Monthly Archives: May 2010

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!

Learning Spanish

Posted by on May 3, 2010

Houses in Valencia

Houses in Valencia

My time in Valencia (both the province and the city) have been wonderful. I’ve been kept in constant movement since I’ve arrived either getting tours, giving speeches, or in lengthy Spanish dinners and lunches. That, plus some extremely poor internet connectivity over the weekend, means I haven’t had much time to write or process my photos. I have uploaded some photos which you can see by clicking on the image to the right.

It will be a few days before some of my longer posts with images make it to the site, but I would like to rattle off a quick update regarding something I’ve been working on since I’ve arrived in Spain: learning Spanish. (more…)

World Heritage Site #111: La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia, Spain

Posted by on May 2, 2010

World Heritage Site #111: La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia, Spain

World Heritage Site #111: La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia, Spain

From the World Heritage inscription:

Built between 1482 and 1533, this group of buildings was originally used for trading in silk (hence its name, the Silk Exchange) and it has always been a centre for commerce. It is a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The grandiose Sala de Contratación (Contract or Trading Hall), in particular, illustrates the power and wealth of a major Mediterranean mercantile city in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The shocking thing about La Lonja isn’t that it is a World Heritage Site, it is that the other things around it in central Valencia are not. The Lonja itself is a very simple building today with an empty interior. It is one of many buildings in the old city of Valencia which is part of its rich merchant history. Pay close attention to the gargoyles on the exterior of the building and some of the internal stone carvings around the doors. You will find some shocking surprises.

View my complete list of World Heritage Sites I’ve visited.