Saturday, June 3, 2017

Greetings to all.
 We are now imbedded in San Diego CA and have started a new adventure.  Wearable Art on a T-Shirt and Tote.  Renata has created some whimsical designs of animals on their own wanderings.  We hope you like them, we would love to see people wearing them in their own neighborhoods, and places all over the world.  We hope we are able to wear these shirts on our future journeys and post some stories and photos of our new adventures.  It is all about "Slow Travel" and taking your time to discover new cultures and countries. Have Fun!  To see our Store, use the Label-Page Tab on the Menu Bar. Store.Richerforwandering.com

shop.richerforwandering.com    Hope you like our shirts.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Basque Country Buffet

Note:
We had a computer crash while travelling - so we will get ourselves caught up!  Currently, we finished 2 years of travelling and have come back to San Diego, California to spend the holidays with family and friends and make plans for 2016!
























RICH:
Happy-Hour-Heaven!  Never in my life have I witnessed such a display of food.  The variety and quality of small appetizers called Pintxos (pronouonced pinchos) overwhelm you. Door after door of welcoming culinary buffets.  25-30 platters of fish, pimentos, jamon, chorizo, bruchettas, vegetables, prepared in many different ways, with more arriving from the kitchen.  Each kitchen daring the other restaurants to match their gastronomic efforts.  Swine and Dine shangri la.  Ahhhh.






In search of the next Pinxto Bar - so many to choose from, so little time!


WANDA:

Of course Richard couldn't wait to share the "Swine and Dine" experiences  San Sebastian is known for.  In fact, the city holds the 2nd highest Michelin Stars per capita in the world.  On our budget, we went to the popular Pinxto Bars and ate to our tummies content...





- Rich, "I'll take one of each"  - Bartender, "Help yourself to as much as you want.  When you are done, we count the toothpicks and you are charged 2 Euros per toothpick."  
It was an expensive night....



Before San Sebastian though, I don't want to forget the few days we spent in Bilbao - the largest city in the Basque Country (and at one time known for the commerce of iron ore and  renowned for their ironwork of swords in the 16th century called "Bilboes")







We walked the city along the estuary and crossed back and forth over the 17 bridges Bilbao is known for....

The colorful La Salve Bridge

We walked through the streets of the Old Town....

...and experienced the gothic St. James Cathedral...


..... to the modern Guggenheim museum...

The amazing Guggenheim Museum -a must see if you make it to Bilbao!




Now back to San Sebastian....





Not only is San Sebastian known for good eating it is known as the place to vacation for the people of Spain.  Beautiful playas or beaches, 






Thomas and Amaya are a young Basque couple that invite strangers into their home to share a Basque meal....

...as long as you help of course!  Checkout how we cut the potatoes.  Insert a knife partway through the potato, then break off a piece of the potato in small chunks.  The broken edge of the potato allows the starch to be released into the soup efficiently. 

The menu was Snapper Basque Style and a Sofrito Soup with Chorizo.  Basque cooking is rustic without the use of spices.  The key ingredients are sweet paprika and Pimiento sauce.


Olive Oil, Onion, Chorizo Sausage, Potatoes, Sweet Paprika, Salt, and Water.  These few ingredients make for a very tasty soup or stew.


Simple Simple Simple - Fish laid over sliced potatoes fried in olive oil - thrown in the oven for 20 minutes and...


.... the chopped garlic fried in olive oil tops the fish!

Wow!  The smells coming from these 2 dishes make for a couple of happy people!!


The strangers - Jill, Barbara, Steph, Lauren, Rich, and myself became friends in the home of Thomas and Amaya over a wonderful Basque dinner and Spanish wine!  TOPA!!



We loved San Sebastian, but we were excited to get down to Madrid and meet up with Renata.........    So off we go!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

ASTURIAS SPAIN: Woody Allen, Faba Beans, and Sidra



We are still a little behind in our posts......

RICH:

Our journey across northern Spain brought us to the region of Asturias.  This place may be the cleanest city in Europe.  That's right, cleaner than cities in Switzerland, Germany etc.  

Woody Allen, noted germaphobe,  was quoted about Oviedo, (2nd largest city in the Asturian region, and the location for many scenes in Allen's film, Vicki Christina Barcelona),  "Oviedo is Delicious, Exotic, Beautiful, Clean, Pleasant, Peaceful, and Kind to Pedestrians.  It's as if it doesn't belong to this world, as if it could not possibly exist...Oviedo is like a Fairy Tale."  

Oviedo is also one of the friendliest cities we have ever visited.  When you add incredible regional food, Asturias is a treasure you need to visit.


Walking the streets of Oviedo with Woody


WANDA:




We are in the Region of Asturias.  Asturias can be described as the sea on one side and the Picos de Europa mountain range on the other side - Like Galicia, isolated and different from the rest of Spain.   We visited 3 cities in the region - Lastres,  Gijon, and it's capital city Oviedo.  We spent most of our time in Oviedo, as Rich said, because it is such an impressive city.   Asturias was populated by the Celtic peoples known as the Astures during the Bronze Age - and of course, like everywhere else in Europe, the Romans left their important mark as well as the Visigoths.  Unlike the rest of Spain, the Moors never found their way over the mountainous region...



Let's start with the traditional food of Asturia:
The cuisine of Asturias is based on Fabada, Cheese, Cider, and of course fish and shellfish.  The food is rustic and natural with little or no spices.



Fabada Asturiana or just Fabada- is a heavy rich bean stew, made with white/faba beans with pork or bacon, chorizo, and morcilla - black sausages...hmmmm Happy Boy!



...the local dish is so loved - stores are full of take-home packets.  We went to a couple of restaurants to taste the different variations - all were excellent and left us tooting for more!

If anyone loves cheese and has been to all the great destinations for the best cheese in the world, then Asturias must be on this list.  It is known as the "Land of Cheeses" - they are well known for their world famous blue cheese called Cabrales...what pairs best with their cheeses is their traditional drink....


 Sidra at La Finca Sidreria....
.....The Asturias traditional drink is Sidra -   Asturias grows more than 200 kinds of apples - why eat them when you can blend them into a wonderful (they say "low alcohol") hard cider!  The label Sidra de Asturias is the protected Denomination of Orgin (DOP)...

The art of pouring Sidra is known as "Escanicar" - as you can see in the photo above, you must pour the cider from above one's head - what this does, kind of like decanting wine, unleashes aromas and effervescence...



Since we have never been to Asturias, we did not know the proper way to drink Sidra - and this waiter had to school us... we noticed he would only pour us a little in our glass at a time, so we sipped a little at a time - he finally had to tell us "Each time I only pour you a little you are to drink it all at once, otherwise you lose the effervescence, if there is any left in the bottom of the glass toss it out!"  oops!  OK....



Chorizo and blood sausage crumbled and spread on tortillas works well with Sidra!


The next day, we wanted more Sidra - just because practice makes perfect!......
We chose El Burladero restaurant because we liked the vibe!

Rich trying his hand at the proper way to pour Sidra and drink it - We learn fast!.....


We asked our wonderful waiter at this restaurant to bring us out what he would eat with the Sidra.  He was so happy, he rushed off to tell the chef to make us an XXL Asturian Cachopo - another traditional dish of Asturia -   Lucky us!  Basically, it is Iberico ham and the famous Asturias cheese between 2 beef filets - coated in bread crumbs and fried...Delicioso!...  
He told us there are Cachopo competitions  in the city for the best and biggest Cachopo...






We really needed to walk off all the food we have been eating... it's so easy in Oviedo - it is such a beautiful and elegant city...... above is the Catedral de Oviedo (A UNESCO World Heritage Site) - a Gothic Cathedral built in the 14th century.  It is a stop for Pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela...



We walked and walked and walked and couldn't help but notice how beautifully clean this city was - no dog poop, no cigarette butts, no trash.  When one of the locals asked us if we were enjoying our visit here - we were told the city has won numerous awards for "The Cleanest City in Spain".  Trash is picked up every day and there is always someone sweeping and cleaning the streets.   Yes, they are all very proud of their city and it shows....



.... The city seems to pride itself on culture and art as well, including a wonderful Art Museum with a large collection of El Greco.  Besides the wonderful architecture of the buildings,  there are so many sculptures and statues found throughout the city center...


A city park was built around the remains of ancient Roman Walls ...

At the top of the hill outside of Oveidos are a few churches that seem to be in every artist's gallery in the city , especially the Santa Maria del Naranco (which is a UNESCO world Heritage Site) - it was originally built as a palace for Asturian Kings in the 9th century and then converted into a church in the 13th century...




20 kilometers away is Gijon another city in Asturias ....

"Arbol de la Sidra" or Tree of Sidra
 This monument is created with 3,000 recycled bottles of Sidra - looks like a party town to me...

Gijon is the largest city in Asturias located on the Bay of Biscay....the coastline is made up of sandy beaches and rugged cliffs...

Elogio del Horizonte or The Eulogy of the Horizon stands on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Bay of Biscay...

Lastres is the last town we stopped at in Asturias.  We stayed long enough to enjoy the  
beautiful views, beaches, and mountains that Asturias is well known for...




....time to head east to the Regions of Cantabria and Basque country....