Thursday, September 10, 2015

Volunteering in Spain -

The name of the organization is Diverbo, you have to get to Madrid, Spain after that they take over. You will meet at their headquarters and go by bus about 3 hours from Madrid into the mountainous region. They will take you to a little village with so much charm and character it will knock your socks off! They will keep you busy talking, talking, talking but in between the sessions you will get fed some really good food - complete with red and white wine. The meals were delightful - you always had 2 entrees to choose from - I tried to pick food that I either didn't know what it was or had never eaten it before. As a result I ate some pretty darn good food - can't remember the name of any of it, but I do recall enjoying every bite!

Let's start the journey looking at the hotel where I spent my week:

 My hotel room

 French doors that lead to a balcony

 The view from the balcony

 One of the sitting rooms in the lobby

 The front of the hotel

The town we stayed in - La Alberca was established in the 13th century. Here's a look at the town. Oh - before we go there you need to know there is a pig that roams the streets of the town. Legend has it that to see the pig might bring a little bit of luck your way - to pet the pig is guaranteed to bring luck your way and if you are infertile and would like to have a baby - if you pet the pigs "private parts" a pregnancy will be granted unto you! (I did not handle the private parts!)


 A view of the roof tops

 Plaza Mayor 
I have come to find out that every town has a Plaza Mayor -
 it is the heartbeat of the village. 


                                           Look closely - you will see skulls behind the screens
                                           These were found in the basement of the church
                                           They were put on display here, along with candles
                                           To remind people to Pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory!

The tribute to the town pig - these people
love there "hamon"

I saw the pig
I chased the pig
I petting the pig
Lady luck is now riding on my shoulders!

I kept seeing people walking around town
with a loaf of French Bread - upon
further investigation I found the bakery
and the baker! 

A walk through the market  show cases many of the local "finds"

 This is a fish called Sea Star

 This is Tuna Loins in a jar!

This is how legumes are sold through out the country

One day we went to a Bordello (which I think means wine cellar)
for wine and hamon. Hamon is similar to prosciutto and this
region of Spain is famous for having the best in the country.
There was a "hamon carver" at the bordello showing us
how the hamon is carved and then plated. He was 
one of the best in his craft in the country.
 If you look carefully you can see the "hamon"
in the silver sling awaiting its carving.

 A toast from our hosts from Diverbo

 A piece of edible "hamon art"

Letting any of us who wanted to try out our
hands at carving.

and last but not least the wine I fell in love with
while in Spain. Of course it's not 
available in the US - guess it's back to beer!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

For the Foodie

This is for all you foodies out there
 Juice is served at the meals

 The round thing is chicken with ground walnuts all rolled up
very tasty. Then to the left of that is an olive tray.
Above that is eggplant rolled up with something in it
A cheese platter
and up at the top zucchini pancakes

 To the left BBQ lamb - delightful
The chicken roll ups

 Tomatoes, Peppers and Cucumber

 Chicken with eggplant and potatoes

 An assortment of bread served at breakfast

The cheese I ate every morning - I went to
the store and took a picture of it so
I can find it here in the U.S.

A walk through the village

 Ayten & Farhod walking down the lane

Sitting at the Bus Stop
The kids are more than ready to head home!

 Ayten's Uncle's house where she used to stay
when she visited as a child
 The water well 

A view of the house from the back. No one
lives there anymore so it is falling 
into disrepair.

 The next door neighbor's barn

 The next door neighbor - she was
happy to see Ayten again. I know it
doesn't look like it but she really was!

 This is outside her back door - notice
the shoes lined up? Her home was very neat
and clean.

Walking toward the village market we saw
this man selling grapes out of his car

The village store - when the owner found out I was from the U.S.
he said "I love you" - then he looked at Yusif and said
that is all the english I know!

 views from the bus stop

 village life as seen from the bus stop

 walking to the market

 random ass in the road

the animal from above makes it across the street

And that folks is what goes on in a small village in 
the mountains of Azerbaijan!

A mish mash of "stuff"

I was thinking yesterday that I have been here for almost two weeks and I have not had

  • any chips
  • cracker
  • diet coke (i have had maybe 6 cokes)
  • white bread
  • coffee
  • sweetner
basically nothing processed - and guess what? I don't feel a damn bit different and I bet I gained weight. So much for the processed theory! Funny thing I don't really miss any of that stuff. Don't get me wrong I'll eat it as soon as I get home but all I can honestly say I miss is Ice. They don't use much of it. I'm even getting used to having my drinks without it. Last night I was making a glass of water and Nez open the freezer and I said "You don't have to get any ice" she looked at me and said "yes, I get ice for you" I said "Oh hell, I'm an Azerbaijaini now - I'll drink it without ice" She laughed and laughed.

This morning Nez cut open a fresh melon. It's one I have never seen before. She sliced it and it was white inside. I tasted it and it is very, very sweet. I said "Nez what kind of melon is this?" She said "melon" I said "Yes - what kind of melon?" she said " azerbaijan we call all melons just melons" So I have no idea what I'm eating!

On our way home from the country I saw all of these little kitchens on the roadside. I said "What's going on here?" Yusif said "They are selling homemade bread." I said "can we stop and get some?"

 There were probably 20 or so of these little bread stands
on the side of the road.

Here are pictures of 3 of them

The last one I got a picture of....

And here is the bread we bought - 
2 loafs - $1.00
It was hot from the oven and delish!!!

This is a picture of a store that was along 
the side of the road. I wanted a picture of
that broom - I was amazed that people
use those kind of brooms!