April 25, 2015

Venice, Italy. October, 1980

On my first trip to Italy, with my late friend Dali, we stayed in Padua and took the train for a day trip into Venice proper. As there was so much to see, my pictures from later in the day, as the autumn sun was rapidly setting, tend to suggest more moonlight than sunlight, like this one taken from a vaporetto on the Grand Canal.

April 24, 2015

Rome. October, 1980

The fabled Spanish Steps in Rome, as seen from the poet John Keats's window. Well, what used to be his window and what is now his museum. Or, for the more 20th-century-inclined among you, from the window of Karen Stone. The window from which the love-starved widow threw her keys to the menacing gigolo below who'd been tailing her for weeks, through the pages of Tennessee Williams' novel, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. Finally, overcome by sexual desire and the thrill of danger, she tosses down her keys to him and then awaits her fate. No spoilers here.

April 23, 2015

Istanbul. June, 2007

Istanbul is the only city in the world to span two continents, Europe and Asia. On the Asian side of the city, where there are fewer tourists and more natives, the best food markets can be found. Like this one that I try to visit each time I'm in the CIty of the World's Desire. Look at those lovely lemons, an ingredient so central to Turkish cuisine, all Middle Eastern cuisines, actually. I have the good fortune to live in an Armenian neighborhood in MA, where high-quality lemons abound. Beauties that put puny and desiccated supermarket examples to shame.

April 22, 2015

Istanbul. June, 2007

One sure sign of Westernization: the shopping mall. This one, a short metro ride from the "old city" of Istanbul, is chock full of stores and of shoppers. And it's here, in a store devoted entirely to goods made of terrycloth (Turkish towels?), that I bought Dr. B. his favorite bathrobe. And then, like a good Westernized shopper, went back minutes later and bought myself one.

April 21, 2015

Barcelona. November, 2010

Let's all go to the tapas bar. That's where these little beauties are headed. Available lightly breaded and fried, boquerones are a familiar staple of every bar in town. Seen here in the city's famed market, La Boqueria, where, it was recently announced, tour groups of 15 or more will not be allowed. But don't let that stop you from exploring this wonderful mercado on your own.

April 20, 2015

Barcelona. November, 2010

How many pastry shops do you know that have shrines to the Blessed Virgin in them? This is Spain. So you not only get devotional moments, you also get all those breathtaking stained-glass windows and art nouveau mosaics. In addition to the fanciful chocolates and pastries. This is EscribĂ , founded in 1820. Amen.

April 19, 2015

Barcelona. November, 2010

No matter where in the world you may go, it's hard to avoid "the real thing." Also, when in Spain, it's generally advisable to avoid places with signs in English.