Sunday, March 09, 2008

A typical week in March but a sad week for Spain

Eladio and Masha looking like the Lord and Lady of the Manor at Valdepalacios in Oropesa. Note the flower arrangement.
Hello again

This week has been quite typical with no great news to report on a personal level. I had lunch with Sonia, Ana Lorenzo and Fátima and Julio. The latter was to celebrate my belated birthday. Thanks guys for yet another box of Flower Bomb by Viktor and Rolf, my favourite fragrance. I now have nearly enough to open a small shop!!!

It was with Julio and Fátima that Eladio and I started the weekend when we visited the Valdepalacios Hotel in Oropesa (Toledo) on Friday. What a wonderful place it is. It belongs to the Relais & Châteaux luxury hotel and gourmet restaurant chain. Julio and Fátima wanted to check it out for an event and we went along for the ride and to spend some time with them. I have come back convinced Eladio and I will go there one day on a special occasion. The rooms cost around 400 euros a night, so the occasion will have to be very special. What a beautiful place it is.

The main house of the Valdepalacios Hotel estate

Julio, Fátima and Masha, the 3 musketeers, at Valdepalacios

A horse with no name. I encountered this beautiful horse on our walk around the Valdepalacios estate. It was being used for filming. When I asked what the horse was called, no one seemed to know. It was very interested in the contents of my bag!
What I also brought back from Valdepalacios was the impact made on me by the floral decoration they had there. They had wonderful flower arrangements everywhere but made by artificial flowers; the really nice ones. So Saturday morning had Eladio and me visiting Verdecora and Fronda and now we have similar floral arrangements in our house as you can see from the pictures.

After our daily walk we went to see the The Kite Runner. I had great expectations in the film as I had loved the book and would venture to say it is one of the best I have read in the last decade. It has all the ingredients I love, the backdrop of a fascinating country like Afganistan, its recent turbulent history and of course, the human relationship in the story of 2 little carefree boys, Ali and Hassan and the adored Father, Baba. Often when you love a book, the film can be a disappointment. This time it wasn’t. The way to judge whether I have enjoyed a film is how many tears I shed. And last night I shed quite a few. It is a beautiful and moving story and the film did it credit.

And today are the General Elections in Spain. Unfortunately I cannot vote as I am not a Spanish citizen. That’s a bit silly really as I have lived here for about 25 years now and am far more interested in Spanish politics than in English politics. When I referred to “a sad week for Spain” in the title of this post, I referred to the killing of the ex Socialist county councillor, Isaías Carrasco by the ETA terrorist group yesterday in his home town of Mondragón. It came as a complete surprise to the nation 2 days before voting and dampened the country’s spirits but not the country’s intention to vote today.

On a brighter note, next week Eladio, my Father and I will be going on our trip to Andalucía which will include Córdoba, Gibraltar and Granada before ending up for a few days in Santa Pola before Easter. Gibraltar is one of those destinations that have always fascinated me. I think I shall enjoy visiting a little bit of England in Spain. It is, of course, an anachronism but still quite a curiosity in itself. We will be staying at the famous Rock Hotel and I thoroughly look forward to shopping in places such as Boots, M+S, Smiths etc. I’m also looking forward to trying out the local fish and chips and curry houses. But more about that on our return.

Meanwhile have a good week,


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