Semana Santa: BuenBlogging

29 04 2011

con tomates lives!! But was hanging out at Buen Camino for a spell during Semana Santa.

16/04/11: Barcelona: No Reservations (part one)

“No camera crew. No entourage. No screaming gobs of fans. Just Tony and Jose, checking out what’s new and old at La Boqueria. Jose’s talking jamon, then olives.”

((more))

16/04/11: Barcelona: No Reservations (part two)

We thank the guy sincerely – I’m sure he gets tired of dealing with fangirls, but was extraordinarily courteous about it nevertheless – and head back to our awaiting baby quail with smiles plastered across our faces.

((more))

18/04/11: Barcelona: #munching

Its appetizer twin is a cool cube of tuna accented with olive oil, a sliver of crunchy red onion, and an unmistakeably lettuce sorbet. We speculate as to why Eric doesn’t whip up lettuce sorbet at home for frequently.

((more))

21/04/11: Donostia: Seeking the Holy Grill

Etxebarri is absolutely legendary for its revolutionary grilling techniques; mastermind Victor Arguinzoniz designs innovative mechanisms specifically suited to ingredients never before subject to smoke and flame. We’re talking oddities like egg yolk, here, along with caviar – for the intrigued, our now intimate friend Tony Bourdain investigates in an excellent episode of No Reservations.

((more))

24/04/11: Madrid : Madrid :: Madrid : Madrid

Upon our arrival yesterday, I find myself filled with an enormous energy – I am in my city again. I know these streets, and they know me; we convene. MP has some big must-do Spanish Cultural Experiences sketched out as well, but I’m jazzed simply to be able to maplessly navigate again. Give me six more months and I’ll print up Experta Madrileña business cards.

((more))

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Fotopost: La Alhambra

21 02 2011

My perspective of my second touring of Granada’s Alhambra. Took me far too long to get around to editing these, but I’m pleased with how they turned out.

Read mom’s take on the experience here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’d like any of these images in a larger size, ask and ye shall receive.





Winter Break: Lost Photos Edition

16 02 2011

The famous white walls of Córdoba.

Lovely, and Typical.

Gambones, munched shell-and-all on the shore of el río Guadalquivir.

Contemplating eternity in the head of a fishie.

crunch crunch crunch

Oh
I love
the little bitty fishies

Partridge foie.

Late night spot of tea in Granada.

On the winding climb to La Alambra.

Also on the climb to La Alambra.

Flowers everywhere.

The way into heaven.





País Vasco/La Rioja: Misjudgements and Re-conceptions

13 12 2010

Recently I’ve been remembering the Histories of Spain days with Chris, those endless Friday afternoon classes in Carpenter achingly watching spring come to the Heart through windowpanes. You wouldn’t believe just how many rich and detailed tales weave together the intricate Spanish fable that I managed not to retain whatsoever. I feel it can only be partially attributed to the oh-so-distracting allure of frisbee in the sunshine; the central issue was that the stories lacked tangible context. Even the following semester in Valencia didn’t provide more than a seriously myopic understanding of the country; anyone who has had the pleasure of Jesús’ Historia y Cultura de Valencia lectures will cringe at the very mention of the Riuà.

Despite the inundación innundation, I’ve been exploring bits and bobbles of the Iberian Peninsula for three years now – holy jamón, Batman! Valencia served as intimate introduction, with weekend sneak peeks at Andalucía, Barcelona, and Cuenca. El Camino de Santiago took me through a snippet of Castilla-León followed by a healthy slice of Galicia, which was further augmented by the following year’s summer stint just outside of Lugo. Through Fulbright, I’ve established my own nooks within the sprawling cosmopolitan center of Spain; I now feel I can rightfully call Madrid home.


Yet the more destinations I explore, the more I realize there is to this amalgamation of autonomous communities than meets the average traveler’s eye. The word choice truly suits: the various puzzle pieces of Spain were brought together under one flag chiefly due to historical agreements made by those in power, most recently serious baddie General Francisco Franco. Under the Franciscan dictatorship, all languages apart from Castellano – incidentally, what English speakers often think of as “Spanish” – were forbidden. The fact is, there are plenty of Spanish languages, among them Catalán, Gallego, and Basque, this final one especially intriguing to linguists as it has no known roots in common with any other language on earth.

The first thing Americans tend to learn about El País Vasco – in Basque, Euskadi – is something about terrorism having to do with the Basque separatist movement. (“Didn’t they blow up that Madrid metro train? And they have something to do with Al-Qaeda, I think.“) Even the Jornada de Auxiliares gave ETA a nod; in addition to not getting too tipsy on the cheap delicious wine, we foreigners have got to be ever! cognizant! of the threat of lurking evil where we may least expect to find it (under the bed, maybe? god forbid, 100 Montaditos??).

Like a good liberal arts grad, I keep questioning everything, particularly my own suppositions. When considering where to visit over the long break from work in December, I know I want to stay in Spain for convenience, and I find myself wondering why el País Vasco seems to be shrouded in eerily foreboding mystery. It’s funny what you’ll pick up when you’re not paying attention – most of my mental Spanish map is coated with thick rays of sunshine, but this unassuming little section to the north is marked off as somehow darkly threatening, or, at the least, somewhere you’d probably not choose to go voluntarily (however, the devious Basque separatists, decked out in black bandito masks, might sequester the less vigilant American tourist up there in the night).

After a few hours’ investigation into the area, it is obvious I can await my would-be kidnappers no longer – sequestering must be done through SpanAir, and in cahoots with the loveliest of girlfriends, Sam, Emily, and Leah. What better way to eradicate absurd preconceptions than to walk through a place in your own rainboots? We split into two pairs and seek Couchsurfers with whom to lodge in Bilbao, Donostia-San Sebastián, and Logroño – the last of which is actually in La Rioja, famed for its wine production and unmissable given that we are going to be just a few hours away by bus.

In Bilbao, Emily and I are welcomed by local Oihane; in Logroño we will stay with Polish Erasmus student Justyna. None of us manages to find any leads in Donostia, so we book a shared hotel room slightly out of town but well-connected by train. I still want to kick it with CSers – my experience tells me that you ought to take full advantage of any time you can involve yourself with knowledgeable locals – so I make a post on the boards inviting any and all in town to a Saturday night pintxos crawl. The responses come pouring in, we confirm a time and place to meet, and that’s the extent of the planning we do for the entire trip. Yup, I fall heavily in the “spontaneous” camp, and I arrive at the airport Thursday evening hot on the scent of the promise of possibility.

Continued in:
Nibbling the North
Brushstrokes and Spraypaint