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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Arriving in Spain + Fresh Sardines

Sandcastles on the Mediterranean
We arrived in Spain last Thursday, September 26th. It was quite an ordeal to get here. Our scheduled flight was for Tuesday night, so we showed up to JFK with our six pieces of luggage and four backpacks. We had to wait a few hours before we could go through security. so we took turns babysitting our luggage and going off with the girls to walk around. Below is a photo of right after being dropped off. But, things didn't quite go as planned.


Arriving at JFK airport, which we never flew out of
Soon after finding a place to settle our luggage and hang out, an airport aid pushes a woman in a wheelchair over next to me. The woman gets out and sits down, her luggage next to her. She starts looking around in confusion while the aid motioned for her to stay there. Then he walked away. The woman starts asking people for help in Arabic. No one knew what she was saying. She turns to me and shows me a typed letter from her son, explaining that she can't walk far, and that she was going from Moscow to Florida to visit him. She pointed to his phone number, and I called him. She used my phone. Long story short, for the next two hours, we were on and off the phone trying to re-book her flight after she missed her connecting flight. Eventually, an airport translator came right before I had to leave. I was glad to leave her in capable hands, and her flight did get re-booked for early the next morning. 

Our flight was delayed, then cancelled. A big bus came to take us all to a hotel. At first there were no seats for us on the bus, but a very tired Evelyn and a very tired Lydia sat bawling on the curb right next to the giant bus stairs. Three Spaniards gave up their seats to get on the next bus. Then, there wasn't a spot for Justin. Eventually he was able to come on, and Lydia promptly fell asleep on his lap. 

Waiting for the bus after our flight was cancelled. 
We traveled on the bus for a long time. We had no idea where we were going, but it was somewhere in Long Island. Eventually, the bus turned down a narrow lane with lamps on either side of the entrance. There was a grand mansion lit up with a big fountain in front. Suddenly, I wondered if this was a trap. Would we be put in some weird experiment where we were shown to our rooms but we couldn't turn off the lights and circus music played all night long? It was after midnight at this point. Tired minds think strange thoughts. 

Thankfully, everything was normal, and we slept. The hotel was very grand. Plush carpet in the bedroom, beautifully decorated, chandeliers throughout, and white linens in the dining room. Breakfast and lunch were included. It was a nice, but strange, interlude on our way to Spain. 

Dining hall at the hotel in Long Island
We re-booked our flight for Wednesday night, September 25. We ordered a Lyft to take us to the Newark airport. We had to haul our luggage yet again, but at least we actually got it through security! We boarded the plan to Barcelona at 10:30 pm. The flight was fine. Not good sleep, but at least we were on our way. 

Six pieces of checked luggage and four backpacks
We had a layover in Barcelona, and then finished our journey to Madrid, arriving around 5:30 pm. We took a taxi to our very small Airbnb apartment, lugged our stuff up the stairs, and set out in search of dinner. Finding kebab, we ordered a variety of things and sat in the park to eat. The girls played on the playground, and we marveled that we were finally in Spain. 

Park in Madrid
Next day we took a bus to Malaga. Since then, we've gone to the beach a couple of times, gotten really good gelato in chocolate cones, and gone to the water park. The girls are back on a regular school schedule. We've adopted the custom of staying up late at night (their bedtime is now 9) but we haven't quite figured out a siesta. Instead, they just sleep until 9 the next morning. Works for me.

Mango gelato in a chocolate covered cone
Our first place is an apartment in Fuengirola with a huge terrace that overlooks a park. I love doing yoga on the terrace, and we eat lunch and dinner outside daily. We move to a new place tomorrow, though. We are still trying to figure out where we will settle for the year. 

View from our terrace in Fuengirola
All of us LOVE the Spanish tortillas that are so common here. From the grocery store, we can get a whole tortilla for six euros, and it feeds us for two lunches. It is a mixture of potatoes, eggs, onions, and salt. So simple, yet so satisfying. 

Our favorite: Spanish Tortilla
Since preparing for our trip, I've very much looked forward to cooking fresh sardines. I patiently waited at the grocery store fish counter and ordered a kilo of sardinas gordas (fat sardines). I learned how to scale and clean them. 

Look how their scales are so shiny.
I scraped them off with the back of a knife and they came off in clumps of clear discs

Cooked sardines with salt and olive oil, and a little bit of vinegar
I followed a simple recipe for cooking the sardines. The next day Justin made delicious sardine soup. Both links are below. Thanks for journeying to Spain with me, and I will continue to share our adventures and culinary delights!

Moroccan Baked Sardines from The Spruce Eats

Fishermans Stew from Crafty Cooking Mama


2 comments:

Kate Angelella said...

You seem to be assimilating beautifully after an unexpected journey there. Sign me up for 9 AM wakeups :) Keep up the great posts!

Candice said...

Oh my goodness! First it's tiring just to read about the flight snafu in the states but you balanced the story beautifully with gelato and sardines. Hope you guys are feeling well-rested and ready for the next adventure. Miss you.

Arriving in Spain + Fresh Sardines

Sandcastles on the Mediterranean We arrived in Spain last Thursday, September 26th. It was quite an ordeal to get here. Our scheduled f...