A Weekend Trip from Madrid & Bocadillos (September 17, 2006)

by | Sep 17, 2013 | Uncategorized

Warning: The following is an entry in my journal from Spain . . . some of it is quite candid.  You can tell I was experiencing culture shock!  Funny how most of my culture shock revolved around food.  What can I say?  I like to eat.  Always have.

Spain actually has delicious food . . . I just did not know that yet.  I also had yet to learn that the time to eat lunch was not NOON when the only places open were bars, not restaurants.  The best places to eat in Spain are homes or tapas bars.  I found an awesome YouTube channel this year called Laura Cocinillas.  She cooks scrumptious Spanish dishes as a means of teaching the Spanish language.  You should definitely try a few of her recipes, and let me know what you think!  You should also check out the blog Spanish Sabores to get a true taste of what Spanish cuisine is like.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

9. Bocadillos. If I never eat another bocadillo when I get back to the states, it will be too soon. First, let me explain what a bocadillo is–it’s a sandwich. What’s so wrong with that you might ask? Well, let me tell you. Everyday for lunch, that’s what I eat. It’s a staple of the Spaniard’s diet. Bread for breakfast; bread for lunch; bread for dinner. Today, on the way home from Asturias, we stopped to get lunch. What were the options? Bocadillos. Don’t get me wrong. They taste fine. They’re just white bread, hard bread, just bread! You can get a bocadillo with queso (cheese), jamon (ham, that’s cured, not cooked or whatever, like the ham we eat on sandwiches [by we I mean american]), chorizo (sausage), or tortilla (the eggy-potato thing. Yes, that’s right, potatoes on bread–can you say starches-that-constipate-you-galore? Actually, for all the walking they do around here, starches don’t stay around long enough to be turned into fat for energy storage). And do you want to know how much this cute little bocadillo (don’t let the name fool you, they’re not that cute) cost me? 3 stinking euros. That’s right folks, a piece of cheese between two hard pieces of white bread cost me about five dollars. Give me some rice and beans please!! Or a salad (with GREEN leaves). Or even a cheeseburger (not from McDonald’s or Burger King–I haven’t gotten that desperate yet)!! But I mean, hey, I was prepared for this. I knew before coming here–since Cottey was so kind as to bring us here for a week–that the Spanish don’t really know how to cook.

On a lighter–and more tasty–note my trip to Asturias was great. We left really early from IES, and stopped a couple hours later for breakfast at a hotel restaurant. It was reeeeaallly good. It was a buffet, with tortilla de Espana, meats, eggs, yogurt, fruit, bread (of course), and cafe con leche (the best!!). Then we drove to Leon, where we took a tour of the Cathedral there–Carmen was my tour guide again (she’s great)–and walked around the town. It was a small town, which was a nice break from the crazy city of Madrid. We ate lunch there in the sidewalk cafes, then got back on the bus and headed toward Posada de Valdeon. Let me explain a little. Spain is made up of lots of different autonomous communities like states. Castilla y Leon is one of them. Posada de Valdeon is a town in the National Forest of Spain which is between Leon and Asturias. We stayed at a cute little hostal in the mountains of the National Forest. They call the mountains “Picos de Europa.” The hostal had A-mazing food! There was a creamy vegetable soup with–yes–bread, then some macaroni thing with clams and mushrooms, then a salad, then chicken and french fries, then desert. The soup was the best part–one of those soups that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like a hug to your stomach or something.

Anyways, the next morning we went for a hike through the mountains which was actually more like a walk down the road. It was SOO beautiful, I can’t even begin to explain. But the sky was so clear, with perfect picturesque clouds. At the end was a little pueblo and then a taxi ride–more like a ride of death, skidding ever-so-closly  to the edge of the road that gives way to cliffs all the while Marc Anthony blasting from the radio (okay, so not Marc Anthony, but you get the idea–some pop music in Spanish)–to the top, where the bus was waiting for us to take us to our next destination. (By the way, if you navigated your way through that sentence, you are a pro.)

We walked around the streets of the pueblo, met some friendly Spaniards
on vacation, and hiked around the Picos de Europa National Park.
This is where we stayed the first night of our
Castilla y León/Asturias trip.
The meal we had there was delicious!

From Posada de Valdeon, we went to Asturias. Where there is ocean!! I believe it’s the Bay of Biscay, but I could be mistaken. We checked into the hotel, then headed towards the beach. It was a small little beach with just a few people. We set up camp and pretty much just relaxed. I ate the rest of my–you guessed it–bocadillo from lunch, then laid there, then sat there, then laid, then walked to the water, then laid and sat some more. The boys played frisbee games and such, and some people were brave enough to actually swim. Later that night we wandered through the streets a while, until dinner. Llanes–the town–is a cute little fishing town that was actually built in like the middle ages. We went to the oldest part of the town, and by the architecture, it really felt like I had taken a step back in time. That night, there was a Potato Festival going on. The town has it every year, and the main event is a dance of partners who have to dance with a potato pressed between their foreheads. And they can’t just move, they have to dance to the music, to the beat.  It was great to get a taste of the local culture. The music was an interesting mix of Latino music and Polka. Not my favorite, but . . . So, we stayed around and danced for a while, then went to bed. Our hotel provided a nice Spanish breakfast in the morning, then we left for a 7-hour bus ride home.

Kali Carollo


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