Monday, April 28, 2008


slight excitement on the beach

dad gets some sweet air


scoob casts a shadow in Plaza Mayor

just me and my needs to work on the timing



Saturday, April 26, 2008

Denia, Benidorm, and Guadalest

After a quick bite to eat, my family piled into our rental car (relatively) early on Saturday morning. Destination: Denia, a small Mediterranean town between Valencia and Alicante on Spain’s eastern coast. Though Robbie and I napped through most of the four hour drive, I did catch some sights of the Spanish countryside while opening my eyes temporarily to adjust my position. We arrived at our hotel around 2pm and promptly headed to the pool after dropping our bags. Although the temperature was a bit lower and the wind a bit stronger than we had hoped for, we were able to relax for a bit and soak up the sun while Robbie ran in circles around the pool which he claimed was “48 meters deep.” After our quick stint at the pool, we decided to explore the town a bit and get some lunch. We ended up eating at a small Italian restaurant by Denia’s port and later browsed the area’s small shops and stands. Dad drove us along the coast and we stopped at a small rocky beach to dip our toes in the Mediterranean and snap some photos of the amazing view. With the beach now on our mind, we drove a bit to a sandy beach where two brave souls were swimming. Robbie and I chose to join them and quickly shed our tshirts and cautiously made our way into the freezing water. After having a mini dance party to keep warm, we both submerged ourselves and promptly made our way to the shore where our assistants, Jim and Carolann, were waiting with towels. On our way back to our hotel, we stopped at the giant Mercadona to pick up some snacks. We spent the evening inside munching on olives and chips while playing Crazy 8’s before happily retiring to our beds after a long day.

Scoob and Dad

hermanito and hermanita in the mar


BFFs for life, obv

On Sunday morning we headed about an hour south to the town of Benidorm. We checked out a market (where Robbie and I held a monkey named Rufus!) and then walked through the town towards the beach. The weather was once again not so beachy, but Robbie and Dad were content to search for some shells while Carolann and I lay down with hopes to get some sun. With rumbling tummies, we found a spot along the boardwalk where we refueled while our bubbly waitress entertained us with her linguistic skills (Spanish, English, German, Dutch…) After lunch Robbie and I napped on our way back to Denia where we stopped for gelato and a walk along the port before checking out some more of Denia’s beaches where Robbie and I (somewhat unintentionally) went swimming despite our lack of bathing suits. With no internet or television, we once again spent our evening playing cards and snacking.

Robbie and Rufus


Robbie releasing some energy and us swimming

We headed towards Denia’s market first thing on Monday morning where we munched on trail mix and dried apricots while browsing the various stands. With freshly purchased souvenirs in hand, we headed towards the central town where we stopped for a quick lunch. After lunch we decided to head inland to the small town of Guadalest. Though only home to 200 people, Guadelest is Spain’s second most popular tourist attraction (the Prado is number one). We stopped a few times on our twisty drive through the mountains for photo ops and snacking with goodies purchased from a roadside stand. Having finally reached our destination, we parked and began with a tour of an old house and the adjoining castle, from the top of which we took in amazing views of the mountains and countryside. After browsing some shops we headed back through the mountains to Denia where we had dinner and dessert by the port. Despite Dad’s snoring, we all tried to get a good night’s sleep for our drive back to Madrid the next morning.

view from the top of the castle


Robbie and I on top of the world

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Vizzle

Lizzles Reunited!

I met my Lizzle at the airport on the evening of Tuesday the 15th. After some "Lizzle!!!!"'s and hugs, we dikdiked our way onto the metro and back to my house. We spent five hours (not quite...) peeling, slicing, and sizzling potatoes (during which I spilled burning oil all down my leg) before finally sitting down to feast on our homemade lizzlemade tortilla espanola. Delicious. After dinner we met up with some of my friends at a bar that was basically an American frat house basement that had been magically transported to Spain. We consumed our fair share of sangria, watched a pretty heated beer pong match, got hit on by every single male in the room, and had two roses purchased for us from our new friend Balil Habibi. Good times.

On Wednesday morning I left Lizzle to wander around my neighborhood while I went to my art history class. Thankfully the tiny lid didn't get lost and we successfully met up afterwards, ran to the grocery store and my favorite fruit stand and made our way to Retiro to picnic. We rented a rowboat, had a mini workout rowing ourselves to the middle of the pond (?) where we promptly dropped our oars and let the wind push us around while we feasted on whole wheat baguettes, perfect strawberries, and white wine juice boxes. Once our 45 minutes of boat time ended we exited the park on Paseo del Prado and stopped quickly in the botanical gardens before I dropped Lizzle off at the Reina Sofia and headed to my history class. After class I picked up Lizzle where I had dropped her and did a quick tour through the Thyssen museum before walking up to Plaza de Cibeles and then Sol. Tired from such a long day, we refueled with some coffee at Cafe Comercial (sadly no McDreamy in sight) and returned home for dinner. We met up with Jess at Manuela Cafe where we had glasses of wine and chocolate cake and played a couple rounds of Scattergories (don't worry Sorgz, it was nothing near the intensity of Scattasorgz). Highlights included Lizzle's use of "turd" and Jess's and my twin moment with "Billy Rae Cyrus." The perfect weather had by this point turned to rain so after a couple hours we dikdiked home and went to sleep.

showing off our muscles

the best smelling flowers in the world

I woke up early and left Lizzle to sleep in while I made another trip to the airport to pick up my Dad, Carolann, and Robbie. We all reunited at Cafe Comercial for breakfast (or a calamari sandwich if you're Lizzle) and then headed to Sol, Plaza Mayor, and walked by Palacio Real, where we paused for a few minutes so that the kids could play on the play structure while the adults took a break from walking (hint: there were 3 kids and 2 adults.) With almost perfect timing, we escaped the sudden rain as we ducked into San Gines for churros con chocolate. My family decided to give into their jet lag induced cravings for a nap and headed back to their hotel while Lizzle and I shopped for a bit on Gran Via. Lizzle and I parted ways for dinner (she went with a friend of Jason's and I ate with my familia) but met up later at Tele Pizza where my friends were shadily pregaming. For some reason Cerveceria Seven was closed to we headed down Fuencarral in search of another bar. Lizzle and I bought one euro cans of beer from some random man in the street and we all ended up in a bar near Tribunal. The bar was a bit dead so Lizzle and I walked south to Sol to go to Palacio which was sadly closed. Though the weather was yucky, we persevered and walked to O'Connel's and Dubliners and then to a small Tapas Cafe. After a few more attempts to find a bar we gave up and hailed a taxi home.

Lizzles during breakfast at Cafe Comercial

in Plaza Mayor

On Friday morning we met up with my family to have breakfast at their hotel and then toured Palacio Real. After jumping around the courtyard and walking through the palace we checked out the adjacent church and then headed to the top floor of Corte Ingles for lunch where there was an old man with hair that stuck straight up. It was amazing. We shopped with the fam for a bit and then returned to Manuela Cafe to play Scattergories and share a pitcher of sangria. Robbie came back to my apartment with me and Lizzle where we both tried on his new soccer uniform and watched some youtube vids before meeting up to go to a Moroccan restaurant where we had an amazing feast complete with pita, hummus, falafel, tabbouleh, and couscous. After dinner, we bid goodnight to my family and ventured out. We started at the cave bar, shared a very strong leche de pantera, and then met up with Stephanie and Melissa and went to a bar with very harsh lighting, very cheap drinks, and very crazy Spaniards. Feeling a little sleepy, we cabbed home, stayed up for a bit, before calling it a night.

me with the fam outside of Palacio

JooJooBee: best nickname ever


I had to wake up early on Saturday morning to reunite with my family for our road trip to the beach (!! next blog post !!) which unfortunately meant saying bye to Lizzle. I woke her up to give her a hug goodbye before cabbing it to my family's hotel and Lizzle woke a few hours later to catch her flight back to the Cope. My Lizzle reunion in Madrid was perfect, just like the form of a leaping dikdik midflight.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

another new born baby blog

I have decided to make a new blog for some non-Madrid goodies. Click me!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

abril en fotos

After much traveling, April has been very relaxing thus far. This past week I was able to take solo trips to the trio of museums as well as a trio of exhibitions that I have wanted to check out for a while. Last Friday I started my day at Casa Asia to check out a selection of the Indian photographer Raghu Rai's black and white photos of India (trio represent) then switched gears completely and saw 22 really cuddly dog portraits by Christopher Makos and Paul Solberg before spending some time in the Thyssen. On Tuesday, despite Maya's demands that I take a nap, I braved the rainy weather and went to the Amazones del Arte Nuevo exhibition the explored the role of female artists in the development of modern art; I saw works by Frida Kahlo, Georgie O'Keefe, and, my new personal favorite, Tamara de Lempicka. Wednesday the Prado: first with Jess after class followed by a slightly painful visit with Selma, my art history teacher during which Jess suppressed urges to "punch her in the back of the head." Yesterday I woke early to go to the Reina Sofia and spend some more time in the really great Picasso exhibit as well as in my favorite room (#3).

This weekend was especially nice, highlights include dancing to the Grease soundtrack at Seven, dinner at Isla del Tesoro, and being uber classy at a wine bar last night. This morning I made my third consecutive trip to the Rastro (lucky me!) and added to my collection of Rastro treasures shown below. My Rastro morning was followed by a great nap and a coffee at Cafe Comercial before yoga class this evening where I really enjoyed "sexy time!", "did something beautiful for my body" and "set myself up for a great week" (all quotes from my instructor, who clearly loves his life). Back to class tomorrow, Lizzle comes on Tuesday, and Dad, Carolann, and Robbie on Thursday. We're off to Alicante this weekend, cross your fingers that it's beach weather.

And now, a run-down of my Rastro treasures (and one vintage treasure) followed by some recent photos.

Rastro treasure #1: embroidered shirt

Rastro treasures #2 and #3: two little elephant charms carved out of bone, they're about the size of my fingernail (Nais one of these is for you!)

Rastro treasure #4: gold necklace with pink and green beads

Rastro treasures #5 and #6: two more shirts

Rastro treasure #7: Moroccan leather bag

close up of the bag, look at the hearts!

Vintage treasure #1: little gold handbag which scored me some compliments from an old man at a Mojito bar last Tuesday...probably because it's from his era ;)

remnants of Miguel's 34th birthday

newly planted flowers outside the Prado

pretty painted clothespin taking care of my MJ skirt

find the abuelita!

I was obsessed with this embroidery on a dress at the Rastro this morning...too bad the dress was pretty frump

women getting vicious over shoes!

two adorable old women who are also regulars at Cafe Comercial photographed two weeks ago; they sit on the same side of the table and alternate between gazing out the window, nodding off, and make tiny lid conversation

woman A takes a nap while woman B is in the bathroom photographed today...same outfits!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

como se dice CUPCAKES?

So I did it! I finally faced my fears of cupcake failure (it's the worst.) I wanted to do my favorite chocolate chocolate chip recipe but unfortunately instant chocolate pudding does not exist here. Thanks to extensive googling, I was able to alter the recipe and make some substitutions before proceeding with caution. With no electric mixer in sight, I spent about fifteen minutes mixing the batter with a fork, trying my best to pop the air bubbles and break up the clumps while being ever so cautious not to over-mix...nobody likes tough batter! After more than enough taste tests, I filled up a silicone cupcake cup with batter, took a deep breath, wished the little guy good luck, and popped the tray in the oven (which had been emitting quite a bit of smoke earlier...) The next fifteen minutes were spent altering between pacing and compulsively pressing the oven light button (which results in both a light and a strange buzzing sound) to check on the progress. Things were looking good--Mr. Tester Cupcake was on his way to achieving a near-perfect dome shape. I breathed a sigh of relief as I removed him from the oven, cut him down the middle, and devoured know, just to make sure things were turning out okay. With a smile on my face I popped in the rest of the batches and before long I had twenty newborn cuppies to call my own. After cooling, they were iced with frosting that I had to mix with my hands (very clean hands!) and topped with some classic sprinkles that I found in a cabinet (maybe Spain is good for something...) and now they are all arranged on plates and waiting patiently in the kitchen to be adored and cooed at. SUCCESS.

fresh from the oven, showing off her perfect dome

looks like we've got a run away sprinkle!

naked cupcakes!!
(I had to pop the first batch out so I could reuse the silicone cups)
(also note my attempt at piping without my piping bag and tops)

why hello there, perfection

: )