Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Modernista V

And finally, just a few details from the Parque Guell.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Modernista IV

Over at the Parque Guell, Gaudi built this gecko to hang out in the middle of a variety of his buildings. On warmer days, water pours out of his mouth too.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Face It. VIII

This was some sort of advertisement for the Barcelona Metro System, and some kind of social networking contest thing.

Lydia found it incredibly disturbing and will probably not be thrilled that I took a picture of it and have posted it here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Modernista III

Just a few of the many sculptures on the roof of "La Pedrera." There was a line down the street to get in, but it was way worth it.

Modernista II

Gaudi's final masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia in the distance, rising above Barcelona.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Modernista I

One of several Gaudi buildings we visited while in Barcelona for a long weekend. Here is the Casa Batllo at night.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Face It. V and a half.

Also in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, and also sort of creepy faces, so I guess it qualifies for this series.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

From Upon High.

Oh well, nothing really to say about either of these pictures other than that I think they look neat and I could see them out the window of my hotel.

I like the reflection in the side of this one:

And this one made me think of something I would happily roll marbles down for hours as a child.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In Your Dreams.

What's that you say? You're such a big fan of the film Hook (directed by Steven Spielberg in case you forgot) that you wish there was a pirate themed Hook bar. Well, I guess dreams really do come true.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Those Were the Days.

When men were men, and they wore metal hats and gloves and shoes. And they rode horses. And they composed sonnets.

(Everything I know about medieval history I learned from Disney movies and Monty Python.)

Why are the shoes so pointy? Why, the better to kick your head-in with, my pretty.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Face It. IV.

Pig tails? Bunched up ends of a head covering? Either way, she doesn't seem very happy about it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Face It. III

Mythologically inspired water fountains in one of the many royal palaces that are now historical sites. These are part of a huge garden complex at a former royal hunting retreat.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Face It. I

A few details from the choir pews in the grand cathedral of Segovia. I'm sure some incredibly skilled artisan spent months of his life carving these, but that doesn't in any way reduce their creepiness.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lights, Camera.

Yes, there are good photographers and bad photographers. I like to think that I fall into the category of people who can at least point the camera in the right direction and then I let all of the super-amazing auto features do all the rest of the work.

But I will say this (and my friends who actually make incredible pictures for a living can disagree with me), having something beautiful to point the camera at and the right light at the right time of day goes a really long way to making a photo look good.

Below, two shots from the Mosque of Cordoba and the Cathedral of Segovia respectively.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Taking Flight

In Spain, the high speed train is called the AVE, which is an acronym for Alta Velocidad Espana. Cleverly, the word ave also means bird; as in the train operates at such a high speed it is like one is flying down the tracks.

Below, a picture of two aves in their nest at the station getting ready to take flight.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kyiv V

Nothing to do with Ukraine at all. I just think that a deflated bounce house is one of the saddest things.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Kyiv IV

Orwell wrote persuasively about double-speak and how it was used by fascist and quasi-fascist governments. In modern Kyiv, they believe strongly in truth in advertising.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kyiv III

Just another evening of break dancing to Russian hip hop in the streets of downtown Kyiv. Nothing to see here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kyiv I

By luck and circumstance, I found myself in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv for about 48 hours. Most of that time was spent in meetings and office buildings, but I did manage to run about for a bit and see a few beautiful churches.

If feels good to know that someone (with a large cross) is keeping watch over the river.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

In a Blur.

Last weekend the final stage of the three week long bicycle tour of Spain, La Vuelta, was held in Madrid. For about an hour, a brilliantly colored mass of top cyclists from around the world (Go Team Astana!) sped through the closed-off streets of downtown Madrid.

Below, the peloton speeds by as Chris Columbus looks down from his perch.

The trees stand still while the cyclists pass in a blur.

Friday, September 23, 2011


One of the strange but also lovely things about living in Spain is that one can drive in just about any direction for 40 minutes or so and eventually hit a town with some sort of ancient castle or church or palace. Sometimes all three. Occasionally all three are combined into one.

In this case, we were in the city of Guadalajara simply to go for a drive and came across this beautiful purple domed cathedral. It was in the middle of some sort of school campus, but I don't really know much more beyond that.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bad Habits

A slightly different take on a different young couple I saw this morning in Retiro Park.

I was running through the park, and while it was Sunday morning I assume that the couple I saw strolling by, blinking at the sun light, were not on their way to church. I say this because the young woman was wearing a tight black tube dress and high heels and the guy was wearing some sort of fashionable jeans and a dress shirt.

It was 9:30am.

My assumption is that after a late night of clubbing this couple had chosen the royal family's former gardens as a place to, uh well, as a place for their amorous adventures? That sounds stupid. How about let's just call it humping.

Anyway, the fun part about seeing them this morning, post-humping, was that the girl was teetering by in black high heels while the guy was carrying his shoes in his hand and walking in his socks. Through a public park. On a Sunday morning.

And this is how I know that I am truly old. My first thought: Oh, that's going to ruin his nice socks.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I guess they just build the cities a little different over here in Europe. I don't recall a lot of views like this when looking out over several dozen warehouses anywhere in the US.

But then again, these are 300 year old port warehouses built along the Douro River in Portugal. That's a little different than taking a drive out to the Music Warehouse in Fairfield. Or the Computer Warehouse near Natomas.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Billions and Billions

Wow, okay, I think there's a lot one could say about imperialism and the role that a modern American franchise like McDonald's plays in what some would consider modern imperialism, and then one could probably make some sort of parallel but somewhat ironic comment about seeing an Imperial McDonald's in Portugal's former mercantilist northern city of Porto.

One could.

But maybe instead I'll just say that this was a very strange thing to bump into while on a long weekend in Portugal. While I was not interested in trying any of the regional cuisine in this particular dining establishment, I did stop in long enough to admire the multiple chandeliers and the midday crowd.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Just a few of the many spices we were so pleased to taste while in Portugal. Spain brought back gold from the New World colonies, but Portugal brought back spices from Goa, Macau, Oman, Mozambique, Angola and Brazil.

Spain may have funded their empire for a lot longer than the Portuguese, but I can definitely tell you who has the wider range of flavors in their food.

(And yeah, I know that this is just a picture of garlic, which is found all over Europe, but I was trying to make a point.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011


The Madrid government renovated the Principe Pio metro/train station a few years back. They kept the exterior frame and put a bunch of chain stores and fast-food places inside. But for some reason, they neglected to renovate the back entrance.

Maybe they just ran out of money before they could finish?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Closing Time.

During the day it's a tiny cafe at the train station, but at night it closes up and transforms into an alarm clock/bedside clock for a giant.

Very clever.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bubble Boy.

You may have heard about the advances in stem cell growth and cloning over the past decade or so, but did you know that the Spanish have already perfected the science of growing children in bubbles?!

It's true, and available now at the mall.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Train.

The world is miniature and all this jerk can worry about is some train crashing through a brick wall? Don't worry man, the train is only like three inches tall.

Monday, August 29, 2011

What More.

Singing and dancing.

Stomping and clapping.

Drinking and drinking.

What more could one ask from a night of Flamenco?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

All Along the Watchtower.

Oh, right, and the actual city of Avila that we visited a few weeks ago. It's really beautiful and just a quick drive from Madrid. The old town within the walls can be walked entirely in just a few hours, and you can even climb up onto the walls to get a better view out over the valley or of any one of the several huge churches inside.

We had a really great, long lunch at a table outside and then walked around a little longer before heading back home for the day.