Growing up I didn’t have the privilege of traveling much. My vacations stayed in Texas: Galveston, Big Bend, and countless trips to Austin to visit extended family. Don’t get me wrong – I will be visiting those places for the rest of my life. Yes, I am biased. Texas is absolutely incredible. However…
With a good job comes some expendable income and spending a portion of said expendable income. So, I have channeled my innate purchasing desires by traveling and eating some of the world’s most unique and delicious dishes.
Currently, I am in Spain where I am finding some of the world’s most famous and delectable varieties of fare. I landed in Madrid and was instantly intrigued by the architecture, hospitality, and, perhaps most notably, the most fluid, yet interesting dialect of Spanish I have heard as a born-and-bred Texan. Aside from these aspects of the country’s culture, I was drawn to the food and wine.
Upon my arrival I was jet-lagged and hungry as hell, which naturally lead to an Irish coffee at a chain restaurant. Seeing the err in my ways, I migrated to the first Spanish restaurant I could find that was open before 11am – Traberna Real on Plaza de la Isabel near Teatro Real. Jamón, Salmon Ahumado, red wine, and agua CON gas (emphasis on “CON”)! I felt at home despite my Polish/Irish heritage, and pledged to become more Spanish with every meal, bocadillo, and drink that I had.
Before long I was at the world-famous San Ginés Chocolatería eating chocolate con churros with a nice, ice-cold Mahou (take that as you will, you beer snobs). This was followed by dinner at Platea (meh) and a satisfying 30 minute walk home to my Airbnb near Plaza Mayor.
Quick recap of day one: international flight wifi plans are horrible (looking at you, Iberia), French bulldogs are everywhere in Madrid, don’t talk to [most] strangers [who don’t play an instrument well], good wine is cheap, and, as a male, you stick out like a sore thumb without a “murse” (short for “man purse”, also known as “the European man satchel”). Not hating, just calling it as it is. Hell, given all the things I carry in my pockets, I’m beginning to see the practical use.