Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Small Metamorphoses!

I had (and still do have) every intention of discussing Spanish wines here tonight, but then I got wrapped up in domestic duties and studying for a school quiz tomorrow over French wine.

Thus, no time or energy for Spanish wines.  Hopefully, my dear readers, you understand this.  I wish to treat the topic with some kind of depth, which, frankly, is just not going to happen at this hour.

Instead, let me elaborate briefly on two ways I attempted to pay homage to Spain today.

I was in the country about three hours when I began to envy the Spanish people's ease of living within reasonable walking distance of anything they might ever want or need.  Groceries?  A "supermercado" down the street; fruiteria, zapateria, etc. right around the corner.  Driving was actually more of a hassle in Valladolid, with the underground parking lots, small streets, and heavy pedestrian traffic.  We walked every morning to the school, probably a mile (one way), and I found I did not begrudge the trip at all.  If we wanted to go shopping, we walked.  Looking for something to do, we walked.  In fact, I often enjoyed an extra churro or piece of jamon because I knew I'd be walking it off later.

But, back here in the States, things are not so simple.  I live in the city, but at the northern end, where there is not a sign of commercialism for a mile and a half or more.  For me to walk to the store, to the mall, to the library, to the coffeeshop, I'd devote half a day to do so.  So, I just drive instead.

Until today, that is.  I've been super impressed by the Spaniards' ability to be somewhat self-sufficient when it came to transportation, but since it was unrealistic for me to practice the same degree of self-reliance, I bought this today at Walmart:

The old-school Cranbrook Huffy

Yeah, this old girl definitely panders to my affection for all things retro.  Also, there are no damned complicated gear thingies on the handlebars...nothing to stop me except the knee-jerk jamming of the pedals in a backwards fashion.  A wicker basket for the front (or back, in the manner of Miss Gulch from The Wizard of Oz) is in order soon.

Because frankly, sometimes, there's no school like old-school.  

I do own a relatively nice mountain bike.  It's a Trek.  Cobalt blue and very pretty.  However, my two oldest kids have taken to riding it recently (as I have not) since they've outgrown their bikes.  And well, I just don't like that bike as much as I used to anymore.  So, it was time for something new; hence, above.

While I'd like to just eschew driving all together, the fact of the matter is, I can't.  My school is a half-hour from here, and riding my bike there for a 7 a.m. class would mean leaving the house near midnight...and I wouldn't get home until sometime after  7 p.m.  But, for a five-minute drive to the grocery store for a quick pickup of Yukon potatoes and Manchego cheese, after a quick popover to the chiropractor's?  Yes, indeed, I think riding a bike is verily feasible.  And that is my plan.  To bike anywhere I possibly can here in town.  It's a fair compromise.

The second way I attempted to Vivo La España is through my food choices tonight.  First, I opened up a 2012 Albero (Monastrell grape) from the Jumilla DO of Spain (southeast).  Then, I opened up a package of Manchego cheese (Spanish).  Then I opened up my very sacred package of Joselito Iberico Jamon.  Then, I ate them.  And it was delicious.

Manchego cheese, the Albero red, and the Joselito meat

At this point, I'd love nothing more than to go on for you, regaling you with tales of the blackberry aroma of the wine, and its unplaceable taste (grassy?), and how the cheese cut the tannins a little, and how the ham was so yummy delicious, but so very precious (one package, it must be rationed until I get back to Spain for more).  I'd love nothing more than to provide a full narrative...but alas, it is nearly 9:30 CST.  The eyelids are growing heavy.

I hope to carry on tomorrow.





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