OMG= Oh, My Goodness. I visited Spain and Por-tu-gal.(Learned that the name has not “chu” in it.) What a week. Where shall I start?

Flight– relatively uneventful and long. Tour company Insight Adventures–topnotch. Tour director– punctual, competent, knowledgeable, helpful, and charming as well as handsome.  Many beautiful sights. Have pictures to prove it. I just hope that I can sort through and remember where I was when the picture was taken. One of our fellow-travelers took copious notes, and now I wish that I had asked for a copy. The history of Spain and Portugal is fascinating to me, and I think it may be because I studied so much of it in World History–the discoveries–and I see  how our own country was and is affected by that history. (Italy was interesting, but it never colonized.) We saw some of the important art, architecture and holy places in several cities in both countries. What a treat for me! I can’t say enough about the pleasure of getting to travel with some of my family and about the entire group that took this tour with us.

I learned a new word. I know how to ask, Where is the bathroom? Now, I know how to ask, Where is the toilet? In fact, while on this tour, I almost decided to do this blog about los aseos. However, I’m sure any reader will be glad to know that I changed my mind. I will say that the toilets were clean and there was not a charge to use them. That is certainly enough of that.

Our entertainment was also of great interest. We saw a Flamenco show in Seville had a dinner with a Fado concert. Fado is Portuguese folk music.. Somewhere in our souvenir stash are some CDs that we just could not resist.

About the food–we had numerous experiences with food and wine. Perhaps the most interesting was our farewell meal with our group. It was in the old town of Madrid and our meal consisted of tapas. Yes, we had tapas all over. Actually, it means a small serving. You can get anything on the menu as tapas. Just ask for a smaller serving. There were eight different tapas dishes along sherry to begin and unlimited wine both white and red. The dessert was a flaming baked Alaska. Such fun!  The first tapas I met was around the corner from our hotel in Madrid. The description was jamon iberico y pan con tomate. The “spread” is an interesting ingredient that was served on every breakfast buffet that we had. The recipe for this simple spread was found with several variations on a Fodor’s question and answer website.

Two Ways to Make Tomato Spread

Toast a slice of rustic bread
Rub with a clove of garlic
Rub with a very ripe tomato
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
Place a slice of Iberian ham, Iberian bacon or Manchego cheese on top of the bread.
Enjoy.
To make a larger amount:
Ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
High quality olive oil
Salt
Grate tomatoes. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Salt to taste.
Serve with any cheese, ham or other toppings of your choice.
Refrigerate any that might be left over.
More recipes later.
Enjoy

BTW, “the rain in Spain stayed mainly” in Portugal.