...And it’s been awhile since I’ve written much of anything. My reasons for this absence are indeed varied and quite indiscernible. It’s not that I haven’t been alluring places or that I haven’t done compelling things, because I have. In fact, in these past few months, I’ve been, done, and seen a substantial amount far outside the mundane vacuousness that seems to fill the lives of so many people and passersby. However, I know that it isn’t about the locations nor the activities themselves that make a compelling story, but rather they come from and internal state of attentiveness that one carries through space, the constant pushing the limits of personal parameters, and the wholehearted embodiment of wanderlust.
Located in the heart of Bilbao at the old harbor district along the Nervion River, the Guggenheim Museum itself is considered a master architectural work but it now stands as a pervasive statue, representing the transformation of Bilbao from a dirty, dying port to a thriving arts and culture district in just a matter of years.
Luckily for me I had an expert guide, a local, who went to university here before the transformation began. It was his testimony, along with the giant photo series along the lower walkway that demonstrated a true metamorphosis. And many will argue it all began with the construction of the Guggenheim.
Built in the mid-90’s by architect Frank Gehry, it is an official museum of the Solmon R. Guggenheim Foundation, built and funded by the Basque Government. As a sister museum to the New York Guggenheim Museum it too exhibits rotating works within the Guggenheim’s collection. Enter into the masterpiece of steel, glass, and concrete itself there is a series of exhibitions which stimulate the senses; paintings, sculptures, audio, visual, film, experimental experiences of space and physics, along with a collection of works that’s best left undefined - all coming together for a weird, thrilling and thought provoking experience.
Walking through the early morning and still sleeping city streets of Granada we made our way along the empty avenues to a winding wooded, cobblestone climb. Even though it was already after seven the city was eerily quite – turns out late Spanish nights, means late Spanish morning in return.
Up to the castle gates and through them with ease, an impossible task to imagine how daunting this short stretch must have been to the forces attempting to conquer it. The reason why whoever held control of this immense fortress held the keys to the entire area. And even still, after all of the surrounding area had been conquered the very last Emir in all of Spain still remained.
*If you are looking for logistical information, including schedules, route information, and prices about Malaga to Tarifa and onwards to Morocco -click here-
The exotic winding streets of the Medina and the enchanting atmosphere of the souks can make Tangier an enticing destination. Being just an hour ferry from Spain to Morocco, Tangier can be done as a quick trip in and of itself or as an access point to greater Morocco onwards to Marrakech, the Sahara, and the Coast. We were a bit short on time, taking the later route with a vow to return for a more extensive visit. We did however enjoy ourselves thoroughly.
The biggest unknown in the route is how to actually get to Tarifa from Malaga, there seems to be little information on it so this will be for those few who are looking specifically for this information. If that’s you then read on.
Porto is a city known for its wine, its authentically friendly people and for its stunning historical architecture down town. Add in an achievable cost of living, great public transportation, supreme walkability, with parks and several beaches just fifteen minutes away. Porto has both quickly and easily made its way onto my short list of favorite cities in the world.
The charm of this city is variant so let me break it down into sections….
The Historical Downtown, one of the oldest in Europe it is neat and clean, featuring buildings inlaid with brightly colored and intricately patterned tiles. Immaculate architecture towers overhead with complicated stonework and incredible feats of engineering that leaves me awestruck but simultaneously dismayed as I realize these techniques were left in antiquity, swapped for easier methods in the pursuit of efficiency.
My time in Europe will be brief, focusing on some selected parts of Spain, Portugal and Morocco. This is a sketch of where I plan to go.
What? I thought Ryan was staying in South America for years to come. I know you were thinking it.
This project has always been about ceasing the opportunities life, especially those that involve travel. For those of you who know me, this usually means traveling slowly and getting the feeling of near total absorption before moving on. A travel style that has earned me the nickname of, “El Viajero Caracol,” the Traveler Snail.
So this is where I find myself: My time in Peru has expired, quite literally; staying nine months on an allotted six month tourist visa. That in itself isn’t enough to sway me but I also felt that Cusco had nothing more to offer me and there wasn’t much that could convince me otherwise. Now couple that with an impromptu opportunity to hop across to Southern Europe and Morocco and… here I am, ceasing opportunities as they arise.
You can always see where I am and what I’m up to, including a description of my current six month trajectory as it stands from the About Page or the Where Am I Page.
A trekker friend and I set out on an Indiana Jones-esque excursion to the ruins of Choquequirao, the
so-called Cradle of God. The trail was tough; going straight down a full 1,000m to the Apurimac River and then 1,500m back up again, switch backing the whole way. But we were fit after all the recent trekking we’d done, most of all including the high route of Asungate. In fact we were feeling great with such richly oxygenate, high-altitude blood flowing in our veins.
That’s not to say it was a breeze, we still had to carry all of our gear all that way, and even after a late start on what was truly an amusing trip via colectivo, we still had ambitious plans of reaching the top. Everyone we asked along the way – tourists, guides, mule drivers, and locals – said it wasn’t possible.
“Está tan lejos... es bastante dificíl... no es possible,” It’s so far, it’s very too difficult, it’s just not possible. But call it stubbornness, call it what you will… we did it anyway. Ending the night with a delicious and well deserved meal at Marampata – just outside the park gates.