Friday, January 06, 2006

back from Spain

private balcony
a couple overlooking the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, as Madrirenos swarm around the tents selling Christmas fun stuff

I'm just back from my two-week Spain trip. It is my third time in Spain--if I count the second one, which lasted for less than a day, that is. (I had a plan to walk the Pilgrimage road of Santiago de Conpostela in Northern Spain, but had to fly back to Japan immediately after I got strangled and robbed of everything I had in Madrid... sigh). This time with my boyfriend, I revisited many of the places I wowed at five years ago with my dear friend--the thousand-arched Mesquita in Cordoba, peaceful little courtyards of Sevilla's Alcazar, and of course, the Alhambra Palace, boasting its infinite details and beautiful Arabic caligraphy. Revisiting the same places I visited years ago turned out to be more exciting and interesting than I had thought it would be. There were so many areas of the city, details of the architectural decoration, and tidbits of Spanish way of life I failed to notice the last time I was there. I realized how photography frenzy had changed my way of seeing and how it shaprened my attention to visual details. (In fact, I had hard time re-imagining how I had spent two weeks in Andalucia and Barcelona, without taking a thousand photographs five years ago! It had become such an integral part of my life...)

Of course, I wandered around in cities and regions I hadn't visited in the last trip, which included Cuenca (an avant-guard cliff-top town about 2.5 hours bus ride from Madrid) and the Vasque region (oh, the fresh seafoods so lightly/rightly prepared!!!!!). Bar-hopping (an indespensable, cheap, tasty part of Spanish life) was a new discovery for me--five years ago I was too young and felt too intimidated at the very idea of going to bars to fully explore and enjoy the wonderful Spanish bar culture along with its mouthwatering offerings of various tapas. Christmas closure of vertually everything gave me an opportunity to gape into the juicy world of Spanish TV, with its Spanish-dubbed Simpsons and stupid comedy shows (imagine: fully-grown baby Jesus in an oversized crib, diapered, displaying his armpit hair as he screams for his mom, who, in turn, is clad in cheap blue polyester veil--Spaniards definitely know how to make fun of themselves).

I'll sporadically post some sketches from the trip from now on, optimistically assuming that my bad habit of picking up a project only to desert it a few weeks later...


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