19:40 – Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean – The airline just announced our final descent into NYC. Although I still have a few more hours of transport before I’m home I already feel the trip ending. This has been a truly amazing experience; one intense week of learning and living life to the fullest. I’ve been inspired to open my eyes and reach a new understanding of my place in the world. [read on]
Archive for November, 2006
Not a single day so far has been a disappointment. Each moment has been drastically different than the last. Today was no exception…
After a late night of drinking and an amazing conversation with Melissa, I awoke around noon. As I came downstairs the sound of whistles and drums began to fill the air . Directly in front of the hostel was a parade/demonstration to change a local law involving child custody rights. Pretty random, but only held interest for so long.
I met with Melissa, who spent the morning befriending a cool girl from Canada named Emily. The three of us decided to find some food. A few minutes into our walk we drawn to the sound of live music coming from the nearby Plaza De La Reina. We found a lot of people hanging out continuing the demonstration that we witnessed earlier. We only stayed a short while… enjoying the beautiful weather, and listening to the sounds of a funk band.
Last night, Melissa, Yoann and I decided we would find the ingredients to cook paella (a popular Spanish rice dish). In the morning, Melissa and I set off in search of a huge local market we passed last night. Unsure of it’s location, we just chose a direction and hoped for the best. “Um… let’s go that way”
Within a few minutes of walking, we found the greatest surprise: The Torres de Serrans, a large castle gate like structure that used to be an entrance through the old medieval city wall. To our surprise it was open to the public, and free of charge. We made our way to the top… all the way past the gated off ladder to the flagpole! Up there it became apparent how wondrous this city is. [read on]
Melissa arrived from Mallorca with another traveler she met on the ferry; Yoann, a very cool 20 year old hitchhiker from Bretagne, France. He spoke very little English and it was difficult to communicate through words, but the three of us left the hostel after midnight in search of nightlife. [read on]
3:28p – Auto-Res Bus Terminal – After spending a wonderful morning together, Ju and I had separate paths to take. She was headed to Granada, and I to Valencia! There I would meet with Melissa, a great friend of mine from home. She’s been traveling Europe for the last two months and I hope every day of her trip has been as amazing as the three I’ve had so far. I’m definitely looking forward to catching up with her and living our own unique style of adventure in Spain!
Whoa! Just went to the bathroom and saw my first squat toilet. I wasn’t expecting one so early in my trip. If it wasn’t bizarre enough being the choice of toilet in a major European city’s transportation center, the black-light definitely pushed it into the realm of surreal!
9:22p – Valencia - The bus to Valencia had a few pleasant vistas, but was relatively uneventful. The city bus, on the other hand, was a completely different animal! The bus driver was most friendly, and he knew how to handle this massive tonnage of metal filled with human souls… but it scared the living crap out of me when he would floor it just to drive one city block to the next stop. Between the extreme acceleration and jackknife turns, I expected my next method of transport for the day would be an ambulance!
So, here I am in the Purple Nest hostel… still overflowing with adrenaline. I’ve settled into my room and have spent the last couple hours waiting for Melissa’s arrival by catching up on this journal. It’s almost midnight on Friday and the Hostel’s bar seems to be happening. I don’t hear any English though… here goes nothing.
I’ve learned that there is no way each day can get progressively better than the last. I think my enjoyment meter has been overloaded since I got here. Every moment has been completely unique and magical!
Around noon, Ju and I took a bus to Toledo. Never in my travels have I come across a more fantastically charming city… [read on]
I think I’m finding myself in bars a bit too much; the one here in Cat’s Hostel has been a great place to meet fellow travelers. Although they are all from different places around the world, everybody speaks some form of English as the primary method of communication. I was hanging out with a cool group of people at the hostel who I met last night, when 2 girls from San Diego said they were heading to a friend’s house party here in Madrid. We all became intrigued, and left immediately.
6:35p – La Pancita Cantina – I have just found a quaint little backstreet Mexican restaurant with low prices. Still not Spanish food, but I’m getting closer. While waiting for my cuitlacoche and vegetarian tacos to arrive, I’ve been reflecting on the day. It hasn’t been as social as yesterday, but it has been perfectly enjoyable to wander the city on my own… it was also a great excuse to put the digital SLR into action. [read on]
WOW! This is really unbelievable… today has by far been one of the best days of my life! So many adventures, cool people, and random surprises have come across my path… all within the last 12 hours of landing. It is almost too hard to process all of the stimuli.
I decided to hang around the set of the “Bourne Ultimatum”. Within the first few minutes I met the entire sound crew, and spent a few hours speaking with them. Kirk, the lead engineer, has been doing sound in movies for 40+ years! The other two crew members, Ian and Benny were a pleasure to converse with. Ironically, when I asked them all on separate occasions how they got started, the answer was the same: “I was in the wrong place, at the wrong time!” . Maybe this was my “Wrong Time”. [read on]
Wow! This city is truly amazing! It is nothing like I expected. Aside from the expected language differences, and obvious European layout, it feels very familiar and welcoming. People are dressed similar to those in the US, and it appears that they all fit into the same ‘cliques’.
It seems that there is construction and scaffolding on almost every building. However, it is also one of the most beautiful cities that I’ve seen. The air here is crisp and the sky is clear. There is an abundance of green foliage and very few signs of fall.
Contrary to the grid like layout of most American cities I’ve been to, the streets here wind around whimsically and are randomly grading up and down. There is a life here, built into the city over thousands of years. You can see it. You can feel it!