Galia has given me some constructive feedback on my blogging style. Apparently I blog in the same manner as I go tramping – lets get from A to B as quickly and efficiently as possible, and minimize time spent pausing, reflecting, enjoying the journey. So having given her some feedback on her feedback for her to reflect to on, and having a spare 5 hours on the train to pause and gaze reflectively out of the window at the Spanish countryside whizzing past at 300kph, I thought I would try this reflecting gig.
So far we have loved Spain. Seville is a beautiful city with extraordinary history. Putting aside the monuments and museums, the Moorish influence is still an integral part of Andalusian culture and way of life. Except for the pork. They take their pig meat very seriously here and Iberian ham is said to be the best in the world. We were also told that the pigs are free-ranged, fed only on acorns and are played classical music as they are slaughtered (well, not sure about the last bit) Pork is the main meat available in every restaurant, and I believe that has been the case for hundreds
of years. They seem to put it into every dish – Jewish readers, please avert your eyes – and it really is very very good. Cordoba has a particularly outrageous dish called Flamenquim. Its essentially pork roll stuffed with ham, and then deep-fried. OMG, the doubledown has nothing on this puppy and my arteries sang as they started to clog. But dont worry people, I made sure to have a glass of good Spanish red wine to counterbalance.
The history. Love the history. There is something very humbling to visit somewhere that has been a vibrant centre for thousands of years. If I wasn’t a lawyer I would have been an archeologist. But the history papers clashed with the compulsory law papers so that was that. And there is a fair bit of old stuff here. Galia mentioned the church in Seville that was a mosque, synagogue and then a church. The Cathedrals are breathtaking in scale and you feel quite insignificant when wandering through them. That was the intention from the time they were built, so they are still doing the business for the Church. The Islamic design of the Mosque in Cordoba has managed to be retained
notwithstanding being requisitioned by the Catholics quite some time ago (beginning of 16th
century) and it is striking to walk through the massive Moorish arches into the wide open courtyard of trees and fountains that led into the main Mosque before entering the bits that have been well and truly converted into a full-on Catholic cathedral. However the majesty of it all is somewhat lost with the gaggle of French and Spanish tour groups wandering around speaking loudly, but divine retribution is often meted out when tourists, busily reflecting on the grandeur of the high arches, mistakenly step into the geometrically arranged drains in the courtyard and soak themselves up to the ankles. Nice one, God. No one likes the French it seems.
As it turns out, reflection is fairly difficult in any situation when traveling with one's children. Love them but someone really needs to invent a white noise noise app that automatically neutralizes the whining of offspring. We thought we would get the kids to write in their travel diaries for school. It seems that there is a ratio of 1hr of negotiation to every page begrudgingly etched out be each child. Bugger me if we aren't
about to arrive in Barcelona....
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