7/31/2008

the update

so... from lagos, i took a bus up to lisbon where i stayed for a few days. lisbon is a pretty funny city. everything is on a slant. you cant find a right angle in the entire town. really steep hills and narrow streets. impossible to go exactly where you want. start walking down a street in the direction you want to go, only to be led through twists and turns, eventually pointing in the exact opposite direction before the street dead ends. disorienting, but not really in a frustrating way. from lisbon i caught a flight to berlin, where i am now. culture shock in a way... here, even the average sidewalk is much wider than the larger streets in lisbon. everything is super spread out and very flat. almost impossible to walk anywhere (i'm gonna see if i can find me a bike to rent). not sure where i'm off to next, but i was thinking copenhagen...

7/27/2008

beaches in lagos





from seville, i went to lagos, portugal. really touristy (i have never seen so many australians in one place in my life...) but a very relaxing stop. the only thing really to do in lagos is to go to the beach during the day, and go out drinking at night...

flamenco in seville

saw this great flamenco show in seville. hope this video works...
video

7/21/2008

pics at last!






glimpses of seville... managed to navigate the windows interface in spanish. uploading just these images took ages so there´s no way i can catch you guys up on everything (i have over a thousand pic so far) so these will do for now... they don´t really do seville any justice. its so beautuful.... very green, ceramic patterned tiles everywhere. didn´t get a chance to upload any pics of plaza de espagna or whatever its called, but its this massive palace of a building. anyway its a start. hopefully i will soon find a computer that isn´t from the dark ages and i´ll upload some more...

7/20/2008

cordoba

today i caught a train from cordoba to seville, where i am staying for the next two nights. if you want to get an idea of what cordoba is like, wait for the hottest day of the year, then turn on your convection oven full blast and stick your head in for a while. i have never experienced anything like that before. walking around town, i was dodging in and out of the shadows like a vampire, leaving a trail of sweat that sizzled and evaporated as soon as it hit the street. i was going through this routine the day before yesterday when i stopped to look at a time- temp thing on the side of the road. 46. it said the temperature was 46 degrees celsius. to give you an idea, the human body runs at about 37.5. the little bit of wind that makes its way into the streets just animates the heat. i was wandering around town searching for some water at around 4 in the afternoon, but everything was closed. these people take their siesta seriously. the only thing to do in the afternoon in cordoba is to find some cool dark hole and take a nap. anyway, i´ll quit babbling about the heat. the city is a really interesting cross between islamic and christian architecture. i visited the Mezquita (sp?), which was a church converted to a mosque, then into a cathedral again. very ornate arabic patterns carved all over the walls, arches, and early christian and baroque sculptures tacked on top of that. anyway, it was really cool to see...

7/15/2008

how it went down

here i am in madrid. just got in yesterday at around 5, the only thing i could do after the madhouse of pamplona was to reserve the first thing i could find, which was a private room in downtown. they demanded an arm and one leg as a deposit, but they have just given them back to me at check out. anyway, i cant describe how it feels to finally have a clean bed and a shower again. 3 nights with virtually no sleep and no place to stay is an interesting experience, not to mention running for your life with thousands of other screaming people through tiny streets in front of a pack of bulls.
so heres how it goes down.... you cram into a tiny square with loads of other people at about 6 in the morning. eventually the police open up the rest of the run so you can move about a little bit. i was wrong in my previous post when i said you have to sign waivers or whatever. all that is required is that you are wearing all white with a red hankerchief. lots of people wear scarves around their waists as well. i had one but it was lost somwhere somehow... so everyone is standing there in the streets looking very shifty and nervous ( i was strategically ahead of the point called dead mans curve, where the bulls, who are not very good with corners all crash into the wall that makes a 90 degree angle). a gun goes off and for a second everyone is still just standing around. you don´t even see the bulls at first, just a massive mob action wave of people running terrified. everyone is pushing shoving, tearing ass down the street. you really do not want fall down. if you cant see what is behind the crowd, the crowd itself is scary enough.
so im just about shitting myself, running for my life and to my right, through the people running beside me, there is the sound of cow bells and very large things moving very fast. there is no individual bull, just a mass of moving flesh. glimpse of an eye, tail, etc. just like that, the first group is gone. this all happened, from the gunshot to here, in about ten seconds, no joke though it is very hard to tell time. still in the midst of the mob, the game now is to 1) not get trampled by the people behind you, 2) not get trampled by the second group of bulls behind them, 3) make it to the bull ring before they shut the gates. well, made it to the ring right in front of the second group of bulls. all of the huge monster bulls that were in the running are led through a gate and out of the stadium. first looking around in the ring, there are a good number of us in here, thousands of screaming people in the stands all around. the floor is sand. i thought the roman emperor was going to come out or something. anyway, from what i heard, once you´re in the ring, its not too crazy. instead of huge monster bulls, they let out ´´baby´´ bulls to chase you around. well, baby bulls are still about the size of a small sedan. when they come out, they come out FAST. they zip around the ring pushing people here and there. i was being a bit of a coward and staying on the fringes. taking this approach, it´s not too difficult to stay out of the way, but the animals move so fast, one second the thing is on the other side, the next its right next to you. each bull gets tired out after a bit and then they let in another new fresh one. if you really want the crowd´s cheers, you get the bull to charge, then jump over it. im not kidding, people did this shit. anyway, i had really had about enough when the last bull was led away and the gates were opened for all of the runners to leave. i dragged myself to the bus station and said ¨first bus to madrid´´.
managed to find this room, which i had to myself, but it was just what i needed. washed my clothes in the sink, found a bottle of cheap wine, and fell asleep watching south park in german. off to another cheaper hostel now and then out to explore the city. starting over again.

7/13/2008

pamplona

holy hell this place is really something to see. tiny streets packed with people, drunken marching bands leading parades around every corner. everyone in red and white. smells like piss vomit and old beer and sangria (watch out for them puddles!). got in last night and it instantly started pouring rain. cold as well but today is nice. missed the running this morning. got lost and couldn´t find the square to start. so easy to get lost here... was going to leave to madrid today, but i couldn´t stand having to say i was here and didn´t run. oh well, i guess i´ll stay up tonight again and try to get it right this time. got my red and white costume and i´m ready to go!

7/10/2008

still here in barcelona, but on saturday i´m going to pamplona to check out the running of the bulls, which is happening this week. very excited. i dont know if i´ll actually be able to run or not (i hear you have to get there super early to sign waivers and shit in case you get stomped or mauled by a bull) but i´m sure as hell gonna be there. i wanted to leave tomorrow but, surprise, all the trains were full... oh well, what´s a night in a train station? two weeks in and ive burned through about 2 gbs of pictures. madness.

7/08/2008

here in spain

arrived here in barcelona the night before last.... got in about 1130 at night, which i thought was no thing considering rumours ive heard of spain... after a bit of wandering and a long metro ride, i found the room in the hostel i reserved, only it was full of people sleeping. decided to go out for a bit of a walk to see what was around and got totally lost. the streets where my hostle was were completely deserted.... wandering inm circles at 1230 trying not to look exactly like a completely lost and vulnerable idiot. ended up all the way accross town. eventually ran into a spanish kid about my age who came up and told me i was very handsome, etc... yikes. anyway, he was nice and showed me the way back on the map. moved hostels and now i´m closer to town. second day here and it´s pretty awesome. place im staying at has tv, balcony, kitchen, the whole works! even a toilet seat (ive learned we take this for granted in the states...) been wandering around town, lots of great archetecture, everything in this place is decorated or covered in mosaic. very pretty city... think i´ll stay for a bit...

7/05/2008

on down the road....

lookig to leave arles tmorrow for barcelona. arles is a petty nice small town... tiny windy streets and apparently they still have bullfights in the center of town in this crazy old roman amphitheater. Last night there was this parade through the center of town where a bunch of people dressed up in traditional cstumes and paraded to the amphitheater. very cool.

7/03/2008

off to arles! see what van gogh found so interesting....

hello from over there

hey im here in nice trying desparately to figure out the logic behind a french keyboard. rome was a great time bought some postcards there but havent sent them out yet. from there i went to pisa, where i found that the hostel that i reserved online was actually some stange version of an italian rv park. priceless. had to walk down some sketchy tunnel (ill call it hypodermic ally) to get to town. tried walking around in town at night but there was NO ONE around. i mean scary ghost town from the twilight zone. wandered my way into some crazy hospital campos (which was deserted) to find all exits gated. dont know how i found my way back (let alone to the rv park i came from) but decided then that pisa pretty much blows. actually i went to the church and the tower and the museums etc and there were some amazing frescos, statues. anyway i caught a train to nice where i am now. very touristy and expensive but its fucking gorgeous. going to maybe see if there are some nice sandy beaches to check out in cannes today which is just up the road. bought postcards way back in rome but havent mailed them yet. should be uploading pictures (ive been snap happy like a japanesez tourist on crack) but havent found a spot to really do so. anyway, ill keep looking. in the mean time, au revoir!