Friday, October 28, 2011

On the Rock

Gibraltar. A massive piece of rock, large enough to create it's own weather patterns, that guards the mouth of the Mediterranean, hiding 42km of tunnels that have provided safety and wicked angles for the cannon of British tenants for over 200 years. The photo below shows the cannon portals of the WW2 tunnels to the right of the rock (look closely) as well as the older great seige tunnels dug in the late 1700s (left) dug by hand when the Spanish invaded during Britain's preoccupation with the American war of independence. The turret to the far right is part of the remains of a massive Moorish castle from the 13th century. This rock has been both savior and destroyer of many an army for a long time...  




You shall not pass! 


Mediterranean sunset.


The last ten days have been spent getting ourselves and Adagio shipshape (sorry, had to say it). This includes all manner of stuff...

...climbing up the mast...


Getting the whole boat out of the water on a massive crane to fix various stuff and scrape barnacles etc...


...missions over the border into Spain (merely a brisk walk across the runway that doubles as a national border) to buy a shitload of fishing gear (this photo is just a wee fraction)...




Let me introduce the crew.


Herve.  Brilliant French cook, world traveler, semi-retired Jeweler to various middle eastern royalty, lover of life, all around genius. Mainly in charge of the culinary side of things (I haven't eaten this well in years!) but, like most French of his caliber and expertise, is usually more than willing to offer his opinion on most subjects...


Yours truly, slowly getting into pirate mode despite not having left the bloody harbor.


The captain's photo still to come...

We leave for the Canaries in approximately 12 hours....getting excited...!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Barcelona is wicked

I had three wicked days in Barcelona, not enough to get to know her well, but long enough to enjoy her...

...streets...







...buildings...






...food...
my favorite tapas: 'pimento de padron'







...people...

Met these guys in a bar called Nevermind that was pretty rockin. Bald guy is a pro skater apparently.


Stumbling home after more than a few drinks, I managed to walk perfectly around the block, twice. At which point I found myself in Bar Judas, where some amazing flamenco guitar and singing was going down by some guys who were obviously very amazing but didn't want to be filmed...

...bars...

Los Alamos is located in the depths of the Gothic Quarter and has all the essentials, cheap drinks, bartenders who like to drink them with you, and good tunes.  The guy out the front is Steven from Switzerland, whom I met on a couple of occasions and who taught me quite a bit about Barcelona, world economics, and most of the destinations I was headed to. He gets bonus points for the Australia shirt. Cheers Steven!


Bar Nevermind. I had so much fun here the first time I couldn't find it again. Until I adopted the optimum method for traveling, and stopped searching. 


Needless to say, there were many more....

And then all of a sudden I was hurtling down the coast at considerable speed, driven by Danny Britto, a great character who drives his taxi from a wheelchair mounted in the driver's seat, with a joystick attached, the result of a traffic accident, but obviously not one that slowed him down too much...next stop...



...Gibraltar



Friday, October 21, 2011

Last Tangle in Paris

After a relaxing, accordian-serenaded run to the airport on Friday in which I realized I was about 25 hours early for my flight  (“What!? You say the 15th is tomorrow!?”) it was back in to Paris for one more night of fun with French people.  This impromptu extension turned out awesomely, with Chawki and Florian backing up with another massive performance.




The call was made for cheap and cheerful eats in a bistro in Monmarcht, the gay and Jewish quarter (not necessarily in that order) of Paris. Miyuki, a friend form Tokyo blew my mind by randomly sitting at the next table. Small world. Florian’s family-made Pinot was smuggled in and went down a treat, as you can see.


A lovely drop. The fact that you can't see anyone's full face was because we were breaking the law bringing this bottle into a resaurant, and had nothing to do with dodgy half-arsed photography. 




Miyuki!  Fancy meeting you here...



Front row dinner seats to an impromptu Priscilla in Paris. 

video

Gay Jews were followed up with some heavy metal (naturally!) and it was off to a metal bar.  Many drinks and goat horns later, as well as a minimum of sleep, and this time it was a groggy sprint back to the airport (left Paris 40 minutes before my flight was due to depart, thank god for budget airlines that never leave on time). And all of a sudden I was on my way to Barcelona on a solo mission…

Goodbye Paris...



Hello Barcelona! (Seriously, how good is this city!!)








Thursday, October 20, 2011

Final Night in Paris (or so I thought...)

The antics on the Seine early in the morning called for something a little more laid back the following night. After visiting the dead, some French burgers (recipe = a good burger + red wine and mountain cheese) were in order, and then an exhibition. How cultured of me.




Do I fit in yet?


Doesn't look like the burger places I grew up with...formidable!


A face to make Audrey Hepburn Jealous. The lady on my arm is good looking too.


Thumbs up to Paris. And all that arty stuff.


Random photo of Chawki and Isabelle's door, because it deserves a photo. Chawki is on the right...


Saturday, October 15, 2011

An eternity under the ground (lunch with a million souls)

The next day was dedicated to meeting some of the older residents of the city, who make their dwelling beneath the ground...Pere Lachaise cemetery, a true city of the dead. Home to Jim Morrison (or his grave anyway).



And then deeper (!) into their very homes: The Catacombs. By their silence it seems they didn't mind the intrusion... 


At least a kilometer of winding paths walled by the bones of the deceased, moved here in the 1700s from cemetaries around Paris because of their unfortunate habit of spreading the plague amongst the yet-living. 


Silence etres mortels

Silence mortal beings




A day in the life of Paris

The amazing Saint Chapel. Over 700 hundred years old.



Followed by a true French dinner of wild boar with some good friends at the Repaire de Cartouche. Tres Bien!




Thanks to Francois and the boys as well as the lovely Lithuanian ladies for having us at their house for drinks, and then taking us to this awesome little watering hole, open late, strong drinks, no nonsense!



Owned and run by this guy who was good enough to pose for a picture with a drunken yours truly. 


Needless to say, no trip to Paris would be complete without a late-night 'stroll' through her majestic streets...



Dead quiet, dead still, not a living soul in sight. Coming alive on the Seine in the small hours.



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Can anyone guess where this is?    
Insane on the Seine with brother Florian. Notre Dame in the background.