Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Snow in Spain

...falls mainly around the plain. We woke up in Segovia on May 4th to the sight of white flakes swirling on the other side of the windows. Who would have imagined it, but so far our May tour in Spain has been colder than our April tour in Belgium and the Netherlands. On the ride to El Escorial, a light dusting of snow coated the rocks and trees along the highway, and while El Escorial itself was free from snow, a fierce wind whipped around corners and down alleyways, making any time spent outside a fight against the elements. The fingertips of my left hand prickled with numbness.

Fortunately, the sun was shining despite the nearly frigid temperatures, and in Spain all it takes is a nice, leisurely meal in a warm cafe to put things right. Some of the group, including the guide and I, took advantage of the menu del dia at a local restaurant. This Spanish specialty provides patrons with the option to choose a three course lunch with wine for one very reasonable price, in this case twelve Euros. For a mere twelve Euros, I enjoyed Russian salad, fish, and pudding for dessert, along with a full bottle of red wine to share. If you want to follow the recommended advice to fill up with a large meal at midday and enjoy only a light repast (tapas, antyone?) in the evening, the menu del dia is the way to go. In Seattle, you´d pay the same amount per person just to split a bottle of wine.

Finally warm again, I´m glad to be in Madrid tonight, where the weather isn´t quite so chilly. Still full from lunch, I wonder if I´ll even bother with dinner tonight. In the meantime, a walking tour around the Puerto del Sol should get the blood moving again, and I can honestly say it´s a beautiful day on the plains of Spain.

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