A Weekend in Galicia, Spain

A Weekend in Galicia, Spain

Galicia is a Hawaii-sized state autonomous community on Spain’s northwest corner. I asked Spaniards if I should visit. “¡Por supuesto!,” said they, while suggesting that Galicia would be: (♦) Beautiful! Woodsy green hamlets fronting windswept Atlantic coastlines. Like that. (♦) Rainy! Maybe not as wet as San Sebastian, but up there. (♦) Relatively isolated. Spain’s high-speed…

A Day in Riga

A Day in Riga

Riga is the capital city of Latvia, a small-by-American-standards country in northern Europe. Now you know. I boorishly posted A Day in Minsk without telling you what, where or when a “Minsk” is, likely spurred irritable searches in browser address bars. Sorry. As if you didn’t already have enough grief in life without my bungling!…

A Day in Minsk

A Day in Minsk

Attractive, clean, safe, livable. Minsk deserves those adjectives. I was surprised. My parents would have liked it. I hesitate to flatter it this way. “Inside Europe’s last dictatorship” cries the 2012 Guardian headline about Belarus. “Better to be a dictator than gay,” responded leader-for-the-past-quarter-century Alexander Lukashenko, when criticized for his rights record by an out-of-the-closet…

Kyiv: First Impressions

Kyiv: First Impressions

(♦) Kyiv is 1,500 years old, give or take a century, and boasts an enviably deep line-up of historical draws. Tally ’em up: two UNESCO world heritage sites, the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra caves monastery and St. Sophia’s Cathedral, both tracing roots to the eleventh century. St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery. St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral, St. Andrew’s Church,…

Visit to Ronda, Spain

Visit to Ronda, Spain

“You’ve got a lot of nerve,” a native Spaniard might tell me, “to book a tourist trip to inland Andalucia in August.” True. I’ve lived in Spain three years, know better. Andalucia cities regularly rack up summer scorchers north of 40° Celsius. (104° Fahrenheit. Ow! Ow!) I’ve listened wide-eyed as natives swapped anecdotes on surviving…

Transit vs Car: Four More Points

Yet another post! Despite an implied battening-down-of-hatches in 2015. I’m sorry. I still lived stateside in 2015. My perspective has changed. For now, four more bright red subheads: LOS ANGELES AND SAN FRANCISCO TRANSIT VS MADRID TRANSIT: NO COMPARISON My ’14/’15 tourist treks showed me the chasm between transit West Coast and transit West Europe.…

Mugged in Guatemala City

Before I saw the mugger’s knife, I noticed his shirt: a roll-your-own-logo tee, the kind you’d order online as a gift with a relative’s favorite hokey catchphrase. Official Olympic Beer Drinking Team. Duct Tape Ph.D. I’m With Stupid. That kind of shirt. An English catchphrase on the shirt, even though he mugged me in Guatemala…

Madrid Impressions: Round Five

The latest installment: VENEZUELAN DIASPORA I meet Ecuadorans and Colombians in Madrid — and should, according to immigration-to-Spain stats — but not as often as I meet Venezuelans: two waiters and a manager in one restaurant; the part-owner of another; students, job seekers, new arrivals. Ties between the two countries are old, run deep. Some…