Saturday, 19 June 2010


Im actually writing this from my hotel in Rome (just got in) but the last two days in Paris have been amazing! Paris is a very exciting place to be even when you have a cold and generally feel like shit. Its beautiful, the people are crazy and your cab driver usually drives a brand new mercedes.
Since I've been under the weather the first night we took it easy and walked around a bit and went out to dinner. Then walked to the Moulin Rouge (which was right by our hotel) and decided to take a mini tour through our neighborhood. It was a little choo-choo train and looked like the "it's a small world" ride. It turned out to be quite the embarrassment when a large group of rouge Parisians harrassed us when we drove by their soccer victory celebration. I couldn't really blame them though....we looked ridiculous in that thing.
Day two we took the boat tour all through the center of town and took in all the major sights. The tour started at Notre Dame and sopped at The Louvre, Hotel Deville and The Eiffel Tower along the way. All of which are ridic and the Louvre is by far one of the most impressive and enormous things I've seen on my travels here.
I have the same feeling about Paris I had about London; I could definately live here.
Ok, off to explore Rome and eat some authentic Italian food!



Thursday, 17 June 2010


So, I´m sick. On vacation. Wonk wonk. I woke up on monday (my last day in Valencia) with a sore throat and head ache. The next morining when I got up to head the the train station I felt worse. Instead of immeadeatly laying down and getting rest when I arrive at my hotel in Barcelona I decide to go out and walk around with Casey and have something like 12 glasses of wine/sangria. Brilliant! All in all it was worth it because we had a lot of fun and met a few really intoxicated people. The next day however was not so fun. I decided I needed to stay in bed all day/night and hibernate so that I could feel good for Paris the next day. Casey went and did some sight seeing and I did some recuperating. I read all of ¨Less Than Zero¨. Ate a lot of cheese. Spilled a whole Fanta in my back pack. Watched a lot of the National Geographic channel in Spanish. Stared out the window. I am, the morning we are leaving for Paris, and I feel a lot better. So, good bye Spain, its been fun. My apologies Barcelona for not being able to see all of you. I´ll be in Paris in a few hours. Hollar!


Saturday, 12 June 2010


I know it´s been a while since I´ve posted but I really don´t have much to write about this week. I kinda planned Valencia (the third largest city in Spain on the Eastern coast) as a vacation within a vacation. My hotel is right on the beach next to the marina and race track.
The only real exploring I´ve done has been desperately searching for a place to do my laundry (with no luck). I´ve seriously looked everywhere and cant seem to find a place. Do spaniards not wash their clothes?!
I´ve been a beach bum during the days and going for long jogs and reading a ton at night. It´s been very relaxing but I´m already getting excited to move on to something a litle faster paced.
On Tuesday morning I´ll be taking a train to Barcelona to meet up with my friend Casey and will most likely end up getting drunk for the first time on this trip. Twist my arm ;)

Talk to ya from Barcelona!


Sunday, 6 June 2010

Libra de Ingles!

Eureka! I found a book store on Thursday night that sells books in English. While the section was way in the back, up a small ladder and around a dusty, unlit corner I was still very happy to see it. The selection was small and mostly British authors but I settled on ¨Winter in Madrid¨ by C.J. Samson (thought it was appropriate reading). Its about 3 Brits living in Madrid during World War 2. They are all there for different reasons and their lives are intertwined in different ways. I got VERY into this book and have done little else the past few days but read and was able to finish it last night. I have a new perspective walking around the city now. More of a sense of its history and all the different kinds of people that have been here before me. Now I need to get a new book tonight before I get the itch again. I´m sure it makes my mother immensely happy that the kid who flat out refused to read anything but comic books in elementary school now has a serious addiction to real books.

This morning I headed to The Reastro, The biggest and oldest flea market in Madrid. It was nuts! Tents and huts as far as the eye can see and there is something for everyone. You need jewelry, its everywhere. A chandelier, they´ve got it. Cheese, yup, that too. Seriously, anything you could possibly think about buying and all you have to do is look for it. In ¨Winter in Madrid¨, the Reastro was where the poor would sell valuables they had taken while looting the upper class homes during times of war and also where the same upper class would come every Sunday to try and buy back their family heirlooms. I got some pretty cool gifts for a few of my people back home.

Its my last day in Madrid and I´m getting a little sad. A couple days ago I couldn't´t wait to move on from the feeling of being land locked. Its been strange staying here for someone that grew up on water and lives a block away from the Lake in Chicago. Its like feeling constantly thirsty and not a drop of water in sight. Today though I don´t feel any of that. Instead I feel the need to scramble around and see all the things I´ve loved while being here one last time before I board the train To Valencia tomorrow. Did I mention I have a place on the beach there? ;)

Earlier on my run I noticed concert seating and a stage were being set up across the street from the Palicio Real. I have no idea what the concert is or what its for but I´m gonna go check it out. Talk to ya´ll from Valencia!



Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Settling in.

As I´ve started running out of Museums to visit, pictures to take and history to see, I've been settling in and more or less just living here. I have a route I run/walk every morning that takes me through the royal gardens (how many Americans get to jog around a royal palace every morning?) where I have been stalking a very elusive peacock. I found a favorite street of restaurants I hit up almost every night (Barcelona street). I located a movie theater that plays films un-dubbed (Spain has a huge film dubbing industry) and have seen the Prince of Persia and the Crazies thus far (both were decent). I do laundry, have a favorite ice cream place and even catch up on the Real World/Road Rules Challenge online.

One troubling thing is that I've ran out of books to read and I cant find a book store in all of Madrid that sells books in English. Iḿ going to keep looking but I may have to resort to just ordering one online and having it shipped to me. The book I just finished that Dave gave to me, "How to be Alone" was pretty good but not the dark kind of fiction I love. Ironically enough I was in a cafe reading the last chapter of that book, which was about the American cigarette industry, while a woman was blowing smoke literally right in my face. Bitch. That's one thing I really miss about Chicago: The right to breathe in public places.

I have to say I´m loving the food here. Its kind of an adventure every time I go out to eat. I think I know exactly what I'm ordering but it seldom comes to the table as expected. That's a good thing though. Keeps me on my toes. Chorizo is more like venison, the goat cheese is like swiss, and Italian food is way cheesier and pretty amazing and all the various sauces I love are unavailable so I'm going to take this as the perfect time to kick my condiment addiction.

Madrid really reminds me of a older, hotter NYC. There is buzz and excitement in the air at all times and the streets are just as lively at 4 pm as they are at 4 am. I almost get hit by one kind of vehicle or another on a daily basis and you never know when a marching band will come barreling down the street for no discernible reason (I have pictures of this). How can you not love a place where you can see a bum fight, have a delicious meal, get propositioned by a hooker and see a Goya exhibit all in a one block radius.

Well, time to go. Its time to go meet my new Spanish friend for a beer. I promised him he could practice his English on me.


Saturday, 29 May 2010


Loving Spain, but getting here had a few speed bumps...
First of, I wake up late in London. Personal fact; I´m incappable of making it to the airport on time. But, that doesn´t fly internationally, so, hurry up and put your shit in the bag Brown. After nearly tumbeling down my hotel stairs it´s time to check out. Sounds easy enough, it never is. Since I´m me, of course I forget to notify Chase that I will be traveling overseas. They shut my debit card off. Mother f*ckers. I´m late, penniless, and hungover (whole other story). Luckily, the hotel manager agrees to take pity on me and charge me later when I can reach the fraud dept of Chase. I find the Tube, and off to Madrid via London City Airport...
Spead bump #2; The worst flight I´ve ever been on. It was a lot like my last serious relationship; very turbulant, I was nauseous for most of it, and it lasted for way too long. Mostly kidding ;). It was my first full-blown anxity attack of 2010... On an airplane... 37,000 feet in the air... During breakfast... Awful and embarassing. But after a few concerned co-flyers ask me if I´m alright I pull it together thinking ¨people aren´t so bad¨.

Madrid, just as beautiful as London with a little more ´flava´...
I check into my room and am pretty underwhelmed. Twin bed, no window (prison style breezeway I´ve grown accustomed to from my time living on broadway and melrose), and the constant smell of ethnic food that I cant quite place the origin of. All in all I couldn´t care less how awful the room is because I wont be spending much time in it.
Since check in I´ve wandered around both aimlessly and with purpose depending on my mood. Thus far I´ve checked out the rolal palace(Palicio Real), the royal gardens(huge and a really good hike ;)), and numerous Plazas and churches.

What I´ve noticed so far; 1, Street garbage cans here are really small (should I take this as the Spanish people don´t need huge garbage cans because they waste less than americans do?). 2, Either most spanish women dress like whores or I´ve came across a LOT of prostitutes. 3, Street performers here pretty much blow anything I´ve ever seen out of the water...amazing. 4, Bums seem to more or less fight about the same things with eachother as they do in the states.
Well, it´s been another long day of walking and taking it all in so its time for a beer or two.


Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Day 1, London.

London. Beautiful and old. I walked around all day and feel like I haven't seen anything yet. Almost get on the London Eye but decided against it. Cant figure out where the hell Buckinham Palace is. Saw a Jillian doppelghanger and wanted to take her picture but she looked pissed off so I kept walking. Walked into Westminister Abbey and notice every single person is talking on their cell phones. Then I realize they aren't cell phones but automated tour guides. Oops. I got one and take the whole tour. Amazing how much history one place can hold. Head to Trafalgar square and ate lunch by the fountain. See a pack of kids that look like they go to Hogwarts and kinda wish I had gone to a school with uniforms. Getting legitimately worried I may use up my cameras memory card on the first day. Next, decide to check out the National Gallery. I get lost walking around looking at paintings. Literally, I cant find the exit but I'm okay with it because there is so much to see. Finally figure out where Buckingham Palace is and start walking. It's HUGE. My feet are killing me so its time to find a pub and have a beer. My wheels are turning and I'm thinking "I could live here". Flying into Madrid tomorrow and am excited but wishing I had more time.