Monthly Archives: January 2013

Pleasant surprise in Cusco

jose figueroa yabar museo de arte precolombino cusco

Jose Figueroa Yabar next to his portrait at the Museo de Arte Precolombino in Cusco

 

Jose Figueroa Yabar was a famous movie director in Peru

If you are like me, you may plan day by day all activities and logistics for a trip. Sometimes I plan too much. Don’t forget to always leave some free time for last minute activities or schedule changes.

Such was the case when arriving in Cusco a few years ago. With so many activities outside of town, I did not plan too much time in the city. The next day would be spent exploring the Sacred Valley. Then the following day we were to catch the train to Machu Picchu. However, as many travelers to this city  have found out, there is some kind of spiritual connection with the place that makes you linger. We could not explain it but all our pain and discomfort from hiking and altitude sickness simply disappeared. The Incas believed Cusco was the center of the Earth and it certainly felt that way.

We decided to slow down and spend the next day just exploring the streets of this historic City. After dinner that first evening, my wife and I were not sure what to do but I remembered reading about the Museo de Arte Precolombino. Not sure about the address, we decided to take a short taxi ride to the MAP.

Much to our surprise there was an opening exhibition for a photographic project named “La Vuelta a Cusco en 24 Horas”. Local Photographers were given 24 hours to capture the daily life of people in and around the city. The opening exhibition was attended by the Major, the Bishop of Cusco, and other local officials and celebrities. After a couple of short opening speeches we got to mingle with some local people. They were even serving hors d’oeuvres and Pico Sours which we may have had too many. The photos were sharp and colorful and depicted life in the Andes around Cusco – it was a great exhibition.

While admiring one of the photos that caught our attention, we realized that a man standing nearby was the subject of the photo. We start a conversation with him and learn that he is Jose Figueroa Yabar – a famous movie director in Peru. He was so proud of his movies and work. He even handed us a sheet listing his movies and suggested where we could get them. The man was indeed overflowing with humanity and love for his Andino culture. It was a very pleasant experience – never to be forgotten. Ever since, I make sure that some free time is set aside for unplanned activities.

As I am writing this, I am saddened as I learn that Jose Figueroa Yabar passed away last year. We were lucky to have met him.

 

Jose Figueroa Yabar en el Museo de Arte Precolombino

 
Si ustedes son como yo, a la hora de viajar planifican todas las actividades día por día. A veces planifico demasiado. No se olviden de dejar algún tiempo libre para una actividad inesperada. Así fue el caso cuando lleguaba a Cuzco hace unos años. Con tanto que explorar en las afueras de la ciudad, no le iba a dedicar el tiempo que la ciudad se merecía. El día siguiente era para descubrir el Valle Sagrado. El proximo día el destino era Machu Picchu. Pero esta ciudad te engancha, existe un aura espiritual que te atrapa y te hace reflexionar. No les puedo explicar como me sentía. Todos los achaques por haber caminado mucho los días anteriores y cualquier manifestación de soroche simplemente desaparecieron. Para los Incas el Cuzco era el centro del Universo. Si se sientan en un banquillo de la Plaza, ciertamente sentiran eso.

Al último minuto hubo un cambio de planes. El próximo día sería Cusco y nada más. Exploraríamos las calles de esta ciudad tan histórica. Esa noche, luego de la cena, me acordé haber leido acerca del Museo de Arte Precolombino. No sabía donde quedaba asi que tomamos un taxi de 3 soles. Al lleguar nos sorprendió que inaguraban una exhibición de un proyecto fotográfico llamado “La Vuelta a Cusco en 24 Horas”. Fotógrafos locales tuvieron 24 horas para capturar la vida cotidiana alrededor el Cuzco. La inaguración contaba con la visita del Alcalde, el Obispo, y otros personajes. Luego de una breve convocatoria, pudimos charlar con alguna gente mientras servían Pisco Sours. La fotografia es lo mío y siempre que viajo busco exhibiciones. Las fotos demostraban la vida no solo en la ciudad pero en los Andes. Realmente era una exhibición fantástica en un ambiente muy especial.

Mientras admirabamos una de las fotos, nos dimos cuenta que el hombre parado cerca era la persona retratada en la foto. El hombre se llamaba José Figueroa Yabar y era un famoso director de cine del Perú. El cinematógrafo estaba muy orgulloso de sus obras. Hasta nos ofreció una lista de sus películas. Era una persona muy agradable y su fervor por la cultura Andina se notaba. Esta experiencia será inolvidable. Fué en ese momento que aprendí a tomar las cosas más despacio y dejar algun tiempo libre al viajar.

Al escribir esta entrada, me entristeció mucho haber leido que Jose Figueroa Yabar murió el año pasado. Fuimos muy afortunados en conocerle.

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Arbequina Olives

Arbequina Olives from Tarragona are very small fruit

 
These are Arbequina Olives from the Tarragona Province south of Barcelona. The photo of the young fruit on the tree was taken in early July. They start harvesting them in November.
I will never forget the incredible taste of the Manzanilla Olives during a previous trip to Spain. Those Olives were original from Andalucia. Up to this day I have not found any better ones.

For our second trip to Spain, we wanted to explore a different area so we arrived in Barcelona and spent a couple of weeks exploring Catalunya. I was surprised to be offered these small Olives – tiny compared to the Manzanillas. Many experts say that Arbequina Olives are best used for oil and not for eating as table Olives and I must say that I agree.

Oil made from Arbequina is very fruity and smells like fresh cut grass. This oil has a relatively low stability and short shelf-life. I currently have a bottle of this oil that I have been using as a finishing oil for about a month. The fresh smell of grass has already evaporated even when kept under optimum conditions.

 

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Arbequina Olives and a nice Priorat Wine

 

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Young fruit on the tree

 

De la Provincia de Tarragona al sur de Barcelona

 
Las imágenes que aquí ven son aceitunas Arbequinas de la Provincia de Tarragona al sur de Barcelona. La foto de las frutas jóvenes en el arbol fueron tomadas al principio de Julio. La cosecha se empezará a recoger en Noviembre. Nunca me olvidaré del sabor de las aceitunas Manzanilla que probé en mi primer viaje a España. Esas eran de Andalucía. No he encontrado nada mejor hasta hoy día.

Para el segundo viaje a España, queríamos explorar otra región así que volamos a Barcelona y exploramos un poco de Catalunya. Me sorprendí cuando me ofrecieron estas aceitunas ya que comparadas con las Manzanillas, estas eran muy pequeñas. Los expertos indican que las Arbequinas son mejor utilizadas para el aceite y no para comer. Yo estoy completamente de acuerdo.

El aceite de Arbequina es muy fragante y tiene aroma de hierba fresca recién cortada. Este aceite tiene una vida de envase muy corta. Recientemente compré una botella de aceite Arbequina y lo he estado usando por un mes. El aroma inicial ya se ha agotado aún cuando lo mantengo en condiciones óptimas.

 

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Andaremos por el mundo, we will walk around the world

Welcome to my blog.

I have been very lucky to experience some great trips. All my adventures have been carefully planned for months before flying out. All this planning keeps me awake late at night.

I have decided it was time to air my thoughts on Travel, Photography, Food, and Wine.
I will comment on some great trips and experiences as well as the not so nice ones.
Maybe you will find good tips and avoid some of my mistakes.
Finally, many of you have traveled more than I ever will so I welcome tips and suggestions as well.

Travel is addictive and I hope that like me, the more you travel, the more you want of it.
As Mark Twain said – Travel is Fatal to Prejudice, Bigotry and Narrow-Mindedness.

 

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