November 25, 2014

Segovia, Spain. October, 2009

Dr. Blake may have thought I was crazy, wanting to arrive in Segovia as early as we did. The fast train from Madrid got us there in 30 minutes, just as the sun was inching above the horizon. But later that morning, when the dozens of tour buses, filled with hundreds of tourists, descended upon the small town, I think he saw the wisdom of my ways.

November 24, 2014

Ephesus, Turkey. October, 2011

Dr. Blake seems so content, so quietly happy here. Perhaps he’s remembering a past life in this beautifully restored Roman city that we visited on our first trip to Asia Minor.

November 23, 2014

Provincetown, MA. September, 2014

Meet my friend Rich, a guy who gave up his number-crunching job to do what he really loves: painting. After working hard at his craft for years now, he recently had his first solo show at the DeLuca Gallery in Provincetown, and lots of his Boston friends headed down for Rich’s premiere. He is the sweetest man, an excellent artist, and it was great to be there to wish him well. (I could not resist telling him the story of saucy Tallulah Bankhead’s suggestive telegram to prim Ethel Barrymore on the night of one of Ethel’s Broadway premieres: “A warm hand on your big opening.”)

November 22, 2014

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. September, 2014

My friend Nick recently had to move from his Greenwich Village apartment that he’d occupied for 33 years. There were 153 boxes to move to his new apartment in Brooklyn, and when I headed down to help him unpack at the end of September, I didn’t know what to expect. I loved his new neighborhood. And even better, he loves his new neighborhood. It’s got a real hamish feel to it, lots of ethnic shops and restaurants (including the wonderful Turkish place, Hazar) and just feels like a place where people treat their neighbors like, well, like neighbors. Here’s a Bay Ridge view of the Verrazano Bridge, not far from Nick’s new place.

November 21, 2014

Kasımpaşa, Istanbul. September, 2014

I first read about this early Sunday morning market in my Istanbul friend Cenk’s blog several years ago and I’d been jonesin’ to go ever since. So Dr. Blake and I set the alarm, woke up and took a taxi to this section of the city that sees few tourists. Farmers and other vendors drive eight hours from their villages in the Kastamonu Black Sea area of Turkey, hauling their homegrown produce and home-baked breads. It was funky and fine and just what we were hoping. From this vendor, we bought that flat bread stuffed with a chard-like vegetable and took it back to our hotel to include with our breakfast. So good.

November 20, 2014

Barcelona. November, 2012

Cafeteria. Rosticceria. Briocheria. Patisseria. All these (and their variants) we were accustomed to from earlier trips to Italy, France and Spain. And it wasn’t too hard to make the leap required by the Catalan language. But sandwitxeria? Good luck pronouncing that.

November 19, 2014

Barcelona. November, 2012

In a town filled with hundreds of excellent cafes, it’s no surprise to find Starbucks behind bars.