Our last full day in Granada was spent shopping and visiting sites that entailed the daily routines of our daughter’s 3-month study abroad life. After a lunch at Senora’s where we had the best gazpacho I’ve ever had, our daughter went back to her classes and Cris and I went back to the Alcaceria to find spices, scarves and other presents.
We walked the city all day observing, taking pictures and shopping.
Some lessons and observations of our final days:
- While the cities are clean and the food is great, it seems “everyone” smokes in Spain. Cris was quite amazed when the 20-something girl with rings in her nose started rolling her own Lucky Strikes (something he hadn’t seen since way back in Eastern Oregon). Smoking seemed to be pretty ubiquitous throughout Spain.
- 3 Euros is way-y too much for a bowl of gazpacho, even if it is great gazpacho. The Senora (and locals) eat this regularly in the hot summer days and good tomatoes are pretty consistently available at a reasonable price. I have reconstructed her gazpacho back at home and will post recipes later.
It is a perfectly normal morning occurrence for a truck loaded with individual LP gas tanks to double park on the street, honk, and holler up to residents’ balconies to see if they want gas that day;
- Food can be absolutely dripping in olive oil and the Spanish people are proud to tell you that the dish has “no fat”;
- You must talk in a sing-song voice when describing a list of items or a series of things;
- According to some of the Granada folks, the new President was trying to “fix Spain” after only 3 weeks in power. Part of this fixing now required people to pay one euro for their prescription drugs and requiring them to pay bus fare after 5 stops. They didn’t seem to mind the President, just didn’t think he could fix Spain very quickly or easily.
Do not ever engage with, or look a gypsy in the eye when they are talking to you or you will be given the hard sell at a minimum, and be man-handled and pick-pocketed at a maximum;
- You can double park anywhere in Spain, for as long as your battery can support the emergency flashers;
- Parents easily, and without intent, embarrass their kids no matter what country you are in.
On our last day in Spain, Tesla took us to see the University where she is studying and then to a lower income area of Granada where she is doing a service project with children in a program similar to the U.S.’s Headstart program. The study abroad program in Granada was such a memorable, and perhaps life-changing, experience for Tesla. If you are a college student, or have a college student, I highly recommend that you try and take advantage of the college’s study abroad program.
Food enjoyed in Jaen on our last day:
We had our last Spanish meal at a lovely restaurant that was owned by a previous matador, Vicente. The walls were covered with signed photos of celebrity matadors and we watched bull-fighting on the big TV screen as we ate (we chose to eat in the tapas (less formal) part of the restaurant so we could watch the bullfighting. The meal was fantastic and bullfighting on TV was about as close as I really wanted to get to that activity. Vicente had stories to tell and seemed really interesting, but we had left our translator back in Granada and were now on our own with smiles and hand-signals. Our meal was:
- Appetizer of olives, bread and this wonderful dip made with what we thought were garbanzo beans, but they may have been pigeon peas (?), scallions, tomatoes, garlic, etc.;
- Lomo (pork loin) in a sweet and sour sauce with parsnips and vegetables;
- Creamed spinach with balsamic vinegar and egg;
- Morcilla (Cris)
After saying goodbye to Vicente the old matador, we headed out to the airport in Madrid to make our way back home. Goodby to Spain and the sweet memories. I think we may just have to return someday and visit the western parts of Spain and the cities we didn’t get to. I’m an ardent admirer now, that’s for sure.