from Germany to Spain - 29th May 2011
We picked up our Hertz rental car and headed eastwards into the centre of Spain. We have a 320 kilometre drive ahead of us today before we reach our Parador hotel in the small city of Teruel. We're booked there for 4 nights, then we'll have a 430 kilometre drive to Barcelona where we will spend another 4 days.
After driving south eastwards into the sparsely occupied centre of Spain for several hours, hunger motivated us to seek some nourishment. In Spain lunchtime is usually between 2.00 to 3.30pm and most Spanish diners usually opt for the fixed 3 course "Menu of the Day" rather than ordering a la carte from a printed menu. This is always the best value option and may or may not result in a terrific meal. It's been our experience throughout Europe that a 12 Euro or higher menu won't disappoint. As we drove into a very tiny "one horse" village we saw an obviously popular place advertising a 15 Euro menu. However all the nearby streets and lanes were parked solid which was disappointing. Just as we were about to leave the village we spotted a restaurant offering an 8 Euro menu which seemed too low but as it was almost 3pm we parked and went in. On this Sunday afternoon the restaurant was one large chaotic room filled with very ordinary looking rural families with a giant loud television playing soccer videos and hordes of noisy children chasing one another in and around all the tables. A fifteen year old boy came to take our order but we couldn't understand the menu choices on this particular day. I tried using sign language along the lines of "you choose for us..." but this didn't work. In the end the teenager ushered us into the kitchen where his mum and dad were slaving away at the stove The young lad pointed at three different cooking pans which contained the three main course dishes. We pointed at the one which contained what looked like fried lamb chops and returned to our table. Some really low quality olives, some disappointing bread and an absolutely delicious bowl of soup hit our table in rapid succession together with some ordinary but quite drinkable wine. This was followed by the lamb chops which were tough but tasty and finally a reasonable kind of ice cream dessert. All this for the equivalent of $12 represented terrific value but the best part was the incredible ambience within the room. We felt as if we had truly stumbled into a truly grassroots chunk of rustic Spain. What a great way to start our first day!!