Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Spoils.

Only when a torero performed especially well, and only with the crowd's approval, the president of the bullring will wave a white kerchief in appreciation. This is the sign for the torero's assistant to cut off the bull's ear as a reward.

Hard to see, but in the his left hand this fighter is holding the bloody stump of an ear in triumph. In a moment he will toss it into to the crowd in appreciation for their cheers.

I did not catch it.

Monday, May 27, 2013


The prologue.


The fight.

The victor.


The clean-up.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Day at the Fights.

A cruel and pointless past-time, it amazes me that a western European capital that prides itself on all of its liberal and left-leaning policies still engages in public displays of animal slaughter.

Naturally, that didn't stop me from attending a fight and having an interesting experience while there.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Under the Sun.

The largest city in southern Spain, and what was once the major trading center for the Spanish colonies in the Americas, Seville today is still a bustling city but more focused on tourism than exploitative, extraction based trade policies with the western hemisphere.

This parasol made mostly of wood and glue, hovers over a plaza just outside of the old city. Construction went four years and almost $70 million over budget, but that was back when Spain had money.

Now it's just another beautiful piece of public art, that also acts as a perfect symbol of the unchecked growth and spending of the housing bubble that will be felt for the next decade.

Friday, May 24, 2013

And Yet.

Much as the swastika was once upon a time not associated with the Nazis, these white cloaks were (and in Spain still are) NOT associated with the KKK in any way. These are traditional cloaks worn for Easter celebrations.

 And yet.

And yet, there is basically no way that this doesn't look totally creepy to me. No way.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Camping Out.

Based in the Spanish island of Mallorca, Camper shoes was founded in 1975 and is now sold around the world. They have several stores in Madrid, but the one closest to our house was recently remodeled with this strange wall display.


I was definitely not scared out of my mind that these shoes were going to suddenly come to life like something out Willy Wonka and starting kicking me.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


 I was only able to spend a day in the southern Spanish coastal city of Malaga, it was my loss.

Continuously inhabited for more than 2,800 years, the harbor is literally layered in history. The Phoenicians, the Romans, the Moors and since the reconquista in 1487 under Spanish rule.

This view from the port looks out past the modern facility and shopping area to the Catholic palace which is still connected to the Islamic castle, bordered by the Phoenician walls with a Roman amphitheater at its feet.

Also, Antonio Banderas was born there.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pint Sized.

Naturally no visit to Dublin would be complete without a stop in the Guinness storehouse (aka brewery). The entire facility takes up several city blocks, and within is a seven story museum/visitor center built in the shape of a pint of Guinness.


On the very top floor, with a view out over Dublin, we were served a complimentary pint by a very nice young bartender - Carolina, a girl from Spain who came to Dublin a year ago to find work and improve her English.


The perfect pint. After the initial pour, one must let the foam settle for a full 120 seconds before topping off the pint. The clover art in the foam is optional.

Monday, May 20, 2013

On the Shore.

Just another gorgeous Irish castle along the way. This one has been restored and hosts feasts open to the public in the summer. But book your seat for the summer 2013 feast now, they fill up fast.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sheer Luck.

 At the incredible Cliffs of Moher. We lucked into sunshine and gentle winds, rather than the rain and gusts that are so often there. Lydia informs me that an important part of Harry Potter is filmed at the base of one of the cliffs.


Every year dozens of people fall off, or throw themselves off these cliffs. I was feeling quite uneasy as it seemed like someone visiting the morning we were there was trying his best to fall. Fortunately for us and for him, he didn't fall.


Monday, April 15, 2013

All Aboard.

Cross country bus travel in the US is accomplished by the riding the 'hound. Greyhound that is.

In Ireland one can cross the country by bus as well. But you'll take that journey in a bus adorned with an red Irish Setter.

So I suppose that means that your bus ride in the US will be faster, but the ride in Ireland will be better to accompany you on a hunt. Or is better for hugs.  Sure, we'll go with that.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Two more from Cork.  I'll always fall for clever (or not) word play.  And below is small scene from the English Market, in operation on the same site since 1788.  Pictured is a selection of olives and other pickled foods.  Not pictured, the booth around the corner that sold incredible smoked salmon, trout, mackerel and mussels.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Side by Side

The old and new side-by-side in Cork, Ireland. A fairly common sight in Spain as well, for someone from a relatively young country as the US living in Europe the contrast never really gets old.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


By the time I'd zoomed in several times, the photo didn't come out great; but you get the idea.  Two animals looking down on us from the very top of the ridgeline.  They stood in place for quite a while and allowed us to take pictures and get out the binoculars as well.

I'm not positive, but I think these are Western Spanish Ibex, a somewhat rare breed of mountain goat.  Photo below of the they look like close up.

Spanish Ibex - Capra hispanica © John Muddeman Not my photo.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Much like in the Swiss Alps, the Spanish have built a series of refugios (literally - shelters) along their trail system.  A great place to get out of the cold, have lunch or even spend the night if your own a longer trek.  This particular refugio even had a small bar serving beer and coffee.