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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Granada, Spain: Alhambra Complex

Madrid Train Station, on the way to Granada
My friend and I arrived in Grenada at 1:30pm and hit the ground running! After we found our hostel we jetted up the hill to buy tickets for the Alhambra. Words and even pictures cannot describe the beauty that awaited us. The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It contains the remains of a Moorish(who ruled Spain for 700 years: 700's-1400's before the conquest of Los Reyes Catholicos) palace and fortress complex.   

Next to Rio Darro in the Albayzin neighborhood in Granada
Taking a break from the long, steep walk to the Alhambra grounds.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

El Tigre: Madrid (free tapas!!)

El Tigre is situated in the center, Barrio Chueca, of Madrid. It's lovely Latin bartenders and Latin music are welcoming for a quick lunch break or after a day full of touring. My friend and I filled our bellies with sandwiches stuffed with everything from tortilla espanola to chorizo alongside french fries and bite size croquetas! Our two huge plates of tapas were a pleasant surprise accompaniment to our larger than life sized mojitos (next time will we stick to wine or beer). Definitely check El Tigre out on your next visit to Madrid!

Been Gone For A Minute, But I'm Back At The Jumpoff!-Madrid(3rd Visit)

My apologies for my absence but I was traveling(of course!). Since Friday I've visited Madrid, Granada, and Sevilla. The next three or four posts will be dedicated to this, my first backpacker trip filled with hostels, train and bus rides....Enjoy!

Friday night @10pm: Santiago bus station
Saturday @ 7:50am: Plaza del Sol

A new Madrid treasure I found!
Yummy caviar atop an avocado mixture...
After studying about Picasso's La Guernica this past year, seeing it was unreal

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Amazing Hot Springs of Ourense, Galicia, Spain; Las Termas en Ourense

What a peaceful, relaxing, and unreal experience...I've been so cold here for the last couple of months. I just feel like I can never thaw out! But last Saturday I was relaxing in the sun on a mountainside with nothing but a bathing suit on; crazy, I know!

Ourense is a town that has been blessed with natural hot springs. People from all over come to bathe in the water and soak up the rich minerals. We visited Las Termas Outariz: a private hot spring where you pay 5 euros(for two hours) to enter. You have access to several pools(some with jets), a restaurant(with surprisingly inexpensive food-just don't order the ramen noodles or miso soup;yuck!) a changing area and bathroom. The public hot springs do not have such "luxuries", but are free. Overall I would recommend this experience to anyone within a few hundred kilometers!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Inspiration Mondays: Remembering Whitney Houston & Don Cornelius

It's so shocking to me that we have lost two great influences on American culture this month! Not only it is sad but it's creepy to me because I have(or have already planned) English lessons around these two cultural icons. Both Whitney Houston(R&B Singer) and Don Cornelius(Host of Soul Train) will be missed dearly. Let's continue to celebrate their lives and what they contributed to not just America but the WORLD...Be Inspired!

This video is Whitney Houston on Soul Train

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Culinary Art: My Eggplant Stew

As I continue on my culinary journey here in Spain; I present to you my Eggplant Stew.

Sauteed: eggplant cubes, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, red peppers with salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, and olive oil.
Boiled: Basmati Rice
Mixed the sauteed vegetables with the rice in a big boiler and added tomato sauce and a bit of olive oil.

I didn't eat this right away, it was taking soooo long to cut up the veggies, that I ordered a pizza and decided to eat it the next day! That was a good idea considering the next day it would be extra tasty from the marination process. YUM!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Inspiration Mondays: The story of John Forte

I was reintroduced to the singer/rapper/producer John Forte the other day while watching episode 5 of season 2 of NY Ink, a reality television show about a tattoo shop in New York. Forte was one of the clients on this episode. While being tattooed (a portrait of his mother) he told the story of how ten years ago he was sent to prison for 14 years for drug possession (he was released after 7; pardoned by George W. Bush).  Since being released Forte has been busy; and to say he is reformed is an understatement. He is spreading positivity and INSPIRATION in his music. Second chances do exist-Be Inspired!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

O Cantinho Das Gaveas and El Dorado: Lisbon, Portugal

I just found the business card for this delicious restaurant that my friends and I visited while in Lisbon, Portugal. It was recommended by the wonderful owner of El Dorado, a funky boutique with new and vintage items. The food, wine, and company at O Cantinho was delightful! The food was fresh and plentiful (you have to try the Portuguese specialty-Bacalau)!

New friends from Italy and Brazil!!

Owner of O Cantinho

Owner of El Dorado

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Le Paradis du Fruit: Paris

La Paradis du Fruit is a restaurant with multiple locations in Paris. My friend and I had a filling, fresh, and delicious(and affordable) meal here before we headed off to the D'Angelo concert. The ambiance was very colorful and inviting. We were tantalized by the enormous and decadent desserts as we waited for our own food to arrive. The staff was very friendly, even though there was a bit of a language barrier. This meal was hands down the best priced meal, without sacrificing quality, we had all weekend. If anyone has visited Paris you know that it's not cheap, so this was a pleasant surprise. Our plates were under 15 euros. This will be my go to restaurant when visiting Paris again.

D'Angelo in Paris & Live Mixtape!

Even though D'Angelo hasn't performed in TEN years, he's still got it!! He rocked out in Paris! Apart from the straight hair and extra weight(that he is losing) he looked and sounded better than ever! The crowd was hype and the fashion was incredible! I had a blast.....And use this link to DOWNLOAD THE LIVE MIXTAPE

Very Fashionable Parisian women....