Friday, January 30, 2015

Goldfinger (And Additional Body Parts)

There are 35 individual chapels within the walls of the Cathedral/Mezquita in Córdoba. Don't worry. I won't make you look at them all. I must admit, I tend to 'speed-tour' religious history.

Click any of these images from the Chapel of Santa Teresa (in the center of which is a very large monstrance) to glorify.

If you're a heathen, like me, I'll save you some research time and explain that a monstrance is a vessel used in Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, and Anglican churches for the exhibition of some object of piety, such as the consecrated Eucharistic host..." (click here for more info from Wikipedia).

The Corpus Christi processional monstrance is a silver and gold creation made by Henry of Arfe, a German goldsmith. It weighs over 200 kilos (440 pounds). Since 1518, the monstrance has been carried through the streets of Córdoba during the Feast of Corpus Christi, 60 days after Easter Sunday.

What drew me to it was not it's massive size and obvious value — although the 'bling element' did draw my attention — but the tiny little human and animal figures throughout. It's my kind of art. I'd love to work on something like that. I wouldn't even have to use gold.

FRONT...
TO GET A SENSE OF THE SIZE, NOTE THE 'DARK VISITOR" FAR RIGHT.
... AND BACK


I THINK THAT'S GREAT GRANDPA FERDINAND III IN THE BATTLE SCENES.

STATIONS OF THE CROSS.


I ALWAYS THOUGHT THE SONG WENT... "SIX GEESE A-LAYING."
THE LONE FIGURE ATOP THE 'BRIDGE'?
AN EXTRA-TERRISTRIAL?
SAINT GEORGE BEING CHASED BY THE DRAGON
WHILE THE BASEBALL TEAM LOOKS THE OTHER WAY?


San Geraldo's god-daughter Erin (click here) does a brilliant imitation of Shirley Bassey. Sorry I didn't ask her to do a little video recording for me. You'll just have to make do with the original.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ron Miel... And Other Chupitos

Here in our part of Spain, a good glass of wine or beer costs between 1 and 2 euros. It's cheaper than drinking soda. San Geraldo can splurge on his non-alcoholic beverages. Since I always like to be thrifty, I've been having wine or beer with my meal.

(Click any image to increase the alcohol content.)

FOREGROUND: MY VINO DE MÁLAGA (SWEET WINE).
JUDY'S VINO FINO... AT MESON SALVADOR LAST WEEK.

Many restaurants offer free after-dinner drinks. They're called "chupitos," which means "shots." At Sandpiper, they're usually Bailey's Irish Cream. San Geraldo is a very light drinker. So, he takes a sip of his and I get the rest.

Meson Salvador usually serves Pionono (similar to Bailey's but made in only one place outside Córdoba). Lately, they've been serving Ron Miel. "Ron" means rum in Spanish. "Miel" means honey. It's delicious. San Geraldo isn't a huge fan. So I get two.

RON MIEL AT MESON SALVADOR.

Our favorite restaurant in Sevilla (we got back there for dinner during our last visit), Catalina Casa de Comidas, serves mini-gin and tonics. San Geraldo can't handle a full-sized gin & tonic. So he orders a mini before dinner and I then get to drink his after-dinner chupito... and my own.

CATALINA:  SAN GERALDO'S PRE-DINNER MINI GIN & TONIC.
MY GOLDFISH BOWL.

While living in Sevilla, we discovered a Mexican restaurant called Iguanas Ranas (Iguanas Frogs). Good Mexican food had been hard to find. This place is incredible. The Iguanas Ranas version of a chupito is a small Margarita. Delicious and the perfect size for me. San Geraldo drinks a bit of his. I get the rest.

When our friend Judyshannonstreetwhat (click here if you haven't met) was visiting, I usually had three chupitos after dinner.

MINI MARGARITAS A FEW WEEKS AGO AT IGUANAS RANAS, SEVILLA


Given all the chupitos I've been drinking, I might cut out the one I pay for. I don't want to wind up spending my money callin' everybody honey...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Another Brick In The Wall

My previous Córdoba post (click here) focused on the ceilings (and floors) of the Mezquita/Cathedral (and on San Geraldo's royal ring-finger). It seems only fitting that I should give equal time to the walls.

(Click any image to 'engrandeurize.')










ONE OF SEVERAL TRIBUTES TO GREAT-GRANDPA SAN FERNANDO.




Saturday, January 24, 2015

Please, Sir, I Want Some More

Our wonderful friend Judyshannonstreetwhat (click here) headed back to the State of Washington Tuesday morning.

She left behind my hairdryer (I can't remember where it came from, but I can guarantee I've never used it); a banana (now gone); an apple (also, no longer); an open bag of oatmeal (porridge); and some other odds and ends.

I made myself a 'bowl' of oatmeal this morning.

MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

One Man's Ceiling: Kiss His Ring

We took another day trip to Córdoba (click here for a little about our last visit). It's only 49 minutes from Málaga on the high-speed train. We weren't in any rush, so we took the slow train, which takes 65 minutes. The temperature hovered around 9C/48F, which isn't too bad — if you're from South Dakota, anywhere in Canada or Norway, or even Indiana.

For us, it was downright frigid. But, it was worth it to visit in January, the quietest month in Córdoba. Except for a couple of small tour groups, we had the entire Mezquita/Cathedral almost entirely to ourselves. (Click any image to fill the screen with beauty.)

CASTLE OF ALMODÓVAR, FROM THE TRAIN WINDOW AS WE SPED BY.
27KM/17 MILES SOUTHWEST OF CÓRDOBA.

Our cab driver from the train station to the Mezquita was charming, once I initiated some conversation. He told us all the places he'd like to visit in the United States, before moving on to the subject of Córdoba, "the best city in Spain." Then he shared a bit of history as we entered the old city.

The driver mentioned San Fernando a few times, commenting on his importance to the city. So, I shared with him the fact that the man sitting next to him at that very moment, San Geraldo, was the 22-greats-grandson of San Fernando. It took him a moment to grasp what I was saying. When he did, however, he looked at me and asked, "¿¡¿Es verdad?!?" (Is it true?!?)

"Yes," I replied.

"Mamma Mía!" he shrieked as he pulled to a stop beside the Mezquita.

San Geraldo held up his hand and I said, jokingly, "You may kiss his ring."

The driver grabbed San Geraldo's hand in both of his and kissed his ring.

I told him San Geraldo was descended from many kings, but there would be no need to kiss my ring. "All my grandfathers were peasants." "Mine, too," he laughed.

(San Fernando's grandson said "adios" while I paid the fare.)

THE BELL TOWER OF THE MEZQUITA/CATHEDRAL.
JUDYSHANNONSTREETWHAT AFRAID TO STEP ON THE FLOOR.
THE FLOOR IS A CEILING OVER MORE ANCIENT WORK.


While we're on the subject of ceilings...











Monday, January 19, 2015

Kransekake: Spanish Tower of Power

During Christmas, San Geraldo didn't have time to make his Norwegian kransekake (wreath cake). His first attempt, in 2010, looked great, but the texture and taste were a bit off. The second attempt, 2011, tasted great, but the texture was much too cake-like, which resulted in a nearly fatal avalanche. The third attempt was during our first Christmas in Sevilla. Total disaster. We couldn't even get the baked rings out of their baking forms. (Click here for the history of kransekake in our household).

Our friend the Goddess Elena told us it was alright to delay it because she and the kids were up in Bilbao for Christmas and, "There was no reason to make it if [they] can't have any." So, Friday of last week, San Geraldo began the process (and I began cleaning up after him).

(Click any image to enlarge.) 

THE DOUGH: PREPARED FRIDAY AND REFRIGERATED OVERNIGHT.
PLACED IN SIX KRANSEKAKE PANS,
THREE RINGS PER PAN.
READY FOR BAKING.
DON'T 'THEY' SAY A WATCHED KRANSEKAKE NEVER BAKES?
REFRIGERATED OVERNIGHT SATURDAY,
AND POPPED OUT OF THE RING PANS SUNDAY.
THE ICING THAT DOUBLES AS CEMENT.
GOING UP...
BIG HANDS WITH A DELICATE TOUCH.
KRANSEKAKE 2015.

This year's kransekake was the most successful effort yet. The taste and texture were perfect. The tower stayed upright as long as required, but only because San Geraldo reinforced it a bit. He learned this year that he baked it at too high a heat (for our specific oven), which caused the dough to rise a little too much. The more airy pastry can't support the weight. So, now that San Geraldo knows how to make the perfect tasting kransekake, he can focus on making one that can support itself (although given that it was all gone the same evening, ours doesn't have to support itself for long).


Tower of Power (and Santana)...