Thanks, David Lebovitz! (Geneva)

Several months ago, I was catching up on the latest updates on David Lebovitz’ blog, which I read fairly regularly.  An expat living in Paris, he’s the author of several cookbooks and/or food memoirs, and his blog is a combination of recipes, travel recommendations, and musings on life in Paris.  I’ve liked his writing for a while, and since moving to another country myself, I’ve come to appreciate his perspective even more.  When I read this post, I immediately wanted to try this incredible-sounding pairing of meringues with La Gruyere double cream.  When I mentioned it to David, he matter-of-factly asked, “Ok, so when do you want to go to Switzerland?”  That’s one of the craziest things about living in Europe–everything is relatively close!  We can go to Switzerland for a weekend!  So we booked flights to Geneva for our long weekend in early December, and I prepared myself by reading and re-reading Lebovitz’s description of the crunch of the sweet meringues combined with the cool richness of the double cream. Continue reading

The Absent Blogger Returns

Hey there!  Sorry for the long absence.  I have no good excuse, unfortunately; I’m just lazy and really bad at updating.  However, you won’t be surprised to hear that in the intervening months between my last post and now, I’ve been to lots of fabulous places!  And I’m even gonna tell you about them!

I’ve written a couple of new posts that are scheduled to go up this weekend, while I’ll be busy traveling in Morocco(!!!), but for the moment, I’ll give you a few pictures as a taste of what I’ve been up to in the (very long) time since you last heard from me.

Awesome chair sculpture outside the UN building in Geneva

Poutine! Finding this Montreal treat made me miss Will Shown a lot.

Piles of nougat and caramels at a Christmas market in Switzerland

Valladolid's Plaza Mayor, all dressed up for Christmas

More Spanish Christmas decorations

Fanta Exotic--Hands down the best flavor I've had anywhere. Tastes like passion fruit.

Guinness, poured by moi, at the Guinness Factory in Dublin

New Year's Eve with Scottish cousins!! Best fireworks show I've ever seen.

Awesome bridge in London (featured in the last Harry Potter movie!)

Amazing custard tarts at Borough Market

 

Atop the Walls of Ávila

Continuing our series of day trips, David and I recently visited the town of Ávila with my friend Elizabeth.  We had a really bizarre schedule for the second week of December, because the 6th was the Día de la Constitución, and the 8th was Día de la Virgen de la Inmaculada, so I only had class on Monday and Wednesday.  David was lucky enough to have class only on Monday, so he came down to Valladolid that night and we set out bright and early the next day on our adventure.  Ávila is just over an hour away from Valladolid by train.  We left a little after 10 (it was a holiday, after all), and got into the city around 11:30, plenty of time to do some exploring before lunch.  Home to a population of only about 60,000, Ávila is a tourist destination known for its well-preserved medieval walls that surround most of the old city.  We weren’t sure the best way to go about finding the walls from the train station; when we asked directions, we were told to just “ir todo recto hasta que los veis,” go straight until you see them.  The winding nature of the streets had us a bit confused, but just when we were about to lose faith in those directions, we rounded a corner and found ourselves standing in front of the wall’s guard towers. Continue reading

Santillana and Samosas

David and I realized a few weeks ago that we have been slacking.  We’ve been here since September, but until the end of November, we hadn’t been to any of the many charming little towns in either Castilla y León or Cantabria that are all easily accessible by bus.  So when I went up to Santander for Thanksgiving, we hopped on a bus on Saturday morning and went to Santillana del Mar.  It’s known as “el pueblo de las tres mentiras, porque ni es santo, ni llano, ni tiene mar.” (The town of the three lies, because it is neither santo (holy), llano (flat), nor near the mar (ocean).)  But the town is fairly well-known within the north of Spain, and the name really comes from Santa Juliana, or Santa Iuliana, who is buried in the Colegiata, a church and monastery built in the twelfth century.  It’s an incredibly well-preserved medieval town, with very strict laws intended to help maintain the historical nature of the place.  For example, only residents and tourists staying in a hotel with a garage may bring a car into the city.  It’s a charming place, and I really liked the Colegiata, but after we walked up and around all three streets, there wasn’t a whole lot else to do.  We also had the misfortune of arriving too late to visit both the monastery and the art museum (the other draw, according to the guidebooks) before they closed for the siesta, and decided to leave on an earlier bus before the museum reopened rather than try and find something to do for an extra three hours while waiting for the bus.

Continue reading

The Best Part

I was having coffee recently with a friend who’s studying abroad in Valladolid and about to go home, and we were talking about different things we liked about the city.  When I asked her what her favorite thing about the city was, she had a hard time choosing just one thing.  I was teasing her about it, but then she flipped my question back onto me, and I realized how hard it was.  I think I told her my favorite thing was shopping for food, but even after giving her an answer, I couldn’t stop thinking about the question, and I came up with a different favorite.  Continue reading

Bonus Food Pictures!

Delicious things David and I cooked last time I went to Santander:

Onion, Mushroom, and Cheddar Galette, with Roasted Smashed Potatoes with Creme Fraiche
Birthday Cake for David’s roommate, Sarah! Fudgy chocolate cake topped with hazelnut praline whipped cream and homemade caramel sauce.