Between storms, which opened for us like the Red Sea, we walked the narrow streets of Oporto and rode a boat along the Douro. With high, steep hills crowded around the river, and humble dwellings covered in terra-cotta and beautiful tile work, Oporto surpassed our expectations and deserves another trip soon. … Read More The Simple Decadence of Oporto
Granada and The Alhambra have whetted the sensibilities of Romantics for generations, and at this place along the Sierra Nevada mountains, one finds that there are fewer places to better understand the Saracenic and Gothic which run so deeply and obviously in the culture of Spain. Washington Irving wrote that the Alhambra was “so often and… Read More Granada and La Alhambra (photos)
When Christopher Columbus and his famished crew first smelled the earthy terrarium air of San Salvador in 1492, the plateau of Castile-Leon in Spain was falling into the chill of autumn. Its vendimia had passed, and the leaves in the vineyards had begun to coat the hills with rows of canary yellow and burnt orange. In… Read More 1550, a Year for Human Rights
It’s time to play American or Spaniard? !! A culture game of esoteric quirks and tics, habits and norms, where you read grossly generalizing observations, possibly a stereotype or two, and decide if it’s describing an American or a Spaniard. But be careful! Some of these silly pet peeves could describe either our flag-waving American… Read More American or Spaniard?
Visiting Italy in 21st-century August is a tricky thing, it takes skill and preparation. The country is dense. It is dense with art, culture, and historical artifacts, but it is also dense with the tracks of mindlessly spending zombie tourists with a chronic lack of interest in much beyond the lack of ranch dressing at… Read More The Crowded Roads to Rome
As a slight break-away from my usual travel writing, I´ve published a piece in Huffington Post´s World Post about free speech and Islam. Free speech and the ability to debate intelligently and freely is extremely important, especially for writers. Thanks to Huffington Post´s blog team for plastering the giant photo of Reza Aslan below the headline.… Read More Dear Liberals: Being Critical of Islam is not Racism
Languages take loan words and phrases for many reasons. Some languages, like English, sneak in the middle of the night and steal words, and bring them into a creepy woodshed in the backyard, and in a shakedown proceed to change their pronunciation to fit the toolbox of a long vowel-rich, dipthong-ridden tongue. And then, as… Read More Language Files Part 1: Spanish and Bullfighting