The weather has been exceptionally fine this Summer. It warms up during the day, but not so much that it’s uncomfortable outside. We’ve been taking advantage of the beautiful days to wander about the city and take in some of the cultural offerings. Here are some photos from a few weeks ago.
Jose Zorrilla was a poet and playwright who, like many artists of the time, didn’t really enjoy any notoriety until the end of his life. His home in Valladolid is a museum with a pretty garden attached to it. The foundation that runs the grounds often holds poetry readings and workshops in keeping with Zorrilla’s work. He’s a famous son of the city. There’s a plaza named after him as well as several public buildings. The gardens are pleasant to wander through.
There are several museums scattered about the city and many of them are free to the public. Those that charge entry fees are often free on Sundays. One of the museums is located on the same street as a popular grocery store. I’ve walked through an exhibition with produce hanging from my arms on more than one occasion. For some reason I find that amusing.
On this particular day we visited an exhibition of drawings sketched by Pablo Picasso when he was preparing to paint Guernica. Asked by the Spanish government to contribute a work to the Paris Exhibition of 1937, he abandoned his original subject after the bombing of a Basque town by German and Italian warplanes. The painting is mural sized (11 x 25 feet more or less) and it put the complicity of the Spanish government and the horrors of the Spanish Civil War on full display during the world wide exhibit. (Read more here)
After browsing through the drawings and reading the commentary on each of the motifs, I was left with a deeper understanding of the meaning of the individual elements. The original work is on display in Madrid in the Museo Reina Sofia.
It is incredibly pleasant to sit outside and have a drink while chatting or munching on something. On Sunday the restaurants put out their best tapas. It’s not unusual to see a paella cooking in full view of passersby. We have a couple of restaurants we visit on a regular basis and we’re always treated well.
One of the more unusual tapas we’ve had lately consists of a bowlful of potato chips topped with olives, a pickled pepper and an assortment of preserved seafood. Our bowl had mussels, sardines and a filet of another fish I didn’t recognize. (I like all of these things but try not to look too closely at them, if you know what I mean.) You could pick through the bowl and eat the bits you liked and the chips below absorbed all of the liquids. It’s unusual but very tasty, especially when accompanied by a glass of bold red wine.
Another place we visit has exceptional wines, and they’re relatively inexpensive…less than $2 per glass. They make a fantastic carrillera (pork or beef cheek) in a red wine and tomato sauce but on this particular day I had something called Tacos Chino. This was a slice of pork loin that had been marinated in a hoisin based sauce and cooked on the flat top. They were served with a puree of apple which made a nice contrast. The tacos in this case refers to the way the pork loin was cut into chunks.
After a while we’re ready to make our way home, but not before stopping to grab a cup of coffee (tea for me) and a little bite of something sweet. Weekends in Valladolid like this are one of the best parts of living in Spain.