Saturday, November 10, 2012

I’m back.

I’m back from Spain.

I know people have told me in the past that Spanish food is not like Mexican food but all the same I wasn't expecting it to be so different. A lot of pork, some of other meats, but not a lot of vegetables. Pork was everywhere and in towns like Segovia, celebrated. I had entrées that consisted of an entire leg of steamed pork.

I (jokingly) assume that once the Spanish had defeated the Muslims they deliberately only prepared “haram” foods as a way to ensure the Muslims never returned.

I was also surprised how almost nobody in the Castile region spoke French. I assumed, given the proximity of Spain to France, that many Spaniards would speak French better than English and was prepared to try to use French if they were not very fluent in English. A typical conversation went like this:

Me: Do you speak English?

Them: [either signaling a little or saying “a little bit”]

Me: Parlez-vous francais?

Them: No. [With a kind of "why would I speak that?" look]

As for Spain's financial crisis I did not see a lot of impact in Madrid. I saw a small rally at a Bankia location but that was about it and downtown Madrid seemed quite busy and lively. It was outside Madrid that it was a lot more pronounced. I saw many closed shops in Avila and Salamanca. There were also some in Segovia but it didn't appear as bad as the other cities. I was expecting to see a number of beggars and homeless people but there wasn't as much as I expected. Most cities in Western Canada have more.

It was also reasonably priced once you got out of Madrid. I was staying in nice hotels for as little as 45 Euro per night, and paid 60 Euro to stay at a hotel a stones throw away from Plaza Mayor in Salamanca.

I'm planning to go back to Spain again someday, this time to tour the southern areas such as Seville and Córdoba to see the old Moorish architecture. A friend of mine just returned from there he said it was fantastic.

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