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When In Spain

I had landed here before in the heart of bustling Barcelona..the only visible difference to me was that it was raining and that in itself seemed unusual, but not to worry.. I was about to enjoy about a weeks worth of culinary and cultural bliss..not to mention a few concerts with some of the most enthusiastic audiences be it.

So what makes trips Spain so appealing? I guess it's just the feel of the place. I have always really enjoyed my visits here and if there is any complaint, my visits may have been too short..especially in Madrid. I mean really, .can anyone ever "not" enjoy this amazing country? The obvious pluses are there..the lifestyle being so enjoyable for someone like myself.. siesta in the afternoon. which usually means long drawn out lunches at a pace that befits a slower easier manner..and late night eateries aplenty..try starting your dinner around ten p.m.! Consequently, we have some favorite hangouts that we try to frequent. The Ramblas in Barcelona has a few. Las Caracoles is a restaurant well known to local celebrities and artists, and we always enjoy a visit there. But in Madrid we seem to gravitate towards the tapas bars in the Cava Baja area, a part of the city dedicated to such fare and well suited it is.

It appears that in the southern part of the country, the menu is prepared with the warm weather in mind. .Gazpacho and cool wines with cold appetizers and fresh veggies, generally with seafood and cured meats as entree choices..The north is fuller fare with breads, oils and cheeses with glasses of smooth red wines then ended with "Paxcharan".. a sweet aperitif made from berries or fruit with a strong alcoholic punch to it..only a smallshot please!

One must also not forget the plentiful selection of domestic wines available..Rioja is probably most well known..and I have a few favorites for sure. For a taste sensation try a recent vintage "Baron de Chirel"from the mid 1990's will be astounded how full and rich these wines can be.

The city of Madrid is the city of fountains with a plethora of them..seemingly at every other street corner. The city also known for outstanding museums.. everyone must have heard of the Prado..!

Barcelona is an artisans paradise..and architecture of the great Gaudi..The cathedral is a 20th century marvel and is still a work in progress.! Not forgetting miles of beach and cafes to enjoy. The Ramblas is the well known walking street abundant with goods with the tourist in mind. Alicante' seems to be a typical city of the south catering to resort style life, and we we're delighted to discover acres of citrus orchards on the way in to the city.. Our trip of Spain started in Barcelona on to Alicante' then wound up in Madrid .The show in Barcelona was a good start to our Spanish tour with about 16,000 fans in attendance I cannot remember the last time we had a more vocal audience! We we're feeling the ill effects of the everpresent jet lag and returned to our accommodations for a quiet evening in..not recommended for anyone else I might add! since the night life inBarcelona is unequalled..try some of the discos near the waterfront..!The Alicante' concert was outside in a very old bullring and thughthe weather got chilly that evening we didn't seem to suffer the ill effects of the cold mostly because the audience was so energetic! About10,000 of them!After the show, we drove to a resort hotel north of town and relaxedtill the following morning.On to Madrid to yet another bullring, but at least we we're spared the cool evening climes by a covered arena..nonetheless it was still very cool inside, until we got going..a few up tempo numbers and all was cozy again.A very loud and vocal crowd again of about 12,000 fans, as per usual for the Spanish audiences. Where on earth do they get all the energy?We went for a glass of nice red wine later and enjoyed a good night ofrest again. Knowing the next morning we had a day off in madrid weplanned nice lunch for the following day..and a fun dinner at the tapasbar of choice along Cava Baja..unfortunately the weather was chilly and wet and didn't encourage us to try a local club or barafterwards..besides, we had a show in Lisbon the next day so we declined a late evening idea hopefully to return another day! So some quick shopping next morning in the fashion area of Madrid before we left and then we sadly had to say "Adios" to our friend and host country all the while praying for a swift return to a favorite and most likely, future destination..ciao for now!