Archive for February, 2009

20 Feb 2009

So many shades of grey

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The Michelin sisters

We have been doing our bit to keep Ryan Air – the budget Brit carrier – afloat (or should that be in the air!). Every other day they advertise ridiculously cheap 10 Euro or less “Internet Only” fares all over Europe, which by the time you add the:

  • What, you actually want to take luggage fee?
  • No way, you want a seat fee?
  • Click here to continue fee.
  • Let’s just include this small fee here and see if they notice, and then
  • Add all the taxes …

The fare looks nothing like the original 10 Euro fare, but by that stage you have spent an hour online and will pay any price just to complete the transaction.

So we went to London for a long weekend. I like London, but my sentiments go out to all the struggling artists trying to make a living there – so many shades of grey … and just one teeny pot of blue for when the sky makes its rare appearance. But at least it didn’t rain!

Plus we got to spend a whole weekend with Jeanne; watch a movie in English, with just a spattering of Spanish – Vicky Cristina Barcelona – with Penelope Cruz (drool); eat food sans Chorizo; drink plonk from exotic destinations other than Spain; spend “time” at the Observatory at Greenwich Village observing and straddling east/west; and we also bumped into Robert and found out all about his new love – a dark green Land Rover!

And returned to glorious sunny Granada on our 10 Euro +++ fare.

Let’s get this photo over with so we can talk about the Land Rover

17 Feb 2009

Soaking my winter woollies

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Anita, Gill and not really sure what Paul is up to here

Okay, you are going to have to take my word for it because photographs don’t do it justice, and who ever heard of a puppet that lies (except for that dodgy Pinocchio fellow!); about a week ago we drove down to the coast to a small town just east of Motril, and along with the few Russians that reside there during these dreary months, took a stroll along the pebbly beach (la playa), where in the distance it is possible to see snow capped mountains. It is quite cool, literally … and rather surreal. In a month or two it may actually be warm enough to take a dip.

11 Feb 2009

Travesty or triumph?

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>I had to make a hard choice on Saturday – go snowboarding with Paul or visit Cordoba with Gill. I like the mountains and the snow but being in Paul’s pocket, scary at the best of times, takes on new meaning at high speed … so I went for the comfortable option.

Luckily the weather in Cordoba was fine – sunny with blue skies – and the main attraction, the Mesquita, was both open and impressive. It was once as important as the mosque in Mecca. The stark beauty of the Muslim design with more than 800 columns supporting red and white striped arches has to be seen to be believed. I couldn’t help thinking of how it must have looked and sounded with thousands of Muslims on their mats in prayer. Now the mosque accommodates a very ornate Catholic cathedral right in the middle of it. The incongruous juxtaposition of the two styles of architecture reminded me of some of the ancient Inca palaces at home which were taken over by the Spanish conquistadors and remodelled as Christian places of prayer.

Mesquita interior

Orange Garden in the Mesquita

Impossible to take photos to do this place justice… you just have to see it for yourself.

10 Feb 2009

Hamming it up

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>Our minivan wound its way up through Lanjaron – famous for its natural mineral waters – and on along narrow mountain roads, climbing and winding, up and up, switchback upon switchback, curve after curve, edging dangerously along the precipices, passing the white villages of Campaneira and Pampaleira and finally arriving at our lunch destination Trevelez, famous for:

  • Not ending in “eira”;
  • Being the highest mountain village in Spain at 1,500m or thereabouts;
  • Being the ultimate car-sickness destination, where tourist after tourist and sick Aussie males emerge ashen faced and trembling;
  • Its hams, world renowned for being the perfect spot for curing hams. Little pigs (sorry Babe) from all over Spain are butchered and then shipped to Trevelez, thus sparing them from the hellish journey (see above), where they hang like corpses, curing in the natural mountain air – a process that takes between 18 and 24 months.

Here’s a short video – For best viewing to get the full HAM experience, take a trip down to your local butcher and purchase a cured ham or if that is unavailable, a hunk of flesh, preferably pork, and hold it up to your nose for the duration of the video.

Hungry anyone?

10 Feb 2009

Read on the Road

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>In response to serveral requests, the “Read on the road” section – look left and maybe down or up a bit!!! – has been rearranged to list the books we have read chronologically, with the most recent books at the top. They have also been rated and if they are non-fiction (NF) this has been noted.