Thursday, April 04, 2013

OHS, Schmo-OHS

The above title sounds better when said out loud and, when applied to holidays, is usually said by me when it comes to food:

"Holiday weight, Schmoliday weight."

















Love Chunks managed to wangle the Thursday before and Tuesday after the Easter long weekend to give us six days in Spain.

Spain's a rather large patch of ground, so we decided to hit a smallish area and keep reminding ourselves that living in Europe for the next (at least) couple of years means that we can calm down and revisit or see more of the place later on.  Madrid and Barcelona were idly bandied about over a dinner party table a couple of months ago, but friends urged us to consider Seville.

Gianna and Simon, let this be a public declaration of sincere thanks for your advice.

















Easter is the Holiest of Holy weeks in an extremely Catholic country and we were surrounded by hours and hours and days and days of parades that seemed to feature gorgeous young women wearing black lace mantillas as a sign of mourning for Christ's death and a heap of differently-coloured Ku Klux Klan members who were supposedly covering their faces to hide their sorrow.  No photos to show you as it didn't seem right to jump out and snap away at them during a time they took particularly seriously.

Honey toasts, deep fried and anointed in delicious syrups were an Easter treat that I inhaled eagerly, telling myself that having a freshly-squeezed Seville orange juice would sort of counteract the fat. (In Kath Land, an apple following a Kit Kat chunky means nothing was imbibed at all).  Not so easy to do the same for the aubergine 'fries' that were coated in a fine crumb and then drizzled - again - in honey. We were skeptical at first, but all raving and rolling our eyes in ecstasy several seconds later.




















Balconies were draped in red brocade, velvet and gold trimmings and the city was packed with people of all ages. No dinner to be had at 6:30, 7:30, 8:30 or even 9:30pm..... try 10:30pm with a few tapas to tide us over before then.  Toddlers were at outdoor tables eating with gusto near midnight as we walked home, bellies full and wondering just how we'd be able to lie down and sleep comfortably.



















Respecting their Christian celebrations aside, I'll admit to deliberately lining up my shot of this guy so that it looked as though he was praying for good BBC World News reception....

....and, yet again, an art work has to feature the single crusading female with a boob hanging out. As they inevitably do.....














Reluctantly driving out of Seville (thanks to Love Chunks and Ken, the tom-tom we brought over with us), we stopped at an intriguing lookout named Saucejo so that I could grab a photo of my best boy and best girl.















Ronda (the town, not the girl that the Beach Boys were keen to use as a rebound for heartbreak) took our breath away.  LC is a bit of a mountain goat and loves to clamber on things, so while he busied himself being King of the Valley, Sapphire and I took a selfie that you can clearly see reflected in my sunnies:


The bridge spans the deep rocky valley from the old town to a still very-old part of town that also has the largest bullfighting ring in Spain.  We all preferred not to see any bull being stabbed by a bejewelled ponce wearing ballet slippers for sport and instead decided to take the walk down to the base of the bridge.


This was where the difference between Occupational Health and Safety Australian-style compared to OHS Who Cares Spanish-style was glaringly obvious.

"Oh look, LC," I said, voice quavering along with my knees, "Under this temporary IKEA step ladder stapled to the moss on the rocks is the original cement staircase, cracked in half and collapsed. How comforting..."

"Hey Dad," a much-braver Sapphire called out. "The railings have rusted and you have to wedge yourself up against the side of the cliff so that you don't smash yourself on the rocks below. This is incredible!"

She was right.  The cement had long since crumbled down into the river, leaving a single iron bar jutting out like a hangman's frame, a visual reminder that the path was once a metre wide instead of several centimetres.  Around the corner, a stone hut was teetering dangerously into the drink and as my two beloveds dashed eagerly ahead, my feet refused to move and I found myself staring straight ahead in a self-imposed trance. I was convinced that if I stayed motionless, the return trip around the cliff and back up the rocks would be achievable if only my ragged breathing-with-a-squeak-at-the-end would cease...

"Ma'am? Hey, Ma'am? Can you take a photo of us please?"  Four young US college students were on top of the death trap cottage and one was dangling his canon down to me via the strap.  "Er sure," I rasped, my shaking hands making several misses before finally catching the strap.  Later, there was a tiny sense of satisfaction in passing them all on the climb back up to town, but fitness wasn't really the factor; fear was.

In Granada, Sapphire's tiny balcony provided a rather lovely view.



















Beauty aside, it wouldn't be a Kath-splattered holiday if some signs and mistranslations didn't tickle my giblets.  Colon Street, Tourism Colon and even a sign pointing to the turn off to MorĂ³n de la Frontera.  There were times when I thought that I should have headed in that direction and many more when I'd gladly have shown other people the way.





In France, the 'Do Not Disturb' sign hung on hotel doors usually translates to 'Do not DERANGE me,' but in Spain it's 'Do not MOLEST me.'


Then again, as an Aussie sheila used to the Sharons and Narelles of the world and their 1970s/1980s-style insults, it could also be interpreted as being a Mole Star.  Personally, the first interpretation is my preferred one.

24 comments:

Hannah said...

Oh Kath. This post. You can haz made me miss my parents deeply, what with your photos of cuddles and talk of Spain, which is where my parents have decided to travel to this year instead of Canada. Y'know, without me.

Honey toast would make me better. Alas.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

I love Spain (I was there three times last year).

I haven't been to Seville since 1984 on when I spent a month touring France, Portugal and Spain on trains with a couple of mates.

We had a great time there.

:-)

Cheers

PM

Kath Lockett said...

Honey toast makes *everything* better, Hannah. Find the recipe(s) is now on my Must Do list.

PlasMan, if I could visit there at least three times a year I'd be one happy Mole Star......

Elephant's Child said...

Ooooh. Thank you for taking us (safely) along for the ride. Our OH&S rules freqently give me the irrits until I am reminded that they make more than a modicum of sense.
I think not being deranged (any further) or molested are both highly desirable (and not always achievable) states.
Wonderful post - thank you, despite me feeling a bit sceptical about eggplant and honey.
PS: Word verification includes the word loin which could only happen on your posts. Often on your posts. Last time I had to type Ffft. And sniggered.

Andrew said...

The bridge is very impressive and appears to allow for flood waters too. The do not disturb could be worse if the syllables were reversed.

Alexia said...

Spain... deeply jealous. I had a fabulous week in Barcelona 3 years ago, visiting my son and his girlfriend. I happened to be there at Easter, too - astonishing scenes ensued! I loved it - you MUST see Barca before you leave, Kath.

I like the idea of the aubergine fries. Yum.

wilbo43 said...

We too found the 'DO NOT MOLEST' signs funny when we were in Spain a few years ago. Unfortunately we never went to Seville, so it's still on my Bucket List to go and have a haircut in Seville by the coiffeur, sorry Barber.

Cheers,
Bill

Kath Lockett said...

E-Child,*no-one* was more skeptical about eggplant and honey than we were but the oh-so-light crumb coating and the textures. It worked. Mysteriously well and was/is on offer at cafes all over Spain. 'Loin' and 'Pfft', hey? Maybe Google is developing the capacity to critique?

Oh Andrew, I never even thought about flood waters and we were there when it started to rain and they'd had such a hard winter and everything was wet and green and ..... the total lack of OHS is making me feel all woozy again....

Alexia, never fear - Barcelona and Madrid WILL be visited by the Lockett Three. That's what we're here for.

Wilbo43, I made the 'Barber of Seville' comment to someone who just didn't get it, but apparently Bizet's Carmen worked at the tobacco factory there. And the oranges - not an outdated cliche, but real and everywhere. The gorgeous smell of the blossoms...!

River said...

Oh I do love that view from Sapph's balcony! Imagine having your morning hot chocolate out there every day and watching the street wake up.
I share that mountain goat gene so can understand LC clambering all over.

Here's the trick to holiday weight>>eat what you want, you're on holiday. Just don't eat that way ALL YEAR ROUND!!
Spain is now on my wish list.

Kath Lockett said...

River, your holiday eating tip is spot on. Trouble is, I eat like I'm on holiday all. the. bloody. time...!

Jackie K said...

Oh, I love Seville and Granada! The Alhambra Palace is one of the best places in the world.
What a great holiday.

FruitCake said...

Every time I go somewhere I kick myself for not having sussed out when is the best time to catch the special pageants, festas etc, so even though you did not fall from the bridge, you did fall flat on your feet.

From the photo it appears the woman's boob is hanging out because she has had more than one night on the tiles.

pffft was funny, but the picture you painted of a college student dangling his cannon down to you near did me in.

Kath Lockett said...

Jackie, it was. I'd love to return to Alhambra in the summer time, but that's a blog coming up soon...

Fruitcake, I wonder if her boob's hanging out in order to 'encourage' her male troops to follow her into battle?

diane b said...

Thanks for taking us safely on this tour. I agree about the lack of OHS in Spain. Even though I found the food nice, it bothered me to see tapas out in the open for a long time in the heat of the day. Needless to say I had the worst bout of "the runs" while in Spain.Love Chunks is a hunk and Sapphire a beauty.

Pandora Behr said...

What a dream long weekend - Spain is one of most favourite countries and Seville and Granada really left a mark with me - says she who is currently sitting in the Qantas Lounge waiting for her flight to Bali.Looking forward to see what you thought of the Alhambra - which strangely I put on a par with the Alcazar. xx

Kath Lockett said...

Dianeb, your bout of the runs after warm tapas has made me very glad that we visited in the relative cool of Easter!

LOVED LOVED LOVED Alhambra, Pandora, but have never seen 'Alcazar' or even (blushing profusely) knows where it is....?

JahTeh said...

Honey toast and not a mention of the obesity crisis, Blog post GOLD.
Before you come home you must see the Alhambra Palace, it is divine and if I come back in a future life as Rhinehart, I'm building a replica in the Burbs.

Kath Lockett said...

Thank you, JahTeh, I'm blushing with glee at your praise. Alhambra was visited and probably worth a separate blog entry...?

Optimistic Existentialist said...

This makes me really want to visit Spain!! Thank for taking us along with you in this wonderful post :)

Kath Lockett said...

Do it, OpEx, just DO IT.

And read the next post about Alhambra.....

Pandora Behr said...

The Al cazar is the palace in Seville - loved it almost as much as the Alhambra

Kath Lockett said...

Oh, right, Pandora.... I feel rather stupid now for not remembering that!

......then again, it was closed for renovation, so maybe my memory lapse could be forgiven seeing as we didn't get inside the place....?

Red Nomad OZ said...

HHHMMMmmm... how can that be? I thought I used to WORK at Moron de Frontera!!!

Ann ODyne said...

Great photos, amazing bridge, gorgeous child in her stylish jacket and sunglasses is so very grownup now. and you took home some real Seville marmalade?
Love to you all