Kaixo! Greetings from Bilbao~ (read: time for pintxos and crianza!)

03Sep10

A meal of tortilla y chorizo pintxos eta crianza-- potato omlette and chorizo tapas and wineDearest friends,

Kaixo! (Pronounced kai-so, this means “Hello” in the local Basque language)  I am currently enjoying the extremely beautiful country of Spain.  And by enjoying, I mean I am eating copious amounts of Spanish pork and ham, bread, as well as drinking goblet after goblet of delicious wine.  For cheap, too.  A filling meal can be had for under 5 euros.  Including a good wine.

By the way, the translation of “pintxos and crianza” from the title of this blog is: tapas (Spanish small dishes, something that is a bit similar to dim sum) and aged wine.  It’s pretty much what I eat here.  Every.  Single.  Day.Bilbao - First Meal of a bocadillo de lomo con agua

Ooh, I am building up some habits that are going to be MIGHTY EXPENSIVE to maintain back in the States . . .

In other words, it’s high time I started blogging about my adventures in Spain and let all of you know about them, no?  [nods yes]  Sí, especialmente porque quiero practicar mi español.

So the above photo is from a restaurant near my flat.  My friend from school and flatmate in Spain, P, and I were exploring the area during siesta over the weekend and trying to find at least one place that was open.  One thing to keep in mind about Spain is that everyone goes away on vacation for the full month of August.  And whoever is left in town during that month is closed between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. for siesta.  Frustrating for a foreigner?  Yes.  But something that can easily be adjusted to?  (read: nationwide naptime!)  Heck yeah!

[[See below the jump for more pictures]]I mean, look at it.  I love it!  It’s beautiful!  Bilbao es muy bonito!  That’s the scene I see every day when I walk to class.

I live in the Basque region, and they have their own language: Euskara.  It’s completely different from Castillian Spanish, and I’ve only picked up three words of it (hello=kaixo; goodbye=agur; thank you=eskerrik asko).  The Spanish, I’ve discovered, are a very proud and passionate people.  People after my own heart, in other words.

Bilbao gets fewer tourists than the cities further south such as Barcelona and Madrid.  The Guggenheim is a pretty big draw, but most tourists stay around there and don’t wander around too much elsewhere.  Plus, most people here are Spanish in origin– there are very few faces that don’t have European features.  Which makes me (and P) rather novel attractions when we walk down the streets.  I have never felt so out of place or so observed than here in Bilbao.

But it is nice when I get to shock people and bust out my tiny repertoire of Euskara.  It makes the locals smile.  😀  And thus, it makes me smile, too.

In the interest of posting something here about my travels before I run out of Internet time, I’m going to end it here (P and I have been having problems getting Internet in our flat because it requires a Spanish bank account and several weeks of patience . . .  Annoying, yes.  Still no internet?  Also yes.  Sigh!).  I’ll leave you with one last picture:

Waiting for Alejandro and Elena and P

Waiting for Alejandro and Elena and P on my first day in Bilbao

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3 Responses to “Kaixo! Greetings from Bilbao~ (read: time for pintxos and crianza!)”

  1. 1 kacha

    love the post 🙂 the food looks delicious. really glad you’re enjoying beautiful scenery and delicious food!

    btw, please send la tasca pics soon x) teehee. ❤ you jeanne.

  2. Mmmmmm “pan con chorizo” and a delicious “tortilla de patatas” I grew up on this food but never been able to go to Spain. Someday I will be able to afford it though someday 🙂 you need to try the “Potajes” you know the bean stews those are amazing. And since your in Basque country don’t leave it without trying “Bacalao a la Vizcaina” (salted cod basque style like in a tomato based sauce) or “Bacalao Pil Pil” (salt cod in a olive oil and garlic emulsion type sauce) I’ve had these at home but they are originally from there and are known for those dishes. Also the “Tortilla Guisada” (it’s the spanish omelette your having in the picture but it’s simmered in a sauce of tomato, onion, garlic, bell pepper, olive oil, sometimes bay leaves and sweet smoked spanish paprika)

    • Nathan, you know, you NEED to go to Spain. The food is absolutely delicious. I’ve been meaning to try and cook bacalao myself, but the thought of having to soak the salted cod for 3 days to get rid of the saltiness is a little bit frightening. But there is a Bacalao Pil Pil shop in the area, and I’ve definitely been able to eat some cod while here thus far. SO DELICIOSO!

      But for sure I’ll try all those dishes and let you know how awesome they are. 😀


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