Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A New Country for my list…..

 

On Saturday, the four of us (Roy, Diane, Michael and myself) loaded up in our car and headed to Spain, specifically to the city of Santiago De Compostela. 

The actual travel was easy, but paying the tolls was interesting.   First of all, .it was VERY expensive.  There was one area where we paid over 5 Euros for the toll and then had to pay 6 Euros about 15 miles down the road!!  When we were in Portugal it was easy because we had a toll collector in our car but it got harder as we moved into Spain. 

The first booth was only 3.4 Euros, so we were able to come up with that from our change but we knew we were in trouble with future ones!  Fortunately, the next ones had some attended booths so we were able to get change easily.  We finally realized that the attended booths had a sign with a little man on it.

The weather was gloomy and rainy for most of the trip, but it was still a fun journey.  This bridge was probably more spectacular because of the gloom….

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Our travel was easy until we got the hotel itself.   It was not over-savagely marked and we missed it the FIRST and the SECOND time that we drove around the round-about.  Michael then took a guess and moved along one street and sure enough we were able to see the name of the hotel, but there was no place to park to unload.  So, we continued further down the street, trying to find a place to make a U-Turn.  There was nothing available so he turned right onto a street….possibly a One-Way street but we were never sure!!!  We headed back the correct direction and fortunately, during all of the driving, I had seen the entrance to an underground parking garage.  We passed the hotel again, entered the parking garage and emerged at street level and about 50 yards from our hotel…..we MEANT to do it that way!!!!

We checked into the lovely Hotel Compostela and the hotel clerk reluctantly told us that it would be 10 minutes before our room was ready.  We said that we didn’t mind waiting but she said that we needed to hurry to get to see the Farmer’s Market so we should leave our bags and they would be taken up to our rooms. 

We walked about 3 blocks and entered the Mercado de Abastos.  As markets go, it was fairly typical, with fruits and vegetables along one aisle…..

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…..fish in another enclosed area……

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…..and meats and cheeses in another one……

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We found the oxtail particularly appetizing……

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And, what can I say about the tail on this particular cut of meat (maybe goat or lamb)……

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Everywhere you looked there was Bacalhau which is Salted Cod…..

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The bread aisle was enticing, especially the glorious aroma…..

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This sandwich was a monster……

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…and if I ate everything that I wanted here, I am afraid that I would look like this……

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But the thing that I liked the best about the market were the looks on the faces of the people (mostly women) who worked there…..

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We returned to the hotel, checked the view out of our bedroom window……

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….and headed back downstairs to check out the town.  The stairs in the hotel were made of luxurious wood and we felt an extreme urge to climb them rather than take the lift…..

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Notice the “Log Cabin” design on each landing!!!

Our helpful hotel clerk had suggested a particular Tapas restaurant and since Spain is the home of the Tapas Cuisine, we had to check it out.   The old town of Santiago is a maze of narrow roads bordered by shops, restaurants and other businesses designed for the tourists…..DSC07652

After wandering down a few streets, we found the restaurant and had our first look inside….. DSC07653

There were many people sitting at a bar at the front, selecting various items from trays lined along the bar.   A bit further back there were tables and after a 20 minute wait, we were seated.

Our Waiter was from the Philippines and spoke wonderful English.  The first task was selecting drinks for the meal, and Michael and Diane selected a bottle of wine while Roy and I went for the local beer….. 

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After a “cheers”…….DSC07657

….we were ready to select our food.   When the waiter arrived, he could see that we were struggling to select items from the Spanish menu and suggested that he bring us a sampler.  We happily agreed and were treated to an amazing array of food, starting with cheese (the Blue Cheese on bread was to die for)…..

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…..thin sliced meats……

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….and grilled Padron peppers with lots of sea salt……

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Next came the fish courses (yes there were TWO).  The first was a spicy Scallop and two shrimp…..

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For the record, I loved the shrimp but wasn’t as impressed with the Scallop.  I truly like the flavor but not the texture!!

Then came Fried Calamari that was absolutely delicious…..

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At this point we were all stuffed, but there was still the meat course to go!!   We were each served a small piece of steak, smothered in cheese, onions and mushrooms and topped with a quail’s egg……

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To finish up the meal, the other three had a glass of Port and I asked for “something chocolate”……

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Here is our photo from the start of the meal……

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…..and here is the after……

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Michael and I loved the hustle and bustle of the place.  Our waiter was in constant motion, bringing plate after plate of tasty food to the tables.

As we waddled down the street, we passed this amazing, and very beautiful,  Street Artist…..

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I walked over to give her a coin and she looked up and slowly motioned for me to come closer.   As I approached she handed me a small token that she was holding in her hands.

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We wandered around the Old Town area some more, enjoying the architecture, the people and the shops.  We giggled at this one selling “American Food”……IMG_5113

I would have thought that this store was here to cater to the Americans, but I really didn’t see (or hear) many of them so I am a bit perplexed at how it can survive!!  Maybe American Food is considered a delicacy???/

Roy and Diane returned to the hotel for a while and Michael and I headed out down one of the surrounding streets to just get some exercise.  We came to this statue……

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….which was interesting, but we had more fun making friends with the residents around the statue…..

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After stopping for a cup of coffee/tea, we met up with the Carrolls again and started strolling some more.   Diane heard loud music from a nearby park and suggested that we check it out.   What we found was a carnival, filled with happy, over-sugared children and their stony-faced parents.

At the center of the carnival was the largest Ferris Wheel that I have ever been close to……DSC07677

We left the liveliness of the carnival to revel in the solitude and quiet of a walk around the park…..

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This was a delightful path that wound all the way around the carnival. 

We stopped to photograph a few Eucalyptus trees that were larger than any we have ever seen……

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Roy and Diane planned to walk further, but Michael and I were ready to head back to the hotel, but first we had to stop for another Santiago specialty…..Chocolate and Churros…..

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The chocolate was the consistency of a thin pudding and the Churros were magnificent when they were dipped in the warm liquid…..

……a great nightcap!!!!

2 comments:

Sylvia said...

Mm, chocolate and churros! When I went to Spain I made the mistake of getting them for breakfast, which was too much mostly because I was expecting to drink the chocolate like tea or coffee. You got it right by getting them for dessert!

Karen S said...

Brilliant restaurant. And how sensible of your waiter to offer a sample menu. It looks lovely. The street artist does look stunning. Obviously there is lots more to discover here.

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