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Mon Jan 05 2015: Ham, Lamps and Iberian Raggae

I know now why we travel so slowly.

Every place we've stopped in Europe, we have been able to score free parking. But the drawbacks to keeping your bike out on the street is that you have to unstrap all the soft bags and bring them inside. Then rinse and repeat in reverse the next morning when you leave. So we are basically packing and unpacking twice a day. Something we rarely did in Latin America because we always rode the bike right into the hotel lobby... It's a Major Hassle. General Pain-In-The-Ass! Like Corporal Punishment! (HIMYM)


Strap on, strap off. The Strapper.

The Pula Girls are waiting for us again. Since we only have a short ways to go for our first stop of the day, we leave Alpujarra de la Sierra together and start heading westwards on the very twisty Andalucian mountain roads. Iva has an idea to take a video of us riding away, so I combined some of her footage with mine to make a short video:


Ewan and Charley better start looking for new jobs...

Iva is now the official RideDOT.com videographer. We are going to petition her to change her name to Claudio. Every ride needs a Claudio.


Around the curve, the white village of Trevélez appears ahead of us

We meet up with the girls in Trevélez, which is known for it's air-cured Iberian hams, specifically the Jamon Serrano. The buildings are white-washed like all the Pueblos Blancos (White Towns) in Andalucia. They say that alkaline properties of the white limewash are anti-bacterial and is also a natural insecticide, but also the buildings are all the same colour for "social cohesiveness". The paint is a relatively recent development. No record of Pueblos Blancos can be found before 1920.

So in other words, "make it appealing for the gringo tourists and their cameras"...


Gonna find us some yummy ham now!

Instead, I found an I am un chien Andalusia

We did find a store selling the Jamon Serrano and perused the various sizes and shapes on offer. We wanted to buy a chunk that we could slice off for sandwiches while we were on the road. The owner came out and offered us some samples. They were delicious! Very salty, I like that. I know the Istrians also are well-known for their dried ham, called pršut, so I tried not to be too enthusiastic about the Jamon Serrano, lest I fall into the Pula Amphitheatre trap again...

"It's okay, but I prefer the ham in Pula"

"Don't be ridiculous, this is great!" They picked up a kilo of Iberico.

Oh.


The owner of the store took us for a tour of his curing facility

Although the pork is not indigenous to the area, the clean, dry mountain air in Andalucia is favorable for curing the meats, and the Jamon Serrano here has been very popular since the 18th century. The Pula Girls remark on the slightly different curing process here. In Istria, the jam is cured with salt and pepper and a few spices, whereas in Trevelez, they only use salt.

mmmm... salt.


The Pula Girls having a laugh

We ate lunch at a little outdoor diner in Trevelez, a tipico Andalucian dish called plato alpujarreño with chorizo, eggs, potatoes and blood sausages. The sun was shining and we were all smiles and laughter. That's when it struck me that we've been traveling with Iva and Tajana for over a week now and it hasn't rained one single day. I think this is the longest stretch of good weather we've had since returning to Guatemala in September 2013 (not counting escaping to the Galapagos for a week).

I'm not superstitious normally, but I was starting to see the Pula Girls as a good luck charm. Like some kind of totem against rain.


Enough of this dog and pony show, let's go!

About this picture: While the girls finished off their meal, I had some leftover blood sausage that didn't taste very good, so I packed it up and walked around trying to find a dog to feed. This little guy was hanging out with the horse behind him like they were buddies. He sniffed at the blood sausage and refused to eat it. Ok, so it's not just me, then...

A bit later, the horse's owner came out and the dog greeted him. They were all from the same family!


I hope not.

It's only another couple of hours of driving to our next stop for the evening, Granada. Instead of finding an apartment, we were surprised to discover that the place that Neda found online for us was an entire house! Holy crap, every new place is better than the last. It really is better to travel in a group to share the costs!

We settled the communal grocery expenses the other night as well, and we calculated that we are feasting for a couple of Euros each. Not per meal. Per day. Wow!


Walking through downtown Granada

We are seeing these big bubble makers everywhere in Spain.

Hanging out at the square

Cathedral of the Incarnation

Classical music fills the air

Colourful Moorish lamps in a Granada store

There is a lot of Moorish culture in the south of Spain. The cities here have Arabic names like Jerez and Algeciras, which would not seem out of place in Northern Africa. There is also alot of this influence in the architecture and design here. The name Granada comes from the Arabic word Gharnáta. Funny that the Spanish conquistadors carried this name all the way across to Nicaragua. Seems like so long ago that we were there!


We walked the back alleys trying to find a flamenco show, but they were all very expensive

Strolling along the Carrera del Darro

These street musicians were fantastic and kept the crowd entertained with their Spanish Raggae

Quite by accident, we stumble onto the workshop of the famous luthier family Ferrer

There is a rich history of guitar-making in Granada, but many of the lineages of the current master luthiers can be traced to Benito Ferrer's workshop above which he started in 1875. Benito once gave a classical guitar to a young man because he could not afford to buy one. That young man's name was Andrés Segovia, who turned out to be one of the greatest classical guitarists of all time (his version of Leyenda was the soundtrack to our previous blog entry's video).


This guy looks a bit sketchy

Enjoying yet another sunny day with our good weather charms, The Pula Girls!

A bit of foreshadowing in the background?

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