How to get your point across in Spain, 101

You may know how to speak Spanish, but if you don’t know how to use it, you won’t be talking for long. But I’m here to help. So hear me out. Okay? Just hear me out. What I’ve got to tell you might be a big help, so just hear me out. (Spoiler alert: that was your first lesson.)

The thing is this. Spanish people love to chat. If there’s one defining characteristic of Spanish people in general, it’s that they are extremely social people. It’s one of the joys of living in Spain. The simple act of asking for directions can often lead to a lively and wide-ranging discussion of everything from Continue Reading →

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The Laredo Express

English Thoroughbreds race along the five-kilometer-long Salvé beach in Laredo, Cantabria. Click on image to enlarge. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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The Great Tortillita Tasting Tour

A tortillita de camarón is one of my favorite things to eat in Andalusia, but deciding whether or not to order one is a decision that I tend to weigh carefully. To the dismay of my eating companions, this process can take some time. It’s not whether or not I want one, because invariably I do, and usually more than one. But I’d rather not have a bad tortillita, and sadly, they’re more common than good ones.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t eat a so-called bad one, because I have done so and I think it’s safe to say that I have not had my last. Bad ones, by my criteria, are Continue Reading →

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Shade and Marmalade

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Some 14,000 orange trees decorate the streets of Seville. The bitter oranges aren’t very good for eating, but because of their high content of pectin, they do make great orange marmalade. More important, orange trees provide shade from the fierce Andalusian sun, and in the springtime, when they bloom, the heady perfume of orange blossoms fills the air. Photo ©Mike Randolph. 

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Summer Storm in Los Monegros

A bruised sky brings some much-needed rain to Los Monegros, near Zaragoza. One of the least-populated areas in Spain, Los Monegros is often thought of as barren and worthless. But if you explore its empty backroads, you are often rewarded with moments of rare, if austere, beauty. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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