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Medieval Kebabs

Writing in the local paper. Local Issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.

Walking up the hill from my house and towards the Plaza del Socorro, the smell first hits me. It’s not unpleasant but certainly misplaced. An odor that I definitely wouldn’t expect as I walk to work and it takes me a moment to realize exactly what it is. I walk under the large tree in the square and realize that what I’m smelling are...donkeys and then I remember, it’s once again the time of year for the "medieval" market in Caceres. A smell that, if you forgive the monstrosity of the prison-like looking Archive to my left, wouldn’t be so out of place among these definitively medieval surroundings. As a stranger from a country where history was unwritten before the arrival of the Europeans, I always find it curious that once a year so much effort is made to make these streets appear even more…medieval. Renais…
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Oh, He's Just Playing...

Writing in the local paper. Local Issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.
I must have missed the email. Or perhaps the message came via SMS, like the ones Donald can now send out in case of national emergencies and it somehow got lost. I guess it could have been an old fashioned letter but whatever the case is, I didn’t get it. As a result I missed the decree and I am now the only person left in town without a dog. While this may seem an easy enough cross to bear, not owning a dog does come with its inconveniences. Just the other day while attending some Blues festival concerts in el Corral de las Ciguenas and later in Santa Maria, I wasn’t able to fully participate in the shows as those who had brought their dogs could. Without a dog, I couldn’t add to the barking and howling of those around me and I have to admit that I felt a little left out. Then the other day as I sat in a terrace havin…

Hibernating Bears and Music Festivals

Writing in the local paper. Local Issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.

While it seems that summer doesn’t quite want to let go, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when the croaking of storks, ringing of church bells and clanking of processions are replaced by sounds that are normally heard on the banks of the Liffey, Tajo or Mississippi. Autumn in Caceres means music. A time of year when every other weekend the old town fills up with thousands of people taking advantage of the somewhat cooler evenings in order to enjoy the sounds of eclectic Pop, Irish music, Jazz and Blues in the open air. The normally quiet UNESCO core comes alive with this exchange of cultures from around the world and the more intimate nature of these concerts allows for more relaxed viewing than when the masses invade the city in spring during WOMAD. Children dance and get up close to the band in the call…

Medieval Tests

Writing in the local paper. Local Issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.


After having lived here for more than a decade, I still catch myself looking up in wonder as the last rays of the setting sun hit the Torre de la Yerba in the Plaza. The layers of history present as I walk under the Arco de la Estrella send my imagination reeling only to suddenly be brought back to the present when I see groups of tourists taking selfies under it. That mix of tradition, history and modernity, that ability to meld the past with the present is one of this region’s biggest resources. What I can’t understand though is when some things remain firmly mired in the past, frozen in time like the face of the Amazona that cries out from the facade of the Obispado.

These past weeks, thousands of brave opositores have been struggling through an exam process that perfectly fits in with the 16th century palaces that…

Vino (or Viñu as it is known locally) in the Sierra de Gata

A place close to my heart, just north of here where the scorched summer earth becomes green once again. Cool water runs off the sierra and where the wines are meant to enjoyed, not examined. Writing in Roads and Kingdoms about a toast to an old friend.