Trip update: This week brought high winds and rain on three of the seven days. With westerly gusts of 27 knots and occasional frog-choking downpours, I worked indoors, and walked to the Tempo Prezioso Literary Café for my WiFi connection. This cozy café opened up less than a month ago. It features comfortable sofas and chairs, abundant outlets and a powerful WiFi signal. Of course, all the usual offerings of an Italian bar are there, from espresso to the harder stuff. I can eat a tramezzino and put off supper until they close and I walk back to the flat. After the storm front passed, the hills above 300 metres had a dusting of snow. Continue reading
Trip update: At 2230, the phone interrupted Gideon Oliver just as he was about to solve the crime. I stood up from the eBook I was reading and went to the phone. Timoteo Lamkin was inviting me to celebrate the New Year from the family balcony overlooking the fireworks on the Gulf of Gaeta. I had planned to spend a quiet evening hiding from the war zone and its fog of cordite, but I was touched that they would think of me. And so I greeted the New Year in the company of friends and waved a dozen sparklers myself. Continue reading
Halloween, 2016. The sun was well up when I awoke. I luxuriated for a while in my sleeping bag, then leapt up, aware than I had less than 20 hours to finish everything needed before leaving for the ATA Conference on the other side of the world.
My friends the Lamkins had been checking my mail, which was stacked on the kitchen table. After turning on the water, purging the gas lines in the stovetop, and opening the house, I cut open the boxes and envelopes. Continue reading
Friday, 28 October 2016. Barcelona is blessed with large city markets in each major neighbourhood. They are a favourite target for Cheryl’s camera, especially in the morning, when the fish are plentiful and the produce is fresh. In the morning, she raced off to photograph the Boqueria market behind our hotel, while I got the next blog post drafted. Continue reading
Wednesday, 19 October 2016. The sky was turning from black to indigo then to blue. We got up too early for the hotel breakfast, and rode into Ronda. By now the train station in the capital of the Pueblos Blancos was familiar. Yet, the day was not off to a good start. The ticket agent, backed by the various personnel in the station, did not want us to take the train to Granada. It turned out that the train station in Granada is being renovated, and that there was a substitute bus service for the last three stops on the line. They insisted that the buses would not take bicycles. Continue reading
Wednesday, 12 October 2016. The dark clouds that had been gathering all morning turned to rain as we left the ferry landing in Ayamonte, Spain. We rode to the bus station, where we hoped to make up lost time by taking the bus at least to Huelva, the next big town. Lucky for us, it turned out that it was a national holiday in Spain, so there were few passengers, no competing luggage, and light traffic. The DAMAS driver let us put our bikes in the bus and took us all the way to Seville. We also outran the rain.
On Monday, 3 October 2016, we rolled out of the medieval city of Obidos in the predawn darkness. After some dead ends and backtracking, we located the empty, unmanned station. Watching a brilliant dawn, we waited for the 0710 train to Aqualva-Caçem. It never appeared. Continue reading