Food, like every country in the world is specific to its area. Spain is no exception. The number one ingredient used in almost everything is olive oil. At first this was difficult for me. I was used to having salads with Ranch or French dressing. In Spain, it’s all about the olive oil, wine vinaigrette, and salt. The whole first week I had no idea why my senora gave me so much. She would be making my meal and thought I wasn’t looking while my salad was loaded with the savory liquid. Then she would put it in front of me and say “oh, I will put some olive oil on there”, at this point the leaves were floating.
When asking others that are not native Spaniards about the food that surrounds them they will say that it is very bland. I would definitely agree. However, there are some very rich foods as well. Such Spanish dishes as Paella, and various tapas are incredibly delicious. A short walk right outside of Plaza Mayor in Madrid has a market of the most delicious foods called Mercado San Miguel. In this glass enclosed market there are tapas of foods that are unseen outside of the country. It is nice to go and get just one tapa with friends and try the most exotic looking foods.
Madrid is expensive for eating out. A trip to the south of Spain will prove to be the opposite. For example, I was in Sevilla one weekend which is the capital of Andalucía. For three plates of food, a drink, y postre it costs six euro. Whenever I travel I try to find the back streets and places with not a lot of people. It is in these areas that I feel the best food can be found for a good price.
Traveling from city to city in Spain is like traveling from country to country. Each area has a different atmosphere, food, dialect, and importance. It has been an incredible experience to be able to travel throughout this country and one could spend the entire study abroad experience just exploring Spain. Someday I hope to come back and do just that.
Paul Krechel is studying abroad at Universidad Antonio de Nebrija in Madrid, Spain.