I <3 Olive Oil!

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April 11th 2012
Published: April 14th 2012
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April 11, 2012- Last night, at the last minute, we booked ourselves into an Olive Oil Tour for today. We got up early, had breakfast, and were promptly picked up by Pablo, our driver. We were in a small mini bus, with 4 gentlemen from Saudi Arabia. We had a very short scenic drive to a small town just outside Grenada. Our drive was very picturesque as we drove very close to the Sierra Nevada Mountain range that is still covered in snow. Beatriz, our guide, met us in an olive grove just outside of town and explained to us the different kind of olives they grow here, the climate needed to grow olives, and the ancient communal irrigation system used by the town to water their olive fields. We hopped back in the van and drove into town to a 15th century olive oil press that was fascinating. This is a best preserved press in all of Spain, and it was gifted to the town in 1992. It is now a small museum. After seeing how the press worked and how each family in town was given a vat in which to store their share of the oil, we headed across the street to a small house that held their tasting room and store.  We quickly found seats, excited to learn about how the experts taste and rate the oil. Beatriz continued her explanation of the oil, the level of acidity that determines whether or not it can be called "extra virgin" or not, the way the process has evolved over the years, and how to taste the difference between the 5 oils in front of us.   Som were mild while others left a sharp peppery taste in the back of our throats.  Between each oil tasting we had to cleanse our palettes with a bit of apple. It was amazing to taste the differences in the oils, mostly based on variety of the olive, where it was grown, and if the oil was filtered or not. We loved the tasting and quickly picked out a bunch of items to purchase including cosmetics. Our bus ride back to the hotel flew by. Once back at our hotel, we stowed our purchases and hit the streets of Granada for a little more sight seeing before our evening train.  We strolled thru a wonderful little neighborhood, stopped into the market, and got some sweets...including churros and chocolate. We took our treats to a small park and enjoyed them. (On this trip we have realized that Spaniards love their dogs and we have been amazed at how obedient the dogs are here. Most walk without leashes and never get into trouble. We even saw one today that looked like Tyra when she was little. ) After our snack, we wandered thru Granada looking for their department store before we had to pick up our bags and head for the train station. Our cab driver quickly made friends with Amy and started to talk about politics with her on our short drive to the Train station. Amy did her best stay neutral and laugh at his jokes. She also promised him that she would try the bull tail, a local delicacy, when we got to Ronda.  She may not keep that promise. We arrived very early to the train station, so Amy and I left our bags with Eileen and headed for a super market across the street. The market was large and empty since it was siesta time. We found our cheapest dinner yet, $1.50 Euros for a ham and cheese sandwich on a nice baguette and a drink. GREAT DEAL! We called it the Spanish Happy Meal.  We picked up a couple other things and headed back to the station. The train ride was a straight shot and before we knew it we were in Ronda. We hopped a cab to our hotel, dropped our bags, and went out exploring. Our first stop was a beautiful park where we were able to catch the sunset over the dramatic cliffs. It was beautiful. We then wandered thru the new town, over the dramatic ravine and old town. Since this town was built at the top of a cliff, I led a tour I like to call  Spain Stair Stepper workout 101. We burned off our dinner and then headed back to the hotel. We missed our favorite show, El Cubo, but were able to catch the movie Bucket List in Spainish. We enjoyed some wine and checked our email before tucking in for the night.


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