We did it! A beautiful vacation in the middle of Spain… And when I say middle, I mean… of no where. In Berzocana. We drove three hours west of Madrid through beautiful mountains to be greeted with this view from our porch:
Our little cabin was perfect! We made good food, the kids played with the dog, Duc, they watched television in Spanish, we swam in a beautiful (and chilly) pool, and we drank good wine.
On food (because I love food): milk is mostly dried or has a shelf life here. I’m not exactly sure what “shelf life” means… except you can buy it not from the fridge in liquid form and it seems to be fine. In other news, when in Spain, the manchego is ridiculously cheap. This was 10 Euro (and we had already eaten half of it at the time of this photo):
We’ve eaten fresh baked bread, cured jamon serrano, fresh fruit, salad, and one pasta meal. The chicken comes really thinly sliced (think pounded chicken prepared for chicken parmesan) and the bacon was actually pancetta–and I didn’t care for it much. OH! And the egg yolk is gloriously orange… Like it came from a local chicken this week. So good. Also, the stove top espresso maker was awesome. I didn’t perfect the process in 5 mornings, but that was ok. It was all better than from a coffee pot. (I used these instructions.)
We went on one “out of town” excursion to Guadalupe on Sunday. I took some photos before realizing that I shouldn’t have been taking them (somehow I missed the BIG sign with a slash through the camera symbol… Oops):
It was a cute town where we enjoyed brunch in the town square, took a walk, and I attempted to follow the flow of a Catholic Mass in Spanish. I thought our kids were pretty well behaved, but we noted afterwards that we actually have no idea what the norm is. Maybe we offended someone by pulling out coloring books? Hah. We’ll never know. I can say that everyone was smiling at them… so there’s that.
It was a good day, though the heat did finally get to me. I think we’ve discovered in the past week that we get tired very quickly. Maybe it’s the being away from home for over a month, maybe it’s the jet lag, maybe it’s the need for more “normalcy”. But, it all kind of sums up with trying to adjust to the new time zone. Our normal wake-up time due to jet lag has been hilariously in sync with the Spanish way… waking after 9 am, siesta around 2 pm and dinner around 7:30. Also, the sun isn’t fully down here until about 11, so it’s no wonder they enjoy a later schedule. Last night we went out to dinner at 8 p.m. and returned home at 10:30. This is not how I’m wired and I’ve done fine. I’ve been amazed.
The other fun adventure we enjoyed was going to the Cork Forest, where I finally learned where cork comes from–TREES. (I really had no idea, which I guess is kind of embarrassing.)
So, I’m here to say that I hope we make it to Spain again. We’ve had a lovely time and we’ve finished our time with 12 hours in Madrid–a very different place than our rural town of Berzocana. We enjoyed an amazing visit to El Mercado de San Miguel and saw the Royal Palace of Madrid before melting into a puddle of exhaustion in our hotel. It’s been wonderful.
Tomorrow we board a plane to our final destination, which seemed so dang far away a month ago. We have been here and there and in 36 hours we’ll be closing on our rental home in Hamburg, Germany. I’m eager to be settling in, but so grateful to have seen so much of our family and the world before beginning our adventure in Germany. Thanks for taking a little ride with us!