On The Rhoads

A Chronicle of Gabe and Lauren's Journey from Coast to Coast, and beyond...

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Location: Seattle to New York, WA to NY, United States

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Closed


Our travel book quips, " so you're worried about travelling to Barecelona, and you dont speak Spanish? Don't worry, no one else does either..." This turns out not to be true, but it does totally confound transactional Spanish, throwing in wierd words. It turns out that Catalan, the language of the region, is spoken in norhteastern Spain, southeastern France, the islands off the coast, and in a really little bit of Italy. The trick is, Catalan is closest to Italian, even though it looks like a cross between French and Spanish. We had a little conversation about all of this with two old guys with two old cats in a little smoky storefront, but I can't say I understood a word of it. For those of you out there keeping score, Catalan has brought us the roots of such English word gems as "barracks," and "mayonaise." The last one blows me away.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Goodbye Germanz

We┬┤re about to go to the hauptbanhof to hit the flughafen for our flug home. More to come when we get all of the pictures of grafitti out of our camera...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hamster


Las Ramblas is a street in Barcelona that is full of people 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (apparently it explodes on New Years). Being such a happening part of town, it naturally attracts many tourists, and thereby many hostals, one of which we are staying at, mostly with _significantly_ younger travellers. The streets are full of vendors, selling the usual (and not so usual) wares. Walking down the street tonight we found a hamster out for a stroll, escaped from one of the animal vending shacks, and gobbling up excess birdfood as if it had not a worry in the world. After a good dinner and a club for some minimal house music, we went back to see if he was alright - but, he had already moved on, like the rest of the city . . .

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

High Tide


Last night, we were treated to a Venice special. The area around our hotel flooded half way up our calves. We had to embark on a 15 minute walk to circumvent the huge puddle. Apparently this is nothing. It can come up to thigh high in the first floor of the hotel in the spring, about every thrid year. All wiring is done shoulder high and down so as to not kill you during high tide. All this and Venice is sinking at about 3 inches a decade. There is no indication that anyone is hurrying to fix it, so doomsday predictions for the future of Venice (Atlantis) seem to be accurate.

Next stop Barcelona. Merrick, this Gaudi's for you.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Italian nuts

So, our Italian phrase book tells me that Amaretto is made from apricot pits, and only tastes like almonds. It turns out that this is a lie. Just ask the internet. While it can be made with apricots, it is often sweetened with almond extract, and can be made from scratch with almonds. I'll learn to be skeptical of my phrase book. So, I've triangulated the word for peanut (as in "no peanuts for me"), as 'arachide.' Elsewise, I may end up telling people that I need to stay away from 'aracini,' or fried rice balls.

Commerzbank


We spent a few hours in Frankfurt without really knowing why. Now we do. It turns out that Frankfurt is one of the biggest banking centers in Europe, next to London and Paris. The Frankfurt au Main airport comes in second only to London Heathrow in terms of most flights in Europe, ahead of Charles de Gaulle. And, perhaps most importantly (in arcane measures), it has the tallest building in Europe, the Commerzbank Tower, weighing in at 259m. It is an intense city: it looks like lower Manhattan landed on a quaint German town.

We wandered around a bit, but are due for a full day on return. We'll head for the zoo. All the Germans we met were grumpy.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Fatto!


Fact! I just re-upped my blogger post-ership in Italian. It was a difficult operation requiring the services of Babelfish to tell me about the purchasing of Blogger by "the Google." Priceless.


Anyway, I am in Venice right now, hanging out in the Adriatic rain. Lauren and I took an accidental boat ride today. We were trying to get 300 yards down the shore (with a nod to Shel, our sidewalk had ended, and we were stranded). We took the municipal service boat (ATVO), but did not get the sign right. So we ended up visiting four out of the five outlying Venetian islands on a 2 hour trip by public boat, including: Murano (glass), Burano (lace and fish), Torcello (more fish), and Lido (European tourists and casinos). Burano is by far our favorite with its stunning, but undoubtably lead-based paints. Image credit goes to the internet...