Month: October 2010

A Walk in the Park

As I am yet to start Spanish lessons, I’m not gonna lie, the number of friends I have in Madrid is limited to..well…zero. Obviously being friendless wouldn’t make for a very fun night out, however it does provide me with the peaceful solitude to take a lone walk through Madrid’s biggest park – El Parque Del Retiro.     It seems like the warm  afternoon dragged the whole of Madrid from their homes to enjoy a Sunday stroll around El Retiro. Puppet shows entertained the children, rose gardens provided the romantic backdrop for couples and a sunny bench gave me the perfect opportunity to sit back and read my book, in the warm glow of the fading sun. Sometimes Most of the time, as I explore Madrid I yearn for the company of a friend. However, on that day it wasn’t a companion that I pined for, but instead a cake. A purely indulgent, little slice of heaven ‘moment on the lips, lifetime on the hips’ type of cake. So off I went. Out of the Read More

Milhojas on a sunny afternoon

Let me tell you, these cakes taste as good as they look. The fluffy sweet meringue filling is like a heartfelt hug for the mouth; sweet and lasting long after the final mouthful. So, congratulations Milhoja, your filling as soft as a cloud has officially won you the title of ‘Best Spanish Cake’, well…until my next outing to the pasteleria. This pick-me-up was also the perfect start to a little exploration around Madrid’s centre. The last time I visited the Plaza Mayor was when I was 13 and on a Spanish trip to Madrid. The memory of the square sticks with me not because I was impressed by the buskers or street entertainers, nor particularly amazed by the architecture, but instead because it was the place where I asked to buy my first bottle of water – in Spanish – from one of the many cafes. It’s these simple things, like the twinge of claustrophobia felt when standing in a packed metro train at rush hour, or the guilty pleasure of devouring a hot churro Read More

Tripe, anyone?

Tripe, black pudding and octopus…just a few of the weird and wonderful things I have eaten over the past four days. Of course, when you use their Spanish names you can forget the slightly off-putting origin of these foods, for example, ‘callos’ sounds a lot nicer than cow intestine, doesn’t it? Anyway, for me these typical dishes will always be remembered as the highlight of my four day trip to León. A historic city, located three hours from Madrid, León is truly one of Spain’s gems. If anyone is planning on paying it a visit, I truly advise that you first find a couple of generous abuelitos (grandparents) to stay with, who can spoil you rotten with homemade chorizo and other such delicious delicacies. On my first day in León I hit the town, well in true Spanish style of course. I was given a guided tour of the city at about 11pm and by 12 o’clock we were eating tiny dishes of fried chicken, patatas and the infamous callos. Tapas bars really are wonderful because they represent everything Read More