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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mayhem in Madrid

Sunday started promisingly with me going to the local cafe and ordering coffee and a spliff. The waiter couldn't help but smile; he must hear that all the time. But he did suggest that I might prefer a PORRA which is a large churro rather then a PORRO which is a large Marijuana cigarette.
Later, I went to the Rastro which is a humungous flea market, full of junk but fun to browse.  It goes on endlessly and stretches out into side streets.
Later that day I had a ticket for Las Ventas, which, yes, is the bullfight ring of Madrid. I won't describe what I saw.
What happens in Las V. stays in Las V.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hanky Panky in Leon

Okay, I know that in the best of all possible worlds the lion will lay down with the lamb. But ON TOP of the lamb?  Or maybe he ate the lamb and is pooping it out. Whatever. The guy who made this sculpture was probably sent back to bible studies class.
Leaving Leon tomorrow. Being here has reminded me of everything that I love about Spain : nice people, great food, beautiful countryside and fantastic history and art. I've loved walking along the narrow streets that will suddenly open to small plazas. This is what enthralls me about Spain.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Leon Taming

Leon has been taming me. I love this city, full of nice people, great museums and delicious food. Yesterday,  as I was taking my paseo, I heard horns and drums and the clacking of castanets. A small procession was passing in the streets, and I hurried/hobbled to keep up with them. Look at the beautiful, traditional necklaces they are wearing. One of the women told me these were true antiques, passed down in their families.
Romanesque art is my favorite, and this city is full of it. Here's a scene from hell above the door to the Cathedral. What's not to love?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Back in Sevilla

I returned to Sevilla after my walk, only to discover that madness still reigned here. The Feria had begun. Not sure about its origens, but Feria is party time. All the ladies dress flamenco style and everyone dances Sevillanas all night.
I only was staying overnight but I took a walk to the fair ground to see what was going on. It wasn't dancing time yet but the ladies were all arriving in their finery. Young, old, it didn't matter. Cell phones and cigarettes seem to be added accessories. Personally, I loved the horses.
Leaving Sevilla at 7 this morning, I still saw people coming home from the Feria.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The End Of The Road

My one valley walk has ended. It was wonderful to be out in nature for all that time, green hills, oak trees, the chirping of the birds, sound of the river, and, when nature started to close in, discussions of Hillery vs. Sanders.
And the wonderful tapas at the end of each day.  Vegetarians stop reading! Pig cheeks and feet and mystery croquettes. All great.
The last day's hotel, with the river right outside my window.
And here's my hiking shoes. This is the clean version. My shoes were mud magnets.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

One Valley Walk

From the company Walking Wild Andalucia I chose the one valley walk, not the Two valley walk,  nor the ominous sounding Mountain walk. No, no, I chose just one little valley. Valleys are Down aren't they? But, to get down first you must get up. And it was while walking up, that I managed to fall 3 times on the first day. Luckily I had a wonderful guide with me, Mike Newcombe , who picked me up each time and made sure I was ok to go on. Next day, he arrived with anti-inflammatorys and a compression bandage and we chose the flatter of two possible routes.
Tomorrow is my last day and I've loved every moment of it, the green hills, spring flowers, the wandering pigs, goats sheep and cows, as well as all the birds, like this vulture who was eying me for a possible lunch.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

I Wander in Ronda

Ronda, as you can see, is quite high up. The brave and the strong walk to the bottom. The rest of us take photos from the top. Mountains, fields, farms and of course, the cliffs. There's a lot of tourist here but most of them are gone by late afternoon. Then the locals come out to take their paseo till about 8:30, then head home to make that late Spanish dinner.
Speaking of dinner, I've been trying some mystery food, stuff on the menu that I have no idea what it is. Here's two examples, not from the same meal, thank goodness. One turned out to be fried eggplant and honey. Strange but edible. The other? Well what can I say, just look at it. In an effort not to be thrown off Facebook, I'll say it looked to me like deep fried eel. It Was dense. Some sort of rolled meat with hard boiled egg in the center. Comments accepted.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Juego de Tronos

Osuna was ruled by dukes for many centuries. For years it's claim to fame has been those ducal homes with their elaborate coat of arms that line the streets. But in recent years turists have come here to see memories of a different royality.
Here I am in Osuna's bullring. Hardly anyone likes seeing bulls get killed but who doesn't enjoy watching hundreds of loyal soldiers getting slaughtered as the Queen looks on? It happened right here not long ago. Many of the town's people participated. The Queen's name is Daenerys and 2 rooms in the Osuna museum are dedicated to the story of Game of Thrones. White Walkers are available for photo opps.
Actually the bullring was one of the best places I visited here. I was early and I wandered the whole place by myself. I saw where the horses were stabled. Thought better about taking a hoof home as a souvenir. The bulls are kept in cells with thick iron doors. When they are released they pass through a labyrinth of tunnels with guillotine like doors that close behind them to force them forward.  Throughout the tunnels are narrow niches for men to escape into if they are caught with a bull. It must have been fun for the town's people who played extras to die in their own bullring.
Osuna isn't as mysterious as Carmona but I've found the most important place: the town library with its high church like ceiling and it's free wifi.

Friday, April 1, 2016

A Nice Day For An Auto De Fé

My last day in tiny Carmona and I thought I had walked every street of the Medina.  But today, wandering as usual,  I came upon a high, white wall. When I found an opening it turned out to be a large empty plaza. It reminded me that many plazas like this were used for auto de fé's. I don't  know about this one. No one burning at the stake today, just some kids playing soccer.
My last look at the town at sunset.