Tag Archives: Dining in Spain

Theresia: A wealth of information

Theresia: A wealth of information

I returned from Humbugs and just a short time later (just after the five o’clock end to siesta) we received a visit from Theresia. Arboleas is a small town, and it hadn’t taken long before word had spread that “The Texans” were the new owners of property here in town. That is “Texans,” mind you, not “Americans” but “TEXANS” …and there is a difference, folks… be sure about that! I think that Theresia was quite interested in coming over to meet us, being that we were new to town, and we were happy to hear what she had to say.

Theresia has lived in the area for many years now and was a wealth of information! She is a city councilwoman and had previously worked for the tourism office of Arboleas until funding was cut and that office was closed. The office was located in an old train station which is right near our house.

Arboleas Visitor Information Center

The now closed Arboleas Visitor Information Center

It’s a shame that the visitor information center has been closed. I’m sure it would be an asset to the community, but as with all of Spain at the moment, funds are being cut and this is just a sign of the times.

Theresia knew exactly who we meant when we asked her to help us contact Diego about emptying the septic tank. The problem was, the number we had was not a correct number. Luckily for us, she was armed with a cell phone and fluent Spanish! She called someone else who called her back with Diego’s number, then she called the number and ended up finding out that it was not Diego but his son José who would empty the septic. No matter, we were just happy someone was going to do it! We arranged for José to come tomorrow morning.

After all that was squared away, we sat and chatted for a while with Theresia. She told us many stories about the locals and at one point she mentioned Pepper and we excitedly said, “Oh yes! We’ve met Pepper!” She looked perplexed and when we said she lived next door, Theresa said, “Oh, no, not that Pepa! Another one! That’s a very common name. Short for Josephina.” So then we felt like silly Americans again when we realized that we were hearing Pepa from everyone, but only thought it was their British accents which makes “Pepa” sound the same as “Pepper” to us. Ooops.

We heard all about yet another Diego who was born and raised in Arboleas and whose family worked on the railway when it passed through this area. We learned about the nearby town of Serón and the abandoned mining town of Las Menas. (You can read about it here on another blog) I took a lot of notes because I was very interested in visiting the abandoned mines and Curt was very interested in visiting and sampling the famous serrano hams that are cured in the town of Serón! We learned where to swap out our butane gas bottles and about the Spanish traffic law that will cost you a fine for driving with flip-flops on.

No flip flops while driving in Spain

No driving in Spain without wearing a full shoe!

And it’s not just flip flops, it’s any shoe without a back strap. This was good to know, because the last thing we want is to get a traffic ticket in Spain.

The most interesting bit of information Theresia shared with us, however, had to do with the septic. We were standing outside and she was telling us the basics, which we were already aware of, for example: don’t use an excessive amount of caustic cleaners, don’t flush random things that may not break down easily, etc… and then the conversation went like this:

Theresia: Now, I know this sounds terrible, but the best thing you can do is find yourself a dead cat, and toss it in.

Me: (Speechless.)

Theresia: I mean if you can manage to find one, they say it gets it all working. You just have to find one.

Me: I’ve seen a lot of cats here, but not any dead ones…

Theresia: Well, they say if you can find one, you just toss it in!

Me: (pointing to the lid of the septic tank) In there?

Theresia: Oh yeah, just open it up and toss it in.

Me: I don’t think I’d want to open it up, to be honest.

Theresia: Well then you can always use a big piece of liver…

Me: Liver?

Theresia: Sure. Liver. Then you could just cut it up into pieces and flush it down the toilet. They say that works, too. But not as good as a dead cat.

Me: What about those little packets they sell in the store? You know those packets that you flush to help build up the bacteria?

Theresia: Oh, those? They say there is no proof that they really work…

Fosas Sépticas

Fosas Sépticas bolsitas?
Third in line for effectveness…
after cat and liver.

Okay, so luckily Bob had already given us this package of Fosas Sépticas as a “housewarming gift” after talking to him about our septic troubles. He laughed with us that while most people bring a bottle of wine to new neighbors, he was bringing this. We had a good laugh with him about that. Now, just in case you think Theresa is the only person to suggest this dead cat treatment for the septic, or that it is uniquely a Spanish idea, I’m including a link so you can read more about it. Rest assured that we went with the bolsitas.

We bid adios to Theresia and she said she’d check back with us tomorrow to make sure that José made it over and took care of emptying the septic tank.

Even though it was nearing evening time, we took a little drive before dinner. We drove to the nearby town of Huercal Overa and passed through the little town of La Cinta where we saw these pomegranates, and passed though another community where we saw another Spanish gatita.

La Cinta pomegranates

Pomegranates in La Cinta

Spanish cat

“Sophie, eres tú??”

Then we went back home and had a nice dinner of pork fillets, rice, and vegetables. Earlier in the week we picked up this bottle of wine for 1,10 Euros. If you aren’t “current with the currency,” that’s crazy because that’s less than $1.50. Now, granted, don’t serve this at a dinner party, fancy or otherwise, because it was nothing to write home about; but it still is amazing how inexpensive bottles of wine are here in Spain!!

1,10 euro wine in Spain

How you say… El Cheapo?
(1,10 Euro wine)

We had to stop in at the Chino to pick up the wine opener. Ironically, I think it was more expensive than the wine itself.

 

 

Bike shopping

Bike shopping

You do remember The Dream of the Vuelta, right? That is what inspired all this to begin with! You shouldn’t just dream the dream, but live the dream, I say! So today was a day for us to go shopping for Curt’s bike. He had already done some investigating via the internet before we left for Spain and found several bike stores in Cartagena, which is a town on the eastern coast of Spain about an hour away. If it seems like every place I write about is “about an hour away” it is true. The location of our Spanish casa is great! You can draw a radius of an hour’s drive in all directions and will find yourself on multiple beaches, in the mountains, at a lake, in the desert, at a nature park, or at a ski resort. It just depends which direction you choose to travel.

We headed to Cartagena, armed with the addresses of three bike shops. Two were in what is called the polígono industrial or industrial park, which you will find on the outskirts of towns. This is where you find larger stores that are selling construction materials, big furniture stores, or car dealers. How hard could it be to find giant stores on the outskirts of a town??… insert ominous music here..

Suffice it to say that addresses plus able bodied intelligent people plus stupid phone that keeps rebooting every single time you try to access a map does not equal happiness. Quite the contrary. It equals frustration and lots of it. I was inclined to search the outskirts of the town, thinking that a giant industrial zone might be easier to spot than a shop in the old downtown area, but who am I to deprive Curt of the fun of driving around and around and around this lovely town?

Plaza de Jaime Bosche, Cartagena

Plaza de Jaime Bosche

Oh happiness! There is a tourist information center just on the other side of this plaza! But as luck would have it, just as we reach the entrance, the huge metal gate-like doors swing shut, and a booming latch is drawn much like closing up a castle door.

Siesta Time, people! Hasta luego!

Tourist information center, Cartagena

Cerrado!

Disgusted with the phone.

Disgusted with his phone.
(Hmmm… my iPhone never has those problems… I’m just saying…)

Just when we were at the end of our wits, we stopped at a Repsol (gas station) and Curt went in and asked the guy if he had a map of Cartagena. The guy was super nice and gave him what we fondly call a “fun map” of Cartagena. This is a map that shows some streets, but not all, and its main purpose is to show someone the highlights of the town. None of which involve the polígono industrial, of course.

Cartagena

We drove along the harbor….

Cartagena war memorial

A sculpture and war memorial that is dedicated to the soldiers who fought and died in Cavite, Philippines during the Spanish-American War.

Bike lanes in Cartagena

These bike lanes in Cartagena look like their own streets!

Luckily we were able to somehow piece together bits of the map and believe it or not found the downtown bike shop — just in time for siesta! So it was closed!

Ciclos Curra, Cartagena

Patience is a virtue.

Looking through the windows, we could see that they only sold mountain bikes, but as luck would have it, they had a map to their larger store posted on the window! This showed us how to get to the polígono industrial! I took pictures of the map with my fully functioning phone, and then we headed next door to  get something to eat, since nothing would be open again until 5:00.

The restaurant next door was called Sabor Andaluz. We ate lomo y patatas y huevos, which was pork loin and potatoes with a fried egg. It was really good. This was not a “touristy” restaurant at all. Lots of Spanish people were there. It was a good place to sit back, have a café con leche, and regroup a little before trying to find this elusive polígono industrial.

Sabor Andaluz

Sabor Andaluz

Sabor Andaluz menu

Test yourself with the Sabor Andaluz tapas menu! What would you order??

Sabor Andaluz, Cartagena, Spain

Just a teeny bit stressed…

Sabor Andaluz

Lunch!

Sabor Andaluz waiter

Yes, the guy in the black shirt was someone’s waiter.
Yes, he is smoking while working.
And yes, the beer near him went down nicely with the smoke, but I didn’t get a picture of that…

While we relaxed with our meal (we had a while before siesta would be over, so why rush?) we noticed this thing that looked like a deposit box of some sort. It was a bit like a mailbox, but it was actually a trash bin. It looked small, but apparently what you put down the slot must fall down into some gigantic bin under the street because people came one after the other dropping in their bags of trash. One guy, who must have been a janitor for some building actually brought cartloads of trash, bags, boxes, etc and it all disappeared into this little drop box. I was so curious as to how large the underground bin was, and how they went about emptying it… Can you tell I was fascinated with this thing??

Cartagena trash

Mysterious….

Stomachs full, and nerves calmed, we hit the road again in search of the bike shop in the polígono industrial. Due to my fantastic co-piloting skills and Curt’s keen ability to navigate the Spanish streets, we managed to find it lickity split. There were two shops in the industrial area, so we visited both, picked out a bike, spoke “cave-man Spanish” to the salesperson, and amazingly enough got everything sorted out to purchase. It was easy as pie! …insert happy music which is followed by screeching halt sound here…

Now, trust me, I am happy to know that credit card companies are on the lookout for thieves and fraudulent activity, BUT when your card is declined after spending an entire day driving around a strange city, having doors literally closed on your nose, getting somewhere only to arrive at a time when the place is closed for two more hours, then finally thinking the whole shopping craziness will soon be over, only to have the guy behind the counter say (and trust me, you know it in any language) “No, the card doesn’t go through,” you want to scream. And I don’t mean stomp your foot and pout — I mean full on scream like in a crazy movie where the camera pans back and you see the windows rattle and people cower.

So yes, this is what we had to deal with next: calling our credit card companies and letting them know they needed to take the blocks off of our cards.

Fast forward to the final scene…

Ciclo Curros, Cartagena

Buying the bike.
Finally.

 

 

 

 

Getting ready to leave Arboleas

Getting ready to leave Arboleas

The night before we left Arboleas to head back to the U.S. we went over to the Hostal Meson for dinner. They were having some sort of “quiz night” or “games night” in the larger part of the restaurant. There were a lot of happy noises coming from the Brits behind the closed dining room doors, but we were shuttled into another smaller room off to the side.

I had been put off by the previous meal there, but we decided to try the paella. It was a good choice, and we had a nice meal.

Hostal Meson Paella

Paella

Then we went next door to the small grocery store to buy a few snacks for the road tomorrow and for the plane ride home. We got a big kick out of these Pringles. The jamon flavored ones have a couple of jamon legs hanging like they do, and then the Pringles chip is also hanging like a leg of jamon. Too funny. I love how the chip flavors are so interesting outside of the US. Like in Canada where you can buy Ketchup flavored chips. Or Roasted Chicken flavor. You just don’t find that at home.

Jamon flavored Pringles

Pringles hanging like jamon!

Dinner at Hostal Meson

Dinner at Hostal Meson

After getting our things all sorted out at La Casa, we were hungry for dinner, so we took the 5 minute stroll over to the Hostal Meson. We were the only people in the restaurant. There were some people in the bar area, but the lady actually had to turn on the lights to the restaurant for us. We chose the menu del dia, so we had to choose what we wanted for each course. Before we got our first course, the waitress brought us pan con tomate y aioli. This was so simple, but D-lish! The slices of bread were nice and crisp and were served with two small dishes of pureed tomato and garlic mayonnaise. It was a nice starter. I want to find a recipe for the aioli so I can make this at home.

Hostal Meson appetizer

Simple but soo tasty!

Next we had our first course. We had several different things to choose from. I chose a chicken soup and Curt chose entremeses variados which the waitress explained was some sort of assortment of cold meats and cheeses.

Soup and entremeses

Soup and entremeses variados

The next course that came out was our main dish. Curt chose a pork chop and I thought it would be good to try out some fish. There were a couple of types of fish to choose from and I honestly didn’t know what type they were, so the waitress did her best to describe them. I had to choose from merluza or cazon. Really I had no idea which to choose, but in the end I picked the merluza (I found out later that merluza is hake and cazon is dogfish, or a type of shark.) I apologize for not having a picture of the meal, but it was not so fab. The fish was full of bones and it had some fatty skin… bleh. And I’m not a picky finicky eater! I really wished I had chosen something else. Curt’s pork was fine, but like I said I was so traumatized by the plate of bony fish that I didn’t even think to take out my camera.

Oh well… we headed back to the house because we were pretty worn out. Keep in mind that this was January and the stone house had been empty for a bit. It was COLD in there! The owner had left a gas heater, but we weren’t going to turn that on and go to sleep, so we chose to plug in these ceramic heaters that we found in the upstairs lounge. Each of the rooms can be closed with curtains (the owner only put interior doors on the bathrooms) so we brought the ceramic heaters into the upstairs bedroom, plugged them in, and closed the bedroom curtain. I have to say I was glad that at the last minute I decided to bring the big, fluffy comforter because it was, as I said COLD. The ceramic heaters are like big tiles that get warm and then radiate heat, so it took a while, but thankfully the room got warmer and we were ready for a good night’s sleep.

Ceramic heaters

Brrrrr!

We were meeting Lucas and driving to the foreigner’s office in Almeria the next day, so we had to get up right and early. We needed to get my NIE sorted out!

Traditional ceiling

Ready for sleep!

The Completion!

The Completion!

The next morning, we woke up and opened the curtains of our room at the Hostal Meson in Arboleas. It was cool to see the Spanish flag flapping around in the breeze right outside our window!

Hostal Meson view

Espana!

The hotel room was fairly nice and the hotel looked like it had been recently renovated. One thing we had a laugh about was what we called the Dr. Who Shower.

Hostal Meson shower

Shower or TARDIS? You be the judge…

We went downstairs after packing up our suitcases and were going to ask the front desk to hold our luggage while we were out for the day. We had coffee and toast for breakfast. We were intrigued by what was shown on the menu to be an “English Breakfast” because it was eggs and a side of what looked like Van Camps Pork and Beans. I wish I would have taken a picture of the menu, but I didn’t think about it at the time. I must say it didn’t look too appetizing, but that is probably because when I think of pork and beans I think backyard barbeque, not breakfast! A lot of the restaurants around seem to cater to the taste of the British expats because there are quite a few who have invested in property here.

Andrea met up with us, and she drove us over to Mojacar to the bank. On the way she mentioned that Bob, the owner, was going to be at the completion. We thought that was interesting because in the states, when you close on a house you never even cross paths with the seller, but here he was going to be at the completion with us. I was excited to meet the guy!

We also mentioned the crazy drumming that we experienced last night at the house, and Andrea said, “Oh, that’s Richard’s son. They live right below you, and he just gave his son a drum set for Christmas.” Richard is the owner of the estate agency she works for, so this was very ironic on two counts. One, that he lives in the house directly in front of us, and two that his kid was the drummer. “Don’t worry, he’ll tire of the drums in no time.”

Yeah. Let’s hope!

We got to the bank and met up with Lucas. We had wired the money over, but had to get our debit cards and online access set up, as well as get the money ready for the closing fees. What was a little crazy was that the fees were in cash. We mentioned that it was a little odd for us to present all of that in cash… that back home, people would expect a check or they would think you were running drugs to have that much cash in an envelope. They told us that if it’s cash then no one worries about it. If it’s a check people can worry if it’s good or not. So I put the envelope of cash in my purse, and figured: “when in Spain…”

From there we drove over to Vera to the notary’s office. Now let me explain about the notary: In the US a notary is a person who verifies that certain documents are signed by the person present, etc… they are typically a layperson, and it isn’t as if they need a huge amount of specialized training. In Spain, a person studies law and then gets further training to become a notary. The notary is a big deal because he or she deals with legal documents much like a lawyer does. They don’t just put a seal on something.

We got to the notary office a bit early and when we got there we met up with Bob and his friend Tony. We had met Tony when we looked at the house on our house hunting day. I’m not sure why he was staying at the house when we visited in September, but he was the one who showed us the property. At that point, Bob had moved back to the UK. They told us that their initial plan was to renovate and sell houses, but the housing market in Spain hit a lull and they had to put that business venture aside for the time being.

To kill time we went down the street for a cup of coffee. It was funny because Bob mentioned something about how, knowing we were from Texas, he wondered if Curt would be wearing a big cowboy hat. I asked, “Now Bob, is that the real reason you decided to show up in the end? To see if he had on a ten gallon hat and cowboy boots?” and he said, “Yeah, pretty much.” We had a good laugh over that.

While having our coffee, we got a chance to chat about the house. He said he was told that it was about 300 years old and when I asked what it was like before he renovated it, Bob said, “Oh, I left you a photo album in top of the TV so you could see what was done to it.” I was floored. An album?? This guy was awesome. I could tell he was a stickler for details, which was great when you are talking about someone renovating a house.

Finally Lucas came over and told us that the notary was ready. We went into his office. The notary was a big guy in a nice suit. He had on a lot of cologne and was seated behind a big fancy desk. Bob, Curt, and I sat in the chairs in front of him and our lawyers stood behind us. The notary looked through all of the paperwork and read it out loud. Thank heavens we had already seen a translation of the documents because otherwise we would have had no idea what was going on. It was a lot of rambling on in Spanish, a lot of shuffling of papers, a lot of nodding. Then Lucas said, “Do you have the envelope?” “Envelope? What envelope?” “From the bank. The Envelope.” Ohhhh The Envelope: The giant envelope of cash that I was carrying around in my purse like I was a shady character in some Lifetime Movie Network Pick-a-Flick… THAT envelope. I opened up my purse and handed The Envelope to Lucas. Was it just me, or was this office lighting quite dim? I expected a director to yell, “Okay, people, that’s a wrap!”

And that was pretty much it. Shake hands, shake hands, Gracias, Gracias, shake hands, walk out, get keys from Bob.

Wow.

We just bought a house.

In Spain.

 

 

In Arboleas

In Arboleas

We checked in to the Hostal Meson, and wanted to walk over to the house since it was literally a five minute walk from our hotel. It was getting dark, but we were eager to snoop around. We got to the house (Thank you GoogleMaps for allowing me to memorize the walk to the house!) and we were surprised to see lights on, and the shutters open.

Before continuing your read, I’d like to invite you to click this link to open up a new window and enjoy some background music… it will add to the experience.

As we walked up to the house (and I hope you are listening to the music!!) We heard drumming. Yes, drumming. You have got to be kidding. We buy a house in Spain, in a small village in SPAIN for goodness sake, and someone is practicing the DRUMS at night?? It was coming from the house directly in front of us. I was ready to scream. How could this BE?? Would we be tormented by the drumming every day? Every night?? We tried to block it out of our minds, but much like this Iron Butterfly Ina-Gadda-Da-Vida drum solo that you should be listening to, it just seemed to go on forever.

We had been curious as to what the owner was leaving with the house, because although we had an inventory list of all the furniture, we really had no idea if he was leaving small kitchen items and what not. We peeked in the downstairs bathroom window and could see that he had left all necessities (even toilet paper, hand soap, and a clean hand towel hanging on the rod!) This was exciting to see because we knew then that we might not have to buy everything under the sun for our stay. No one was in the house, so we were curious as to why the lights were on and the shutters open, but we were happy that we got to peek into the downstairs bedroom and bathroom! It was really getting dark, the drumming was continuing, and our stomachs were starting to growl, so we decided to take a drive over to Albox, which is just a few minutes away and get a bite to eat.

Triana is a little restaurant that was recommended to us when we stayed at Casa Olivos in September. It is open late and you can get a chicken dinner for right around 6 Euros! That’s a super deal.

Meal at Triana in Albox

Yum!

The first time we were there, Curt tipped the waitress, and I think she was super excited about that because she brought us an after dinner drink afterward. In Spain, it really is not customary or expected to tip. If you do leave a tip, it is typically your change to even out your tab, but it isn’t like here in the States. The server is not miffed to not receive a tip, but of course tickled pink (as our waitress was, because we were clueless.)

One thing we were tickled pink about was that it seemed as if the smoking ban in restaurants was now being enforced. There was a sign stating that there was no smoking allowed in the restaurant. Like I mentioned before, there are A LOT of smokers in Europe, and we are quite spoiled here in the US to be able to eat in a smoke free environment all the time.

We finished our meal and made our way back to the Hostal Meson. Lucas, our Spanish lawyer, had managed to get the notary to agree to do the closing with Curt’s NIE and not mine, as long as we would go to the foreigner’s office in Almeria and get my NIE and file it with the notary within 30 days. This was a huge relief because we would not be rushing tomorrow and stressing about getting the needed documents in time for the completion. Andrea was meeting us at the Hostal Meson at 10 a.m. and would be driving us to the bank in Vera to sort out our funds. We needed a good night’s rest because tomorrow was going to be a big day!!

Leaving Madrid

Leaving Madrid

We planned to leave Madrid early the next day. The Hotel Victoria provided breakfast, which was the continental type: fruits, yogurt, breads, cereal, and of course coffee, tea, juices, or milk. Definitely not an “American” breakfast, but you really don’t get a huge eggs and bacon and pancake breakfast in Spain. The cool thing was that they had this gigantic automated coffee machine that had a bunch of different choices as far as what type of coffee you wanted. You could select an espresso or cafe con leche or whatever. Put your cup under the dispenser, press your selection, and you hear the machine grinding your coffee beans and then dispensing your cup o’ joe. Surprisingly this was a really good cup of coffee!

We had parked in an underground parking near the hotel. (Much of the parking in Madrid is underneath plazas if it is not curbside or in a private garage.) So when we finished up breakfast, we headed over to Plaza Santa Ana to get the car. You can see by this next picture that the street cleaners were busy early in the morning; we did need to close the hotel room window in the wee hours of the morning because it was a little noisy, but it’s nice to get up and find the streets freshly washed.

Madrid in the morning

Near the Hotel Victoria

 

An evening out in Madrid

An evening out in Madrid

Madrid is such a beautiful city, and we had only explored a tiny portion of it, so we decided to take a walk east of the Hotel Victoria and see what we could see. We walked to the Museo del Prado, one of the most famous museums in all of Europe. It houses the largest collection of Spanish art, including some of the best works by El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya.

Museo del Prado

Museo del Prado

When we got to the Prado, there was a HUGE line that literally wrapped around the building! We thought that this was a line to see one of the temporary exhibits or something, but it was just a huge line of people waiting to get into the museum for FREE. (Yay for free stuff!) It turns out that the Prado museum is free to enter from 6 pm to 8 pm Monday through Saturday and from 5 pm to 8 pm on Sundays. We had no idea, but it saved us from spending the 10 euros per ticket!

After we browsed around all of the paintings and sculptures in the Prado, we walked over to the Cheuca neighborhood to check out El Tigre, which is a bar well known for generous servings of tapas provided with each round of drinks. El Tigre is located at Calle de las Infantas, 30. This is a fairly small street, and at first we weren’t sure if this was a “nice” neighborhood or not, but it actually seemed to be fine in the end. On our way over we did pass by a small plaza that looked like it was the hangout for neighborhood teenagers… and I mean ALL the neighborhood teenagers! There were a lot of people hanging out there!

El Tigre, Madrid

El Tigre for tapas!

When we walked in, the place was fairly crowded. It is a narrow space, with a small entry area and then a long bar directly on the right. We wanted to scope it out and then decide where to plant ourselves, so we squeezed through the crowd past the bar. Beyond that there was a sort of “hallway” with long, narrow, wooden bar tops attached to either side of this narrow room. No chairs here. Just sidle up to the tabletop and someone will come take your order. It used to be customary to get free tapas with any drink all over Spain, but this is more of a rarity now, so we were really interested to check out El Tigre and see what this was all about. We ordered a beer and a sangria (6 euros each for larges) and this is what we got:

Tapas

Yum! Tapas!

It got more and more crowded as time passed. People were really friendly and seemed to enjoy chit-chatting, especially when they found out we were Americans and from Texas. (yeehaww!) A lot of university students hang out a El Tigre because, as some of them told us, they are almost always broke and with free tapas you can get a decent meal. Some nice girls took a picture of us.

Us at El Tigre

On the way out we were baffled because someone had just come in with a BABY. Curt had to help hold the door open for them to get their stroller back down the steps and out the door. That was pretty weird because it wasn’t like they just popped round the corner and *poof* found themselves in the middle of a bar. They had to get that stroller in the door and up a few steps to end up in the entry area. Ah well… who knows what those people were thinking? At least I’m guessing they didn’t stay long…

All we knew was that we we had a great time at El Tigre. The people were friendly and the food was decent. It was a fun place to hang out, and we would definitely go back again!

Madrid at night was really pretty! The walk back to the Hotel Victoria was nice.

Madrid at night

Madrid at night

Madrid

Gran Via

Madrid after dark

Metropolis Building

Mojacar

Mojacar

Mojacar Playa is a popular tourist vacation spot. It was definitely more crowded than Garrucha or Vera. We zipped through the beach-side part of Mojaca to get to Mojaca Pueblo which is a whitewashed hilltop town. This picture doesn’t do it justice, but it was taken in the car through the windshield as we drove through the winding road on the way to Mojacar Pueblo.

Mojaca Pueblo

The buildings seemed to just hug the mountainside and the views from the top of the town were truly incredible!

 

View from Mojaca Pueblo

This was a cool little house built right along the road. “Casa Media Luna” (The half moon house)

Casa Media Luna

We were hungry and decided to get something to eat while in Mojacar. One thing that we were having to adjust to was the eating times in Spain. In the States anyone can eat anything at pretty much any time. Not so in Spain! It was late afternoon and I really wanted to try an authentic Andalucian gazpacho. We went into this restaurant which was at one of the highest points in the town and sat out on the terrace to soak up the views.

Unfortunately the waiter told us that gazpacho was only served in the summertime (and therefore out of season) and the kitchen was serving only either tapas or pizza. We chose the pizza and coffee. The views from the terrace of this restaurant were beautiful, but we were surrounded by a lot of smokers. We are definitely spoiled coming from the US that has banned smoking in dining establishments. We had heard that there was a similar ban in Spain, but it was not being strictly enforced.

View from Mojacar Pueblo