Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Jamon Experience
In my travels abroad I have learned many things. In southern Africa I learned that African time is real. At Westminster Choir College, Princeton New Jersey I learned that the letter “T” is an event. In Barcelona I learned that ham (jamon) is an experience.

There is a ham museum “Jamon Experience” with an amazing audio visual display on the creation of Iberian ham. The raising of the pig and the preparation of the meat boils down to a rule of two. The pigs graze for two years eating acorns in paddocks, the legs are then salted for two weeks before being dried for two years.

Interestingly in the display there was no mention of the killing of the pig, I can only imagine that the two hind legs when ripe just simply fall off for gathering and another two legs grow in their place.

The taste testing (including a couple of glass of wine or beer) was amazing, yes it was an experience! Six different grades and flavours of ham – whatever is served at Christmas dinner around the world, in comparison is in no way ham.

Casa Batllo chimneys
Light-well Casa Batllo
Gaudi is a revered artist and architect with good reason. The buildings are truly ground breaking in his creation of self-sustainable technologies and visually spectacular. His use of colours, shape and form are unsurpassed. That said, judging by his fluid lines he was either was substance affected or vision impaired. The third option; Gaudi is in fact Dr Seus.

My brain was created sans compass leaving me with no sense of direction*.  I may even be eligible for supports through the new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as it is an impairment that is permanent and stops me from doing everyday things by myself. Upon visiting Parc del Laberint d’Horta I have discovered one advantage. I can solve mazes very quickly. Whilst other
Parc del Laberint d'Horta
people get confused as the zig-zag through a series of dead ends, switch-backs and endless intersections, my mind is already well accustomed. Armed with a sense of tranquil serenity I was calmly make my way to the centre of the maze and easily out the other side.

I am constantly amused and bemused by American tourists and their inability to comprehend that other countries are different from the Unites States. They have different architecture, different culture and different food. This seems to create a sense of bewilderment bordering on disdain. “Why are the buildings so different?” How do they understand each other if they do not speak English?” “I can’t tell how much anything is because there is no President on the money”

Placa de Catalunya
I sat and listened to four American aged in the late 50s discuss where they were going to eat lunch. In a city where Alfresco dining is plentiful with an amazing array of Tapas and food from across Europe I was keep to hear recommendations. I was disappointed. The two couples were earnestly debating the virtues of Burger King verses Starbucks. For those keen to know the answer it was the former because it would be cheaper.  Oh well why I have food that is fresh and flavoursome when you could eat mass produced sugary food by-products. It does make me wonder what Americans think of Australia’s Aborigines. Just how did this culture survive well over 40,000 years without SUVs and soft drink served in buckets?

La Catedral
Talking of food, tapas in Spain is nothing like tapas in Melbourne. Surprise! It is cheaper, the portions are bigger and the food is much more flavoursome.  And the sangrias… served in sizes Americans can understand. After a litre of sangria for lunch the concept of a siesta makes a lot more sense. And there is a chocolate museum!

It was the Spaniard who introduced the cocoa bean to the wide world, specifically their religious leaders. The traditional hot chocolate is so good and nourishing that it was the one thing priest were allowed to consume it during periods of fasting. The nuns were the ones who first added sugar. The Spanish serve it hot, rich and thick. So thick that there is an active choice to either chew or drink it. Traditionally it is served with bizcocho, a light sponge biscuit for dipping.

With it being of such religious significance the church should consider changing the elements of communion to hot chocolate with bizcocho, instead of wine and wafers. More people would attend church.

* To read more about my directional disability visit

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