Monthly Archives: May 2010

Baggage Autopsy: A review of the stuff I carry

Posted by on May 17, 2010

I’m back in the US sitting in a makeshift office on a folding table in my parent’s basement amongst my boxed up former possessions. It makes a good opportunity to review the what, why and how’s of all the crap I carry with me. It normally isn’t something worth talking about, but the last few weeks has called it into question.

Everyone says you should pack light. I get that. All things being equal, I agree with the advice. However, for me all things are not equal. I travel for months (if not years) at a time and have to carry all my possessions with me. I’m not on vacation with a house full of stuff waiting for me at home. Everything I need I have to carry with me. (more…)

My Transatlantic Hospital Odyssey

Posted by on May 16, 2010

I’m writing this from the waiting room of the hospital my father is in. My trip back to Wisconsin is finally over.

Getting here involved closed airports, four canceled flights, a delayed flight which almost caused me to miss my connection, a missing bag and a ridiculously priced car rental. Lets just say US Air and Hertz are not my favorite companies.

My dad is doing better. His infection is down, but there are still a bunch of issues they have to look at. This will be a very long process.
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UNESCO World Heritage Site #112 The Palmeral of Elche

Posted by on May 13, 2010

UNESCO World Heritage Site #112 The Palmeral of Elche

UNESCO World Heritage Site #112 The Palmeral of Elche

From the World Heritage inscription:

The Palmeral of Elche, a landscape of groves of date palms, was formally laid out, with elaborate irrigation systems, at the time the Muslim city of Elche was erected, towards the end of the tenth century A.C., when much of the Iberian peninsula was Arab. The Palmeral is an oasis, a system for agrarian production in arid areas. It is also a unique example of Arab agricultural practices on the European continent. Cultivation of date palms in Elche is known at least since the Iberian times, dating around the fifth century B.C.

This is one of the most unique World Heritage Sites I have ever visited. The old city is basically build within a palm forest. Everywhere you go are palm trees and palm gardens. The palm forest was originally created by the Arabs when they settled in Elche to remind them of home.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Still Stuck in Spain

Posted by on May 13, 2010

Bunch of things are happening to me:

1) I’m in Barcelona where my US Airways flight to the US has been canceled four times now. Every other airline seems to be crossing the Atlantic just fine and I know people who have beaten me back to the US, even though my flight was scheduled sooner. Wednesday I was told the flight would be delayed 8 hours, so I sat around the airport all day before I was told that the flight was canceled. It is getting pretty damn ridiculous. I was given the option of a flight to Munich on Thursday which would then go to Philadelphia, but then I’d have to spend the night in Philly and would arrive around the same time I would if I get on the Friday flight out of Barcelona. If all goes well I’ll be in the air in 24 hours. If all doesn’t go well, you will find an expletive riddled rant about US Airways on this site tomorrow that you should hide from children. (more…)

Travel and Family Emergencies

Posted by on May 10, 2010

Due to another eruption of the volcano in Spain, airports in Spain have been closed the last several days, especially the airports in Northern Spain where I am. I’ve been just continuing with my previously scheduled agenda of visiting the Basque Country while I’ve been waiting for the cloud to clear.

I’m writing this at the Bilbao Airport where the ash cloud has moved enough to allow flights this afternoon to the south of Spain. If all goes well, I’ll be in Barcelona tonight and on a flight to Chicago tomorrow morning. I have no idea how I’m getting from Chicago to Appleton. Buying a ticket (for a 50 minute flight) is $600 and renting a car for a one-way trip (3 hours) is over $200. My guess is I’ll just end up biting the bullet and renting a car. (more…)

Canceling My Trips to Spain and Israel

Posted by on May 7, 2010

I was notified a few days ago that my father was taken to the hospital after suffering sever pneumonia and possible heart attack. He is currently unconscious on life support. I’m going to cut my travels short to return to the US to be with my family.

I’ll be arriving in Barcelona on Monday and instead of going to Israel, I hope to be getting a flight back to the United States as soon as possible.

One of the downsides of long term travel is being away if something happens to your family members. It is something that everyone I know who has traveled extensively has thought about.

I’ll try to make the best of the change in plans by editing my Spain photos and plowing through the list of articles I have to write.

Assuming it is possible, I hope to return to Spain, perhaps for La Tomatina in August. I also hope to still attend TBEX in New York City in June.

Send your thoughts and prayers out to my dad.

Spain Update: Madrid Edition

Posted by on May 6, 2010

Goya painting in the Chapel of St. Anthony (taken with iPhone)

Goya painting in the Chapel of St. Anthony (taken with iPhone)

I’m still being kept busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest here in Spain. Since my last update:

  • I spent three nights in the “blogger suite” in a hotel in Benidorm overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Fantastic view. Benidorm is a city I had never heard of before arriving in Spain, but it is a huge destination for tourists from the UK.
  • Went to visit some ancient rock art in the city of Alcoi, but was washed out due to rain
  • Visited my 112th World Heritage Site, the Palmeral of Elche. It is a forest of plam trees inside the city which was originally created by the Arabs.
  • Stayed a night in Alicante and explored the city including the old castle overlooking the sea.
  • Spent a very hectic 2 days in Madrid. (I’ll be coming back later. I know there is no way you can experience Madrid in two days.)
  • Visited the Prado and Reina Sophia, two of the greatest museums in the world
  • Ate lunch at the oldest restaurant in the world, the Casa Botin in Madrid, which has been operating continuously since 1725. It was the favorite restaurant of Earnest Hemingway and was where the ending of “The Sun Also Rises” takes place.
  • Got to have said lunch in Hemingway’s favorite table in the restaurant, drinking his favorite wine (Rioja Altas) as well as the restaurant’s speciality, suckling pig.

I’m currently in the north of Spain in Bilbao, the largest city in Basque Country. I’ll be here until the 10th when I fly to Barcelona. Most days packed full activities. I have a very long list of articles I’ll be writing once things slow down and I have a chance to edit some photos (of which I have a lot).

…oh, and for everyone who suggested I visit San Sebastin, I’ll be going there in the next few days!