Ask and ye shall receive

Well, I can’t promise that everyone else gets the same stellar and responsive service that David does, but I do try. Based on his terribly sensible request I have added a new category, lickety-split: “bon voyage/voyeur,” and reclassified all the travel-related posts I could find to this new home. It’s all about travel, in the real and vicarious senses. Please do travel, and write about it. If we were all half as eloquent as Paulette, the site would not be nonfamous at all. But then what would we do.

By the way, if you do want to try to get David-level service out of me (instead of standard agency-grade “return your email next week” client service), you could start by taking notes on his exceedingly skillful stroking of one of my great vanities: my near-infallible great-restaurant radar. Flattery may not get you everywhere, but it will get you on my good side.

Pete, if you’re out there, I hope the “skillful stroking” image really cheers you up in the way that only my conjuring of extravagantly gay images can. If not, I can keep them coming.

Paris recommendations

A friend of mine is travelling to Paris soon, so I thought I’d send him some recommendations. And because I’m going myself in a couple weeks, I didn’t want to lose the info. So here it is for posterity, my list of must-dos in Paris.

A friend of mine is travelling to Paris soon, so I thought I’d send him some recommendations. And because I’m going myself in a couple weeks, I didn’t want to lose the info. So here it is for posterity, my list of must-dos in Paris.
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Leaving Madrid, Paulette Style

So, I went back to Madrid for my last night in Spain. This makes sense, right? Since my flight was from Madrid, and sure, Toledo was only an hour away and I had a primo parking spot and a really nice hotel room that I could have kept for an extra night. But I thought to myself, hey, Madrid, yeah, cool city, gazillions of hotel rooms, no problem.

Parking, on the other hand…Not so much.

So, I timed things perfectly. Spent the day in Toledo going to the museums and such that had been closed on Monday, working a bit more on my tan, enjoying the city in general, and then heading back to Madrid at rush hour. Yeah. Well, the good thing about that was in stop and go traffic on the highway, changing lanes and all, I realized that I hadn’t stalled once. I’m like total expert stick shift driver. Yeah, I rock in small ways.
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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.
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Dispatch 4, eating my way through San Sebastian

OK, first off, I’ll apologize if anyone is getting tired of my constant talking (yeah, you all thought you could get rid of me for a few weeks–fat chance!), but I’m kind of getting into this travel journal thing.

So, since I’ve gotten to San Sebastian I’ve done very little other than eat, and walk to places to eat, and drink, and walk to places to drink. Today, I drove somewhere to eat.

The amazing thing, though, is that my clothes still fit. Let’s hope this keeps up, but with the amount of food I’ve put away in the last four days (not to mention sidra, tzakolis–literally ¨”green wine” a local product not unlike a light, fruity prosecco) I should be looking like a Macy’s Day Parade balloon. But my jeans actually seem a little loose. It would appear to be some weird perversion of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, where I eat plenty of loaves and fishes, and yet there is no more of me than before. Very odd.

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Dispatch 3, The Short, Unhappy Life of Toro the Opel

Well, since leaving Madrid, I just take the opportunity when I happen upon an Internet cafe, because, well, you never know when I’ll find another.

Excuse the awful typos in yesterday’s post. That keyboard was weirder than most, not just oddly placed letters, but sticky keys and I was trying to type too fast.

Anyhoo, so I might as well tell you the sad saga of my rental car, a cute little Opel Corsa–a very new car but without air conditioning or a radio. The former doesn’t really matter, since it’s been fairly cool and overcast or raining since I left Madrid. The latter might be both a blessing and a curse. No radio means fewer distractions, and it’s probably a really good thing that I pay as much attention to the driving, as I’m going largely without benefit of a map and still not that good at the whole driving thing. On the other hand, no radio leaves me a lot of time to think. And I mean a lot. Which is probably dangerous. When I picked up Toro, he had a mere 6000 kilometers on the odometer. I’ve managed to add another 1200 to that. Poor thing.
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Dispatch the 2nd, El Pais Vasco

Some technical glitch, which I’m choosing to blame on the ETA (Basque country’s answer to the IRA) has left me completely unpable to access the authors’ portion of nonfamous, so big thanks to Jay for posting this in my stead.

So, I’m in Pamplona. You know, the place with the running of the bulls and all that? Well, it’s kind of cool. I mean, I came here for two reasons, right? Food and Hemingway. So I’m in exactly the right place for that. Except, I gotta say, Pamplona, as pretty as it is, sort of leaves me cold. The monastery where I am staying, on the other hand, is quite cool. And it’s a two mile drive up a mountain to get there overlooking Navarra and the Irati river.

Now the Irati excites me. I was actually fairly thrilled to spend the morning walking around Saguesa, a town straddling the river that I am almost certain was where Hemingway had n mind when he wrote the scenes where Bill and Jake stay before heading off to the feria in Pamplona, where they fish the Irati and have the last moments of peace before Brett and Mike et al show up and begin turning the whole thing into a mess of drama and tensions. That was always my favorite part of the book, the one I came to this part of the world for, and recent history being what it has been, I guess it’s no real surprise that I would connect to that part of the story, is it?
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Dispatch the first from espana

Ok, first of all. I’m in a bloody foreign country (I mean that it in the British way, not the literal one) and yet I´m the only one to post to this site since I last posted like a year ago. Y’all are a bunch of slackers!

That said, hey from Madrid. I hate postcards, so consider this a mass one. Wish you were here. Actually, I do. And then we would stay. Whoever said this was an ugly city (you know you are) was smoking crack (and you should really give that up) because it´s anything but. Actually, it´s much prettier than Paris in its own way. Much less of that fussy ornate architecture, more interesting and, well, Spanish style buildings. It´s more beautiful in the way that New York is beautiful, except, again, with Spanish style. And the blue and white tile thing that´s all over the place, a holdover from Moorish times, is really working for me.
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We’re home!

Well, the trip back was uneventful. It was a great trip, but it is really wonderful to be home.

I wanted to get photos posted before Miss Brooks got all upset… they are here, and I’ll add some more musings on the trip in the next several days and do some link annotation as well.

Also, apparently there was some trouble with the link to “Tompkins Abroad” I sent out, but it is up and running here.