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20090501 Dublin -> Falset (Part 2)

The Nuttery begins!

sunny 70 °F
View Western Europe - Spring 2009 on icufoundme's travel map.

I arrive in Barcelona Reus airport in the early afternoon. On exiting the plane, I'm overwhelmed with the warm air. I'm sweating immediately and I love it!

I'm so happy to be here! I've been looking forward to this as my true "vacation". No planning, maps, hotels, buses, trains, seeking food and facilities, etc. For a few days. Just relaxing and enjoying myself. I love navigating and exploring, but I planned my trip with the Falset part in the middle for a reason. I knew I'd be ready for a break and recharge. *happy sigh*

An airport guide walks the passengers from the plane to the baggage claim. I feel like we are kids on a field trip - winding outdoors around what seem like random buildings. No wonder we need a guide.

I wait in the passport check line. When I get to the front, the girl tells me to step aside and fill out a special form because I don't have a EU passport. It only takes me a couple minutes and she hands me off to another checker. He checks me and my documents with a trained suspicious regard. When he stamps my passport, I gleefully exclaim "Muchas gracias, senor! Bien, bien!". He almost smiled... or maybe that was a smile for him.

I already see my bag on the conveyor so I grab it. I wander around a bit looking for Karen or Adam, but they are not in here. I can't see what is outside the sliding doors, and once I walk out I'm not sure I can come back in, so I wait a couple minutes to see if they show up. I decide they must be outside, so I walk through the doors and there is a waiting area. I glimpse Adam, and light up. There's always that slight nervousness when you're meeting someone and don't have a cell phone. But it ended up golden. Hugs exchanged, quick greetings - Karen is waiting in the car outside. Here we go - Whew!
He has a beer for me in the back already. Aaaah! Que paradiso!

Even from the airplane - Spain is nothing like i expected. It has hills - almost mountains. The landscape is mostly green right now. Its a little desert-like with the smaller plants and the loose soil. But there is enough moisture from the sea air, and enough buffer from what seems to be a light marine layer, that it is warm but nothing looks scorched. I assume it will be more desert-like in a few months, but I'm happy to be here in Spring. It's perfect!!

The main thing is that I expected this area to be more modern, urban and populous. The airport is a bit outside of Barcelona, so I'm really getting the beautiful rural view. Old brick and plaster casitas, gardens, groves, and countryside. As we drive and catch up a bit, something inside me uncoils. The air even smells good. *soul sigh*
I just want to disappear here for a few days. No past. No future. Just here. Now.

We pass some beautiful sites, and I'm just too busy enjoying them to even bother to take pictures. I'll take those pictures on the way back. (Of course, on the way back I go to the train in another place, instead of the airport. So those pictures are only in my mind now. ;)

----

We arrive about 20 or 30 minutes later. Karen introduces me to a bunch of shiny people sitting in the yard enjoying the sunshine. There's no way I'll remember everyone's names right away. Over the weekend it will all sort out, I'm sure.

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Karen shows me the bed she's made for me. I feel so honored that these amazing people are putting me up for the weekend. Even when It's been forever-and-a-day since last we met. But that's just how they are. Amazing.

Here's the property "Casa Molino" AKA by our crew as "Casa Pinson":

http://quazymoto.tripod.com/mosaicdesign/id27.html

I'm wandering around taking pictures of the property and the countryside, when Sicco says "stay close". I'm baffled, but I stick around the porch area, and suddenly there's all this commotion so I start snapping photos. Donna flew in from LA, but only a few people knew about it, so lots of folks were surprised to see her.

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I settle in and start getting to know a few folks. The sunset is gorgeous!

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More people trickle in. Magicians run amok in the kitchen preparing a feast.
There happen to be chefs and cooks about, so dinner is fantastic, of course! Thank you x1000!!! (Was that Melissa and Nik, or were Vance and Jason in on that one, too? I saw some kitchen helpers, and offered my services, too. But smart cooks can tell by looking at me that I'm one of those "clueless speed-bump" helpers and politely say "we're good, thanks!" ;) Then, I just help clean-up and balance is restored. heh.)

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After we are in food bliss for a bit, the most wonderful music starts climbing up our spines and making our booties want to move. So, some of us let it ;) (Thanks for the amazing music, Tim!).

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There were some serious surprises on the dance "porch". Not your usual suspects. But let's just say that I'd watch (and possibly participate in) a dance-off with Jim, Gee, and Grant ANY DAY. If the planets align properly, there may be moon walking and poppin' 'n' lockin'. You just never know with this crew.

[When I asked Grant about his moves, he reminds me that he's a drummer and says something like 'Do whatever you want in-between. But, always hit the 16 beat.' I'm sold. ]

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The night progresses and there is food, music, dancing, bonfire, and wonderful people sharing an amazing time. Everyone is excited to be here. I keep hearing that its important to "take it easy" tonight, because tomorrow night the party may go until dawn. I'm having such a great time, I can't imagine anything better. But, the more people I meet, the more I hear "Oh my gosh - you've never been here before? Oh! you're going to have the best time! Just save some energy for tomorrow!"

I took it easy except for the sleep and dancing thing ;). I was up until dawn making new friends around a fire in Spain. *bliss*

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Posted by icufoundme 18:43 Archived in Spain Tagged lodging Comments (1)

20090428 Dublin

Leisure day

overcast 55 °F
View Western Europe - Spring 2009 on icufoundme's travel map.

I wake to room service knocking to clean the room. I'm not feeling so great and the thought of packing up and hauling my stuff to another place is not at all appealing. I call the desk and extend my stay so I can just stay at this hotel thew whole time I'm in Dublin.

There is wireless but i can't seem to connect from my room. I need a pwd. I call the desk back and she says you have to use it from the lobby or bar/cafe. Ugh.

I end up dozing and reading and watching the news until afternoon.

Now, I'm feeling better and I'm ravenously hungry. It's Time to shower, use the wireless in the tavern, and get some food.

--

I had a nice long hot shower. took my time getting dressed and ready.

I've figured out that my room is probably cheap because its basement level, and every movement in the surrounding neighborhood is so dang loud. Also, I can hear every floorboard creak when the people upstairs walk around. but I have great earplugs, so it works just fine for me. And I'm paying less than half the going rate - oh yeah!

Here's the view:
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I head to the restaurant/bar and ask the bartender about the wireless, and he says It's available through the whole restaurant. I order a pint of Smithwick's 1710 Irish ale from him. It's a gorgeous pour. They really don't mess around with their pints in Ireland.

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I also ask him about the food and he recommends the chicken quesadilla (not beef). And definitely don't order the steak. Good to know!

I make myself comfortable at a table in the back. There are only about 6 other people in the restaurant.

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The smoked chicken quesadilla turns out to be quite tasty indeed.

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I stay there late into the evening uploading pictures, tagging them, working on the blog entries, etc.

They are closing up at 11. It's 10ish, and getting more crowded, so I decide to head out to the corner market for supplies, then back to the room.

The Pakistani man at the shop is very friendly and helpful and tells me which of the plethora pastries is best. He actually climbs around his booth to go through the packages with me, asking what kinds of things I like and making recommendations. He asks where I'm from and we chat a bit. He says Americans are very friendly - nice people.
I get milk, juice, water, pastries to go with my morning Instant coffee (which is pretty tasty, actually), and cookies for housekeeping. Then, I head back to my room.

I want to get some decent rest since tomorrow will be a tourist day for me. I have some milk and pastries, read some more, and drift off to sleep.

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Posted by icufoundme 13:40 Archived in Ireland Tagged lodging Comments (0)

20090425 Saturday in London - Part 1

sunny
View Western Europe - Spring 2009 on icufoundme's travel map.

I woke and the light was creeping in through the gaps in the sides of the black-out curtains. I'm curious what time it is. The hotel is silent so its either early or late. (It's so strange not having a cell phone! I keep expecting it to vibrate in my purse.)

I felt great after a long night of undisturbed sleep. Running my fingers through my hair, I found a big tangled clump. It turns out that my wax earplugs (which are amazing and highly recommended still, BTW) were stuck together and in a big knot tangled in my hair. Thankfully, it was fairly easy to untangle. It's mysterious that they were stuck together. That tells me that at some point in the night, I removed them and stuck them together, then fell back asleep before putting them down.

I wander out of my room and ask 3 different staff members for the time before someone understands me. I think the owners are Indian, the laborers may be lebanese (there is construction and painting on my floor), and the staff Ukrainian women... If I had to guess. But who knows. At least everyone is cheerful.

I was delighted to find that it's 8:20AM - still time to get the free breakfast! So, I put a scarf on my head and run downstairs to a tasty full breakfast. I'll take a picture tomorrow.
(At this point, I've decided to stay at this hotel. I thought about hauling my suitcase to McDonald's to use the internet and search for a hostel, and it sounded very unpleasant. So, I checked in for the next 2 nights and decided to search more aggressively for someone to share my room. During breakfast I scoped out the women for potential accostees. No luck so far.)

Housekeeping is ignoring the "do not disturb" sign and asking to clean my room. She agreed to come back in an hour. By then I should be showered and ready to go out.

I write the rest of last night's adventures and delete the redundant photos, rotate them, rename them by date and order taken.

Time to shower and head out for more adventure. I'll stop at McD's and upload the photos on my way.

Posted by icufoundme 11:13 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged lodging Comments (0)

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