The remaining bitter oranges have started falling from the trees, so we decided to try making marmalade before they were all gone. We went out one afternoon to look at the trees near Santa Catalina. The low-hanging fruit was already picked or fallen, but by putting Ibby or Mimi on my shoulders, and having them reach with an umbrella, we were able to find enough.
Brook hollowed out the fruit to remove the pith, and saved the juice, and then we sliced the rinds into tiny strips for soaking. The next day we boiled them with sugar — lots of sugar! — and lemon juice. And just 40 minutes later we had marmalade. Really delicious marmalade, so we are going to try round 2 this week.
On Monday I left for the MIPIM property conference that is held every year in Cannes. It’s a ridiculously large convention, with about 25,000 people from all over Europe and the world. Of those 25,000, about 24,500 are men, with 24,400 in dark suits and white or blue shirts. Most work very diligently to maintain Cannes as a serious and laughter-free area during the week. That is a waaaay longer period of seriousness than I can sustain, so it was fortunate that my old friend Tim from law school was also there to relieve the pressure, and I was not completely at sea.
But speaking of sea, the Riviera coastline is beautiful, with hills coming right down to the water and long beaches. I climbed up a little hill near the Palais des Festivals (where MIPIM is held) and took some pictures.
And back in Sevilla, the preparations for Semana Santa are underway. Walking the streets you can catch occasional glimpses through open doorways into special rooms, garages and courtyards filled with floats, candleholders, censers, banners and other equipment for the parades. The main town square, the Plaza Nueva, is also now filled almost completely with bleacher seats, with just a small pathway down the middle through which the floats will move. And yesterday a crew was practicing on our street the job of carrying one of the floats. Each person has to bear about 65 pounds, moving very, very slowly. As the website “ThinkSpain” says:
Forget fireworks and live rock bands. Easter week processions are a mass mourning and public repentance of the festeros’ sins. Walking barefoot for hours, costaleros (or pall-bearers) staggering under the weight of the huge, graphic crucifixion scenes, and even self-harming, leave those who know no better open-mouthed and wondering why on earth anybody would put themselves through all this voluntarily.
And of course for those who know better the answer is . . . umm, religious belief? Popedaddy whimsy? Tradition? One of the oddest sights during the week, though, is the hooded figures in costumes that look exactly like those worn by the KKK. These are worn by the brotherhoods of Nazarenos and Fariseos, and supposedly the hoods are to cover their face in shame for their sins. (I think the KKK overlooked that point when they stole the design, although remembrance of it might have helped them as people.) Below are some figurines being sold in a bakery, and some nice capirotes for sale outside of what I can only assume is a robe and magical wand shop.
There’s also beautiful, everyday Sevilla to see. We really are #blessed to live here.