Free in Madrid!

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Spain! I had my freedom in Spain! My freedom to do what I wanted, better yet, EAT what I wanted. What do I have to say about Madrid? I was in love. The food, the architecture, the people, the food. We rented an apartment for five of us (Yellow building below) in a great location and for three nights it was $125 per person and the place was a palace. High ceilings with exposed wood beams—it was incredible. Also on a side note after writing this post I now know why I gained 10 pounds in three weeks…

Day 1: The first day was all about the tapas. I was with my two friends who had either lived in Madrid or visited so we were all about hitting their old stomping grounds. We first went to the Mercado San Miguel. Which as I told my friends and family is literally my heaven. To simply describe it, it is a fancy market. You can stop at each stand and get a tapa for 1-3 euros and then grab a glass of wine and walk around. I had oysters, salmon, cheese, cod, and meats. This became a daily stop for us. When my friends were finally able to drag me, out because I was promised we would return, we made our way to Museo del Jamon for beer. Which literally translates to ham museum. Interesting little spot. Next stop was El Tigre for, yes, more tapas. This place is like a divey place but a must for tourist. They say the way you can tell it is a good place by the amount of garbage on the floor. This place gets an A+.We had sandwiches and paella. Once we realized we were full and our two other friends were arriving shortly and had to let them into the apartment we decided  we should go home and have more tapas and more wine. I told you the first day was about the tapas. We ended our night at a bar called Taberna Lamiak. If you visit Madrid you should check it out—chill place.

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Day 2: Allison and I got up and let the others sleep. We went and saw the the Royal Palace of Madrid and walked around that area. We stopped for breakfast and had café con leche and toast with eggs. We then quickly stopped buy the store to pick up some necessities for our visit to the park. We spent a few hours on a blanket in Parque del Retiro sipping on champagne, eating jamon, and cheese. It was a perfect July 4th in Madrid. Phil and I decided it also was a must to have a hot dog since it was the 4th and we are American. We then took a boat ride on the lake, Estanque del Retiro. I would totally suggest it. Not too expensive only about 8 euros and super fun. We made our way back home and of course stopped at Mercado San Miguel on the way and Chocolateria San Gines for some classic churros. The chocolate was rich not too sweet chocolate and the churros was buttery and warm. They paired perfectly and I really liked it because I’m not much of a sweet person so hit the spot. We showered quickly then headed back out to a bar to watch the France versus Germany soccer match. We then ate at 100 Montaditos and went back home to to get ready for our evening out. Phil, who had been dressed in obnoxious American get up all day, continued his theme of “American pride style” so Allison and I followed suite and put on bandannas. We then went out in Sol. We met some English friends, because of course we ended up at a Irish bar. Phil ended up making a trade for American sunglasses for his bandanna, his tie which was really what was wanted, was not an option. The next morning he still thought it was a good trade, which means it really must have been a good trade.

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Day 3: Once again Allison and I were the only ones who could rally and got up early for breakfast. We got calamari sandwiches, which are known for the Madrid area, cafe con leche, and a beer. Clearly the struggle was real. I swear though that calamari sandwich was to die for, ciabatta bread, mayonnaise, thick calamari rings and lemon, put it all together and you get the best calamari sandwich ever. No it was not just because I was feeling the night from before…I swear. Saturday was the big Pride parade so that was pretty much the plan for the day. After breakfast we once again stopped at the store for the necessities aka beer. We got home and ralliedthe troops. Phil took a ridiculously amount of time to get out of bed-Phil needs to work on this before our next trip. Once everyone was dressed in their pride attire we headed out. First stop? McDonald’s for a beer. Yes McDonald’s has euro beers in Madrid. Very cultural. My friend Kevin and I stopped in at the Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia on the way to the parade to see the infamous Guernica painting. It was incredible. Their was so much going on in the photo and had such an incredible story. Then we found a spot where Gran Via meets Paseo del Prado and watched the parade. We stayed for a bit then decided to head back home so we once again stopped at Mercado San Miguel. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said we went everyday. We ended up staying in, enjoying the apartment, and finishing the bottles of wine we still had. Allison’s flight was at 6 am and Phil and mine was at 10 am. Lets just say getting up and saying goodbye was hard.

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Day 4: Barcelona!

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The Final 21st

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My little sister turned 21 on September 4th. She was the final Colt girl to turn 21 meaning the final 21st birthday I will probably go to for a while. My parents are now breathing a sigh of relief. My little sister Kylie is in her final year of college at Michigan State University so we, my older sister and brother-in-law, came to her. She didn’t really have to convince us at all since Kara and I both went to State as well so we are always looking for any excuse to return to our old stomping grounds.

I of course wanted to bring the cake so I carried it on. The cake had to be a 21st birthday cake so what could be better than a cheap liquor bottle? Nothing, so a Burnett’s cake it was. My sister loves lemons so I made it lemon themed. I bake the cake in an 8 X 8 pan. That way i could make the rectangle body and have extra for the neck of the bottle. I made the fondant cap the night before I left and also the fondant label. Once in Michigan  I whipped up some butter cream frosting and put it all together.

The night ended up being one we will never forget and not just because of the cake ;) Those involved will get it…

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Final Days of Group Travel

I spent my final days of group travel in Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, and Rome. I know, no complaining here. At this point when you are traveling with a large group of students you start to see the friendships form; this my favorite. Kids from different groups are sitting with different kids at dinner or walking together. Italy is a good place to make friends.

After my final night in Rome I got up early to leave the group to meet my friends for non organized travel in Madrid. When I woke up the next morning and had to hail my own cab and deal with the cost I realized how much I was going to miss this “prepacked” group travel, but I was ready to eat whenever and whatever I wanted!

Pompeii

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This holes were once used to serve food; basically McD’s.

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Sorrento/Capri

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Our hotel in Sorrento, not too shabby.

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Amazing fish dinner on the water in Sorrento

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First steps in Capri

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Caprese in Capri

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Rome

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Roman Forum

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Spanish Steps

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Vatican City

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Hanging with the Swiss Guards

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Pantheon at night

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Piazza Navona

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Denver Eater: Interview with Rayme Rossello from Comida

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 (Photo credit Adam Larkey)

A year ago today, Rayme Rossello, a seasoned industry veteran opened the Denver outpost of her restaurant. Comida, a modern Mexican cantina that got its start as a hot pink food truck, was the first business to open at the Source.

Rossello’s experience with this popular RiNo restaurant over the last twelve months differs vastly from what she created at the original Longmont location. Some of the differences are by design — chefMartin Campos creates specials unlike those served in Longmont — and some were purely a result of circumstances. Eater had a chance to sit down with Rossello and talk about spacial issues, not getting bored, and the menu.

The rest of the interview…

 

Assisi the Wonderful

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What is there to say about Assisi…it is amazing. It caught me completely off guard and I was in love. Assisi is a little town  located about two and a half hours north of Rome. It is winsome, quaint, romantic, and everything else you would think an Italian town would be. We only were able to spend one day there, which was enough to see the entire village, but not enough to take in all of the charm that Assisi had to offer. Though we only had one day we were able to be there on a very special holiday for this town. The very catholic town, known for Francis of Assisi, was having its celebration of Corpus Christi or Corpus Domini. I can’t begin to say how lucky it was that we were there on that day because Corpus Christi was actually supposed to be celebrated the Sunday prior but it was cancelled so it was happening the day we were there. Fate! Corpus Christi is Latin for body of Christ and it is a celebration of the Eucharist.  What the locals do is create a pathway for the bishop to walk down with flowers, grass, moss, and other shrubs. They basically turned the flowers into dust and created elaborate works of art. It was incredible. I felt like this little village had opened its doors and let me peak in on a very intimate moment. Grandparents, children, family members all gathered to create this beautiful designs. They were amazing.

 

DISCLAIMER: I apology for all the photos, I just couldn’t not share them all.

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Even if you aren’t there going to be there for Corpus Christi do go! And do take a walking tour. Visit the different churches such as the Basilica of Saint Francis, the Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Basilica of Saint Clare. In the Basilica of Saint Claire you can see the original cross, the San Damiano cross, that St. Francis prayed to. Walk the streets and see the sights but also don’t forget to eat. One of the best Italian meals of my trip was had here. Pappardelle with rabbit and an amazing buffalalo mozzarela salad. The rabit was delecate and less gamy than I had imagined and the pasta was just perfect. But the mozzarela, my oh my, it was so good. Creamy, salty, sweat and soft; so so so good!

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Basilica of St. Clare

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Basilica of St. Francis

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Chiesa Nuova Church

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Future Opening – Bierstadt Lagerhaus

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Last night I got a sneak peak at Bill Eye and Ashley Carter’s new project, Bierstadt Lagerhaus. The space located at 2875 Blake Street was previously a teacher resource store. Inside there will be a brewery, distillery, and cidery. The restaurant and tasting area will be up on a mezzanine looking out at an amazing view of the city! And I almost forgot, there will also be a rooftop area! Can’t wait for this to open March of 2015.

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Got to try Billsner, a collaboration beer from Hogshead!

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My friend Allegra, Bill Eye, and John Carlson from the Brewers Guild.

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Traveling with a Pack

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Venice started my group travel experience. Our group consisted of 47 students and adults; serious group travel. I know a few people cringe at the idea of traveling with this many people but let me tell you it does have its perks. You have your days planned out. You have a bus that takes you to each destination. Tickets are purchased for you. You get to cut the line. Sometimes thinking is nice. Am I convincing you yet? Maybe these photos will…

VENICE

Bridge of Sighs

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Piazza San Marco

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The most amazing mussels and clams!

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Oyster served with kiwi. I asked the server if they eat the kiwi with the oyster and they said no after and to just put pepper and lemon the oyster. Delicious!

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A campo with the pozzo(well).

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Afternoon gondola ride.

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In Venice we stayed at a hotel in Venezia which was right on the water and a 25 minute boat ride away from the Venice.

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FLORENCE

We stopped in at the new Brew Dog in Firenze!

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Il Duomo di Firenze

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Ponte Vecchio

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Seafood rice for lunch!

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PISA

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Berlin für die Win

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Berlin is awesome. It is full of culture and history and was my first stop in Europe. Actually Paris was but that was only a lay over. My route to Berlin was Denver to Minneapolis to Paris to Berlin. My flight out of Denver was delayed about two hours so it delayed all of my connecting flights. The airline rebooked me and I was scheduled to be taking a later flight out of Paris that would get me into Berlin only five hours later than planned, bummer but that is life. When I landed in Charles de Gaulle and tried to get my boarding pass the gate agent said my listing had been canceled and the airlines hadn’t rebooked me so now the flights were oversold and I could only get on the later flight that wouldn’t get me in till 9 pm. Not cool. I expressed my frustration since I had a ticket that showed I was confirmed on the earlier flight so I didn’t understand where the problem was. The gate agent was très agréable and tried to help me in any way. She couldn’t get me a ticket for the earlier flight but she was able to get me a 8 € meal voucher. Since I am familiar and comfortable with standby travel I asked if I could at least standby for the earlier flight since I would be here anyways. She said if I went up to customer service in the gate area they could help me. So I grabbed my bags and migrated that way. They let me on the list though they said the flight was full. I enjoyed a cappuccino and a cheese and butter baguette with my meal voucher (Thanks Delta) and then to my surprise got a seat on the earlier flight! Not just a seat but first class!

Tip of the post: DO be nice to gate agents you never know what they will give you. DO try to be standby. If you are going to wait around anyways you might as well see if you can get on. People miss connections all the time.

Now back to Berlin…

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Checking out museum island.

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Things to Eat

I started my first night with beer and German food! We ate at Die Berliner Republick on the Berlin-Spandau Ship Canal right by our hostel. I had the curry wurst and my friend (Shanna) got the kohlrouladen which is a German cabbage roll. I loved the classic curry wurst but my friends cabbage roll took the cake. It has minced meat inside and that made the texture and consistency so light and tasted like biting into meat clouds. It also had a dark sauce on it that was rich like a red wine beef reduction that paired perfectly. I finished her plate.

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Things to See

Shanna and I were lucky enough that the Berlin Gay parade was happening during our visit so that was quite the event one day. We watched the parade then followed the festivities down into Tiergarten. Here we saw the Victory column and then walked through to the Brandenburg Gate. They had a huge screen put up for the Germany verus Ghana game. It started pouring and we ended up going home to get warmer clothes so we ended up watching the game at another outdoor area we found by the metro. That is the great thing about being in Europe during the world cup, you can find a ton of places to watch the game.

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To make sure we didn’t miss anything we decided to do a walking tour. We did a free one from Sandeman’s and this was my first free walking tour experience. It was awesome. I felt I learned so much and saw a lot too. The quality was great even though it was free so I highly suggest them from here on out. We tipped 10 € for the both of us; we saw a lot, learned a lot, but didn’t spend a lot.

Mauerpark Flohmarkt

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Starting our waking tour!

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Holocaust Memorial

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Berlin Wall remains

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Below is my favorite picture. That is the Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus in the background and during the division of East and West Germany it was the House of Ministries, which was basically East Berlin’s government building.

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Hanging with check point Charlie

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Beblplatz Square – Dancing in front of the State Opera House

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Liberal Memorial for the 20,000 books burned by the Nazis on May 10, 1933. There are enough shelves for the 20,000 books. There is a plaque next to the memorial that says “Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen,” from Meinrich Hein’s play Almansor which was written in 1821. Which translates to “Where they burn books, they will in the end also burn people.

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Where to stay

We stayed at Bax Pax Hostel  in Mitte. It was a great location; close to the metro system (so easy and cheap to get to and from the airport; bus to undergroud) and easy to walk to places. We stayed in one of the 30 bed rooms. It wasn’t bad and it was an experience. When in Berlin might as well push yourself.

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Denver Eater: Interview with Ian Clark from BRU

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(Photo credit: BRU)

A year ago, BRU Handbuilt Ales and Eats, opened to serve beer and food to growing fans. Ian Clark made his dream of owning a restaurant become reality in Boulder after several years of experience in the industry. Starting as a home brewer, Clark explored beer and developed a passion, similar to the one for cooking. He combined the two in the space on Arapahoe Avenue.

The rest of the interview…

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