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Posts tagged ‘Spain’

A taste of things to come

In the next installment from our European Food Tour I explain why I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d hoped, and give a taste of what posts I will share in the weeks ahead.

My Food Odyssey

After 76 days on the road we’ve decided to take a short break from our travels. Much as we’ve been enjoying ourselves, we have a few wrinkles we need to iron out to ensure we get the most from our experience.

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Ibérico Ham School – Day 2

On the second day of jamón ibérico school we visit an organic pig farm and see the jamón being produced.

My Food Odyssey

We returned to La Posada the following morning for an enormous breakfast, full of Lucy’s homemade Andalucían delights, before setting off with Angel to an organic pig farm nearby. The farm is set in a huge oak forest (known as a “dehesa”) and has goats, ducks, geese and chickens as well as over one hundred black Iberian pigs.

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Ibérico Ham School – Day 1

A two-day course at an Ibérico ham school was one of the highlights of our European food tour. In part one, we tour the Jamón Ibérico Museum in Aracena (Huelva province), get a lesson on carving jamón correctly and eat a delicious traditional Spanish meal featuring Ibérico pork.

My Food Odyssey

Sometimes things work out much better than you’d hoped. Having driven for miles through areas of both Portugal and Spain that are home to the famous black Iberian pig, I wondered if we would ever get a glimpse of these wonderful animals. I’ve dreamed of someday owning an Iberian pig farm in Andalucía and really wanted to experience them in their natural habitat. Alas, they proved elusive.

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Harmony

It’s almost three years since we set off on our tour of Europe and I still love looking back through the photos. This was taken in Rioja, one of the most scenic places we passed through. This was one of the many occasions when we appreciated the fact that our camper van was dark green. We could park in stunning locations and blend into our surroundings. We were not a disturbance, but instead were in harmony with our environment. If we ever replace the van (and we hope to), we will get something very similar. Read more

Boundaries

One of the many things I love about travelling is the diversity to be found across our planet – diversity of people, language, culture, food, weather and landscape. So often, our food and culture is influenced by the landscape around us. If you are surrounded by sea you will likely eat lots of fish and seafood, if you have boggy earth you will burn turf. And if you have fields full of limestone, you will build walls. Travelling through northern Spain, close to the border with Portugal, we encountered these stone walls. I was immediately reminded of the stone walls found across the west of Ireland and which I thought were unique to our fair isle. The Spanish construction is a little different – I don’t think I have seen walls constructed around big stones in such a uniform way in Ireland. But the resemblance is striking. Amidst all the diversity there are always similarities. We’re not all that different, really. Read more

On the Way

I love a good road trip. I love wide, open spaces and diverse scenery. I would far sooner be in a car travelling through stunning countryside than on a city tour, no matter how beautiful the architecture. Some of the most surprising and spectacular sights are between places of interest rather than in them. These are some of my favourite “on the way” shots from our European road trip two summers ago. Taken in Rioja, Spain, within a 15 minute period, they demonstrate the enormous variety of landscapes in the region. Think we might be due another visit. Read more

The end of an era

Without any fanfare, she drove away from the house. The sky was grey and sleet was falling at an acute angle, spurred on by an intensely cold wind. I watched from the warmth of our conservatory as she rounded the corner and disappeared from view, Arūnas smiling and waving from the wheel. That’s it – she’s gone. Read more

Scale

Sometimes it’s hard to put your finger on why you prefer one thing over another – a place, a product, even people. Research has shown that when asked to explain our preferences we often unconsciously make stuff up. I love that idea. Perhaps it’s a kind of natural defence mechanism, to prevent us from looking weak or foolish in front of the rest of the herd. I digress… Read more

Gone…

But certainly not forgotten. This photo was taken on our epic road trip round Europe last summer. We set out with a plan and a map, but got so sucked in by the beauty of Spain that we ended up spending most of our time there. We were enjoying the road so much we always left it quite late to find somewhere to park for the night. This had its advantages – no one really minds if you park in a forest or supermarket car park for just a few hours after dark. It also meant we saw numerous glorious sunsets, such as this one near the town of Jerez in southern Spain. I had spent a few happy hours earlier in the day sampling sherry at Tio Pepe (to ease the pain of the 22 mosquito bites I got the night before, you understand). This sky was so captivating we pulled over to take photos and ended up staying for the night. The memories from this trip will stay with us for a long time. Read more

Signs

Signs. That life on earth has existed for a very, very long time. While on tour last summer we visited my cousin in Antequera, Spain. He brought us to see the stunning limestone landscape at El Torcal de Antequera. El Torcal is over 150 million years old and is home to some fascinating records of marine life during the Jurassic period. The chubby little finger belongs to my cousin’s young son – a sign that human life is set to continue for at least one more generation. Read more

Twist

We encountered a number of twisty roads on our trip last summer. One of the twistiest, yet most beautiful, was the road through Los Portillinos, a mountain pass 1957 metres above sea level set in the Aquilanos Mountains in north-western Spain. Despite the blue skies it was freezing cold at the top, with patches of snow in sheltered areas. Read more

On the Move

One of my favourite “on the move” shots from our trip around Europe last summer. You can just make out the “Europe on a shoestring” and “Wines of the world” books on the dashboard. We didn’t pass many other cars so I thought this one, plus the surrounding view, were noteworthy. Read more

Letters

A barrel of sherry signed by Ayrton Senna at Tio Pepe, Spain. Can a few letters change the value of a product? My guess is that this barrel will never be consumed, which I guess makes it priceless. Read more

Inside

The mountains and vineyards of Rioja, Spain as seen through the ruins of a former winery. Read more

So, how was your trip?

Open roads, rugged mountains, wandering long-horned cows, winding river valleys, terraced vineyards, sparkling seas, ice lakes, snowy peaks, colourful markets, majestic cities – these are just some of the sights we encountered on our recent tour of Europe. Read more

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