Part I Valle de los Caídos
The summer air in Madrid is immobile. It just hangs there, smothered in cigarette smoke and car fumes. Not a breeze to stir the smoke. Not even at night. Only that at night it's worse because everyone smokes like its going out of fashion. Perhaps it's the altitude. Madrid is the highest capital in Europe, after all. It sits right in the middle of the high Castilian plain like a golden oasis in a vast rocky desert.
Madrid’s beer scene (part 1). Bee Beer.
The border between San Diego, USA, and Tijuana Mexico may look like a straight line on a map, but in reality, it’s a twisting village of alleys, stalls, carts, and shops that’s cut in half by a river of traffic and pedestrians going in both directions. Parking lots, money exchange houses, fashion outlets, and drive-through Mexican car insurance booths on the American side, vs taco stands, hole in the wall restaurants and countless pharmacies hawking Mexican Viagra on the Mexican side
The mountain is a layer cake of dirt, pines and a wall of glaciers and black rock rising right up to the volcanic summit. The pimple of god. Visible from 150 miles away on a clear day. An active volcano. Ready to blow and wash all the sins away as far as the eye can see.
Romance of the Sierras
When Spanish explorers arrived upon the snow-covered mountain range that separates the high desert from the fertile flatlands of the Central Valley of California, it must have reminded them of the snow peaked mountains rising above the arid plains of Granada and its Moorish Palace of The Alhambra, called the Sierra Nevada. So, in their infinite originality for naming newly discovered places in the New World (the choice is usually a Saint’s name, a town in Spain, or occasionally a Hispanization of a local indigenous name), the range was christened The Sierra Nevada of California...Read More
The book was purchased in a vintage bookstore in Harvard Square with 1930's squeaking floorboards and cherry wood ladders that slid on railings. The customers were mostly iPhone 7 clutching teenage freshmen (and women) on late-night book purchases that were about to hurry back into the frozen night before the forecasted snowstorm arrived and while the Starbucks were...Read More.
Ireland has a comfortable relationship with ghosts. Dublin might have an Ikea and motorways and tourist traps that sell whatever passes for Irish symbols these days (usually Guinness and shamrocks), but scratch the surface (even within the city itself), or better still, take that unexpected exit from the motorway and onto a gravel one-lane country road lined with hedges and farms, and be prepared to be face to face with ghosts...Read More
It was ten to midnight in Paris. 2015 was due to expire at the top of the hour and only the hardened and the foolish were out hitting the bars of the Bastille district...Read More