And these are a few of my favorite things…
“Bravas in the Sun” encompasses all things I love about Spain.
To begin. Bravas. Some may believe they are just potatoes. Others may even have the nerve to call them french fries. Patatas Bravas are the holy grail of Spanish tapas. It would be difficult to find a restaurant without these warm, tasty, slightly spicy potatoes on the menu or even on display at the bar. Because of their tastiness and their veganess, I hereby declare it completely appropriate to forgo your typical pub crawl and instead, attempt a bravas crawl to discover your favorite bravas in Valencia. Mine can be found in the hip neighborhood of Russafa at Madre Mia.
Second. The sun. I am a fan of just about anything al sol. Lucky for me, Valencia is one of the sunniest places in Europe. I don’t know the exact statistics and I am sure you won’t check it yourself so let’s just say, the sun shines in Valencia about 350 days a year. What’s better than sitting in the sun? Eating bravas in the sun. With a glass of vino blanco.
That brings me to numero tres. Wine. Not only does the wine taste good, but it’s cheap. Crazy cheap. Cheaper than water in many cases. Coming from a place like California where water is free just about everywhere you go, it is difficult for me to pay 3 or 4 euros for a bottle of water at a restaurant. It is less difficult for me to pay 1 euro for a cup of wine. Or two.
Now that you have your bravas, al sol, con vino… next step… al fresco dining. Sit in a chair. Outside. Even in the middle of winter, you will find friends and families sitting, chatting over cafe (or bravas) outside. Better yet, have a picnic. When was the last time you had a picnic? I know, I know, it seems like such a hassle. But you’ll like it. I swear. You don’t even need a basket. Pack your bravas, get take-away paella, grab a bag of chips, some olives, a bottle of wine and head to the park. Fresh air, people watching, feeling the buzz of the city, LIFE.
Numero quatro. Life. Not only observing it, but actually participating in it. The Spanish lifestyle is less focused on work, but more focused on building memories, engaging in relationships, being present in the moment, setting aside time to experience life. Not just spending time with others, but spending quality time. With quality conversations. Lunch is not your typical 40-min, scarf down your Subway sandwich and liter of cola, but rather a two or three hour experience with friends and family. And after lunch? You walk home. To your flat. Which is in a building. Older than America.