Monday, June 23, 2008

Day 133 (Sunday, June 22). Spain versus Italy!

The big event today will be the evening football match between Spain and Italy. If Spain wins, then they will go to the quarter finals. Needless to say the nation is in high spirits, hoping that tonight their

football team will crown itself with glory. Then again, there are the pessimists, which remind us that for the last 88 years Spain has always lost whenever they play Italy (an impressive statistic that has stopped me from placing 10 euros on Spain).

In the meantime, and since the game is not until evening, we have had a lazy Sunday. We started with mass, and then Juan and I took the bus to downtown to visit the museum of modern art. The collection was . . . well . . . modern. Half of the stuff was puzzling, to say the least, and we wondered how much of it will end in El Prado in say 100 years. The sketches of Pablo Picasso were of course fascinating, and his “Guernica” was rightfully admired. Guernica is a small town

that was viciously bombed during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930’s, and Picasso chose her as the theme of one of his most famous murals. The mural was originally painted for the Spain pavilion of a world fair in France, and it conveys the suffering experienced by the people of Guernica during the civil war.

From the museum we walked down to El Rastro, the enormous flea market that takes over the streets and plazas of Madrid every Sunday. This is the one day when people park anywhere they can, in happy oblivion of parking laws, and walk through streets and streets of vendors, in search of a cheap pair of glasses or an undiscovered treasure. Quite fun, but most of what I saw would fall in the category of cheap imports.

Back at home we found Maria Eugenia in full culinary swing. It was a hot midday, and I thank her ten-fold for the wonderful Sunday lunch she prepared: Mussels in a tomato broth, brochettes of baby octopus, and a crab salad with sherry that was to die for. For the latter she bought a large stone crab, cooked it with bay laurel and salt, separated all the meat from the inside, mixed the meat with sherry, hard boiled egg, and green onions, and then used the clean shell as a bowl for the salad. Maria Eugenia is a very good cook always, but this Sunday lunch was really very special.

OLÉÉÉ . . . OLÉ, OLÉ, OLÉ. Spain has won in his game against Italy, and the city is in an aptheosis. I get to see Spain against Germany when I get to Frankfurt!

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