one step at a time…

found: spain travel posters

Spain, travel, poster, España es diferente

One of the first things I tell tour members when guiding a Rick Steves Spain tour is “España es diferente“. We live at the edge of Europe, border Africa, eat later than most, have business hours that take some getting used to… the list can go on & on. It’s definitely not like any other place in Europe. But I also comment that the Franco-era tourism slogan “Spain is different” still shapes our image of Spain today. Nowhere is this more easy to observe than in period travel posters.

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sevilla: semana santa

España, Spain, Semana Santa, Holy Week, La Paz

What a week! Yesterday wrapped up my second Semana Santa in Sevilla, & it’s time to come down from all the exhilaration + exhaustion. There’s nothing quite like bringing in the spring with a week-long pageant: the city government spruces up public spaces, locals deck out in their finest new clothes, & everyone says goodbye to the winter blues.

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lisboa: palácio da ajuda

Portugal, Lisboa, Palácio da Ajuda

When Pope Alexander III officially recognized Afonso Henriques as king in 1179, Portugal joined other prestigious royal houses in Europe. Dynasties would come & go —with several tragedies in between— but royals ruled until the establishment of Portugal’s first republic in 1910. That span of 731 years gave Portugal much of its modern-day national heritage; however, unlike other European countries, royal palaces are not part of the main tourist circuit. Why not? Let’s examine some previous royal residences for an answer…

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christmas in sevilla

Spain, España, Christmas, Navidad, Sevilla

For much of the world, Christmas was over two weeks ago… ah, but not for us. Spain is one of several countries that celebrate Epiphany (Jan 6th) in a big way. That’s when the Three Wise Men, the Magi or los Reyes Magos arrived in Bethlehem to pay their respects & give gifts to Jesus. Although I’ve spent tons of time in Spain over the past 17 years, I haven’t been here for Christmas since 1998. Seems like a special event happened almost every day! I’m thrilled we’re back to normal now, & maybe a timeline of events will help explain why the holidays this year wore me out.

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year in review: 2016

2016, travel, year in review
● Where was I? USA, Argentina, Japan, Spain, France, & Portugal.

It’s back! As always, I write this for personal reasons, but you’re welcome to revisit the past year with me. Sorry about no 2015 review but believe me, some things are better left unsaid 😉 It’s all más que bien ahora. The insane pace of 2016 makes a month-by-month summary impossible to write & even worse to read, so I’ve grouped events of the year into a few broad categories. Let’s go!

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recipe: sopa hervia

recipe, receta, sopa hervida, sopa hervía

My first recipe! Don’t worry, there’s no danger of this becoming a food blog. Although I love to cook & eat, I can’t seem to focus on one particular topic… or even a single country 😉 Sopa hervida (pronounced in andalú without the “d”) translates literally as “boiled soup”, but in reality it is more like what we would call a stuffing in the USA. Spain has invented a number of ways to use leftover bread, & these “soups” are some of the most traditional recipes in every family.

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found: same day photo, 2002-2016

camera, collection, DMC-LX3, S30, S80, S95, DMC-LF1, Panasonic, Canon

I purchased my very first digital camera in January 2002, one month after a big economic crisis hit Argentina. How I wish I’d had that Canon PowerShot S30 during December 2001! Definitely low res by today’s standards, but what a fantastic camera. Unfortunately the lens jammed & rendered the camera useless. Over the years I upgraded to a Canon SuperShot G3 (still works, a brick of a camera), a Canon EOS Digital Rebel (left in Argentina), a Canon PowerShot S80 (might work if I could recharge it!), switched to a Panasonic DMC-LX3 (still around, probably my best camera ever), back to a Canon PowerShot S95 (basically fell apart piece by piece), then a Panasonic DMC-LF1 (dust got inside the lens but still ok). These days, I’m not sure if I should stick with Panasonic, go back to Canon, or try another brand altogether. Decisions, decisions…

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