Madrid Recap: Guernica, Patatas Fritas + Museo de Jamon

Friends! I'm back!

It didn't hit me until I sat down to start blogging again, just how much I missed writing! And all of you guys! I'm happy to be back in action. But certainly rocking a case of the post-vacation blues. I can't believe it's passed by already! At the same time, I'm excited that the summer is upon us and I have more trips (for work and for personal enjoyment) planned over the next few months. I love traveling!

So as you can imagine, I have a lot to tell you. I think I'll just start with some recaps from the trip. As you may know, we began the trip in Madrid, Spain. I adored this city!

 

It's so gorgeous, so well-kept and bustling enough to remind me of New York. Though Shaun worked on Monday and Tuesday (leaving me to my own devices...more on that later), we had some of Saturday night and all day Sunday to explore and 'be on vacation' together.

Our first stop was the Reina Sofia museum, where Shaun was determined to see Picasso's Guernica (a painting that, when he first mentioned it, I looked at him emptily and said...huh? I {sheepishly admitted that I} had never heard of it.). Though I am not really an art person (he studied it in school), I was happy to go along for the ride. When we were in Paris, he insisted on seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, and he ranked Guernica in the same class. Can't say no to that one! Since no photos were allowed near the painting, I borrowed this one from pablopicasso.org.

Click for source

Yay? Nay? Art lovers out there? I have mixed thoughts about it. On the opposite wall, there was a series of photographs of the painting in various stages as it was being painted, and repainted as Picasso changed his mind. I thought it was fascinating to see the work in progress and how the final work morphed from original versions!

Anyhoo, following the museum, we obviously had to stop for some street eats...my favorite kind! We stumbled upon a tiny shop with fresh potato chips - patatas fritas! - in the window.

I heard that they are hiring me to be their spokesperson after this salesy-looking photo.

We decided to wander back toward our hotel (following a map of course), and we came across the Museo de Jamon (which literally translates to the Museum of Ham, clever no?), a tiny meat shop where one could order pork as though from a butcher, but also order meals there. In case you didn't know, Spain is allllll about the ham!

Jamon Iberico or Jamon Serrano, it is a cured ham and comes from the leg of Serrano and Iberian pigs which are native to Spain. These animals aren't your typical pig. They are raised eating acorns and other natural items to ensure top quality texture and taste. And friends, I've never had anything quite like it. It's super thinly sliced and almost lightly leathery in texture. Even Shaun threw his non-pork eating ways to the wind and seriously got down with some of this ham. Prosciutto, who? Just about every restaurant in Spain serves this jamon and we ate it at every chance we could.

We may or may not have eaten this every day of our trip. And we may or may not have cried a little to wave goodbye to it last Wednesday as we departed for Switzerland.

Ok, I've rambled on long enough for you. I have lots more to tell you about in the coming days. Meanwhile, are you an art appreciator? Is a museum first on your list of things to see? And most importantly, have you ever heard of or tried Serrano ham?!