Iceland to Relocate to Costa del Sol

April 1, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Posted in Europe, humor, Iceland, Spain, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Las Chapas, Spain (Tripatini NewsWire) – Spanish Prime Minister José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero and Prime Minister of Iceland and former Loftleidir flight attendant Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir today announced the official launch of Operation Sól og Fjara (Sun and Beach) at a beachfront signing ceremony that concluded a six-month negotiation for the purchase of a strip of aging condominium buildings in the town of Las Chapas on Spain’s Costa del Sol. Under this unprecedented plan, the entire population of the North Atlantic island nation, currently estimated at 317,000, will be transferred in stages to their new home, which will enjoy full sovereignty under the terms of the agreement. Sources close to the negotiators have hinted at a figure in the billions of krona, not counting a 20-year installment plan of barter payments in sardines and backstock whale blubber.

“It just makes sense,” said Ms. Sigurdardóttir, who admits that her name is sure to confound her new Spanish neighbors. “We have bad weather. They have good weather. Honestly, we’re sick of the cold and the puffins.”

Mr. Zapatero, whose name will likely confound the average Icelander as well, added, “The Brits have bailed on so many condominiums, and that whole coast is way overbuilt. Sól og Fjara is good for Spain too.”

Every Icelander pitched in to make the purchase possible, according to the Icelandic prime minister. “Even the little children dug into their piggy banks. We’re proud to say that we are all founders of the new Iceland.”

In a cordoned-off area nearby, an angry mob of Spaniards burned codfish, an ancient symbol of Iceland, in protest. The resulting smell caused several onlookers to pass out. At last count, a young couple and a teacup chihuahua had been hospitalized.

“What’s the difference?” Zapatero asked. “This coast is overrun with foreigners anyway. We managed to upsell the Icelanders on our ‘Full Sovereignty’ package, and that’s a good thing for our bottom line. Discussions are currently under way with the Canadian territory of Nunavut for a similar deal.”

Gudmund Gudmundsson, a bystander who flew down from Reykjavík for the occasion, commented with tears in his eyes: “I know I speak for my countrymen when I say, I cannot wait for swim in January! So long as Mediterranean freeze not, we will make a party.”

Some Icelanders, understandably, will miss their homeland, which has reportedly been sold to Donald Trump for development of a Santa Claus-themed casino and spa complex.

The April Fool’s Day celebration concluded with the consumption of a rotting shark’s head, a traditional Icelandic delicacy. By that point, Prime Minister Zapatero had conveniently departed for an urgent meeting in Nunavut’s capital of Iqaluit.

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A New Year’s Eve Blast From the Past: “Another Year” from Spain’s Mecano

December 31, 2009 at 10:00 am | Posted in Europe, festivals/celebrations, music, Spain | Leave a comment
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by Tripatini staff

An oldie but goodie from one of the seminal Spanish pop groups of the 1980’s and 1990’s, newly reunited just this November. Two brothers, Nacho and José María Cano wrote and played the tunes and Ana Torroja sang ’em, and many were quirky doozies — I Can’t Get Up Today, This Isn’t a Serious Cemetery, I Crashed a Party, Stereosexual. This one, from the 1987 album Descanso dominical (Sunday Break) describes the annual New Year’s Eve revelry in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol plaza — “sailors, soldiers, singles, marrieds, lovers, strollers, even the occasional confused priest / Amid shouts and whistles, Spaniards big and small for once do something at the same time.” But the video pulls in imagery from NYE throughout the world as well as movies and TV sources as varied as The Simpsons and the original Poseidon Adventure. Because nothing says “Happy New Year!” like a sinking ship.

Where Cider Houses Rule

October 12, 2009 at 10:14 am | Posted in Canada, culinary/food & drink, Europe, France, Germany, Massachusetts, New York State, Oregon, Quebec, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Washington State | Leave a comment

by José Balido

A demo of traditional pouring technique at a gala at the Cider Museum in Asturias, Spain.

A demo of traditional pouring technique at a gala at the Cider Museum in Asturias, Spain.

It’s autumn in the northern hemisphere, and in a few key regions of a few key countries that means apples and cider, both “hard” (mildly alcoholic) and not. While pomaceous potions are brewed — in versions sweet, dry, and downright tart — in countries as varied as Argentina, Russia, and South Africa, in certain fetching parts of Europe and North America, cidre, sidra, and Apfelwein are an integral part of the life and culture. Any one of them would make a juicy getaway indeed. So how do ya like them apples?

Canada: Quebec Though found in Ontario, British Columbia, and elsewhere, in Canada fermented jus de pomme has been a particularly important part of Quebec’s heritage ever since it was brought from France centuries ago (and they keep innovating, as with the relatively recent “ice cider”). A Route du Cidre covers some 30 producers, many family-owned but several run out of Roman Catholic monasteries (Cistercian cider – who knew?). Most are in Montérégie, just south and west of Montreal, and you’ll find the rest in the Laurentian mountains and the Quebec City area (including three on an idyllic isle, Île d’Orléans). CidreDuQuebec.com.

Britain: England & Wales Scores of small and medium producers crank out hundreds of labels worth of cider and perry (its pear counterpart). England’s West Country, Herefordshire, and East Anglia are hotspots, including historic thatch-roofed inns such as Bretforton’s half-timbered, Elizabethan Fleece Inn, Hereford’s Cider Museum, and a Cider Route covering big producer Bulmers and ten others. CiderMuseum.co.uk, CiderRoute.co.uk, UKCider.co.uk, WelshCider.co.uk.

France: Normandy & Brittany Normandy’s best known for Calvados, but also strong in sweet, brut, and semi-brut cidres; the epicenter’s the Pays d’Auge/Calvados region, anchored by the picturesque village of Cambremer and the larger capital, Lisieux. The Route du Cidre here takes in two dozen visitable cidreries. Brittany’s lower on the radar but does some fine work in a slightly different style, served up in colorful ceramic bowls and cups instead of glasses. Its own Route du Cidre in the Cournouaille region covers nearly 40 villages and towns and a dozen cidreries. Besides a wonderful Gothic old quarter, the Breton capital Quimper offers an interesting, apple-oriented Still Museum. Cidre.fr, Deauville-Normandie-Tourisme.com, RouteDuCidre.free.fr, TastyBrittany.com.

Germany: Frankfurt/Hesse & Moselle/Saarland German Apfelwein (aka Ebbelwoi) is on the dry side, and in Frankfurt with its more than 60 Ebbelwohnkneipen (cider pubs), many of them in the Sachsenhausen district, it’s arguably as big as beer; you can also visit Kelterei (cider houses) throughout its hinterland in Hesse, as well as down south in the Moselle and Saarland region bodering Luxembourg. The epicenter here is the town of Merzig, and a Viezstrasse (Cider Route) takes in some two dozen small producers. Frankfurt.de, Merzig.de, Viezstrasse-Online.de.

Spain: Asturias In the green north, the Basques and Galicians put out dry, refreshing sidras, but nobody puts it at the center of their cultural universe and identity quite like their neighbors in the lush, rolling principality of Asturias. Every town has at least a couple of sidrerías, where sidra natural is poured from bottles held high over the head, to “awaken” the fizz (a top sidrería hotspot is capital Oviedo’s hopping Gascona Street). Some of the 110 llagares (cider houses) give tours, and there’s also an interactive sidra museum in the town of Nava (among other things, you can sample a wide range and try your hand at the distinctive pouring method). Visit llagares on your own or book tours through Comarca de la Sidra, which include ancient, atmospheric family operations that don’t sell their output. LaComarcaDeLaSidra.com, Sidreria.com.

USA: New England & Upstate New York There are dozens of atmospheric mom-and-pop cider makers dotting the landscape in all five New England states – some still using old-fashioned steam-powered mills (B.F. Clyde in Mystic, Connecticut) or really old-fashioned rack-and-cloth models like the one at Cold Hollow in Waterbury Center, Vermont. Meanwhile, over in the Empire State, the Hudson Valley just north of New York City is prime apple country, and the Finger Lakes out west is also worth checking out for outfits like Lafayette’s quaint, century-old Beak & Skiff.  NewEnglandApples.org, NYCider.com.

USA: Pacific Northwest Cider’s pedigree here may not be quite as venerable as in New England, but it’s certainly well established, as there are dozens of lovely spots in Oregon and Washington within convenient driving distance of cities such as Seattle (for example, Orondo Cider Works, three hours east) and Portland (Ryser’s Farm and others in the countryside just south of the city). TriCountyFarm.org, WashingtonAppleCountry.com.

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