Archive for January, 2011

Madrid Aglow for the Holidays

Posted in Holidays, Special Occassions with tags , , on January 23, 2011 by grandersons

Madrid has a tradition of lighting up the city with imaginative displays of lights between mid-December and January 6th (Dia de Reyes or Epiphany – a holiday celebrated in Spain that is equally, if not more, celebrated than Christmas).  There is even a Navidad Bus that you can take for just 1 euro and tour the main streets of the city on a mini-light tour!

Here’s a peek at some of our favorite views of the lights with friends and family over the holidays…

A cold night, walking the beautifully lit streets with friends ended with churros y chocolate at Chocolateria de San Gines – talk about a wonderful way to get in the holiday spirit!

These photos were taken from the Navidad Bus on Christmas Day with Kyle’s parents, sister, and brother-in-law.  It was FREEZING but well worth it for the views!


Playing Martha Stuart for Christmas

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2011 by grandersons

I wouldn’t claim to be a crafty person, but I will admit to catching the ‘crafty bug’ now and again and tackling the occasional project.  There was my ‘scrapbooking phase’, my ‘sewing little stuffed toys for friends’ babies phase’, my ‘drawing in a sketchbook phase’ and now…my ‘stocking sewing’ phase.

Kyle’s family was coming to visit and I longed to make our tiny little apartment feel like “home” for the holidays.  What’s more ‘homey’ than stockings?!?!  Fortunately my enthusiasm was shared by my dear friend and partner in crime, Nadia Chopra.  The mention of sequins had her hooked and we were on a mission to create the perfect stockings.

First stop – Corte Engles (the Spanish department store that literally sells EVERYTHING – i.e, clothes, makeup, pet supplies, books, tools, appliances, insurance, groceries, car parts, tv’s, and the list goes on…).  We found our way to the fabric department and sorted our way through felt, thread, needles, pom-poms, and of course – sequins.  Then we headed back to my apartment to get to work with Christmas music playing on Pandora and Abby ‘helping’.

We slaved away for several hours but were quite pleased with the final result.  Eventually, I managed to make 6 Christmas stockings to be filled on Christmas morning!  Watch out Martha Stuart – you’ve got some competition on your hands!

Thank Goodness for Pho

Posted in Food & Cooking with tags on January 5, 2011 by grandersons

One of the things that Kyle and I have missed the most since moving to Madrid (besides our wonderful family and friends, of course) is pho.  For those of you that know us well, we were regulars at the Fremont pho shop, Lucky’s Pho, and looked forward to Friday nights curled up with two steaming bowls of the delicious Vietnamese soup.




Thanks to our dear friends, the French’s and the Bishop’s, pho came to us in Madrid!  They sent us all the ingredients to make it ourselves, along with a few much appreciated extras like Trader Joe’s pumpkin bread mix, gingerbread mix, and dark chocolate!  We LOVE you guys!



So I busted out my apron and went to work feeling slightly intimidated but super motivated.  Amazingly enough, it was a huge success!  Homemade veggie pho – delicious.


A Burgos Pit Stop

Posted in Travel with tags on January 5, 2011 by grandersons

On the way back from Rioja, we decided to make a pit stop in Burgos and were pleasantly surprised to find a gorgeous cathedral, great restaurants and some pretty strange trees.  Nadia, Lalit, Kyle and I enjoyed a break from the car and took in the sights of another unique Spanish city…

Ah, Rioja!

Posted in Travel with tags , on January 5, 2011 by grandersons

What do you get when you stick 13 people and two dogs into three little rental cars and send them off to the northern region of Spain?  A fantastic 3 days of wine tasting, salsa dancing, and life-long-friend making!

Thanks to our friends, Rachel and Nadia, our weekend was well planned and coordinated (they did an incredible job!) and we started our first day with a full tour and tasting to learn about the art of wine making.  Our guide at the first bodega (Bodegas Olarra) was fantastic and our Columbian friends, Juliana and Andreas, helped interpret since the tour was given entirely in Espanol.  We were in awe of the gorgeous space, intricate wine making process, and delicious wine.

We were able to rent two houses in the charming village of Gilmeo – remarkable for its single bar attached to the hospital.  The larger house was without heat for the first two days so we tried to heat things up with a fire, numerous bottles of wine, playing “Celebrity,” and some salsa/meringue lessons from Juliana and Andreas.  It worked!

For any of you who have been to or are from Seattle, you may recognize the unique architectural design of the bodega pictured below.  It’s Marques de Riscal and was designed by Frank Gehry who is responsible for the Experience Music Project.  Pretty amazing!

Needless to say, Kyle and I thoroughly enjoyed our Rioja trip with EB, the Chopra’s, the Porter’s, the Bauman’s, the Chu’s, and the Jimenez/De Greiff’s.  Thanks for a fantastic weekend!