Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Ronda, Spain

Hi Everyone,It is according to my sometimes not so precise calculations the day before Christmas, which would make tonight Christmas Eve.HO HO HO and Merry Christmas or as they say here in Spain Feliz Navidad. I am in a small city in Andalucia, the south of Spain, called Ronda. I arrived here 6 days ago from Granada. Granada was a blast!! A real party city, All the local bars give you free Tapas with every drink you order. A tapa is a little plate of food. Tapa means cover or lid. It was originally served on top of your wine glass to keep the flies out of your drink but now it is just a tradition in Spain. Some cities they charge you for Tapas and some places they give them to you for free. Malaga was about half and half, Madrid almost everyone gives a free snack with each drink and here in Ronda you usually have to pay. A glass of red wine or a beer (the local beer is called Called Cruzcampo)usualluy cost 1.00€ or 1.50€. The Spaniards love to eat and drink all night. Seriously, the bars and restaurants are empty until 9 or 10 at night and then they fill up. People frequently stay out till 2 or 3 and most stores dont open until 10am and they all close at about 2:30 and re-open at 5 or 6 so everyone can take a siesta (nap). Many of the restaurants dont re-open until 8 or 9 because no one goes out early here in Spain. The tapas are usually simple little plates, since a few of you have asked about them I will tell about some that I have had. Paella is a nice little rice dish sometimes with short grain rice so it is like a risotto and sometimes with long grain rice so it is like a jambalaya always with saffron and all kinds of veggies, meat or seafood and chicken, may be added it is yummy.Frequently the tapa is just a canape ie. a piece of bread with like a roasted red pepper and an anchovie fillet or tuna slice or spanish salame or cheese, somethimes they give you a little fried octopus or squid, or fried whitebait or fried fish chunks. Sometimes albondigas (meatballs) with a red-brown sauce with sweet green peas,sometimes sausages and one of my favorites is called Tortilla which is a potato omelet baked in the oven( A fritata I guess) served on a little bread.They are also very famous for their hams around here. The ham is like Prosciutto, served raw and sliced super thin.So sometimes you will be given a few paper thin slices of this ham. I have also discovered a delicious drink called Tinto de Verano which is nothing more than cheap red wine and 7-Up served with a little ice and a slice of lemon. It is like Sangria but less sweet and fruity. And I of course being who I am have been tasting a wee bit of Sherry. Jazzza I like Sherry!!So before I left Granada I caught a bit of a cold and so I have been holed up here in Ronda for about 6 days now. Not been doing much but resting relaxing and trying to take care of my cold.I have been using the traditional Spanish cure of Sherry and double Zero along with codein cough tablets and Aspirin. These unbelievably sweet little clementinas are in all the markets now for about 60€cents per kilo. They are excellent little seedless (sensimilla)tangerines. I have been eating a lot of these for my health as well. I had been pretty sick for about the last week but today I feel much better which is a good thing since I am outta the Zero Zero.Ronda is one of these famous yet un heard of cities. It has about 20,000 people and it is physically gorgeous. It is perched on top of a big mountain with a huge gorge about 200 meters deep in between the 2 halves of the city. There is a beautiful old arch bridge between the two halves and it is 3 or 4 hundred years old. A miracle of Civil Engineering that must be seen to be appreciated. Many people come here to see the bridge and stroll the quaint cobblestone calles of this fairy tale like city. In summer it is a mecca for bull fight affecionados. The first Bull ring in Spain was built here. Bull fighting is still muy popular here in Spain and Ronda is famous for it. They serve Rabo de torro in all ther restaurants (bulls tail or ox tail). I will stay here for this weekend, it is muy dificile to travel over the hollidays, and so I will go to Jerez de la Frontera (where Sherry comes from)on Monday for about 3 days and then to Seville for New Years Eve. After that I dont know yet, probably Cordoba for a few days and then to Barcelona and then back to Madrid. Anyone with suggestions e-mail them to me.Spain is cheaper than a lot of countries in Europe...still it is hard to stick to any kind of reasonable budget. Here in Ronda I got a nice little room with a single bed, and a shared shower for €11.00 per night. That is really cheap for Europe. And the cheapest I have found in Spain. Pretty nice room. They change the sheets everyday and give me a fresh towel. There is a big window door that opens onto a little private balcony and it is right in the centro of the town.I am practicing my spanish and doing pretty well. I always seem to get by anyway.So I am fine good and happy. I am writing all of you to say Merry Christmas and happy new year. I hope all of you are well and having as much fun as I am. Write back if you have the time.

Nothing but Love to all of you!!

Rambling Robert the Traveling Man.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Malaga, Spain

Hi Everyone,So I am in Spain now staying in a very nice little city called Malaga on the Costa del Sol. This is where Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born. I went to a little museum they have here which has a nice comprehensive exhibit of the master´s works. Oh how I love the way this man painted and drew pictures. Spain is wonderful for looking around in Museums. It is also wonderful for lots of other stuff too, more on this in a minute.When you guys last heard from me I was in Marakech Morocco. I went for a 3 day trek into the Sahara and the Atlas mountains looking at and exploring beautiful caves gorges and mountain vistas and then off into the unbelievable Sahara dessert. Most of Morrocco as far as I could tell is a lot like the dessert of New Mexico Arizona or the Mojave in Califonia. the coast is of course different, and the Sahara is just amazing. We rode camels into the sand dunes and camped out with bedouins and gazed at the stars and the meteorites in a totally black moonless night. It was fantastic!! Camels are cool. Our camels were friendly and they let us pet them scratch their ears and were not mean as I have been told.In my life I have riden horses. mules. donkeys. elephants and now camels can be added to the list. What an accomplishment for a kid like me. All you who know me for many years are probably wondering if this is the same kid no one thought would ever live to see his 21st birthday. Well Surprise!Surprise! Surprise! will wonders never cease?Got to hang around with some berber kids and played drums with them while they sang/chanted and drank tea with us. Very cool time. Met some arab people and also some black africans. All in All I had a lovely time. Morroco is not for everyone but I really liked it.I was only there for 12 days but it was mostly a lot of fun.So now I am back in Spain and in Malaga on the southern coast. I have had a bit of Malaga wine which is the same as sherry but grown here and not in Xeres. I have found a little cantina where they have about 20 55 gallon casks of different Malaga wines. and a glass costs 90 euro cents. Well... what can I say?I am going to go now and cut this short. Just wanted to update those of you who may have wondered where I was and what I was up to. I will probably stay in Spain for another month or so and then fly to USA for a few weeks before going to South America.

Asta Luego