blog-header
Click here to subscribe

Posts Tagged ‘spain’

A Delightful Dispute About the Perfect Tortilla

Here’s how an evening out in Spain might go. “Let’s go to the Alcazar/Rincon/Whatever bar, it’s got the best tortilla.” “Forget it – they put onions in their tortilla.” “Onions?? Sacrilege!” Me, timidly: “But… without onions it’s not tortilla, just a bunch of eggs and potatoes…” And that’s enough to spark a heated discussion I’ve “enjoyed” at…

Read More

The Countless Legends of Girona

Once upon a time, in the days of the Egyptian god Osiris, there lived somewhere to the south a giant monster with three heads, called Gerió. Seeking to enlarge his empire he headed north where he built a castle and founded a city that would one day bear his name: Geriona, today’s Girona. Or not. Perhaps Girona…

Read More

Catalonia’s Castellers: A Peek Behind the Scenes

Imagine an agile six-year-old clambering up the face of a five-story building, waving from the top, then slithering back down. Leaves your throat dry, doesn’t it? Yet several times a week, that’s exactly what happens when the Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia rehearse their castells, or human towers. “It’s not as dangerous as it looks,” said Helena…

Read More

Of Discos and Serenos in Madrid

It started with the keys. Clanking, jiggling, each heavy skeleton banging against a clutch of loose weighty metal. Then clap, clap clap. We clapped our hands, at first lightly, then with the growing impatience of youth. We could hear the keys in the distance. He couldn’t be far. It was somewhere between Saturday night and Sunday…

Read More

Which of These Two is the Best Food Market in Madrid?

Choosing the best food market in Madrid shouldn’t be too difficult. Madrid is, after all, a city to be eaten through, a city of interminable tapas, taverns, restaurants and bars with as much solid as liquid sustenance. And now it is also a city of markets, revitalized after years of decay. When I was a child growing up here, we…

Read More

Guernica or Gernika: What’s in a Name?

Everything, it seems. Guernica is the Spanish name of a small Basque village leveled by the Nazis in 1937. And Gernika is how the Basques themselves spell it. The two reflect radically different realities and how you spell the town says a lot about how you view its history. Today the Basques of northern Spain…

Read More

Blown Away by Bilbao, Spain

Not many years ago Bilbao, Spain was the heartland of the Basque independence movement, a no-go zone where few outsiders dared to venture. ETA, the independence movement, killed hundreds of people in its fight for a Basque homeland and was particularly active under the authoritarian Franco regime. But when Franco died the Basque country was…

Read More

A Taste of Old Madrid

I grew up in Madrid in the 1960s and 70s and then, as now, life often revolved around food. This visit would last just a few hours on a Sunday between flights so I’d have to be quick but I visit Madrid whenever I can. It is a stunning city, but it also represents more…

Read More

Santiago de Compostela: My One-Hour Camino

While I can’t claim to have walked the Camino, I can certainly confirm I have walked on the Camino. For an entire hour. I wonder whether I should have walked at all… I was a tourist, not a traveler, a sightseer, not a participant, a voyeuse in a way, or to put it more kindly,…

Read More