(Yes, the answer to our last blog-saloon quiz was Hemingway's "Death in the Afternoon," last chapter, where he sums up everything he left out of the book. His best writing. )
With that in mind I just staggered back to the hotel from "The Oldest Restaraunt in the World," in Madrid, Espana. It's "Botin" on the "Avenue of the Knife Makers," just off the Plaza Mayor. I was here five years ago after my friend Allen Josephs recommended I show up and drop his name. He wrote "The White Wall of Spain" and a great bullfight book on Cesar Rincon. The cafe is mentioned in a thousand books, including "The Sun Also Rises."That night I dined with the ambassador from Brazil and his lovely wife and daughters. Tonight I dined alone on the menu of the day: Andalusian Gazpacho, Roast Suckling Pig, White Rioja wine and the bread of the region. This sits on a street where muleteers and traders rumbled through in the year 1561. The walls seem to curve and wave and molt, and the tile came in on the backs or Moorish mules. Back then even the women had scars on their cheeks. A sign of integrity. Deep song. Cante hondo. The waiter notices I don't touch the ice cream and to compensate, brings lemon sorbet and a very large glass of Spanish Brandy. I heard Lorca and Leonard Cohen ringing in my ears as I wandered out among the throng and called for a coach and horses. Drifting back to the hotel.....singing "Take this Waltz, this waltz, this waltz....with it's very own breath of brandy and death..."
"It's okay to leave some wine in the bottle," said my friend Eric Hillestad. Abrazos to all. TR