Thursday, December 11, 2008

Five Things I learned in Spain

The landscape is incredibly rugged. I saw mountains—jagged ones, softly curving ones, ones piled with lumpy rocks, and, most spectacularly, snow-covered majestic peaks.
The boots are to die for. On the Madrid metro, I couldn’t stop lusting after all the beautiful boots on every woman—and even some girls—I saw. Buttery brown leather, sleek black with high heels, pointy-toed, frilled, buckled, tasseled and tied.
Tapas rule. I’ve been to many a party where the hors d’oeuvres were amazing and the main course a snoozer. The tapas life means never having to be bored by the main course food. I enjoyed making a meal on tapas crawls throughout Spanish cities.
The Priorat is an amazing region. This landscape of painted hills, plunging valleys and twisting mountain roads is truly breathtaking. And the wine-making is exciting here. I stopped in Buil y Gine and, after having a breezy tour of their multi-level winery, tasted three red wines that couldn’t have been more different—a young tarty one, a purple-hued, jammy red with an intriguing whiff of cloves on the finish (this one from Montsant, a different but nearby region), and an earthy red that was tinged brown and had that characteristic earthiness and minerality from the stones that characterize this region.
Barcelona feels like home. During my weekend in Barcelona, I felt like I was in a Spanish-flavored New York City. This most international of Spanish destinations has streets teaming with both tourists and locals and has a racing heartbeat that rivals the Big Apple.

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