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Three restaurants in Spain

Posted on June 25th, 2012

Every bar we visited in Andalusia still honours the tradition of free tapas with each round of drinks. When a glass of white wine and a copita of chilled fino sherry only cost four euros, this represents remarkable value. There are many restaurants in Cordoba, but few as enjoyable as Regadera. Giulio fronts the restaurant with style, warmth and ability. An Italian fluent in at least four languages, he moved to Spain for love. El Regadera is a casual place, down by the Guadalquivir river, offering excellent tapas or full meals. The menu has a smallish selection of interesting Spanish and international dishes. Prices are perhaps upper-end in Cordoba, but to visitors they represent terrific value.  Tempura, twice-cooked pork belly and salad with fruit were…

La politesse

Posted on June 24th, 2012

A few days ago we were in the newsagents at Bonnieux, choosing a magazine. A woman strode to the counter and demanded: “Do you speak any English at all?”. The answer was no, but she continued: “I want some glue”. A reasonable question, you may think, but expressed rudely, spoken as though people who do not speak English are fools. Having failed thus far, the visitor then turned up the volume, because people who do not understand must be deaf:  “I WANT SOME GLUE!”. We interceded, before transatlantic relations could sink any lower. On another occasion we were dining at Maison Gouin, in Coustellet. A group of visitors sat down, placed their orders, then immediately rose to attack the excellent open cheese board. The…

Palacio de la Rambla, Ubeda

Posted on June 20th, 2012

Our hotel in Ubeda, Andalusia, was built in the 16th century, the former palace and home of Jose San Vitores de la Portilla y Alonso de Maluenda, created Marqués de la Rambla by Charles II in 1682. Relatively modest in size for a palace, it has an interior patio attributed to the architect Andrés Vandelvira, who designed many buildings in the region, including Jaén cathedral. The hotel has just eight rooms. Public areas are full of antiques and family mementos, which include photographs of meetings with the pope and other dignitaries. It felt as though we were guests in an old family home.

A shrine

Posted on June 14th, 2012

Taberna San Miguel is a bar-restaurant in the centre of Cordoba. Founded in 1880, the bar is dedicated to bullfighting and is decorated with posters and memorabilia. Near the entrance is a shrine to Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez, better known as Manolete, who was born in Cordoba. Many Spaniards consider him to be the greatest bullfighter of all time. He died in hospital at Linares on 29th August 1947, aged 30, after being gored in the upper thigh as he prepared to kill a Miura bull. Manolete was so popular that General Franco declared three days of national mourning, during which State radio only played funeral dirges. The bull did not receive hospital treatment or similar adulation. It is hard to comprehend that some people…

Putting it on

Posted on June 14th, 2012

We ate well in Andalusia. Together we added five kilograms in a week. It will take longer to shed. Coming from France we were staggered by the number of obese people in Spain, where 40% of the population is overweight. The country is ranked third in child obesity, after the US and UK. Hardly surprising given the culture of snacks, oil and fried foods. Here people die of too much food rather than too little……………

Under attack

Posted on June 12th, 2012

The numerous rose bushes alongside our swimming pool are in full bloom. But this year they are under attack. Hundreds of scarab beetles have settled in the blooms and are eating the roses. Curiously, they only attack white roses, never the red variety. These flying beetles have beautifully shiny backs of turquoise, blue, green, orange and more. With so many beetles and such destruction we have no alternative but to put them in a bucket of soapy water.  

Bon anniversaire!

Posted on June 12th, 2012

Today is Saffy’s third birthday. A Welsh Springer Spaniel, she was bred in the countryside between Canberra and Goulburn, Australia. At sixteen months, she flew for thirty hours to reach France. Now bilingual, she is a very rewarding member of the family, always happy and enthusiastic, but ever gentle and trying to please. We could not wish for a better companion. Many happy returns Saffy!