Feature / SPAIN

A Family Reunion in Toledo Spain

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On Friday, we took a 35-minute train ride from Madrid to the ancient city of Toledo. Toledo’s rich 2000-year history, narrow medieval streets, and eclectic architecture left us amazed when we visited a few years ago. It was a Roman colony, Visigothic and Islamic Al-Andalus capital, and later, Castile’s political and military center. It was an amazingly tolerant place where Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures flourished together.

Feature / FOOD & WINE / Granada

TAPAS WITH TONY

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Saint Anthony Bourdain inspired our whirlwind of eating and drinking in Granada last week. We were determined to walk in his footsteps. The late great chef provocateur filmed an episode of “Parts Unknown” in 2013 featuring five tapas bars here. We planned to check out the same ones. But not all in one night, as Boudain and pals did. And not eating exactly everything he did. We’re no match for his try-anything appetite, stamina, or even his biting, irreverent prose. Who is?

Granada

Walking Through History in Granada

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Granada, much like Toledo, is a city defined by its history. People have called it home for over 7,000 years. Sunday morning we joined a Highlights of Granada free walking tour. Our guide took us through the labyrinthine of steep cobblestone streets in the Albaicín. It’s the old Moorish quarter with ancient whitewashed shops and houses that cascaded down the hillside. Our memories of it are vivid. On our first visit to Granada, we enjoyed several days in the heart of the quarter. We felt a sense of timelessness here.

CHEFS AND RESTAURATEURS / San Sebastian / SPAIN

Our Last Lunch in San Sebastian: Geralds Bar

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ur last wonderful lunch in San Sebastian was at Geralds Bar, the same friendly place where we enjoyed our first meal on this visit. As much as we love pintxos bars and fine Basque restaurants, sometimes we need a break. Geralds offers just that — delicious international comfort food perfectly prepared with the best local fresh products. And they offer an excellent selection of wines in the $20-a-bottle range. Our menu del Dia included a braised quail with leeks – warming and delicious on a rainy spring day. A perfect ending to our San Sebastian adventure.

CHEFS AND RESTAURATEURS / FOOD & WINE / Madrid / SPAIN

La Charca Taberna: Asturian Cuisine in Madrid

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Cachopo is pure comfort food, think chicken fried steak but instead of gravy, it’s stuffed with cheese and all sorts of tasty ingredients, depending on the chef’s preference. We’ve had a cachopo craving ever since we landed in Spain and yesterday we satisfied it in a lovely little restaurant, La Charca Taberna. It lived up to its glowing reviews on TripAdvisor.

Madrid / SPAIN

Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid

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Today, the Botanical Garden boasts 90,000 plants,1,500 trees, and five greenhouses filled with non-endemic species. As we strolled the garden, workers were busy replacing spent displays of tulips, iris, and other spring blooms. Not much else was in flower, but it was still a joy to claim a bench and relax with other visitors lost in conversation or a good book. Busy-body magpies entertained, gliding through the jasmine-scented air. It was a splendid way to spend an afternoon, refreshing body and soul, on a sultry Madrid day.

San Sebastian / SLOT 1 / SPAIN

Basque Country Bliss: San Sebastian

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San Sebastian’s magic lies in its Basque soul–a vibrant cultural tapestry woven from centuries-old traditions and fiercely independent. The Basque Country boasts a rich cultural heritage, a language spoken nowhere else on earth, and a deep connection to its rugged coastline. This spirit infuses everything, from the colorful fishing villages clinging to cliffs to the world-renowned cuisine.

Madrid / SPAIN

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH RON & MARY JAMES

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Sometimes a simple walk in Madrid turns into a magical memory. Yesterday was one of those. Our plan was to stroll in nearby El Retiro Park and grab a bite on the way back. What we experienced was an almost five-mile-long sensory-rich adventure and an unexpected Sunday feast. It didn’t hurt that it was a beautiful day with brilliant blue skies framed by dramatic fluffy clouds.