Contributed by: Shira Rosenbaum and Aaron Roller | Last Date of Travel: Aug 2006
Kosher Info: We traveled to Spain in the summer of 2006. We flew into Madrid, took the train to Toledo, Cordoba and Granada before returning to Madrid. Before our trip we had been warned that the only Kosher food in any of those cities was in Madrid (where we would be for 1 day that was not Shabbat at the start of our trip) and that food included a grocery shop and a restaurant called Naomi Grill. Being that we were only in Spain for 6 days on our way home from Israel, we brought food for the 6 days with us in our packs planning three meals a day for each day except Shabbat.
Unlike many other 1st world countries we were also told we could not even drink the milk in Spain making a simple breakfast of cereal a challenge (and of course no coffee!!). We ended up buying little 1/2 liter containers of “chalav amid” or shelf milk (ex. Parmalat) which is just enough for two people to have enough cereal for the morning which we ate in reusable plastic bowls and spoons purchased at a shuk in Israel, often in whatever town square we were in that day. For lunch we brought pitas and spread them with peanut butter (protein!) and jam and bought some fresh fruit off the street if we saw any. Dinner was either a salami sandwich or a version of Manna Chamah or Cup of Noodles made with water we purchased (asking for hot water for tea but without the teabag in it). We did eat in the Naomi Grill restaurant on our last day as we were leaving Spain. It was quite delicious, but highly suspect of being the cause of some major illness on the way to the airport.
There is a Ben and Jerry’s in Plaza Mayor, but we weren’t sure of their kashrut status outside the U.S. We were hoping to eat there and to see the packaging ourselves, but it was closed by the time we arrived. We also noticed some Starbucks shops along the avenues, but didn’t visit them due to the whole milk issue.
For shabbat we had gotten in touch with the Chabad rabbi of Madrid who had been living there for many years with his family and were invited to his home for both Friday night and Shabbat day but I think it is possible to arrange for take out packaged meals from the local restaurants. You can find a list of them at KosherDelight.
Tourist Info: Madrid has a whole slew of awesome tourists sights including fabulous art museums. We found out that the Reina Sofia Museum (which houses Picasso’s Guernica) has free admission on Saturdays (double check that this is still true before you go!!) so we walked across town to see it. Madrid is actually not such a large city and we were able to see a few public sites on our way to the museum (mainly the Arch and the Parque del Retiro); all in all it was probably about a 45 minute walk from our hotel which, was about a ten minute walk north of Puerta del Sol. Aaron’s highlight of Madrid: the Prado Museum, Shira’s was the Royal Palace.
Jewish Info: Madrid’s Jewish attractions include its synagogue which is still in use, but a savvy Jewish traveler who does not carry a passport on Shabbat would be wise to plan to go before Shabbat to inform them you are coming (this synagogue along with many others in Europe have tight security. Usually no passport= no entry which is not so great if you walked across town to be there for minyan. Sometimes you can arrange to have your passport checked by their security before Shabbat). Plaza Mayor, like many other places in Spain has a sad Jewish past: it was a main plaza where traitors of the inquisition were burned at the stake… though today it is home to many interesting bars and a BEN AND JERRY’S!!