Holy Bilbao: It’s The Guggenheim!
Park Along The Ria De Bilbao
Nice Shopping Mall
I Make My Escape Into The Park On The Other Side
It’s Baby Day At The Park – Must Have Been 500 Of Them!
My Modern Spotless Hostel
My Cozy Little Private Room
The Gateway To The Casco Viejo – Old Town
Restaurants And Shops Line The Streets
Local Basques Drinking And Singing
They are also wondering about the photographer who is wearing the hat that is strangely similar to their own.
A Waitress Catches A Quick Smoke
I originally took this shot just to look up the name of the restaurant on trip advisor, but on examination thought it had merit. Europeans still smoke a lot, but they have been exiled to the sidewalks for the pause that refreshes.
MERCADO DE RIBERA
Scary street art symbolizing feminist displeasure with chauvinist Spaniard males
All I know is that the guys walking past this didn’t linger very long.
I’d Love To Have A Smaller Version To Take Home
Then I Got The Bright Idea To Go To A Large Park Adjacent To The Old Town On The Map
Up The Ramp Then Through The Creepy Underpass Complete With Abandoned Bedroll
Then Up A Long And Winding Road With No Entrance In Sight
Finally The Park?!? Not Much Going On Here But Me Sweating.
Not To End The Day On A Bad Note I Came Back Here For A Snack And Music
There was a fellow playing a solo interpretation of the Beatles first album. It was really quite pleasant, and there were a lot of locals in attendance. The guy had a nice voice and actually managed to pull it off quite well. Once he was done I had to get back to the hostel to make plane and hotel reservations for Portugal so I headed back using an alternate route. I knew I was living in a dodgy neighborhood, but on the way home I discovered that only two blocks away there are a number of tiny seedy bars with prostitutes hanging about. That was entertaining.
I got back to my place, took a shower, and realized once and for all something wasn’t quite right. The Jean Luc Picard hairdo I have been sporting wasn’t doing itself justice like on the Captain. On me, it was irregular and spotty. This just wouldn’t do.
THE TRAVEL ZEALOT SHAVED HIS HEAD!
Looks like a solar eclipse going on with my head as the planetary object or maybe it’s some kind of epiphany or sacred phenomenon. Don’t expect any followers any time soon since even the gullible masses would be reluctant to fall for my lightbulb trick. Until then I’ll continue to preach the gospel of long-term world travel to whoever will listen, and spread the good news of the promised land which is where you find yourself at any given time. I’m sitting in the Bilbao Airport having had my flight to Portugal canceled as a result of a pilot strike so I opted for a trip to Madrid for now. The key to world travel is always staying flexible.
ROOM 007 HOSTEL – A Warm Reception At 11:30 pm – A Welcome Respite To A Long Day
After having spent my whole day in the Bilbao Airport, and then having my flight to Madrid delayed I finally pulled into my home for four days. What a great place. Well located with helpful people at your beck and call. A real 5-star hostel situation. I was lucky to get a four-bed dorm room to myself for two nights, but I am getting the hang of this hostel thing even in my advanced years, and this after never having done it previously. I had it easy in Southeast Asia where a 3-star hotel could be had for the price of a hostel, but this is Europe, and I had to change my game plan or become rapidly insolvent. Okay, I splurged in Biarritz, but that’s the only one so far, so not bad overall.
I took the free walking tour offered by my hostel the next day and was shocked to find it being led by a dead ringer for a girlfriend I had been with twenty-five years ago. She was even the same age as at the time I was going out with her. It was as if time and space had fractured for a moment which was made even more creepy by the fact that I was reading a great sci-fi novel that involved quantum field stuff, and made the appearance of my old girlfriend in her original form all the more likely.
Traveling you do meet interesting-looking people. I met someone in Hoi An, Vietnam who looked just like Cate Blanchette. I was mistaken today for Jamie from the Mythbusters TV show, and I don’t even have the bushy mustache. I have Adam’s beard and Jamie’s lack of hair and hat, but it sure was fun to have a Spaniard come up to me in the Apple store anyway. Maybe I should shave the beard part, grow out the mustache, and go for the celebrity treatment.
PLAZA DEL SOL – First Stop On The Tour
SYMBOL OF MADRID – Bear Getting Drunk On Fermented Fruit
So next time you find yourself criticizing those vomiting college kids on the streets of Madrid, they’re only living up to the city’s primary hallmark.
The Opera House
Isabel II – The Unattractive Queen Who Married A Queen
Well, she married a gay and figured it out after he showed no interest in her bits and pieces. This upset her so she banished him from the city, and took on a series of lovers that produced a number of offspring. When she wasn’t having affairs, she traveled all over Europe and realized Madrid was sorely lacking in the Arts department, so she built the Opera house you see here. The reason for its bland exterior is that the Catholic church frowned upon any building outshining the house of God. Yes folks, Spain, after all, was the home of the Spanish Inquisition so you really didn’t want to get on their bad side. These are the kind of zealots you do not want in your life. Travel Zealots are okay.
The Main Cathedral – As You Can See The Front Is Kind Of Plain
This is so as not to outshine the Royal Palace opposite it.
The Backside Of The Cathedral – A Little More Ornamental
They could jazz up the back of the Cathedral since it wasn’t visible from the Palace. There is an amusing joke in Madrid about the Cathedral and its strange aesthetic dichotomy. A little sexist but funny nonetheless. If a woman looks good from the back, and then turns around and isn’t too pleasant to look at, guys make a reference to the Cathedral.