Final dispatch, in the world’s oldest giftshop

Otherwise known as Toledo. Actually, it’s gorgeous here, all windy roads and old stone built on a hill and when cars pass you have to squish yourself into a doorway to not get smushed on their front bumper, or sideview mirror. And you thought it was ridiculous seeing Hummers try to park in compact parking spots? But there are more shops selling damascene and mallorca pearls than there are drive-through coffee shops in Seattle. But the town os gorgeous, it’s sunny and warm, my hotel is so cool (and amazingly still only 60 euros a night, though the most expensive one I’ve stayed in by far) with this elaborate medieval courtyard with fountains and gardens and such, and I might buy a few trinkets, because really other than wine, Ihaven’t bought much here that I could bring back in any way other than as stored fat.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I bought shoes. Sandals, actually, and I’m in love with them. They’re gorgeous spanish leather embroidered with a floral pattern. If the weather in Seattle isn’t warm when I get back, I’m selling my condo and moving to Southern California so I can wear them all the time. You think I’m kidding! And I bought a few clothes, not much, a couple of shirts that were really cute and I can’t wait to wear.

Went to Bilbao yesterday. The city was ok, but the Guggenheim! I have a new-found respect for Frank Gehry. Whereas the EMP is so over the top with the colors and the textures, at best a novelty act, this is just the titanium plating, and blond wood or polished concrete flooring, with an emphasis on creating interesting and gorgeous spaces. I took pictures of the museum,because it really was breathtaking.

And they had a whole room of little Calder mobiles that were hung and lit so that they made gorgeous shadows. I love his stuff, because it’s all about reducing art down to its most essentially elements, and making the lines the story. They also had an interesting exhibit of 20th century art from Jasper Johns to Jeff Koons, with that really cool sculture of a blue metallic dog that looks like it’s made from a balloon. It was a great show, but really, the museum was gorgeous. I have some new hope that the library he is designing for Princeton U. won’t be hideous. Maybe Gehry was just making fun of what’s his name’s ego in building a museum dedicated to his own musical taste? That’s not the first time that’s occurred to me.

Oh, and I finally got the hang of driving! It turns out, I should NOT start out with the clutch all the way down! Makes all the difference. I’m an expert now! Only stalled once yesterday, on a really steep hill in Toledo in one of those windy roads, when people were standing blocking the road talking and I had no choice but to stop. But I didn’t roll back and crash into anything, so I feel like a rock star. I even had to do the stop and go traffic and changing lanes in it through Madrid yesterday and didn’t stall. Watch, now I’ve jinxed mysefl and will be all stalling everywhere tomorrow going back to Madrid.

So I probably won’t post again before I leave Wednesday morning, though I will try to relate at least one or two amusing anecdotes, include the missing my flight story, when I get back.