Spain 3: Viajes
Maggie and I went to this place called the Alcazar which means 'castle' in arabic. It was where the Christian Kings and Queens lived. They have very small doorways here in Spain.
view of the gardens from the tower
View of cordoba with the tower of the Mezquita
This is a mosaic using tiny tiny little pieces.
water feature...this is mostly for dad...but EVERYTHING is irrigated with these little canals.
Maggie and I think this may be Columbus talking to Ferdinand and Isabel, but that's just a guess.
All of the streets are made of these tiny little stones which really hurt my feet. You can see all the patterns here
lemons on the trees to the right, oranges growing on the wall to the left!
We went to visit a place where they make olive oil and these are some of the machines.
the olives go into this grate, and fall down below onto the conveyor belt. When they dump the olives, they dump them at one of two types of grates- either the one for olives that were collected off the ground, which most are (they use leaf blowers to gather them and then put them in buckets by hand), or olives that were taken straight from the tree (they shake the tree and have an umbrella type thing spread around the tree to catch them before they hit the ground). The end result is the same, but it is more expensive if you bring in dirty olives because there is a more extensive process for cleaning them and you have to pay for it according to the quantity of dirt you brought in with your olives.
Jen and Carlota are the girls in this pic.
there are lots of different steps involved for cleaning the olives.
So this video shows how the olives with leaves attached fall off a conveyor belt and as they are falling there's a really powerful blower that blows the leaves and stuff away but lets the olives fall still.
Here are the cages where the leaves are blown into.
Part way through we got to stick our fingers in the oil and taste it...mmmmm
I thought this was a pretty clever way of purifying the oil...the good oil rises to the top, so the best oil from the first tank flows over into the next one, and the process continues until you have the very very best at the end.
and it then gets stored in here.
this is the discarded pulp
and this is the discarded pits
more storage tanks...but this is for the olive oil that isn't as good...the temperature outside isn't ideal, the best is stored underground.
empty tank for good olive oil
1/2 full tank
you can also see here that there are various spouts up the side of this tank- this is so you can test the different qualities of the olive oil that the tank contains because the best goes to the top, so the oil is different at the top, middle and bottom.
they gave us gifts of green olives stuffed with anchovy paste and extra virgin olive oil. i gave my olives away. We also learned what 'virgin' means regarding olive oil...it means that it is pure olive oil and that it has had no chemical treatment. On the contrary, 'refined' olive oil is the bad olive oil that is no good for consumption until it is sent away to a different factory where they take out all the good stuff in the oil and put a bunch of chemicals in it to make it artificially tasty. This fools a lot of people, because 'refined' sounds like a positive thing, but really it's horrible!!! go for the virgin!!!
Then we got to see the old machinery and how they used to grind the olives before they had the super fast and intense automatic chopper machines.
this is the view of the olive orchards with the town of Espejo in the back ground
Here's a video of how they shake the trees and you can see a guy beating the tree with a stick to get the olives to fall. poor tree!!
This is the group, plus a couple of the men from the company who showed us around. From left to right it's Jen (Middlebury), Susana (Whitman), Juan (Middlebury), me, Evan (Middlebury), Maggie (Middlebury), Christina our grad student helper, Kesari (Tufts), and in front Allison (Pomona) and Charlotte (Middlebury)
We drank really good white wine from this wine skin thing...this is Christina who had to be bribed to do it.
I had to have seconds, it was so tasty and refreshing.