Traditional landscapes, food and customs
When I walk on a Spanish market, I think I am in a time capsule and catapulted 40 years back. The market looks exactly the same as back then when I was on holiday with my parents. It’s nice. It’s cozy. I like it.
I am in Spain a lot nowadays because my son lives there. He married a Spanish girl and settled down exactly in the middle of Spain. That’s why the markets look the same as in my childhood. You won’t see any Dutch or English market vendors here, as you see on the costas.
(ETA 5 years later: I now live in Spain myself as well)
My love for Spain, the Spanish food and the Spanish landscapes grew during time. There is a huge variation in the different regions and their customs. Nowadays we hardly come here in winter. Mostly in spring and summer. And the most significant color in those seasons is yellow.
The region of Toledo is agrarian
The blue sky enhances the color even more
Spain was called the wheat belt of Europe and if you drive from San Sebastian to Salamanca you see exactly why. On the plains it’s all grain. On the slopes in the Sierras – the mountain areas in several parts of Spain – there is partly grain and partly bleached out grass on the fields.
The walls of Avila in the evening
If you are like me and you like both nature and culture, you will love Spain. This spring we were in a cabin – una cabaña – in a village called Nuño Gómez. Some 50 miles to the north are the Sierra de Gredos (a national park), behind these mountains lies the beautiful walled city of Ávila and both Madrid and Toledo are about 80 miles away. Inviting us to a lot of hiking in nature and sniffing culture in the cities.
A traditional shelter for sheep and goats in the Sierra de Gredos
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The perfect travel companion, it’s a good thing these guides are well made, because our (Dutch) copy has been our companion on every trip to Spain and used extensively. What I like most about this guide are the 3d technical drawings of the buildings. It clarifies a lot about style and decorations.
My favorite is Mimosa
Our cabana was covered in buzzing Escobon
Mimosa blooms in February. We were too late for the lovely smell of those beautiful fluffy little flowers. Blooming this time – and our cabin was hidden in it – was the Escobon, a kind of Dyer’s Broom. You can see these flowers everywhere, constantly buzzing because of the enormous amount of bees they attract.
I looked up the translation both in Dutch and in English. Google translate said: Escobon. Not a big help. I guess it’s a typical Spanish flower.
Visiting in the late summer or autumn you will see a lot of sunflowers. Grown for their seeds and oil. Sunflower seeds are delicious. Unfortunately the Spanish add an enormous amount of salt to it, and I don’t eat salt, so I eat them a lot at home – in Holland – but not in Spain.
Without yellow there is no blue
–Vincent Van Gogh
Traditional acanthus motif
This acanthus ornament is used the most in Talavera
Talavera de la Reina is one of the three main ceramics centers in Spain. The Tajo flows right through it, bringing huge amounts of clay to the banks.
One of the theaters in Talavera
(BTW don’t you think it’s funny that the sign says TE ATRO instead of TEATRO?)
In the 16th century the decorations of the household pottery in Talavera was blue on white. Later a very specific yellow was added. There is an industry of painted street signs, fountain parts, wall tiles and decorated pottery. It’s very traditional and at the moment they have a hard time to survive. A friend showed us a factory where nowadays 12 people work. There used to be 160 workers!
The bricks factories outnumber the decoration factories, but these too have a hard time to survive due to the economic circumstances, especially in the building industry.
Even a simple churrería has a beautiful decoration outside
Churros, in Holland we have Stroopwafels, in the States there are Donuts, the Spanish have Churros. It’s made of fried, sweet dough.
Colors have an influence on us
Yellow fruit and vegetables are harmonizing, laxative and purifying. Bananas, pineapple and lemons are soothing and stimulate happiness and wellbeing.
I always think it’s clever when a market trader looks at the colors to display his fruit
Every color of food has its own blessings. Have a look at my article about orange food.
Difficult to make, but nice: Tortilla
A traditional Spanish dish is Tortilla. It consists mainly of potatoes and eggs, baked together they produce a nice, soft yellow color. Variations are adding some ham, onions or other things, but they always add that in little quantities.
My son’s mother in law makes them a lot. I am going to ask her for her recipe and will share that later. According to my husband it’s difficult to make Tortilla right. I wouldn’t know. Because I don’t cook!
Do you link a color to a country? Let me know in the commentbox below.