The Rain in Spain

September 22nd, 2009  |  18 Comments


I know how much you all clamor to see other people’s vacation photos. Since I have your rapt attention, here are the best of what I could cobble together of our recent trip to Madrid and Barcelona. Most days we left our hotel room for fourteen hour stretches and I didn’t feel like lugging the hefty dSLR around. I tossed the point-and-shoot in my bag. Well, the rain in Spain really must fall mainly on the plain, because there was so much sun glare on the camera’s preview screen, I couldn’t see what I was photographing. I pointed, clicked, and hoped for the best.

If you like the ubiquitous, quaint, European-style cities with majestic buildings and narrow streets, then you must get your butt over there pronto. It’s exactly what I was expecting, and it still managed to leave me dumbfounded with awe. My favorite way to see a city is to wander around for hours, until the feet can’t take one more step. One can’t help but stumble on some funny little buildings or postcard-worthy cafe.

As far as fancy dinners, it wasn’t in the cards. We kind of winged our meals, based on where we were and when we got hungry. The language barrier was getting to me and if I recognized gambas or jamón on the menu, I pointed to that and nodded away at the waiter, who nodded back, and then I nodded again, like foreigners do. Scott and I did make one attempt to go to lunch at a lofty establishment. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I always think of lunch as a casual affair. Not overseas, it isn’t. After they learned we had no reservation, we got shoo’d right out the door.

To make a sweeping generalization, I found the food in Barcelona to be far better than in Madrid. In Barcelona, no matter where we went, even if it seemed like a tourist trap, the food was fresh and exceptional. I can only imagine they have a certain standard that no one can fall under, lest they be run out of the city by an angry mob. Spain is known for their cured hams and artisanal cheeses and the two of us practically subsisted on that.

All in all, a big, hammy thumbs up for Spain. It was great to meet ya.


We visited the Palacio Real. Ain’t she purdy?



Scott was moved to recite poetry?



Majestic building #1 of 3,239,340



Majestic building #2 of 3,239,340



I’m so eager to see the inside, I motor ahead. I will see everything! No goblet will go unturned!



Scott’s favorite sight after hours in the Palace. You’d think I made him go to the ballet.



Aren’t cobble-stone streets the shizzle?



Entry into Plaza Mayor. And the permanent commemoration of the man in the orange shirt.



An attempt to piece together two photos of the Plaza Mayor, so you can feel like you’re there.



Spiderman really let himself go.



Scott wants to be like Spiderman. Are potato chips the official food of Spain? They’re everywhere.



Churros and chocolate should be. These are from the famous Chocolatería San Gines.



The view upward? Still good.






The streets are either very wide…



…or very narrow.



Am I in Arizona?



One of the “desserts” I had. Tropical fruit soup.



Some desserts I didn’t have. September 11th cakes?



Gothic Cathedral. Let’s go in.



A moment of silence.






Looks like pastry.



The holy ducks.



The Sagrada Familia church. It’s two-faced. This is face one.



Face 2. (With 2 photos sandwiched together.)



Get closer.












Such a friendly fella.



The Spaniards love their ham.



 Columbus monument. He’s got a good sense of direction.



Last day by the fountain. Back home to bake.



18 Responses to “The Rain in Spain”

  1. maja says:

    Lovely photos, I was in Madrid some time ago…2007. Beautiful town!

  2. What FUN photos!!!! I enjoyed them all!! Thanks so much for sharing the beauty of your trip! Someday I will go!

  3. I’ve been to Valencia and the Northern part of Spain as a teenager. I bet it was really hot over there. It seems like you had a lot of fun. Lovely pictures, as usual. The churros and hot chocolate are so tempting :P

  4. Ramya Kiran says:

    Wow, looks like you had an awesome time. lovely clicks!

  5. Michelle says:

    I went to Spain on a high school Spanish Club trip. So long ago! I ate my first flan in the Plaza Mayor. : )

  6. Love the photos! Makes me want to take a trip!

  7. Joanne says:

    Beautiful pictures, thank you for sharing. I have been inspired!

  8. Ana says:

    Great pictures and excellent vacations you have spent, congratulations!!!!

  9. Batia says:

    Great holiday!
    Hope you went to La Boqueria Market on
    La Rambla .
    That was a great place 5 years ago when we toured in Baecelona.

  10. PastryPal says:

    maja — Yes, Madrid is very beautiful.

    Jen — I sure hope you’ll go someday. You’ll probably love it.

    Jackie — It was sweltering but we had no choice but to power through. I’d love to go to some other towns. I think all parts of Spain have their own culture and personality. Some day I’ll go back.

    Ramya — Thanks!

    Michelle — Must have made quite the impression on you. The Plaza Mayor is tough to forget.

    Deanna — Yes, makes me want to go back! :)

    Joanne — Thanks for looking!

    Cristin — I don’t blame you :)

    Ana — Thanks, it was a great time.

    Batia — Yes, we went to La Boqueria Market and I had to look at every last vendor’s goods. I wanted to get some pictures but I just couldn’t capture it.

  11. Joyce Siew says:

    i miss spain, Irina! Sob sob…

  12. Estie says:

    I was just in Madrid last month for vacation-wasn’t the palace GORGEOUS!!!!! The dining room table-AMAZING! Looks like you had a great trip!

  13. peabody says:

    Super jealous. Me amo Espana, but it’s been over 15 years since I have been. Sigh. Glad you had a great trip.

  14. Rox says:

    I was in Spain three weeks ago :D Spent only one day in Barcelona and two and a half in Madrid, but I loved both of them.

    I managed to take a few more pictures in La Boqueria, until my ‘partner in crime’ wanted to touch one of the crabs and we had to quickly make our escape.

    In Madrid we passed by one of those huge ham shops, named ‘The Ham museum’ and so many shops selling cookies and macarons (I actually stopped in front of one and stared for a bit).

  15. Lan says:

    my roommate is from Barcelona (and is Catalona). when i visit with her family next xmas, i’m making them take me to wherever it is that you had churros and chocolate.

    what a fun vacation you had!

  16. rose gilbert says:

    How did I miss this installment! Special fun for me, seeing the Senor reign in Spain!
    I still muse and wonder at Gaudi’s visions. Did you make Guell Park in Madrid…I think that’s how
    you spell the name of the family that supported Gaudi’s work, for which we must all be grateful
    (especially Salvador Dali and Stephen King!).

    Miss seeing you. Is Scott sending pix from London?


  17. Mercè says:

    Hi Irina, I just came across your blog and read your post about your vacation in Spain. You were wondering why September 11th cakes? Well, we, catalans, celebrate our national day on September 11th. So those cakes were for that celebration. ;)

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