When I was 20 I spent a spring semester abroad in London. It was such a great experience for me and I would recommend it to anyones kids that are considering it. During my semester I got to do some light traveling around Europe: Scotland with a group of friends via car, a trip to Berlin [the Berlin Wall had just come down that previous November- AMAZING] and for my Spring Break I took a trip through Spain with my roommate. I wanted to see where my dad's family came from and travel the country.
The trip itself was a comedy of errors and we ended up cutting it short by 2 days. The cheating through Spanish class? not so good for traveling! I was glued to my translation book the whole trip. On the plane ride there I figured out 2 phrases that I would need to know for sure: Where is the bathroom? and the second I can't quite remember, it was something related to eating. Obviously, the bathroom was a necessity.
The roommate and I got our Let's Go Spain book and plotted the trip. Fly to Barcelona rent a car and see the city. I might add that I had never seen a round-a-bout prior to this and was not prepared for what Barcelona had to offer. After our taxi cab ride-o-death I decided that driving was not an option but the roomie thought it was doable. She drove, I screamed a lot and held on for dear life. We got out of Barcelona alive and took the train to the eastern edge and were going to make stops along the book guide's suggestions.
I can tell you the two positive things that still stay with me about that trip [I think there were only two really] The Paella I had in one of those little towns [which I can't remember which one] and the city of Sevilla which was beautiful and amazing.
The Paella though....I love good food and I don't know whether it was that I was so incredibly hungry that day or whether it was that amazing but the Paella was to. die. for. We ventured down a small street to a cafe that, in the window had a pan probably 4 feet wide in the window with mounds of seafood and chicken and saffron rice. We walked in and mimed and pointed our way through ordering and sat down to a plate of heaven. I've never had it since.
I got this catalog in the mail today of the "foods of Spain" the normal Jamon, cheese and olive oil but then there was the page, the Paella page and I got to remembering that meal. I'm nervous to buy the kit, that it won't be the same - but of course it won't be the same! I've had 20 years to make it grander in my mind than ever. But I really want to try it. Wouldn't it be fun? Throw a giant dinner party and make my own giant vat of love!