Sunday, June 21, 2009

DART Underground

Here's an informative video on the DART Underground project and how it fits into the Transport 21 initiative. It doesn't say anything about the mess the project will make of St. Stephen's Green for several years, however.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The spice burger is no more

According to today's Irish Times the inventor of the spice burger, Walsh Family Foods, has gone out of business. I had no idea the spice burger was strictly an Irish thing. They may have been a tradition for 50 years, but from my one experience with them I think they're really awful. The one pictured in the article looks much better than the one I had.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Evening in Granada

We arrived in Granada on May 2 just in time for siesta. The timing was perfect as we had been up since 4:30 for the 7:30 flight. We flew into Malaga, arriving around 11:00. We took a bus to the bus station, and then ate lunch at a sunny sidewalk cafe--meatballs and hand cut fries, preceded by a salad of greens with canned tuna and olives, followed by cafe con leche. Total €18.00.

While we were eating a man in a blue dress shirt sat at the table next to us. When I glanced at him again, the tie was off and his shirt was unbuttoned to his sternum. He drank a coffee and ate some buttered bread before picking up his briefcase and departing, buttoning his shirt and arranging his tie as he went.

Our skin was already turning pink after an hour, when we boarded the bus for Granada. The two hour trip took us into high hills with scrubby brush, not unlike Central Texas. We drove past groves of olive (or possibly almond) trees and stands of tall, straight poplars planted in tight rows.

After our nap at the hotel we walked over the Rio Genil into Central Grenada. We passed several bars packed with people watching a match. We walked through the Plaza del Carmen where a large stage was covered by adorable girls in traditional dresses. We had arrived in Granada during Dia de la Cruz, the Day of the Cross. We sat in the square for a while and watched the girls dance Sevillanas, a type of Flamenco traditional to Andalusia. The dancers curl their arms through the air above their heads, and follow that movement with their hips, while shaking their frilly skirts and stomping their feet.

Looking for dinner, we wandered down a street filled with sidewalk tables. Some of the restaurants were full, others deserted. I created a restaurant selection logic like this: Choose the first place you see with just one empty table. This restaurant was Casa Jose.

Bars in Granada have a wonderful tradition of serving a free tapa with every drink. Our gratis tapas at Casa Jose was fried sardines. We also ordered a plate of fried seafood which contained more sardines, calamari, shrimp and bacalao. My first encounter with bacalao in Barcelona was, shall we say, slimy. [Although Bill was okay with it.] This bacalao was seasoned with oregano and fried. The bacalao balls were the best bites on the platter.

After dinner, we wandered around and got some ice cream. The next morning after a large breakfast at the hotel, we headed toward the Alhambra.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


This year Bill and I spent the May Bank Holiday weekend (plus a couple days) in the Andalusian region of Southern Spain. Our first stop was Granada, and when in Granada, you visit the Alhambra.

The Alhambra is a collection of palaces and gardens from the height of Moorish rule in the 14th Century. We somehow missed the desk for audio guide rental, so enjoyed the Alhambra on an experiential beauty level alone, and so that's all I can share with you. Some of you may be interested in Andalusia's fascinating religious history. For you I can pass along a recommendation for God's Crucible by David Levering Lewis.

You have to reserve a time slot for the Nasrid Palaces. We were scheduled for 2:00 PM, so we started our visit there. We strolled through tiled courtyards and rooms with soaring ceilings where every surface is covered in intricate carvings. In our current age, we appreciate beauty with the snap of our digital shutters--Alhambra is highly pixel worthy.

Click here and here to view more Alhambra pics.

The grounds and terraced gardens are lovely. We also loved the series fountains joined together with small channels of water that flow through the grounds, along the paths and down stairs. The sound of tinkling water and fragrance of the gardens add to the stunning visual beauty.