Photographs and Commentary by Debra Jan Bibel

   Music: Alegrias [Andalusian Flamenco Song & Dance / Lyrichord.: 3 min excerpt]   Live juergo, dance

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We gather from various points on the West Coast of the United States to Madrid. Somehow, despite typical airline delays and missed connections, we all have assembled by early afternoon at Hotel Zurbano, time to go for lunch at the first of many of our organizer Eduardo Subirats' fine choices of restaurants. We begin to put on weight here, but thankfully there are no scales in any of  the  hotel rooms on our tour. Diets are for when we return home!  Indeed, we could say that our journey is one of music, history, and surprising lunches.


Our leader, Yuval Ron, begins the adventure.

A covered concession market in the old district: Mercado de San Miguel. Falling mist cools the customers. Old town. Curving, sloping buildings! Surrealism? Lens distortion? No!

The Rons: mother and son

Restaurant for tapas. Yum!

Inside the cave, or multi-chambered cellar.

The attractive decor: inlaid wall plates; wine-rack chairs.

Plaza Mayor: City Hall.

Dinner at a flamenco café.

This nightclub, Casa Patas, House of Feet, provides a professional venue for rising flamenco artists, particularly dancers. We had front row seats at a reserved table. The able cantaor was Pedro Himenez, his son on percussion. The guitarists, however, lacked flair. Also, these dancers were not among the best I had seen, but for many in the group, it was a first exposure to live flamenco dance.  The man had more style and bravado and was the audience favorite. They seemed to me to be trying too hard, with more focus on entertaining than the flow of music-dance. The evening provided merely a taste of what would follow with the Ensemble's concerts. But our full meal awaited in Jerez.

Much ado in our first dinner.          
The flamenco ensemble: a blur of action and sound. Young guitarists accompany the cantaor. Dancer begins the improvisation. The floor rings with stomps. Dancer in flow. Olé!

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 On to Cordoba


Appendix: Food