Thursday, November 24, 2011

Viva Espagña!

Over the years many people have asked me of all the countries I’ve lived in which did I prefer. And always --without even the slightest hesitation-- I throw my arms in the air and shout “ESPAGNE!” This surprises most and they tend to ask why.

Estban and me enjoying tapas.
Why Spain?

Could it be the oaky wines and cured Manchego cheese?    
           -- Maybe.
Could it be the ready smiles and loud greetings in the streets, the metros, the shops?      -- It very well could be.
Could it be the warmth with which the Spanish embrace life and family?  
           -- Yes. That’s it.

But it’s more than that. Much more.

It’s the gray-headed men in slippers reading El Pais on a Tuesday mid-morning park bench. It’s the mothers strolling their newborns down the promenade at 2 in the morning for a little outing. It’s the passion with which futbol is discussed over café con leche and pan dulce.

Spain.

Flashbacks of sagebrush swept deserts and white sandy beaches flood my mind. The shrill laughter of children running in sleepy village streets still echo in my ears. Smokey pubs filled with suits and scarves screaming over bad 90’s music for their friends to order another round of tapas and vino.

This is Spain. And I love it.

Twice this week I’ve enjoyed the fun of friends in tapas bars. What a treat! Here are a few tapas we ordered. Yum!

Mojama de Atun
Chorizo de no se que... 
There were other kinds of tapas... but I ate them up before I remembered to take a picture! Ha!