Monday, July 26, 2010

An important visit from India, more good news for Spanish sport, a sad affair in Duisburg and other stories.

With Sandeep and Sumit at the Escorial Monastery and Palace on Sunday
Hi again and I hope you are all doing fine. 
This last week has been great because we were blessed with the visit of our Indian friends Sandeep and Sumit.  But  before I get to that first let me start from where I left off last week and that was returning from our flying trip to Santa Pola.
If you will remember, we went there to change the curtains and bed linen which we had inherited from the Norwegian couple we bought the apartment from in 1999 and which were in dire need of a new and refreshed look.  It took nearly 2 days of hard work but the effort put in was really worth it.  Here you can see what one of the bedrooms looks like now.  In fact they are all decorated very similarly in cream with a splash of colour coming from the embroidered cushions, all from Ikea of course.
A great new look in our apartment thanks to the change in curtains and bed linen we made during our trip last week.
On Sunday we came home and on the way had lunch at a cheapo favourite in between Alicante and Albacete called El Cruce.  It’s a real roadside café with lots of lorries outside.  I learned many years ago in Spain that that is a sure sign of good and cheap food.  They offer an extensive menu of the day at 7 euros each including a very appetizing 2 course meal with wine, bread, coffee and a desert.  If you ever go that way, it’s a great place for a quick and low priced nourishing home-made meal.

A good place to stop off for a quick, tasty and low cost meal on the road between Alicante and Albacete. That's Eladio in the car in the picture.

Once again we came home to the mains water pipe burst in the middle of the garden.  This has been going on for a while now and as I write, Guillermo, our Ecuadorian gardener cum handyman is outside changing the whole pipe this time, instead of fixing it partially.  Meanwhile, of course, the water has been switched off which is rather inconvenient when it’s so hot.  Hopefully Guillermo will solve the problem permanently this time.
Monday was a down day and also a dentist day as my new crown had fallen out the day before we went to Santa Pola.  My dentist put it back in temporarily and I was to come back this week to have it put in (hopefully) permanently.  The joy of having my tooth back, albeit a false one and temporary, didn’t last long as it fell out again the next day. Let’s hope she makes a better job of it this week.  Meanwhile the feeling of a hole in your mouth and only being able to eat properly on one side is most inconvenient.
Tuesday was the longest working day of the week.  It began with the TeliaSonera Q2 results and I was happy to hear in the 8 am conference call that Yoigo had 1.8m customers at the end of June and was the company that contributed most customers to the group.  Results days are always a bit tense.  We have to write and send out both an internal and external release with the main news about Yoigo and figure out what that is of course.  After the conference call and sending out the releases I rushed in my car to the office for 2 meetings.  The whole day was a bit hot and bothered and of course in the afternoon I had another of my famous headaches.
Wednesday was the most important day of the week, the day our Indian friends, Sandeep and Sumit were coming to stay until today.  I think I wrote before that they are Olivia’s friends from her Erasmus year in 2007 at University College Falmouth in the UK.  There they formed a fast knit international group of 3 Indians (Sandeep, Sumit and Shalini), 2 Spaniards (Oli and Rafa) and 1 Japanese girl (Shino).  Eladio, my Father and I met them all when we visited Olivia in Cornwall.  We had a memorable dinner at their hall of residence, Glasny Park at Tremough (pronounced Tremo) Campus. 
The memorable  Dinner at Glasny Parc, UC Falmouth, in May 2007 from left to right: Sumit, Rafa, Shalini, me, Eladio, Shino, Sandeep and Basha
Since them we have been in touch via Facebook and I feel they are now our friends as well as Oli’s.   The girls had seen Sumit during their recent trip to India as he now lives in Mumbai working in Bollywood.  However it was to be the first time in 3 years since we had seen Sandeep, who, by the way, lives in Plymouth in the UK and works for the Twofour media group as an assistant editor.   Both boys had predicted thunder and lightning when we met again.  There were certainly great sparks of joy as we hugged and welcomed them.   It was their first time in Spain and they had arrived in Barcelona on 12th July just in time for the World Cup Final.  From Barcelona they travelled to Granada and Seville before ending their trip with a 5 day visit to us.
Dinner on the first night of Sandeep and Sumit's visit
The days were filled having wonderful meals together where I taught Sandeep how to make Spanish tortilla (omelette) and he taught me how to make real chicken curry,  going for walks where they enjoyed using walking sticks from Eladio’s collection, chilling out by the pool and partying with the girls and their friends.

 The great chicken curry Sandeep made for 10 on Saturday

On Thursday and Friday the girls took them to Madrid to visit the city.  I think the most relevant site they visited was the Real Madrid Bernabeu stadium.  Oli told me she had read it was the most visited place in Spain after the Alhambra.  Can that be true I ask myself?  What about all the other historical sites and monuments?  They were joined by Rafa, their companion during the Erasmus year and other friends of Suzy and Oli’s including Rocío who went to India with the girls and had already met Sumit and of course both boys’ families who had hosted them so well. 

From left to right: Olivia, Sumit and Sandeep at the Real Madrid Bernabeu stadium

On Sunday I organized a family outing to El Escorial, the famous small town some 50km from the centre where Philip II built a palace in the 16th century.  It has since become a monastery and also houses a Basilica (cathedral).  It is here where most of the Spanish Kings are buried as well as the Queens who gave birth to boys who became kings.  The visit itself is rather long and some parts are boring.  For me the most interesting part is the royal pantheon, the chamber and bed King Philip died on, the Basilicia and most definitely the amazing library.
From L-R Sandeep, Oli, Sumit and Suzy waiting to go in and visit the Escorial Palace.

Hungry after visiting the palace, we made our way to the Charolés restaurant, supposed to be the best in town.  The boys don’t eat meat or fish except for chicken so the choice on the menu was a little limited.  However they have enjoyed gazpacho and salads throughout.  The meal together was our last and had to be the best.  We have so much enjoyed their company and were all feeling a little sad yesterday knowing it was their last day.

Sumit and Sandeep and my girls at the Charolés restaurant yesterday in El Escorial.

This morning we were all up early to say goodbye as they were leaving at 8 am.  Eladio drove them to the airport and there was a flat feeling in the house when they had left.  They are Indian and we are European but all of us share a similar joy for life and sense of fun, as well as basic good family values. Hopefully we will see them again in the not too distant future. As they were leaving Sumit invited us to visit them in the Punjab and maybe we will one day.  Who knows?  Meanwhile you can see some more photos of their visit here.
This week was also the week Spain continued to excel in international sporting competitions.  Not only has Spain won Wimbledon with Nadal and the World Cup but yesterday, Alberto Contador won the Tour de France, possibly the hardest sporting feat in the world.  Spain has now won it for the last 5 years in a row, 3 of those wins coming from Alberto Contador, a modest 27 year old from the working class town of Pinto outside Madrid.  He has been much praised but also criticized for his fair play strategy.  This has been his hardest TDF which was tainted by the controversy produced when his rival Andy Schleck had a technical breakdown and he didn’t wait for him in one of the mountain stages.  He took over the coveted yellow jersey and went from being 31 seconds behind to 8 seconds ahead.   There is no rule in cycling that you have to stop for a rival in distress but there are voices for and against.  I agree with my friend and ex TDF winner, Pedro Delgado, who compared cycling to motor cycling racing and said that when a rider falls or crashes in motor cycling, no one stops to wait for him so why should they in cycling.
Alberto Contador celebrating his third Tour de France win yesterday at the Champs Elysees in Paris.  Well done Alberto, well done Spanish sport.
The Tour ended yesterday, Sunday, with a great win for Spain.  But it wasn’t the only sporting success of the day.  Fernando Alonso won the F1 German GP too and Jorge Lorenzo won the US Motor Cycling GP.  So, all in all, yesterday was a hat trick and a great day for Spanish sport.
This was happy news for Spain.  However news from Germany was all but happy.  At the weekend the famous music festival, the Love Parade, was held in Duisburg and a terrible accident occurred killing some 19 young people.  Apparently there was only one access which was a tunnel that turned into a terrible trap for the public when it produced a mass stampede in which people were trampled under-foot.  2 of the victims were Spanish Erasmus students, vivacious and fun loving Clara Zapater and Marta Costa from Tarragona.   My thoughts are with all the families who must be going through hell right now.
The Duisburg Love Parade disaster this weekend where 19 people were trampled on and died including 2 Spanish girls.

That brings me to today Monday which may well turn out to be important in our lives  as this morning we interviewed a 35 year old single Argentinian woman, Olga, to come and live with us to help with the domestic chores but also to be here for my Father, especially when we are away.  She was recommended to me by Laura and we liked her as soon as we met her.  Olga will be starting on 10th August.  Having a home help living in may take some getting used to but I’m sure there are more advantages than disadvantages.  More about that once she is with us.
Today is certainly important for 33 year old Raúl González, the striker legend of Real Madrid who announced this morning that he is leaving the club.  He has been with RM for 16 years and is one of the most iconic and emblematic players in the history of the club and I somehow cannot imagine it without him.  Goodbye Raúl!
Raúl González, the legendary Real Madrid striker, announced leaving the club today.  He will be sorely missed.
And that more or less brings me to the end of this week’s blog post.  Before I finish, however,  I just must mention to you that my nephew Miguel, an expert in finance in general and the stock exchange has started writing a blog which you can follow here.  He works for IG Markets and is now working 3 weeks out of 4 in Montrondo.   His main job is PR actually and he spends much of his time being interviewed on financial programmes advising people about the financial market.  The blog is called “Nueva Era” or New Era and refers to his new life, working and living in Montrondo, that remote village of León where my husband’s family is from.  In his first post Miguel says he will be writing every day for the first 8 months at least.  I know I will be one of his most avid readers and if you can read Spanish I’m sure you’ll find it interesting too.

Miguel, my nephew, who has just begun to write a blog which you can follow here.

That’s it for this week.  Hope you have a great one.  Hopefully mine will go past quickly as next week I will be taking a week or so off to go to Montrondo for the annual family gathering and then on to Santa Pola with Eladio and my Father.  Our real holiday though will be in September when we go to Israel and Jordan on the 4th September for 2 weeks, the next big trip on our travelling agenda.
Cheers till next week

1 comment:

asian market girl said...

what really killed me was the chicken curry pic... I can practically see the aroma