On my brief visit to Madrid recently, I couldn’t wait to get back to the Reina Sofia Museum.It houses a collection of 20th century art, primarily Spanish and has a huge collection of Salvador Dali’s early works, as well as some of Picasso’s most famous ones, and Joan Miro’, of whom I am not a huge fan. This photo is a painting by Juan Perez Agirregoikoia, whom I was not familiar with. I loved it and I aspire to be her someday! Love the animal print!The museum was easy to get to, just off the Atocha metro stop. The subway is easy to maneuver and seemed clean and safe.The museum is located in an old hospital building and has a beautiful courtyard. It is quite large and easy to get lost in. The admission price is only 6 euro and it is opened late at night, and from 7-9 p.m. Monday through Friday there is free admission.Photos were allowed in many of the galleries so I took some of my favorite works, but most of the Picasso’s and in particularly the museum’s and one of Picasso’s most famous works, Guernica, is not able to be photographed.I love this museum!
Segovia is the capital of the province of Segovia located in the regions of Castile and Leon. I only got to spend a couple of hours here, but it easily could have turned into a couple of days. It is a walled city dating back to Roman times. The 200 year old aqueduct greets you at the entrance.There are a wealth of 12th and 13th century churches, a castle and a cathedral.In 1985, Segovia was named a Unesco World Heritage site. It is located only 55 miles outside of Madrid, and there are approximately 55, 000 residents there. The cathedral is Spain’s last Gothic cathedral and was built during the Renaissance from 1525-1768.The actual Alcazar castle burned in 1862 and was rebuilt in an exaggerated Disney style. It is a museum today.
The city is charming and picturesque and very proud of the roast “suckling pig”, which is its culinary claim to fame. From what I understand, a suckling pig is a baby pig that has been fed only mother’s milk for 21 days.
While I was participating in Vaughn Town, we had the opportunity to have a Queimada! The beverage is made of Orujo, a 90% alcohol made of wine, and flavored with lemons, oranges, sugar, and coffee beans. The “brew” is then burned while an incantation is being read.The part of Spain where this tradition originated, called Galithea was settled by Celtic immigrants. While the punch was being made, this is the poem that was read. In our group we had someone reading it in Galithean, Spanish, and in English.
Owls, barn owls, toads and witches.
Demons, goblins and devils,
spirits of the misty vales.
Crows, salamanders and midges,
charms of the folk healer(ess).
Rotten pierced canes,
home of worms and vermin.
Wisps of the Holy Company,
evil eye, black witchcraft,
scent of the dead, thunder and lightning.
Howl of the dog, omen of death,
maws of the satyr and foot of the rabbit.
Sinful tongue of the bad woman
married to an old man.
Satan and Beelzebub’s Inferno,
fire of the burning corpses,
mutilated bodies of the indecent ones,
farts of the asses of doom,
bellow of the enraged sea.
Useless belly of the unmarried woman,
speech of the cats in heat,
dirty turf of the wicked born goat.
With this bellows I will pump
the flames of this fire
which looks like that from Hell,
and witches will flee,
straddling their brooms,
going to bathe in the beach
of the thick sands.
Hear! Hear the roars
of those that cannot
stop burning in the firewater,
becoming so purified.
And when this beverage
goes down our throats,
we will get free of the evil
of our soul and of any charm.
Forces of air, earth, sea and fire,
to you I make this call:
if it’s true that you have more power
here and now, make the spirits
of the friends who are outside,
take part with us in this Queimada.Afterwards, we all got to share some of the queimada, which I thought was delicious. Making this concoction does require a specific clay pot, and I don’t recommend trying it at home!
One of my readers told me about this great program. The program teaches Spanish students (mostly business executives and master’s program level) how to speak English. It is an immersion plan which focuses on conversation.The programs all take place at a variety of resorts outside of Madrid.In the program I participated in at El Rancho, in Torrecaballeros, in the Segovia province, there were 17 Spaniards and 17 Anglos. Both groups had all age levels from about 24 up. The program lasts 6 days, and those are FULL days. You start at 9 a.m. with breakfast. At each meal, the table holds 4 people and it is important that there are 2 Spaniards and 2 Anglos to start the conversations for the day. From 10-2, there are one-on-one conversations between an Anglo and a Spaniard, rotating every hour with a 10 minute break.At lunch, there is a full served meal with wine, and afterwards a “siesta”. Starting back at 5 p.m. there are a variety of activities each hour including further one-on-ones, conference calls, telephone calls, rehearsals for skits and group activities. This lasts until 9, and then a full 3 course dinner is served. At about 10:30 p.m. the formal program ends.I met some wonderful people and enjoyed many wonderful intimate conversations. In my travels I find that it is easy to connect with people from all over the world. I know that learning a new language is not easy and it was incredibly rewarding to be a part of this program.The program pays for your room and board for the entire week while you are at the location. The cost to you is your transportation to Madrid, and any hotel accommodations that might be needed before/after the start of the program. Find out all the details and start planning!
Sangria is a wine punch typical of Spain and Portugal. I just recently made my first batch of the summer. I have experimented over the years with this recipe and believe it to now be perfection! Try it. It is the perfect summer thirst quencher.
One bottle of red wine
½ cup oj
½ cup Brandy
½ cup 7 up or Sprite
¼ cup sugar