aintbroke: (in case you wonder where i am)
I know [livejournal.com profile] tmcado and you do not. I feel horribly sorry for the lot of you, because she is beautiful, brilliant, friendly, patient and willing to get lost with me in the best of Madrid.

Other than that, the only thing of note is that i finally found my skirt. That only took a month. (It's orange. Oh yes.)

Next update ought to be from home, but chances are that I'll have some tearful goodbye tomorrow. (If I can't restrain myself, I can always delete it later.)

España- te amo.
aintbroke: (Default)
It should not be this sad to be in Madrid. It shouldn't feel as though the world is ending just because I have to go home on Thursday. (¡HOLAY CARP! THURSDAY!)

None the less, was up until two having college conversations (Once again, the youngest person on the face of the earth, by about eight years.) on corre del torros, animal cruelty, vegetarianism, travel, poverty, Latin America, how someone becomes union Iron Worker in New York and ends up sailing in the South Pacific (also, what I can do to acquire such a job), family, language, life, ect.

I love hostels, I love travel, I love the random people you meet in both. Now, I am off to Segovia, with an Iron Worker and a British nanny. But first, I have to say goodbye to a Greek dungeon master. (The manuals are much more fun to read in Greek, and that's a fact.)
aintbroke: (in case i end up off route)
I have an excellent sense of direction. (No, don't laugh, I'm serious.) I can pick up a map, and locate where I am, where I want to go, fold up the map and go there. I can do this on a regular basis. I can do this without thinking about it. (I can even fold the map back up properly!)

Not in Cordoba, boy. Not by a long shot. I spent fully half an hour wandering around the square kilometer where I am staying with out once laying eyes on my alburgue (Note: this is not, as I have been trying to say ah-luh-bUrg-eh, it's al-bERg-eh. This is important.). I found my way back only through sheer pig-headedness, becuase of my (stupid) refusal to ask for directions.

Regardless, I have hit during the international guitar festival, which means free music everywhere. All night long if I can manage to stay up- which seeing as I have a shiny new alarm clock... oughtn't be a problem.

This is me. Sad but true, as illustrated by the following anecdote: I cut off all my hair with a pocket knife, because I was sick of waiting to find a pair of scissors. Without a mirror and in the dark, I managed to give myself a decent haircut, that (get this) someone complimented me on today.
aintbroke: (in case anyone asks (and it's funny))
A post of better proportions begins now.

The Picos de Europa are (by New World standards) small mountains. They top out at 5405 feet (I did the math. I need a book desperately.) but they're stunning. It's all these megaliths of rock rising up from the green valleys of mist. At the base runs the river Stella, which while tame, has many kinds of fish, good swimming, and an eighteen km walkway along it's north bank.

The refuge was a trip. It reminds me of the Grand Canyon, in that you're miles from any sort of built up stuff, but you have all the luxuries of home. Cold water, cooked meals, blankets- If I'd called ahead, I could have gotten away with just taking a day pack with a change of clothes and my toothbrush. Everything else, they had up there.

I was the only guest the first night, which was lovely. I got to share tales of mountaineering, climbing, and latin america with the refuge keeper- an old mountain man in the Royal Robbins tradition. The next night, the refuge was full of French tourists, who were all very grumpy about something. Pfft. Not my problem they can't make themselves understood.

I walked down to my alburgue, which was cool and clean, and had showers. Oh, showers. I love them so. I had the brilliant idea of washing my clothing, (Mostly because I had nothing that wasn't capable of standing unaided.) but once I's gotten everything spread out, it started to rain. I now live in fear of mildew. ! Imagine- Mildew! It exists!

I am now in Salamanca, which is cold today. Ha. It figures. Yesterday it was forty eight degrees (for those of us who live in Fahrenheit about a hundred and eighteen degrees,) with more humidity than I care to remember. But last night, the heat wave broke, we had a little rain, and today, I'm comfortable walking around in the sun (well slathered with sunscreen).

The museum I really wanted to visit is closed today, but free tomorrow morning. Niiiice. I think I'm heading to Cordova tomorrow, because I have the time, and why the heck not?

Lastly, all postcards have been sent. If you were expecting a note from me, it is in the mail. EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM.
aintbroke: (in case i meet the spanish mafia)
Then: I am smit. Am going to buy myself a small house in Cangas, where I shall run a river guiding service and youth hostel. On the weekends, I shall vacation to the Picos de Europa, where I shall climb big rocky mountains.

Now: So frigging hot. Net so frigging expensive.

Love you all, will write more when I am not MELTING IN THE SUN. HOLAY CARP.
aintbroke: (in case i get bored)
I am heading from Bilbao (which in Basque is Bilbo, which I find amusing) to a small town called Covadonga, and from there up to the Picos De Europa park, where I shall stay in a mountain hostel. It's a seven km walk, which works out to about four miles, though it has some ridiculous vertical gain. Still, I'm excited about getting up into the backcountry a little bit at least. Will also get to brush up on my hitchhiking skills, as I am altogether too lazy to walk the twelve km to the trailhead.

I am in desperate need of a decent book. The one I am currently hauling around is Tom Jones. I am less than thrilled about this, especially in the face of a nine hour bus ride tomorrow.

The Guggenheim is amazing, although after the building, the art inside it is a little disappointing. Eh.
aintbroke: (in case i forget something)
I wanted to go the mountains. Evidently, all of Spain and most of France had the same idea. Thusly, I have ended up on the beach, but this too was a near thing, seeing as to get to the beach I had to go through Pampalona, and the Festival of San Fernando starts tomorrow. I finally managed to get a bus, and now I am here.

I can sum San Sebastian up for you in exactly one image. This morning, I saw an old woman with a walker on the beach. Wearing a bikini. Seriously, this made my week. People don't try to hide aging here, but old people can be just and crazy and funky as young people.

The last four nights, I have been the only girl in a room full of stinky guys. Hummmm. I have been too fastidious so far on my trip. But I am catching the begining of the San Sebastain jazz festival tomorrow (Cassandra Wilson!), and a soccer game today (Dubuti Cup!) and I don't have any idea where I'm going next week.

I just got the the coolest thing ever. Two words: Tintin. Basque.

Brilliant.
aintbroke: (in case the trains don't run)
I have no idea where I am going.

This does not worry me as it ought.
aintbroke: (in case i wonder where i am)
Am currently traveling with a brilliant British boy, and a crazy Canadian girl. We say goodbye tomorrow, and this is terribly sad.

Girona is a lovely town in the old European tradition. Small. Red tiled. Stone.

I had, for the first time in my life, an attempted bag snatching, which was such a non-event as to be amusing. It seemed as though the would be assailant felt it his duty to make a grab, but he really wanted us to know that he was doing us a favor.

Every one in the world needs to be listening to Chris Demeanor. Go. Find. Listen. You will not regret this, though the song "Cactus Man" will make you hate women. (Yes, much as "Gone for Good" does.)

I think it says something (I make no guesses about what) that the souvenir I really want from Spain is a European keyboard. A logical placement of the extra keys? Is such a thing even possible?

I am off to an even smaller town in the morning, high up in the Pyraneese, where I shall tramp around foothills robustly and in great health. All my planning (such as it was) is for naught, seeing as I am going through Pampalona just in time for the running of the bulls. I did want to see the city, but not then. Not during one of the worlds major annual touristic events. I'll just skip it and go to San Sebastian, where I can soak up the International Jazz Festival.

I don't plan to have internet access, but neither do I plan on being dead, so expect the next update in a week or ten days-ish.

And I love you, friends list mine; I wish you were all here with me, fending off conversation with lanky, suttering Spaniards and eatting tortillas.
aintbroke: (Default)
I came across what I thought was an innovative campaign against smoking today (Lesbians Against Smoking!) but then I found out that it was really a pro-smoking ad. I think I can be forgiven the confusion seeing as the text said "You can't quit until you've begun."

Everyone and their mother smokes here, and I have yet to find a building with a no smoking sign posted anywhere. This is a non-endearing characteristic of the Spaniards, but their clothing prices more than make up for it. I have been duly shocked at how cheap it is to dress very well.

Also duly shocking are older women who have hair dyed weird colors. I'm not used to forty year olds with green hair! Or having whole blocks of aged women in revealing, tight, short clothing. I guess you aren't required to "grow up" fashion-wise here until later.

I had churros and chocolate for breakfast, and I had really forgotten how artery-clogging they are.
aintbroke: (in case i end up off route)
Soooo. I had platanos for dinner last night. (Which for those of you not in the know are a Dominican food, consisting of double fried banana chunks. Only, not bananas, plantains. There is a difference.) It turns out that weird hostel food is a lot like weird dorm food, only more exotic. In odd ways.

I have been adopted as the traveling companion of the month by a random British boy, who has informed me that he will be hiding in my luggage, in case I any ideas about leaving without him. He is beautiful-beautiful, and having him along will assure that I have something to draw whilst on the bus. (He only loves me for my Harry Potter, but hey. I take models however I can get them.)

I filled an entire camera with photos from my Gaudi excursion yesterday, and I have this horrible dread that none of them will develop properly.

Yes. My life is hard.

Postcard update: If your name is Cabel, Anna, Ko, Bill, Joan, Alli, Bibi, Tura, Jeff, Laura or Mateo- haunt your mail boxes.
aintbroke: (in case i wonder where i am)
Gaudi. Lots and lots of Gaudi. He has inspired me to give up biochemistry and become an architect.

Well, almost.

Looking through museums of his technical drawings was a little off putting, seeing as drawing pen and ink postcards has proved to be all my puny attention span can take. Speaking of which- I spent a full twenty euros on stamps. (Stampillas here, not estampas as I am used to calling them.)

Quite seriously though, Canadian girl from my hostel and I went to the market (yay fruit!), the Sagrada Familia, the Palau Gallú (ish, something like this) and the Gaudi designed park that I am too exhausted to attempt to remember the name of.

This amounts to about five miles (and NINE HUNDRED STAIRS. NO JOKE. This man was a sadist of the highest order.) I bought postcards, and a dry cheese sandwich on baguette, both of which turned out to be far nicer than I anticipated.

Now we go back to the market in search of tomato, so that we can make our salad for dinner. Then, I have every intention of getting a real nights sleep- the first I will have had since getting here.

No time for spell check- Sorry.
aintbroke: (in case anyone asks (and it's funny))
I have arrived in Barcelona, and if anything, it is hotter than Madrid. This is ridiculous. I shall come back to the states ready to move to Atlanta, or Tallahassee or Phoenix, and I will live there contentedly with out air conditioning until I forget Spain. There is no air conditioning here, which is probably not a bad thing, seeing as I would likely freeze inside buildings, and have to be bribed to leave.

I waited around for my train for an hour and a half before I thought to ask where the platform was. Twenty minutes before the train left, I was at a station fifteen minutes away from my platform. Oh the agony! Oh the wandering though miles and miles of metro tunnels in a misguided attempt to find a subway going in the right direction! Oh the pain of attempting to locate my subway on a subway map, which turned out to be useless, as it was a special subway that doesn't show up on a map. Oh the bitter irony of finally getting to my station across town, only to have to wait twenty minutes for my train. -_- Seriously.

Nine hours on a train is a lot like nine hours on a bus. Which is to say: about eight more than is in anyway interesting. I saw much graffiti in bright colors (known here as punitio), and a badly dubbed version of Men In Black II. There is a great big plot to make me watch every movie that I was deliberately avoiding, but I'll attempt to be strong.

My train made a sound like booster rockets firing every time it sped up. I didn't examine the sides of the train before getting on, so for all I know, there were booster rockets strapped to the sides, but it seems unlikely. (Although our snazzy little pull out TVs told us that we cranked it up to two hundred kilometers per hour, which was cool.)

I have the slowest hands on a camera ever. I think to myself- Oooo! That would be a cool picture! but by the time I grabbed my camera, whatever it was would be out of sight. So I left my camera out, only to have the same thing happen. Then I held my camera, only to be thwarted by lack of photogenic landscape.

I seem to have converted to this Spanish eating schedule, though not with any grace. Light breakfast around eight, huge (gargantuan) lunch between two and four, then a light dinner around ten thirty. I haven't yet learned the sleep schedule, which seems to be sleep from two until eight, and a siesta in the afternoon.

Fascinating as that is I'm sure, the time has come for me to begin stalking some dinner, and attempt a call home. If I were more on top of things, I would do this tomorrow around eleven, and catch everyone at home. Wait- maybe I'll just wait till tomorrow. Ok, that's one less thing to do.

Postcards: If your name is Bill, Joan, Bibi, or Laura your postcard has been sent. If it isn't, a little patience please, I can only write so fast.
aintbroke: (in case i end up off route)
The streetlights in Madrid go on at ten, but it isn't dark enough to need them until about eleven. I know this because last night I wandered around the narrow cobbled streets until eleven thirty. I was looking for a cup of tea, but all anyone had was coffee, and that was the last thing I needed.

Outside my hostel, at eleven thirty there was a full marching band. I'm not sure what they were up to, because no one could hear any question I asked, but it's disheartening to know that even on the other side of the Atlantic, the only song marching bands know is ¨When the Saints Go Marching In.¨

I have been enjoying eating out, though I have to confess I'm not certain what I'm eating half the time.

I went to the museum today, (I promised myself I'd only go to one) and staggering heartbreak awaited me there. My favorite painting in the entire universe is The Grey Tree by Piet Mondrian. (I am not a fan of much else of his, but this I love.) Up until three months ago, it hung in this museum: three months ago, they sold it to the Hague. There is no god I tell you. None at all.

I saw Guernica and it made me cry. I don't like Picasso, and it still made me cry. Unfairness!

These recent art travails have hardened my heart to Madrid, so in the morning, I board the train for Barcelona, where I will have my heart broken by Gaudi. It's a vicious cycle this art stuff.
aintbroke: (in case i forget something)
Before leaving, I very carefully redesigned my lj with an eye to fast loading. Oh it loads alright, but all the screens are 800x600. -_- Also, the keyboards are whacked. In Latin America, they at least had the sense not to move the apostrophe key!

Anyway, I'm being rained on, and the one thing I did not pack was a rain coat. My hotel owner is from Chile, and he teased me about coming to speak Castillian Spanish, and going straight back to my new world roots. I have painted exactly one postcard, and would like to state that there is an excellent reason that I am not in architecture school and this is that I can not draw straight lines.

I wish I had more time to say something interesting, but I have not learned how to fully use half hour internet chunks.
aintbroke: (in case i wonder where i am)
I had this horrible moment of panic in the airport.

I'm in a foreign country, I don't know where I'm going, I don't know how to get out of the airport, I don't know how to call home, or where to change money, I don't know the farking exchange rate!

The follow up thought to that, of course is: 'I love summer vacation.'

I read OotP in eight hours on the airplane. I have exactly one thought on it. NOT A SPOILER: Perhaps rereading the 'Tea' series last week was not the best of ideas. It's not so cannon-implausible after all, is it?

I'm staying in a hostel two blocks from the metro station, which reminds me of being in DC. (The metro, not the hotel.) I have spent an hour reacquainting myself with the telenovelas, and they're just as mind numbing as I remember. I'm obviously going to need to find myself another sketchbook, because I've been in the country and awake for about four hours, and I'm half through the one I brought. Now Í've got Eminem blasting at me (IS THERE NO GOD IN THE WORLD?) so I've got to get out of this net cafe.

Hasta.

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