Gratitude. Things I'm Grateful For #5

I'm sorry to say that I have been in bed practically this whole week with a nasty cold. I didn't get out to take the pictures that I would have liked to, and since my taste buds weren't on their A game, I didn't try any new pastry shops. Bummer.

That being said, there are still reasons to be grateful and I'd like to dedicate this week's gratitude to a bit of a throwback session. Sharing some moments or trips that I haven't previously shared on this culinary and travel journal.

1. Morocco

I was first introduced to Morocco in March of 2011. Its smells, sights and contrasts pull you in hard  and leave you begging for more. As the 57th largest country in the world, there is much to be explored, and I'm hoping through Angie Away's and Aviators and a Camera's contest that I'll have an opportunity to go back. Wish me luck, winners are being announced today!

2. Kindness

When I fell in love with Spain in December of 2008, I was a solo traveler on a two week holiday. I did however meet some outstanding people that remain friends to this day. One of those kind souls, after spending some of our vacation time sightseeing and pastry hunting, casually offered for me to visit his southern German homeland whenever I wanted. I took it a bit with a grain of salt because I knew that I was going back to corporate America, and although I felt more at home in Europe, I doubted I'd ever take him up on his offer, or even if it was a legitimate one. Turns out when I did move back, he was serious about me visiting, and created a whirlwind tour through the autobahn and some of Germany's most picturesque towns; Mannheim, Heidelberg, Munich - I'm forever grateful.

Heidelberg, Germany in Autumn

3. Rain

As I mentioned I've been inside a lot this week, but it rained quite a bit (outside, at the moment no major roof leaks) and it was a magical feeling to hear the pitter-patter of the drops or leave the window slightly ajar, allowing for the thunderous rumbles to enter. And rain, as we all know, cleans our air, brightening the following day, giving to a more beautiful landscape than the one we went to bed with, and reminding me just how gorgeous Barcelona's city views can be.

Step out closer...what do you see? 

La Cuidad Condal, Barcelona

4. Antiquity

We travel for many reasons, but could you imagine traveling without the opportunity to see ruins, evidence of past lives, or the front prints of humanity? ¡Qué tristeza! How sad indeed.

On a weekend trip to Tarragona, Catalonia, with my father (another thing I'm eternally grateful for), we took in the Roman theater and scavenger hunted through the city for remnants of a world almost unknown to us. Amazingly well preserved examples unfolded through back alleys and side streets. History is pretty flippin' cool.

Roman Theater with the Mediterranean Sea in the background, Tarragona. 

What will we leave behind? 

5. Foods you can still taste

What kind of list of gratitude would this be without a food mention?? Not a very good one.

About a year ago, Antonio and I escaped on a four day getaway to Geneva, Switzerland. My visions of Alpine hills, large white and brown dairy cows and durable watches were somewhat crushed quickly after landing into what became the most expensive city I have ever visited. Our first attempt to kill hunger pains ended in 9.50€ for a quiche and a croissant at a mediocre bakery. I was devastated and convinced that we had made a terrible decision, immediately I started fretting over cost, how much we would spend per meal, and how the following weeks back in Madrid would consist entirely of ramen noddles (aahhh the horror!).

Luckily, we eventually discovered delicious and well-made croissants which left a better taste in our mouths and our pocketbook. And while I won't be going back to Switzerland anytime soon (at least not as a struggling writer), I will always remember this chocolate almond croissant from the bakery under our host's apartment.

Sprinkled with almond slivers, dusted with cocoa powder and powdered sugar and filled with chocolate and almond paste. 

Quite possibly the best croissant in this world. From Sabine Pastricher Geneva, Switzerland. 


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