The weekend was almost a disaster when I work up 10 minutes before my train was to leave the station. (My fault, but I’ll blame it on the karaoke competition the night before.) By some miracle, I managed to throw stuff in a bag and run the kilometer to the station in about five minutes (definitely a personal best). It was a panicked and dramatic ten minutes!
I would have been so mad at myself had I missed the tennis tournament, so it was my lucky day. I spent the whole day at La Caja Magica. Seeing Nadal play in the semifinals agains fellow Spaniard Andújar, and in front of a Spanish crowd was so much fun…and totally worth the mad dash.
On Sunday, my friend Elvira and I went to Segovia for the day. The streets were full of puppeteers, musicians, and children’s shows. We walked through the entertainment to see the famous (and incredibly impressive — there is no cement between those stoens!) aqueduct, the castle that inspired Disney’s, and the ornate cathedral.
We finished the weekend back in Madrid, and as I was wandering the sunny streets Monday morning it hit me that I only have three weeks left in Spain… a karaoke win (and being subsequently interviewed on Huelva radio?!), a full day of pro tennis, a day trip to yet another beautiful Spanish town, and a last day of exploring the capital city…it wasn’t a bad way to enjoy one of my last weekends here! Hope your weekends were great as well! Un beso:)
A homemade Mexican feast, sunny southern Spain, day drinking, and lovely girlfriends…definitely a perfect Sunday afternoon and a perfect Cinco de Mayo.It’s the kind of sunny afternoon that you’d want to last forever (which I kind of managed to do, with an evening siesta and a walk along the pier at sunset). It was summertime in Andalucía, and the living is easy…
(My contribution to our lunch was my go-to one bowl chocolate cake– just added cinnamon and orange zest to the cake, and lime zest to the cupcakes to make things slightly more “Mexican” in a pinch!)
My ninth graders and I spent Friday cleaning a beautiful beach, Cuesta De Maneli, in Mazagon. Although the area itself is stunning– a boardwalk winds through sand dunes to the beach below– there was a surprising amount of trash. We filled over twenty big garbage bags (as the students squealed in disgust when they found increasingly yucky things) and although it was hot, stinky work, the day went by quickly and we rewarded ourselves with an afternoon spent in the ocean and siesta-ing on the beach. Not bad for a school field trip…The tricky part came when we had to lug the garbage bags two kilometres back over the sand dunes to the parking lot. I was informed by the students that it should be considered “explotación infantil”, but we made it.
Tortilla is ubiquitous in Spain and was at the top of my bucket list but it took me until last week to finally make it all on my own. (I think it was the flipping part that scared me away.) The bilingual coordinator at the school I work at showed me how to make tortilla my first weekend here in her beautiful country kitchen. Since then I’ve had it for breakfast, in sandwiches, in the woods for a picnic, as a fancy tapita, and recently we went out to try the best tortilla in Huelva. It’s versatile, and totally adaptable to your taste so whether you keep it traditional or spice things up a bit it is sure to please (and give you a taste of Spain!).And if you choose to smother it in mayonnaise, that seems to be very Spanish, too.
With people taking advantage of the day off (día del trabajador) in Spain to demonstrate and protest I went with a couple friends back to Aracena for the day. We left the palm trees and city streets behind in Huelva for the rolling green hills of the Sierra, spring blossoms, and the best ham in Spain.It’s a short, and beautiful, drive up to la Sierra– and there’s lots to see out the window…I was mesmerized again by the landscapes at the Rio Tinto mines.
Rainbows of skirts, flowers, and snapping fans. Horses. Fiery flamenco and fried fish. Blazing sun, frosty rebujitos. Tradición. Welcome to la Feria de Abril de Sevilla! With a week of singing, dancing, drinking and showing off your finest Sevillana moves (and outfits), la Feria de abril is just one giant party. The atmosphere was contagious and for me, seeing all the amazing flouncy skirts was reason enough to go! With horses and carriages taking over the streets, and everyone dressed in their traditional finery it felt like another era. To be honest, it all seemed a little bourgeois, but the feria de Abril in Sevilla certainly dresses to impress, and I loved it. Spain does it again!
Last weekend seemed to announce the beginning of summer in Andalucia with temperatures up to 30 degrees and brilliant sunshine all over the south.
It was the perfect weekend for walking the old streets of the Albaicín, exploring the Alhambra, and finishing off the days with tapas, tapas, and more tapas. The atmosphere in the city was just lovely with music on every street corner and colourful art everywhere you looked. I particularly liked this guy handing out free poems at his typewriter. As if Granada needed to be more poetic!
I stuck my nose up at my Dad’s lentils for a long time. When we were traveling through France, the smell of lentils cooking (along with his fishy bouillabaisse) would send us little kiddies running upstairs. But of course, now that I’m grown up (at least a little bit), it’s one of my favourite dishes. So healthy, so easy to make, so fresh, and the perfect simple dish to eat on your sunny balcony when things just seem so crazy in this world. Maybe it sounds silly, but making this salad made me feel close to home, and in the wake of the tragic news in America this week, it was comforting. Dad’s Du Puy Lentil Salad
The reason for many (if not most) people’s visits to Granada, the Alhambra is a jewel atop the hills of the city. After basking in the sunshine around the fortress we wandered through the palace as the sun set.
The tiles, the arches, the marble, the carvings…I was in awe of every part of the decadent Moorish architecture. Water features reflect the Alhambra’s beauty, and its gentle flow is the perfect soundtrack to accompany a visit through this magical place. (Trust me, anyone could wax poetic about La Alhambra, I’m not just being corny!)
While in Amsterdam, Kaitlin and I decided we had enough time to venture outside the capital and see a couple of the charming cities nearby. With the speedy trains from Amsterdam Centraal it was easy and cheap to get there, and I’m glad we got to see a couple other Dutch canals.
In Haarlem, we spent the morning strolling through the Grote market, and admiring the 14th century St-Bavo’s cathedral (with Kaitlin as my tour guide). We found a windmill (a goal of ours in Holland) and went back to the train station to spend the afternoon in Utrecht.
Once in Utrecht, a pigeon promptly pooped on my shoulder, but I got over it…
In Utrecht you can walk down right alongside the canals, so we wandered and stopped for a coffee by the water. After wandering some more we found the oldest house in the city, we where they brew their beer in the basement.
It was the perfect day trip from the city; an easy train ride out to quieter towns before going back to Amsterdam for our last night out.