Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Music Salon in May

What can devoted readers of the Music Salon expect during the month of May? Well, I will be traveling, like today, so on travel days you won't get much. But on non-travel days you will get observations about Spain: people, concerts, things to see, food, wine and so on. Spain is one of my very favorite places. It has museums and art and architecture to rival most other European countries (only outdone by Italy, France and possibly England) and you can enjoy these and other delights for much less than in France or the UK or Germany or Italy. Yes, Spain is very reasonable.

I was looking at hotels in Valladolid, which I plan to visit. The very best hotel, in a historic building on the central square is available for a mere $77 US a night. And it is a lovely hotel. The other ones in the top ten, also lovely hotels, are around $60. I can tell you, in San Miguel de Allende, where I live, the best hotel runs $700 US a night and for $60 you get the bare minimum.

Best hotel in Valladolid

Restaurants are also very reasonable. My favorite last year featured two excellent courses with wine (not just a glass, basically as much as you want) for €11.50. The only time I was disappointed was when I wandered into a tourist trap restaurant and ended up paying twice as much for food half as good. Avoid that! Tourist traps are those places located right on the major streets--this one was right across from the Prado--and populated largely by tourists. You will always do much better if you just walk a block off the main drag.

Speaking of tourism, this is a major industry in Spain and parts of the country, such as much of the Mediterranean coast, are a solid wall of high-rises fronting on beaches stuffed with middle-aged English and German persons, some of them sunning themselves in their underwear. This is to be avoided. Just about anywhere else in Spain is charming, uncrowded and inexpensive.

But I don't want to get ahead of myself, so I will shut up now and finish my packing! Leaving you with an envoi by Manuel de Falla. This is his Ritual Fire dance from the ballet El Amor Brujo. This version is from the film by Carlos Saura and the principal dancers are Antonio Gades and Cristina Hoyos.


Anonymous said...

Have a great trip!

Bryan Townsend said...


Marc Puckett said...

Safe travels! and I'm looking forward to your posts. Perhaps when Brexit happens the number of underwear-clad Britons at least may diminish on the coasts-- one can only hope.

Bryan Townsend said...

I arrived after a reasonably comfortable, though lengthy, flight. But I should have brought some long-sleeved shirts as Madrid is actually rather cool! Compared to Mexico, at least.

Will Wilkin said...

I appreciate all travel advice. One day will take a European trip myself. Maybe just with the clothes on my back, and take the opportunity to buy a few interesting shirts abroad.

Bryan Townsend said...

A lot of the time, traveling as a musician, it is a bit like being in the Navy. But instead of seeing the world through a porthole, you see tiny practice rooms around the world! Spending several hours a day practicing scales, slurs, arpeggios and repertoire in a little practice room in your home town is not radically different from doing the same thing in Salzburg or London or Madrid! Mind you, the people are different as are the restaurants.

One thing about Spain I noticed last time is that the clothing is not cheap!