Archive for the ‘Spain’ Category


Saturday morning and  here we were having yet another discussion about money. This morning’s went something like this……

MBH   “Do you think that investment fund is secure? 

Me      “Err not sure………..probably……err…..we should probably call them and find out…”

MBH    “Ok….. we’ll call them on Monday…….. let’s go to the beach and check out the waves” 

The beach was pristine, the sun came out as we arrived, the water was glassy as there was no wind and the waves were rolling in nice and steady……. perfect.  

Sliding down the face of a wave and hurtling towards the beach in the white water as it falls away and then builds again is pure and simple joy and its good for the soul.

We were alone out on the waves, and there were only a handful of people in total at the beach. Playing in the ocean is free, it’s healthy and it doesn’t hurt the environment or the climate so where is everyone? 

Shopping? Sulking? On the phone to the bank? I’m hoping for more waves tomorrow.

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There’s a lady in the UK, Clara Meadmore who after turning 105 says that the key to a long life is plenty of walking, the odd glass of wine and remaining a virgin. Don’t panic I have a plan and its going to be good as I don’t drink wine.

I reckon I can safely swap the “odd glass of wine” for the odd slice of cake as they both make you feel happy unless you over do it, then they both make you throw up and they are both fattening.

Now to the tricky one of virginity, this was more of a challenge as it is a state of mind as well as a physical state. My plan is to swap virginity for surfing. They are both a state of mind, a lifestyle and in Clara’s case clearly very healthy. 

So that’s the plan…. plenty of walking, the odd cake and remaining a surfer.

 I think I’ve nailed it and I am looking forward to a long and happy life.

I would love to have a chat with 105 year old Clara who seems very pragmatic about it all saying that she was never interested in sex and “I imagine there’s a lot of hassle involved”. Wow, Clara your insight is shocking but like many things in life that are a lot of hassle there’s also a lot of happiness and a lot of fun so my advice to Clara is that it is never too late and never say never.

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Enough of the US election, Wall Street disasters and other world problems, it’s time to take the Monster for a blast in the hills.  

Ducati Monster In Cafe

Ducati Monster In Cafe

Inland from the famous Costa Brava beaches there are hills, forests, medieval villages,  curvy and quiet roads. Quiet apart from farmers on their tractors and hay trucks, it is one big secret chunk of paradise.

 After filling up at the gas station I immediately got us into the adventure and found a “new” road to Palausator, that is I got us lost but I prefer the word adventure. Thru Bisbal up to Cruilles, Monels and on up to Madremanya, only 20 miles but plenty of twists and bends to give the bike a work out. Madremanya has to be in the Top 10 Old Villages List. It’s a cracker.

Madremanya Spain

Madremanya Spain

 It sits up on a hill, has crooked streets, crooked houses with overflowing veggie gardens, pomegranate trees laden with big ripe fruits and an enormous, not crooked, scary looking church.

 It also just happens to have a stunning restaurant/hotel Placa, there’s a Tancat sign hanging on the gate (closed in Catalan) so in we went and found the owner working in the garden

“Ola, Blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah” in Catalan. Huh? 

This could mean “Bog off you biker hooligans, don’t you know what Tancat means?”  or “Good afternoon, what would you like?”   We opted for the latter.

“Dos cafe amb llet por favor”  which is “2 coffees with milk, please”  our favourite Catalan expression.

Success, 2 fresh hot kick ass coffees arrive along with “Bla blah blah blah blah blah ” which could mean something like “I’ll be in the garden if you need anything else”. 

Sitting in the courtyard with MBH in the afternoon sun all is good with the world…


Photographic note. The Monster photo above was taken a few months ago in a cafe in Estartit, there are absolutely no red, orange and blue plastic chairs in Madremanya.

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Whilst shopping in Girona I noticed Nespresso coffee machines are everywhere.

Yes, they’re spreading like Marmite on toast, I swear they are more popular here than Barca, actually I know Nespresso coffeezero about football so I don’t really know if Barca are still popular but Nespresso Coffee machines sure as heck are, and its got to STOP.

My earlier post entitled Nespresso Coffee Machines are Not good, has not yet managed to slow the stampede of customers. Being the tenacious one that I am, I will not give up until A) Nespresso machines have become extinct or B) recyclable Nespresso coffee pods are available in all countries and not just Switzerland.

There’s something else, I have a confession to make.

No it is not some weird deviant fetish, it is way worse. Here goes…I was very tempted to buy one of these demon Nespresso machines. A mere 149Eu and I too could become a Barista and wow everyone with my perfect espresso shots.

No No NO. Just because everyone else is doing it does not make it right. I desire but I will NOT buy.


Changing the world one coffee pot at a time

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The Butcher At Carnisseria SeliEarlier today in our local butchers shop in my very best Spanish Catalan hybrid language…(dos is 2, Botifarra is sausage and dolca is sweet)

Me Dos botifarras dolcas, por favor

The Butcher No?

Me Si, Dos botifarras dolcas por favor!

The Butcher No?

The Butcher then tries to give me 2 regular sausages and smiles.

Me No …Dos botifarras dolcas por favor!!!!!

The Butcher Huh?… esta? He points to the sweet sausages No?

Me Si, Dos por favor

The Butcher Es no normal!!

So now it is official, even The Butcher knows that I am not normal.

Sweet sausages are exactly that, a regular pork sausage with sugar, cinnamon and lemon added and they are absolutely heavenly. Fry them up and serve before, during or after dinner. All the sweet stuff melts, caramelizes and makes its own gooey sauce. They are Catalan, I don’t know much more about them or why they have not spread worldwide. From The Butcher’s reaction I am guessing that I am the first non-Catalan to buy them.

Note to self. I really must improve my Spanish/Catalan skills; it is very disappointing that The Butcher figured out that I am not a local.

The shop is called Carnisseria Seli in Torroella De Montgri, and is way more than a butchers shop, it should be called Deli Seli.

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Mediterranean FlowerMany food labels here in Spain don’t have basic nutritional data such as calorie, salt, fat, protein and carb. content. How come? How do Spanish people keep track of what they are eating? Maybe a better question would be ….do they keep track of what they are eating? I hear that the Spanish children are rising quickly up the obesity ladder and I wonder if these 2 issues are linked. The old Mediterranean diet is disappearing fast, losing to the high calorie, fat and salt diet honed to perfection by the US of A (and Australia and the UK). I am sure it was hard to over eat on tomatoes and fresh fava beans hence no need for calorie labels in the good old days of the Mediterranean diet.

Here’s the scoop. I am working on losing a little weight, a few pounds that mysteriously appeared when I wasn’t paying attention. What actually happened was that when we were in Australia we didn’t have a weighing scale, and even though I am careful about what I eat I clearly was unable to self regulate without weighing myself. Yesterday I made us what I guessed was a low calorie snack of cottage cheese with crackers (beautifully decorated with fresh basil and chopped chives for added low calorie, low salt flavour) and I wondered how many calories there were in this snack as compared with peanut butter on crackers. None of the products had calorie info on the packets so I was left guessing. This online, free, no need to register calorie counter works quite well.

Also, I try to run a low salt kitchen, mostly because it makes MBH’s heart work better and I am all in favor of stuff that makes his heart beat in good time. Our refrigerated package of Gazpacho also has no label and I suspect it has lots of salt although probably very low in calories. Hence the problem, I will probably end up overweight and salty with a broken heart. My only option is to buy foods with good labeling and start a boycott of poorly or unlabelled products. Note to self …no more boycotts this week…Nespresso coffee and unlabelled products are enough for now.

By the way the photo is from Pals beach earlier this week.

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