one step at a time…

andalucía: navigating a pandemic

  • spain
España, Spain, Andalucía, COVID19, graph, pandemic

In March 2020, Spain began a lockdown that would come & go for well over a year. As we descend from the fourth wave of infection, now seems a good time to reflect on national & local management of the pandemic. My personal experience in Andalucía should not be considered standard for the entire country; other regions of Spain have had wildly different circumstances. Hindsight is of course 20/20, but I’ll try to address the good, the bad & the unfortunate, occasional ugly. Enjoy the rollercoaster ride like the graph above (taken from the Ministerio de Sanidad).

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buenos aires: esquinas

Argentina, Buenos Aires, esquinas, corners

When I started writing a free PDF guide of the most attractive domes in Buenos Aires —sometime back in 2007— daily walks throughout the city made one thing obvious: corners (esquinas) offer the very best views. Buenos Aires had been founded on a tight grid plan used by the Spanish in all their territories, so street intersections gave light to cramped quarters. Future city planners widened avenues & crowned new corners with impressive domes as well as added the ochava… recessing ground level corners like the shape of a stop sign. No better place to show off brilliant architecture & give pedestrians some much-needed space.

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recipe: codfish cakes

At the risk of adding yet another cod recipe to this blog, I couldn’t let Holy Week pass without presenting another of my favorites from Portugal: bolinhos de bacalhau. This traditional petisco (snack or appetizer) is great with beer when you’re feeling peckish, at the beginning of a meal to ease an eager appetite, or several accompanied by a salad makes a meal. While traditionally fried, my version is baked but just as tasty… maybe that means you can indulge in an extra!

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sevilla: almohad baths, rediscovered

España, Andalucía, Sevilla, Bar Giralda, Almohad, baths, baños árabes

I’ll wager that almost everyone who visits Sevilla has walked past the Cervecería Bar Giralda on Mateos Gago. Beginning as a kiosk in 1923 on nearby Plaza Virgen de los Reyes, owners moved to this more permanent spot when architect Vicente Traver renovated a pre-existing structure. Regionalist style was all the rage in 1920s Sevilla, so Traver incorporated what he found into his design then left no written record of his work. Archaeologists would uncover this gem one hundred years later…

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recipe: lentejas

recipe, Spain, lentejas

A big bowl of lentil stew makes any winter day warm & cozy… delicious even while temps in Sevilla reach 23ºC in mid-February! Every Spaniard grows up with their family’s version of this classic dish, & Rafa finally let me have a go at making this crowdpleaser. Lots of spices along with onions, carrots & potatoes give fantastic flavor to a basic kitchen staple: the lentil. One taste & this may become your favorite stew regardless of the season.

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lisboa: igreja da memória

Portugal, Lisboa, Lisbon, Ayuda, Igreja da Memória, Baroque

No one expected second son José to inherit the throne of Portugal, but his older brother died the year of his birth & José moved to the top spot. He married Mariana Victoria of Spain at the age of 15 who shared his love for hunting & opera… but she never cared much for his affairs! Crowned king in 1750, José I continued to enjoy a carefree life; most administrative decisions fell to Prime Minister Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo. Later granted the title of Marquês de Pombal, Carvalho e Melo rebuilt the city of Lisbon after a devastating earthquake-fire-tsunami combo destroyed the capital in 1755.

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spain: carmona

España, Spain, Andalucía, Carmona, panorama

Most early settlements in the Iberian peninsula began as easily-defended sites using natural features to protect their inhabitants, as well as to scope out surrounding areas for any possible threat. Carmona was no different; however, what makes this town so unique is a history that dates back to the third millennium BCE… making it one of the oldest settlements in Europe. Old Stone Agers, Phoenicians, Tartessians & Carthaginians all called Carmona home long before the Romans arrived.

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year in review: 2020

year in review, 2020
● Where was I? Spain, USA & Portugal

Here we go again! As always, I write this for personal reasons but you’re welcome to revisit the past year with me. Not many thrills in 2020 thanks to the pandemic, but there’s always a silver lining. Somewhere.

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