Saturday, 6 August 2011

South Spain




After my night in the truck stop.. I decide to continue my way through Spain on the back roads to Madrid.  




I found a great property for sale... should I??  ;-)



Bull fight advertising in a village.. wasn't sure but they seem to still be popular!



















I love the back roads.. it appears that life is good out here.. and definitely more authentic than the toursity areas I was just at in Palma and Barcelona, however not taking away from how much I loved those places as well!

I have a host coming up in Madrid.  Alberto had given me his address for the gps.. and from the direction I arrived, I managed to navigate quite a busy highway system around the city.  Welcome back to the big time! ;-)

Alberto met me at the driveway electric gate and we went in.. What a lovely home!  We went into the back yard to have a chat. 

Then he tells me after a while of talking… “My wife is not real keen that I have a strange lady at our house”..  I’m like “What?”  Heck,  I can understand that, thank you for inviting me, but I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, and I can move on now.. no problem.  He says, “No, just meet her first and let’s see how we go..”  I sort of agreed, but really, it must be better that I go.

Other than the fact I am a strange woman in the house.. (?!ha!?), she was concerned that she doesn’t speak English.  Well, I took Spanish in school.  It’s been over 20 years since I’ve had a chance to practice, but I’ll do my best.

We had a little tiny chat.  I was able to say a few things and then went back outside.  I think there was a small approval, so Alberto set me up inside, I took a shower.  More chatting, Alberto grew up in Australia so we had plenty of stories to share.  He had lots of ideas and things he wanted to show me on the bike.  PLUS!  HE had just sold his KTM 690, same as mine, the week before I arrived!  Gee whiz did he have really bad luck with his, super bad experiences!  Part of wanting to meet me was to see how the heck I’ve gotten so far on my bike without it breaking down! ;-)

However, the next day, he needed to go to work, he has a great business, making and distributing eyewear (www.veroptic.com).  Anytime you see photos of Alberto in this post, he has a different pair of glasses on.. all very cool ones at that. 

Alberto is very keen to show me around, but he has a business to run and my first day he must go to the office and work.. Just as well for me as it gives me the chance to stay around the house and work on my blog. We’ll head out to explore tomorrow.  Feeling uncomfortable around the house as I know that I must still make his wife uncomfortable.  But little by little we had more little chats in Spanish.  I  was amazed I could still get some of the words out that I did, but when I screwed up or completely forgot, Susana always helped me. 

She was really great for me.  I needed the practice really bad as I have got a lot of Spanish countries coming up.. Mexico, Central and South America.  Susana and I ended up getting on really well and she joined us on the ride the next day.. yay!


They took me through some beautiful back roads surrounding Madrid and met with a couple more friends at a very special authentic Spanish restaurant in a small town.   

I could read some but not all of the menu, and Alberto says I must try the local “delicacy”, baby pig.. I laugh at him and say “NO WAY!!”  Can’t eat a baby pig no way no how.  So we continue down the menu, nothing really jumps out and he explains more to me about this baby pig and how he thinks I would love it.  It’s certified and grown under controlled organic setting and is not a new born, but several weeks old needing to reach a certain height and weight before it is “ready”.   They worked hard at selling me on the idea of eating this, I still wasn’t keen but agreed.  It’s that funny line that I try to decide if I should experience this culture by saying yes and worrying about offending their culture if I say no.

The kooky waitress brings me my section of the pig.  Only the one side of hind quarter, thank goodness, it’s not like eating an entire piglet!  

Alberto, Primi, Susana and Pauli

And I have to say… “Lord have Mercy”.. it was DARN good!!! Guilt guilt guilt!!  But good good good!!!  Gee whiz, however they cooked it, was perfect.  So tender that meat, and a flavor that is truly different in a good way.. I'm so sorry little pig, or anybody else I might be offending by trying this.

I’m not a vegetarian but could be easily.  I don’t eat much meat normally, but on this world trip, you can’t avoid it.. a lot of the countries are mostly meat eating, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.. 3 times a day!  In my real life, I’d be lucky to eat any meat in 1 meal once per week.

I honestly pass up a lot of meat, especially at breakfast on the road, don’t usually eat much lunch if anything at all, but I admit that I’m eating more at dinner than I have ever included in my diet before.  And like this little pig, it is a dish this region is particularly proud of, and it will be something I will always remember.  

I ran out of business cards, and she wanted my website.. written on money.. okay!
After that amazing lunch, we set off for another town nearby to see a very large and famous Roman aqueduct.. gee whiz!! Those Romans gets around! 

Anyway, this freestanding aqueduct in Segovia is evidence of the medieval periods prosperity and was built long before there was a town around it. Alberto tells me it stands today without ever having a need for re-build. That amazes me, as it looks like something that could come down easy in an earthquake or war! Could we do the same today??  Even with modern machinery??




It was a great day all around, seeing a lot of this area and learning the history, experiencing the culture, good friends..this is what I love the most!




Ducking for cover during a little rain shower!


Now for another day.. Alberto and Susana keep talking me in to staying!!  There's more to see!  They want to show me the city of Madrid, just a quick look around in their very cool convertible.  Nice little change!

Beer on the square..


Entertainment on the square is.... entertaining!  This one made me scream and jump (too many people saw me and laughed).  The head in the middle is the real guy, I wasn't sure, and then he abruptly pushed the box up at me with some weird scary noise.. I screamed.. he turned his head like this in the photo and says.. very loudly.. "Besame!!"  (Kiss Me!!)  Oh my gawwdd...  I sat with my beer and watched this guy quite a lot.  He truly was disturbing on a continuous basis.. Could he be that good of an actor is this his way of being who he really is and making money at it.. ???

Not sure what this is really?  It's teeth chatter for money.. part kangaroo and part antelope?

And a quick look of the old city.. very impressive clean city.. despite all the upset in city centers at the moment!~  All of the cities so far.. A lot of protests due to unemployment.

They are reporting 5 million people unemployed in Spain.  I'm not sure what protesting would do to create jobs.  Plus the country is on the verge of bailout from the European union.  A real mess and Alberto explains to me that the country as a whole has very little industry to rely on compared to other countries.   And he doesn't see any change to this situation soon.


And a look at the new Madrid! These high rises are built on the old Madrid Real (soccer team) site.. which if I understand was sold when they bought "David Beckham"!  They've since relocated.


I love Spain.. Love it love it love it!  Besides these great people who took me in from a BMW forum!!  Who'da thought!?  They are the best hosts and I really got a lot out of my stay with them.. To live in their home for 4 days!!! and experience their family life, super yummy Andalucian food.. Susana!!  Regions are different, and she is originally from Andalucia..  I felt like I was actually was staying with family.. lucky me!!  I do hope they come to Australia someday so I can return the favor..
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