This restaurant promo in Madrid brought me fond memories of two of my favorite homes-- 1) it's named Nebraska, a concept obviously recognized worldwide as elite and glamorous, and 2) there is a photo of a scary-looking piece of meat, very Mexico-esque.
Crap! I think this is a new land-speed-record for Length of Time I’ve Gone Without a Riveting Blog Post! I am sure many of you have been sobbing into your chilaquiles as you have rigorously checked this page each morning only to be rewarded with OLD POSTS YOU’VE ALREADY READ (or didn’t care about in the first place). Luckily, I have a partially valid excuse, although I sense it being unlikely to stir sympathy…
In Madrid, we stopped at "Meson del Champignones" upon recommendation of John's coworker, and it was a wild success. I was initially skeptical of the mushrooms, but funnily enough, anything cooked in enough butter with some serrano ham on top is pretty tasty.
We just returned from a 2-week trip to Europe, prompted by the occasion of a good friend’s wedding in Scotland. So as to maximize the value from the cost of a flight to Europe, we decided to first spend a week in Spain under the guise of “Now we can speak the language there!” As my classmates might have said during elementary school, “Shyeah, right!” Not so fast. We still aren’t sure what threw off the Madrileños more– the fact that two tall German/Swedish-looking people were speaking Spanish at all, or the fact that the Spanish they were speaking was Mexico-twinged. Let’s just say- we experienced a lot of cringing Spanish faces, but in the end, still managed to execute food/drink orders effectively.
Credit goes to friends Lesley & Heera for the dual recommendations of sandwich mixtos and Museo del Jamon. These luscious little puppies were merely 1 Euro a pop; I could have eaten seven.
Spain was lovely– we quickly adjusted to its late-nite dining scheme, which we interpreted as +/- 6 hours each evening spent wandering from bar to bar, drinking wine/beer/sherry/cider while nibbling from wee piles of magical serrano ham/marinated olives/manchego cheese/crusty bread. While that may not sound like a heathy diet, we found it almost impossible to overeat to the level we are used to while dining out in Mexico (though that may have been due more to the constant, painful euro-to-dollar calculations going on in our heads…). 😉
OK, so our hotel in Sevilla had a small kitchenette stocked with this MASSIVE roll of paper towels that looked just like TP. This photo of John pretending to run into the bathroom with the biggest roll of toilet paper known to man was hilarious, but also foreshadowed the food poisoning I would get 2 days later in Toledo from eating a tasty venison sandwich. Then for the next week, this picture felt all too real...
A shot of the sweet bridge leading into the walled city of Toledo
We zipped via high-speed train from Madrid to Sevilla, Toledo & back and were well entertained by all 3 cities. Toledo was especially fascinating to John (military buff) as a walled city on a river that was never taken by force. Then it was off to Glasgow for a night of reminiscing in our favorite neighborhood where we spent a week before our own wedding a mere 17 months ago.
Here I am with Emily, the blushing bride, and a hearty pint of lager.
The next day, John skillfully maneuvered our rental Prius along the left side of the road to the lovely Balbirnie House in Glenrothes for the wedding of the beautiful Emily & dapper Richard. This was followed by a clay piegon shoot in the countryside the next afternoon, where I started off in a burst of glory (first time shooter, 6 of 6, folks!) and then quickly flamed out under pressure. Many evil pigeons came away unscathed under my watch.
Here I am with Emma while we're stopped for lunch at Torr Head along the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland
We were continually horrified to see swill like Coors Light and Budweiser being sold alongside the likes of Guinness on Guinness's home turf
One of the murals in Belfast painted during The Troubles-- the gun is said to follow you wherever you go in this housing comlex.
One more night in Glasgow and we were off to Dublin (after getting screwed for £30 being forced to check our carefully-packed carry-on suitcases on Aer Lingus). Friend Emma kindly picked us up at the airport & whisked us off to Newgrange, a fascinating passage tomb built several hundred years before the pyramids in Egypt. Then we did a 2-day tour of Northern Ireland– beautiful scenery & FASCINATING/crazy history. I think everyone’s at least heard of the IRA & the violent history in Belfast/Derry/environs, but to see the on-the-ground impact of “The Troubles” still today was really enlightening. The up-to-25-feet-high “Peace Lines” running between the Catholic/Protestant neighborhoods in Belfast are a constant reminder.
In Derry, we saw the subtly-marked Protestant neighborhood...
Derry was our last stop in Northern Ireland, which still uses the pound, before returning to Ireland, which uses the euro. Here we are at Peader O'Donnell's in Derry, excitedly finding enough small change to buy us one more round of beers.
Just as we were prepared to leave for the nite due to insufficient funds for 3 pints, Emma befriended local pal "Chris" who promptly bought us all another pint. He also forced John & I to do a whisky shot in a glass the size of a coffee mug while Emma was in the loo. I can neither confirm nor deny hearing Emma & Chris exchange "I love yous" when Chris finally decided to depart for the evening.
Emma narrowly beats me to finish her Guinness at the Gravity Bar atop the Guinness brewery.
Of course, we wrapped things up in Dublin with the obligatory Guinness brewery tour. Verdict? Good, but even better when your friend’s friend’s brother works there & you don’t have to pay €15 euros to get in. 😉 (Thanks again Alan!!)
Obligatory Guinness logo photo: check.
Here we are out in Dublin with Emma's BFF Tricia on the left. A random girl kindly agreed to take our pic, but that resulted in her chest-hair-heavy pal joining us for the kodak-moment...
Anyway, I’ll now fall back on my traditional “in a frenzy of preparation for MBA classes + final exam this weekend” excuse, and promise to try & kick things back into high-Mexico-gear shortly!! Thanks to all for your patience, and will try to add a few more photo highlights shortly!