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The above is a rough transcript of what my trip in NY has felt like. Lots of slow travelly bits on the outside and a ton of random stuff packed into the middle. We bought a lot of stuff but that’s not what I’ll remember. What I’ll remember was the ‘experience shopping” that we did, mostly accomplished by walking to all of our shopping destinations. We were there for three days and probably walked the equivalent of the length of Manhattan Island, maybe more. We also went up the Rockafeller Centre and looked at all the places we walked through.

Three things surprised me about Manhattan.

Firstly, it’s kind of little. For some reason (blame a lack of previous research into or knowledge of this city) I was expecting huge. Like, Tokyo huge. But New York doesn’t really rebuild its buildings that often. The tallest building in the place is still the Empire State Building, and it was built in 1931.

Secondly, it’s really friendly. Everywhere we went people were just busting to give us a hand with directions, chat about shops, or just generally share a laugh. This was quite contrary to the NY stereotypes I had heard about.

Thirdly, there are no automatic doors. Go figure.

Once again, I’m betting the things I’ve seen are probably more interesting than the things I’m saying… so here are some Photos!

I’ll start with some intersections, as they came in a surprising variety.

Apparently, the biggest store in the world is a Macy's. And it's a freaking MAZE in there!

Apparently, the biggest store in the world is a Macy's. It's a freaking MAZE in there!

Definitely taken from the top of a bus.

I think this is in Greenwich or Noho... Southern Manhattan, anyway.

I think this is in Greenwich or Noho... Southern Manhattan, anyway.

Intersection near Times Square.

Intersection near Times Square.

Times Square at Night

The infamous Times Square itself, recent recipient of one smoking van.

And a few cool textures I spotted…

Yes, M&M's count as a texture.

This store had awesome decor. It was called abc something and something. Expensive as all get-out.

Black cars look good with Times Square all over them.

Black cars look good with Times Square all over them.

Really old Escalator in Macy's

Really old Escalator in Macy's

We also went up Rockafeller Tower. I shall sum up the view with 1000 words, condensed.

View from Rockafeller

You really started to see the islandy-ness of Manhattan from up here.

...And the squarey-ness of central park!

Well, that’s all for now.

Adios!

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I think This blog will remain dormant until I continue my travels… enjoy the photos!

Oh man, I can’t believe I’m just getting around to this now. I left you, I believe, at the Pantheon. Well, after that came…. ITALIAN DINNER! Yes, and after that came the next day, with a bit of an interval between the two that I will call “Romebulating”. Why? Because I can.

It was in the middle of this lovely open square with a fountain. The pasta was AMAZING!
It was in the middle of this lovely open square with a fountain. The pasta was AMAZING!
On the walk home (hostel), getting rather far from the city centre.

On the walk home (hostel), getting rather far from the city centre.

 The next day we set out for the Vatican. The next day also happened to be Easter Sunday (just our luck; we didn’t plan this) so there were no shortage of others setting out for the same place. While our particular timing did make transportation a bit more of a hassle than it otherwise would be, we actually had an easier time finding the place than we otherwie might have: we just followed some nuns. We figured they must be going to the same place.

Thank you, Guide-Nuns!

Thank you, Guide-Nuns!

I’ve never actually met nuns before.  I don’t know what I expected, exactly… I mean, those of you who know me know that I’ve never really had a particularly rosy view of organized religion in general. I could just never quite picture how one could really live (or live well) in such a society. The whole concept is still a bit beyond me.
Now I can’t understand Italian, either, so my insights into what these women were like and what they were talking about were limited, to say the least. But one thing I could see, that was impressed and rather humbled by (should I have been surprised? Perhaps not), was their manner toward others, partularly beggars and street performers. They never gave money. But one in particular (middle, slightly turned toward camera) always, always had a smile to give, at least. This is important. More than most people realize, perhaps. It was her reaction to most types of contact with others, and I don’t mean in a “bare-teeth phoney-smile” kind of way. She just seemed so genuine, like she would like to foster happiness in those around her and do no harm. We parted ways shortly after the subway. I left with a vaguely different view of nuns.

Anyhoo, on to the vatican.

WHOA crowds.

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There is another curved wall on the other side (left) so the whole area is a semi-enclosed circle.

There were two line-ups for the service that were about four hours long and went most of the way around the compound. We did not wait in these. Emily and I were looking specifically for the Cistene Chapel in the Vatican Museum.

There were pillars everywhere.

They made me feel small.

 

…. more later, once again. Wow. Slowest post ever, Zann.

Man, where haven´t I been? OK, lots of places, including much of Madrid, but it sure feels like I´ve been going all over. LOTS has happened since my last post (sorry about that, internet has been as elusive as cheap, anchovie-free canned olives. More on that later), and right now I DO actually have a USB so you´ll be getting photos! Hurrah!

It´ll be a blitz down through London to Paris to that little town in Southern France to Barcelona to Madrid to ..uum… this is where we got a bit lost and some doink in the Madrid train station sent us North when we were tryng to get south … to  Almeria Vera to Mojacar and back through Granada to Barcelona. Whee!

For this part of the journey, chairs have sadly outnumbered beds in terms of where we´ve been sleeping. Also, I dropped my backpack on my face (torso-sized thing, with flappy-straps) and we were robbed on the last night train. Pooey.

On the sunny side of the egg, the one hostel we did stay in was amazing and was owned by a very helpful and friendly Spanish family who really made our time in Mojacar a treat.

OK, enough textiness… photos!

Oh dear. USB fail.

I WILL post photos of this business! I will! Tomorrow night we have a hostel with internet, and I will make use of the computer, yes indeedy!

I’ve been to London before, briefly. We stayed a few days and pretty much stuck to the Strand and the Thames and Trafalgar square, packing as much touristing into our few precious days as possible. And this was with my folks, so we did things like taking taxis and eating out.

That experience has not in the least prepared me for how mind-bogglingly BIG and BUSY London is. It’s freaking huge! I mean, I totally expected the city to have a big and popular centre of town, but London doesn’t just have one centre of town, no, it’s got these little mini-mega nexi (nexuses?) all over the place! Today we switched hostels (I will extrapolate on the difference between the two momentarily) and I walked from King’s Cross to Camden with my backpack and watched as the area around me thinned out into suburbia and then congested once again into a seething Sunday Market. And then another. And then another. The stores have statues on top of them and the sidewalks overflow into the streets with people.

We were lucky enough to book ourselves a night in one of the top-rated hostels in London, and get in for £10 for the night. Even if we have to move again tomorrow, it is so worth it! This place is a Victorian mansion with all the amenities. I’m using the internet for free and I have a £1 beer voucher in my pocket! I’m just as pleased as punch.

I’ll post some damn cool photos of this place later, but first I’ve got to go explore some of the awesome markets I walked through on my way here!

Until later, then.

Soon to be off again! It’s time to start thinking about what to pack and what to leave and where the heck I put my travel shampoo.

I don’t head off to Europe for another couple weeks, but I am going to Chicago this Saturday for a few days, so my packing and planning time has been shoofed up a bit. I will try to post some photos, but I can’t make any guarantees as it will be pretty busy when I get back… I never did get my Mexico photos up, did I?
No.  Alas.

Victoria has been lovely and Vancouver has been beautiful but unfortunately rather dull, what with being out of school and out of work and all. 

I’m definitely ready to get moving here. Onward!

 

The great Sauchiehall Street. Pronounced like "sock-ee-hall".

The great Street Sauchiehall. Pronounced like "sock-ee-hall".

 

Today is my last day in Glasgow.

I am a bit shellshocked… and utterly spaced, but I’m not sure if this is because it’s all gone by so fast and I can’t believe I’m leaving or because I stayed out past 4 last night in Edinburgh and slept on chairs in the audio remastering area of a University and then had to crawl out of there at 8am to catch a train back here because I still have stuff to do.

Either way…       *bleeeeear*

More later

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