Sunday, September 30, 2007

Not in Any Particular Order

When one is on the road for months on end, it’s hard to keep track of what one has and hasn’t written about. At least, when I’m on the road for months on end, it’s hard for me to keep track. I know there’s tons of stuff I left off, tons of stuff we really enjoyed, or found beautiful, or eye-opening, or whatever. So I’m going to wrack my brains, and try to give Europe more of its due (in doing so, I may repeat things. Ah well.). And so, following are things I loved.

Riga, Latvia: Double Coffee. No, it’s true, I wasn’t drinking coffee by the time we got to Latvia, but Double Coffee is oh, so much more than a coffeehouse chain. It also has an extensive, full-color menu of snacks with photos so you know what you’re getting even if you haven’t managed to learn more than one word of Latvian and it’s not a food word. Pancakes of various sorts (like crepes, or hashbrowns) are popular snacks in Riga and Double Coffee serves them up right (i.e. either sweet or savory has lots of sour cream). They also do smoothies and shakes, and lots of kinds of coffee. Ian had Turkish, made the traditional way in a brazier full of hot sand, with the little brass coffee maker sitting right in the sand.

Arctic Circle: Reindeer are really, really cute with their huge fuzzy feet (good as snowshoes) and their velvety antlers. And they’re charmingly daft about cars sharing the highways with them.

Lisbon: Visiting our friends A&F who, we just found out, have a third family member on the way! The timing of our visit to them seems to have been auspicious . . .

London: Our friends J&C who got engaged between visits to them. The timing of our visits to them seem to have been auspicious as well. Way to go J! Best wishes, C.

Scotland: Tumbling, tea-colored becks washing down steep, barren hillsides. Tie-dyed sheep. Porridge.

Sweden: White-trimmed red fishing villages. I’d love to see all the red against the snow in the winter. For those three hours of daylight. Staying with dear friends, again (read more about Sweden, from the inside, here.)

Kihnu, Estonia: Wireless internet in our inn, on the island where women—young women—still wear their traditional woolen skirts for everyday use.

Šiauliai, Lithuania: several girls’ football teams staying in our Soviet hotel with us, in town for some tournament. Using Skype in the hotel lobby to call their boyfriends back in Liverpool.

Ravello, Italy: The lemon tree outside our room, where I hung my dress to dry in the warm breeze. Chocolate gelato. Chocolate gelato.

Amorgos, Greece: Dmitri, our landlord, running outside onto his verandah with an ancient shotgun and pretending to shoot the Greek military planes doing maneuvers overhead.

Pärnu, Estonia: The beautiful people in the notary’s office.

Porto, Portugal: Indian food, then ice cream at an outside bar in the new part of Gaia, as the sun set and the stars came out over the Douro. Playing on the new playground with 7-year-old C. Marveling anew, neck craned and mouth agape, at the crumbling tiled grandeur of the Ribeiro district, then eating a succulent choriço assado.

Arlanda Airport, Sweden, the second time: Seeing my brother and sister-in-law waiting for us outside customs. First family members to hug in almost four months.

Trás-os-Montes, Portugal: Finding extra pork in our doggie bag, so we’d be sure to have enough for sandwiches the next day.

Hampstead, London: Attending my first Quaker Meeting with a relative of a family friend.

Folegandros, Greece: The perfect place to stay for a week. Flying views of the sea. Heart-tugging pastoral beauty. Donkeys.

Heathrow Airport: Business Class Lounge. Oh yeah.

Porto Côvo, Portugal: The beach through the tunnel, particularly the time we went at night, with a full moon and no flashlights. WiFi in the main square.

Westray, Orkney, Scotland: The Pierowall Hotel, with its “snug”, for adults only. Puffins.

Mainland, Orkney, Scotland: Viking graffiti near the ceiling at Mae’s Howe, the Neolithic burial site: “Thor writes this very high up.”

Europe, in general: Sharing four months with Ian.

1 comment:

Erika said...

Great summary! Fun to read.