24 Horas


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Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Sitges
July 22nd 2011
Published: September 30th 2017
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Spanish Obession With Jamon ...Spanish Obession With Jamon ...Spanish Obession With Jamon ...

... one of countless stores in Spain specializing in all things delicious that oink, namely Jamon Serrano and Iberico. The name Ibericus conjures up images of Kirk Douglas as a gladiator in Spartacus - but instead of slaying other gladiators and Roman soldiers, he uses his instruments of death to carve up paper-thin slices of porcine perfection. They should make a prequel to Gladiator, where the climactic scene is a duel-to-the-death between Maximus and Spartacus. But just as the fight begins, they drop their weapons and instead settle their differences over a bottle of Rioja and a plate of beautiful tapas that heavily features jamon. I'd pay to see that.
Geo: 41.2348, 1.81122

24 hours ... that's how much time there is from the moment my plane landed in Barcelona, to the time my plane for Sofia takes off. Coincidentally, it's also the amount of time the journey to Sitges took, counting from the moment I walked out of my place to catch a shuttle to the airport. 24 hours to get somewhere and only spend 24 hours there ... most wouldn't bother traveling to Spain if that's all they got, but I would! 24 hours may not seem like much, but it's plenty of time to get reacquainted with Spain.

A drive along the Spanish coast to Sitges, strolling through the old town and partaking in the famous Spanish paseo, a walk along the beach followed by dipping the toes in the Mediterranean, a three-course dinner while seated in a Modernist-style courtyard underneath the Spanish stars ... and that was just last night!

The remainder of those 24 hours was spent today browsing at the local market, strolling along a few of the numerous beaches in Sitges, and a poor man's version of a tapas crawl ... 24 hours isn't a lot of time in Spain - it's far too
Breakfast in El Xalet's Beautiful Courtyard ..Breakfast in El Xalet's Beautiful Courtyard ..Breakfast in El Xalet's Beautiful Courtyard ..

... quite the smorgasbord by Spanish standards, with toast, croissant, and a ham sandwich. Fruit, yogurt, cereal, OJ, and a little pitcher of great coffee rounded it out. A lot more variety than the typically-basic Spanish breakfast of some toast or a pastry with coffee.
short but still sweet, nonetheless. It's enough for anyone to fall in love with this beautiful country or in this case, fall in love all over again for the ninth time.

Before I knew it my visit to Spain was drawing to a close and I was on a bus bound for the Barcelona airport. Sitting next to this girl from Kiev, I realized there was perhaps a perfect job in this world - a sommelier! As part of ongoing professional development, she's been studying for the past two months in Milan, with future visits planned to other Old World wine countries and farther down the road, South American wine producers. Sounds like the life!

Some 50 hours after leaving home, I finally arrived at the true destination for this trip - Bulgaria. The first impression of Sofia was a funny one, a pure Mr. Bean or Austin Powers-type moment - all the passengers disembark the plane directly onto the tarmac, where we boarded buses to take us to the terminal. After waiting for about five minutes for the bus to fill up, it makes wide turn and drops us off directly in front of the terminal - about 50-60 feet away, a distance we could have walked in a minute. Everybody just looked at each other with bemused expressions, smiling and shaking their heads. Welcome to Bulgaria!



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The Tiniest Little Olives I've Ever Seen ...The Tiniest Little Olives I've Ever Seen ...
The Tiniest Little Olives I've Ever Seen ...

... even smaller than jelly beans.
Too Bad - Pale Imitation of Basque Tapas ...Too Bad - Pale Imitation of Basque Tapas ...
Too Bad - Pale Imitation of Basque Tapas ...

L-R: Seafood salad with a bit of roe and WAY too much mayo, a blob of tuna salad topped with a half hard-boiled egg and then battered and fried, tough serrano with a slice of oily manchego, and greasy bacon-wrapped sausages. None were any good and to add insult to injury, the bread was terrible. The one highlight of the meal was a bit of refreshing cider to cleanse the oil slick from my palate. Maybe BP should've employed that tactic, probably have sped up the cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Gastronomy Abounds in Sitges ...Gastronomy Abounds in Sitges ...
Gastronomy Abounds in Sitges ...

... quite a few little gourmet shops around town, and the restaurant quality seems to be a slight cut above the typical Spanish fare. This particular store specialized in Spanish foods ... so why are they selling Hawaiian sea salt??!?!?!?!!
World Cup Hero Andres Iniesta's Wine Label ...World Cup Hero Andres Iniesta's Wine Label ...
World Cup Hero Andres Iniesta's Wine Label ...

... bringing Spain its first-ever World Cup all but guarantees high sales for his wine, even if it were to taste like "the Urine of Satan", as Alec Baldwin's 30 Rock character once famously described his own wine.
Corpus Christi Festival ....Corpus Christi Festival ....
Corpus Christi Festival ....

... remnants of the sidewalk chalk sketches that were part of the celebrations a few weeks ago.
Last Meal in Spain ...Last Meal in Spain ...
Last Meal in Spain ...

... terrible, terrible bocadillo with Spanish tortilla. The egg and potatoes were extremely mushy, though the baguette was nice, warm, and crispy. It paled in comparison to a tiny little sandwich I earlier had at Ibericus, with some great jamon Iberico and the bun brushed with some tomato.


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