Location: Noviomagus Reginorum, England
Back from Alicante, was a fun 13 days but the weather. The last night we went to a bar that we've often walked past, on the way to the Sal y Pepe restaurant or upto the Tram. They had the TV on and there was lots of snow and it was only just up the road in Valencia- they kept pointing to the screen , muttering "Espana" in disbelief- apparently it has snowed on Torre Vieja - the place a week before where I was sat in the sun talking to my new friend.
Being a man of leisure and also no one wants to employ me I have put my efforts into reading, shopping for the best bargains and planning my first trip to northern Spain-Bilbao.
The plan is to take the Honda to LGW and park for free on the Friday night, get to Bilboa 10.30ish , catch the A3247 to plaza moyua on gran via then walk to my air BNB place , I'm thinking 1am.
But my host Dagmara seems very cool to the situation
I have written to her in Castillian Spanish and I'm hoping all is good.
I want to spoil my soul with he Guggenheim and the Arts museum, I'm hoping for a good Sunday market somewhere too.
My mind is full of packing details for the Honda and what I can safely stow during the trip away
Btw Noviomagus Reginorum is Roman for Chichester
Location: Alicante, Spain
Yesterday was Torre Vieja
They have a huge market, the biggest street market in Spain.
You have to start early if leaving from Alicante & walk to the Bus station.
Its a great walk from the old town ,along la Rambla with its spacey paving, the high winds blowing the seeds from the Palm trees, the early morning light, the Spanish keep fitters looking aghast at 3 unfit Brits walking while they jog past.
Getting to the Estacion de Bus the kiosk opens and you pay 4.50 one way, you buy individual seats for the journey.
while sitting outside the bus a confused brit approaches thanking god we speak English, she is lost, confused and looking to return to Marbella- we ask a bus driver where the Marbella bus is for her, show her how to get there ,she is a stranger in strange land- why oh why do brits think that Spain is England light.
approx. 1 hour 15 we are there, Torre Vieja, blue sky warm , market, people life -We walked and shopped for a couple of hours then set off for the sea front-it was just how we left it in September -however a lot of places were shut
the verve it is like the best place in the world to promenade
Buy a Guinness or two
Buy a very lovely set menu
Fall into a conversation with a chap from Essex who was worried about the weather back home
walk back for the 3.30 bus
sit in the sun and drink café con Leche
get into a deep conversation with a woman from Bridport about being 68 & finally getting what life is all about
dozing the beer off on the bus back to Alicante
watching ahora caigo
watching lots of letterman on You tube
not a bad Saturday
Thank you beloved Costa Blanca
I am typing this while listening to Dave Brubeck's Blue Rondo a la Turk
Not bad & now Kinda Blue , Miles Davis
Location: Alicante, Spain
Soy Ingles, Estoy dura
I shouted this back to a local , swathed in scarves and a winter jacket- He had asked me if I was cold , I was in shorts & a T shirt & was just leaving the local Carrefour express with Bread and Fizzy water
"I'm English , I'm hard" I laughed as I marched away
10 minutes later sat in the apartment I have put on a jumper lol
Tuesday-There's a threat of a visit to a hardware store, apparently the Loo brush -I'm guessing el Cepillo de Bano- is failing so we need a new one. Other than that there is the matter of the menu del dia somewhere, la siesta and the ever demanding "Caminar del playa"-the beach walk
Its currently grey outside-"Cumulo Nimbus! but I'm hoping for the sun soon
Location: Alicante, Spain
what can you say about the Costa Blanca, I woke late, after a traumatic hour with the Duolingo, sent my oldest Grandchild an E birthday card & went shopping. The sky is wonderfully Blue and in the sun its very warm.
The shop next to here sells 1 litre bottles of beer & my favourite Italian spoilt us with a 10 lunch (Cesar salad with a Margarita Pizza & good ice cream.
Been watching Ahora Caigo-my favourite quiz programme, a chap "Jesus " has just lost 18000 on the mispronunciation of Whoopi Goldberg-They actually delayed the start of the next show to show the this part of the programme.
I went up to the big Mercardo today & bought meat, a Carrefour express for saccharin & Eggs & vegetables from a brilliant corner shop that's run be a very friendly Eastern European chap
Now I'm off to make a big decision, whether to mash the hamburger I bought today & make spaghetti & meatballs or go for a drink , buy a McDonald's burger and save all that cooking nonsense for tomorrow.
I've not managed to smash any bottles today but I am going to brave the lift with a black bin full of rubbish & look for the big grey bins to put my Basura.
Location: Alicante, Spain
Some witty titles to forthcoming blogs
Being close to the bins isn't necessarily good for sleep
Never mix the subject of Donald trump and the royal family when there's Tia Maria involved
Never joke with a barman about getting a tiny beer
Suddenly realising what Tia Maria means
Wishing I had brought the ipad , as Duolingo is 10 times easier on ios
if I could bottle the happiness I feel here on the Costa Blanca
Location: Alicante, Spain
Day 1 of being in Spain, the flight over was fun, only 2 hours lol. met Liz at the airport and the bus into town was waiting for us. the Apartment is 5 minutes from the last one we rented here, its in the old town and reminds me lots of the flat we had in Buenos Aires but without the mezzanine bedroom.
We went to an Italian opposite our previous favorite, I had a tuna pizza , lana had a mushroom risotto , it was all wonderful & the cost for two people simple meal in LA was 3 mains , a starter and several drinks. I went to several bars on my own and I think I must have drunk a lot because I slept until 8.30 lol.
This morning I went up town and bought brekky and toilet roll , I must have made an odd sight shorts hoody and I'm shuffling through the streets where the locals are wearing hats & scarves.
Later, we went for a walk in the sun along the Rambla, Lana bought some sunglasses from an RSPCA stand, she forgot both her expensive pairs of sunglasses lol. & a painted stone for 10 euro eeek!
We had coffee in a Mc Café and then had lunch in a brilliant Chinese - it was 10 euro and you got a spring roll, sate stick, Beef thai curry & rice ,coffee and a free limoncello (digestive)
The women are asleep, I've cleared up the bottle of beer that smashed onto the kitchen floor -bastard waste of beer
Hopefully more beer & tapas tonite
Location: Chichester, UK
The bit before packing
I hate the idea of leaving my leather "Man bag" behind but its so bulky & the 5 Euro-(Cant find the symbol on my new keyboard ) pack away rucksack is brilliant , I've been out early & raided the luggage compartment of my Honda for the rucksack & my pack a mack.
Next question the small Digicam-ok but no chance of any Bokeh effect, the Nikon DSLR , a bloody white elephant unless I spend another £200 on a telephoto lens or the simply beloved Panasonic Lumix bridge camera-The Lumix , an 8G card plus Laptop cable and then of course the HP laptop & no IPad.
There is a Carrefour is the middle of Alicante so I intend to restock on some clothing, I've had Carrefour shirts for about 10 years & they were 3 euro each!
I'm still using my 2013 £11 carry on case that I bought from Sainsbury's in Eastbourne, I keep telling myself to find my Karrimor Rucksack, I know its pink but it was cheap from Millets; I've got to start using this as the Honda is my only mode of transport & I've got to get to Gatwick for the Bilbao trip in Feb & my costs are so tight that I've allowed no car parking and no 35mpg cars whereas the Honda does 90 to the gallon.
A footnote to this is how do I approach travel using a Honda step thru bike
Helmet can live in the top box, boots under the seat, my bike trousers and jacket will be another issue. I maybe will extricate my old full face hat and use that on the helmet peg leaving under seat room.
I just don't want to be tramping the streets of Bilbao-Thinking about it only taking my acquired 17 litre backpack, ala Simon Calder but not having to drag coats , trousers , purchases from the Tabac until 6pm on the Sunday.
lots to plan-great for a sad bloke lol
I do like giving myself these challenges
Location: Chichester, UK
Saturday early, I hope your essay stuff has gone well this week, for me its been weird not doing the long days but taking the bike out, cleaning bits of the house and trying not to get too bored lol.
Today is the beginning of the 2nd Spanish exile, I should be used to this but it feels very much like a forced thing rather than wow I'm off to Alicante for nearly 2 weeks. I'm looking at one of the sofas piled high with clothes, my camera, a foldaway rucksack to save space and a packamack instead of a coat, always compromise if you don't want to spend extra on Hold baggage lol.
I've been going through my collected papers from the past 6 years of travel, from the first Abu Dhabi to last weeks California; I feel drenched with so many memories , both good & bad plus the way that the past is also the present Tshepo wrote to me from Soweto yesterday
I made a secret pact with myself that if I can get a new job before the end of February I may treat myself to a bit of South America , maybe , but the flights to Japan are wonderfully cheap at present lol-Maybe throw caution to the wind & take myself to wonderful Tokyo and watch the Cherry blossoms, hang out in Yoyogi park on a Sunday, for once not a Zombie from jetlag & maybe find the expat bars in Shibuya or even the Rippongi, I must remind myself that I am old & boring and probably not a good idea to be hanging around the bars of the rippongi lol- I suspect that you would love it
I want to try and be good over this next 13 days, I want to walk every day, try and curb the drinking and not eat too much restaurant food. I desperately need a haircut & I know a Barbers in town where I can get a haircut but as long as they don't remember me from last time, I was late for an appointment , went to the pub and returned a little drunk lol. they have a day which translates as the day of Shit, which for some stupid reason I was questioning a kid about , when she was only trying out her English on me oops
I've been watching expat videos on utube, apparently teaching English is good business out there, building is not wanted but English is -is there a future for me or shall I put Alana out to work?
I am looking forward to watching the daily quiz show Ahora Caigo, I watched an episode the other night on the net & I did quite well & I answered a question about the largest county in Spain correctly too on Eggheads
I am concerned the other two don't take my passion para la vida espanol as seriously as I do lol.
Location: HB, USA
Hope you've had a good New Years celebration. Here is a bit of a wintry California. Been watching Harry Potter and the goblet of fire.
Hotel is great just back from the seafront , dead pricey but it is a treat.
Tomorrow afternoon we start the long trip Home, looking forward to vegetables, bread and shops that you can get these things.
I went out for a while last night, first bar I had to loud whistle to get served at the bar, didn't realise they had table service! Couldn't be bothered with other bars and ended up in a Shisha place, drank a can of coke and talked to the owner about a Shisha place in Abu Dhabi I know and thirdly went back to my hotel had a beer and nice chat about the Washington vs Carolina football game yesterday.
On the walk back ,out of interest ,I bought a $2 meal of a hot dog and a pint of melon juice from a 7/11 store I offered half to a homeless chap, who turned down the food but accepted half the drink after I assured him there was no alcohol in the drink
Bit of an alcoholic lunch, so have slept the afternoon away lol
Have awoken to the end of the prisoner of Azkaban, now its the Goblet of Fire, American TV can be really full on.
Babe so proud of you and your family,talking about the girls I've got them HB beach vests, dead cool lol
Am in a bit of strange place about what to do next, pride wants a high paying job , sense says be a gardener, enjoy what you can't earn, time, and put some quality back into life. Shame is my expensive hobby ,Travel , costs lots and so I may have to take up something less exotic lol.
It sounds a bit sucky but I am so Lucky to be here, I wish I could tell that younger me me I would be sharing unfinished pizza with a homeless person at the home of surfing, when it was me on the Tesco skate board riding on the pavements of Somerstown lol.
I suppose what I'm saying to you is never accept what you have is all you will have, I'm saying this to myself too,
I hate the bit in between yet I should be saying to myself " you earned it enjoy", rather than worry about the future
Let's make 2017 be great for All of us
I love you xxx
Ps lets spare a thought for those wankers that slag us down, lay us off , cause us grief; when we see our faces in the bathroom mirror we look forward to our day, all they can see is their faces made ugly by their poison
Location: HB, USA
Been a wet , in fact very wet morning, today.
Day started with an email back from an ex boss of mine at Haringey council; I had written to Frankie to wish him a happy Christmas etc and I also apologised for not going over to Tottenham to see him, as I have been working in London. He drops the bombshell that he's been retired for 6 months and had spent most of that time in Spain. You would love the man all London flash but with an excellent eye for detail and a concern and interest in people.
We got up early to catch the first of two busses up to Long Beach to get to the aquarium of the Pacific . Firstly we went to the ATM in the hotel for cash but some fool had jammed the keys so we went to a Wells Fargo ATM on Main Street, the bastards wanted $5 charge, whereas the hotel only wanted $3.
The first bus was generally homeless free but the driver didn't know the area that that google map had shown. We ended up in the middle of nowhere, in the pouring rain and suddenly a strange woman appeared telling us she had money if we wanted to share an Uber cab! Like sorry, no app, don't want to know etc.
Anyway we found a stop for the next bus a 5 minute walk away and when it arrived the driver let us on to warm up ,yesterday hot sunny happy, today cold v. Cold lol.
The second bus was a very scenic drive though Long Beach, looks a lot like south beach Miami and 30 minutes or so we were getting off the bus at the Catalina ferry terminal.
We had a breakfast in the ferry terminal , it didn't agree with Lana but I finished her potatoes anyway.
We found the aquarium, I had walked right past it 5 years ago and after paying the $100 (ouch) but this was for both of us and included the boat fare for the whale watching. The aquarium was good with its feature thing being about sea horses and sea dragons with huge tanks of fish, a petting pool with mad rays and some amazing jelly fish tanks.
We were asked to queue for the boat trip 15 minutes early, the sun had come out so,it was lovely to sit by the boat and "catch some rays" did I really say that? Lol
We saw some Dolphins, saw the back of a grey whale, had "Albert" our commentator tell me I had asked him a good question - I simply asked how long we would be travelling . Laugh like a drain talking to two old boys whose sole aim appeared to be to drink the boat dry of beer , so all in all a good afternoon
Luckily I found the route back to the bus easily and there was a bus at the stop waiting for us, we even found the right stop to catch the no.1 back to HB. Annoyingly the wait , 40 minutes, for the next bus was 40 minutes and we should have gone to a bar to wait but not believing the Internet we waited in the drizzle and the dark.
Dinner was at a bar for pizza and another bar for coconut shrimp.
Tomorrow is another day but it's going to be wet so it maybe local and whether we watch the New Year's Eve programme from time square New York City on TV and then go and have a drink at midnight.
Looking forward to seeing how the city celebrates NYE