Survival game: How to outlive the Spanish summer

“We’re going to Spain for vacation. Awesome!!!”

Yeah, right. But you didn’t know you’d have to face an unbearable temperature with hot wind blazing on your face like an oven.  Especially if you’re travelling in August, get ready to get roasted like popcorn. Madre mía, hace un calor que te mueres… (Simple translation: the heat is unbearable).That, tourist pamphlets won’t tell you about it. So, Super Nuna is here to save the day!

The following advice also works if you’ve just settled down in the country and are learning the ropes of the local life. (I’m sharing with you all I wished to have been told earlier).

Here are some few things to consider when travelling to Spain in summer:

Schedule your outings to go outside at cooler hours

Want to take a stroll with some friends and enjoy the painting like landscape and its sunlight? No problem at all. You might just want to make sure you either go a bit early in the morning, or in late afternoon. In my town for example, the “most blazing hours” are between 4pm to 6pm more or less, so program your outing consequently to avoid unnecessary heat exposure. Don’t worry, the sun sets late (around 10pm) so you have all the time in the world.

Lower your curtains and close your windows

Yes; as funny as it may sound, that is the best way to keep your house cooler in this country and prevent the hot wind from choking you at home. Like a vampire in a bunker, we live in darkness during day hours and open back everything when the sun sets. Truthfully, this custom was funny to me because I am from a tropical country and there, we rather do the contrary. You have to open the windows as wide as possible… So I was quite skeptical when the locals told me about the closing alternative, and left my windows open. Then I went out of my room to realize that the rest of the flat that was closed up was way cooler… I learnt my lesson.

“Ice age hydration” required

If you’re taking a water bottle, freeze it. It will last longer, and frankly, warm water is not so agreeable to drink when it’s 45°C.

The early bird “cooks” the worm

Cook early in the mornings or in the evenings to avoid accumulating heat in the house. You don’t want to stir a saucepan while feeling dizzy. Like the natives, also include in your diet cold dishes like salad, or gazpacho (etc).

Check the opening hours of your favourite shops

Most shops and establishments reduce their working hours or even close for days. Especially during the month of August, many locals leave their habitual residences to stay at neighbouring towns with mountains and beaches. “Cerrado por vacaciones” (closed for vacation), you might come across that signboard on many doors, so do check the schedule of your favourite shop and prepare in consequence to avoid surprises.

Happy vacations y’all, and see you in my next post!

Nuna Blomevi

It’s not all about paella: discover more dishes from Spanish menus (Part II)

Hola CTTBies! Howdie?

In my last post I began a “profound”  journey, diving into Spanish cuisine. Today we’ll conclude with part II! In this article, we’ll be looking at some common items that are served in restaurants, or eaten at home.

In one of my previous posts, I discussed the Spanish custom of taking  strolls and spending a lot of time outside. I also talked about tapeo, which is going from restaurant to restaurant eating snacks. Because of that, many items on the local menus are designed to be quick, “portable” while remaining delectable.

Common home ingredients or restaurant items

Fideuá

It’s a sort of “pasta version” of paella. I’m personally not too fond of vermicelli in general (because of the texture), but the taste is good!

Huevos rotos

It’s a combination of fried eggs, potatoes and ham. Fun fact: in Spanish, the name means “broken eggs”.

Patatas bravas

Simple yet satisfying, this pommes sautées dish is topped with a colorful, delicious intertwining alliance of aioli sauce and a special, slightly spicy “ salsa brava” (some restaurants use ketchup instead).  It’s a perfect choice for a quick but savory and filling dinner.

Croquetas

Looking cute and lovely, they are crunchy on the outside yet soft, creamy, on the inside . A perfect match!

 They are usually stuffed with ham or mushrooms.

Bocadillos

¡Señoras y señores, más pan! (Ladies and gentlemen, more bread!)

Aside from potatoes, Spaniards eat a lot of baguette as well. Anything that can fit in it is good to go. There are therefore a variety of stuffings: chicken breast, chorizo, bell pepper, etc… Ta-da! A sandwich is born. I love how they are generously filled until they can’t hold it in again; it’s a nice way to show love to customers!

The most baffling combination for me is baguette stuffed with a piece of tortilla de patata (potato omelette)Nice, but too much carbs at once (in my opinion)… Anyway! If it fits in the mouth, then it’s fine.

Calamares rebozados

I love these squid rings. Crispy, stretchy and delicious, they have everything to make me happy.

Just a by-the-way joke: I still remember the day I munched into a similar meal, just to realize they were onion rings. Moral of the story: onion rings and squid rings should not be confused.

Tapas

Tapas is anything that qualifies as a snack (based on the cook’s opinion). The requirement: be small in size.

From mini skewers to battered shrimp, majority of tapas are made of a slice of bread topped up with some salad, or a piece of meat, fish vegetables with some dressing.

Churros

Crunchy and cracky, It is a very common snack sold at any time of the day. On demand, it can be accompanied by a cup of thick, smooth hot chocolate a la taza.

Jamón

The Spanish national treasure that they cannot live (and even leave anywhere) without.

Gazpacho and Salmorejo

Eaten cold, the two following dishes are soups made of blended vegetables (mainly tomatoes, bread, oil and garlic). They’re really popular in summer when the heat wave strikes and one doesn’t feel like cooking with the stove making the house even hotter. Nevertheless, they’re eaten all year long ; they aren’t exclusively summer-specific.

Migas

Made of bread crumbs savored up with some chorizo, they’re one of the specialities of the autonomous community of Aragón.

Arroz con leche

A widely spread dessert, this sweet rice porridge is cooked with milk and flavoured with an exotic touch of cinnamon.

Those that cause international arguments

Queso y vino

Some say the French ones are best, others say the Spanish ones are best. I like both. I consume the product of the country I’m in.  Simple.

Though I must say that French pastry wins over the Spanish one. I said it! Now I’m out.

Take care, and see you in my next post!

Nuna Blomevi

It’s not all about paella: discover more dishes from Spanish menus (Part I)

Hola CTTBies!

It’s time for a new article! Today I’m going to focus on the Spanish cuisine. Just like the title says, paella may somewhat be the most popular dish internationally, but there are other  foods that are very appreciated locally. I divided this first part about the mentioned topic into the three following categories.

Vamos a comer! (Let’s eat)

1. My favorites of all times

Arroz negro

It’s rice made with squid ink and shrimps. Aside from seafood paella, this is my second rice-based recipe. I imagine you might be curious about the taste if you’ve never tried it. Hmmm… How to put it? It’s nothing out of the world, it only tasted very… seafoody. (Sounds like a bad joke, but I’m serious). It’s just the color that is particular. 

Tortilla de patata

Lika a Pacman made with potatoes and eggs fried together (some add onions), forming a cute yellow “cake”, this little guy stole my heart when I first came. It’s quick to cook and goes well with other “side characters” like salad or bread.

Chorizo

Made of pork meat and paprika, This lovely dried sausage goes well with a lot of meals. Sliced in thin rondelles, it comfortably rests down between bread layers for a tasty sandwich.  Diced, it flavors up your soups. At the beginning, I must say that I got highly addicted and suffered from withdrawal syndrome when I was out of Spain (it may be found in supermarkets abroad but nothing beats the local taste). Curiously, I don’t crave it much nowadays because I feel full already when I see lots of it while doing the grocery.

Ensaladilla rusa

Surprise! It’s… potato salad. Despite its foreign name,  this meal has fully settled down in Spanish menus and is often present during informal gatherings. Usual ingredients are potato, olives, tuna, some sausage or york ham covered with tons and tons of mayonnaise. An awesome treat.

Now that we’re done with my favorites, let’s look at the next category. 

2. The meditaranean “quick fixes” that save you when you don’t want to cook

Prickles, prickles and more prickles

Sold in traditional grocery  stores like Martín Martín ,  there is a lot of variety.  Shallots, cucumbers, olives, octopus, anchovies, eels,  shrimps floating in special seasonings and vinegar.  Of course, their canned version also exists in supermarkets but it has less glamour,  so I left that for the end.

3. Those important guests that must not be absent from the table

Baguette 

I’m always amazed about how anxious Spaniards are to make sure there’s bread on the table whenever I eat outside or I get invited for a meal. In restaurants, no matter what you order, they add bread alongside (except for dessert, of course). If you go for lunch and the host forgot to get some, he might get ansty and make you sit to go buy it before he serves.

It’s a tradition I don’t get too much, but well, I adjust myself. I’m a simple woman: I see food, I eat. Bread is food, so I eat it, why not.

Coffee

After eating, your Spanish host or waiter will surely ask you if you’d like some coffee. They usually have it while doing sobremesa, which is sitting at the table and chatting for hours (it’s a bit exaggerated, I confess) while digesting. 

Such a wonderful country…

In my coming article, I will continue with more local dishes in the Spanish menus. Stay tuned! Don’t forget to like and share!

Warm regards and see you in my next post,

Nuna Blomevi

Disclaimer: pictures from the Internet ; no copyright infringements intended

Spring and Window Shopping in Spain: Malls and Fashion trends

Hola Cttbies!

¿Qué tal? (How are you?)

It’s spring! (At long last). The weather is great here (an average of 20°C). The spring breeze is so sweet here, and the birds chirp so beautifully during the day!

On the other hand, it’s also good if you’d like to have a quiet trip, because there is less touristic affluence and hassle. I must say, the best months to visit Spain are March to early June, or September to mid November.  In summer it’s too hot, especially in August the temperature goes up to 40°C , and there blows a hot wind from the desert that is completely unbearable; in December to January it’s too cold and windy, not the best time either. All year long, it’s like the god of fire and the god of ice fight all year long in Zaragoza.

Busking at Paseo IIndependencia, one of the main streets in Zaragoza’s town center.

From 24°C to 11°C on the same day,  Spring is the time of what I call “quitaipón de ropa” (remove and wear clothes). Temperatures in my town are very unstable, with very high differences in intervals. at one moments you’re sweating buckets and at another, you’re freezing. The wind here (the infamous “Cierzo”) is mortal so you can catch a cold if you let your guard off.  It’s advised to take a light coat with you even if you don’t end up wearing it. Yesterday on my way home, I couldn’t walk properly because the Cierzo kept pushing me from behind. That’s how strong it is!

When the weather gets warm like this, I feel like I’m reviving after a long slumber. I’m in a good mood nowadays, and so are many others, seeing how the streets are busy with plenty of people. The covid 19 incidences have lowered so the authorities lessened the restrictions.

What a better way to celebrate than to go to window shopping or visit a mall?

I am mostly working from home nowadays, so every chance to go out is fine. I met up with a friend and we paid a visit to Puerto Venecia, the most beautiful shopping center in Zaragoza. Built in 2012, it caught the hearts of thousands of buyers and even caused the death of one of its predecessors, Plaza Imperial Mall, which was deserted. Puerto Venecia is bigger, more beautiful, closer in distance and even has a pond with Koi fishes. Sorry, you can’t beat that. The other malls luckily survived because they’re close to the town center and, very importantly, because one can’t go to the same mall all the time. We humans need variety…

This time, I only went window shopping because the economy is kind of low (Ahem). My heart was breaking as I saw all those beautiful things from afar… But still, I had a lot of fun. Actually, I’ve never laughed so much at clothes in my life. The fashion here is a bit peculiar, usually a lot of colours with a touch of eccentricity. Trend wise here, youth clothing is gradually turning Kpop-inspired or anime-inspired. It seems kanjis and dragons are in season. and nowadays, teens here are into colourful bob cuts or “anime skirts” (my bad, I don’t know the exact name).

In the perpetual quest for creativity, some brands went a bit overboard this year. I took some pictures of the clothing I found the most bizarre… Ahem… striking (pictures below). After a long, harsh year, maybe they’re trying to lift our mood… I’ll just take it that way. I just hope they’re confortable to wear…

Is it Spring where you live as well? How is it in your country?

Warm regards, and wishing you a wonderful week!

Photo shoot: “A Writer Behind The Scenes”

Hi CTTBies!

Long time no see…

All our apologies for the silence… But we’re working on a surprise project so we had to postpone publishing for a while. We will soon give out more details. Until then, we’d like to share with you some pictures from the first photo shoot we had for Nuna Blomevi’s diary “A Writer Behind The Scenes” (They came out amazing, hehe). Hopefully, there will be more sessions in the future.

We hope you like the photos!

Take care and stay safe,

Corner Blomevi.

Venue setting: Plaza del Pilar, Zaragoza (Spain)

Model: Nuna Blomevi

Photo Credits: S.C.M