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“Caravaning” is a term chosen to describe the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and passions with different cultures. In November of 2014, our owner Pete and his lovely wife Krista went to Spain where, 500 years ago, the greatest caravaning of all took place. They confined themselves to the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, which is called “Andalucia”, the portal of the Old World meeting the New World.
This portal in Andalucia was first opened with Christopher Columbus discovering the Americas. He and the others who followed began the “Great Exchange”, where the two exchanged traditions, food, disease, religion, and architecture, to name a few.
Yes, coffee is an Old World gift in this “Great Exchange”. Here’s a fascinating quote:
“The North Africans and Arabians first discovered the rich brew that came from the coffee bean. It was not introduced to Europe until the 17th century because Arabian sultans closely guarded the plants and controlled production. The Turks finally introduced coffee to the Mediterranean through trade with Venice and in 1650, the first coffee shops appeared along the canals of the Italian city. In 1683, coffee was first sweetened with sugar. By 1700, the coffee plants themselves had found their way to greenhouses in Europe. One of these plants traveled even further to the French colony of Martinique in the care of a military officer. It flourished in the abundant rainfall and warm temperatures and soon spread throughout the Caribbean and South America. The Portuguese then introduced coffee to their colony in Brazil and the South American coffee empires were born.”
Some of the foods, spices and pleasures the New World brought the Old are: tomatoes, tobacco, chili peppers and corn. And the Old World brought to the New: bananas, tea, lemons, and… … coffee.
From this premise of caravaning as an exchange, this series is will cover our personal adventures in Andalucia, Spain. Be forewarned, this is home of the Flamenco, gypsies, Andalucian horses, Costa del Sol, bullfights, and the ancient Moors!
- “The Great Exchange” from a paper published by the Mariners Museum, 100 Museum Dr., Newport News, VA 23606. http://www.vos.noaa.gov/MWL/dec-08/great_exchange.shtml