Brief Synopsis - Our trip to Spain!

Old Nov 10th, 2015, 02:40 PM
  #41  
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kimhe thanks for the Yasmin Levy links. Never heard of her, as mentioned I know less about this subject than I perhaps should. I clicked on one of the random YouTube suggestions and came up with this, which seems to have a pinch of flamenco stirred into the mix:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPOpcAp_qnU

Bedar, the language classes I had in high school were French. At the time, as a kid in New York City I thought it was a total waste. Boy, was I mistaken. As an adult I took conversational Spanish for six months prior to a trip to Mexico, then stumbled all over myself when asked "Donde va?" when trying to but tickets at a train station. Fortunately my wife is conversational in French and Spanish (she grew up in Europe), and came to the rescue. But I wish I knew more, just not good at it.

You know the old joke: "What do you call someone who speaks three languages? ... , etc."

Interesting about your Slovakia trips and those tiny language enclaves. Is that mountainous country, that seems to be a contributing factor in some cases. That said I do find it amazing my grandparents still spoke Ladino after living in the Balkans for over 400 years. Sorry to hear your trip was cut short.

I also bought some Jack Rudy small batch tonic to go with my Hendrick's. Offhand I was a little disappointed with that but maybe I just need to experiment a few more times to get the proportions correct!

Ozarkbill, I'm reading "Isabella - The Warrior Queen" right now. My wife read it during our trip. It's excellent, so I'll second that recommendation. Thanks for the others as well.

scdreamer, glad you are finding the report useful. I'm slowly chipping away at the photos and will eventually have an online album. BTW, I didn't mention it but for the most part our October weather was perfect: 70's F during the day, 50's at night. A few outlier warmer or cooler days, but generally perfect. It rained a couple times but not bad.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 03:13 PM
  #42  
 
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Ozark, Nelson, et al:

Since this thread (superb, Nelson) has underlined the infamous Inquisition, you may be interested to note that 500 years after the Iberian Jews were ousted from Spain and Portugal, a village (Belmonte in the Sierras of Northern Portugal) was "discovered," with over 100 Jews, descendents whose ancestry goes back at least that far (15th century). They "came out" of "hiding as Maranos" and now two decades later they have not only built a lovely little sinagoga but they're thriving now...even have a little museum in someone's home which we visited. (Please read the Stories attached below)
Stu
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 03:17 PM
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http://www.dw.com/en/portugal-visiti...nity/a-2738534

http://forward.com/news/12391/after-...erity-t-01065/

https://picasaweb.google.com/stuarttower/Portugal (our visit in 2008)
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 03:26 PM
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sorry....photos of Belmonte from our visit are #187-193. There is a beautiful pousada in town and we also found a great one in Arraiolos near Evora (see pics of you wish)
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 03:57 PM
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For "Cornwall Ann":

If interested, suggest you read the latest, BRANKO. It won the International Beverly Hills Annual award for historical fiction in 2014. (Both Kindle and Hard Cover). Enjoy.

http://www.amazon.com/Branko-Stuart-...pd_sim_sbs_b_2
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 07:59 PM
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In case you are interested, the ancestors of Jews who were thrown out of Spain and now welcomed back as Spaniards. (I am not sure if you can maintain dual citizenship.)


http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/...001-story.html

We have spent considerable time in Spain and in 1972 we ate at what the owners thought was the kosher restaurant in Madrid since the Inquisitions.

They got the meat from a Shochet in Barcelona. Shochet literately means "ritual slaughterer" and is one who slaughters and inspects cattle and fowl in the ritually-prescribed manner, for kosher consumption.

My father-in-law was from Galicia and their last name could either been Jewish or Irish. We recently did a DNA test and she is partially Irish.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 08:00 PM
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I have read Stu's books and they are highly recommended as they are interesting, informative, and well-researched.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 08:01 PM
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Thank you Nelson for your report! After what seems like an eternity of planning, I can feel our trip will now be here before we know it - April right after tax season is over!!! Reading your experience was exciting. We will be covering most of the areas you mentioned (I am adding a couple of your stops after reading about them - thank you!).
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 09:56 AM
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Nelso - Yes, my village is in the Carpathian mountains. Interestingly enough, the religion in the town was RC, but in my village was Russian Orthodox. Before this thread I hadn't looked at this area in a long time, but yesterday did and found new sites. On one of them there were the results of a census from 1715. An ancestor was listed there. Very exciting. Wish I could go back to explore more. BTW, when there I visited my grandfather's house which was now inhabited by a friendly Roma family. I got his address from a US citizenship document.

Tower - Just fascinating about Belmonte. Am going to give this info to my ex, an historian who lives in Galicia. I'm sure he'll visit. From what I read on Amazon, your book sounds a lot like another one I read 10 yrs ago called Hunky by Nicolas Karas. Unfortunately my eyes fail me, and I won't be able to get to yours.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 09:59 AM
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Bedar
Fun to find another anthropologist here, particularly on such a wonderful cultural thread. Perhaps there are lots of us, who knows?!!
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 10:26 AM
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Brit - Maybe some, who knows. Am from UCLA and SOAS, U of London. Fellow of the RAI. When I got back to the States and needed a job, I did more degrees and became an ESL teacher at the university level. Am now happily retired but suffer from macular degeneration which is just awful. Hope I don't go totally blind. In the meantime, I plod along with my iPad and try to help posters here on Fodors.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 02:08 PM
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Stu- it's just gone on my kindle. It'll be good to read on the plane on the way to Bulgaria this weekend. We're going to Sofia for a wedding - the daughter of old friends is marrying a young Bulgarian man who she met in Brussels. I do not expect to pick up much Bulgarian!

Bedar -so sorry to read about your eye problems - that is such a cruel disease.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 06:24 PM
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Bedar, glad to hear this thread made you find some new sites. A 1715 census with your ancestor, that is exciting! Those DNA tests mentioned by IMDonehere sound interesting. We know two people who have had that done.

Yes, sorry to hear about your eye problems, that's got to be a tough one. Good luck.

tower, that info about Belmonte was fascinating, and news to me thanks. We are going to put The Wayfarers on my wife's iPad Kindle app for her next read. She's enjoying reading a history of the Spanish Armada right now. I've got a couple other things in the queue but will get to it.
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 10:31 AM
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Nelson - I did the DNA testing with National Geographic 5 or maybe 7 yrs ago. At that time they could only test for one line of genetic material. If you were a female, the female line was explored. If a male, the male line. Now they can do both, so I may have it done again since that grandfather is in my paternal line. Interestingly enough, in the Wikipedia article on Slovakia that I looked at the other day, the happalogues (sp?), the genetic coding, for that population is listed. Wow, how advanced Wiki is becoming !! The Nat. Geo. test traces ancient lineages' treks out of E. Africa to wherever our ancestors landed up. My maternal route went all the way to Scandinavia before settling in Belarus. Just fabulous !

More about Hendrick's:- We didn't have any tonic in the house when we got it, so tried it straight and then with some club soda. Was wonderful. When we got the tonic, Q and Fever Tree, they both clouded they distinctive taste of the gin. The Hendrick's website says to try it with club soda. Have a go ! Think you'll like it.

When I was a kid in NY (Westchester), I studied Latin and then the romantic French. My father, a Latin scholar, knew that language would help with all languages including English. NYS education was so superior in those days. Sigh. But we did see a recent article listing the best school districts in the US. They were all in NY or on the East Coast. I now live out in the wilds of N. Nevada. Sigh.
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 06:47 PM
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I just returned from having a couple beers with a friend. His brother did the DNA test and it came back 3% Eastern European Jewish. In thinking about that I wondered how did the "Jewish" part get in the results? Judiasm is often identified as a religious belief, though lots of non-religious people (like me) identify themselves as from a Jewish heritage. But how does it show up in a blood test? Anyway he calls us brothers now!

Maybe I'm off on too far a tangent here...

Back to Hendirck's. I bought some Fever Tree club soda to go with Jack Rudy, so I can just try that alone. I also tried the Hendrick's straight when I opened the bottle and it was pretty darn good! I compared it with the Tanquery that I had and Hendrick's has a lot more, maybe subtle is the right word, flavors.

Our other new expense, due to this trip, is higher quality olive oil. As mentioned above, we learned we generally preferred arbequina and very coincidentally some friends turned us on to this just before we left:
http://californiaoliveranch.com/home-cooks/

We bought a bottle of their arbequina then, our local Whole Paycheck has it, $13. It is quite good, even after trying the oils in Spain. Note that they recommend trying it on ice cream!

But I just bought this from amazon, it's from near Ubeda. We had it when we were on the trip, so it will be fun to do the double blind test soon:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00275H6JE
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 07:13 PM
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There are certain diseases, such as Tay-Sachs that, although it is generally rare, it is more common in Ashkenazi Jews. That DNA test showed I was 96% Eastern European Jewish. There are genetic markers to distinguish geographic, ethnic, and national backgrounds.

http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/testing/ancestrytesting
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 07:41 PM
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Nelson, in answer to your statement

Judaism is often identified as a religious belief, though lots of non-religious people (like me) identify themselves as from a Jewish heritage

Nelson, my bro...no matter...you are a member of the tribe, religious or not. Enjoy it and zay gezint!
stu
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 07:42 PM
  #58  
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Thanks for that IMDonhere. The links at the bottom were good too, particularly the one "Detailed information about genetic ancestry testing".

It says: "There is no such thing as a ‘Scottish gene’. Instead groups show a story of gradual genetic change and mixing ... Where we can make a connection between a tribal group and a particular section of DNA, for example, we could say that if you carry it today there is a possibility that some of your ancestors were in that group."

Somewhat similar to what I was wondering about. I guess my hiking buddy and I can be are now pretty close to official "bro's"!
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 08:28 PM
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My wife's DNA test identified a significant part of her DNA as Iberian.
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 08:13 AM
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BEDAR...FWIW, my late wife's close friend was diagnosed with macular degeneration many years ago. She found some successful breakthroughs being made at the famous Jules Styne Eye Clinic, UCLA, and has been in their care. As far as I know, she is still able to see well enough to drive. You might want to check them out.
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