Sunday, November 2, 2014

Say Cheese! Say Trip Advisor!


Two magic words in any language:  Trip Advisor! 

  When we travel, we book everything ourselves, from airfare to hotels to activities, using Trip Advisor reviews as a base.  (I am using the term "we" very generously, here.  It's really all Mr. C).  It's just what we like to do.  And it means that we have an amazing trip, every time, because it's customized to us ~ how we like to travel, what we love do, and what we're interested in seeing.  
Big period at the end of that sentence.

Once we arrive, 
we also use Trip Advisor to ferret out 
some of the best restaurants and dining experiences 
wherever we might be on the planet.

Meet the chefs @ El Gallinero in Seville, Spain

And because this is how we find the great restaurants and bistros and surprising hole-in-the-walls and wonderful family-owned and operated establishments, I feel a sense of responsibility to post reviews of our experience on Trip Advisor once I get back home.  

It seems only right to help others find what we enjoyed, 
or avoid what we wished we had avoided
or moderate what seems to be overrated so the next traveler is not disappointed in their experience or wasting their travel dollars.  
Or euros.  Or whatever.

I find it interesting that in some countries, Trip Advisor is well-known and recognized and heralded.  In in some other countries, like Japan, not-so-much.

Spain has an extremely high unemployment rate.  Something like 25%.  So tourism is an important income for the country, and Trip Advisor and it's positive reviews are held in high esteem.

Most establishments have the Trip Advisor sticker posted on their door.  Many many places have their Trip Advisor standing (their ranking out of a possible 5 stars) printed and framed and prominently displayed.  They are very proud of their good standing.

So when I do in Spain the same thing that I do everywhere I go;  when I snap a few pictures of the food, when I ask permission to take some photo's of the restaurant, the response is:  Well, let's just say I had a great time!

These are just a few of the spontaneous shots that I captured along the way.  Remember, please, that there is a language barrier.  I do not speak Spanish.  Most of them do not speak much English.  This is a representation of a two word conversation, and a little of that universal sign language that I talk about.  

I point at my camera and I say, "Trip Advisor" ?

And they strike a pose.  


Lunch @ La Taberna del Vescador in Toledo, Spain
I couldn't decide if they were a married couple or if they are family.  They look allot alike, to me, so maybe brother & sister. 
They were really warm and wonderful.

He even let me try out his conch shell.  It's a little-known talent of mine that I've developed through spending so much time in Hawaii. So there you go, you're never too old to learn to play an instrument.

And just those two words, "Trip Advisor"?  turn this

Into this!

 Christian M,   The owner and chef @ 336 in Barcelona
Yes, he's known for being a bit of a character!

In Marbella 
at the faimily-owned Caperuza Bistro. 
These are sisters are from Argentina.
Super sweet.

I even got to meet their dog.

Her name is Meema

And we can't forget Vincent, from Mencia Restaurant in Salamanca.  He has is own story on Passport Envy.  
(See the post entitled "Dinner with Vincent")

Also featured with a story on Passport Envy is Mr. Candido, from the Candido Family Inn in Segovia.   
(See post entitled "Segovia")  
He even shared his family's long-time recipes with me!

It's a great reminder that people are people, no matter where they live or what language they speak ~ and everyone loves to be appreciated, noticed, and respected.  And I am always amazed at the connection that is created when we are simply genuine in our enjoyment and response to what matters a great deal to them ~ their establishment, their food, their livelihood.  

Because people anywhere are just like people everywhere. 
And people everywhere like to be appreciated.


  1. I love how they strike up a pose for you! Although, those cute dimples of yours like in your picture above while playing the shell may have a good deal to do with why they cooperate!

    1. I just find it interesting that it's so universal ~ it's not just Spain, although it was frequent there. But I have pictures like this in Italy, in Thailand, and even in the US. In fact, you've been there to witness it a time or two! I do it from a place of authenticity, I truly like to share what we've enjoyed, and I think that's probably what shines through, don't you think?


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