teresa's blog

Last time I was in Madrid, Seseña stopped me in my tracks. The glossy red trim was exactly as I remembered it. Which brought back deeper memories. I had walked into the fabled cape maker with my mother in 1980 or so. She would have been visiting me in Barcelona, but we made a trip to Madrid, which I remember as cold and cobblestony, and dark even under a blue sky, with the exception of so many brilliantly painted storefronts.

Spanish Journeys takes a walk by Madrid's historic storefronts-Seseña

Spanish Journeys encounter with a cow on the CaminoMaybe the best thing about being on the Camino de Santiago is the way it takes you out of the cities and into villages and landscapes. The way it slows you down.

Walking, you see deeper into Spain: vineyards, the meseta, the rocky coast. You take a closer look at the way nature has planted heather along a dirt path. You negotiate right of way with a cow lounging on a mountain pass.

With a Camino trip planned for September, I feel good knowing I’ve carved out time for these kinds of experiences.

What I don’t love knowing is that I can’t just show up and make 10 miles a day.

What about you?

We'll cross Puente la Reina on the Spanish Journeys Camino Trip 2016

How convenient that the Camino de Santiago cuts right through the Rioja wine country.

Puente la Reina points us in just the right direction. This is where the routes from Paris and Toulouse converge and become what’s known as the Camino Francés—the French Way. The bridge here is Romanesque. Which means 11th century designers figured out the magic of those reflected semi-circles.

This bridge was built for you, Caminante.

Spanish Journeys on the Camino 2016, our first countryside walk from Eunate

This fall, we'll be making the first countryside walk of our Camino from Santa María de Eunate.

My past walks have not taken me here, so I've been reading up. Considered one of the loveliest and most evocative churches on the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela, the church at Eunate stands in solitude on a flat, open landscape. Although the fields may look parched by autumn, they are striking in summer—guidebook pictures show the church surrounded by sunflowers.

Taking a whiff of Idiazabal cheese on a Spanish Journey in the Basque Country

What does it take to get a Michelin star? Excellent ingredients from the get-go, food that proves mastery of flavor and technique and that conveys the chef's personality. Service. The feeling of the place.

Surely there's also something to being in the right place and figuring out how to come to people's attention. But let's not talk about all that right now.

At the old port at Algorta, Getxo is newly hip--here in a scene from a movie

A glass of cold Txakoli

It’s not too late to develop a sensational summer crush. Txakoli is, after all, zesty and light-bodied, yet mouth-filling. What more do you need to know?

Anyway, I've been meaning to introduce you for a while now.

This is the wine of Spain's gorgeously green and amazingly unspoiled Basque coast. And as you'd expect, given its Atlantic terroir, it is perfect for pairing with seafood. There's a slightly saline minerality to it.

Gall del Penedés Catalonia's chicken with a pedigree

I don’t need to tell you about the blizzard going on outside my Cape Cod windows right now. What you need to know about is this slow-roasted chicken from Catalonia. It means three hours in a house full of the smells of rosemary, thyme, lemon, and garlic, not to mention fennel, bay leaves, stick cinnamon, and brandy.

While my memory of this chicken is all Mediterranean sunshine, the reality is I ate it on a day that did not inspire one of my “Why do I live in Boston instead of Barcelona?” jags.

Touring the Cathedral in Vitoria Spain

"We're skipping the Basque coast," said Stewart. "And heading to Vitoria-Gasteiz instead." This was just the kind of phone call that makes me nervous when I have travelers roaming Spain.

"Barbara read an article about a 13th century cathedral that's being renovated there," Stewart explained. "They're giving hard-hat tours. We have to see it."


I did some “Rolling Like a Ball” today to warm up for our spring fitness retreat. Then, because Karrie–our Pilates guru on the trip–says balance is important, I started a list of restaurants to scout in Barcelona, before the retreat begins.

Digging into the latest advice from the Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal made me nervous. I think it might be easier to get into Ferrán Adrià’s course at Harvard than to eat at one of the post-El Bullí enterprises they suggest.