I am by no means a world traveler. I'd like to be. But I'm not. I have a very practical and boring life.
But, I have a cousin who married a Spaniard and lives in Madrid.
She's been there for about 5 years and I've always said that I'd like to go visit her.
Well... now she's moving to the Middle East.
So, with a free place to stay in Europe + a limited time to take advantage of this opportunity....
I said TO HECK WITH PRACTICALLITY!!
I went. I shouldn't have. I should be saving my money.
But I did. And I have no regrets.
I spent 5 days in Spain and 2 days in Paris!!!
Thought I'd show you photos of some of the beautiful desserts and pastries I saw (and ate) while I was there. The top photo is from a bakery in Madrid at SOL (which I guess is kind of like the Times Square of Madrid). The bottom from a little market in Paris.
The trip was December 28 - Jan. 5 so roscón de reyes (king cake) was the big thing in all the bakeries in Spain. You can see some king cakes along the bottom of the top photo. Here's the deal with the king cake (according to Wikipedia):
The roscón de reyes in Spain or rosca de reyes in Spanish America is traditionally eaten on January 6, during the celebration of the Día de Reyes (literally "Kings' Day"). In most of Spain, Mexico and sometimes Hispanic communities in the United States, this is the day when children get presents from the Three Wise Men (not Santa Claus).
My cousin's husband bought us a king cake and we ate it for breakfast on the 5th just before we left for the airport. It was delicious! The funny thing was, king cakes have a little toy/trinket in them and the person that finds the toy gets certain privelages or has certain obligations (I think it kind of depends on the family) - anyway - my cousin cut the cake right where the toy was - no one had the surprise of finding it.
The other thing I found sort of interesting about Spanish baking is that, while there are lots of bakeries everywhere filled with gorgeous breads and pastries and cakes, when my cousin wants to do some American baking (chocolate chip cookies for example), she has a hard time finding some of the ingredients like chocolate chips and brown sugar. If she does manage to find them they're very expensive. So when she comes back to the states she stocks up on some of those things. Then, when she's back in Spain, she treats her in-laws to a batch of chocolate chip cookies and they're very impressed with her baking skills!
I'm usually kind of a quiet person, but my friends and family have learned that if I start talking about this trip - I'll ramble on and on forever. So - rather than write a write a post that just keeps scrolling down and down and down forever - I'll stop. It was an awesome, amazing, spectacular, fun, interesting trip.