Well, we’ve headed out on another overseas journey. This time we wanted to push further into Eastern Europe. After some relaxing days with friends in New Brunswick, we drove back to the US to catch a plane flying out of Dover AFB. It was kind of strange going back through customs up in Northern, Maine. When he asked us where we were heading, I wanted to say, Turkey. But, they say don’t mess with custom agents so I kept it simple. I handed him our passports and said, “Sandy Hook, Connecticut.”
The plane that carried us to Rota was a C-17 Transport. We’d actually arrived in Dover too late and missed the one leaving from there by about 5 minutes. So we drove an hour and a half back up to McGuire AFB, NJ. It was a good thing. The C-17 in Dover had been packed with 40 people, the one in McGuire had only two other folks waiting to board. So it was just the four of us, the flight crew, and a couple of C-130 propellers heading across the Atlantic.
We landed in Rota, Spain nine hours later. It was a reasonable comfortable flight with plenty of room for us to stretch out and catch some sleep. When we walked into the terminal we immediately checked the departure board for any flights heading to Greece or Turkey. Nothing.
I said to Elaine, “Oh well, poor us, we’ll have to hang out on the beach for a few day.”
We checked in to base lodging and headed to our room. It was only 9am but we were heading to bed to get a few more hours of sleep.
Rota is a small beach community that does pretty well for itself. The military base and the tourist industry keeps the city thriving. One thing we hadn’t been able to find though was a really descent restaurant. You know, something local, not touristy, nice atmosphere, quiet and off the beaten track. Okay, well maybe my standards are a little too high, but that’s why I’m here. To discover such places.
We ended up spending five nights in Rota before a plane could take us further east. On our last night we were once again strolling Rota’s side streets and enjoying the cool night breeze (it was very hot during the day). We turned a corner and heard some jazz music softly rolling out of an entranceway. We headed in that direction… I’m closing my post with the review I wrote for El Tragaluz on Trip Advisor.
My wife and I are travel writers and have visited Rota, Spain several times. We’ve found some nice restaurants there with a good variety of local foods but nothing that stood out… until now. We were wandering down one of the back streets the other evening and heard contemporary jazz streaming out of an entranceway. We peeked inside to investigate and were immediately treated with a warm ambiance of subdued lighting, original works of art, the slight fragrance of incense and a smiling maitre d. We weren’t even looking for a place to eat but we had to dig deeper.
El Tragaluz has only been open for a couple months so the word hasn’t gotten out yet. As Gustavo was seating us, he explained that they’d still been packed the whole time up, at least until a week ago when the tourist season ended. Lucky us, there were only a few patrons (we were early) and he had plenty of time to explain their menu. It’s a wide variety of Spanish foods from across many regions Spain. As he described each item, we were suddenly famished. He suggested the sampler plate, shared between the two of us. We worried that it might not be enough since it was only 26 euros and included a glass of wine. We were wrong, it wasn’t a sampler plate. It was a stream of gourmet Spanish specialities that left us begging him to stop while at the same time begging for more.
I couldn’t take the smile off of my face. This is the first time in our travels that every dish served was a unique experience. Even the chef, Paco, delivered a plate of sliced smoked tuna with avocado and cilantro that he explained was not on the menu yet. He was experimenting. He can experiment with me anytime.
I will not ruin the experience for you by going into the details of the individual dishes. You have to experience it for yourself. 5 Stars for this one.