Sunday, January 30, 2011

Snapshots from Spain

A snapshot of some of our day-to-day Spain experiences:

• Going to the city market to purchase fruits, vegetables and meat…the market is a bustling little place, with a few small bars/cafes where men sit drinking beer and snacking through the morning. On special days, the surrounding streets are filled with vendors with a huge array of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and nuts. You try some of the oranges, taste a fig, and jump in to get the best of the produce. The inside stalls sell everything from sausages to meat, chicken and dried seafood, plus baked goods, German products (the area has a large German contingent), deli meats and cheeses.

• Taking the FGV train (more a tram) from our small town throughout the Costa Blanca. The journey is quite scenic, but not a very efficient mode of simply getting from one place to the next—more a journey ideal for sightseers like us. It is used by many locals as a commuting method, as well as the high school students who travel some distance to school. We traveled a beautiful journey along the coast, winding through the mountains and arriving in Benidorm.

Benidorm is a large resort town, filled with European retirees. We walked through the crowded high rises down the old town and to the paseo along the beach, where Northern European retirees crowded the beach cafes and bars offering cheap food and drinks. Sometimes you have to just enjoy tackiness in all its glory, including the “American” biker bar, cheap souvenir shops and 2 for 1 drink offers galore.

• Taking a Sunday afternoon stroll along the waterfront with the crowd of locals, enjoying the varied scenery of the rocky coastline, the beautiful holiday homes and people watching. Today’s walk was even more exciting because the wind is stirring up the waves, so the surf was pounding and surfers were even catching some waves down along the Rotes beach.

• Getting a recommendation for the best area in town for tapas and finding the spots packed with locals. Doing the tapas stroll, having a glass of wine and a snack from place to place (and trying to figure out what some of the different foods are, with our limited Spanish…and being daring enough to occasionally try them even if we aren’t sure).

• Eating the delicious paella and local seafood. I don’t think I can ever have paella in a U.S. restaurant anymore—I had been to some supposedly wonderful Spanish restaurants before, but I have now been spoiled. I guess I’m going to be a bit of a paella snob from now on…

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