Archive for August, 2011

Torta de Santiago

This morning I drank some instant coffee with a piece of torta de santiago that a friend of mine brought back from her walk (see below). It is an almond, sugar, lemon, butter, powdered sugar and flour concoction. Very tasty and filling.

So one thing of note is that many young people here do this walk to get a certificate that they then can claim on their CV (or resume) as a measure of their fortitude I suppose. I actually think it has more to do with showing their religious bent to potential employers. It seems odd for me to hear about this as an American but aside from this it is common to see people’s birthdates and photos on their CVs. And employers can post the age of the person they want and in interviews ask women about pregnancy, family, etc. At first I was very surprised but in a way it happens in the US anyhow and maybe it just cuts to the chase here.

Ok the dog is whining so I need to take him on a walk. The weather has been beautiful here. Nice breeze, warmish, no humidity.

From wikipedia…

The Way of St. James or St. James’ Way (Spanish: El Camino de Santiago, Galician…) is the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried.

The Way of St. James has existed for over a thousand years. It was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times, together with Rome and Jerusalem, and a pilgrimage route on which a plenary indulgence could be earned;[1] other major pilgrimage routes include the Via Francigena to Rome and the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Legend holds that St. James’s remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where he was buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.
The Way can take one of any number of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. Traditionally, as with most pilgrimages, the Way of Saint James began at one’s home and ended at the pilgrimage site. However a few of the routes are considered main ones. During the Middle Ages, the route was highly traveled. However, the Black Death, the Protestant Reformation and political unrest in 16th-century Europe led to its decline. By the 1980s, only a few pilgrims arrived in Santiago annually. Since then however the route has attracted a growing number of modern-day pilgrims from around the globe. The route was declared the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in October 1987; it was also named one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.



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Random Stuff

This is Jorge and Hardy looking down from the balcony. The other photo I took at the museo de bellas artes. The only reason I took it is because the man looks just like the guy down the street who owns the kiosko so I want to show it to him.

So you may have gathered from these photos that the food here can be considered on the unhealthy side. Much of the restaurant food is very high in fat, salt, sugar, calories, and/or glucose. I walk about 3 hours per day and lift weights as well as use a nutrition program on my computer to help me keep the pounds off. Also much of the time I am cooking at home. But this is Spanish culture which means when their families visit you are highly encouraged to eat with them lest you appear rude and American as I sometimes must be in order to stay healthy. I try my best to be nice about it. I am not used to eating a plate of pasta at 10pm and I don’t really like how it makes me feel afterwards. Usually they just shake their heads and think I am a bit nutty. Unfortunately it’s my prediction that Europe is about 10 years behind the US on obesity, poor health and general overweightness. And so it goes….



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My flat mate is from Ecuador but grew up in Madrid. His mother visits sometimes and she makes us a few Ecuadorian dishes. Here is a picture of fried plantains. Also there are pictures of a “burrito” from Doner Kebab. It has lamb, beef and some other things in a flour tortilla. 3.50€ or $5.



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I guess I took a vacation from the blog for almost two weeks. Whoops! Not much going on right now. A lot of people are on their August holidays and it’s been hot and humid here. Here are a few pictures of the Valencia science museum, natural history museum, IMAX and aquarium.




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I am a bit tired and getting a bit lazy this eve. Here are more photos from a town one hour outside Madrid.





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Goya in The Prado

In the Prado I was surprised to read that art historians now believe that The Colossus was not painted by Goya. After 200 years they apparently saw the AJ initials in the bottom left corner and thought to themselves, “hey, an assistant who worked with Goya had the initials AJ and this painting is really not as well done as most of Goya’s stuff. Maybe AJ really painted this?!” I have included a photo from the web of The Colossus as well as my favorite Goyas below it. The Dog or as it is titled in the Prado, Drowning Dog, is from his famous Black Period Paintings and may represent the dog’s realization of his impending death. Who knows. Goya was going blind and deaf during this period but managed to paint these on his home’s walls and some smart people preserved them years later on canvas. Those same people are the ones who named the paintings not Goya. Saturn Eating His Young (some say Sons) that I posted previously is also during this period. The Third of May was earlier and part of his Disasters of War series. All of these are in The Prado and they are big and amazing and art in the way art is moving and meaningful and important to future generations. All beliefs are mine and not necessarily held by hack artists.




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March 2004 there was a bombing of this train station in the early morning as retribution for Spain participating in the Iraq War. A week later the conservative government was voted out of office. These turtles live here and I would say there is some overcrowding going on.




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