Palmera de chocolate: A love story

Palmera de chocolate. Palmerita de chocolate. A chocolate palm. Whatever you call them, I’ll take two!

I frequent the panaderia (bread shop/bakery) near our apartment. One of the first times I went in, in addition to my bread order, I pointed to the palmeritas (palmeritas are smaller, palm-sized versions of palmeras) and said, “dos chocolate por favor”. The young gal working, who I had happened to tell that I needed to practice my Spanish, said the name of the cookie, twice, and had me repeat it to her, in Spanish. “Palm-ear-ras”, I said, and earned a “muy bein”. I returned home and recounted the story to Phil, “I’m not sure what she said but something like panietta. I guess that makes sense, like small bread?” I have twice been corrected since that time when asking for them. I even sent Phil to get the scoop while I grabbed a bag of coffee from the place next door because I was becoming slightly embarrassed of my inability to get the pronunciation. He was successful and we now have it down. So much so that I ordered a palmera de chocolate today at a coffee shop with wild abandon. It was So. Good.

What the heck is a palmera de chocolate? You have definitely seen them. I had seen them many times (usually without the chocolate) but had never tried them. They are a cookie made of sweet puff pastry, kind of heart shaped with curled up ends (photos below). They are french in origin and I read that some countries just call them “ears”. That sounds less appetizing than palmera but is in fact a more accurate description of what they look like. It’s buttery puff pastry covered in chocolate. That is really all the information you should need.

Fun update; since that first time ordering palmeritas, I have become a regular at our panaderia. The young gal I mentioned even grabs my usual bread order* when she sees me in line and has it ready for me when it’s time to check out!

*contrary to what you may know about me and my intense desire to do so, I do not get palmeritas every time I go to the panaderia.

Jess learns Spanish (a work in progress)

I told a friend recently, “I didn’t think learning a second language at the age of 42 would be easy peasy” …but maybe I did. Or, more accurately, I didn’t really think about it intently. It was something future Jess would have to deal with, something I said and even believed without contemplating what it actually meant. “I’m going to learn Spanish when we get to Spain.” Kind of like, “I’ll quit smoking by the time I’m 30” and then I turned 30 and was like, “Oh, crap. I’m going to kick this can down the road a little further”(I did quit smoking but I was a smidge older than 30). Regardless I’m doing it. I’m learning Spanish!

Learning is tiring. I don’t remember the last time I used my brain this much. If you don’t use it, you lose it and my brain is definitely burning off some serious flab. The brain is just like building a muscle; when I first started practicing yoga, I remember thinking I would never be able to do full wheel pose. Now, with years of practice, building strength and flexibility, I am able to do many poses. Regardless, the first day I rolled out my mat, I was “doing” yoga. So, I just have to remind myself when I feel frustrated or stupid or disheartened, that I am “speaking Spanish.” I am comprehending Spanish. I am putting in the work and I am doing it. I am forgoing my giant lunches with mas vino (except Friday. I get Friday to enjoy the food and wine that brought me to this land in the first place!) to put in study time.

I love this quote from the movie American Beauty, “It’s a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself. Makes you wonder what else you can do that you’ve forgotten about.” It is way too easy to get sidetracked in life and to spend years in a routine or situation that doesn’t feed your soul. It is such a gift when you remember yourself, get a glimpse of who you really are (or were), could still be, or could be again. It is a bigger gift yet to act on it and to take that step. To feel the cobwebs fall away. What I am trying to sufficiently say, is that I am (still) surprising myself and it feels muy estupendo!

Churros! The good, the bad, and the ugly. Just kidding, they are all good.

Since we’ve arrived in Gijon, I have eaten churros a handful of times and not once have I regretted ordering them. In fact, I am a little nervous that anytime we pop into a cafe for a snack or desayuno (Spainsh for breakfast) and they are a menu option, I will order them above all else. I won’t do that (don’t do it, Jess!) as I enjoy trying other foods. But they are sooooo good. Even when they’re not great, they’re still pretty darn good.

The best place to order them, from my experience and what I’ve read, is at a Churroria. Churrorias specialize in churros (duh) and make their own, fresh, in-house. A cafe or even a bar may have churros on the menu but they likely come from a bag and perhaps were frozen. I have had them both ways. The fresh ones (pictured below from Valor) were far superior (like funnel cake kissed by an angel) but even the frozen ones were still fried, golden, sugar dusted tubes of delight. As if that wasn’t enough, you get to dip them in CHOCOLATE! Chocolate that you can then drink! They are similar to pizza in this way; fresh is the way to go but frozen pizza is still pizza and well, gimme that pizza. But first, pass the churros con chocolate!

Hot, cold, and sweaty

We knew it would be rainy and we were vale (Spanish word for ok) with the rain. Now Gijon is extremely humid, as rain allows for the lush greenery that is Asturias. We were spoiled in Southern California with almost no humidity. We could go on a moderate intensity hike and not even break a sweat. I am a sweater, that is to say I sweat (often in a sweater) easily, so I embraced the lack of humidity whole heatedly and never looked back.

When considering Gijon, we did not think about humidity. “But Jess,” you say, “if a place is often rainy, it only makes sense that the rain would increase the relative humidity, duh.” While I appreciate your meteorological insight, and you are correct, we simply neglected that fact.

Phil and I both grew up in the Midwest and as such are no strangers to hot, sweaty, and humid summers. It is a new experience, however, to be in a place where it’s relatively cool (50-65°F) and experience humidity. Layering is key (it’s actually quite useful in SoCal too but I digress). Usually when I walk out the door, I wish I would have worn a heavier jacket. Then, after about five minutes into our walk, I’m glad I didn’t. Ten minutes in, my jacket is off and I am carrying it. Because of the humidity, it doesn’t take much to work up a sweat while walking, particularly if you are a sweater in a sweater.

Gijon also happens to be super windy, so if you stop to have a seat on one of the many public benches (Gijon and Spain in general has a large elderly population and as a gerontologist, it pleases me greatly that they have so many spots for folks to stop and have a rest!), you are pleased as punch (what does that even mean?) to have your jacket to slip back on.

When my brother and I were kids, we would take turns staying with my aunt Harriet who lives in Kansas City. She did not have kids yet and she would shower us with attention and take us to fun places in the big city. One summer, while at the Ocean’s of Fun water park with my brother, Travis, she asked him how he was feeling. He told her, “I’m hot, I’m cold, and I’m sweaty”. This became a well known family story that we would all laugh at because what the heck kind of feeling is that? Well, lo these many years, I finally truly understand what he meant. I feel you, young Travis. I feel you. I am hot. I am cold. I am sweaty.

Cachopo de Ternera: A signature dish of Asturias

I love trying new food. I also believe when you’re in Rome (go on…), you should do as the Romans do so while in Asturias, I shall do as the Asturians do. A traditional Austrian dish throughout Gijon is called Cachopo. Cachopo consists of ham and cheese sandwiched between two large veal fillets, then breaded and fried and served over a bed of french fries and topped with vegetables, often red bell pepper and mushrooms. Whaaaaaaat? Yes.

I had read up on some of the local dishes when we first arrived in Gijon and discovered a restaurant with highly rated Cachopo very near to the airbnb we started our adventure at in Cimadevilla district (the oldest neighborhood in town). This was when the national curfew was still in place and restaurants had to close indoor dining service at 9pm (outdoor at 10). We knew Spain was known for their late dinners as we had seen plenty of people in restaurants in the evenings.

So, one night, we headed to the small restaurant called Bar Begona to try Cachopo. As we entered, no one was in fact eating, rather we found 70- and 80-year-old men were drinking and socializing, but stopped for a moment to concentrate on us (or so I felt). We could tell we were in the place to be, we just weren’t there at the right time. We weren’t going to turn around and leave, so we sat down and the waitress came over. We indicated we wanted to eat (this was at 8pm). She informed us they closed at 9pm. Phil asked if we could eat, “Podemos comer?” to which she essentially said “You tell me?” and pointed to her watch. We said Vale (Spanish for okay) and ordered the Cachopo. We waited somewhat awkwardly, at a table smack dab in the middle of the bar, surrounded by the old Spanish men. The Spanish fellows reminded Phil of his Papa (his Italian grandfather) and said when his buddy Jason comes for a visit, he’s going to take him there so they can old man it up. When in Asturias…

As we waited, the old Spaniards drank more and talked louder and seemed to forget we were there. We had some vino tinto (red wine) while we waited and eased in a bit. An older couple, who I assume owned the place were in and out of the kitchen. She (I referred to her repeatedly as Abuela to Phil) passed around some delicious bites to each table. They tasted similar to a crestless ham and cheese quiche but were so much better. Abuela eyed us curiously. Not quite a stink eye but not welcoming either.

The Cachopo was ordered as a shared dish and we have discovered you can typically share most entrees on a menu here. We were glad we did as when it arrived at the table it was huge and beautiful and covered in lovely red peppers, green peas, and mushrooms. Phil doesn’t like mushrooms and I’ve only seen him eat them on rare occasion if a dish is truly delicious. This was one of them.

After the experience at Bar Begona, we became more accustomed to Spanish meal times. Breakfast (desayuno) is eaten anywhere from 8-11am, lunch is eaten at 2-3pm (comida), and dinner (cena) between 9pm-midnight. We knew of their later eating times but putting it into practice has taken time, as of this post we are still getting used to the timing of eating. We had not realized that lunch was the largest meal of the day, typically consisting of several courses and wine, with dinner being a much smaller one. Phil had mentioned wanting to return to Bar Begona for the Cachopo at lunch sometime so we could have a proper dining experience there.

Our wedding anniversary is Wednesday and we’d planned to go out then but we were both onboard with moving it up a bit. To Abuela’s we went! We arrived at Bar Begona just after 2pm. We were seated in their small dining room, which we had not seen on our first visit, with wall adorned with watercolor paintings of topless mermaids, and I mean every one of the dozen or so that adorned the walls.

An ensalada mixta to start, followed by the Cachopo and a bottle of vino rosado to accompany the meal. The Cachopo was even better than the first time and I could tell Abuela’s comida Cachopo was pan fried with love. Cutting into the giant, golden beauty revealed the melty cheese and jamon hiding inside. The veal reminded me of really tender, thin, chicken-fried steak. To end the meal, we shared a crust-less cheesecake at the waitress’s recommendation, and each had a cafe solo. The meal left us with a pleasant, warm, and inviting feeling (maybe the wine had something to do with that?) and we left quite pleased and satisfied.

As has become our routine, we took a long, leisurely post-meal walk home along the waterfront, stopping a couple of times to sit on a bench and watch the waves and the passersby. Being able to take our time in most all that we do has been an amazing experience. We have to remind ourselves (or at least, Phil has to remind me), that we can take our time as we don’t have to be anywhere. We can do whatever we want and I don’t need to feel guilty about having a giant lunch on a Monday and then taking it easy the rest of the day. I can savor each experience without rushing onto the next. That’s what this life is for, right?

A rainy Saturday at the Museum

Today Phil and I visited the Museu del Pueblu d’Asturies (the museum of Asturias). Asturias is the larger region and autonomous community we reside in in Spain (similar to a US state) and Gijon is the city we live in in Asturias. The museum was a rainy, half hour walk from our place. I knew moving to Asturias rain was a common weather pattern, and today it alternated between a heavy mist and a drizzle; so it was perfectly comfortable to be out and about as we had our umbrellas with us.

The museum was located right across from the Gijon soccer team’s (aptly named Sporting Gijon) stadium. Phil is really hoping things open up enough here that we can go and see a game when the new season starts. At first it looked as if the museum might be closed due to obvious construction near the entrance but we were able to read the signs well enough that directed us around the building and to the entrance. A nice fellow greeted us at the desk, advised us to please not walk on the freshly painted floors, gave us a map, and we were off. The museum grounds consisted of several buildings on about 2 acres of land.

We started in the main building which provided a peek into both middle class/bourgeoisie and working class/peasants living conditions, household items, and tools from the 1780’s through 1965. It was so interesting and we enjoyed seeing the juxtaposition of the lives of the citizenry depending on the luck of the draw at their birth.

We then moved onto the Valdes Manor which housed a photograph exhibit of found and developed negatives from the early 1900’s everyday life in Asturias, which was somber but so cool. Then we walked next door to the House of Gonzalez which is home to a bagpipe museum (the Gaita Asturiana is a traditional, Asturian bagpipe). There were also many other musical instruments including the hurdy-gurdy which I’d heard of but never seen. Look it up. That thing is crazy.

After leaving the bagpipe museum we walked around the grounds and popped into the various other buildings: cider press, peasant house, horreos (grain storrage), and chozo ucorros (mountain shepherd refuge). These buildings gave us a look at the old cider pressing process, grain processing and storage, of normal life in the region. The outdoor space was lovely and green, especially so after the rain. We were mostly alone and only passed a couple of other folks during our few hours there. One of the things that felt weird about living in LA is that you could never be alone; there were always other people. Even on seemingly remote hikes, we always ran into someone or lots of someones. In Gijon, even though it’s a fair sized city (pop. 250,000), we’ve been able to find places that feel like we have them all to ourselves which has been really nice.

After we left the museum we went in search of a tasty snack and I needed coffee! We walked home along the waterfront and stopped in at a little coffee house/churreria. We each had an espresso and ordered churros (our first churros order since being in Spain). The churros came plain but we wanted them with chocolate so ordered up two large cups of thick, delicious hot chocolate (more like warmed pudding, like we used to make on the stove, before snack packs) for dipping. I wasn’t sure if I should drink the chocolate right from the cup because I thought I remembered reading that to do so would be uncouth. I looked around to see what everyone else was doing. I couldn’t really tell, so I dipped the churros. Between heavenly bites of the long, somehow not greasy, donut-like ropes, I spooned the thick chocolate into my mouth. Then I figured the right thing to do was whatever I wanted to do, so took a few sips to finish off the cup. I also happened to do a quick google search that indicated drinking the chocolate was A-ok, which made me feel better. I don’t know why I’m so worried about making a little faux pas. It’s not like the waiter is going to come over and tell me to get the hell out. Anyway, it all worked out and I left with a belly full of chocolate, sugar, coffee, and magic (fun fact; churros are 90% magic). It was a perfect pick me up and warm hug of yum needed after our long day in the rain.

Most businesses are closed on Sunday with the exception of restaurants and bars, so we stopped by a fruteria and small grocery store for a few items to use for the night’s dinner and meals on Sunday. As much as I would love to eat every meal out, experiencing new, tasty delights for each one, shopping and cooking meals at home are another adventure of their own (I’ll share more about what I prepare as I get to know the ingredients at my disposal). Phil made us salads with a little bread and vino tinto which was the perfect ending to a wonderful day exploring unknown parts of Gijon.

It’s Friday, we ain’t got no jobs…

It is amazing how busy we seem to be with basically no commitments or schedule we have to adhere to. We left the apartment this morning around noon (hey, that’s not morning) with the goal of going to the Tourist Information center. Even though we’re not “tourists” we still want to immerse ourselves in the culture and learn about our city and the region and the TI is a good place to start.

We had a call from our landlord just as we neared the TI. There was a minor plumbing problem at our new place and he wanted to know if we could be at the apartment in a half hour to meet the plumber. We promptly turned around, returned home, and met the fellow. The repairs did not take long and he was on his way.

While we are waiting for the Red Cross-provided Spanish classes we signed up for to begin, we also decided to take additional Spanish lessons from a language school and we start classes next week. So, after the plumber left, we decided to do practice run to the school so we knew exactly where it was and grab some lunch afterward. We got a little turned around but eventually found it. It is fun to see different parts of the city so as long as it’s not pouring down rain, I don’t mind getting lost. After we located the school and had our route down, it was time to EAT!

We walked past a few places and settled on a cute spot called De Mouzo (MIZ! That’s for my Columbia peeps) with reasonably priced menu del dia which included two courses, desert, and wine. Phil and I shared the ensalada mixta: a mixed salad of leafy greens, red onion, a large piece of white asparagus, chunks of red, ripe tomatoes, and tuna all topped with vinegar and oil and the muslitos de pollo adobado al horno: baked chicken drumettes in adobo spices. Of course, a basket of crusty bread accompanied. We’ve had this type of mixed salad (lettuce, veggies, often egg, and tuna) a couple of times in Spain already. We had something similar in Italy and actually there they added corn kernels. In the U.S., ordering a dinner salad and having it served with canned tuna on top would be weird. Right? Well, here it works and is delicious. The chicken was fall off the bone tender and it’s chicken wings, what’s not to like? I unfortunately did not get photos of these tasty dishes but I did manage to snap a couple of the main courses and desert before diving in!

We enjoyed the filete de dorado a la pancha: this means grilled sea bream, (though I’m pretty sure it was pan fried) either way, it was delicious. The fish was served with a small side salad and mandolin cut, crispy potatoes. It was super flaky and simply seasoned and the potatoes were beautifully crisped. We also had the plato de la abuela con chorizo (grandma’s plate with chorizo), an Austurian dish of fried potatoes with an over-easy egg served and chorizo (sometimes served with beef fillets). The chorizo had a strong smokey flavor that paired well with the beautiful, orange egg yolk and crispy, golden french fries. All of the eggs here, even from the grocery store, have such a lovely, deep orange color. We paired the meal with a bottle of vino rosado.

The postre (desert) was the star of the show. The tarta de la abuela (grandma’s cake. I HAVE to meet this grandma) which was made of layers of custard, chocolate, cookies, magic, and love. It was amazing. The tarta de Santiago (a Galician almond cake) was delicious as well but next to the sweet, rich, deliciousness of grandma’s cake, was not allowed to shine as brightly as it would have on it’s own. We each had a cafe solo (espresso) with desert.

After lunch, we headed to a nearby park Phil had seen on the map to walk off our huge meal. It is named Parque de Isabel la Catolica. What a cool place! In addition to the statue of Isabel, it’s also home to the first monument erected to Alexander Flemming, the discoverer of penicillin (dude totally deserves a monument), lovely rose gardens, and is home to 40 different kinds of water fowl. We saw black roosters, the biggest chickens I’ve ever seen, two emus, and black swans!

We headed home along the beachfront and stopped in a little cafe for a drink because, why not? We’ve got nowhere else to be. Plus, it’s Friday, we ain’t got no jobs, and well, you know the rest (if you don’t, go watch Friday right now!).

What brought me to Spain? Many, little leaps of faith.

There’s no reward without risk. Phil likes to remind me of this. I don’t consider myself a risky person. Quite the opposite. I’m quiet, shy, and prone to anxiety. These, however, are my default settings as I have the power to think and behave differently and often do.

I grew up in rural Missouri. Have you seen Ozark on Netflix? That’s where I grew up. My folks still live there and it’s beautiful country but as a young woman, I couldn’t wait to leave. I moved to the nearest “big city” for college, Columbia, MO (pop 120k). I remember being so nervous driving there because there were multiple lanes of traffic (well, two to be exact).

I loved Columbia and had (still have) great friends there. My brother was there. I met Phil there. I thought I was perfectly content to live there forever. Phil decided to go back to school and needed to take classes in St. Louis. I was working a job with the state that allowed me to easily transfer and so, we moved to St. Louis. St. Louis had even more lanes of traffic! It was a real city. We liked St. Louis and had friends there and eventually bought a house. I loved our little bungalow. We had a little yard and a big dog. We both had jobs that we liked. Things were good. I thought I was perfectly content to live there forever.

In 2014, we visited Phil’s dad who had moved to Palm Springs a couple of years prior. We rented a car and traveled around a bit and really liked the whole SoCal vibe. So, we hatched a crazy scheme to sell our house and move to California. After two years of planning, dreaming, and working, we put our house on the market in spring of 2016 and within three weeks, we had an offer for our asking price, we each had job offers, and we’d found a dog-friendly apartment with an ocean view in Long Beach, CA to call home.

We fit what we could into a 15-foot U-haul, got rid of the rest, and drove half way across the county. I remember feeling anxious about having to get rid of my stuff. Really cool stuff I had collected over the years. I caught myself in this moment; stressing, feeling tight and tense and thought, “Ohhhhh. This is just stuff,” and felt an immediate release, a whole body exhale. I had a brand new adventure waiting for me on the west coast. That was way better than stuff. I remember a friend asking why we were leaving. “Don’t do you like St. Louis?” I’ve thought about my answer many times since then. I told her, “We like St. Louis. We like our house. We like our jobs. We’re just not done yet.”

We lived in Long Beach for four and a half wonderful years (by then, multiple lanes of traffic were old hat). We had a great apartment. We had a kayak. I even realized my long-time dream of becoming a registered yoga teacher (thanks to Long Beach School of Yoga). I thought I was perfectly content to live there forever.

Then the global pandemic hit. Phil and I were lucky enough to have jobs that allowed us to work from home, for the most part. We spent 24/7 together in our 750-square foot apartment. We talked about how precious life is. How tomorrow is promised to no one. How we hated giving away 40-50+ hours of our lives away each week to make money for other people who didn’t care about us.

I worked in eldercare and have seen too many sad stories, like the couple who saved for retirement all their lives only to buy the RV and, a month into their dream, the husband is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or the wife has a debilitating stoke. I’m done saving the fine china for special occasions. I’m taking the Chanel No. 5 down from the shelf and giving myself a spritz. I am wearing grandma’s pearls to the grocery store.

So we hatched a crazy scheme to move to Spain. This was in mid-pandemic when no one really realized just how long we would be living with the reality of Covid, so we started the process of requesting visas. We applied for non-lucrative, one year, visas which prohibit us from working (heck, yes!). We decided to dip into our RV money a little early.

We were approved in February 2021. We once again got rid of almost all of our stuff. We drove across the country. We stopped in Missouri to see my folks and were lucky enough to be vaccinated. After a month there, we drove onto North Carolina to see Phil’s dad. We sold our car and left for Madrid out of Raleigh-Durham in late April.

So many little leaps of faith have led me here, us here. Living in freaking Spain! Me; a gal from Gravois Mills, Missouri. Me; a quiet, shy, introvert. Me; a bold, brave, woman. Because I’m not done yet.

Eat, eat, eat and walk, walk, walk

In 2019 Phil and I visited his cousin, Sandra, in Raiano, Italy. We talked about traveling and she said when she travels through Europe with friends all they do is “eat, eat, eat and walk, walk, walk,” and said in her Italian accent was extra charming.

Phil and I don’t have a car in Spain and we purposely chose a very walk-able city. If I had to sum up our time spent here thus far, it would be exactly as Sandra had said, eating and walking. It’s the best. Yesterday, we walked to the Red Cross to sign up for the free Spanish classes they offer. It was a 40-minute walk from our apartment. They closed at 2pm (14:00 in European time) and we left at 12:45, so we had to walk with purpose.

We arrived in time and I let the Senora at the desk know we wanted to study Spanish and did they have classes? “Queremos estudiar espanol. Tienes clases?” (thanks Duolingo!). She indicated they did and we would need to sign up. They hold the classes once they have enough students. I had read this online and knew this is how they scheduled the classes. Phil’s Spanish comprehension is (currently) much better than mine, and he confirmed that’s what she’d indicated. We gave her our names (good thing we had our US driver’s licenses on us. I know the Spanish alphabet but spelling out our entire names seemed unnecessary and a little anxiety inducing). We don’t have Spanish phone numbers yet so I asked if she could email us. She indicated she would and I wrote down my email address. What a pleasing interaction! Learning Spanish is our number one goal while we’re here and the fact that we made progress toward this goal and I was able to communicate in Spanish to do so, felt really good. Now it was time to EAT!

We stopped in a cute pizza place we’d passed on the way ( We each had the menu del dia which included two courses, beverage, and desert. For the first course we ordered the caprese salad and ham croquettes. The caprese was beautiful: slices of lovely red tomato and mozzarella drizzled with bright green pesto and drizzled with olive oil and vinegar. The ham croquettes are everywhere and we’d had them before. Phil is a big fan. They are very good but quite rich so one or two does it for me. The croquettes are golden, fried, and filled with jamon, onion, garlic, and bechamel sauce (or mashed potatoes). What’s not to love? As with everything in Spain, it was also served with a basket of delicious bread. So. Much. Bread.

We shared the pizza de casa and the lasagna bolognese. The pizza had a nice thin crust and the cheese browned to perfection. The sauce ratio was on point as well. Toppings on the house pizza were tomato, mozzarella, bacon, cabrales cream and oregano. The pasta was so tasty as well. Not really a traditional lasagna, more a deconstructed one with penne, bolognese, bechemel, and Parmesan covered in bubbly, browned mozzarella and served in it’s baking dish. The extra bread really came in handy for soaking up all of the left over sauce and scraping the browned cheese stuck to the edges of the dish. For desert, a small piece of crust-less cheesecake with raspberry sauce and whipped cream. We paired the meal with a couple of San Miguel lagers and finished with a shot of limoncello. This was common in Italy and once we saw the bottle in the cooler, we knew what we had to do. A long walk home followed and I fell asleep immediately.

Now it may seem odd that the first post I’m writing about our dining experience in Spain is an Italian meal but as a nod to Sandra and her eat, eat, eat and walk, walk, walk travel philosophy, it seemed appropriate. Like the waiters say when they serve the meal, Buen provecho!