Sunday, July 31, 2005

vacation recap

Jerry mentioned a lot of our day trip stuff, so I’m cross-referencing his posts and will just elaborate on stuff not done with him, and whatever else comes to mind…

I should probably do this in short doses, like B is doing about his European getaway. But you know how I do. Go, ramblin’.

In short, my trip was awesome. We did a hella lot, but still had sufficient time for aimless city walks, beach-bumming, etc. Although, I never worked in a trip to get my (this would be “annual”) hair cut as originally planned. Which may be good considering mullets are really big in Barcelona right now.

Let it be known that Jerry is an awesome host, not only with good suggestions of things to see/do/avoid, but making us dinner, picnic lunches, etc. Yay. Moltes gracies x’s infinity.

Also, he and P’s place kicks ass. In the heart of the city, but well soundproofed. His street is a cross between lower-UES portions of 5th Avenue and Park Avenue. From the balcony I watched high-class (female) hookers chat up potential customers and police. Fascinating.

The architecture in BCN is really amazing and breathtaking. Hit most of the major in-town Gaudi stuff (La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, evening concert on the roof of La Pedrera) At La Sagrada Familia we opted to take the steps up. Up was fine, but I had some vertigo action on the way down, so my decent was slowwwww, with my legs feeling like jello. I felt pretty wussy about this until talking to others who experienced the same thing. I had some serious leg cramp issues too.

Thank goodness for a beach day to break up the step-climbin’s. Tossa was really beautiful, and the beach alone was great… and I really enjoyed dinner with J’s friends, (hanging out a lovely little restaurant, eating local food, drinking wine, sangria, claras…) as mentioned in his post. An amazing display of hospitality.

Lemon soda is as wonderful a beverage item as I remember it being. Unlike when I was in high school, I now know it mixes really well with beer… they mix it with cheap red wine, too, but I’m not so much a fan of that.

Absinthe is damn strong. I like anise, but wow! Overpowering! I took it easy just because it was knocking me off my ass immediately. In retrospect, I should have brought a bottle back to test it out in larger quantities. From my n of one, however, I can attest to its feel good qualities. It made a discussion of MJ from the Real World much more entertaining than it should have been, I think.

As to clubbing at La Paloma, best aspect is a toss up between the venue (old theatre), break dancers, go-go chicks, wizard-like DJ with long white hair and a gold tunic, the video DJ making awesome montages totally in time and seemingly on the fly, or the idolatry of a large white felt comma/horn shaped object, studded with gold circles, mounted upright on stick and carried around to random locations on the stage.

No, seriously.

I recalled more Spanish than expected. That was nice.

I already used my explanation of the cava-making process once since I’ve been back, chatting with a bartender here (Ombi/La Peep) as she opened up a split of Freixenet.

Yeah, I really went to Mass. I could elaborate on this, but I won’t. Some other time, maybe.

Also, J didn’t exaggerate about the quantity, or qualities of the transsexuals at the gay area of the beach (I quite fancy Mim’s description, “Penis beach”) Specifically, I’m thinking of the socially responsible transsexual, who kept on taking up her recycling and gave us all quite a show. It really was that big, dark, floppy, shocking. And I’m not that easily shocked. And, god, in contrast to those breasts! …

Sorry, I suppose we both should have left more to your imaginations about that.

How much I did/did not take advantage of the clothing-optional policies on the beach?
Oh, wait, leaving things to the imagination. Right.

I offered some random guy I met at another clubby-club a mix CD. Other than because we were talking about music, I don’t know why I did this, since I suck at making CDs in any sorta timely fashion.

The views from visiting the monastery at Monserrat were breathtaking, and walking around up there reminded me that I have fallen completely out of shape. We made a failed attempt to pose in a group picture of one of the various kids’ choirs which were visiting the church.

Now, for London, where I went all-out tourist cheesy… sorta. Crammed in a lot of stuff in the first day and a half. West End performance of As You Like It, Westminister Abbey, Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London (because everyone told me how horribly boring it was, I had to see for myself… of course, because I was expecting the worst, I thought it was rather fun.), National Portrait gallery, pubs, Camdentown… TimeOut listed the Lady Sovereign show for the wrong date so in lieu of that, went dancing to dj’d indie rocky-britpoppy stuff til 3 in the morning. And lots of cider.

The next day, watching the changing of the guard, I started to feel swoony in the throngs of people, so laid low most of that day. Walked around a bunch to sightsee, and visited the Tate Modern which is a really awesome museum. And free!

Ultimate tourist cheese: I bought an Underground shirt. I unintentionally wore this to the closing night of the Sherlock Holmes (a Brit pub here) yesterday. It was well-received by a man with a Union Jack button down. Cheesy shirts, unite!

The indian food did indeed rock.

They have a great bottled water selection.

You who said this weren’t kidding about that city shutting down early. Sheesh!

As for the general climate, in light of the bombings… well, yeah, there was grim aspect to it. Maybe it’s just me, but I felt that tinge of being shaken, having the rug pulled out under you… and I wasn’t even in in NYC post 9-11, but there was this familiar sense to it. Sadness, coupled with strength, if that makes any sense.

As for practical matters, lots of cops, guys with machine guns all over, tube closings/suspensions… but life seemed to be moving on, the way it’s got to, ya know?

Alright, this is really too long. But oh well. Since I didn’t keep a travel journal, other than a pictoral one, I had to commit some of this to text. I meant to, but never got around to notebook acquistion. Some writer I.

Photos following. Via email.


Blogger heidi said...

welcome home!

Monday, August 01, 2005 8:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Enjoyed the recap! Sounds like you had a great time. Cool new profile picture from London too.

Side note, can't belive that the Sherlock Holmes Pub has closed. Things continue to be shaken up on Elliston.

Monday, August 01, 2005 3:28:00 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Thanks H and D!

re: Sherlock: yeah, the owners are retiring. people were offering to buy art off their walls later on in the evening, too, so I heard. (they were not selling)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 1:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Welcome home. I'm quite jealous of your non-science world adventures.

I'd love to hear about the Mass experience!

Thursday, August 04, 2005 10:09:00 AM  

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