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For those in need of a virtual vacation, La Tortuga Viajera is the perfect place to start plotting your escape. The Spain-centric blog takes readers on a scenic Iberian journey through the eyes of an American ex-pat living in Madrid.
Without sounding preachy, La Tortuga is on a mission to educate people all about Spain. She brings her readers on a road trip to Pamplona, where she receives an impromptu tour from a local artist. In another post, she confesses her love of manchego cheese, and sets off on a mission to recreate a dish from the same place: pisto manchego, a ratatouille-like side that she suggests serving with a fried egg.
Besides the friendly blog posts (she writes like your BFF), the site has useful features like guides on travel, Spanish wine, and even a section for expats in Madrid (people who have lived abroad know that listings for a dentist, hairstylist, and sushi joint are very necessary!). Her glossary of Spanish food terms and recipes is an excellent resource, with instructions for classic dishes like croquetas, flan, and her mother-in-law's tortilla espanola.
You can almost smell the aromas of onion, garlic, tomato and delicate saffron mingling with a pine cone-fueled fire in her magnificently detailed story on authentic paella (this week's contest theme!). You'll be transported you to a perfect fall afternoon in the Spanish countryside -- what better place to start your vicarious travels?