Madrid Winter mashup

As we get cosy during our second Madrid winter, we wanted to look back at some of the museums, visitors, and food experiences we saw during our first year in the big city. The Royal Palace you see in the picture above was lit up for Spanish National Day, which is how they celebrate Columbus Day here. Some high-tech projection technology was involved to get the colors right on the actual architecture. The Plaza Mayor also had a strange suspended art installation. Though night began to fall earlier, the sunsets out our 5th-floor window seemed to become even prettier. We

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You say Sevilla, I say Seville-a

Spaniards’ adoration for Sevilla is unparalleled. When we told our friends either where we were going or where we had been in mid-February, they all made goo-goo eyes and made their jealousy known. Set in the heart of Andalusia, it is certainly one of the most classically Spanish cities… muy castizo, as some might say. Nowhere in the city was this influence felt more strongly than in the Plaza de España, an homage to Spanish design. Initially built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, this giant monument of stone and tile, along with its surrounding pavilions, were later repurposed for locals and visitors

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20 years later: Doer revisits Zaragoza (with Dreamer this time)

Twenty years ago, a young Doer visited Zaragoza with his friend Daniel, who had lived there as a child. Last February, he returned to the city, the capital of the autonomous community of Aragon and Spain’s fifth-largest city, with his Dreamer. Fuente de la Hispanidad. Doer’s favorite thing from that first visit – a stylized fountain depicting the Americas – was still around and pumping out water. Fountain at night. Before we jump in, however, please allow us a minor detour. Before we set out for the Madrid train station, that age-old conflict: Doer wanted to eat, and Dreamer was worried

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Lleida: Crashing in another Catalan capital

Spain has a wonderful network of high-speed trains, so when we wanted to go to an onion-eating festival on short notice, we made way to Madrid’s central station. We decided to stay in Lleida, a regional Catalan capital on the Madrid-Barcelona route, as it’s relatively close to Valls, the site of the festival. It was also the fourth and final Catalan province that we visited – now we’ve seen them all (others being Girona, Tarragona, and of course, Barcelona). So that’s how we came to see what Lleida had to offer – when weren’t watching human towers or eating onions,

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Valls: Food + festival + human towers = best last-minute trip ever

Late January, Dreamer was browsing her well-worn copy of Fodor’s Spain travel guide, looking for a weekend destination for February. She looked up the Catalan city of Sitges, thinking it might be a fun destination for Carnival, and as she read a couple pages past that entry, a tiny paragraph about the nearby town of Valls caught her eye. Three things immediately jumped out: calçotada castellers and, most relevant, last Sunday of January. “Wait,” she thought. “That’s this Sunday!” It was Wednesday. But hey, we’re used to doing things the Spanish way now, right? And we love eating onions. The dynamic duo,

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Oranges at midnight: New Year in our old home

Feeling a little homesick for our first Spanish home, we accepted an invitation to spend New Year’s with friends in Vila-Real in the Valencian Community. The visit included a day trip, some jaunts into Valencia, and lots of oranges. Our first night in Vila-Real coincided with the San Silvestre run, an amateur event featuring a bevy of costumed runners. We were excited to sample some fresh-squeezed orange juice at this event, made in a giant orange and served near Vila-Real’s city hall. We even made a new friend, Andrés, who was kind enough to bring us some sweet new posters

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