Archive for Spain

05 Jun 2010

The Great Aussie Barbecue

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It is a well known fact that Aussies are the world experts on barbecue although many a Texan may disagree …. and then there is the great Spanish barbecue. Let’s not kid ourselves!

Katrin and Paul emerged from the ‘Supermercado’ armed with plastic bags of lamb chops and chicken, and assorted vegetables, and a couple of tiny, tinny Spanish portable “one use only” throw away aluminium foil barbecues. Really!

So we put them to the test – ripped off the wrappers, struck a match and voila instant barbecue. Magic! The surrounds: a quiet nature reserve in the Heutor Sierra region, where in true Spanish style our neighbouring picnickers have a stereo blasting so loud it hurts. Feel the serenity!

Give me a six-burner, auxillary wok, range hood, built in temperature gauge stainless steel number any day!

First you chop everything up and have a beer – Gillian and Katrin


Then you get Alex to unpack the barbecue. Trust him, he has done this before


Paul cooks up a storm despite the circumstances and everyone agrees, Aussies do cook up the best barbecues


Alex and Paul waiting for the coals to heat
05 Jun 2010

A Toast To Old Friends

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Alhambra towers at night

Granada is like an old friend. A bond once made is not easily broken. Within hours, wandering the familiar maze of the Albaicin we were bumping into old friends and making sitas (appointments) for tapas, flamenco, more substantial meals, and trips to the Sierra.

We enrolled in school again, just to remind ourselves of how much we had forgotten.

Karen and Angel hopped over for a few days from the Netherlands to stay with us and ensure lots of laughs and a fridge filled to the brim with Jamon, Queso and plenty of Vino.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable and exhausting week – and let’s not forget our old friend the Alhambra who opened her gates once more for a special night visit.

A night of flamenco at La Chumbera

Drinks afterwards with Graham and Jo

Lazy lunch with Alan and Anita

Gillian and Anita – Post lunch boozy shenanigans

Several drinks later – Paul, Anita and Alan thinking about sobering up for the hair raising mountain drive home with Alan at the helm

Paul and Angel – if you push me in… you die!

I haven’t got a clue what you are talking about, so I’ll just laugh – Gill and Antonio

IMG_0546 IMG_0543
Karen and Angel framed

No way are we going across on that while Angel is on it

Rafa – it’s a tough life for SOME of the teachers at Castila
Antonio and Antonio – taking orders for lunch is no laughing matter
Sarah, Angel, Karen and Gillian – the roof terrace above our apartment. A nice place to spend an evening
31 May 2010

You Know You Have Arrived In Spain When …

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Gillian looking puzzled – Valencia silk market

Valencia Science Park

Your suitcase rattles raucously over the labyrinth of rough paved streets; church bells peal and echo off nearby buildings; birds chirp loudly and the sky is unnaturally blue.

In the centre of town 20,000 people line up single file to touch the feet of the Virgin and look into her eyes. By 11pm, the snaking line is showing no sign of letting up. We resist the temptation, and instead settle in a quiet bar for vino and tapas, and leave with our clothes and hair smelling of smoke.

The central market is more like a cathedral than a market with vaulted ceilings stained glass windows …. and lots of food.
Valencia Central Market

The central market sells the smallest tastiest fish but this little guy was at the Valencia Aquarium and was not for sale

Let the lunch commence – Rachel, Encarna, Naomi and Gillian

A day later we are seated at a bar on the edge of a large sunny plaza, drinking beer, and shots of something that tastes like Ouzo, but our Spanish friends insist is nothing of the sort. We are waiting for lunch, a special lunch being prepared just for us by Encarna, Rachel’s grandmother, who pops down to the bar from her apartment to keep us informed of the progress. Not much longer now. And then we are given the signal and we make our way up to Encarna’s apartment where a feast of local specialties awaits us. Heaped servings later, exploding at the seams and slightly tipsy, we work our way through a range of liqueurs, wines and spirits – ultimately coffee mixed with brandy, until it is all too much and we have to lie down – to die.

We are woken a short while later. Let’s go to the park. Oh nice, a stroll. No, a drink or three. And we sit in the park drinking beer watching children play, while our temples pulse.

Danny, Rachel, Gillian and Marian – how about we have another  drink

Later we go for a drive, Marian at the wheel (after many hours of steady consumption), AC-DC blaring through the stereo. The pulse has become a throb.

We are bound for Granada; hopefully the excessive Spanish pace will let up a little, but I don’t think so!

14 May 2010

Viva La España – PART 2

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I hope you weren’t holding your breath because it has been a long time between posts.
Here we go again. A few weeks of sangria and sun, tapas and talking stacatto. Yes, we’re off to Spain again – doing our bit to boost an ailing European economy!