Nov 162015



This time around to Spain using a Train from Montpellier to Barcelona Sants to the BCN, and then fly to Mallorca.  It was a great train ride.  Making me wish, I hadn’t stayed at Montpellier, and could have split my time and stayed at Narbonne, and Perpignan.  And of course between the three, I would now prefer to stay at  L’Avignon, and if you have company then Nimes would also be great since it has much more rustic feeling, and much less urban.  Being solo, L’Avigion it would be.   However, this is all in hindsight, and my sights are not in the behind, so no regrets.

From a beach point of view, well the Spanish coast is the best.

Yes, I went off season near the end of May.  The weather was very temperate and ever changing.   From sunny warm to cloudy and rainy.   I didn’t mind that.    I kind of knew the water temperature was going to be cool, and it was cold.  Almost, nobody was in the water except for one sunny warm day, with pretty much all the strong Germans in the water.

This time I rented a car.  It was a VolksWagon (FolksVagon), and it was an automatic.  Well, it was the European version of an automatic, and it was very funny ride.  When I would come to a complete stop the engine would kind of shake as if to stop, however, it would just idle, and when I would move again, the engine would kind of shake and un-idle ready to go.    A very fine looking new kind of a car, and I got curious looks from people.

The people of Spain especially Catalyuan and Mallorca have always been very friendly and easy going.  When I say Mallorca I mean the Mallorcias or Spanish not the recent transplants from other European parts, although I didn’t mind them that much.  Yes, I avoided the Playas de Mallorca because on my last visit I just got fed up of the European young adult tourists and teenagers just dumping bottles, and garbage onto the beach.  They would make their efforts of going green look like going mutant green.

This time in Mallorca, I was staying at Cala D’or area.   It has to my surprise also become a tourist oriented town.  And for a few years I have been thinking to go to another island where UK, and Deutsch, and now Russian and Dutch tourists don’t over take the majority of the island and convert it to a big bar with awful food.  The owners primarily cater and make food that tourists have no idea about.  If you care to cook your own food then be wise and rent an apartment, it will serve you well.

I loved that I rented a car and went to places that I haven’t on the island, and also got to see the farm areas, and other eateries definitely more local than touristy driven.    I visited the Botanicactus and pretty much spend about 4 hours here.  Took me about an hour to get there, and I didn’t mind one bit getting lost.  Getting lost was so much fun too, well I had GPS as well just in case.  One other day, I visited the parc Modrago, and the awesome beach there (S’Amarador).  I did notice quite a few bikers, in this entire part of Mallorca, so if you are a biker this entire area from Cala D’or to Modrago might be of interest to you.  Yes, the scenery is amazing.  The biking is not casual, it’s a mix of everything including hilly region.  I did not visit the Coves Del Drach (Caverns), and forget the reason for not doing so.

All I can say to Espanya, y todos partes de Espanya (incluso Cataluyna) es Muchas Gracas de Nuevo.

 Posted by at 4:22 am
Nov 162015

Images of: France 2015-Images and Media

Nice Central Station (Gare de Nice) during April/May 2015 of my Visit. Not much of a train station in comparison to other European Train Stations.  It’s a pretty bare bones of a train station.  Possibly because one smaller part of it is under construction, and luckily, because Nice probably has a lesser population than other big cities and isn’t a full hub, as say Marseille.  And I prefer it being a smaller city.  I wish there was more security here.  Be on-guard, and be careful, especially at night, and I would also say especially women.  It’s a seedy area for sure.  Watch out for your handbags and luggage as well.  I think as long as you keep alert, and don’t doze off to la-la land you will be fine.   Also, it was good to see decent Police presence, yet it was only on certain days or certain times, and not all or most of the time.

The local trams, and buses are decent and efficient.   In comparison to local transport of Rome, Florence and the Tuscan region, well, Italy, again on this trip was more of a third world nation.  In general, in Italy one has to relax a bit more even amongst the hyperactive, over-sexed people.

Argh.  I was so dumb.  The Beaches! I could have gone to the lovely beaches of Antibes, and avoid those droves of tourists at the plage de l’angletre.  The beaches near Antibes, and further south are nicer except in High Season where it’s probably very crowded as well.  Luckily, I did get a full day trip at the Ville Franche (de mer). I would highly recommend a picnic day by the sand and a nice evening dinner on the hills of the Ville Franche.

On to Montpellier because that’s where I decided to be based from a geographical perspective.  It was a bad idea, and more on that later.

First take upon arriving in Montpellier Gare (Montpellier Central Station):  A clean, breathable, modern architecture design of a train station.  No, it’s not that I just like modern architecture, I also like the old styles such as Middle Ages, Gothic, Greco-Roman, Roman, Egyptian, Southeast-Asian, modern German, Scandinavian, etc..  It’s just got to be maintained, and clean.

I also like the idea of modern accessibility and sanitary conditions such as telecom, bathroom, electricity, and warmish water, newsstands, and above all safety.

Montpellier Gare has all that modern convenience with a University and Old Country feel right outside.  Nice Gare, Antibes Gare, even Cannes regional station, and not eve Marseille St Charles have that.

I get this feeling it was recently influenced by the Germans/Scandinavians.  Well done, Montpellier.   While I love medieval architecture from a living perspective as opposed to transport hub, I also like most of the modern convinces.

On my day trips to L’Avignion on the train I saw some amazing country side. The station “Tarascan” right before L’Avignion looks like it has beautiful country side.  I loved the stone bricked houses and buildings.  The trees, shrubs, and some kind of fruit bearing trees.  The dirt.  Yes, the dirt is different in every part of this planet.  I say planet as opposed to countries since later is more artificial and man-made.  I would have liked to see those houses with the green grass roofs or dry straw roofs.  I have seen them in pictures my friends brought while they had visited Norway, and Iceland.  I wonder how a hybrid of brick or stone and green houses would work in this Mediterranean region.  Would they be practical?

When I got to l’Avigion and was in the central museum or central city I booked a 65 Euro trip.  We went to Pont du guard, visited the Amphi Theater (Roman Theater) in ville l’Orange.  Then visited the vineyards where world’s best Rose wines are created.  The wines were superb.  And strong. J  There are a bunch of excursions from 65 to 110 Euros, and I recommend all of them.  There is one which you definitely have to be up for and that’s the one down south to Camargue. I highly recommend these excursions even though I only did one of them.  Or just do it on your own.  Just one note to see the Lavender fields you have to be here in June or July.  Call or do your research.  I didn’t.  And I don’t mind because it’s the road less planned.

Last Take on Montpellier:

Montpieler, avoid it.  Better to be based in l’Avigion or Nimes.  I prefer l’Avigion.  There’s more to watch in l’Avigion.  Montpellier is a decent place to stop and get some sleep, if you do that and have some time in the day make sure to visit the Train Station, and the beaches that are about an hour’s drive.   And that’s it.  Unless, you are a university student, and like to party like students do, then Montpellier could be your town.

One big reason for me not being and living in the country side is I don’t like to drive alone in EU.  Luckily, I got over that fear in a subsequent trip where I rented and drove a car alone.

One thing in general I like about not being in Paris is that the people and women are more amicable.  That doesn’t mean not to learn French.  Hope you have a lovely time in France people.

 Posted by at 4:21 am
Nov 162015

Images of: Roma

Landed in Milano, Italia on May 8th.  The airport felt seedy.  Very seedy.  I was glad to see an airport in (Western) Europe that is super outdated in comparison to JFK.  Quite the opposite of it’s closer regions in Northern Europe, or even Marsielle Airport in Southern France.  Funny stuff Italy: In your face rough, playful, and flirty as always (except for Tuscany I think).  Still, got to be careful..



Milanos seemed to be quicker than the Tuscans, I think almost everybody else in Italy is faster than the Tuscans.  However, the pseudo sly ones are from Rome, and further down south.   I had a quick chat with a girl from Sweden, and she recommended that I take the bus from the airport to the central station.  I didn’t. I recommend it, as long as the weather permits.  That’s because the bus departs almost right away, and is as fast and cheaper than the train.  I had forgotten that about Italy (except for Rome).  Buses are better than the local train.


I arrived in Rome via Milano in the late afternoon.  The Central Station in Rome is huge. There are two levels.   Shops everywhere.  You have to stay alert as there are hand-bag snatchers, and don’t buy the tickets from people offering to, it could be a trick.  Stick with the machines or with the ticket counters if they are open.  Just an FYI, if you are hungry and want more selection head downstairs as there is a small grocery store.  You could buy pre-made sandwiches, etc.  It’s more inexpensive on the main level, upstairs.  You also get less of a constant crowd.  I also liked the bathrooms down here as opposed to the first (upper) level.  You have to pay in both bathrooms.  The cafes downstairs also have less of a crowd, and provide a more clam and cozy atmosphere.  No Starbucks in Rome or in Italy.  Thank God.  Free Internet connection, argh!, good luck with that.  Coffee wise, you get the best darn coffee in the world in all of Italy, including Rome, not that burned garbage from Starbucks.  I drink decaf.  And even the decaf was amazing in Rome, and pretty much all of Italy.


Organization wise, there is none, in fact its negative.  It boils down to one root problem lack of coordination.  I think many people in big cities of Italy are bored or may have some psychological problem or they just get their kicks  this way.  That is by blatantly cutting people off.  Example:  A guy cut me off at FCO while waiting for the check-in queue when I was going to leave Rome, and started smirking as if he had won a small fortune.  Another example:  I happened to be the first one on the bus that would take us to board our plane.  Also, I was the first one on the ladder.  I thought  to myself “there is first time for everything.” Until I was brushed and pushed aside by a medium sized, short lady who was in an incredible haste to board the plane.  I expressed “No scusa, No perdoneee… No nothing…”  Subsequently, I thought, oh maybe she had an emergency and had to go to the bathroom or something.  When I got upstairs, and the second passenger to board the plane,  I saw her smiling with her carry-ons stowed away.  I was puzzled and annoyed.  Mabye she was just mental or bored or got her kicks this way.  As far as Rome, probably not all of Italy, I think there are many people in Rome as in Manhattan who are just mental or bored, and just don’t care.


As far as Rome, and north of Italy.  I probably like Tuscany much better as its more relaxed and once has to be less alert.  However, Rome could be one of the best, I think better than Paris, if you have the right company.  I don’t know.  Italy in general I have found to be very hyper and very sexual.  In Rome, pedestrians don’t have the right of way, let alone a side walk.  The main roads will have a side walk.   In Rome, drivers have the right of way, and pedestrians have the privilege of walking the road or crossing the street.  It’s very funny, and could be dangerous at times, however, not as dangerous as crossing the street or roads in London.

Italy could be fun, and could be hell.   As one writer put it: “Italia Chaos. Bella Chaos.”


If you could drive from Rome to Nice then just drive.  If you could take a train then take a train.  The bus is a very long ride, and I don’t know enough about it.  I took the plane.  If you take the plane, try to take the earliest or latest plane.  As FCO Airport (Domestic EU) flights are not very organized.  Its takes you back to waiting for a boat without have a very reliable time-table.  And there is just one big giant screen with about 300 to 500 onlookers heading to different directions.  The price difference between flying and train was about $20, not including the $17 ticket from Rome terme to FCO.  So, about $37 difference. Not big.  Time wise, if the queues are quick, and you depart and arrive on time then plane is quickest.. Chances of that happening are slim, unless you book a 5:30am or 6:30am flight.  Better take the train next time?  Lol.


My flight from FCO to Nice, had loud disco-club music on.  It was on while boarding, during take off, during the flight, and I think also during our landing.  Seriously.  It was childishly funny and  unpleasant.  That was Rome.  On to oui, oui, and  excuse moi. Thank Goodness I was out of Rome! 🙂

 Posted by at 4:16 am
Nov 162015

Took me a whole day to get from Lon to ARN even via plane and 1 hour train then 30 minute local train.

Unpacked, showered, researched my possibly new work neighborhood, toured a few places, rested and slept.

Real day 1: Woke up at 7ish am.  Did full yoga.  Didn’t do sit-ups or abs, I got lazy and was excited.  Showered, cooked breakfast, packed, and left the apartment.  Not very many people in the neighborhood where I was staying.  The air outside was as fresh as it could get, and the morning sky was absolutely lovely.  Took local bann-central to the place of my new possible work-area.  It was around 11am, and Stockholm felt empty, well there weren’t that many people.  While that is mostly true, it might be truer that I was alone and it isn’t exactly easy or cultural to have conversation with anybody, and besides not knowing Swedish on my part did not make it any easier.

I passed lots of good quality shops.  Fewer eating places in comparison to the shops, and have seen only a few Bars.  They have very good architecture, some very cool old and some positively modern architecture as well.

The streets were clean.  However, London and vicinity such as Notting hill road was cleaner.  Vienna being the cleanest city I have ever been to in Europe, or anywhere.  All whipping aside, I wonder how clean Singapore is?

Coffee was very good in Stockholm, even though I only was having decafe lattes or cafe Americanos.  People are friendly and will try to help you out if you need directions, aside from that I still haven’t been able to have a single conversation with a “stranger” since landing here in Stockholm.

People are super fashion fixated here.  They were super nice fitted jeans, nice matching shirt, with a contrasting light or dark sweater, and very fashionable jacket.  Nice shoes or cool looking sneakers.  They treasure their Nikes, and puts the Sneaker fad in the 1980s I grew up in NYC to shame.  They are obsessed with Nikes, Yankee Baseball Caps, and lots of fashion, and the colour Black.  Clean cut, as in sharply cut and line hairstyle.  A good many are blonde.  A good many both Men, and Women are tall.  There are also some stunning brunets.  Many have amazing marble colored eyes or ocean blue or sea blue eyes.

With all this human bodies being beautiful, Stockholm is boring, and people socially cold.   They are helpful if in need of directions.  Okay, I don’t want to go there, still, I am going there.  I loved Oslo Airport, and the warmth of human-ness, and they were either Norwegians or Finns.  Between Copenhagen and Stockholm, I would take Copenhagen.  Much more to do in Copenhagen, and people less rigid than the Swedes.  Interestingly, when you meet Swedes outside of their homeland, say in southern Europe they are very friendly.  I met a wonderful Mother and Son on the Plane to Stockholm, and they said to me in Stockholm people don’t talk and have no sense of humor.  In addition, they went to look for a new house (not a flat, specially a house) in London/Outskirts of London.  I also found out the mother that she lived in Minnesota (pronounced their style: Meen-a-so-ta) for about 20 years.  For interesting history look up the famine of Sweden and how many swedes moved to the US, especially Meen-a-so-ta.  How they many families moved back to Sweden after years, and how they started constructing houses in Sweden that had much US (Mid-West) style architecture, lawns, etc..


The few Swedes I met outside of Sweden or during a flight were of an entirely different nature and almost all did not come from Stockholm.  Maybe, it’s just Stockholm.  Still, the young American women that were superficial, loud, and speaking nothing intelligent were the most annoying and rude.   I had a very friendly experience in Malmo, even the many Danes in Malmo were friendly, and so were the Swedish Blondes.

I was supposed to possibly work and live in Sweden.  Stockholm was so unfriendly I cut my trip short, and instead of going to my next adventure I went back to NYC via Oslo, Norway.  I rested for a few weeks, and then, headed out to Roma via Milano.

 Posted by at 4:14 am
Nov 162015

The English or the British.  You may have to read a book on that to know the difference.  Regardless, here are my experiences from my adventures in London during the spring of 2015.


I got into my room that was in a large house after an 8 hour flight, 1.5 hour pass through at immigration (even while being a US Citizen), and a 3 hour first time commute from Victoria terminal.   The woman renting me the place via Airbnb was, on my initial read on her, a nice old lady.  I dropped my bags, and off I went.  Took Portobello Road, and was somehow via the Tube and avoiding the line to Cock Fosters at Victoria again. I wanted to quickly get used to the London Tube.  Actually, it took me about 4 days to figure it out.  I came home late and slept till goodness knows the hour, only to be woken up by loud noises of kids and a cat.  I think it was intentional by the nice old lady.  On my first real day, she seemed to be nice, and showed me around the kitchen.  The floor had cat food and other items, so, I chose to leave my socks on.  In general, it wasn’t too clean for a kitchen.  She was friendly, and talkative, yet, I went out to tour London.   I had a mixed experience with the people of London.  The social and economic class vibrations were pretty much in my face.  I have had that before, so it was super easy to detect it.  Some people were friendly to me only as a mere formality.  Some were genuine about it.

In comparison to NYC, it’s a lot cleaner, and more organized.  That went for its local transport as well: Tube, Trains, and Buses.  The Tube for the several lines I rode on were clean inside, and so were the tube stations.  They really need to improve on their tube card.  The tube card is much like the metro card except more expensive and different cost structure.  Also, just keep in mind at many Tube stops (probably all) including Victoria did not have an escalator or an elevator.  Generally, I had a very positive experience.  People in the Tube mostly keep to themselves.  I found that unfriendly at the time, and I understand it now that that’s fine and acceptable especially for the women riders of Tube.   I think they just need to be more relaxed not necessarily soft.  They being all of them with all the different backgrounds.  Also, I did not encounter a single pan-handler or mentally unstable in your face loud, obnoxious, and smelly person as you would almost every day and every ride and multiple times in that ancient Subway of NYC.


The first night with the owner was kept brief.  I had told her that I don’t drink for health reasons.  And that was, and still is true.  I hit the sack, and was fast asleep and hoped my sore throat or allergy type symptoms would go away in the morning.


The next morning I awoke to a loud smoke alarm.  I ran upstairs to the kitchen to find no smell of smoke or anything.  The nice old lady said she was making toast, and it got burned and thereby setting of the alarm.  Still, there was no smell of burnt bread. I know it well (or should I be English and say: “I know it ratherrrr well.”)  My suspicion was she just wanted to wake me up, or maybe I was just being a doubtful idiot. After breakfast, took the tube to Victoria, and did not like figuring out the odd ball connections of the tube and was in dislike with the English bureaucracy.  I waited in line for the travel and tour info bus line at Victoria terminal for 40 minutes.  I missed both the 10:20 bus and the 11:00 am bus to Windsor Castle.  The Green Bus Terminal was about a 15 minute brisk walk.  The customer service reps in the booth of the Green Bus Terminal, laughed at me, when I mentioned the 11:00am bus didn’t stop for me when I waved my hand, and the bus-ticketer aboard the bus informed me (while the bus was in motion) to purchase the ticket at the booth.  Love that immigrant run English Bureaucracy.  So, at the booth, the big fat eastern European guy laughed quite literally “Ha, Ha, Ha”, and then informed me I could have bought the ticket on the Bus.   The other guy upon noticing my nervous-upset self, tamed down, and tried to help me.  I bought the ticket, and later told me it was non-refundable.  Quite a day I was having.  Outside, I walked in the back where there were some Café stands, and only one was open.  On the café stand was an anti-considerate sales person who happen to be from that region of the formerly ruled British Raj. No she was not even experienced to get the badge of a “Barista”.   I guess she disliked me because of my cleanly spoken (American) English.  I don’t know, maybe she hated her job, or she hated to help out her clan that owned this little makeshift shop of a café.  And I had succeeded in claiming a bare victory by purchasing a croissant and coffee from her.  She was so friendly she might as well as have tossed the croissant at me.  I thought to myself to her  “Burn baby burn.”

Finally, aboard the double decker Green line bus, I enjoyed to view on the top level all the way to lovely Windsor Castle.  At Windsor Castle there were more true English people running the place.  Sorry, I couldn’t discern between the Scottish, Welsh, English, or British, and truly I am not even interested in learning about their bloody rivalries.  Off with your head 🙂


On my third night, I had returned, and found the nice old lady drinking.  I saw her in a panicky mode.  Panicking as she was trying to hide the wine bottle, which she later admitted to me jokingly. She was with a friend.  He was an honest looking person.  Her real side came out.  And she offered me a drink.  I knew that she knew that I was avoiding to drink.  However, she was kind of inexperienced and figuring out things and obviously thought I belonged to certain faith, which she admitted later.  Only after I decided to have a few drinks with here was she put at ease.  Well, my drinking had started again, reprehensibly, only to prove to her that I was okay with drinking, smoking, and all that as long as it didn’t affect my health. So for 6 more nights I would have a drink with her and who-ever she had over.  I also bought her some wine on my second to last night.  However, I still suspected her for being creative in creating a different havoc almost every morning.  I suspect it was to get me up and out of the house. Some nice old lady, mighty English of her (even though she was and is admittedly a proud Scott).


Oddly, there are many Eastern European immigrants, a significant of Polish decent, in England, especially in London.  Most of them were nice to me.  Sometimes they were friendly to get a large tip, and other times so they could practice their English.  They seemed genuine in their being.


London has many of the fast food eateries as New York.  Still, their Mexican food at Chipotles was not that good.  Their black beans were a bit hard and kind of raw.  I also ate at another small Mexican place where the food was made by Italians, and some Eastern Europeans.  I don’t remember the name of the place, and the food did not taste Mexican or American.  It was the Eastern European-London version of Mexican food that was very affordable and affectionate.


The English are definitely refined in their taste of music. Everywhere I went they had really good music selections.  This was modern music, and I don’t even know the names of the groups in the endless Genres I heard. Take NYC or Boston radio, it’s awful, except for maybe WQXR and (Jazz), the rest of the Genres are awful.  Take any café small or chain in the East Coast USA they play awful music in comparison to that of London.


The best thing I liked about London were all its Gardens, and parks.  I had a mixed experience with the people of London both native (whatever that means), and recently shifted ones.

 Posted by at 4:13 am