8 AM for the drive from Valencia to Barcelona. We only made one stop, thankfully, at a truck stop.
It was cute, though.

We get to the hotel about 1 PM but not all our rooms were ready, like ours! We headed to lunch with Bob and Anne and had Indian!

The city tour was scheduled for 3:45 so back on the bus.
First stop was to view the iconic symbol of Barcelona, Gaudi's masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, a colossal church that is legendary and still unfinished.

Ascend Montjuic Hill, home to the Olympic complex, a number of sports facilities built for the 1992 Summer Olympics with the Olympic Stadium at its center.

Goofing about!

Then a drive along the Old Harbor to the Plaza Catalunya, the city's bustling main square.

The beach right on the Mediterranean.

Pass the famous works of Gaudi, the master architect, including the Casa Batllo, seemingly constructed from skulls and bones.

Finally back at the hotel, we get our room and head out to dinner with Bob and Anne, Bob and Jane.

We chose El Glop, good prices and great food.

Bob's fish stew. I had crispy pig trotters, John had the famous Barcelona pork sausage with fries, Jane salmon, Bob mixed grill.

Crema Catalonia.

Pull Up a Seat Muskoka Chairs
Weekend Roundup Letter U
Weekend Reflections NOTL
Weekly Photo Challenge

The last day of the tour! We opted for the tour to Montserrat and left at 8 AM.
Montserrat is a spectacularly beautiful Benedictine monk mountain retreat about one hour North West from Barcelona.

It is home to the Black Madonna and totally deserving of its own post.

We totally lucked out with the weather and the lineups!
It started to drizzle as we left the monastery and there wasn't any lineup to touch the Black Madonna!

And not to worry if you need change to light a candle, the church has kindly provided change machines!

A couple of  cafe con leches out of the rain and some shopping!

Back at the hotel, driver and guide tipped as we are not attending the farewell dinner, several visits to get our safe fixed in our room and we head out on our own!

It is raining slightly as we head to Las Ramblas and from there we walked down to the port.
La Rambla is the most famous street in Barcelona and one of the most vital places of the catalan capital. Without a doubt, is one of the most essential attractions to visit in Barcelona.

A mid-afternoon stop.

La Boqueria is Barcelona's flagship market. 


Dried fruit

Have a glass if wine,

Rambla de Sant Josep - flower stalls

Down at the port.
In the promenade of Moll de la Fusta (Wood dock) we find a very original large sculpture called Barcelona Face, designed by the American artist Roy Lichtenstein.

In the shops, the area is full of great shops and restaurants that deserve at least another visit!

On our way back around 8 PM we stopped into the James Joyce (Irish) pub for a bitte.


Parque El Retiro Madrid Spain


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  1. I'm tired just reading this. see you soon.

  2. The architecture in Spain is just incredible!

  3. It seems the weather was a bit against you but that didn't stop you taking glorious photos. I remember the wavy paving in La Rambla. It kind of did my head in a bit. The market is terrific.

  4. Too much in one post, Jackie, though I appreciate that you did a lot in the time. Shame about the weather in Cordoba. I loved it there and it inevitably colours your impression when it's so wet. Toledo looks fabulous! Many thanks for sharing :) :)

  5. My goodness, what beautiful scenery and food and art and tour guides!! Thanks for sharing so much. I love Don Quixote!

  6. Wow! That was a full week of travel with lots of amazing sites and food. I've always wanted to visit Spain, but I don't know if that will happen so I'll live vicariously through posts like yours. Thank you!


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