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Monthly Archives: October 2016

Drink, Pray, Walk on the Camino de Santiago

There was a bar next to every church. The beer and wine was far cheaper than water. And despite Lizzie Gilbert’s food orgies in Italy, when it comes to making a pilgrimage, no one beats the Galicians. (Well. The Portuguese can hold their own.) So I found myself – again – in a chilly, open-air bar in Porrino, Spain. Just the day before, I had survived a grueling 12-hour, 16-mile hike. I was working slowly on my second beer, having already learned to stick to Spanish beer at lunch and save the Portuguese wine for dinner. Why? Well, there is nowhere to nap on a rocky Portuguese coast, if you’re interested. The nuns frown on pilgrims who snore through Mass in countryside churches. Also, sheep did not go to kindergarten and did not learn the all-important skill of politely sharing their grassy spots with non-sheep…

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

To paraphrase the Godfather, when you dine at Don Carlos Restaurante in Buenos Aires, you can leave the gun. But please, take the ravioli. You’ll be glad you did. We arrived for dinner to find the front door locked tight, even though the lights were blazing inside. We knocked and waited; the taxi didn’t. Don Carlos himself peered at us through the window, then let us in with a broad smile. “You!” he booms. “You Norte Americanos, si?” My daughter has lived in South America for years, but she answers in English, admitting we are from Chicago. She tells me later that the Don is being gracious, speaking to us in our own language. He sweeps us to our seats, brushing by a table of eight men in black suits, skinny black ties and stark white shirts. Their conversation is loud and intensely Spanish, hands beating on the…