Tag Archives: Spain

Things I don’t know whether to be ashamed or proud of

1. *New Entry* Knowing all the words to the Les Miserables soundtrack

If I told you that me and my friend Libby used to act out Les Miserables with her teddy bear collection, would you judge me? Yes? Ok then, that never happened.

What if cool dudes like Jason Segal and Paul Rudd had obviously done the same thing when they were nippers?

That would make it cooler, right?

2. *New Entry* Planning to go to the Astronomy Ireland Star-B-Q

Meat and stargazing. What more could you want? I can only imagine the gathering of poindexters that are going to be in that field in Wicklow when the Astronomy Ireland Star-B-Q comes around in September, but this year, instead of secretly wishing I was going, I AM GOING. I am going to wear my ‘Nerdosaurus’ t-shirt and I am going to eat hot dogs and identify Ursa Major*.

* I now finally realise why my friend Rossa calls me Liz Lemon. Blerg.

3. Knowing all the words to We Didn’t Start the Fire: At a wedding I was at recently, the groom got up on stage after having a few ales and performed his party piece: singing all the words to Billy Joel’s historical masterpiece We Didn’t Start the Fire. I looked furtively around the room to see if people were in awe or in stitches, as I am never quite sure if this particular skill is an acceptable one to admit to. All together now… “Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray…”

Also, lest we forget:

(Also, while I’m admitting things, I may as well also admit to knowing all the words to Billy Joel’s Scenes from an Italian Restaurant AND The Pianoman. I spent a summer on Long Island once. It rubbed off on me. And before you start scoffing at Billy Joel, just remember that he’s responsible for Always a Woman to Me, and if you don’t like that song, then you have no soul).

4. Once meeting Irish president Patrick Hillary (but thinking he was the guy who had climbed Mount Everest): It was Mosney, it was the eighties, I was young. I had obviously just learned about Edmund Hillary and his pal Tenzing Norgay the sherpa in school, so when someone introduced me to an important looking man with the surname ‘Hillary’, I assumed that he was the mountain climbing man. God knows how long I smugged around for, saying I had met the conqueror of Everest. I should also point out that I was in Mosney for some kind of choir-related community games fiasco. I wasn’t even there for something cool, like hurdles or long jump.

5. Playing the part of Oliver in my school musical: I am a girl. Oliver was a boy. And yet I’m told I was very convincing. Hmph.

6. Teaching myself how to swim: Considering how much I love to be in water and how going to the beach is, for me, not about lazing around trying to change colour, but rather getting battered by waves, you would think that I would be an excellent swimmer. Alas, I am not. Even though I taught myself how to swim and  certainly am not going to drown anytime soon, I still don’t know how to do it properly and can’t do that suave breathing-to-the-side thing that people are so good at.

7. Going on holidays on my own: In October 2007 I needed to take a break, urgently. So I booked a last minute trip to New York, on my own. I went to a Yankees game on my own. I went to two Broadway shows on my own. I was in bed in my lovely hotel room by 11pm each night. I went to Harlem to find the house where they made The Royal Tenenbaums. I was the envy of the world… or the pity?

8. Knowing all the words to It’s The End of the World As We Know It: Okay so this isn’t quite as embarrassing (or enviable? Who knows?) as number one, but it’s not far off it.

9. Going nudist camping: Does actively agreeing to go and parade around in your pelt while putting up tents and going snorkeling mean you’re hopelessly brave, or hopelessly insufferable? It was actually one of the finest experiences of my life. I’m not quite sure if that had anything to do with the lack of clothes, but you’re never going to be sure if peoples’ reactions are going to fill you with pride or shame when you admit to letting it all hang out with the ageing Germans.

 

There’s a voice, keeps on calling me……

So I’m guessing, as blogging etiquette goes, I’m the child with her elbows on the table, eating mashed potatoes with her hands. I started my blog, lobbed up a few posts, and then kind of gave up. It’s true, I have been neglecting You and Me Both, Kid, but I have a reason….I’ve been on the road. Well, for a short while anyway.

I wish I had a tale about being on the road for months and months, Kerouac-ing it up and befriending vagrants and people who enjoy bongo drums and spinning fire around their heads on bits of string. But the budget this time round would only stretch to a week, and to be perfectly honest, I detest all that nonsense with bongo drums and fire on strings and ‘ohmygodIdrankabucketinthailandandthe firewasjustSOOOOOOgorgeous’. It would put years on you.

Since quitting my job to come to Spain and ‘find myself‘ I’ve been worrying that I’m not doing enough with my time; that I should be frolicking on the Whitsundays, and driving Route 66 and ohmygoddrinkingabucketinThailand. But don’t I have my whole life to do that? For now (I keep telling myself) I’m taking a break for a few months, and the most taxing part of my day is wondering if I need to go to the supermarket and what time Masterchef Australia is on at (I do have access to Sky Digital in Spain. I’m not an ANIMAL!). However it would be unacceptable to travel to a country like Spain and not do some exploring, especially seeing as my only previous experience had been Barcelona for the Sonar festival, and a week in Gran Canaria (Playa Del Finglas to be precise) with my friend Orlaith, listening to The National on the balcony and retiring to our cell-like bedroom before midnight every night.

If I was any use at all I would have bought some kind of multi-journey train ticket, practiced my ‘vino tinto por favor’ and taken off with my knapsack on my back. But, in this part of spain, as I was soon to learn, public transport is not easy to come by. Sure, there are buses, but finding out about timetables and routes is like trying to solve the riddle of the Sphinx. Once you get to Madrid or Barcelona the transport links are much better, but not in Andalucia, so I decided to rent a car, which, as I would be travelling alone, seemed to be the best option.

I planned a tentative route in my head, with a romantic idea of driving north through Spain, climbing the Pyrenees in my little Opel Corsa and ending up in the south of France, blowing the locals away with my Leaving Cert French (ou est le bibliotheque?……prenez la premier rue a gauche..etc). I knew that leaving from here in Mojacar I would be heading north along the coast, past Benidorm to Valencia. From there I planned to bypass Barcelona on my way to Banyoles, near Girona, where a friend would be spending the weekend with 50 others in a massive villa and had invited me to join them for a night or two. I then planned to cross into France at La Jonquera and stay at another friend’s parent’s apartment in Arles Sur Tech, not too far from Perpignon. I reserved a rental car and a hotel room for my first two nights in Valencia (with the help, and the grasp of Spanish, of the father of My Best Friend Who’s A Boy) and semi-planned my route.

But then , DISASTER! Within hours of each other, both the accommodation in Banyoles and the accommodation in Arles Sur Tech fell through the day before I was due to set off. I felt briefly at a loss, imagining the extra money I was going to have to spend on accommodation (I have no job to go back to remember) and wondering if I should just go to Valencia for a couple of days, rather than aimlessly heading north on my own.

Aimlessly heading north is EXACTLY what I did though. The old mantra of ‘you only live once’ came into my head, and I got the map out, pinpointed a few places I could head for, decided to pack a tent and stay on campsites to save money, and headed for Valencia……..*

 

*to be continued, as indicated by the dots