Spain, Summers 2004-2005

Don Quixote in the Subway, Barcelona
Don Quixote in the Subway, Barcelona

Mallorca – Barcelona – Pontevedra – Santiago de Compostela

The summer of 2004, I made a momentous decision to turn my “three-year overseas adventure” in Japan (which had gone on for, like, six years already) into something more permanent. Amongst other things, I wanted to formalize my transition from conversational ESL teacher status to English Language Arts teacher at the international school where I worked in suburban Tokyo.

After a bit of research, I enrolled in a post-graduate international school teacher education program run by an American college at their summer campus on… Mallorca, Spain.

For the next two summers i left the tropical heat of Tokyo for the desert heat of Spain and studied teacher education on a resort island in the Mediterranean. How much actual study did I get done? A surprising amount, all things considered, with the temptations of Ibiza and Barcelona just a short ferry or flight away. Instead, I spent the weekends exploring Mallorca’s rustic interior, where Miro was inspired to paint his abstract landscapes in Mediterranean reds, blacks, blues, greens, and yellows.

After each semester, I traveled solo or with my girlfriend around northern Iberia, from Gaudi’s Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia to small-town Galicia, through rustic Portugal and into genteelly decaying Lisbon.

These are pictures from those trips. Check out the full gallery at 500px.

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Portugal ’05

Lisbon – Obidos – Coimbra

"Azulejo"  blue ceramic tile
“Azulejo” blue ceramic tile, Lisbon

Lisbon is nothing never ever. Lisbon is for crying, pure destiny and weeping, fado and light of tears. But at the same time is a radical immersion in joy. “I see you once again, / city of my dreadfully lost childhood / Sad and happy city where I dream again”. It is not the white city that a mistaken Swiss thought he saw, but a blue city of cheerful invented nostalgia. – Enrique Vila-Matas, Montano’s Malady