Sunday, September 25, 2011

Because I had to.

I guess you could say that biking is really big in Spain.

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.