Granada: Albaicín

As long as I’m looking for stuff to write about in November, let’s look back to last November during the same project when I finished all but one post about my trip to Spain that May! November is always a good time to think of sunnier places.

The last post from that trip is from the Albaicín area of Granada, which is a very old Moorish part of town that is also a little sketchy. One of my companions was searching for an experience with the gypsies or something so we walked a lot without a firm destination. On the way up the narrow hilly streets past the hookah bars we (we being the Glaswegian couple who were actually from Poland and Algeria who I met during the bike trip in Málaga) could see the Alhambra from earlier in the day. We wandered forever and began to argue about finding our way back to the car since we still had a long drive back to Málaga, but one member of our party was insistent on continuing to search. So we got lost in the maze of cobbled streets, and then found ourselves at a mirador (viewpoint) along with a lot of teenagers drinking interesting things from two liter bottles.

We walked some more and were really unsure of where we were, when suddenly we stumbled into a big party in a square with lots of music and singing and dancing, apparently part of the May Crosses celebration. I guess it was worth being tired and lost after all…

After enough dancing we somehow found our way back to the car and I helped the driver stay awake for a late trip back to Málaga, only for me to discover (after a good night of sleep in a better hotel than the first couple of nights) the volcanic ash cloud came back and my flight the next day was canceled. I almost had time for a bonus trip to Gibraltar, but was able to reschedule my flight through a different country and got home late instead.

That last picture is from the airport, displaying the grotesque local pig-leg delicacy.

I miss being able to take a long weekend in Spain or anywhere else exciting within a three hour plane ride!

Myrtle Beach

Went on vacation a couple weeks ago with my mom and Emmy. Emmy likes hotel beds and condo couches just fine. I got a sunburn.

I’m also putting my name on the NaBloPoMo list again, though it’s a shadow of its former self with a new hosting location and no categories and prizes that, well, seem more promotional for authors (blogs over books! this month at least) than community-donated. I need some way to weed out total vapidity, and being on BlogHer doesn’t really excite me in the first place. In years past I enjoyed finding other blogs by writers who shared my Myers-Briggs type or took pictures of the contents of their refrigerators. Anyway, I don’t have as much time to read the webz anymore but hopefully it’ll get me to post more often this month. November starts a depressing winter season so I need something to look forward to! I will try not to rant about work every day.

Note: Emmy fell down the back steps yesterday and re-injured her leg that just had us at the emergency vet last weekend. Well, all her legs this time. She’s trotting about normally now but her collection of bloody cuts and bruises has increased significantly. She is kind of like a giraffe: leggy, awkward, and not meant to use stairs.

Back in the saddle?

Wow, that was a long unplanned blog break!

I am back in the United States. My year in Ireland turned out to be a year all over the place! Actually, looking at my complicated tax calendar:

I would definitely do it all again, but of course there were some low points too. I think those would have happened at home anyway so it doesn’t change my opinion of being abroad nor make me any less thankful (especially to my employer) for the experience.

I hadn’t been feeling well for a couple of months again beginning around Christmas. I guess I’ll attribute to that malaise why I haven’t been posting here, and I definitely feel better now after a bit of medical intervention in the midst of a lot of overwhelming stuff (largely managing a very demanding job with a lot of hours while trying not to be overwhelmed by another international move!). I’ve been home since early March and just now feel somewhat settled. We still have a lot of things to unpack and we haven’t properly restocked the pantry, but I’d say things are getting back to normal.

I still hope to catch up here on the missed travels, including Sweden, Tenerife, Amsterdam, Belgium, and around the rest of Ireland. I have lots more pictures to share.

Ms. Vegas bunny passed away less than a week before I got home, which was very sad. My other pets have come home now, including Arliss bunny with her much younger boyfriend (everyone is much younger when you’re an 11 year old bunny, it seems), the guinea pigs, and the frog. The dogs made it back ok and don’t seem to care where they live as long as we are with them.

Here’s to catching up!

Happy New Year

Been terribly busy at the end of the year, hope to blog more soon. In the meantime, happy new year from Sweden! I went to their national concert/fireworks in Stockholm last night in a snowstorm at a place called Skansen. They read Tennyson’s Ring Out, Wild Bells at midnight, none of which I understood in Swedish except the word ring! Now visiting with our distant relatives–just arrived at their house!

Not going anywhere

Not only did Vienna not happen, but Prague didn’t either! We went to the airport on Saturday morning and our first flight was delayed four hours (not like they let us know until after we had checked in and the departure times came and went twice), which meant we would miss our connecting flight, which meant we may as well go home and forget it. And that’s what we did after I came to terms with no other options except staying overnight in Manchester (for hotel cost) to hopefully get on the next Prague flight Sunday afternoon for an extra couple hundred bucks, which would leave us less than 24 hours in Prague. I lost plenty of money on flights and hotels (which no travel insurance could help, since it doesn’t kick in until you are delayed for more than 24 hours), but I think I’m over it. Mostly.

Another weekend in icy Kinsale.

Then I got sick Sunday night anyway and stayed in bed all day Monday, so it was just as well to be stuck at home. Still bitter, though.

I was able to rebook one flight for free but it had to be back from Amsterdam, so that’s where we’re going next weekend! I hope. It was on our list too, but I’m sad we missed Vienna and Prague.

We took Emmy to the vet tonight and she has protein in her urine. PRAY it’s not her kidneys!! Waiting on bloodwork now.

Now nursing my white-spotted throat with fake Nyquil from the States! hooray

So much for Vienna

The lovely snow and winter harbor from our balcony

We were supposed to fly to Vienna today, but London Gatwick is closed due to snow so our flights were canceled and I went to work instead. Bummer! We’re trying to salvage the second half of the trip by flying on Saturday to Prague, but who knows what the weather will be doing. Let’s hope whatever it’s doing it won’t do it in Manchester.

Emmy stole a tub of butter tonight. Two nights ago she swiped a roll of paper towels and thoroughly enjoyed unrolling and tearing the sheets. Yesterday was her third birthday and I don’t think she stole anything!

Finish line

Well, I think I made it through NaBloPoMo. The weather in Ireland turned cold a week ago and is now snowy and icy. They actually kicked us out of work early and two of three roads away from the plant were immediately blocked by jacknifed trucks. It took me an hour to drive my ten minute commute yesterday because an inch of snow became ice-rink roads. If they treated the roads it would have been fine. And if anyone knew how to drive on “slippy” roads it would have been better, but most locals are trying to go 5-10 mph and then they can’t get up the slick hills. There was a work email advising us to avoid routes with hills. hahahahahaha

Bad weather is all relative: I think this is only the second time in 30 years they closed work early due to snow, and the grass wasn’t even covered when we left. The roads were slushy but fine, but when all that freezes tonight… yuck. I’m kind of glad I went in Sunday to get some work done because this is a three day week for me as it is, and now I’m not as far behind with my projects. A guy at lunch said his kid was 11 before he even saw snow, so I believe it doesn’t happen often! I advised my fellow diners to take home cafeteria trays for their sledding pursuits. Other parts of the country received a LOT of snow so I guess our inch here and there isn’t so bad. But listening to the radio amuses me: today a weather person tried to explain why it felt a lot colder than it was when the wind was blowing (“we call that wind chill!”), there was a proud report of AN actual plow in the western part of the county, and we are getting lots of advice about dealing with the “bitterly cold” temperatures. Oooh… sometimes it drops to upper 20s!

David walked into town for pints with a friend but I opted for a nap on the couch with a Walter foot-warmer. Walter’s been puking for a couple of days and I hope he’s feeling better before we hop a plane Thursday for our next adventure. I also hope the bad weather doesn’t ground our plane!

I’ve got about two posts of pictures left from Spain, so may as well finish those too!

ongoing account of May trip to Spain

When we left the Alhambra to explore Granada, we found flamenco dancers and dressed up horses and riders everywhere. There were celebrations in the streets and several decorated crosses in plazas, which I think must have been our accidental visit during Dia de la Cruz (Day of the Cross) and related May celebrations, May Crosses. We had seen some decorated crosses in Málaga too but there was more of a party going on in Granada.

The last picture is our triumph over hours of wandering to find the ‘right’ food, which I’ll just say was my companions’ attempt to find ‘authentic’ food at some pricepoint I didn’t care about, while still trying to accommodate something I could eat. In the end I wouldn’t say I liked this food, but I’m glad I ate somewhere that was local and representative of the culture and that means it was still a good experience.