Spain for the Short of Attention Span – Part 1 – Toledo

Here’s the thing about going to Europe when you’re from the “new world”: it’s culture overload.  You are coming from a place where anything over a hundred years old has a heritage plaque on it and suddenly find yourself in this alternate universe where they talk about renovations that happened in the 15th century.

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Amsterdam in Photos

ImageAmsterdam was a stopover in both directions on our trip.  We had about four hours there on the way to Spain, and an overnight on the way back home.

On the four-hour segment, we were greatly exhausted, having just flown for nine hours, so we took a canal cruise (beautiful views, vaguely annoying guide), wandered a little, had lunch, and got back to the airport, all in a bit of a daze.

On the way back, things were a bit more leisurely.  We’d only flown the couple of hours from Madrid and had more time to explore, which we mostly did on foot, though we had a day pass on transit that we also used to great effect.  It’s a gorgeous city.  Despite what my time in Ireland led me to believe, it is not just a place for raunchy stag weekends and getting stoned.

I had troubles photographing it though, as I felt that the beauty was of the 360 degree variety.  Nothing I took really felt like I was doing it justice, because I was forced to leave things out.

A big highlight was the Van Gogh museum, which was the only museum we visited from the wonderful array of museums Amsterdam has to offer.  (Gigantic line-up, but also a sign that said, “Why wait in line when you can cross the street to such and such booking office and get your tickets right away?”  Being a suspicious sort, I stayed in line while husband investigated and came back with tickets.  Then we skipped the queue like we were VIPs or something while other people in line glared at us.  It was rather fabulous.)  Full of Van Goghs of course, but also a number of big names he was buddies with or who influenced him.  And on the second floor was a delightful surprise of posters/lithographs/prints by the likes of Lautrec and Steinlen.

I’m not sure that Amsterdam is a place that I would go on vacation for any significant length of time, but simultaneously I’m happy we went and I’m quite sure I’d love to live there.  It was just that kind of city.  I’d probably need to learn to ride a bike though.  Bikes are a very big deal in Amsterdam.

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Best Menu Translation Ever

At El Deseo restaurant in Granada, which you should visit if you ever get the chance, as the food is divine:

Risotto “Lorca” – A genius telling a fairy tale about the impossible love between the crawfish and the artichoke.

Doesnt (sorry – cant find apostrophe on European keyboard) that make you want to run out and write a menu?

Having a ball, folks.  Back soon.

Updated – In case you thought I was making this up:

(Hmm.  There’s something a little off in the description of the Berenjena Total as well, now that I read it again.  It makes sense, and I’d bet that it’s really good, but it sounds somehow a bit disgusting.)

So Close I Can Taste It.

Oh, I’m excited!

One week.  In one week, I will be in Spain.  I love Spain.  I went when I was twenty-one and again when I was twenty-two.  My memories of this country are all in glowing sepia.  I love the people, I love the language, I love the architecture, I love the food and the warm weather.  I love the smaller towns, with their winding streets and their unending charm.  I love that this time, I will understand what people are saying to me. Continue reading

I assume it’s just a phase.

I’ve been having issues with my blog lately: primarily, that I don’t feel like writing in it.  I am in a mental place where I’d rather take things into my mental space than put things out in the world.  I’ve started a few posts, but haven’t found any of them compelling enough to finish.

Instead I’ve been reading some of your blogs.  And a lot of books.  I’ve been working on my silver and considering paint colours.  (We finally found a place!)  I’ve been reading guide books on Spain and Morocco and searching for a hotel for our night in Amsterdam, which is apparently an obscenely expensive city.  I’ve been getting full nights of sleep.

Presumably, one of these days one of these things will inspire me to write again.  In the meantime, to keep you entertained, I will put up small things I find funny or interesting or cute.  Like this fluffy baby donkey:

My dad had a donkey when I was a kid.  I don’t remember it being this cute.

Tis all.

So now then….

We have (finally) moved.  It was not my most favourite of experiences, (in fact, it ranks extremely low on that list) but now it is over and we have all the things in their places and there are tulips on the coffee table in the area we have designated as our living room.  It’s all very pretty, really.

My brain has not quite got used to the idea of this as home yet though.  I keep catching myself thinking that I’m staying at a bed and breakfast.  Although, as it was pointed out to me, it would be a pretty crappy bed and breakfast, as we had to both bring our own bed and make our own breakfast.  And it has quirks, this place.  Like a weird stair that goes up and then down between the kitchen and the living area.  And a ridiculously low ceiling in the shower.  (Compared to an apartment without walls, they aren’t big quirks.)

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Memories of Mexico

For three years during my twenties, I lived in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  Over the time I was there, I worked at four different jobs, all with their special challenges.  I lived in five different apartments, each with their own quirks.  It was a funny time that I look back on with a lot of fond memories.  Some of the memories are also a bit surreal and when I think of them, I struggle to reconcile them with reality as I now understand it, but the events made their own kind of sense at the time.

One of the apartments we lived in didn’t really have walls. Continue reading

My Summer Vacation – A Short Essay With Many Links

So here’s what I learned about San Francisco when I went to San Francisco – it’s really close.  From Vancouver it takes two hours and thirteen minutes to fly there, and it’s worth the trip.


It’s a colourful city, in any way you’d like to interpret that.  I found the people to be diverse and friendly.  Like Vancouver, it’s a city on the water, which is a quality that always makes me feel at home.  But it was the architecture that really blew me away.  Every corner of every part of town had some gorgeous building on it.  And no one seems afraid of colour when it comes to paint, which was refreshing. Continue reading

Off the Grid

So, I’m back.  Hi!   San Francisco was fabulous, of course.  I never thought it wouldn’t be.  More on that later.

Here was something interesting about my trip: I went to San Francisco without my laptop.  This was mostly because I didn’t feel like carrying it.  (It’s shocking how many decisions I make based almost entirely on laziness.) I don’t have a fancy internet phone either.  No one has internet cafes anymore.  So I was offline.  It was like re-entering 1996.

(Yeah, I think there was internet before 1996.  But it didn’t make it onto my radar until 1997, so whatever.) Continue reading