Friday, November 29, 2013

Bourdain in Spain (he needs to go to the Basque area)

CNN has been rerunning its “Parts Unknown” Season 2 from Anthony Bourdain all weekend, but I wanted to mention especially the “Spain” program.

Most of it takes places in the southern part of the country, in Granada, where he can cover bullfighting, Easter parades, and the opportunity to get “free” tapas with beer. (I’m not much for eating sea snails right out of their shells.)   He talks about the “lifestyle” of living in a beautiful place, filled with historical contradictions, not the least of which is the fall of Islam from cultural supremacy on the days of Cordoba.  He doesn’t get into the politics of separatism, and the different autonomous regions (including Basque, and Catalan).  But he does say that he is so busy in the southern area of the country he left out Madrid, Barcelona, and San Sebastian.

He would do well to consider the Basque area next season.  Bilbao is a strange place – I spent two days there at the end of April 2001 (to see the Guggenheim), and part of one of the James Bond films was made there.  It’s off the railroad – it’s a 60-mile bus ride through mountains to get there.  When I arrived there was a marathon being run downtown.  Actually, there is a special Basque railroad to Sam Sebastian, with its famous beach and film festival.  And the Basque language and food are like no other. 
Bourdain’s link is here

Bourdain in Spain, like the rain, stays mainly in the plain. (Actually, he doesn't; he likes coastal mountains on the Mediterranean; but then try the Basque coast!)
Bourdain also managed to make Japan look like a set for a sci-fi movie (maybe the futuristic dystopia in “Cloud Atlas”). 
Wikipedia Sam Sebastian picture link

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