Road tripped to several beaches near Piadad and had a picnic at Dona Ana. WOW. what a beach. Was fun/funny to take long walks amoung fully nude beach goers. What a different culture.
Im making this entry short, cos Im actually in paris and Im extremely tired from very rich days. To continue...we then went to visit AV in Granada. What a whirlwind. Drove through Seville and over to Granada, an amazing city underneath the Sierra Nevada mountains. Enjoyed lots of interesting bridges and tapas stops along the way. Even truch stops have great tapas. AV had an awesome schedule lined up for us. Just caught sunset over the city near the Alhambra and had a dose of tapas. Wow, free tapas with every drink. so nice. Lots of amazing Spanish treats and talks and walks. AV, you rule the school! Such an amazing host. Gots lots of bits of architectural history and fun chabot style slumber party antics. Next morning - CHOCOLATE AND CHURROS. delish.
Took the peugeot to a few beach villages near the spanish border yesterday. First stop was Cacela Velha, a hamlet perched on a cliff overlooking the atlantic. Fields of wildflowers and olive trees on both sides, this is a magical untouched (by tourism) peaceful 18th century town. The phoenicians and Moors used this spot until it was taken over by the Knights of Santiago in 1240 (thanks Portugal travel guide). We continued east along the coastal highway, and ended up in the last town before the Spanish border. Vila Real de Santa Antonio is an important fishing port for the Algarve coast, and has mega cafes with a long list of seafood dishes (grilled sardines, garlic shrimp, clams, mussells, etc). Along with a ton of seafood for sale, there were also old wooden primary colored fussball tables lined up infront of the cafes. We ended up sharing a bottle of white wine (all wine is under $4.00!) and a bowl of amazing fresh green olives (much like the buttery french lucques variety). yum.
Now we are in the Algarve. I sort of didnt realise how close Africa really was to Thomas's place until I got here. It's amazing to think that a short ferry ride away, you could hang out in Tunisia or Morrocco. The architecture/food/people have such a unique style here. Very much a mixture of all these places. The tile work is incredible and the spices in the food are powerful and of northern African influence. We sat on the beach yesterday and had large shrimp (they call this type Langostino) with carmelized garlic, coriander and other spices from Mozambique. Along with that we drank Caipirinha's and homemade local breads. After dinner and a quick walk on the beach, we went on a drive through the grounds at Monte Rei, where Thomas works. Again, the landscape is very similar to SB but with more magic. Nothing but rolling hills and golden sunlight with wild Partridges, and swallows flying by. Nice to see a place so underdeveloped and untouched except for little towns and a wide open resort (they have 1000 acres, but only will develop 8% of it). When we got home, Adrian and I took the dog for a walk on the little country roads next to Thomas and Liz's while sipping on a glass of Vin Verte, the local white wine. Its extremely peaceful here, and even has a Santa Ynez quality - with a lot of oak trees, vineyards, olive trees, and golden hills. I can see why Thomas found this place an easy choice for a new home.
Thomas got us a nice little Peugeot, so we are going to drive to near by ruins and towns to explore. We are planning to perhaps see Lupe and AV and drive to Seville for a night.
Sun in London? yeah! Enjoyed the market day in Portobello after a fun Phipps family hang at Tooting Commons. So nice to see kids at the local common playing soccer with parents catching up on gossip and other news. Ellis is a great player and was excited for the big cheerleading squad.
Went to Queen Elizabeth hall to check out Jarvis Cocker's "Meltdown" festival. The Saturday eve event was all about old school dj's spinning northern soul and all the classics of the Mod movement. Young and old stylish brits doing the northern soul shuffle on the sunken dancefloor and lots of style watching. A solid London experience for sure.
Ended up on the night bus at trafalgar square for a long ride home amidst the late nighters. That in itself is an experience. Next morning Chelsea disappeared on his vespa and reappeared with pastries from a french bakery. Hot almond croissants and Melanie's perfect cup of Lady Grey tea made Sunday, father's day, off to a good start. Ended up at the local cinema house for a film and then to Clapham Common for pints and a late night southern Indian meal. SO GOOD. I love London's Indian food scene. incredible. We will return to London for our last night, and will join Chelsea and Melanie at Chez Bruce for Chelsea's birthday.
Adrian and I are heading off on Thursday (June 14th) for our Euro adventure. Im going to photograph Dierdre's wedding in the countryside of Ireland and then off to hit galleries, friends, family and all the little things in between. We will hang with Chelsea in London, hang with brother Thomas in Faro Portugal, stay at mary feisty's flat in paris, and then finally to Grindelwald, Switerland to visit childhood, hike and picnic in the mountains, and feel the Rubi family vibes. If you have any info on art/food/new friends/ whatever - feel free to emal me. Paris, London, East Portugal, Basel, Dublin.... thats the trail. More news to come during the quest for new things while across the ocean. We will be back July 8th.