I Don’t Know Why But Some Foods Just Taste So Different ~And Better

September 29, 2014

How to explain that patato chips taste so much better here in Spain that you cannot keep your hands outta that bag? I guess you could say we’re obcessed with food, we’re ‘foodies’ or more likely we’re just little piggies. It is what it is. Patatas fritas are potato chips fried in none other than olive oil called ‘Autenticas Caseras‘ (patato chips in the traditional style). YUM!2014-09-28-15-01-03--1737027287

Or this is what our lunch looked like today after getting caught in the rain while wandering the narrow streets of the old town in Barcelona where our apartment is.IMG_20140928_131323_763

Boquerones (which Mickey compares to what he knew as smelt or whitefish where he grew up), patatas bravas (cubes of fried potatoes with a smattering of hot sauce squirted on top, and the standard seaside standby, fried calamari. A couple of cold ones and you’re back on the road?

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I still can’t get over the eggs.

They stand up so bright orange and firm and they’re delicious. I think too much of our food at home is mass-produced, harvested too soon, shipped too far And stored tool  long before Iit reaches the consumer. FU *K ConAgra, Monsanto and all the rest of the mega food producers, we want out food to taste good and be good for us. Enough is enough!

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from various & interesting foreign locations.


A Piece of History Died as Catalonia Banned Bullfighting

September 27, 2014

It was controversial and becoming more so over time. Some hated it and others had fought for it for years but September 25th, 2011 marked the end of more than 600 years of bullfighting in Barcelona. The killing of bulls was finally banned in Catalonia prompting some fans to pay eight times the price to see the last bullfight at Arenas de Barcelona.IMG_20140925_121144_929-1Bullfighter-Jose-Tomas-at-007

You could liken it to the latest release of the iPhone. Some aficionados reportedly quequed up starting from the Thursday before the Sunday performance. Fans scooped up sand from the floor of the bullring as cherished keepsakes. Over the years thousands of bulls have died in the sands of La Monumentala, another Barcelona bullring where a mere eight bullfighters died after being gored.

This trend away from the brutal killing of the bulls started long ago and I can remember that the 1st bullfight we ever attended in Lisbon, Portugal at least twenty years ago, both repulsed and captivated us. The pagentry, color, music and the incomparable horsemanship of the “national fiesta” was none other than amazing. And even though the bull was no longer killed in front of the crowd in Portugal at that time, it could only be described as brutalizing for the big beautful beast of a bull raised from its first day for that spectacle.

For a great read on bullfighting, check out Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon, the nonfiction book about the ceremony and traditions of Spanish bullfighting. In the meantime if you’d prefer shoppng to reading you can do that too because the biggest bullring in Spain, Arenas Barcelona has been converted to a mall and we had lunch there yesterday at one of the many rooftop restaurants.images-6

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my travel blogs posted  from around the world.


The Multiple Languages & Other Interesting Factoids of Barcelona

September 27, 2014

Fortunately so far anyway, ‘hola y bueños dias’ seem to work in many of the languages spoken here in Barcelona. Barcelona is the capital of the Catalunya region of Spain so Catalan or castellano became by royal decree, the official language of Barcelona in 1714. Truth be told however, Barcelona is a huge cosmopolitan city (population is estimated at 1.63 million) and many diverse languages are spoken and heard. A reasonable rendition of high school Spanish (assuming you’re old enough to have been taught useful subjects in the old style) with a little imaginative pantomime will get you most every thing you’ll ever need.

Barcelona sits in northeastern part of Spain very near the Pyrenees, France and the principality of Andorra so French is also commonly heard. Spain is the 4th most visited country after China, the USA and France and being such a tourist haven the natives are used to and speak numerous European languages themselves.

Other items of interest about Barcelona you may not have known:

Many world famous painters have lived in Barcelona at different times. They are Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali, Enrique Tabara and many others. Jose Carreras and Monsarrat Caballe currently live here.

La Sagrada Familia, the Catholic Church which is Antonio Gaudi’s signature edifice has2014-09-27-15-26-33--910852887

taken longer to build than the great Pyramids. Gaudi died during the construction over 200 years ago when struck by a street car and died 3 days later. The city of Barcelona took over the project using entry fees and other donations and is today still building by the plans Gaudi left behind.

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Tapas are small servings of a variety of snacks not unlike pupus in Hawaii that are served with wine, liquor or beer. Tapas originated in Andalucia (a more soutern region of Spain) when King Alfonso the 10th was ill requiring small portions of food with some wine between meals. Today tapas are served all over Spain and range from a small dish of common olives to saugages, meatballs, gambas (shrimp) or patatas fritas (french fries).

All of Barcelona’s beaches are man made. Prior to preparation for the 1992 Olympics there were no beaches along Barcelona’s Mediterranean coast. The waterfront was an industrial port for fishing and other commercial industries. Fortunately Spanards & visitors alike today enjoy as many as 9 separate beaches.

That’s it for now. Time for siesta!

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)


Now This is my Kind of Market!

September 24, 2014

The last time we traveled in Spain they called them ‘mercados’ -markets, or ‘mercado municipal’ but it looks like that’s been modernized to Mercat  now and this particular one in Barcelona ten minutes walk from our apartment is the Mercat Boqueria.  It makes no difference what they call it, it’s where everyone, locals and tourists by the boatload go to shop, eat, drink and meet their friends. It opens at 9 AM and goes all day till 9 PM, though some stall owners may wrap things up for a few hours between around 1-3 during the unofficial siesta time, most do not.

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There’s not much I can think of that you cannot buy or consume on the spot in the way of food. All of it plentiful, colorful and very fresh so it’s where we went on our 2nd day in town to stock up on foodstuffs for our stay here. These are some of the items we picked up:  two kinds of fresh lechuga (lettuce), tomatoes, cucumbers, a GIANT red pepper, onions, limes, olive oil, some cheese, fresh baked bread, and a dozen huge eggs. Oh yes, Mickey got some salami. I don’t know what kind but they’re happy to cut off sample bites until you like what you taste, which I also did when selecting a cheese. They lady sort of laughed at me when I chose a cow’s cheese over sheep cheese because they like a more gamey taste than many Americans.2719181-Bar_Boqueria_Barcelona But they eat a lot of things I would never, ever consider. I mean we saw chicken feet, skinned rabbits, all kind smelly fish, various assorted organs, brains and who knows what else! But

 once your shopping is complete you can belly up to any of a couple bars right inside the market and get an ice cold beer or a drink of any kind, or a coffee with a fresh baked pastry. They have something for everyone! Trip Advisor even recommends and reviews a place called El Quim where you can get breakfast, lunch or dinner -and it’s rated #116 out of 6,063 restaurants in Barcelona!

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 Like I said, this is my kinda joint!

ALOHA,  Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)


Dining in Spain is an Experience

September 23, 2014

One of the best things about Espana and Europe in general are all the wonderful outdoor cafes. Probably 90% of all restaurants have outdoor seating. In fact more tables outside than inside usually. 2014-09-23-16-29-30--976220015 And once you get a table that spot is yours until you decide you’re ready to move on. There’s never any hustle from the wait-help to turn over the tables or make you feel like you have to order another drink or more food. Every dining experience is to be savored whether it’s a cup of coffee which is an art form in itself, an afternoon snack or a complete meal.images-3

And tipping is an American bad habit best forgotten when in Spain. If you end up with some odd change after paying your bill you may leave that, but I’m talking 20 to 30 cents, not the 15 to 20% obligatory gratuity we Yanks are accustomed to. We are conditioned to feel bad if we don’t tip but everyone we’ve talked to about it assures us it’s not expected. In fact you’re pegged for naive tourists if you do.

Another uniquely European feature in dining is their love of dogs which are not only welcomed in eating establishments but pampered. We even saw one restaurant taking the trouble to fill up several water dishes for their canine customers! It’s all considered customery, no big thing.2014-09-23-16-01-17-578097497

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl!)


Part 4 of 5 Stop Common Core; Charter Schools, Private Schools & Home Schoolers ALL Affected

September 19, 2014

What good is it to have a hundred different restaurants if they all have to serve Italian food? This is exactly what Common Core is doing with our schools. If your state has school choice vouchers your schools will be required to adopt Common Core Standards. Catholic schools & private schools will be scooped up too as the creators of Common Core Standards testing have moved on to college AP & SAT testing. Private school students and homeschoolers to gain acceptance into colleges & universities will be forced to throw in the towel and lower their standards to the Common Core State Standards. This is insidious and all-encompassing. You cannot escape it.

I’ll say it again. Get informed! If you have kids or grandkids in school find out what is being taught! Look at their text books. If you have kids or grandkids studying to become teachers make them aware that they might not enjoy their chosen profession as it is taken over by the federal govt and other controlists.  Ask questions and be prepared to be surprised! And then you must join the fight. GET RID OF COMMON CORE!

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted direct from Spain beginning around Saturday, September 20th.

 



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