Walking Werner

November 14, 2011

From a short interview with Werner Herzog  in Time magazine:

Q: In addition to being a feature-film director and documentarian, you seem to have become an amazing interviewer.

Herzog: I’m not an interviewer. I have conversations. And I know the heart of men. I know it because I have had fundamental experiences like traveling on foot. The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot. I’ve walked from Munich to Paris, but I’ve also done longer walks. You’re unprotected and have to talk to people to ask them to fill your canteen because there’s no creek for dozens of miles. You really learn what men are all about.


Previously unreleased

November 5, 2011

Looking back through the photos from the Spain trip, I find a number that I like that I haven’t put up yet. My original intent in the posts was to keep family and friends updated on what we were doing over there, so most of the photos and commentary stuck to the star attractions — Sagrada Familia, Alhambra, Mezquita, Real Alcazar, and the like. But, of course, many, maybe more, of the most interesting moments and memories on a trip are found elsewhere in humbler halls and on streets with names you can’t recall. So it goes with travel photos. Culling through the 800-some shots I took (cursed free shutterlove of digital photography!) here are some I like.

These metal overhead doors protect most of the shops in Barcelona. Just as ubiquitous, the Cerrajeros stickers advertising where you can get a rolling metal overhead door of your very own.

Barcelona: Woman takes her duckling for a walk.

On the roof of Gaudi's "Pedrera" apartment building in Barcelona. I liked the way all the tourists looked among Gaudi's crazy smokestacks and whatnot.

In the Greek theater on Montjuic in Barcelona with Sheila and Tom H.

With the cheaper seats sold out, we shelled out for first class on the high-speed train from Barcelona to Madrid. Our view of how the other half lives was dominated in the foreground by the lowered head of this rich old guy, feeling very poorly, and being tended to rather kindly, I thought, by his trophy wife.

I always like the look of a statue silhouetted against the sky. This was in the middle of El Rastro, Madrid's legendary Sunday morning flea market.

Waiting for the train in Toledo.

Slow day selling hand fans in Sevilla.




November 4, 2011

Borrowed this shot by Xavi Torrent of the Wilco Palau show off the web. Gracias, Xavi.

Catching up here on our eventful last couple of days in Spain. Wednesday morning seems like a very long time ago now. After one last breakfast at the Hotel Macia in Granada, and after recovering from witnessing one of our fellow guests attack the jamon serrano platter without mercy, we set out on a walk to the Mirador San Nicholas. Took in the view a final time, the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada especially clear on an overcast day, and we invested in a pair of “real” castanets from the abuela selling them in the square. Also found time for a couple of cafe con leches at the Quatro Gatos cafe recommended by our friend Jill.

Rode the bus out to the small airport in Granada, then the flight back on Vueling to Barcelona. All good.

It felt comfortable coming into Barcelona on the airport bus knowing where we were headed, and after a stint in smaller cities, it was exciting to be back in the bustle of Barcelona. After bumping into Francesca on the street, we found Tom and Dylan waiting for us at their apartment. It felt like a homecoming of sorts as we had tapas and drinks with Tom and Francesca before heading over to the Palau de la Musica for the Wilco show.

Concert was artful and, you know, ass-kicking. The venue was sublime and I don’t throw a word like sublime around without good reason. I feel the need to write more about the show and plan to do so as I nurture the memory of this trip with some subsequent posts to wrap things up. Our ears still ringing from a wonderful encore, we walked back through the quiet sidestreets to Tom and Francesca’s place.

Up early the next morning, walked with Mr. Henry up La Ramblas before parting ways at Placa Catalunya, where Tom got the metro to go teach his class and we got our Aeropuerto Bus to catch our plane. Barcelona-Paris-Detroit-Burlington, touching down at BTV by midnight.

Shayla couldn't get la vieja to come down on the price of the castanets, but she was happy for a photo op.

Albayzin, Quatro Gatos, Alhambra view, cafe con leche. Todos bueno.

T. Henry walks us over to the Palau and takes his recycling for some air.

Seems like most modern airports strive to create a sense of lightness and flight. Barcelona accomplishes it like no other I've seen. Boarding for the trip to Paris, first leg home.

Nice work by Sheila spotting Greenland out the window. Way better than watching "Planet of the Apes," though we did that, too.

A familiar napkin from most of the places we dined. (You can tell we go four-star or we don't go at all.) De nada, we say, and gracias to you, Espana.

Dia de los muertos

November 1, 2011

In general, the weather has been great during our whole time here. A few cloudy days for some El Grecoesque drama in Toledo, a sprinkle here and there amounting to maybe fifteen minutes of rain total, but mostly blue sky. Today, somehow took that up a notch with a cool morning turning into an afternoon in the seventies and clear views of the Sierra Nevada all day.

We liked our trail exploration yesterday, so basically repeated it today with a morning wander up through the Albayzin then onto the trails above and beyond San Miguel Alto. In the afternoon we met up with Cathy and Mitch (Reminder: Cathy is niece of our Burlington friends Jef and Jill) for a walk up to the cemetery on this holiday, the Dia de lose muertos, to see the families of Granada come out to honor their dearly departed. So after taking on the San Miguel hill in the morning, we headed up the other main hill in town, toward the Alhambra, in the afternoon. After a stop for some beer and tapas, Cathy took us on a graffiti tour through the Realejo neighborhood to see the work of El Nino, Granada’s top grafitti artist.

Catching our breath back here at the hotel and we’re going to head out with Cathy and Mitch again in a bit for tapas. I’m going to have to dig deep for a little more energy to close out our last evening here in Granada. We fly out of here around 2 tomorrow, back up to Barcelona for our last night, Wilco show, and stay with Tom, Francesca, and Dylan before flying out on Thursday morning.

Thanks for the heads up on the group ride, muchachos.

Maybe I'll pull together a retrospective of "The Ugly Dogs of Spain" when we return. For now, we'll let this perrito suffice.

...and speaking of perros, apparently not picking up after your dog is punishable by lightning strike in Granada. Given the abundance of piles on the street and seemingly disposable nature of the dogs, I don't think anyone is too concerned.

Los muertos y la Sierra Nevada. (That's a ridge with snow, not all clouds across the top.)

The work of El Nino on a wall of the Realejo neighborhood in Granada.

Thirty years ago these two people saw something in one another... and it's been a great two weeks-plus travelling in Spain. I doubt there will be time or 'net access to update the end of our trip, but will put something up on Friday as we come up from the depths of jet lag. It's been fun. Muy, muy fun.