Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Note From the Publisher

Big bro and li'l bro

First, thanks to all of you who visit our site. Special thanks to those who leave comments, they’re always welcome. We’ve had a lot of fun putting it together. Traveling can be tough duty. For the most part, we’ve kept the posts informational and educational, however, some of you have inquired as to my thoughts and feelings on the particular places we’ve visited and living in Spain, in general. I will share my thoughts with you below.

A couple of you have asked why I'm not in any of the photos we’ve posted; more specifically, “Would it kill ya to be in one of the pictures?” Yes, yes it would. Actually, these are stock photos and we’re not really in Spain. It’s all been a ruse. Seriously though…Speaking for myself, I don’t photograph well, so I prefer not to have my picture taken. It’s also my way of preventing my spirit from being stolen. Plus, do you really want my mug cluttering up photos of these nice landscapes and buildings? C’mon, it’s a no-brainer.

Living in Spain has been a mixed bag. Barcelona is too crowded. In spite of its rich history and architecture, it’s just too densely populated. Maybe that is why some of the older folks are a little cranky. The only analogy I can make is that if you put too many animals in a confined space, they start to snap at one another. This could explain my perception of old, Spanish women here in Barcelona, which I can only describe as Hobbesian – nasty, brutish and short. I guess Barcelona falls into the category of “it’s a nice place to visit, but…” In addition, it’s really expensive to live here.

With that being said, I’ve really enjoyed my brief time in the small coastal towns of Nerja and L’Escala. These towns are laid back and quiet. I guess that should be expected when you’re soaking in the sun and breeze of the Mediterranean. It also seems as though the older folks in these smaller towns and outlying areas aren't as cranky. Maybe this lends credence to my analogy above.

I also like the quaint city of Granada. Quaint by European standards – about 300,000 people. Even more people when you consider all the college students and tourists. However, it has a much better feel than Barcelona. Also, any place of note in Granada is within a 15-20 minute walk. And, if you like warm, dry, sunny climates, then Granada - and most of Andalucía - is for you. I would definitely say I prefer Granada to Barcelona.

When I left the States in late June, I was planning on living abroad in Europe for a few years, but that has changed. We are in Barcelona thru next May and then return to the States. There are a few reasons for this. Not having a European Union passport is a killer. It makes it difficult to find work, to get your own apartment and to acquire residency. Basically, we're "illegal aliens." The large cities are too crowded and expensive for my tastes. So, I'm basically going to chalk up my 11 months in Spain as a learning experience. I'm just going to take it easy, do some traveling, learn some Spanish and do some writing. I still have a desire to live abroad in the future, but it will probably be a smaller country in Central or South America. Ecuador looks very appealing.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Vic, Spain

Glass blower

SMITE HIM! SMITE HIM! (first person to guess the movie reference wins a prize) Sorry, had to get that out of my system, since we spent Friday in Vic, Spain at their Medieval Festival. It was cool, damp and rainy, which seemed perfect for a festival such as this, conjuring images of vassals scraping together a meager existence under harsh conditions. A brief downpour caused me to exclaim, "Get thee to a Medieval cafe for a warm mug of grog." Well, grog was not to be had, so I settled for cafe con leche.

One section of the festival had craftsmen such as a blacksmith, glass blower, falconer, leather worker, basket weaver, etc. Other sections had food and arts & crafts. Unfortunately, there were no jousting matches or battles with chainmail-clad knights using sword, shield and mace.

Falcons and owls

Arab dancer

The crowd

Cool building

A leprechaun I named Sean

2nd century Roman temple

Plaça Major

City street adorned with banners

A blacksmith or Hobbit? You decide.