Fig picking & dinner at 3 a.m – Spain!

2 11 2007

O and I finally met again at the Madrid Barajas airport at 22.40 on Saturday evening! I almost felt a little shy, as we hadn’t seen each other for 3 months – an incredible long time apart. O’s father and youngest brother J-I picked us up, it is 268 km between the airport and O’s hometown in Aragón (somewhere between Calatayud and Zaragoza) so it was quite a long drive for them to do twice in one evening.

We arrived at home at 02.30 and guess what; O’s mother was preparing our 3-course dinner!! I couldn’t believe my eyes, dinner at 3 o’clock in the morning! I would have preferred to just go to bed… However, I ate my dinner, I couldn’t refuse especially as O’s favourite dish was served; borrajas (not to be confused with Barajas, the airport!). Borraja is a vegetable (gurkört apparently in Swedish) (it seems to be unique for Aragón in Spain, the only Spanish friend of mine who knows the vegetable (and dish) is also from Zaragoza), it looks a little bit like a mix between a nettle and a celery (??). We eat the stems boiled with potatoes, mash them together with some olive oil – it’s very simple but tasty.

On Sunday we slept late, and then walked through the village (it has 3000 inhabitants) in the sunshine to O’s parents’ plantation where we picked fresh figs from the trees. They have quite a big plantation where they grow apples, pears, cherries, walnuts, almonds, olives, figs, peaches etc. O’s dream is to build a little house there where we could have BBQ’s and enjoy the sun by the river.

Lunch was served really early for O’s family – at 14.00, I realised during the meal that O’s parents had forgotten to change from summer to winter time – so for them it was 3 o’clock!

After a long siesta, O and I joined his oldest brother M and his wife M-J and their son M (same name as the brother and O’s father but we call him by the diminutive) at Plaza de España (the main square by the town hall) for the vaquillas (young calves). This weekend was the fiesta of San Crispin y San Crispiano, the saints of the shoemakers (the main industry of the village), and it is one of the main celebrations during the year (together with the patron saint of the church San Juan in June and the patron saint of the village which I can’t remember at the moment!). We had already missed the small religious procession of the saints on Saturday (the biggest processions are of course during Easter) but the festivities continued on Sunday with the “bull fighting” which is not a proper bull fighting but more like a teasing of young calves. The square had been cordoned off and galleries had been put up for people to sit on, sand had been put on the ground and it almost looked like a real bull fighting arena.

The bulls were teased by young guys who were more or less courageous (or stupid, depending on who’s talking!) and teased the bulls to run after them. In the end really small calves were let out (one by one) and young children (probably from 7-8 and up) were running around trying to provoke the animals. O’s nephew M who is 4 thought that it was really exciting to watch, and O told me that he had participated when he was young. However, I think it is cruel to the animals… but O defends the tradition by underlining that they don’t kill the bulls! One of those topics that we could discuss forever probably…

Despite the warm day, it became quite cold once the sun had set and we warmed ourselves with some fiesta-compulsory churros (deep-fried dough sticks) before we headed to Zaragoza (85 km from O’s homevillage) to have dinner (bacalao i.e salted cod) with O’s sister E and her daughter M (15 months). It’s quite funny to be called tia (aunt) in front of the children, but I melted completely when O’s niece spontaneously gave me a big hug!

We spent the night in Zaragoza and on Monday we went for a walk in the capital of Aragón, which is the 5th largest city in Spain and is famous for Nuesta Señora del Pilar, the big basilica built in the honour of the Virgin Mary who appeared on a pillar to Saint James (Santiago, the patron saint of Spain) and for being very windy! In 2008 Zaragoza will host an International Expo on water, which should be very interesting to visit, the topic is highly important – especially in such a dry country as Spain. I hope that the Expo will increase the interest in Aragón for tourists, Spain is so much more than the different costas with their playas, golf courses and ugly hotel complexes!

O showed me his university and we had some tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelette, so yummy!) as tapas in one of the bars he used to frequent as a student. In one of the bookshops I finally found what I had wanted to buy for O’s birthday – Asesinos sin rostro, the first Wallander book by Henning Mankell (Mördare utan ansikte / Faceless killers)! There was a whole shelf dedicated to Henning Mankell’s books, and I also saw books by Marianne Fredriksson (another Swedish author) being displayed on a table by the entrance! I hope that O will like the book, because there are 8 more in the same serie about the police inspector Wallander in the town of Ystad (I have so far read 3).

We met O’s sister for some more tapas and some mosta (grape juice) before we headed back to E’s apartment where O’s mother was preparing lunch and babysitting O’s niece. It was another favourite dish of mine, ternera rebozada [en huevo y harina] which is veal coated in egg and flour and then fried – we usually get it as a filling for our sandwiches when we travel from Spain! For lunch the veal was served with pimentón [dulce], fried red peppers, it’s so tasty.

My Spanish is still not very good and I get quite tired after a while from listening to O and his family talking, trying to concentrate to understand. However, depending on who speaks and what the topic is, I can follow quite well – in the evening we went out for dinner with just O’s sister E and the 3 of us had a nice time – I understood most of what was being said and I managed to contribute to the conversation as well! I can’t wait for next time I visit Aragón and I hopefully speak much better – I will focus on learning Spanish once I have arrived to Puerto Rico (and will try to avoid adopting any kind of strange Caribbean accent😉 ).

On Tuesday O and I took the high speed train from Zaragoza to Madrid (1,5 hours), took the metro (3 changes) and ran to the check-in… almost too late but with a little bit of insisting we managed to get our boarding passes and I even had time to buy a perfume for my mother before we headed to Copenhagen and Skåne! I hate rushing and I don’t really understand why you can’t give yourself some bigger margins but like I have already said… having a Spanish boyfriend forces you to change your perception of time and planning (but also vice versa of course!!)….


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12 responses

2 11 2007
Millan

Jatte skoj att lasa om din helg i Spanien! Later som om ni hade det jatte trevlig och at en valdans massa god mat🙂. Sa nu ar O med dig i Sverige eller? Aker ni over till PR tillsammans eller aker hans forst? Jag haller tummarna for att det gar bra pa visum intervjun nasta vecka!!
Trevlig helg

2 11 2007
petchie

Millan, det var jättehärligt och precis, mycket god mat.
Nej O åkte tillbaka till Spanien igår och vidare till PR imorgon, jag åker förhoppningsvis den 17/11 om allt går bra med visumintervjun… Tack för att du håller tummarna för mig och trevlig helg till er i Bristol också!

2 11 2007
desvon

Vilken härlig Spanien tripp. Det måste varit underbart att träffas efter så lång tid. Låter toppen med all god mat. Men middag kl 03 låter lite extremt men har svärmor lagat mat så får man väl offra sig och äta lite fast man kanske inte är så hungrig. Jag ska också hålla tummarna för att det går bra med visumintervjuvn nästa vecka för dig. Tänk snart är du i PR, coolt och spännande.

2 11 2007
petchie

Desiree, det är samma sak varje gång – jag säger varje kväll till O, jag vill bara ha lite mat och sedan kommer svärmor från köket och serverar en massa på tallriken (man får ju aldrig ta själv, precis som jag redan skrivit om..) och så äter jag för det mesta upp allt även om jag är mätt och det är sent… Men 03 var faktiskt den senaste middagen ngnsin!!
Jag är faktiskt ganska nervös inför intervjun men det ska ju inte vara nga problem så länge jag har fyllt i alla papperna korrekt… Och jag ser verkligen framemot att äntligen komma iväg till PR, känns som jag har väntat tillräckligt länge nu🙂

3 11 2007
Kicki

Hej Petra!
Härligt med lite Spaniensol i novemberrusket! Vi brukar hålla till i Mijas som är en bergsby inte långt från Fuengirola som ligger mellan Malaga och Marbella. Makens föräldrar har ett hus där så vi brukar släpa med oss kompisar och semestra tillsammans. Sist var vi tre familjer, totalt 13 personer, så där härligt kaotiskt!😉
Vill bara säga att jag vill länka din sida om det är okej. Har redan gjort det😉 förresten! //Kicki

3 11 2007
petchie

Kicki, det låter jättehärligt med ett så stort hus och semester med kompisar i Spanien! Jag hoppas att vi också kommer att kunna locka över kompisar till Aragón i framtiden – vi planerar att flytta till Spanien efter vårt år i Puerto Rico, men vi får se vad som händer..
Jag har länkat din blogg också.

4 11 2007
saltistjejen

Å Petra låter som en underbar helg i Spanien! Måste kännas så härligt att se O igen. Jag har haft långdistansförhållande för många år sedan, men vi bodde ändå båda två i Sverige och det längsta vi var ifrån varandra var 2 månader… Men jag vet unefär hur det är.
Jättespännande med PR snart! Och Lycka till med intervjun! Det kommer gå bra!!!!🙂

4 11 2007
petchie

Saltistjejen, visst är långdistansförhållande lite jobbiga, speciellt om man bott tillsammans innan!! Men det var ändå värre i början av vårt förhållande då O var i USA en gång i månaden (2-3 veckor) i 7 månader, för då var jag ju inte så säker på förhållandet och var orolig att han skulle ha glömt bort mig när han kom hem… Det var iaf underbart att ses förra helgen efter så lång tid.
Jag kan inte hjälpa att jag är lite nervös inför intervjun, jag vill ju så gärna komma iväg NU!

5 11 2007
What a Spaniard brings back to Spain from Sweden « Petchie’s adventures

[…] borrajas (the vegetable that I tried to describe in my post on Spain) […]

6 11 2007
Inge

Wauw, have the impression that you just ate a lot of food! That’s just fantastic when somebody makes you dinner at 3 in the morning! And yes, I noticed you did not say 3am… haha

6 11 2007
petchie

Inge, you are so right – I am still so confused with am and pm that I had to look it up for the title of the post (as you can see it’s called Fig picking & dinner at 3 am). Ha ha, but I am trying to get used to the American way!
I still can’t believe that it was a full course dinner that late/early – my mother would have MAYBE made us a sandwich (or let us make it ourselves more likely)😉 And yes, we ate A LOT!

1 07 2008
A quickie post from Spain « Petchie’s adventures

[…] ZGZ, until really late but for once we only had a simple salad for dinner (it’s usually a 3-course meal regardless of the time of day / night!). It was great to see O’s parents again and yes, it is much easier to communicate with them […]

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