You might notice that there is a serious lack of food writing in these first few posts. Frankly, it was tough to find good places to eat. Oh sure, we had tons of recommendations, and guidebooks galore, but after walking sometimes for about 5 hours straight, it was difficult to venture outside the tourist zones to those quaint, out of the way cafes operated by real chefs. By the time we stopped for lunch at 2pm, often we would plop into the first free chair at a touristy cafe that we saw, and order whatever seemed popular.
Our wimpy dollar didn't help either. Lunch for 5 was easily over 70 Euros, over $100. Also, long lunches being the norm in Spain, we often spent 2-3 hours picking over our mediocre fare, when we had so much to see and do around the town.
Corte Ingles is a chain of department stores, similar to Harrods, or Macy's. On the bottom floor, they had a terrific food shop, with the best hams, bread and cheeses. During the initial part of our trip, we stocked up on breakfast items, and sandwich ingredients there. Feeding a van load of hungry teenagers adds up, and can get quite aggravating when the food is bad. We enjoyed quite a few hotel room picnics, especially at breakfast, then would step into a cafe for a quick coffee.
Shamefully, we ate on the road a la Texas style a few times, as we drove from town to town. FYI Spanish convenience store sandwiches are worse than ours. Literally dripping with mayonnaise, the sandwiches illustrated the Spanish adoration of this bread spread, which was ironically invented by the French after they triumphed in battle at the Spanish Port of Mahon.