Sunday, February 24, 2013

Moving to Spain and the joys of renting a Spanish apartment

Thousands of British, German, Scandinavian, etc. expats have moved to Spain.  And why not?  Good food, great weather, and it seems like there's a fiesta every weekend somewhere within an hour of where you are.  Did I mention the cheap cost of living?  As is the case whenever you move to a foreign country, there are always different things to get used to.  The norms of renting an apartment are no exception.  In Spain, they often come fully furnished.  And that means everything from silverware to furniture to even a toothbrush left behind in the bathroom...

One renter's surprise tops them all however.  My new apartment was covered floor to ceiling with paintings.  While they weren't ugly per se, it was just too much.  It was time to redecorate.  As I took them down, I noticed a few had bugs and even other paintings on the backside of the canvas.  Then I came to the large landscape in the hallway. 

The last to come down.  As I carefully lifted it off its hooks, something caught my eye.  Hiding behind this indescript landscape was a life-size nude portrait.  Painted in 1969, one wonders how many decades she lay waiting for this day.  To have the chance to show off her radiant glow.  I was shocked and filled with teh laughter of a giddy little school boy.  I cross-referenced "Desnuda" with the family photos (also left behing to hang on the walls of the apartment) but no match was made.  I'm afraid who she is will forever remain a mystery.  Though her name may be forgotten, the memory of my poor little Desnuda will live on so long as I'm alive. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Oktoberfest Review Guide: Part 2

Tent #2: Ochsenbraterei     Associated Beer:  Spaten

After the disappointed that was the Paulaner tent, we decided to move on to a more reliable brewer.  Spaten was one of the first beers I bought after turning 21 and it didn't disappoint then.  I hoped the Ochsenbraterei would continue this trend, and so long as they served me a beer in a 1 liter mug, they wouldn't.  Again this tent seats close to 6000 people, and it also serves up several different ox dishes (as is implied by the tent's name).  Walking in at 9:30am I could see the tent was already starting to fill up.  A good sign.
Spaten Tent at 9:30am on a Tuesday
Decoration was similar to the last tent, except that the animal head trophies were replaced with images of the traditional dress of towns across Germany.  A nice touch.  This early on a Tuesday it was easy enough to find a seat and get the beer maid's attention and finally succesfully get a beer.  Here there's no messing about.  Beer comes in a 1 liter glass mug, called a "mas" which will set you back about 9 euros.  It may seem expensive, but when you consider the atmosphere, the amount, and the price of beer at any other city bar, it's not so bad. 

Spaten tent detail
With 6000 people in 1 tent from all over the world you're bound to see and meet some interesting people.  On one side of you, a table full of ozzies in matching shirts with a petite little girl making her father proud by downing a full liter in 1 go.  On the other side, a group of Germans decked out in lederhosen.  In the middle, at the table with us was a german who's wife was the beer maid serving us drinks.  We picked a good seat.  A few things we learned after a couple liters: 
-beer maids are not official workers of the tents.  They work for tips, and if they drop a mug, it comes out of their pocket
-These talented ladies can carry 10 one-liter mugs at a time to roudy Oktoberfest patrons
-The Hacker-Pschorr tent has the most lively atmosphere in the evening.
-Due to rampant theft of the glass mugs, bags may be searched in and out of the tents.  They may be purchased for 5 euros however.

And I'm sure there were others that I can't remember at the moment.  After an hour or so with Spaten we decided it would be best to take a short break...

Spaten's Tent Rating:  7/10 beer steins.  Rating would probably be higher if it wasn't 10am and I had eaten the ox.  They served me a beer, that's all I coud ask for

to be continued...