When Christopher Columbus and his famished crew first smelled the earthy terrarium air of San Salvador in 1492, the plateau of Castile-Leon in Spain was falling into the chill of autumn. Its vendimia had passed, and the leaves in the vineyards had begun to coat the hills with rows of canary yellow and burnt orange. In… Read More 1550, a Year for Human Rights
It’s time to play American or Spaniard? !! A culture game of esoteric quirks and tics, habits and norms, where you read grossly generalizing observations, possibly a stereotype or two, and decide if it’s describing an American or a Spaniard. But be careful! Some of these silly pet peeves could describe either our flag-waving American… Read More American or Spaniard?
Visiting Italy in 21st-century August is a tricky thing, it takes skill and preparation. The country is dense. It is dense with art, culture, and historical artifacts, but it is also dense with the tracks of mindlessly spending zombie tourists with a chronic lack of interest in much beyond the lack of ranch dressing at… Read More The Crowded Roads to Rome
Two small streams, the Arroyos de Los Carneros and del Morete flow through the thick pine forests of the Sierra de Guadarrama into the palace gardens of La Granja de San Ildefonso. The water collects into a mirror-smooth lake, then pours down an intricate system of canals and piping, and on special occasions, the water… Read More It Tolls for Thee because of the Queen
In the village, more than in the city, there is a strict adherence to schedules – schedules dictated by inactivity. Certain things are only done at particular hours; any momentary deviation from the way things are done is considered at least a minor incident. In the winter, locals in villages move slower than ever, as if… Read More Morning Market
In La Granja de San Ildefonso, a once glorious playground for the royals just outside of Segovia, the chilled fall air slides down through the valleys from the tops of the hills, and the smell of fireplaces and roasting lamb wafts in the streets. The air is thin and cool, and the residents of Madrid… Read More La Granja de San Ildefonso
Last week I finished a short stint of volunteer English teaching with the International Rescue Committee in San Diego. First it must be said that the full-time teachers there are some of the most dedicated and effective professionals I have ever met. To me, it seems easy to congratulation one’s self in these types of… Read More IRC Volunteering (Re-post)