Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Surrealism and Spanish Guitar

Yesterday was one of those working "vacation" days where we wore ourselves out walking the streets, visiting museums, and generally staying out and about so long that by the end of the day we could barely remember all the good parts because of the pounding in our feet and the ache in our backs.  But, I managed to sleep the night through for the first time (no late night blogging for me), and thanks to getting some rest I can appreciate everything we experienced.  

Brandon's drawing students spent the morning at the marina and the beach.  The students were all decked out in their swim suits and carrying their beach towels to class.  School can be so demanding sometimes!  One of the girls asked Brandon what the dress code for class at the beach was, and since the beaches here are bathing suit top optional, I could see the panic in Brandon's eyes when he firmly said he did not want to see anyone in their birthday suits.  I'm pretty sure she was asking if she could wear her bathing suit and not her clothes, but either way Brandon stayed at the marina and made the students who selected the beach come to him.  Chicken.   

After class Brandon and I wove our way into some small side streets in search of lunch off the main drag.  The narrow streets are more like alleys, with flags and laundry hanging from the balconies above.  A little Catalan woman in her golden years happened to be the only person on the street with us in the picture above, and she and I bonded when we had to cower in a doorway together as a pushy cab driver squeezed his way down the street and got stuck, basically hemming us in.  The lady and I didn't speak the same language, but we didn't need the same words to communicate the ridiculousness of the situation.  

One of the alleys opened up to a paved courtyard area, and the walls were painted with these murals.  This city is filled with art.  

This corner restaurant had this very cool rotisserie oven that opened to the outside, and the delicious smelling smoke wafted through the streets leading us right to their door.  We were intimidated by the prices and the fancy interior and decided to eat at a place with some outdoor seating that seemed more appropriate for our comfortable shoes and slim wallets.  

I see so many people enjoying sangria, with lovely chunks of fruit floating in it, that I was excited to cool off with a glass myself.  For some reason, the place we selected didn't serve theirs with fruit, but it did have plenty of ice which was welcome.  This one even had sugar granules in the bottom of the glass which I wasn't expecting.  I'm not sure if this is typical, so I think I will have to drink sangria at other locations to see what's the best.  You know, as a cultural experiment.  

I take back some of the bad things I said about the food in Spain.  We ordered a spicy rice dish, called paella, with vegetables, which came baked in an iron skillet with lots of oil.  When the server brought it to our table I thought we would need a box to take some home, but it was so good and we were so hungry we ate it all.  The couple at the next table ordered theirs with mussels, which looked even more delicious, so I hope to try it that way some day soon.  

The art history teacher was taking her students to the Joan Miro museum, which is on a hill overlooking part of the city, so we decided to meet up with the group and join them.  The roof of the museum had an awesome view and was scattered with his sculpture, some of which was painted with bright colors like the one at the top of the page.  

The light is Spain is so bright that it's very hard to have our picture taken without squinting.  Instead of smiling it looks like we are snarling!  We took a break at the museum cafe and ate our squished peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  We washed it down with tap water from the restroom, which really grosses out some of the other people in our group and Brandon thinks it's funny.  We've learned though, that if we don't carry water bottles and fill up whenever we can, we can spend a fortune just staying hydrated.  I'll drink tap water and spend my cash on sangria, vino, and cerveza!

In the evening we went to an Art de Guitarra concert in the chapter house of an old monastery, where a young man in shiny slacks and a pink shirt played guitar in front of a sculpture of Mary, under an elaborate stained glass, and back lit by candles.  Wow!  He could strum and pick the guitar so fast that I couldn't actually see his fingers hit the strings, and I was sitting right in front of him.  He played some flamenco, fandango, Spanish folk, and even some classical pieces written by Spanish composers.  He played with his eyes closed.  That always gets me.  

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