Do You Enjoy Travel Stories?
This website chronicles our trip around the world in 2006. It has lots of photos, videos and stories. We invite you to come in, relax and enjoy the scenery.
~Lee and Sachi LeFever
Sachi and I were just minding our business at a cafe in the Barri Gothic of Barcelona, just off the Ramblas on Ferran. I looked out the window and glanced up at a hip-looking guy with a bag slung across his shoulder and a head of huge curly hair. In knew in an instant that it was Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker writer and popular author of The Tipping Point and Blink. Being one of my favorite authors and a blogger, I knew his look and seemed nearly unmistakable as he walked by. Then, just as I mentioned to Sachi that it looked like him, he came into our cafe and sat down across the room from us.
How random! How often could that possibly happen - even in New York? But in Barcelona it was almost surreal. I had to investigate.
After we finished lunch I walked over to him, a bit nervously and feeling a little intrusive and said "Are you Malcolm?" He smiled and said "yes!" and I introduced myself and Sachi. We talked a bit about why he was in Barcelona (a speaking engagement at a conference) and our trip. He was surprised that Sachi and I are still on good terms after nearly a year. I tried to resist the urge, but I ended up doing the ultimate fanboy action and asking for a picture with him - I just had to. Malcolm was completely gracious about it and seemed like any other nice guy you'd meet on the street - in Barcelona. Good guy that Malcolm. After a bit of small talk we left him with his hand written notebook and coffee. I couldn't help but wonder - is that his next book? Maybe it's about chance meetings.
We've been asked many times about our process and technology for keeping this site updated regularly. So, we decided to shoot a short video showing all the tools we use (hardware and software) and our process. We're not sayng it's the best way - it's just how we do it.
In the video we mention a number of resources. Our camera is the Pentax Optio WP. Our computer is the Sony VGN-T350. This site runs on the Drupal platform, which is hosted and supported by Bryght. Our graphic design was done by Rain City Studios. We share our photos using Flickr. Oh, and the post we created on the video is here.
Just sharing a quick photo from our day at the beach in Barcelona - yes even in November. This post was created during the filming of this video about travel blogging.
From the roof of the Gothic Cathedral La Seu in Barcelona
We're pretending we live in Barcelona, sort of. We've rented an apartment and stocked it with food and drinks and made ourselves at home as much as possible. Along with this comes trying to adjust to the Spanish lifestyle, which is decidedly time-shifted. The Spanish seem to take the day and shift everything a couple of hours later and throw a mid-day break into the mix - the siesta.
This is surely one of the only times I've posted something close to 1am. That's because we ate dinner at around 11 and will sleep late tomorrow. Being a morning person, I'm having a hard time adjusting. Getting up after 10am makes me feel like the best part of the day was wasted and I might as well give up on the rest of it. In reality, the morning hours I missed are just appended onto the end of the day - I'm writing this post in on borrowed time from early this morning. So, it's a matter of perspective I suppose.
As for the rest of the Spanish lifestyle, we'll see.
“The graffiti people should be hanged” – that is what I heard from a business owner in
And so it is for a lot of
I have enough of a counter-culture lean to like some forms of graffiti. It is an art form and there are incredibly talented people who do their work with aerosol cans and public walls. Unfortunately, these are the exceptions. 99% of the graffiti we’ve seen is not an attempt at art, but what appears to be late-night scribbles by disaffected individuals that wish to state publicly their discontent with politics, football, the environment, their personal lives, etc. This is the sad and ugly graffiti that plagues
There is of course, a beautiful side as we saw in
Jef Aerosol, in
A few others struck me too.
…eliminate dirt, litter, graffiti, animals' excrement and excessive noise from domestic and vehicular music systems in European cities, along with other concerns over urban life.
The sad reality from our perspective is that graffiti appears to be taking over the walls of
Sometimes though, graffiti has a way of stating something that just wouldn't be as appropriate any other way...
Grilled fish and local cheese – that’s what we heard we should experience from people like Nancy White and local Bev Traynor before visiting
Most of the atmosphere of
Alas, we did take a lot of photos and these are some of our favorites…
This is a panorama taken while looking down a long set of stairs Lisbon Castle:
Albert Einstein is HUGE is Portugal...
These kids lost their ball on this balcony, so they pushed the little guy up to get it and let him dangle until he dropped. He was not happy with them.
One of our last photos from Lisbon as we waited for the Aerobus to whisk us away to the Airport at Restauradores.
One of my friends recently sent an instant message that said “
Fortunately the reality has been much different. I have enjoyed and been captivated by
One of the major factors in the difference between
For example, in
This is also true from an economic perspective. The average Thai person cannot afford to experience the world of the western traveler inside
When we visited the very familiar-seeming
Without the bubble, the experience is more real. We experience
Yesterday at 4pm we had a plan for the next morning - we were going to catch a 7 hour train to Tavira in Southern Portugal. Then, we would use busses and trains to make our way to Barcelona via Granada and Valencia over a couple of weeks (quite slowly as it takes forever by train).
Long story short, tonight we are near the French border in the coastal village of Cadaqués, Spain, northeast of Barcelona - very far from Portugal (in fact a flight, train and bus ride from Portugal).
In a few short hours our plans changed completely when we realized that the prospect of more day-to-day travel sounded a bit too much. We've been rolling through cities every few days for months and we need a vacation from the constant travel if we're going to make it to Christmas. So we bagged our plans, got flights to Barcelona and rented an apartment for a couple of weeks. We "move in" to our Gothic barrio apartment on Sunday which gives us a weekend in Costa Brava and Cadaqués - the home of Salvador Dali.
We're both excited about Barcelona and some time to take in a city for more than a few days. We'll have a kitchen, washer and dryer and the closest thing to home we've seen in a very long time. Aahhhhhhh.
(The photo above is a Spanish guitarist we just saw perform tonight in Cadaqués).
The above headline in Portuguese reads: "Democrats oblige Bush to look at what he has done in Iraq."
It has been rather strange to watch the mid-term US elections from Portugal. On the morning of the 8th, I got up early, like a kid on Christmas, to see the early results and went back to bed with satisfied thoughts of a Democratic House and the defeat of Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania. Since then, we've been checking in on the headlines, but I think we both miss the analysis (which I imagine most Americans are already sick of). More than anything else, I want to be able to watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart right now and experience something close to the moment we all hoped for in 2004. I'm sure he has a lot to say.
The election is of course huge news here too. One of the guys that runs the hotel here said it is the top story on the radio, newspaper, TV, etc. From what we've heard many, many times on the trip, we think this election will make some sense to the Europeans. Most of our friends in Europe were completely baffled by Bush being elected a second time. They often say that it seems impossible because they have never met an American that likes him. Our response is usually something like "Well, remember that something like 80% of Americans do not hold a passport".
We both will take some satisfaction in returning home to a government with a different agenda and with a not-so-subtle message having been sent to W from our countrymen. Home is looking better all the time.
Sometimes things just come together in the most timely ways. Yesterday we stopped by an Internet cafe in Lisbon to check in on the mid-term US elections (Yay!) and found an email from our friend in France, JF Groff. JF had contacted his friend Andre in Lisbon (whom he met at a tech conference) and alerted him of our arrival. In turn, Andre contacted us with an offer to get together in his hometown. I got Andre's phone number and within a few hours we went from being alone and wandering to experiencing Lisbon with Andre and his girlfriend Batixa in their 4 door Smart car.
From their favorite pizzeria to gourmet desserts and a bit of nighttime sightseeing, Lisbon became a different place for us - and all we did was check email.
Andre and Beatrice, thanks so much for taking the time to hang out with us for a night - we had a blast and count you as great friends. I'll remember too that Portuguese dogs say "Ão! Ão!"