Friday, April 19, 2013

April 19th: Some more of the day.

It was a busy and interesting day starting off with a visit to the camera store and then a nice cup of coffee and a napolitano in a cool neighborhood joint followed by some orienteering through the old town and a visit to the Casa Pilatos, one of the best palaces in the city. Then the cathedral, the some rest, paella and a nice evening nightcap with desert on Plaza Santa Cruz. All around a good, good day. The trip to Pilatos and the Cathedral will be covered later, because somehow I have managed to consume the entire data budget on this little G4 internet device and our landlord, Juana, cannot bring me another until tomorrow. So this installment will be short and dedicated to 3 things.

So here goes the Blog of 3 Significant Things -

When I was packing for this trip, and completing the Ritual Charging of the Electronics, I assumed that 4 batteries for My Lovely Wife’s camera would be adequate. Last year, we took around 1400 photos on an equivalent 2 week trip, of which she contributed around 200. Given that an original manufacturer battery is good for 300+, and their aftermarket cousins worth 100 or so, I figured 4 would be plenty and so decided to leave her charger at home. Well who knew that the Alcazar would be so spectacular, and that this place would be so dirty with horses that she’s take 300 herself in one day? And it didn’t help that two of the aftermarket cheapos were only good for 70 each and that one was just plain dead. As of Day 2, we had a dilemma – 12 more days and no camera for her. So I started hunting around for options, visiting the local department store and convincing myself that spending an extra $200 on a $200 camera (between markup and VAT) was an okay thing to keep her happy. We went there, talked to the guy asked about an alternative charger and left more perplexed than when we went in. We knew of a “fancy” camera store on the “fancy” shopping street but we failed to find it on Attempt One and it was closed on Attempt Two so as of last night we were out of luck. I tossed and turned all night long trying to figure it out and resolved to head there first thing this morning.

We did and it was open and it gave me a nice opportunity to have a chat with the proprietress who offered me a Universal Charger. It was cheesy looking, cost $50 and I had my doubt. But she unpacked it, stuck my battery in and it worked. Problem solved, aside from the fact that it has an EU plug, it’s bigger than the actual camera and it cost 3x what I would pay for one on eBay. Still cheaper than $400 for a new camera, and My Lovely Wife is happy. Which means I am happy.


We went back to Cerveceria Giralda to give their duck tapa a second chance. Now I don’t usually trust tourist books when it comes to restaurant recommendations but the other day we took a chance and tried this place. It’s loud, the staff is rough, it’s busy but this Duck Magre con papas and champignons is the best tapa I have every eaten. Rare slabs of duck breast sauteed in a sweet wine sauce, chopped mushrooms, paper thin slices of garlic and slices of potatoes. I told the waiter that it’s la mejor tapa in todo el mundo and he thanked me in spite of thinking I was nuts. We ate it before I could photograph it the other day, so here it is tonight.


And lastly, we got sort of lost last night looking for a Flamenco place and stumbled on this quaint square lined with restaurants and covered in the wide spread of chestnut trees. We’d decided to eat at one of the restaurants but when I went looking for a map (wasn’t sure I could find it after being so lost) I read the Tripadvisor reviews that were 50/50 between “excellente” and “pessimismo” so we decided to pass. Instead we had a paella near the cathedral and went off looking again for the square, planning on desert and a glass of wine. We found it, My Lovely Wife had a raspberry tart, I had a sachertorte, we each had a glass of wine and we were entertained by a great guitarist playing Spanish favorites (and some Beatles too,) our first time for live music on such an evening. One the walk back, carefully retracing our steps to avoid become among the Las Animas (lost souls) we stumbled on these two caballeros having a beer and sharing some laughs, their horses tied up in front of the bar. What’s not to love about an evening like this?


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