All This and Chocolate con Churros, Too
Natalie Rose writes for Gothamist.com–I’d forgotten how good chocolate is. And sugar. Sugar is damn good too. That is, until this moment. I’m sitting in one of many picturesque plazas in Cuenca, Spain, shoveling thick, rich chocolate into my mouth by way of a crunchy churro spoon. It’s sinfully good—not like American hot chocolate but more like liquid dark fudge-and my memory is easily jogged. I tell myself I will never eat a cold, day-old churro bought from a vendor on the Union Square subway platform ever again. Nothing compares to churros in Spain, and the New York setting could never compete. This morning the May sun seeps through the trees and Spain’s hot summer temperatures have yet to set in. As I munch I watch suited-up Spanish citizens walk leisurely through the square, shifting their briefcases from one hand to the other. Occasionally I lick chocolate or sugar off my fingers.
When you visit Cuenca (pronounced KWEN-ka) it will likely be as a recovery stopover. You’ve partied hard in Madrid, as I have, and you need to give your liver a break before heading to Valencia and Barcelona, as I do. I don’t really have a plan but Cuenca is exactly the type of place to land without a plan. Unlike its sister cities to the north, east and west (Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia), Cuenca is small, completely manageable on foot and boasts a small but unique list of sites and museums to visit.
“I received the letter. I read it, I called up the person, and I said to him, ‘Go and see the bishop tomorrow” — Pope Francis
El País in English–Pope Francis was not expected to take questions that were not related to his speech in Strasbourg on Tuesday, when he appeared before the European Parliament to talk about economic and social issues. But on the return flight to Rome, he accepted a question from journalists about an ongoing investigation in Granada, Spain involving an alleged ring of pedophile priests, who have been accused of sexual abuse.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio confirmed to reporters that he had personally received a letter from an alleged victim, now aged 24, in which the young man claimed to have been subjected to continuous abuse when he was a minor. The pope also said he had set the investigation into the allegations in motion. Bergoglio, who committed to putting an end to abuse in the Catholic Church as soon as he became pope, admitted that the subject was causing him a lot of concern. “How am I dealing with this? With great pain, huge pain,” he continued. “But the truth is the truth, and we mustn’t hide it.”
Editor’s note: Don’t worry if you don’t read Spanish. This feature is not about text. It’s about Luis Davilla’s marvelous high-res 360º photographs of the Ribera del Duero wine region. Enjoy!
Recorremos esta ruta enoturística por Castilla y León a través de panorámicas en HD, con paradas en localidades como Peñafiel, bodegas firmadas por Norman Foster o monasterios como el de Santa María de Valbuena.
Ocholeguas.com–En esta nueva entrega de imágenes panorámicas, Ocholeguas.com le invita a visitar la Ribera del Duero de principio a fin y, sobre todo, a través de hermosas panorámicas en 360º. Ancestral tierra de vinos, la ruta enoturística amparada bajo la denominación de origen homónima nos muestra bodegas como las de Protos en Peñafiel (Valladolid), diseñada por el arquitecto Richard Rogers; Portia en Gumiel de Izán (Burgos), obra de Norman Foster; la de Rodero en Pedrosa de Duero, también en Burgos, o la subterránea de El Romellón, en Aranda de Duero.
September 8 was International Literacy Day, and a reminder that there are still 730,000 illiterate people in Spain, of whom 67 percent are women, according to 2011 figures from the National Statistics Institute.
Ángeles Lucas for El País in English, Seville–They are learning to write the word “historia” (history). The teacher asks how to spell it, and the students, some of whom are 68 years old, try their luck: “With an I?” “With a Y?” “In capital letters?” Seconds later, the mystery is revealed. The word begins with a silent H – the silence of absence, the silence of a history of illiteracy that endures into the 21st century.
Spain’s illiterate survive by asking questions of everyone around them, trusting they will be told the truth. They ask about the type of milk they are buying, the name of the street they are on, which bus they need to take, and how to dial a phone number. They have no driver’s license, cannot read maps, know nothing about what’s in the contracts they are signing, do not use computers or the internet, and have never read a book. And they all agree they share a sense of shame.
Tamasin Day-Lewis and her daughter pace themselves as they tackle the rugged challenge of Galicia’s Celtic Camino
Telegraph.co.uk–To be a pilgrim walking the Celtic Camino in Galicia, you need to be in possession of two essentials: a pair of magic boots and an appetite for shellfish. Heading up through the woods above the fingers of the north-west Spanish coastline in May, the air is brisk with breeze, but when the rain comes down as all-penetrating as the Irish mizzle, no overnight dehumidifier un-dampens your sodden walking boots. Part of the pilgrim’s penance: you have to put them back on in the morning and pray for a fine day.
My daughter Miranda and I have flown to Santiago de Compostela to walk 100km of the Celtic Camino over five days, starting in Noia, renowned for its shellfish harvested in the nearby rias – inlets – since it became a fishing village more than 1,000 years ago. It is Sunday, and apart from two cafés on the wide square brimmed by the medieval church of San Martino, nothing is open but the Tasca Tipica.
Maria del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart had more titles than any other aristocrat and owned palaces and an extensive property portfolio as well as paintings by Goya and Velazquez. She died at home on Thursday after a short illness. The duchess is survived by her husband of three years, Alfonso Diez, who is 25 years her junior. The Duchess of Alba was the head of one of Spain’s oldest noble families.
BBC.com–Spain’s ‘rebel noble’, by Fiona Govan, Madrid–The frizzy-haired eccentric aristocrat was one of Spain’s most-loved figures whose antics filled the nation’s gossip magazines and gripped the audiences of TV chat shows even during the final months of her long life. Described as the “rebel noble”, she spurned convention to forge her own path in life, following her passion for flamenco and, as a patron of the arts, amassing a private collection of masterpieces said to rival any in Europe. Her exuberant character, complete with squeaky voice and flamboyant dress-sense, enraptured Spaniards who followed the vicissitudes of her 88 years.