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Recommendations for Venice, Madrid, Granada
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Peachydeva



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 13
Location: Heartland, USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 3:47 pm    Post subject: Recommendations for Venice, Madrid, Granada Reply with quote

DH and I are leaving for Spain and Italy in two weeks and wonder if anyone has suggestions (food related) for what not to miss in these cities. We particularly enjoy the central markets (like La Boqueria in Barcelona), interesting restaurants, and neighborhood grocery stores. In addition to Venice, Madrid and Granada, we are planning day trips to Toledo, Cordoba, Sevilla, Algeciras in Spain and Verona and Bologna in Italy. Ambitious, I know, but we don't want to miss anything!

thanks!
Di
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good question. We are leaving for our holidays in one day and will be making a day trip to Venice. Might have to check back for lunch suggestions.

The bulk of our time is going to be in Croatia, and I am so excited as the food and wine is supposed to be superb. We will be on the Istria Peninsula and in a seaside resort, so cannot wait for seafood!!!! One of the top things I miss about Australia... sigh.

Any suggestions for venice will be gratefully received by us!!!
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Peachydeva



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 13
Location: Heartland, USA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm... what I know about Croatia... I worked with a German woman years ago who married a fellow from Croatia. She asked me to design her wedding invitation around a very poor photo she had of a tiny rock-hewn chapel in the Croatian countryside where they planned to marry. The invitation had to be in three languages for all their relatives. It is a nice memory and I so enjoyed the project.

I also once had a Yugoslavian roommate who swore that Dubrovnik was/is the most beautiful place on earth though I do not know never having been there. He smoked during every meal and when I came home one day after having been traveling for two weeks, I found he had adopted a doberman pincher puppy who he named "montana" after joe montana of the S.F. 49's. There were empty dog food cans in several rooms of the house and a beautiful 16-year old girl he had picked up in the Santa Cruz mountains who was now also living in my house and wearing one of my designer t-shirts. It was not a happy day. None of this has any bearing on the beauty and value of Croatia as a travel destination, I know, but words bring memories.

The other thing is a film I saw recently about the Bosnia/Croatian war called Harrison's Flowers. As with all hollywood movies, I'm sure there was a good deal of artistic license, but I still have very disturbing images from that film flashing across my mind. Anyway I'm rambling. I hope your trip is wonderful as I'm sure it will be as all seems calm there now.

Meanwhile, I've found a blog directory for expats living in Europe and am scrounging around to see what I can find for Venice and cities in Spain. Will post anything of consequence.

Di
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crotia is wonderful, though the Istrian Peninsula is more like an extention of Italy, with Venetian style resort towns.
I don't know how long you are going to stay, but I hope you'll get to visit also some other parts of Croatia: Split, of course Dubrovnik, even Zagreb has beautiful places to be visited. actually many of the coastal cities are superb. Plitvice , a natural reserve, with it's forest pathways and waterfalls is, in my opinion a must when in Croatia. Postojna caves ( in Slovenia, but nor far away from Istria) are interesting, and probably the largest one in Europe. Not far away from Postojna, there are the Predjama caves and castle, very reccomended. The Yugoslav resistance ( with Tito) had it's headquarters there during the war. Lipice ( in Slovenia, but close to Istria) are interesting for the horse lovers, there are daily shows in summer.
Food is good, though seafood and fish are on the very expensive side, as anywhere else. I think in Istria the food is more Italian style .
As for Venice, it's maybe the only town in the world where food is , for me, less important than the streets. There are some very good and expensive restaurants ( portions are very watch-your-weight minded..). One of the good and very famous ones I had the luck to eat during the 1999' Carnaval of Venice is Fiaschetteria Toscana. Expensive . Another very well known restaurant couln't get a reservation that same year is Osteria da Fiore, in San Polo. which I heard is really very good, though of touristic fame. But I can live with street food, especially the tramezzini- those triangular little sandwiches filled with goodies. I'm sure there are lots of little trattorias out of the main touristic streets. Entering the lobbies of Hotel Danieli and Hotel Gritti is as intereting as a museum. Just take a nonchalant air and walk stright in..
Well, it makes me want to return to Croatia ( which I visited intensely as a guide BRFORE the war, meaning in the late 80' and early 90') and of course Venice. But we have a date with friends for the 2009 Carnaval of Venice.. to celebrate our dear husband's 70th and our 60th birthdays. If we will still be around...
Bon Voyage to all of you

No more war. Let's travel in peace!!!
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janel



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 4
Location: Madrid, Spain

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just wanted to reply to Di. I think you will really enjoy eating in Spain. In Madrid I could recommend tons of places, depends on what you are looking for, anything you must try? (I have lots of suggestions on my website if you are interested.
In Toledo there is a great restaurant called La Abadia, (the abbey) You can get information on how to get there from the Tourist office in the main square(Zocodover) as its not far from there but requires a few turns on crazy streets.
In Cordoba the famous restaurant (although expensive) is the Caballo Rojo, just across the street from the beautiful mosque. But in Cordoba I love going for tapas, there are lots and lots of Tabernas but you have to get out and explore, a little away from the mosque, in the jewish quarter there are some great tabernas for local tapas, you can get a list of them at the tourist office too, try the fortified wine made locally, montilla moriles.
Have a great trip!
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Peachydeva



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 13
Location: Heartland, USA

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Janel, I visited your website... very nice, great reading! Yes, we love tapas and are looking forward to trying some of the places you suggested. Jamon is my favorite and the little round red peppers stuffed with soft cheese (I don't know what they're called), so yummy. DH loves the little snails you have to pick out with a tooth pick... too much work for me, though.

Thanks for the restaurant suggestions, I've printed out your tapas map and am ready to explore!

Di
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Croatia was fabulous!!!!! I highly recommend it to anyone.

We actually found the seafood to be quite cheap, but maybe that is because we are used to Paris prices? Laughing The Istrian peninsula is very Italian influenced, but all in all the food was great everywhere that we went in all parts of Croatia. A lot of it was familiar from meals with Croatian friends back in Australia, which was nice and a bit nostalgic.

Venice was amazing. Once we arrived, we realised that a gastronomic trip was just too difficult and instead decided to look at the architecture etc. We did a walking tour, had a nice lunch in a (very expensive) resto and hired a water taxi to take us on a tour around the canals. The gondolas were way too expensive, but we managed to get the taxi ride for about 20 euros each. Spent a lot of time just roaming the streets and finding interesting spots to photograph.

I was blown away by the fact that so much of Venice is underwater at high tide. Noticed that the locals wear their beautiful outfits, with wellies on their feet!! If I go again that is what I will do too. Amusing, but practical.
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If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
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janel



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 4
Location: Madrid, Spain

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Di,
If you want snails a great place to go in Madrid is Cerveceria Cervantes, on the corner of Calle Jesus and Calle Cervantes (just behind the Westin Palace Hotel), and down calle Jesus from that is another great tapas bar, La Dolores . Also on calle Jesus and on calle Huertas are two locations of a great Galician restaurant, Maceiras. Highly recommended and great prices, get there before 10 as there are no reservations. (Im not sure those are on my map yet).
In Cordoba we went to a great Taberna, I just found the name, Its Bodegas Guzman, on Calle Judios. (near the north end) Amazing sherry, great traditional atmosphere, full of Spaniards, and really slow service but this is Andalucia, they will get to you eventually. While in Cordoba do not miss the Salmorejo!! (like gazpacho but thicker and used as a dip)
Enjoy your trip!!
Janelle
Ps. I also thought Croatia was amazing!!
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Peachydeva



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 13
Location: Heartland, USA

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome back Debbie... I may have to put Croatia on my wish list. I just finished reading an article about a driving adventure along the Adriatic coast.. Venice to Croatia. Sounds wonderful!

High tide in Venice is something I've read about, but just can't seem to wrap my mind around. I mean actually living in a place where the streets are waterways seems a bit confining to me after living on acres of land with no water in sight. We leave in three days -- I'm so excited!

Di
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Peachydeva



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 13
Location: Heartland, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your recommendations, Janel! Everything sounds so yummy, I'm sure I will gain 10 lbs. in these three short weeks. Oh well, it's part of my culinary education, right! I'd rather be chunky, than miss the experience in any case.

Di
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janel



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 4
Location: Madrid, Spain

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Di,
Im sure you will love the culinary experience, and dont worry about gaining anything, in Europe there are no calories! and you will walk it all off anyway. Smile
J.
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Janel is right. We ate 3 huge meals a day plus snacks and I gained 200grams...... which is nothing and is probably muscle tone from all the walking and carrying a backpack full of essentials (water, sunscreen, glasses, books,cameras etc etc).

If you stick to good food choices you will be ok. The pasta is so fresh and has none of the preservatives that you get in store bought. Fish is generally grilled. Olive oil is used rather than other fats. All in all you will find the food in those countries to be fresher and less "fatty" than in others - even though they may taste calorie laden and delicious!! Laughing
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If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
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Peachydeva



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 13
Location: Heartland, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure we'll be doing alot of walking so that may be my saving grace. And I really don't worry much about weight gain even if I eat alot because I do tend toward healthier fare and better quality food has more nutrients so it's more satisfying.

But then again, I was watching a travel show last night about Madrid that mentioned the popular evening treat of very thick hot chocolate and churros. Now that's my kind of dessert! Healthy or not. Wink

Di
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teacherwine



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 3
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a great restaurant rec. for Venice-it has the best lasagna that I have ever had in my life! It is right off St. Mark's Square-I will have to look at the business card and post it later. I went there when I was backpacking back in 2000, and when DH and I traveled through Italy on our honeymoon back in 2005, I took him back there, and it was just as good as I had remembered!!

Kerry
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srk



Joined: 09 Apr 2005
Posts: 85
Location: Berkeley, CA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love Spain...and food in Spain...in Andalucia, definitely don't miss the salmorejo or the adobo fish, lightly fried and very lemony.

I assume you're going to the Alhambra in Granada, and that you know to reserve your tix online in advance (saves hassles/lines, guarantees an entry time). The gardens are gorgeous. To relax afterward, I strongly recommend visiting the Turkish baths off the main square. They give good massages, and they have an excellent rooftop restaurant where I had my only good Spanish salad. [Note: do *not* order ensalada mixta anywhere in Spain unless you like limp iceberg lettuce, pickled shredded carrot and onion bits, canned corn, and canned tuna sprinkled on top. It was not a combo I found palatable. On the other hand, everything fried is delicious, including excellent fried eggplant from that rooftop restaurant, which I still remember three years later!]

Have an awesome time on your trip - it sounds ambitious but soooo much fun!
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