Sunday, June 24, 2007

We´re not in F****** Krakow anymore dude

Nope, we´re back in Súria.
Which means the pub crawl is definitely off.

So I guess I have some background to catch up on. Let´s start with the fact that I went to The Alhambra, and it was very amazing. I also saw flamenco, products from morroco, ate a crepe and met some cool people.
Then I went to Sevilla, which was also very beautiful and I really enjoyed. It has a big old river through the middle and about 10 bridges. I also managed to stay in four different buildings while there, which I´m not even sure is possibly because I was only there three nights. We also managed to laugh off all the rules. Because we are americans in europe, and ANYTHING goes.
Then I came back to Barcelona, saw Cristina for about ten minutes and went to Tossa del Mar, to meet Grant´s host brother Jordi and his friend Ignacio, who were both hilarious. Apparently Tossa is only for partying, whenever I tell people here that that´s where I went they laugh. But it was nice. We snorkeled and had a tour and a pitcher of sangria de cava courtesy of their neighbor, and swam and played paddleball and I read some Brothers Karamazov and then came back here.
Last night I went out for my last night on the town, which was okay, and then today swam with relatives in the pool and talked and watched I Heart Huckabees with David. Now, I guess I´ll go make my suitcase.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sevilla´s Little Problem

Is the fact that nothing much seems to happen here. I definitely liked Granada better, it was more accessible. But Sevilla does have the biggest cathedral in Europe. It is crazy with tons of towers and a dome and statues over every surface.
In Granada I met two cool girls from Manchester and a boy from Wisconsin. The girls went to Málaga to ride horses but I ended up traveling here with said Grant, and then once here we met another guy from Massachusettes named Daniel, so I have been hanging out with them and living the end of the trip slow down. All we have really accomplished here has been to find a park by the river and buy food. And look for hostels. And just talk.
I should be a hostel reviewer. Our first place was Urbany, which we decided was opened by a bitter ex pat who wanted to open the best club ever, but then it just turned into URBANY. Anyway, this news is not the most exciting, so maybe I will just tell everybody about it when I get home, or when I get some pictures. This is the perfect way to end the trip. I´ve met several people who are going to Barcelona today or tomorrow and I hope to meet up with them and do a beach trip or something.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Granada is everything that it should be. Big hills with white houses and pointy trees surrounded by velvety rumpled hills. I am pleased.
También hablé por fin con gente, una chica de chicago y dos chicos de país vasco y una chica que trabaja aquí pero es griega. Muy simpática. Hablamos de todo, del polemico de todo. Me gustó, entendí todo, y bastante fácilmente. Después de tener discurciones así me da ganas de verdad de mejorar el vocabulario y la gramatica y todo. Ya!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

extra things

So, it seems like on every trip it is unavoidable to bring something that you are sure is going to be so very useful and ends up being nothing more than dead weight. For example that sleeping bag shaped like a big alligator head that I bought in San Francisco, brought all the way through peru, and then brought back to Olympia. Without once using it.
Well, on this trip is a bag of Wasa crackers. Extra fiber crackers.
So today I saw more art- oh no. Mr. Talky is back. He just informed me that he is very sick, as he sits down next to me.
Anyway, that means it´s time for me to beat a retreat. Tomorrow I am leaving for Granada and the next day I will be seeing the Alhambra, I already have my ticket.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Madrid: Not a Complete Waste of Time

Okay, we´re going to start this entry by noting that it is VERY obnoxious when people sit next to you in computer areas and talk for hours on the online phone in a different language. For future reference. Especially when you only stop talking in order to blow your nose into your hand.
Haha! I saw the grossest thing in Súria, some guy was sitting on his front step with...well, actually this is not appropriate. I won´t add it here.

So anyway, I am in the weirdest albergue ever. It is full of children. It is next to a school, in the same building actually. And it is somewhat sinister with long black enclosed hallways and big numbers over the doors and piped in music, like Britany Spears and Natalie Imbrulia.
But guess what I saw today! Oh lord, it was crazy, it was so crazy! Yo flipé. Look, I saw THIS!
No, not that! I saw that weeks ago. Although I think that it would make a really good pet. A dograbbit! No, I saw THIS!

But the REAL THING. It was so beautiful. Guess what else I saw! The REAL Garden of Earthly Delights! It´s HUGE. There aren´t even pictures online that do them justice, though. You all have to go get a book and look at them to live vicariously with me. It was VERY exciting to just walk into a room and see it there. I also saw Las Meninas, by Velazquez, and a bunch of Rubens, which I don´t care for as much, and Memling! I saw Memling!
I also saw the surliest museum staff ever, truth be told. You would think they would be happy to be working there. Thanks to them what I didn´t see was Goya´s Third of May, so I think I may stay here an extra day and go tomorrow.
Today I also went to a bar after the museum, well a café, and I got a glass of white wine, which came with a tapas of smoked salmon, and I felt very cosmopolitan. I am turning into a lush, it seems like I have wine every night here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Lisboa é muito boa, truly

Portugeuse people are incredibly nice. They are a very, very patient people. And very caring. Whether it's the woman passing by and telling you that you need to be more careful with your bag, or the guy who walks you halfway to your destination (because he knows that you are not going to understand the directions), to the old lady who hangs out of her window when she sees your group standing in the street and starts yelling out directions and asking where you want to go they are always there to make your experience of their city better.
Everyone we talked to stopped and took time to communicate with us, and if they couldn't help they found people who could. For example when I got lost looking for the hotel where I was going to meet Ana and I talked to couple after couple who kept pointing me out to new people to talk to. Also yesterday I went by this store called Wish, which is actually a design think tank run by united colors of bennetton, and was looking at everything. I asked the girl there about a CD that was I listened to and she ended up offering to burn me a copy at her home that night if I wanted to come back the next day to get it. We also chatted a great deal about her design projects, and the store, and life in Lisboa. She even asked me whether I prefered she talk in English or Portuguese! Which touched me because everybody here assumes that I traveled thousands of miles in order to communicate with people in English. Except people who don't know any English, and then I get to hear people speaking the most beautiful words ever. I just don't understand them.
So a mix is good.
Anyway, in Lisboa there is a strong attitude of openess, friendliness and sincere concern for others that was touching. All this coupled with a beautiful city with amazing weather. I really love it here.

p.s. Here are two fun facts. One I can't remember but the other is that here the days of the week are numbered! That is to say the week goes First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Sunday. I find this hilarious.
Ah! I remember the other one! In spanish the phrase "decadent" means, as far as I understand it, run down. Or, not in shambles but decaying. I heard it used to refer to the state of the buildings and monuments here. I had always thought of decadent as something that is "over the top".
Although, I guess "over the top" is sort of like "over the hill" which also has connotations of decay, no? So anyway, now I know better.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


Whew, what a busy day. First I walked around half the town, at least, with Melissa from California looking for the huge o castel de sao jorge on top of the hill. It is the first castle I have seen that I can imagine living in. Very sparce but very lovely with beautiful views of the whole city. It has nice spacious courtyards and trees and lovely promenades along the edge of the cliff. Even peacocks.
Then I...what? We walked around but everything was closed (it was some sort of holiday apparently) so she couldn't buy a fancy hat for a wedding in September. So we got gelato instead and talked about things that don't work as well as they should. Like the airline industry. She also explained me how seedless watermelons work.
So then we came back and watched Last King of Scotland because it was hot and nothing was open and because it's good, okay? And then I went grocery shopping (goat cheese, bread, yoghurt and...maybe that was it). (Oh yeah! I watermelon! I forgot all about that. I want to eat that right now.) Anyway then I went wandering by my lonesome to osmosize the city. I talked with a guy with messed up teeth and drew a building and wandered around looking at all the streamers and lights and anchovies that people are hanging up.

Or sardines, possibly.

Then i made dinner and went out to see the puppet shows! Which were AMAZING. Amazing. I walked back talking with Marianne, I think was her name, got a little lost, was a little freaked out, and ended up being in the hands of two nice gentlemen who got me to my plaza. Miquel the bus driver even let me on without money (although I did find my money later, while on the bus, because it was in the "fon'del'sac" (the bottom of my bag) and he was like, "Oh, now you have money"). Anyway, he was funny.
Then I came here and started savoring watermelon! Okay, that is all for now.

Monday, June 4, 2007


Okay, still here in Lisboa. But with more tired legs and pinker. I'm still excited! PORTUGAL. It's sucha pretty name. Lisbon is nice. It is different from Barcelona. Here are some of the ways how.
1. It is not flat. It has, apparently, seven hills, each of which is a neighborhood. We are in Santa Catarina.
2. It also is a bit more run down. It reminds me of Chile, but older.

Also, I know I said before that Spain is very rocky. The landscape, all the houses, the streets...but Lisbon is even more so. Everything here is rock. The streets are all paved with these small chunks of white and black rock set on top of the sand or dirt or whatever, or bigger black rocks, but they are definitely ROCKS, not tiles or paving stones like in barcelona. And they are set into all different kinds of patterns. All the building too are what i would call colonial style. They are big cubes covered in tiles. Yes, many of the buildings are tiled. Mostly in red or blue patterns. And then there are a couple huge castels and churches made of slabs of stone rising above everything. Not very many trees, not even in the Plazas, but a very nice place. Last night I went to see some Fado, the Portugese jazz or gitano type singing, kind of, and I was very impressed. I want to see more. Also the moon was HUGE and really orange. I was sitting outside on my balcony looking at the moon and listening to The Girl From Ipanema, which somebody across the street was playing, and people walking by speaking portuguese. It was warm but with a cool breeze and rustling palm trees. Not to make anybody else jealous but it is really quite quite nice here.


Well! Here I am, arrived in Lisboa, which seems to be a very beautiful city. And full of Portuguese! THAT is exciting! Also very hilly. I met some guy in the airport, now I forget how. Funny, it was just three hours ago...? Ah, in the airport shuttle. I was totally profesh. I was all, "D'onde o sehnor e?" and he was all, "Portugal to the max!" So then he was talking to me in portuguese and he drew me a map of all the places I should visit, including his town so maybe I will go visit him. He owns a bridal store.

I saw a million stores on the way here that I want to check out, and there is this beautiful esplanade that goes right out to the sea. Also it is a little surreal because everybody here is talking to me in English, and I am doing the talking back! My voice sounds higher in english than it does in Spanish, by the way. For those of you who were wondering. Anyway, I don't like it. The english. My voice sounds much better when I speak the little portuguse I know. I talk and I think "Crap, who does that sexy sounding voice belong to? So be saying such beautiful words that voice must be HELLA intelligent."
Oh! I remember. I was going to say that it's really weird because here I am, surrounded by pink people talking english and the radio is playing The Well and The Lighthouse by Arcade Fire. In a way it's nice too, but I'm very aware that my time here is running out. Speaking of which, I had better get out and find some stuff to look at, becasue tomorrow I'm going to Sintra already, if i can find a hotel room.
Much love to all,