Madrid, the capitol of Spain, has castles, the most museums, the largest Plazas and the busiest streets. We found out quickly that the roundabouts work well here because when you make a mistake which is easy to do and you need to turn around you just go to the next roundabout and go the other direction. The parking under the streets works well too to get you where you want to be the closest to. They have shopping for everyone except gun enthusiasts since Spain has a law against owning guns.
One of the restaurants that Natalie showed us was one her father in law said was his favorite. He travels to Madrid a lot so we took his suggestion. And we are so glad we did. It is called Las Cuevas De Luis Candelas and it is under the main square in a cave. The sangria was filled with different kinds of fruits, the salmon was grilled to perfection, the salad was cold and crisp and the ice cream was just enough to share. At the end of the meal they brought us a small cup of string hot coffee and that was perfect to end the afternoon with.
Merida, Spain, my home away from home for the past two months. Luckily I have an adventurous family that has been willing to come stay with me at different times so I’ve had people to explore with and suffer through the lack of understanding Spanish with. These translator apps on your phones are amazing and help you get through. I still have brought home from the grocery store the wrong things and had to throw some of it away. The people here are so friendly and helpful and we’ve found out that using your hands to talk works pretty well. To live like a local you need to pay attention to what they do. For instance, they get up early and walk or ride bikes and take their kids to the playground because by noon it’s too hot and you need to go back inside. Have lunch or go to lunch because they soon close the shops for siesta time. This is a very important part of their culture. How can you eat your dinner at 10:00 pm and still be walking the streets and enjoying your friends at midnight if you don’t get a good siesta in the late afternoon? Kids and older people alike enjoy these dark and cooler evenings. And the way they conserve on energy, the lights are not bright leaving a very romantic glow. Time is the most important ingredient in the making of a good wine, reading a good book and getting to know another culture and country. I’m so thankful I’ve had this precious time to spend here. Muchas Gracias Espana!
After all the wonderful traveling we’ve be doing to see this spectacular country of Spain it was time to stay home and have a spa day! The sun is so hot you need to drink plenty of water and wear good shoes. 👠👠(ha). We used a stress reliever mask with minerals from the sea, put cucumbers on our eyes and covered ourselves in an olive oil based lotion. For lunch we ate cucumber sandwiches (not the same ones we used on our eyes, my husband said that would be taking recycling a bit too far) with cream cheese and bean sprouts on white bread that comes here with the crust already cut off. I added the bean sprouts because years ago when my sister and her husband George used to take us sailing in the Pacific Ocean she would pack our lunch and add bean sprouts or alfalfa sprouts to our sandwiches and I remember the crunch would enhance the enjoyment of our sandwich. To our water we added cucumbers, lemon and mint. The cucumbers are excellent for rehydration and contain anti-inflammatory properties. The lemons boost your immune system and help with digestion and the mint aids the stomach as well but also add sweetness without adding sugar. They are good together or separately.
While I’m here in Spain I knew I needed to buy some extra toilet paper, and I thought I’d pick up the prettiest paper I saw. Well, pretty it is but it feels like the cheap paper towels you find in gasoline stations. Not a good choice if you know what I mean!
Then on another occasion as we were traveling to see this spectacular country of Spain, we stopped for gasoline..oops, I mean diesel which is used in the car I’m driving. And being a little hungry, we bought a snack to eat in the car. Doesn’t this pimento cheese sandwich look great? As I took a bite, a puzzled look came over my face, but I thought I’d try another bite just to be sure. Not being able to read the ingredients written in Spanish was a problem. So I got out my phone with its Spanish to English translation app. Low and behold, I was eating crab salad. I was so wanting pimento cheese, and the crab was not fulfilling my needs at the time.
So when in Spain, don’t trust your eyes to do the translating for you! Get out that translation app! 💃💃
After days of traveling to visit all these small historic old towns here in Spain, it was time to do as the Spanish people do to relax and beat the heat, 100 + degrees. So we drove about thirty minutes north of Merida to Extremadura. Aqua Libera certainly did their research before they opened this Roman House. It was built and operated like it was 2000 years ago when the Roman’s occupied this area. The day passed so quickly as we had massages and sat in the baths and relaxed under the shade. The people were so helpful even without speaking English. The way they treated us needed no language. It was a warm and universal caring that came through. Even their dogs were especially respectful as they wondered around the spa stopping to sit with each of us for a moment as we relaxed and read books we had brought with us. I will be going back for dinner some evening after 10:00 pm, of course, to experience the ancient recipes they studied to prepare here.
The Mediterranean diet is an easy diet to be on when you’re in the Mediterranean. Everywhere you go things are cooked with olive oil or they put it directly on your salads and you can dip your bread into it. Their tapas is served the minute you sit down, and it consists of olives or small dishes of cut up tomatoes and herbs with olive oil, or just small plates of anything for you to nibble on while you wait for your meal. Your meal is never heavy with flour coatings and fried. And talk about salads, the lettuce is paired with a variety of healthy choices like avocados, artichokes, very flavorful tomatoes, onions, red peppers, fresh corn cut right off the cob, legumes and any kind of seeds and nuts. The dressing is olive oil and vinegar, of course. It looks as pretty as it tastes.
Olive oil is added to shampoos, lotions and conditioners as well. It feels very soothing on your skin and helps with the dry heat to keep your skin soft.
We decided to drive just an hour north of Merida for dinner and see yet another one of Spain’s small historical towns. It was a little deserted at first but the time there was only 7:00 pm, a bit early for most Spaniards to eat dinner. So we walked up the hill, following the sounds of bells until we found the old church where they originated. As the sun began to set the people started coming out, and talking to them was one of the most unique situations we have had. The conversations began in a restaurant that had a seductive feeling about it as the lights began to come on. Everyone was so receptive to us too and it started with our waiter. With David interpreting, we had a very informative conversation with him. We learned that Spain does not allow their people to own guns and that their crime rate is very low. He said “I have a knife and that’s all I need!” He also proceeded to tell us “what big balls” our president has and that they admire him. Then later, we got into another conversation with a man and his family from Egypt. Again, he was saying how our president is a businessman whose own pockets are full so he doesn’t need other countries to fill them with bribes. He thinks he’s really doing a good job of trying to straighten things out for our country, trying to get industries to set up there and giving them incentives to do so in order for more Americans to have jobs. He continued to say, “your president means what he says and will do everything he can to do what he says,” again saying how much he admired him. I’m not used to all this positive talk. On Facebook and in the media all the time you hear how bad Trump is doing, pointing out the bad and not letting go of past things. It was a fun and informative dinner, conversations that none of us were expecting.