Monday, September 20, 2010


ok folks, heres the quick and dirty resolution of my last post "good and bad":
im told that i dont have to worry about loosing the villa and that the owner will continue our deal leased directly to lets hope so.

and now onto other news...

Yesterday we finally made our way down to the pacific coast and it was amazing, like really and totally amazing. One of the best days that i have had here yet. here we go.

The adventure began on Saturday. We hoped onto to a pickup to take us up the mountain away from Antigua to a little hostel overlooking the valley called "Earth Lodge" and yes, it is exactly as it sounds. It is a down to earth hippy factory in the avocado plantation hills of guatemala where there is nothing to do except hula-hoop, hackysack, dred your hair and talk about the man. we planned on making a weekend of it, but the treehouses (yes tree houses) were all booked due to a gap-year program that was currently inhabiting the entire facility. It was great. the ride was steep up the mountain with an evermore beautiful view of the valley. we snaked through village after village, plantation after plantation, and dirt dirt road upon dirt road. we arrived at the end of the road and were told to follow the dirt trail through the woods until we saw signs leading us to the lodge. the trail led us up a mountain, down a mountain, through a trickling waterfall (that may or may not have been mostly human sewage from higher altitude towns) and finally down a long hill that dead-ended at earth lodge. there really was nothing to do there but to sit on benches drinking gallos (not for me, sad) and talk to germans. the sun was out and then it was away, then out, then sprinkles of rain, and then out again. a nice welcome reprieve. (this was yom kippur).

I got a call from somebody who found me on couch surfing around mid-day, and we arranged for him to meet us back at the house before dinner. We hopped another pickup and made our way back down the mountain in enough time to stop at the super market and grab some provisions.

the couch surfer was a german dude who wad been taking an epic bike trip from san fransicso all the way down through central america with no certain end point. He was a great guy and we had a nice dinner (break-fast for me) of bagels, veggies, cheese, eggs, platinos fritos, refried beans, and of course, wine. i was too tired to go out (i had spent all day friday building a house for a small guatemalan version of habitat for humanity and was still beat on saturday) so instead we watched superbad on the roof until the buffer ran out. it was a very nice evening.

the next morning, we slept in (i actually got up around 8 and moved myself to the roof where i slept in the early morning sun) and made breakfast with the leftovers from the night before. We had heard rumors that our friends (with a car) would be heading to the pacific coast that morning, so we had that in the back of our minds as we walked to the cafe down the street for coffee after breakfast (couch surfer picked up the tab!). when we got back to the villa, we ate a sandwich and chilled out for a bit until we got a knock on our door around 11am. our friends were indeed going to the beach and wanted to know if we were planning on joining them. Of course we were!

we changed into our suits real quick and hopped into the jeep for the beginning of our saga. the trip was about 2 hours to get there, but knowing Guatemala, everything takes longer than expected. traffic, road conditions, mudslides, weather, and children in the road all made our journey exciting. we must have passed through a dozen different elevations and climate zones on the way to the coast--they had a thermometer integrated into the dashboard and we watched the temperature climb up into the nineties and drop well below 65. it was one of the most beautiful drives that i have taken. more sandwiches made the ride delicious as well. our German cser friend remarked upon the beauty of the trip far too many times.

we arrived at the launcha point around 130 and hopped into the boat after buying tickets only to find that after 30 minutes of waiting for the launcha to fill up, we were on the wrong one (who knows where that one was going!). we begged for our money back and ran back to the car in which we drove to another launcha point 15 mins away. this time the launcha took us down a windy river to a dock which opened up to a beautiful pacific beach. there was a specific surf lodge that we were looking for and we had a 50/50 chance of walking down the beach in the correct direction. we chose the wrong one. However, 20 mins in the wrong direction proved to be an amazing 40 min stroll down a blazingly hot but breezy black sand beach with literally not a soul in sight.

Finally we came upon el paradon (a little surfers paradise on the guatemalan pacific). there were cabanas with hammocks, a pool, a restaurant, and bar that was completely deserted. we met some friends there and that was it. the entire place was to ourselves. of course, i immidiately made my way to the water which is reportedly too dangerous to swim in, but i had a ball of it. swimming was a constant battle against the waves that pulled out to sea and down shore (dont worry ma). It was invigorating and i didnt want to leave the water but i had to because our lunch of fresh red-snapper and grilled veggies was ready for consumption. it was light and delicious. after eating, the group hung out on the patio with gallos, but i found a cabana which was nice and sunny in the setting sky and laid there for a good 45 mins baking just the right side of my body. the wind was soft and the waves were loud. all i could hear was the ocean.

i got the sense that we would be leaving soon so i went looking for a bathroom. instead, what i found was a beautiful shower that resembled a little desert oasis with bamboo floors, cacti, and a waterfall. I washed the salt from my hair and stepped outside just in time to discover that we were taking off. we got a ride back to the launcha point and called the guy who ferried us from the car earlier in the day.

the ride home was in treacherous rain, but we had it good compared to the myriad motorcyclists who we passed on the road squinting through the downpour. we arrived home at 830 and made our way to pollo compero where we gorged on fried chicken (a guatemalan delicacy), fries, and orange soda (who loves orange soda?!). An early bedtime made the day complete.

seriously people...come visit me already


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

good and bad

so i have good news and bad news. lets start with the good news because its just too amusing. I just got and started a job at the swankiest cigar and wine shop in Antigua (well the second swankiest if you count wine/cigar bars, but this isnt a bar, its just a shop). Literally i walked in off the street and asked if Spanish was required, and she was like "nope! can you start tomorrow?" and i said "yup!" and now i am a sommelier! how couth. She's like, "how much do you know about wine?" and im like, "not much, but i know what I like", and shes like "well how much to you know about cigars?", and im like, "far less". and shes like "alright". and then she broke out a bunch of cigar and wine books in Spanish and said that i could read them if i wanted to but that she usually just chats online all day because maybe 2 or three people come in a day to buy stuff (cause its so swanky). Most of this stuff could be bought at the supermarket for 20 percent less, but the tourists dont know that.
I was not required to have a liquor license or anything...they collected no personal information, and i signed no contracts, in fact, im not even sure if they know my last name. gotta love th 3rd world.
This place is located on the nicest drag in town underneath a beautiful historic archway, its smells of unburt tobacco...mmmmm yummy

AND BAM! the story just got that much more interesting. as i was tying this a dude walked in and in Spanish, asked my if we carried Ron Zacappa which is the most expensive rum in the store, the country, and as far as i know, the most expensive rum in the world. And i was like, AHHH, my first sale is like a million Queztales, and then i was like, oh, wait, Andrea told me that they sold the last bottle yesterday. so then i recommended the other most expensive bottle in the store and he was like, well hoe much is it, and i was like umm, i dunno cause they of course they dont lable a bottle that expensive, and it wasnt listed in the price list, so i just was like, erm "1200 Quezales?", ans he was like, well id like to pay 1000, and im like, sorry the prices are non-negotiable...and theh hes like, "ok, well i only wanted the price anyway" and im like," ok, ta ta then"...and i know you guys are all wondering, "well did you sell it or not?" and you are waiting for me to tell you that i did (cause i did such a good job building up suspense and all) but sorry, he walked out and i was sad. Anyway, that was all in Spanish, and i dont speak Spanish so kudos to me. Although the entire time i felt like an impostor, like i shouldn't be working retail in a Spanish speaking country (and i knew that the guy was thinking that too).
the good news is that while i was writing that part that i just wrote, another lady walked in and was like "please tell me you speak English!" and i did, and then she asked for directions and i gave them to her in perfect English...i was so proud.

Anyway, now for the bad news. today the guy that my friend and i are subletting our rooms in the villa from told us that his bosses had come down yesterday and shut down the business and that basically, unless we wanted to rent the villa directly from the owners, we are gonna be booted out at the end of the month...i cant go back to the hostel, i just cant! Anyway, we are gonna try to find two more roommates and rent it directly, cause its massively cheap for 4 or 5 people, like as cheap as my place in Rochester except that its a massive thats gonna be a new adventure, i really want to keep this place. Does anybody want to come down here and move in...commoooonnnnnnn!!!!! you can get a job here, they are everywhere, you'll get paid more than a local because you speak English and you'll live like a king!

Thats all,

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My new villa

Until ii have time to post a real blog update, check out the photos of my new diggs in Antigua, its beautiful.

click here:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Arrived in Antigua, Guatemala

Hey Folks,
So I have arrived in Antigua, Guatemala, where I plan to be teaching for the foreseeable future. I got into Guatamalacity on Thursday night with no hassle and was greeted by my CS host at the exit. She was also hosting another surfer the same night (she responded to my SOS request at the last minute) and her friend wsa hosting a surfer too. So we all crammed into their kia and rode straight to a bar in Zone 1, I would have preferred to at least taken a bit of a rest first, but they were excited to hang out (as hosts usually are), and so I went along...although I did end up falling asleep at the bar! We had a nice night and woke up early the next morning to go cell phone shopping (so i now have a Guatemalan number!) I got a phone, Sim card and a bunch of minutes for the equivalent of about 20 US$, I love this place! We then spent the day wandering around Guatemala City...I had planned on takinga bus into Antigua yesterday afternoon, but it turns out that they were all driving to Antigua that night for a CS event--so I figured that i might as well get a free ride and hope that there would be a host with a free couch who was attending the event.
Long story short, only a few people besides us showed up for the event, and I went back to Guate with my hosts from Thursday night. After an early breakfast this morning, i hopped on a chicken bus and made my way over to Antigua. After a while wandering the town looking for a hostel had stayed in before, I found it and reserved a bed (check-in is in a hour). I also spoke to the girl about working for the hostel..its possible, but I need to talk to the big boss later (I wonder if the require Spanish fluency...). anyway, I have to go, because I'm meeting a guy to look at an apartment he is subletting in 10 mins.
cheers, Jake

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

News from Pieve di Cento

Pieve di Cento is a small town just outside of bologna thich is actually pretty cool. Aparently the whole area used to be swamplands, but when napoleon ruled the area, he had hundreds of canals dug out to drain the ares for farming. The town that i am currently living in is as old as the renaissance, so some of the buildings that once acted as waterports are still standing. There is this one building that stands on stilts in the center of town which was a dock hundreds of years ago, but now streets run by it. Its hard to imagine, becuase with the exception of the canals outside of town, the entire area is water free and oppressibely hot. The town also has tons of beautiful historic porticoes, fortifications, and towers. It is interesting to thinkn of just how old this town (and Italy) is. Western civilization has lived here for literally thousands of years. hmmmmm...

Anyway, the week is coming to a close, tomorrow's thursday and friday is always a wash, what with show practice and show this week is going to be robin hood. Its pretty kick ass, a modern-13-year-old's-re-interpretation of the classic tale. Oh, and we have more girls than guys, so all the genders of the characters are swapped...and there is a giant chicken-person--its going to be fun.

Last night, i went with one of the other host families to Ferrara for an evening stroll and pizza, it was nice. There was a large castello with a water moat that was filled with some kind of milennea old green sludge. It was mega gross. I wanted to throw the family's little boy into it to see what would looked corrosive. But I didnt (dont worry Em).I bet that there were monsters living in there.

Thats all there is to say about pieve di cento

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gone from Pescasseroli and back up north (Bologna)

So i dont really have time to write a full post right now but i juat wanted to send a quick update letting everybody know that i am alive and well. I had an awesome week in Pescasseroli and have now just moved into my new host family in Piave de Cento just outside of Bologna in Bologna provence. Clearly i have internet here but i dont have the time just now to go about summarizing nmy enire week becuase we are coing to the pool. Im kind of jealous because the other tutors got brought to the Adriatic sea for the day but i got in to town too late for that...anyway, i am looking forward to a little nap in the sun. the new camp begins tomorrow after a glorious zero days of rest after an intense week of sleep away english camp. we meet at nine o'clock tonight to discuss the logistics.

To all those out there who want to skype me, this week is th week, it looks as if im gonna have decent inet access so call me and we can chat it up. woot!

kk thats it for now.

ps. my arm is fine again, i took the cast off last sunday and let it heal on its own over the course of the week, its still a bit sore if i over extend or compress it, but otherwise i have full range of motion again...i did laps int he pool all week and i think that helped...hugely noicable difference in my capability on froday as compered to monday...hoo haa...

its a good thing too, becuase it looks as if ill be riding a bick to work every morning again this week... dont worry ma, ill ask for a helmet!

Friday, July 2, 2010

News from Milan and onward

So yea, i have been im Milan all this past week, but now i am leaving and heading south near about an hour.

The week was good...especially when compared to last week. The camp was located in a public school in the middle of the city, close to Parc Sempoinne, a huge centrally located park. My host family lived a bit far from the school, a 20 min walk to the outskirts of the city, while the rest of the tutors all live within one blocks walking distance of the school...Alex lives accross the street. But they gave me a bike to use to get into town, and it was nice because their place was is big and (most importantly) has AC. This had been one of the hottest weeks of the summer, I mean really hot--and when you are chasing kids around all day you feel it.

My arm is healing nicely, if not slowly, I got bored and took off the cast yesterday and it feels OK, i still cant extend it fully, but i just couldnt stand the heat of it anymore. Beter that i have a sore elbow than I broil my arm in plaster...seriously, i may as well have sprinkeled some garlic and cayanne pepper on it because it was getting well done. I just have it in a compression wrap now

Good news! I am finally heading south. After pestering them for a month, and having the director at a camp outside of Rome (one i worked with in 2008) pester them for three weeks, ACLE has finally transfered me out of Milan (Hallejulah!). God i was getting tired of this city. I mean, it was nice to spend some time downtown (usually i am in the burbs), but still, i need a change...bad.

So thats good. I taught at this camp in 2008. It is a sleep-away camp in the mountains located in a three star hotel with a pool, mtn biking, and horseback riding (dont worry ma, i wont do the mountain least not until the end of the week...) and breathtaking mountain scenery. Theres also a nice little town center where we can go when we are off duty...ill update more about pescasseroli when we arrive (hopefully they will have wifi, keep your fingers crossed).

Lets see, what alse did i do this week.....oh, my final show yesterday was great (even if the execution wasnt that awesome. The kids couldnt agree on one thing, so i wrote a play that combined the works of Bram Stoker, Joss Wheaton, Stephanie Meyers, Michael Jackson, and Sir Aurthor Conan Doyle. It was great, but i had no access to a computer or photo copier, so i have no script to take with me...sad this play will be lost...just like my "Simpsons trapped in the matrix" script from two years ago...another gem lost to time...

Anyway, that all i have to say for now...ive got a lot of travel today... two metros, a 4 hour train, another train, and two 2 hour busses...then a car ride...i better get packed...

ci vediamo!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Life in the Land of the Lefties

Thsi post will be written primarily with one hand, my left hand...expect many many typos....

its been a long while since i have not sure where to begin...i guess that I'll justskip last week and youle have to talk it out of me on skype...hint hint...go online

lts just focus on the main drama of the week... i broke my arm!

well kinda...sorta...not really...but its in a cast so i can lie if i want...i was riding my bike to work, and like always when i ride my bike to work in Italy, i had some kind of accident and flew off the thing headfirst. This happend far too frequently to be accidental. I am convinced that either the Italian bike maker Bianchi, or the Italian pothole-fixy-authorithy, or all lisenced Italian drivers, or all of the above are involved in some massive conspiracy out to give me a concussion...luckily for me, i am a master at falling and each time i manage to roll onto my shoulder, protecting my scull and the massive intelligence laying dormant within. This time, i ended up with a badly bruised elbow bone (is there such thing as an elbow bone?). The Italian Doctor called it a microfractura, but i saw the X-rays and it doesnt look like there is a fracture to"bo".

Anyway, as always, I just picked myself up, assessed my skull and rode to work. After two days of worsening pain i finally gave in and went to the hospital where they fixed me up for free! gotta love socialized health care...hey!, in this scenario i was the non-tax paying foreigner who was mooching off the hard earned money of the taxed citizenry! fun!

So thats that...i finished up the last week at camp Arese and this weekend i will be transfering to a city camp in the middle of Milan...i wanted to go south but cest la vie, im still in Milan. At least it will be nice to live in the city for once, instead of living 30 mins outside and having to commute if i wanna tour of go out...thattl be cool.

ok, ima go finish packing....

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Today was nice

...and yesterday

So i met up with a host family that i stayed with when i was working for ACLE in 2008 yesterday, and i ended up staying the weekend with them. I had a really nice time. The weather was pretty crappy, so we were consigned to indoor activities for the most part--last night we got pizza and went to play pool (Silvio and i cleaned house), and today we went to the Milan Museum of Technology and say a whole bunch of awesome sea and air vessels, as well as a lot of replicas of devices that devinci designed. after that we welt to the piazza del duomo and watched the Italy-NZ football game which ended in a dissapointing 1-1 leving italy with a difficult chance of qualifying for the next round. We then went to go get panzeritti, but the classic place was closed so we grabbed some fast food and checked out the galleria. After that we had a teary goodbye and i came back to Arese. A short reunion, but sweet none-the-less. You can see a photo of the kids playing a painfull italian version of rock-paper-sissors while waiting for the subway, and a rather funny photo (i think) of the masses standing outside in the rain to watch the football match...and completely ignoring the half-a-dosen world heritige sites that flank all sides of the piazza.

the italian rock-paper-sissors is playes with physical penalties for loosing. Sissors gets you smacks on the forearm, paper gets you smacks on the back of your hands, and rock gets you a dead arm...its hella-fun...

blaaa, idk if the photos are going to go through...i may need to put then in a diff post

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Today WAS better

Today was better, after meeting up with the other three teachers and venting out all out frustrations and concerns, we arrived at the school with a recalibration of our expectations. With this state of mind, we were all better prepared to deal with the slings and arrows that this camp threw at us. Actually, it was quite a good day. I combined classes with the other group at my groups' level and we had a big group activity to teach present continuous (progressive). is worked well and fun was had on all parts. We also began mini-olympics today, and though my team isnt the clear winner this week, all the kids were having fun and that really all that matters (corny).

Oh, Ps, last week ended well, the directors had some gold, silver, and bronze medals made up for the kids for first second and third place which were really nice. They had the camp location and place engraved on the metal and they had the english flag on them. Rewally nice...those directors were great. the week ended on a high note and all three of us left together to work at the same camp in Arese for this week and next week. We met the fourst teacher on sunday, after meeting out host families on saturday (who apparently were told by our 'director' to expect us on none of our families were ready thanks to her...). The foursh teacher is a nice guy from New Castle, England, and this is his 4th year teaching with ACLE so he's got lots of good ideas for teachiing and i am learning alot (slash, having my memory jogged a lot) from teaching with him.

Lets see, how about some more complaints about camp... well the food is aweful...i never thought i would say that about food in italy, but it really is. yesterday lunch was pasta that tasted like a poor man's spagetti-o's with rotty salad with hard bread and raw tuna globbed on the side. Today we had risotto that tasted like undercooked rice in hot water, mystery meat patty (that i pray was poultry) and gloopy least the rolls were good today...i had several of those...

Good news about being in the north: i have arranged to meet up with the family that hosted me for a month last time i was teaching here...i really liked them and i'll be happy to see them again, even just for a day or something.

Anyway, thats enough venting for now, i have gotta send some emails...


Monday, June 14, 2010

News from Arese

Ok folks, so now I'm stationed here in a small suburb oustide of Milan. Arese is where Alpha Romeos were first built, but in recent years the factories have been shut down (ala Kodak). My first day at this new camp was not so hot. The director is virtually non-present, and she left after lunch. Then after a day of horrible confusion because she gave us different schedules than she gave the school, which was different from the one she gave the lunch ladies, the school administrators came around and kicked us out of our classrooms in the middle of the lesson because they needed them for meetings (as if they couldnt use other classrooms). Then, while we were trying to negotiate with the administrators, who didnt speak any english) the kids all decided to leave and had their parents come pick them up. Today was not such a good day. I have got to go, but i will update more later...I need to write a bit about my host family...later, they need the comp.

Tomorrow will be better...jake

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

City Camp Noceto

Ok, so heres the news from Noceto, Italy.

I am stationed in this tiny town outside of Parma which is a small\midsize city in the center of the country about an hour from Bologne. This is where Parmasean Cheese comes from. And yes, i am sick of parmasean cheese already.

My camp it a tiny one; there are only three tutors, and 33 students (i have 12)--yet there are two camp directors, both of which are as well meaning and schnery as any camp director i have had, to the point of mild irritation. "What do you need, how can i help, you are amazing..."...its very nice, but let me work! I was gretted at the trainstation by one of the directors and her family (her son is in my class) and they took me for a drive around the town, and then to one of the other host families to meet one of the tutors, because we were early to meet my host family. They fed me some delicious cherries and i chatted with the other tutor for a while. This is her first camp so she had lots of concerns and ideas to run by me. We had a rather productive talk.

After that, we met my host family, and they took me home. They have a beautiful little house (rather new in construction) with a pool and two dogs. One is a French shepherd with fancs as long as my fingers and could swallow me whole. It is a good thing that they placed me with this family, because i think that the other tutors would have shat themselves. The other dog might as well be my dog Sophie's sister. she looks so somilar it is uncanny. She is only a year old and is about 40\50 lbs. Not like Meuler (the big one) who is an east 250 lbs.

My room is private, the bed is a fold out, but it is fine, and i essentially have my own full bath. It is nery nice. You already know my wifi story, so ill leave that at that.

The first ngiht i stayed with them, the parents had to go to work (they own and operate a pizzaria 15 mins away) and the babysutter came over (with her boyfriend) to make dinner and watch the kids. They are about my age (20 & 21) so we had a nice time talking (navigating between out shared languages: Italian, Spanish, and French). Then the kids convinced us to go in the pool, at 930pm...

Monday, after school, the other tutors and I went for a drink in town and deconmpressed after work. This was great for me, because im a talker, but the others were just too tired, and i dont think that we'll be continuing this...we didnt go yesterday anyway. That night, the host mom took the kids and I (host dad was at work on the town council) to a little trattoria in the moutains with some family friends where they fed me a delicious 3 course meal. Pumpkin Tortelli, Lamb, Terrimasu, Lemonchini, and wines throughout. I love Italy.

Yesterday went well also, we began mini-olympics (like color wars) and my team swept...woot! Last night, my Host mom bought me a sim card for my phone, but when we tried to activate it , it wouldnt work. we called the help line and they said that sometimes it takes a day or two to activete...annoying! But thats how it is, so ill try it again today...sorry ma! Last night, we went to the family pizzaria for pizza and it was great, I wish my parents owned a pizzaria, Marko is so lucky. After dinner we took a drive through Parma, which looks to be a beautiful little city, i wish that i had the time to give it a walk through. I really dont get that mych time for tourist while i am working though, just weekends and thats not enough when working week long camps because we need weekends for travel. Thats ok, im still having a great time.

Today has been fine, I am currently observing computer time (during siesta after lunch). We are done in a minute, and then we woll start the days mini-olympics. today is water relay day--my feet are soaking from filling (and mostly dropping) water balloons. Wish me luck, the winners get medals and I want one!


Monday, June 7, 2010

New rule

Ok y'all, new rule... If you are reading this blog, you are required
to leave a comment at the bottom of the post. That is how I know I'm
loved... Also, if you are a follower/ friend of the blog it helps to
validate my existance. If you are a google subscribe it it tots easy,
just click follow.

Relatives of mine ages 60 and above are exempted... I know they love
me on the basis of brownies and keugle cooked for me over the years.
Keugle = love.


Sent from my iPod


So here's how the wifi at my host family's house works: they don't
have any... Or any internet of any kind. But sometimes, once in a blue
moon, when the stars alighn and the electromagnetic frequency of the
planets poles is presenting just the right or radiation, in just the
right place, at just the right time, I can steal wifi from the
neighbors accross the valley... That time is now.

So right now is one of the only tiny windows in time when I will be
able to use wifi on my iPod, that means skype... So if you want to
talk to me, nows the time... Like right now... Cause we are leaving
for dinner in 9 mins...

Good luck and god speed.

Sent from my iPod

Post cards

Hey folks- 
If you want to recieve an adorable post card from my Italian campers, send me your mailing address. I'm going to make this part of a teaching activity.

Sent from my iPod

Train to Parma

Sent from my iPod

Begin forwarded message:

From: Jake Nacheman <>
Date: June 6, 2010 4:18:13 PM GMT+02:00

So now I'm on the train from Bologna to Parma, two towns which sound delicious. Here's what you missed:

Yesterday I finished out the day on the cruise from Barcellona to Rome. The rest of the ride was fine but I didnt really speak to anyone at all on the trip... It just seemed to be full of old people returning from vacation. Also it would have been nice to have payed out on the deck of the boat, but mh sunburn was too bad for that, so I had to stick to the dark corners of the boat lest my skin begin to glitter.

I had just bought a new vaunnegut book however, so I devoured that during the course of the ride. So far I have read two, I'd like to read his whole collection this summer... I couldn't find any English books before today's trains, however, so I setteled fir an italian graphic novel called "Dylan Dog; terrore dall'infinito" ...the infinite terror! It's basically pulp but it's keeping me occupied.

Anyway, I got off the boat at Chivittavecchia (port of Rome) and was immidiatly inspected for drugs, which was kind of terrorifying but over quickly, and then hustled onto a free shuttle to the main trainstation which would take me to Rome. I grabbed my ticked just in time to get on the train ( which was actually quite a feat because there were a dozen tourists in front of me who couldn't seem to get the simple ticket machine to work--- but, that train never came and I was stuck waiting at the port for an hour before the next train was to arrive. That ordanarily would have been fine, but it was already 7:30 and it was an hr and a half long train and I needed to wanderthe streets a bit once j got to Rome to find my accomadations. ACLE (see had given me use of a reserve flat they keep in Rome for the night, but it was out in the sticks and I was not quite sure how to get there. Needless to say I was hoping to get in before sundown. Anyway, this is what it was and I dealt. In the meantime I had some nice conversation with a American hairdresser and her MRI technition friend ( they are from atlanta) while we were wAiting-- also, it gave me time to eat something which was amzing because all I had to eas on the boat was a baguette which I brought on board with me, assuming that the price on the ferry would be outrageous--- which it was. Anyway, we got on the 830 train and arrived in Rome at 10:00. I decided that I didn't want to be murder that night, so I manned up and took a cab which dropped me off right at the door.

Unfortunately, they hadn't given me a key or a passcode or anything and when I emailed them for this information, all I got was a repeat of the address. I was hoping that when I arrived there would either be instructions for me on the door or there would be another teacher staying there already who would buzz me up. Nope...

45 minutes of wandering around looking for a phone later I was on the phone with the ACLE organizer (thank god I had written her number down) thanks to a friendly stranger who lent me his cell--- although he was the first to do so after I asked about 20 others where the nearest payphone was and they all said "umm there is none for miles...". Only this guy caught on that he had a phone in his pocked and the human thing to do was lend it to me...

So anyway, I got through to the organizer and she got through to the caretaker who met me at the flat with the key. After that sage ended I was pleased to find that the last teachers who had stayed there had left a decent supply of food in the cupboards and freezer with notes saying it was up for grabs. I ate, and made some extra food for me to take with me on the trains today, and I slept. I really slept.

I woke up early, drank some tea and headed into Rome to catch my first train to Bologna. U didnt want to be late. Previous teachers in the flat had warned the readers of their notes to take more time than they thought they would need to get to Roma Termini. So I took their advice (they also told me which buses to take--- so no more cabs!) and went to the center. I bought my tickets and had some time to spare so I hopped on the metro, checked our the colesseum (it's still there where I left it) and returned in time to buy my "Dylan Dog" and hop on the train. On the ride to Bologna I talked with a lady who was traveling with her grandson (abt 20-25)--- it was the first time that she had ever traveled outside of the country (they are from California). She was very nice, and it was sweet of him to take his little grandma on a trip, but I couldn't help but wonder if he want to sleep at 5pm at the same time as her, or if he went out in the evenings ans returned before she woke up... Did he have to sneak out? Did he ever return after she woke up? Very ineresting traveling partner...

Anyway, I left that train and am now on my final train to Parma where I will hopefully be greeted by my camp director and host family... I'll be arriving shortly, actually I think we are arriving now! g2g...

Sent from my iPod

Fwd: Cadiz, Granada, Barcellona, ferry to Rome

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jake Nacheman <>
Date: Saturday, June 5, 2010
Subject: Cadiz, Granada, Barcellona, ferry to Rome

So now we are on a train to Barcelona (an overnight train) from
granada. The last time I updated this blog was when I was on a train
to Cadiz, so that's where I'll pick up. We arrived on Cadiz and began
to look for wifi and/or a place tk stay. We found a public square with
free wifi, so I checked Couch Surfing but we had gotten no responses--
that meant that we were going to have to find a hostel but so far we
had bumped into none yet. We kept wandering aimlessly throughthe city
looking for a youth hostel with our backpacks on-- getting heavier by
the step-- until finall a Dutch couple approached us and asked if we
still were looking for a place to stay. He said that he recogniized us
from the train Ndthat they too had been searching for a hostel but had
found none. That had, however, reported Bend, found a cheapish
pension. I usually stay away from pensions because they commonly
consist of a cell-like room and zero social atmosphere. But, at this
point, we were tired and hungry and I was ready to find anyplace to
throw our bags. So we took Bend's recomendation and booked what turned
out to be one of the last rooms in town.
We then walked around for a bit, ate, and got to know the town a
little. We sat down at a cafe for a bit and as we were sitting there a
parade started to march through the square. It featured an all girls
drum corps and a guy blowing a wistle-- I tried my best to translate
the posters that they were carryig but I still couldn't make much
sense out of them. Just as we were trying to guess what it was for,
another parade came through the square. This one had a full marching
band in uniform and a gigantic catholic float topped with a huge
cross. The thing that disturbed me was that no one seemed to be
pushing or pulling the float. Emily then noticed that below the float
were dozens of pairs of tiny feet. There were children holding up and
moving the float! I can't imagine how hot it mush have been to be
inside that thing.

I am updating the following severely days later on a boat from
Barcelona to Rome:

That night in Cadiz, after wandering around alm day, Emily and I went
for a walk on the beach and crashed early. The next morning we were
displeased to hear from the pensionne proprieter that we were not
allowed to leave our bags with her for the day unless we payed for
another night. She assured me that she had never heard of a hotel that
holds your bags after you check out. She knows because she had
traveled the world- she once went to Miami! I assured her that hers
was the only hotel in Spain that was this bad of a rip off, then we
parted ways.

Now saddled by our packs, Emily and I were condemned to wander the
streets in misery-- or to blow off exploring the town and spend the
day relaxing on the beach. We chose door number two. Crispy from a day
by the water, we lugged our bags to an historic castle on the
waterfront and found a receptionist kind enough to hold our bags while
we explored it. The castle had been converted into an art gallery and
we saw some really nifty pices. After that we walked until we found
the train station and caught the first train with open seats back to
Seville. There, we spent the night and caught a train to Grenada in
the morning (this was poor planning on my part- I assumed we could to
Grenada direct from Cadiz, when infact there is no train or road
directly connecting the two).

We arrived in Grenada around 3pm and made our way tk the city center
looking for wifi signal. I needed to get on skype because we had
planned to meet up with Josh (currently studying Spanish in Grenada).
We finally got through to his local cell and planned a place to meet
up with him. While waiting, I found a very nice pensionne (run by nice
people) and booked us a room.

We met up with Josh who proceeded to give us the grand tour or Grenada
and lure us into seeing a bull fight with him. So, that's what we did
that evening. Jus. A couple of euros bought our way into a show that
was far more grusem than I could have expected. I thought that the
term "bull-fight" meant that there would be some fighting involved.
However, it just turned out to be a dozen dudes dresses like Liza
Menilli ganging up on a little bull first with sticks that they
stabbed into his back and then with swords that they plunged into
non-lethal areas they continued to poke and stick the animal until it
bled out or got tired or living. Then they took a dagger and sepersted
it's spine at the neck. Traif.

They did this 6 times with 6 bulls.

I mean, I thought that it was going to be a bit like hunting- where an
experienced practioner can take a skilled shot and kill the animal
(relatively) humanely in one or maybe two blows. This was bloodsport.

After that we went out for cheeseburgers.

Jk-- after eating some FISH tapas, the three of us spent the night
walking through the streets enjoying the beautiful surroundings that
Granada had to offer, including a walk up the hill towards la
Alhambra, an old Muslim fort/city that overlooks Granada- it is
Granada's main attraction. We said goodbye to Josh around midnight
(because he had homework-ha) and crashed. The next morning we got up
early, left our bags at the hotel (hah) and walked back up to la
Alhambra which is supposed tk sell out everyday befor noon or earlier.
We got there just in time- and cheated a little because we found a
ticket machine around the back of the ticket office that no one in the
long line seemed to know about.

La Alhambra is a day long event. It should be called the water palace.
Beautiful gardin, after beautiful gardin, the fountains seemed to go
on forever. Each fountain was followed by another that was more
magnificant than the last. The kings who lived here certainly has a
vision on paradice in mind that I could go along with-- I'm not so
sure that I'd choose the same route of getting there, however.

After Alhambra, we were sure that we would be able to hop on a quick
train to Barca, but I hadn't taken the size of Spain I to account. As
it turns out, Spain is huuge-- the only train connecting Barca to
Granada is a 12 hour express. Needless to say, this is an overnight
train and we had a few hours to kill. We were both dead tired though,
and had already collected our packs from the hotel. There was no way
that walking the city was going te be an option (not after Cadiz at
least). So, we plopped down into a heladoria and contemplated our
preticiment over some Spanish ice-cream (I can't wait for real Italian
gelato). We decided that we deserved some airconditioned rest, so we
found a movie theatre and watched "the prince of Persia" dubbed in
Spanish without subtitles. I don't think that I'll re-watch it in
English. Doest matter, it was a welcome respit.

We boarded the train around 9 pm and had a pleasent enough journey.
See the post below for some details on that drama. When we arrived in
Barcelona we once again began our usual sage of wandering around
looking for wifi and or a cheapish hostle. We found neither but were
contented with 19 euros a night. Once checked in we had Internet
access (ahh the catch-22) and I wen. On couch surfing only to find
that we hadn't gotten a couch anyway. *Note to self, Iberia is not the
most reliable place to CS, at least not in spring with two people--
although the few surfing exeriences we did have were awesome...

Since we got I to Barcelona eay we decided to go on a bit of a Gaudi
quest starting with the eternally incomplete crown to his collection:
El Tempolo de la Sagrada Familia. Zack, you need to come to Barca some
day. Gaudi makes buildings real prices of art. Stepping into Sagrada
Familia was like stepping into some kind of insect cucoon slash
gumdrop forrest. I know that doesn't make any sense unless you have
seen it, but it is awesome. To bad that it isn't finished. The guy
died like a century ago and his masterpiece is still under major
construction. It's actually kind of funny because you cannot find a
post card of the church that's missing a crane or two soiling the
image (unless it's a drawing or cartoon). It is ALWAYS undergoing

After seeing the churct we made our was around the city oogling Gaudis
other buildings and walkways and sculptures and generally enjoying the
experiences that Barcellona had to offer.

We were going tk go to a "ice bar" that night (I guess it's made out
of ice...?) but were too tired (a repeating theme towards the end of
this trip) and instead opted to grab some simple sangrias with a few
new friends from the hostle (from canada). That was nice, we shared
storied and swapped experiences.

The next morning we went to parque guell with our Canadian friends
(designed by Gaudi) and then Emily and j went to a few museums: fine
art, catalonian history, progression or Picasso from his more serious
student days to his satirical mastry days.

We met us with three québécois siblings who had contacted me on couch
surfing and were looking for other travelers currently in Barcellona
to chill with. They told us about a free pub crawl with free drinks
that they had heard about, se we all went to that. We had some good
conversation with them in a few bars, and then moved onto dancing at a
club on the beach called Shoko. All in all it was a fun night and I
thank CS for making meeting these folks possible.

In the morning I took Emily to the Airport for her 8:00 flight to EWR
through FRA. I went back to sleep for a bit after that. Then I checked
out, left my bag at reception, and I met up with a old friend who is a
barcellona local. We met 4 years ago in Rome when we I stayed at the
same hostle that she stayed at (this was when I was on my way to
Krakov for my Polish exchange program). She took me out for some
schkolat (which is like an unsweetened, thin, hot chocolate pudding
with a heap of umsweetened whipped cream on top. I also has some
churros. We talked and caught up, and talked about Spanish vs American
systems of government. We compared the Catalon situation to that of
Quebec. Then, of course, we talked at length about "lost". Lost, the
glue that binds all cultures together.

We said our goodbyes and I headed to the beach for a well-earned day
of sleeping in the sun.

At 8pm I checked in for my ferry transmediterraniana and we embarked
around 11pm. My ticket is that of "deck passanger" which is equivilant
to that of modern-day steerage. Literally, there is a room on the
lowest accomodation floor filled with chairs and a few lowly paupers
like me. I never would have slept through the night were it now for a
few chairs that had had their arms broken off in the past, as I was
able to lie accross them and get some decent sleep -- which was a good
thing beacuse I think I had a fever from overexposure to the sun on
the beach and the mystery stuff they gave me out of the first aid kit
seemed like a weak orange flavored placebo. No worries, I slept fi e
and have now been exploring the ship which has a casino, an arcade,
pool, fitness center, gym, and about a dozen restaurants. I a am not
in the upper class Internet room stealing power to charge my iPod-
though I doubt if I'll be able to send this email before we make port
later tonight. In fact, I think I need to skedaddle before someone
asks to see my ticket.

We arrive in Chivittacecchia at 7pm tonight. Then I need tk catch an
hour long train to Roma centrale and take a metro to the ACLE flat in
Rome where I will spend the night before heading up to Parma (in the
north :{ ) for my first week of work. I begin teaching on Monday, wish
me luck.

Feewf, long update...


(ps. This email is too long and I am too lazy to spell check, forgive me)

Sent from my iPod

Jacob Nacheman
Martin Luther King Elementary School: ESOL
University of Rochester: (BS)2009 (MS)2010

im not dead

to all my fant, i only have like 25 seconds to write this, but i just wanted to assure all my worried fans out there that i am not dead, in fact i am very much alove. i have just not had wifi...but i guess that that is pretty close to death...
anyway, i have like 3 posts waiting im ny outbox on my ipod but without ipod they are pretty sad...also, they might not get sent to the blog in crono-order so we'll have to deal with that.

but seriously, i tots have to go...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Post cards

Hey folks-
If you want to recieve an adorable post card from my Italian campers,
send me your mailing address. I'm going to make this part of a
teaching activity.

Sent from my iPod

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Overnight train...

Uuuch... My god. Some people can be so inconsiderate. Emily and I are
on an overnight train to Barcelona from grenada and we had moved up a
few rows from our seats to the facing seats in the front of the car so
that we could stretch out and get some sleep (the car is near empty
but for us and some Italian girls)-- when all of a sudden in-comes
what seems like a village of the loudest people on earth... And of
course we are on their seats. Of course they are all in the same
family so they are all fighting about whatever so before we can be
asked, Emily and I quit pretending to be sleeping (awoken from real
sleep by their unending loudness) and move back to our seats. There
our sleep was further interrupted by this choir of steotypes. And it's
not just us that they are disturbing-- the italian girls had all been
woken up by this as well. Finally after many disgruntled looks
exchanged by us all (the sane bunch) one if the Italians got up and
yelled at them to quite down... Woo hoo small histories! Viva itaiia!
We'd better crush them in the world cup (we=Italy, them=Spain).

Sent from my iPod

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Let's see, the last time I updated I was sitting on the bed in a
hostle in Lisbon. It was a good bed. Not too soft and not to hard. The
wind was blowing softly through the curtains. I could smell a light
sent of sardines wafting through the breeze. The sounds of children
playing in the streets danced upon my eardrums. All was well with the

That was just because Emily was harping on me for writing with too
much detail. Take that, yo.

Anyway... The last time i updated was actually at my last hosts house.
Here's the deal since then:

We stayed with Nuno for two nights and left Lisbon on Thursday
morning. We had to get up early to catch a 930 train to Badajoz,
Spain. The train station was accross the city so it was a bit of a
trek (and annoying because the metro passes don't work for the other
public transportation systems which meant buying additional passes for
just one ride. Sad. Anyway we made it to the bus with time to spare
and got some food because we were starving. We checked our luggage
with the bus driver (who was less than friendly) and sat down to wait
a few mins until the bus left. Emily decided to go buy a pack of gum
and instead of trying to figure out what the flavor was before buying
it, she purchased the most discusting flavor imaginable--and I've been
chewing it since...

The bus ride was fine-- big leather seats made it easy to sleep the
whole 3 hr trip. We got to Badajoz two hours before our transfer to
Seville so we got some lunch--it's nice to be back in Spain where four
course 3 hr long meals are to be expected--Portugal had slow meals
too, but nothing like Spain.

The bus ride was fine-- i watched the countryside this time and it was
cool to see the change in terrain as we headed south into Andlucia. We
arrived in Seville by the early evening and wandered around the
historic center with our packs on for about an hour before we found
the right hostel.

We chilled out in the hostel for a bit before meeting a guy from
California who came out to dinner with us. He shared storied about his
travels in morrocco which were amazing and convinced me that waiting
until I can devote the propped amount of time to a trip there was
probably a better idea than our original plan of stopping by for just
a few days.

After dinner we went out to see the town at night and went to bed at a
decent hour. We spent yesterday walking around the city... We went to
the Torre del Oro (tower of gold) which had a nifty maratime museum
and offered a nice view of the city. We also went to the Museo de
Bellas Artes (fine art) And saw lots and lots and lots of catholic
paintings as well as a Murillo exhibit which had a few paintings that
I really enjoyed. And the building was fantastic. Actually all of
Seville is fantastic-- the archetecture is amazing. The styles are
scattered but it works and comes together as a really beautiful city.

Last night, we made friends with what seemed to be the entire hostle--
Emily and I, the Californian, four Polish girls, an Irishman, two guys
from Cambridge, and a French dude. We all ended up on the roof of the
hostel enjoying each others company and some Spanish wine (and some
Moroccan). After that we went to a few clubs and explored the scene on
the other side of the Rio Guadalquivir. Emily then went on a brief
search for late night kebab but failed in that quest and went home for
the night.

The morning the whole crew assembled in the kitched for breakfast and
to recap the nights activities (except for the Cambridge guys who went
a bit wild-- one didn't return to the hostal to sleep until about 930
in the morning. They had a rental car and we had planned on sharing
the ride to Cadiz, but needlessnto say they werent going to be going
anywhere very soon.

So, now we are on a train to Cadiz, supposedly the oldest city in
Europe, we will be arriving around 6 and will probably have to find a
hostel unless we got a response to couch surfing... I can't wait to
get some beach time tomorrow-- I'm just do dead. I think that I'm
gonna wake up early just so that I can head to the beach and go back
to sleep there.

Sent from my iPod

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Wow. There's alot of typos in that!... Small buttons on the iPod...
You guys can handle it

Sent from my iPod

We woke up on Tuesday early so that we could squeeze sla lot into the
day only to find that it was raining and our plans for wandering the
streets of Lisbon would not work out. Instead, we decided to head on
out to the Belem neighborhood of the city... It is a long walk but
only a 20min tram ride accross the city so we hopped onto the number
15 tram.

We had met some kids in our hostle the night before who were kind
enough to give us their metro passes(24 hour passes that they said
were good until mid- afternoon. Unfortunately they were wrong somehow
and they didn't work... Soooo, we just faked swiping the cards in the
readers and rode the trams and hisses for free all day anyway. The
subway and trains are different though and we had to buy passes to get
through the gates tk go to our hosts house in the burbs.

Oh, about our couch-- the guy who had said would host is in downtown
backed out at the last minute (which happens -nbd) but luckily another
guy had responded as well and though he lives 20 minutes by train from
downtown, he seemed cool. But I'm getting way ahead of myself, I'll
get back to our couch later...

We spend the day hopping between museums--we went to the national
coach museum (yes, it's a museum filled with the royal
stagecoaches...language barrier!), the museum of archeology, a
gigantic monostary, the museum of modern art(which had a nifty film as
portraits exhibit in which they showed looping videos which were
discriptive of a person or thing or emotion... I thought it was really
neat). We also talked along the river to a fort at the mouth of Lisbon
which we climbed and explored. It was pretty big and really interesting.

After that we made our way back to the hostle and grabbed our bags...
I cheched couch surfing and varified our host and we hopped onto a
train to the extremities of the city. We arrived at Nuno's house
around 7 and chilled out for a bit... Conversation eventually turned
to Lost as it inevitably does, and because we hadn't seen the finale
yet, Nuno downloaded toe episode and played it for us while he went
shopping for dinner. When he came back he made dimmer for us, broiled
salmon with almonds, onions and leaks, asparagus, and rice with
rasins. He also brought back a few nice bottles of wine with the ten
euros I gave him for that purpose (wine is crazy cheap here- you can
get a fantastic bottle for just a few bucks). A few of his friends
came over to eat with us, and when we finished the three hour long
meal (which began at 10), we all hopped back on the train to center
city and went out to a blues bar followed by a reggae club. We didn't
make it back to his place until around 630!

Needless to say, we slept I. This morning and only left the house
around 3 ( which still gave us a long day to explore the city because
the sun doesn't set until arount 10:00 and all the meals are really
late--people were still enjoying lunch when we got to center city.

Today we explored the Castille do sao Jorge which was the royal castle
and fortress for a large portion of portugals history. We then
strolled around the center city area (a place we really had only as of
yet seen in passing) and hopped on an 830 train back to Nuno's place.
We are on the train now ( I'll send this post off to blogspot when we
arrive. Nuno is at class until 10 so we will use the hour to search
for couches for Seville and Cadiz. And to do a little bit of planning
for the rest of the trip-- and hopefully nap for a bit in case we go
out tonight-- there is no way I'm stayig out till sunrise again
tonight though... I was just too dead today.

Ok the train is stopping so that's it for now. Tomorrow we head to

Sent from my iPod

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fwd: Portugal

Sent from my iPod

Begin forwarded message:

From: Jake Nacheman <>
Date: May 25, 2010 2:19:13 AM GMT+02:00
Subject: Portugal

It's been a while since my last post...or at least it feels like a long time. We are filling each day packed so full it seems at if each day is the length or consistancy of two. They wake up here early, then power through to 2-3:00 when they gorge on a 3 hour long meal, then siesta, then go back to work, they don't begin diner until 9 or 10:00 and only around midnigt do they go out for evening entertainments... No wonder they need their siesta!

We are in Portugal now, in Lisbon, we decided to forgoe morocco for the sake of time ( if we went it would have meant shaving too much time off of the rest of the trip and essentially killing the time we have set aside for Barcelona ( which everyone says would be horrible because Barcelona is an amazing magical land of awesomeness) . Se we are in Lisbon now ( I never thought I'd be in Portugal-- I don't know why, I just never saw myself coming here) but it is amazing ( grandma was right). We are staying in a nice and clean little hostly in barrio Alta ( the neighborhood of heigest elevation). It is a beautiful city- really big-- filled with winding cobblestone streets.

Portugese throws me off so much-- I realized today that it has been a long time since I traveled in a country in which I have little to know understanding or capBility in the language-- I feel like such a tourist speaking English and groping through the streets guessing at street names. It adds another level of adventure to the trip and I am enjoying my time here.
Last night we surfed with an owner of a pig factory. He was interesting. He was a really nice guy with good intentions and really really eager to please...I think I ate more that night than during the entire rest of he trip combined. The town was tiny And barely even shows up on the most detailed map (almendral) we never would have gone there were it not for couchsurfing. The same goes for the town we stayed in the night before (2 nights, actually). Another town by the confusingly similar name of Almendralejo-- this town was really close to the roman city of Merida which was the capitol of this province of the roman empire... It was really awesome and had some excelent ruins and great structures, including the longest roman bridge in europe ( the world?), An ampitheatre ( like the colleseum ?sp), a fantastic theatre with classical figures along the wings still intact, a circus (for chariot races-- like a running track), and a Cazba from the moorish rule. It was an awesome place.

We spent a bit more than we would have liked on dinner tonight (sneaky portugese and their hidden cover charges ;) so we will definitely be surfing tomorrow and probably the next night as well ( in lisbsoa)...then it's off to Seville where we are hoping to see a bullfight-- hopefully we'll find a couch (it's been more tricky finding hosts then I would have liked but our hosts have been great so far, so maybe the good ones are finding us)...

Till next time, cheers!

Sent from my iPod

Sent from my iPod

Monday, May 24, 2010


It's been a while since my last post...or at least it feels like a long time. We are filling each day packed so full it seems at if each day is the length or consistancy of two. They wake up here early, then power through to 2-3:00 when they gorge on a 3 hour long meal, then siesta, then go back to work, they don't begin diner until 9 or 10:00 and only around midnigt do they go out for evening entertainments... No wonder they need their siesta!

We are in Portugal now, in Lisbon, we decided to forgoe morocco for the sake of time ( if we went it would have meant shaving too much time off of the rest of the trip and essentially killing the time we have set aside for Barcelona ( which everyone says would be horrible because Barcelona is an amazing magical land of awesomeness) . Se we are in Lisbon now ( I never thought I'd be in Portugal-- I don't know why, I just never saw myself coming here) but it is amazing ( grandma was right). We are staying in a nice and clean little hostly in barrio Alta ( the neighborhood of heigest elevation). It is a beautiful city- really big-- filled with winding cobblestone streets.

Portugese throws me off so much-- I realized today that it has been a long time since I traveled in a country in which I have little to know understanding or capBility in the language-- I feel like such a tourist speaking English and groping through the streets guessing at street names. It adds another level of adventure to the trip and I am enjoying my time here.
Last night we surfed with an owner of a pig factory. He was interesting. He was a really nice guy with good intentions and really really eager to please...I think I ate more that night than during the entire rest of he trip combined. The town was tiny And barely even shows up on the most detailed map (almendral) we never would have gone there were it not for couchsurfing. The same goes for the town we stayed in the night before (2 nights, actually). Another town by the confusingly similar name of Almendralejo-- this town was really close to the roman city of Merida which was the capitol of this province of the roman empire... It was really awesome and had some excelent ruins and great structures, including the longest roman bridge in europe ( the world?), An ampitheatre ( like the colleseum ?sp), a fantastic theatre with classical figures along the wings still intact, a circus (for chariot races-- like a running track), and a Cazba from the moorish rule. It was an awesome place.

We spent a bit more than we would have liked on dinner tonight (sneaky portugese and their hidden cover charges ;) so we will definitely be surfing tomorrow and probably the next night as well ( in lisbsoa)...then it's off to Seville where we are hoping to see a bullfight-- hopefully we'll find a couch (it's been more tricky finding hosts then I would have liked but our hosts have been great so far, so maybe the good ones are finding us)...

Till next time, cheers!

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Lion pit

Oh, and also, I fell into the lion pit in the roman ampitheatre...
That's right, I shed blood on the ground that gladiators shed blood...
That basically makes me Russell Crowe...

I scratched my elbow and knees but otherwise I an no worse for the

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Friday, May 21, 2010


So we just arrived in alemandralejo which it a smaller city (30,000
people) outside of merida. We took a 4.5 hr bus from madrid-- Spain is
much bigger than i realized. We are going to have to cut morocco out
of our itinerary because we just don't have enough time. However, This
does mean that we probably have for Lisbon so that's good... I'm with
my host so I'll update more later...

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Still alive-

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Thursday, May 20, 2010


So we just spent the entire day walking around Madrid, i think that we saw pretty much the entire city. We just got back to the Hostle and are resting up a bit before we head out for the night, I think that tomorrow we are going to do some tapas and then head out to a city called Almendralejo because thats where we have been offered a couch. It is close to Marida, and right in our path on the way to Seville, so it works. Anyway, Madrid is amazing, very much like Italy, but also somehow reminiscent of Krakow. I like it very much, it is too bad that we dont have the means to spend some more time here, but thats cool, its just another reason to come back...
So were sitting on the plane getting ready to land... Obviously I
won't send this update until we land and I find a wireless hotspot but
I figured I'd just write a quick update for all you fans out there. I
an hoping that by the time we land I will have an inbox full of CS
invitations... Otherwise, a nice portugese girl who is sitting next to
us on the plane ( she live in Madrid) gave us some sugestions for
where we will be able to find a whole bunch of hosltes. As long as
there are a bunch in the same area, capitolism would suggest that
prices will be kept reasonable. Anyway, my thumbs are getting tired so
I'll update more later...peace

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Waiting at gate c74

Attention in the concourse

So Emily and I are sitting in the airport now waiting for our flight
to take off at 755. We arrived with plenty of time and getting through
security was a breeze. We are still not quite sure where we will be
staying tonight as there is a hung soccer festival/championship gioing
on in Madrid now and it's impossible to find a couch... On top of that
all the hostles are supposedly either full-up or priced to the max. Oh
well, that's all part of the adventure and we'll figure somehing
out... There's always park benches! The good news is that I have
secured couches in two tiny towns in extremado and they look awesome.
One is a roman town outside of Merida that is supposedly the
internationL city of wine and the other is a family sausage farm on
the portugese border! This is looking to be a fun trip.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010


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Monday, May 17, 2010

Test post

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Just a Few Days

So I'm just a few days away from my summer in Spain and Italy. For those who don't know the specifics, I will be traveling to Spain on Wednesday for two weeks with Emily. We will be traveling around Spain, heading south to the strait of Gibraltar and then back up north to Barcelona. There, Emily will depart and fly back home to NYC and I will hop aboard a ferry to Rome. Once in Rome, I will receive my first teaching assignment from ACLE (Associazione Culturale Linguistica Educational) and begin my summer of teaching.

It's looking to be an awesome trip...right now I have a mountain of stuff to unpack and jigsaw into my old room before I leave...wish me luck!