Rick Steves

The Majesty of Madrid

Rick Steves is a travel adviser and author. He travels all around Europe and writes travel books. He hosts his own television show on Public Access channels. The episode I watched had to do with Madrid, the capital city of Spain.

Rick took a look at the food and culture of Madrid. He visited the royal palace and gave a brief history of the royalty in the country. He also visited the Spanish Civil War monument and detailed the facts of the war and monument. I learned about the bullfights and the significance of the practice in the culture. I also learned about the numerous art pieces Spain has to offer, especially Guernica by Pablo Picasso. The famous mural represents the torment and pain that the Spanish Civil War brought to the country. I learned a lot of helpful tips about Spain and some fun things to do, which has helped me because I plan to go to Spain in the future.

The Mambo Kings

The Mambo Kings is the story of two brothers, Nestor and Cesar, who escape their home country of Cuba due to the Cuban mob and move to New York to pursue their music career.

I learned about the importance of Mambo and music in the Hispanic culture, and I also learned about the prevalence of culture in Hispanic communities. The brothers didn't try to assimilate into American culture, they brought their heritage and style with them and used it to entertain. I also learned about the importance of family and staying true to oneself. I can use this knowledge in the future if I ever visit Cuba to get a better understanding of their culture and heritage.

Sangría

Sangría is a restaurant in Dallas that specializes in tapas and, of course, sangría, a type of cold, fruity wine with pieces of fruit in it. The service wasn't very good, but in my opinion, the food was outstanding. My family ordered some flat bread with hummus for the table, and it was delicious. My mom ordered a Spanish omelette, my dad ordered a Mediterranean salad, and I ordered something off of the menu, so I'm unsure about the name, but I can describe it.  

It was an avocado, filled in the middle with crab, and then flash-fried and put atop a multitude of sauces and aiolis. It was amazing, and so was the Spanish omelette, however, I didn't get a chance to try the salad.

A running theme with the plates was the size. They were much smaller than most Americans are used to, which makes sense, as the obesity level in America is much higher. The service was also very slow, my father and I had almost finished our meals before my mom's food came. This reflects the laid back atmosphere of Spain, contrary to the high speed in-and-out service in the U.S.  The (mostly Spanish - a good sign of authenticity) people around our table were content with leisurely eating and drinking Sangría, but my parents were a bit more cranky. I plan to go to Spain in the future, so this experience helped me to understand how dining will be, a more relaxed and smaller portioned environment.

Conclusion

Out of the many things I learned from these experiences, two interesting facts are very hard to pick. The most important thing I learned was about the Spanish civil war in the Rick Steve's video. The huge impact of the war has repercussions and effects on almost every aspect of modern Spain, more so than the U.S. Civil War's impact on its country.

The most interesting thing I learned was the array of ingredients used in Spanish cuisine. There's a lack of red meat, and very little chicken. On the other hand, potatoes, onions, and most of all, seafood are in abundance. This could reflect Spain's coastal placement and popular European foods while lacking American livestock.

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