Tag Archives: Beer

Gent, Belgium


In Gent at our hotel, the Ibis, next to the grand cathedral on the town square — our room on the corner with two windows facing the square.  We have found a new hotel chain that we love.  As a member of the Accor Hotels, which include Le Sofitel and the Ibis, you are guaranteed a room if you book within 24 hours, this is perfect for our unplanned travels and allows us so much freedom.

The cafes around the square are brimming with people, all of which have a beer in hand. We have moved from the land of wine to the land of beer. We stroll through this lovely city admiring the architecture.

We are wanting to eat something interesting and find a local to ask about fun places in which to indulge our culinary senses.

He suggests a portion of the city know as “Little Turkey“….yeah we both love Turkish food so off we go….

We find Restaurant Ornek and sit outside.

The waiter comes and August begins to speak to him in Turkish, he gives out a yelp and claps his hands, we are ensured a wonderful meal.

We order a most delicious plate of a combination of all sorts of salads and a beer. Oh my, the food is fantastic! We wander by all sorts of wonderful buildings on our way back to the hotel.

We awake on the second of May to find that it is a holiday and most shops are closed. We enjoy the necessary Belgium waffle…

Based upon the recommendations of our bartender at the hotel we now venture into the cathedral and find the entrance into the catacombs which she promises hold great and beautiful treasure. It is a bit creepy, as we are the only living humans in the building; however, down into the crypt we venture. It pays off! We are surrounded by beautiful art and incredible artifacts of the church. All of my favorite things: chalices by the dozen, so many monstrance the I begin to salivate, beautiful brocade robes with heavy threads of gold, mitred hats — oh my, I could live here!

We have had such a grand time exploring the city of Gent. The people here are so kind and helpful. Last evening we found an antique shop, filled with beautiful treasures and today we returned and now many of those treasures belong to us! The elderly gentleman who owns the shop was so pleased to have customers appreciate his items, which were simply amazing. We spent the evening enjoying wine and snacks in the hotel bar, chit chatting with our new friend the bar tender who guided our exploration.
We awoke early the next morning and dined on all sorts of wonderful local meats, cheeses and yogurt. Off in a cab to the train station, our cab driver a very pleasant young man who is getting ready to holiday in the Congo! How exciting! We are now on our train to Amsterdam. I hope the journey continues to be so pleasant…………please no poison poppies!

Tendilla, Spain


After searching for a place to sleep in Penalver we have now gone to Tendilla to find a place to sleep…and eat. We pull into the town square and what lies before us….a hostel…. with rooms!

next to and I mean next to (within 20 feet) of an ancient church

the ancient walls had crumbled and fallen…

We came into a lively restaurant where the bartender was also the innkeep….he scurried up two flights of stairs (you begin to see a reoccurring theme in this trip) past beautiful antiques…oh my….hopes of a grand room danced in my head.

He flung open the door to proudly display a CLOSET containing two of the smallest beds ever seen — “we’ll take it”, we proclaimed.
the thoughts of the cold rain of the bus stop too fresh in our thoughts.

Off we went, down the stairs to eat the most famous tapas of Spain — various local sausages, pig belly fat cooked to a tender and tasty state, potatoes,onions, a tiny empanada filled with tomato and creme and of course a plate of local olives.
Walked about this quaint village and found the ruins of castles nestled among the hillside. Went into the ancient church and sneaked a peek at the huge golden altar through an open window.

Back to our hostel for a beer and a very nice young man from Bulgaria gave us a complimentary plate of steamed blood cakes…………oh the delights of strangers!!! We ate it — what could one do. Now in the room in our tiny beds of spring coils for a much needed nap.

6:00 P.M.
Next to our hostel the monks have just played Beethoven’s “ode to Joy” on the bells in their ancient tower signaling the time for evening prayers….what beauty and tranquility one can find nestled in these hills! Worth suffering through the steamed blood cakes!
Easter Sunday
We awoke to the church bells ringing….all is very quiet at the Inn. I am not surprised, the revelry lasted until the wee hours of the morning. At one point it sounded as if every child from the village must be on the ground floor shouting and singing (the next morning we learned that this in deed was the fact!)
Today I must investigate an observation that I have made over the last two days…..the lack of animals of any kind. I have yet to see one dog or cat, a flock of sheep or even the lone milk cow. I am curious as to why (but an too afraid to ask anyone)…..of course all sorts of twisted reasons have gone through my mind.
Well we finished bathing in a tub that once belonged to Barbie — accomplishing this by standing and spraying ourselves with a hose on which was attached a shower head of some sort.

I suppose we are clean. I was tempted to merely sit on the bidet and take it from there…it did indeed seem a simpler approach.
We have ventured out into our small village.

I am constantly vigilant for any animal and have developed a theory….whereever one goes the markets are hung with the wonderful legs of pigs that have been cured into ham, I envision the pigs hanging from slings in various barns — LEGGLESS!!!!……awaiting the day the rest of their bodies will be made into bacon!
We have just ordered breakfast — I await my next culinary experience. The food was wonderful!!! and even saw a cat outside!!! We had wonderful crusty bread with eggs and Iberian sausage…..all dripping with the marvelous olive oil. I was so hungry that there will be no photo. The camera remained tucked away. We sit now and wait for Easter Mass to begin The bar is filling with locals awaiting the same. They promise a great procession circling the church three times to ensure luck for the year to come.

We attended the mass. Upon our arrival inside the church, we were so enthralled in viewing the beautiful altar (I, myslef….planning how to run a plank from our room window into the window of the church so that I might be able to reallocate some of the marvelous artifacts to our wine cellar back home)….anyways, so taken by the surroundings, that we did not realize that all the participants, other than the priest, were women! We began the procession out the door of the church and through the streets of the village….

……and suddenly behold — the men were in a SEPARATE procession moving towards us!! Our statue was covered in black lace, of course (!!!), the virgin in mourning — the men carried the statue of Christ….

When the two parties met our statue was uncovered and given a beautiful white veil of lace and a crown of gold (that would look very nice in the wine cellar, I might add).

I chuckled all throughout the rest of the service, remembering the strange looks the women were giving us during the procession — now they became all too clear!

After Easter services, we joined all the villagers at our hostel for beer and tapas. The Jefa (boss lady), mother of the innkeeper (Raul), makes the most wonderful olives, which we ordered. The generous Bulgarian waiter (who previously gave us steamed blood cakes) brought us a plate of fried fish and shrimp — of course they were fried whole.

I decided not to partake in this, having observed a barrel of these same fish outside the front door that the local fishermen purchase as bait and feared that as these fish passed on, they were moved from the water barrel to the frying pan. I am sure my fears were not reality; however, the idea of crunching on the heads and innards of these creatures of the sea did not appeal to my desired for culinary exploration. The remembrances of the steamed blood cakes lingering in my mind and on my palate!
A miserable night. We both had nightmares and woke each other up. The beds felt as if each spring was attempting to burrow into our very bones, a revenge, no doubt, for having a fat American reside on its delicate surface!
We did enjoy a wonderful movie about Juan Carlos and Sophia and their son Philip falling in love with a woman (divorced!!! OMG!!!) and therefore considered unfit to one day be Queen of Spain.
Went off to a local store and purchased yogurt for breakfast and within moments were in a car bound for PENALVER!!!….FINALLY!