Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easter in the Country

Last weekend, we were invited to the country, to Terra Alta, a beautiful rural region, two hours south of Barcelona, to spend Easter with friends - Nuria and Pau - and their families. 

Upon arrival in Gandesa, we realized why Nuria goes to her pueblo so often: the lush green flora, dramatic mountain landscape and tranquil country roads make Terra Alta a true Medeterrian Paradise:

We were greeted by her exhuberant father, who gave us a tour of the world though his liquor collection:

And by her mother, who made several traditional meals rivaling only those my grandmother's Texas cooking. Unfortunately, we didn't snap any photos of the squid with white beans or slow-roasted chicken or home-made lasagna with beschamel sauce she made. Cheers to Senora Cid-Puey!

The next day, we headed to Pau's family house in Horta de Sant Joan, a town famous for it's beauty but also for having hosted Pablo Picasso for several months in 1898 when he and a friend lived in a cave and painted like madmen. This could have been the view from their cave:

Before arriving, we stopped off in a nearby medieval town, Valderrobres, to see a traditional Good Friday procession of Nazerenos:

As soon we saw these white cone hats, Nuria and I were ready run for the hills:

Nazarenos pre-date the KKK by a thousand years, but they still have a dominating, oppressive presence, especially, when the scary creatures start banging very loudly, in unison, on large drums:

Fortunately, we had a nice, cozy house to go home to. This is Pau, his mother and his 91-year-old grandfather:

On Easter morning, there were no colored eggs or hunts of any kind, but the Bunny did come:

And we ate him!

During the reminder of the five hour lunch, Ted received more hazing by the Fortuno brothers, Pau's father and uncle, who appreciated that the American knows a thing or two about home-made liquors:

Later, we wandered around the medieval streets of Horta,

And realized why the young Picasso stayed here so long.

Sunday also happened to be the day of Horta's Annual Fast Painting Contest, which may or may not have anything to do with Picasso. Every year, hundreds of painters set up their easels around town and paint from 9am-6pm:

I could have stayed all day, watching the painters work and admiring Horta's beauty. Picasso once said, "Everything I know, I learned in Horta."

This is the view from Pau's kitchen window:

And this is "L'Horta de Saint Joan" by Pablo Picasso.

It was a wonderful weekend and one Easter we'll never forget!

Bones Pasqües! 
I moltes gràcies a l'Cid Puey-família i la famíliaFortuno-Estrada per un cap de setmana bonic.


  1. Thanks to you both for visiting! We are very happy you met our roots and the land where we grew up. I wish one day I can visit your home ;)

  2. Nuria

    I can't wait to show you some Texas hospitality.

    Izzy says I should use links to get my message out. I am running for political office. City Council in the small town we live in which is in the center of Houston - West University Place.

    So here is a shameless appeal from Izzy's dad to all readers here to contact any friends who may live in West U or may have friends who may know of people who live here.

    Here is my blog designed by Izzy