15 Seconds

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Spain Photos

Now that I'm back in the country, with my trusty iBook, I've put up my favourite photos from my trip on Flickr.



Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas is coming

Hi all,

It´s December 23rd and we´re sorting out our Christmas plans. Having discovered that practically no shops will be open on the 24th, we´re trying to work out how we can prepare for a Christmas lunch that we can carry with us on the train ride tomorrow morning. No seafood for us! ;-)

Since I last wrote here, I´ve travelled from Madrid to Lisbon, then to Lagos and now I´m in Seville. In Seville we met up with Lou´s brother Mikey, and his girlfriend Sadja. They´re both lots of fun.

Portugal - in which we visited Lisbon and Lagos - was very nice; quite laid back. In Lisbon I got offered hashish about 5 times in the space of an hour, once, most amusingly by some middle-eastern or turkish guy with the biggest cheesy grin, fulfilling all the Indiana-Jonesesque stereotypes of people from the region.

Lagos is a small town of about 20,000 people; there wasn´t much going on there but we ate some nice food, watched English-language TV (Go Fox!), and admired the surprisingly Kiwi scenery and coastline.

Seville is very confusing to navigate. The streets go every which way and I keep getting lost. The river is pretty. We spent most of yesterday drinking in a bar and sampling the local tapas, and then continued the festivity into the evening. Today we went Christmas shopping for each other; to get some time away from Lou I teamed up with Sadja. We even managed to get wrapping paper - how organised! ;-P

So, yeah, after the art blitz of the first half of the trip I´ve spent a lot of time the last few days doing not very much. It´s been fantastic. And now, with Chrstmas, I´m set to do not very much again.

Bones Festes to you all.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Art eye for the geek guy

I´m in Madrid now; our hostel room is currently being constructed - the bathroom wasn´t there this morning but now it (almost) is. Wierd. It does, however, mean that instaead of having a nap before dinner I´m stuck out here blogging. Lucky you.

It´s pretty much the rule that when you´re in Europe you visit too many art galleries to cope with. My trip thus far has been no exception; I´ve visited the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, and tomorrow I´m off to a Picasso museum to see Guernica, among other things.

I love cynical arguments about the value of art - it´s a better way of sparring than getting drunk and starting a fight - but at the end of the day it´s fantastic to see this the amazing work on display around the continent.

At the Contemporary Art Museum in Barcelona, my favourite piece was a series of videos projected around a dark room to look like frosted doors or windows. Behind the windows were varous scenes - a dog playing, someone washing the window, two people conversing over a cigarette. The impact of the piece came from its realism - at first I thought we were looking at people talking in the room next door. The frosted glass meant that depth was conveyed in light and blurring that made it look much more 3 dimensional than a projection usually does. Dave - I should describe it to you further if you do ever get into sculpture.

The Guggenheim was amazing and exhausting. The architecture is out of this world. The exhibitions inside were definitely a matter of quality over quantity. A couple of pieces stood out.

The work of Anselm Kiefer was fantastic - a great example. Most of his pieces towered above us - this one was about 6 metres high. Brendan - if you haven´t already you should check this guy´s stuff out - it´s reminded me of the sort of stuff you do. The texture in the work, not visible at all in the picture attached, was like nothing else - as well as paint, he worked with straw, clay, even salt crystals. It´s the sort of piece that just had to explore, there was so much detail.

The other series I really liked were steel sculptures by Richard Serra. They were very mathematical constructs, that you could walk through. When inside, the experience of the work was very private - the artist, in a commentary, said that it wasn´t so much about observing the sculpture as observing yourself, experiencing the sculpture. It sounds awfully wanky but I think he´s right. I felt the urge to explore the acoustic properties of them as well, whistling, humming and clicking my way around the gigantic lumps of steel.

The Thyssen-Bornemisza had a chronological collection of art starting in the 13th century or so - blue and gold things from churches. While it was interesting to see the progression of artistic development, my favourites were the cubist and surrealist works, and the more modern stuff in general. I´m looking forward to seeing more Picasso tomorrow.
Lou was beside herself when she saw this particular piece by Clifford Still. It´s about 4 metres high, and the pic doesn´t do it justic at all, but it gives you an idea.

Clifford Still is Lou´s favourite artist, and this is the first time she saw one of his works in ¨the flesh¨, or, oil at least. She was beside herself, which should come as no suprise to. She was trying to explain to me what´s so fantastic about it, but, umm, maybe it´s a bit beyond the depth of my artist appreciation.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Okay, so for a moment there I forgot that the primary purpose of travelling is to provide entertaining stories to the folks back home. Sorry guys, won´t happen again :-P

I´ve been in Barcelona for 5 nights now. As expected, there was cheesy romantic music playing when I saw Lou at the airport. She was looking super-foxy. I walked through the door to give her a big hug and then realised that it was a security door and they wouldn´t let me through. My luggage was still inside.

I blame Lou.

Of course, after a bit of waiting around on an empty stomach, taking in the ever-so-slightly-strange-but-mostly-wonderful situation that was finally seeing Lou again after all these months, all was well.

We´re just entering our 6th and final night in Barcelona; I suppose I should tell you a bit about what I´ve been up to. I have 5 minutes left on my internet, let´s see how I go...
  • We spent a day travelling around Gaudi´s more famous architectural odds and sods. This man´s work is pretty crazy; very organic and colourful. La Sangria Familia is extremely impresive.
  • The Sangria after which I misnamed Gaudi´s masterpieces is a far more basic pleasure. Sweet fruity drunkeness ensued more than one. Lou thought she would die, and discovered the magic of antacids.
  • Tapas are more fun than a hole in the head, and a good way for savvy tourist-traps to steal all of our money. Thank goodness we could hide the bill behind my credit card.
  • We climbed Montjuic, the jewish mountain, today. Much more peaceful; relatively deserted outside of the tourist season and saw a castle and the Olympic stadium.

1 minute, 43 seconds to go. I should probably stop and publish now. Tomorrow we´re off to San Sebastian.



Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Photos from London

Hey kids,

It´s rainy in Barcelona today. Life is hard. No post about my adventures in Lonon

Ingrid: thanks for the "London funday" suggestions, as you can tell by the photos, they came in handy.

As promised, the photos, kindly uploaded by Mark, the other guy in the photos.



Sunday, December 03, 2006

Comedy of errors

So, remember how I said "I hope it's not the roof of a factory or something"? Turns out it was. No big deal, Chambers discovered this prior to our meet and suggested that I meet him outside the south entrance. Solid.

I landed in London, paid my 14 pounds for a Heathrow Express ticket, and got on the train. My cellphone decided it was time to die at that point, but, no big deal, Chambers and I had already decided on a meeting point. I caught the Tube to Euston Square. Found the south exit, and got out.

No Chambers.
No cellphone batteries, no Chambers.
No fucking idea where I am, no cellphone batteries, no Chambers.


So I find a pay-phone and give him a ring. I'm all like, "I'm outside the south entrance, and, umm, the building next to me is 235 Euston Rd. Where the hell are you?" and he's clearly as confused as I am. "235? Aaah, stay where you are I'll try and find you." The phone at my 2 pound coin in its entirety. Bastard!

So I sit down at the edge of the road, on my pack, with a gigantic sign that says 'mug me'. Not really too keen on waiting for Chambers' tracking skills to lead us to victory, I call him again, and we come up with a better plan - I'll meet him at the Burger King in the station. At least that way, I can ask locals how to get to said King.

Success! As it turns out "Euston Square" and "Euston" are two different stops. :-P

We head down to the tube station to go to Archway, where Chambers lives. We get on a train, and after one stop he looks out the window at the station name and says "Aaah, we're going the wrong way." Off we get!

"You know I'm going to blog about this, Chambers"

We get to his flat, and I can take my pack off and have a shower. Yay! Chambers' flat is really nice, by the way, and the couch is comfy if any of you other kids need a place to stay in London. ;-)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Now that I'm travelling will my blog be interesting?

To my regular reader, apologies for my blatant lack of inspiration when it comes to blogging. But hopefully now that I'm travelling I'll have something interesting to say... ;-)

I'm in the Korean airport about 3 hours away from getting on a plane to London. I wouldn't have come online except that - you'll love this - I forgot to get the cellphone number of the person I'm supposed to be meeting in London! That's Mark Chambers, for those in the know. My disorganisation knows no bounds... But hey, it makes travel exciting.

London's pretty big, and even Euston station is a good place to lose someone. Thankfully Google Maps came to our aid: we're meeting at the north-eastern corner of this funny square with white dots on it.


I wonder what it looks like from ground level? Hopefully it's not the roof of a factory or something.

Spending a night in Korea was fun. I went out with Lou's old work-mate, Christine, her boyfriend Josh, and two Canadian friends of theirs who are also over teaching English. One of them was called Clara, the other one I forget, sorry about that!

We went to a Korean BBQ, which was lots of fun. They put a barbeque hot-plate thing in the middle of your table and the food cooks in front of you. And they give you all the sides you need. My favourite was wrapping a piece of pork up in a sesame leaf and big slice of radish. Sitting on the floor eating from a low table was a mission, my old bones can't bend that way for a long period of time.

Soju is the national drink, it takes like diluted sweetened vodka. It's about 20% alcohol. Everyone told me it wasn't very nice but I had to drink it... I didn't think it was that bad. Still, I didn't exactly pack any in my suitcase.

So, yeah, Soju shots with dinner is a great way to start things, and we went to a bar with penises for bathroom door handles after that. Yeah... And a few drinks later, I worked out that I had been awake for over 24 hours, and having now proved my manhood to myself and those around me, it was time for bed.

Hablo Espanol, es mui bueno! Pero tengo ir a volar a London y Barcenola, antes puedo desir mi hermosa novia!
I speak Spanish, it's very good! But I have to fly to Londand and Barcelona before I can tell my beautiful girl.

Okay, I admit I had to look a couple of words up in my phrasebook to get that one done, still, not bad considering I started learning on Monday :-P

That's enough for now, I've got 20 minutes left of my internet but if there's one thing I think I know how to do, it's entertian myself behind a geek-box.

'til next time!