Saturday, October 20, 2012

You must remember this...

It was a movie.  It was filmed in Hollywood.  They never got close to the real place.  And yet as I walk on the Boulevard des Almohades I can't get the tune out of my mind.  The name means romance, adventure, sacrifice, star crossed lovers.

I am here, in Casablanca.

Via Madrid, part 2

Madrid is a fun place to walk. Early in the morning ( before 11) it is clean and empty. As it wakes up the action begins. Street performers are everywhere in the old city. They have imagination that sometimes makes up for a lack of talent.

During the day I encountered mime statues, talking heads, street clowns, giant bubble blowers, and friendly fellow travelers.

As darkness fell, the music began. It was a joyous way to hear the city at night. A Spanish group playing Hava Nagila of all things, a jazz/blues group sounding like they were on Jackson square.

All around were the people. There was a small group of demonstrators, a preacher shouting fire and brimstone.
One stretch a block from the police had hookers at every tree. In the whole city, they were almost the only thing that made me sad.

This city only begins to wake at a time when I usually head to bed. I look forward to my next Via here.

Via Madrid

It's not my final destination, I'm just passing through. Funny how that changes your perspective on a place. Maybe it's also because I will have another shot at this city on my way back. This visit seemed like a collage, a collection of images.

I am staying near the heart of the old town, in easy walking distance of most everything. I took one of those hop and ride tour buses and saw an overview of the key vistas. It had earphones with narration for the things we passed.

Madrid is a city of beautiful buildings and that is no accident. The voice in my ear told me the history of each. Not just why it was built, but who designed lit. The designer was often described as a sculpture or artist. Sometimes the building that used to be there before it burned was also lovingly described.

I began to see that in Madrid, they see their city as a canvas, and the attention to every detail shows. You have to look up to truly appreciate the carvings and frescoes. A sunny day would have made the warm colors glow. I have not yet been to the great museums here (on my return in a few weeks), but I found myself appreciating the art that is Madrid.

During my travels, I will be blogging on my iPad.  My pictures will show up at the bottom, and I won't be able to embed them in text... So, I will publish my blogs in parts when I think I need to.

Madrid is a good via.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Turn, turn, turn


I love living in the land of four seasons.  The changes are worth it.  For those of you who miss true fall, take a walk with me.  A picture is worth 1000 words, so I will try not to intrude.

Here in Pennsylvania it starts with a crisp morning, with mist rising from  the valley below my ridge.  It will burn off as the sun does its job, but it is the first hint of change.


The early trees start changing out front, while most still think its summer.  It feels invigorating and anticipatory.  In short order the other trees wake up to fall, or should I say begin preparing for their winter’s sleep.

North Park Lake is near my home.  Built by the WPA during the depression, what was once a day trip destination in the distant countryside of Pittsburgh, it is now a beautiful haven for suburbanites like me.  On Thursday, fall was making its presence known, and it was one of those rare, still days when the lake was a perfect mirror.

The sky was a thin overcast and had much more depth in the lake than when I looked up.  The trees were a perfect mirror image.  My phone camera can’t do full justice to the lighting, and the color of the trees, but your mind can make the image more vivid.

The herons were warming in the morning sun.

The ducks made the only ripples, yet the beautiful reflections remained.  I had the sense they were getting ready, ready to leave.

Words are really not needed for the rest of the walk.  Just imagine a crisp slightly overcast morning, still and clear with occasional burst of sunlight.  Enjoy North Park Lake and a Western Pennsylvania fall morning.

There now.  Wasn’t that a great way to spend a morning.
Sometimes, change is so good.