Dienstag, 7. Juni 2011

España: The Land of Picasso, Bull-fighting, Tapas, Flamenco and perfect weather: Final Installment

The next day I was on my own again. I went to the real Alcazar, which is this wonderful extravagant palace with gardens 10 times the actual size of the palace. Great stone arches lead into a paradise that I imagine the Garden of Eden would have looked like. The call of a bird I had never heard rang through the tall eucalyptus and palm trees. It was a peacock or should I say many peacocks. I got to see the male impress the females with his enormous bouquet of beautiful shiny blue, green and brown tail feathers. I walked past orange trees heavily laden with decorative fruit, oriental plants, jungle flowers, beautiful stone fountains, pools and other fantastical flora. That night I went to one of my hostess's Flamenco dance classes. I thought I might dance, but that wasn't happening. You need high heels and more experience. I got to watch some of the foot work though and that prepared me for what I would see in an actual performance later. The Flamenco class took place in my hostess's tiny studio. There were 8 people other than myself. The dancers stomp so hard on the wooden floor that it sounds like hundreds of gun shots going off at once. It was so loud!
The next day I bought a croissant from the only German bakery I could find in the city. It was heavenly. It was so soft I had to be careful not to squish it in the bag on my way home. I parked myself on the roof terrace and prepared for what I knew would be an incredible food experience. The buttery warm pastry flaked off easily in my hands. As I sunk my teeth into that light feathery fresh delight I got a lovely crunch from the perfectly browned outside and was pleasantly surprised by a silky smooth and soft inside. I ate it in a million ways. I couldn't figure out how to handle such a treat. I flaked pieces off with my fingers, I broke chunks off and popped them in my mouth and I just bit right into that pastry. I made it last as long as possible. When I was done eating it I could still taste the buttery goodness in my mouth.
That night I went to see a real flamenco show. It felt like a dream. First we were introduced to the singer and guitar player. The singer was out of this world sensational. He was so into the music and I couldn't help but get goose-bumps. The guitar player was this tall skinny man with long fingers that flew across the strings. The female dancer was beautiful and the male dancer was too. Their faces were so intense and their feet moved at lightning speed. It was almost inhuman. The interesting thing about Flamenco is that it seems like every single muscle in the dancer's body is contracted. Everything is tight, sharp and clean. It almost looks like it hurts. The tradition is still incredibly alive in Spain and I could see that everywhere I went.

España: The Land of Picasso, Bull-fighting, Tapas, Flamenco and perfect weather: Part 4

The next day I finally got to have adventures with my hostess. We put up a few posters for her Flamenco class and then went to a traditional restaurant to eat some tapas. When I say tapas I mean TAPAS! They were incredible. We both started with wine. Then came the thick toasted white bread with gespatcho on top and juicy chunks of Spain's famous cured ham. Then, part way through that came the whiskey marinated pork fillet with whiskey marinated roasted garlic cloves (there must have been 2 whole heads of garlic on our plate) and fried potatoes, all of which was completely smothered in delicious green Spanish olive oil. Part way through that dish came the stuffed eggplant filled with veggies and tender baby shrimp all of which was covered in a lovely layer of melted cheese. When we were almost finished a waiter brought us a plate and said what was on it was a secret and smiled. To our delight it was tender chicken covered in a sweet almond sauce on top of more fried potatoes and drizzled with more olive oil. As you can imagine we were both in food comas after that. After a siesta we took to bicycles. We wove our way in and out of tight alleys, dodging people, baby carriages and motorized vehicles. It was really incredible to experience the city like someone who lived there. We went to a Teteria, which is a place to drink tea on pretty cushions on the floor or behind lacy curtains and smoke Shisha (water pipe), something that is really popular in Europe. I love it and can even blow smoke rings! I met some of my hostess's friends, one of which was an arabic dancer in that very Teteria. She worked there by dancing throughout the restaurant and entertaining the customers. It was not meant to be sexual in the least and it didn't appear that way. However, she was incredibly beautiful and sexy and a really excellent arabic dancer. Once a late hour of the night had dawned my hostess and I took back to the streets on our bikes. It was pitch black, but the many lights of the city lit our way. It was exhilarating. We put up some more posters and called it a day.