Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year 2019!


I’m happy to report Christmas lunch was a success! Ryan and Angela, Pepe and his friend from Barcelona Carine came. I served salmon, mango salad, mashed potatoes, asparagus and Angela did stir fried snow peas. Carine brought chocolates and Pepe’s mom gave Ryan a bottle of  Crema Turron, like Bailey’s but (we all agreed) better. Pepe brought a German Riesling wine. 

Carine met Pepe at an Airbnb conference in San Francisco, they stayed in touch and she has come to visit on her travels around Spain. To fund those travels she is a marionettist, (yes I had to look it up) she has the puppets on strings dancing to music and generally doing funny things. 
It is actually hard work, but she has fun.
She also made the puppets herself and named them Wolfie and Pablina. So, of course, we had to go see her perform on the Alameda. That park is currently stuffed with Christmas stalls and rides for children so it’s a perfect location for Carine to be at. It was great to meet her!
Waving at you!
Happy New Year to you my friends! Bev and Lexi Cat

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas from Lexi and I!

Lexi saying Merry Christmas!

Walked with Ryan and Angela to the Feria market to investigate Gil Solby’s restaurant called Parceria next to the market. The cafe is owned by a couple, Gil is the only employee and he’s a barista. So along with our breakfast we got a verbal tour through different kinds of coffee and their tastes and why by Gil. He is a very knowledgeable person about coffee. The cafe uses all sustainable coffees and products, presentation was fantastic and more importantly we were all blown away by the flavours.
Avocado, tomato puree, cheese

It was like going out to a high class restaurant but in a cafe for breakfast, if that makes any sense. It was also like a mini day trip to an area of the city I don’t get to often.

On the way back to our homes from breakfast we saw this.

Same day I met with Paula and Paul at the rooftop space at El Corte Ingles, always a nice spot to be. We had drinks and chatted. You may remember this remark from last year but the mini restaurants there are always changing. It is really a tourist spot, and although I saw people eating there yesterday locals think it is not worth the price. 

Rocio comes over to clean, I sneak a card and a few chocolates into her purse for Feliz Navidad. 

I pull Bruce’s little wheelchair down to the lobby and wait for Ivan to come and pick it and me up, caused me some bodily harm, ouch, toes, when I ran it over them. We took it to Suzanna at Amigo 24, in Triana, where we purchased it. 

Lunch ensued at Bodegon in Los Remedios, neighbourhood next to Triana. Upscale restaurant catering this time of year to Christmas parties, food was good, service also, although it was busy.

After we went for a drink to Princi-Pico to sit under the trees, it is next to the park, has the mini-lemon trees, we’ve been there before but it’s under new management. The owner does something quite smart, has a children’s play area to allow parents to have drinks and a meal with their friends and not have to worry about the little ones. He’s also lowered the price on the menus to attract people from the neighbourhood consisting mostly of young families. 

Mini lemons, Ivan's hand to show perspective.

Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas, Bev and Lexi Cat, Bruce in spirit.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Tax and a Meet Up

The Murillo exhibition is back! Many new paintings to see.
The line up goes around the museum, sunny Sunday and a long weekend.
The pictures in this post do not really have much to do with the text, just a little heads up. 
Never know what you'll see on the streets here.
I was downtown in the shopping district the other day. Obviously the season is in full swing with all the Christmas goodies and lights out. There were roving groups of school children, accompanied by nuns, little girls with red bows in their hair and singing as they walked along. Other groups of children were carrying balloons, given by the banks I think. They take up the entire sidewalk and I had to dodge balloons which are at head height for me, not to get bonked in the head with one. Found an environment type store where the merchandise was different, mini-sewing machine, gel filled socks, anyway, different.
The long roots of the ficus tree are wrapped this year, even Pepe doesn't know why.
Good and bad day, Pepe found out about the tax I owe on the elevator installation and gave me a bill to be paid at any bank in two days to receive the approximate 20 Euros discount. They charged me close to 400 Euros, a tax I did not know about and neither did Ivan or Pepe. I went to my bank here and they would not process it, Juan, my contact there said go to any other bank. So I go to Santander, wait half an hour, find out they need cash only, (what?! this is a bank) wait another half an hour, the clerk takes my money and is processing it until he discovers he cannot process it because I am a non-resident, resident. The bank directs me to the office of the tax people but by then it is 2:00 when it closes, I saw the doors close. Now it will have to be tomorrow, Friday, when businesses don’t really want to do business. Pepe helped, we went to the City tax office and then to the bank and finally got it paid. We found out that the City actually has my identification number incorrect as well as the spelling of my name (well that part is typical).

After that, I was hungry, 2:00 and all I’d had is my usual yogurt for breakfast so I stopped in at a Japanese food restaurant and ordered. While waiting I spotted the familiar hair, walk and face of Alonso crossing the square, I ran after him yelling Alonso, Alonso, but he had his ear buds in and it took a bit for him to get that someone was calling to him. When he did, great hugs, and me crying after telling him about Bruce. He gave me his phone number and place he is working so I, with Ryan and Angela, will visit him. So good to see the man again, it’s been over two years now. Here is Alonso, met in February 2014

So that was the good and bad, more good I would say, finding a lovely fellow I’ve missed. He speaks only Spanish but we’ve always got along so well. 

Ryan and Angela came over for lunch on a Saturday, they brought everything, yummy chili, cheese, sour cream etc. It was good to hang with them for an afternoon after their busy season.
Sunset from Freiburg...
All for now, Bev and Lexi Cat who shares the large dining room chair with me most days, hip to hip.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Lexi and I in Sevilla

We arrived in Sevilla almost a month ago now, so why haven't I written sooner? No excuses, just haven't been taking pictures and pictures are important, or the spice in a blog. 
Lexi says Hola! from her bird watching post.

I took the inner city bus and, by chance, met a couple from close to Austin, Texas, Jeanne, Victor and their dog Mutti. They are doing the full time, slow travel thing and debating about whether to become expats. We had some lunches together and they showed me how to use the bus system here, I'd only figured out the inner city one. 

Then I had a party! Well why not? There were eight of us, all the usual suspects (Pepe, Angela, Ryan, Ivan) Victor, Jeanne and a lady named Stephanie who was renting one of Pepe's flats. I wonder what she thought of my food, she's a food editor, yikes! 
Pepe, Jeanne, me, Victor
Typical Sevilla bar, crowded, cozy and family owned, Pepe's favourite for breakfast.

You've read about the controversial "lipstick" tower, it's actual name is either Cajasol or Pelli Tower (Pelli was the architect). The area around the tower has a newly opened arcade type mall, you know how I feel about malls, but because this one has outside corridors it felt spacey and bright. Here's the website so you can see for yourself. I wonder if people from downtown will bother to come to it, but there is lots of parking so I think it will draw people from the outlying areas of Sevilla.
Street Christmas lights, installed at 03:00, lit December 1st

Almost the same day Jeanne and Victor left, Paula and Paul arrived! Here's a post with a picture of them They have also been travelling, you can read about their travels here They are thrilled to be back in Sevilla! I'm thrilled to see them.

Pepe found me a plumber, taps were leaking, and it was definitely time to get that sorted, we don't need a flood! The same day as his appointment Rocio was coming to clean and the power went out! This side of the block has an ongoing  problem no one seems to be able to fix. Well if you look at the wiring hanging outside most of the buildings in this city you'd wonder why it doesn't happen more often. Reason is the walls of buildings are very thick here and many are heritage so wiring resides outside. Both the plumber and Rocio worked without the power which came on about an hour later.
It isn't a good picture but it is a bride and groom, just never know what you'll see here.

Honestly it had been hard to be here without Bruce. I have been telling acquaintances gradually and finally went to the art market in the plaza yesterday.
This is the wine tower in the Radisson at the Zurich airport, that's a lot of wine!
All for now friends, Bev and Lexi

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Elzach in Pictures

We had some time before going on the brewery tour, enough time for lunch and a wander around the town of Elzach. It is a charming town, even more so than some others and I don't know why that is but it seemed so to me. 

Here are some pictures, thank you again Ryan. Plus here is a map he sent, speaks for itself, and very fitting.

Looks like a castle, just a rather grand house.
Quite the roof line, religious fresco on the green wall, also look below for the face, they have painted the trash cans here.
Main Street
Delightful flower shop
This fresco is etched into the wall

The Rathaus or town hall
That was our exploration of Elzach, as usual, there were many more photos than shown.

Cheers, Bev and Lexi Cat, next post will be from Sevilla!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Brewery tour in Elzach

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends!

We drove north to the town of Elzach to take a craft brewery tour with Dave Decker at Lowenbrauerei Elzach, owned by Johannes Dold.

This is a town none of us had been to before so we chose a traditional German restaurant and it was very good called Gasthaus Zur Krone. We wandered a bit, had a coffee before meeting up Dave at the brewery. Dave owns, with two partners, They network with five local breweries to bring fresh and innovative beers to their “garage” where they sell them, hold courses and tastings. Lowenbrauerei Elzach is one of the micro-breweries they work with.  

On with the tour. Met owner Johannes Dold and he told us some of the 160 years history, he is fifth generation in running it and the location was chosen to make use of tunnels into the mountain adjacent to keep the beer cool.

First they showed us a canning operation temporarily set up to test how that was going to work, or not, for the brewery, that was unusual to see, we just happened to be there on the day of trial. 

Then walked through the entire plant so see the various tanks, bottling apparatus, basically from start to finish of making beer.

Dave translated Johannes the entire time. Then, of course, there was the tasting, of a couple of the brews from the brewery and then one that was created by Decker but brewed by Löwenbrauerei Elzach. 

What is notable is that all the beer sold is done so by both parties in an approximate radius of 50 square kilometres. It is generally not available at the grocery stores. The brewery used to make home deliveries, I’ve never heard of that except for dairy products (showing my age here). 

Dave Decker Left, Johannes Dold Right
It was an eye opener for me and, you probably know, I do enjoy seeing and learning about production facilities or factories. Ryan and Angela said it was one of the best tours they’d been on, which is saying a lot with their hopsmash project.

Hops hanging from the ceiling in the shop.

That was our brewery tour. Cheers, Bev and Lexi who didn't come along...

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Visit to Mausa Vauban

Mausa Vauban, Musee D’Art Urbain et de Street Art or in English: Museum of urban street art in Vauban on the site scroll down below the prices to get the best description of the museum which is housed in a UNESCO site. Note: if you follow on facebook you will see all the photos Ryan posted.

First of all the venue is in part of the ramparts and tunnels of the Vauban citadel that  surrounds Neuf-Brisach which is a tourist attraction in itself. There were two long hallways with rooms off each of different sizes, holding different artists works on the walls and floors. There is room for the planned expansion with a number of empty rooms. Artists were not in residence while we were there but there had been one from Brazil there a day prior painting on a deadline which is why the venue was closed. It was opened only in July of this year and an amazing amount of work has been completed! 

Without further ado here are only a few of the pictures we all were taking.

Entry way with one of the proprietors
Vauban himself, he was the planner of the fortifications.
Gives you a glimpse of how large the museum is.
We all liked the colours
Cool dude chicken
Cool dude monkey
Black lighting used. This was a series of rooms all painted portraits.
This was a series of people completely blending into their environment. 
Reminded me of flamenco dancing
Image used on their brochure.
These were cutouts, looked like painted cardboard but stiffer, note the fellow in the middle causing the fleeing...
This gives you some perspective on the average size of the rooms
The exhibition was truly fascinating and in all honesty I likely would not have visited it myself, sure glad we did!

All for now, next up, a brewery tour. Cheers, Bev