Monday, February 27, 2012

 

Orujo de Galicia

The answer that I was looking for in the last question was Orujo de Galicia, but the same drink appears throughout Spain and has numerous names from aguardiente to cana and there is no fixed recipe or taste.

The ones that I have tried (all from friends or family) have varied considerably from an alcoholic but pleasant liqueur, to something that has a taste that I imagine is pretty close to that of bleach.

In the final drink, the raw alcohol is mixed with sherry, sugar, fruit juices and cherries and left to “moderate” over time. We still have some that is over a decade old and each year I add extra sugar etc and it still takes the lining off the inside of your mouth. That one came from my wife’s father!!!!

This weeks question is perhaps a bit easer and goes back to landmarks in Galicia.

The city of Ourense has the remains of an old Roman Spa. What is it called.?

The Spa has been retained (to a degree), but it is perhaps not one of the major tourist attractions in the city. No clues for this one.

There is also a city run open air spa by the river which only costs a few euros to use. There are a series of small pools offering different features. We have friends who use it and recommend it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

 

Teurcrus

The Prazo de Teucro takes its name from a soldier called Teucrus.

Teucrus was an archer who was reputed to have fought in the Trojan wars and who had a more famous brother, namely Ajax. The story may be unlikely, but it adds some extra interest to the square and gives Pontevedra yet another historic connection.

This weeks question is concerned with Galician drinks and it is probably a lot tougher than most of my more recent challenges.

Although it is not yet common knowledge in all circles, Galicia has a very prosperous wine industry and it is now regarded as a producer of some of the finest wines in Spain. The Albarino is probably the best example and parts of Pontevedra and Ourense have extensive bodegas producing both this and other wines. In the case of Albarino, it can command very high price tags and it has a reputation of excellence throughout Europe, the UK and the USA.

The question though is not about wine, but rather about a spin off drink that is made from the left over grape skins resulting from wine production. This drink has a very high alcohol content and it is mixed with other less potent drinks in order to make it palatable. Sugar and cherries are normally added to the concoction and it is then left for months or even years until it becomes drinkable.

This drink is generally made illegally (i.e. without a licence or paying duty), but it is highly popular and given out to friends and relatives.

The question is therefore, what is the name (or names as there are many different ones) for this drink?

Answer next week.

More information about the answer to my last question can be found on this page galiciaguide.com/Pontevedra-galicia-teucro.html.

Monday, February 13, 2012

 

Sir John Moore

As correctly answered by Mike the Traditionalist, Sir John Moore was the man I referred to in the last post and you can find out more about him (and the poem that Mike refers to) here - galiciaguide.com/John-moore.html.

Moore is famous, as far as the French and Spaniards are concerned, for his role in the battle of Elvina, however he is also largely cited as the man who invented the concept of the “light infantry”. This perhaps makes him more significant in terms of world history.

Back to the present and my puzzle for this week is as follows.

In the city of Pontevedra there are many attractive squares and nearly all have a name of some significance. One in particular is called the Prazo do Teucro (square of Teucro).

What is the significance of this square’s name, i.e. to whom does it refer, and who was the “claimed” famous brother of this person?
On to other things and a contact that I have in the commercial aviation world believes that Ryanair have no intentions of reviving the Liverpool to Santiago de Composteal flight route – now or in the future. This is a great shame and also one that seems to make no commercial sense as the flights were largely full on all of my trips with them.

Again one has to suspect that the Xunta have created so many problems for non Spanish carriers that the budget airlines simply cannot be bothered with all of the hassle. Regrettably this is Galicia’s loss and a loss to all of the bars, hotels and other small businesses who now miss out on overseas tourism and the money that it brings in. But that argument has never carried any weight with the Xunta.

Monday, February 06, 2012

 

Filey

The answer to my last question was in fact the coastal town of Filey, just south of Scarborough.

Going back a hundred years and beyond it was a significant fishing town and, although many of the boats harboured in Scarborough, they were registered and sailed by Filey fishermen. Exactly how the trade with northern Spain came about I do not know, but it was by all accounts a very buoyant and financially worthwhile exchange and one that went on for decades.

This weeks question, and I hope it is not one that I have asked before, is connected with the city of la Coruna.

La Coruna has a lot of history associated with the British, most connected with battles, invasions and war. This one is no different, except for that fact that for once the Spanish and British were on the same side fighting a common enemy, the French.

In one particular battle, that of Elvina, a British soldier gained fame and a lasting place in the history of la Coruna for his exploits. He was interned on a hill overlooking the bay and is perhaps more famous in la Coruna than his native Scotland.

After all of that the question is, what was his name?
A second question could also be, what else was he famous for in military circles?

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