Bring That Aston Down, Girl

Let me tell you. I am pretty damn proud of myself. No, I didn’t find a cure for cancer (i wish) and no, I didn’t figure out the answer for ridding the world of racism and terror (i really wish) BUT I did drive an amazingly kick-ass car down from Germany to Mallorca all by myself. Yep. Just lil ole me.

That car would be an Aston Martin and it costs a bit more than my old Ford Probe did (God, I loved that car – even had a sunroof). I won’t bore you too much with the drive because it can get a bit tiresome driving 8ish hours for two days straight. But I can also comment on two hotels, the ferry and some good tunes. Let’s hit the road!

First, I gotta fly to Germany. That’s Port d’Alcúdia you can see down there.

IMG_3494

Headed out on a rainy Saturday around 10 a.m. and took a sweet road which took me through twists and turns of a deep and dark German forest. Gosh, the forest can get dark so quick. I kept an eye out for deer that might jump in front of the car but only saw two of those majestic creatures in one of the farmland pastures: along with many cows, horses and some birds. I had to get on my phone navigation once before I hit the A44, then to the A7, then A5, then A63, then A6 and THEN A31. And then I would be getting into Dijon, France.

I made a few roadtrip CDs, a mash-up of songs that are new and old. One of my favorite new bands is Portugal. The Man. Have you heard of them? They seriously rock. Check out “Feel It Still”.

“Ooh woo, I’m a rebel just for kicks, now I been feeling it since 1966, now Might be over now, but I feel it still.” I rocked out man. The. Man.

The drive to Dijon was a lot of highway. And France has a lot of tolls. But you roll with it. When choosing a hotel I looked for a place that wasn’t too far off the highway and of course a good price. I wasn’t sure what time I would arrive and I definitely wasn’t going to be doing any sight seeing on this road trip. My hotel was in Arc-Sur-Tille, which is only 20 minutes from Dijon. And my hotel was L’Hotel D’Arc (naturally). It was super cute, good price of 95 euro for the night and the hotel dude was friendly and spoke English (thank you). The room with a view!

No restaurant at the hotel so they recommended a restaurant down the street next to the supermarket – La Table d’Arc. It was okay. There were lots of French people there eating and drinking and having a good time so it must be the place to hang out. I did find a piece of plastic wrapping in my chicken caesar salad which I did not like, they didn’t speak any English (which is okay, I AM in their country) and I had to flag down the waiter for everything after ordering my food – some water, a glass of wine, the bill. So, yeah, only okay.

Alright, it’s Sunday morning I must get myself and the car to Girona. We will be taking the A6, then the A7, then A9 and then AP-7. There was MUCHO MUCHO traffico on the roads! I had a lot of traffic jams around Lyon. And I had to drive through it, but it looked like a cool city to check out someday. Interesting architecture and the Rhone river runs through it. Also on the drive were loads of vineyards, next time defo stopping at one for some wine tasting. Starting in Narbonne and on the way down to Perpignan (I love saying all the French towns with a hard French accent). Try it – Perpignan, Montpellier, Lyon, Bordeaux. Fun, no?

I didn’t stay in the heart of Girona, remember I wanted to stay right off the highway. I stayed at Hotel Costabella. This place was a bit difficult to find (for me) and the room was really crappy, the sink wouldn’t drain and the room smelled cigarette smoke – even though they said no smoking and you would be fined if you did. I asked for a different room but they were completely booked for the night. The good things – very friendly staff, the dinner was excellent (i had gazpacho and then salmon for my entree) and I enjoyed the sauna. I always enjoy a sauna. Also, a big parking area which another thing I looked for in my hotel choices with such an expensive sports car.

Alright, finally Monday and the day to get home. Yipppeeee! I miss Felix and my kitties. I drove to the port in Barcelona in about an hour and a half from Girona. Got my Trasmediterranea boarding ticket for me and for the car (I reserved online about two weeks before), headed to the car area and we had to wait about 30 minutes before they let the cars on the ferry. Parked it here:

IMG_3405

Then headed upstairs for the eight hour journey from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca. I didn’t have a seat or cabin reserved so it was a bit difficult to find a spot at first. But after about 20 minutes after boarding they opened the “restaurant” area and I dashed in for a seat next to the window with a table and set up camp. Got bored with that after an hour or so but enjoyed watching us pull out from the port and head into the open sea.

I read my book, cleaned up my desktop on my computer, read a little more and then ventured outside. They had this tiki bar area set up at the top so that was kinda fun but again you can only sit for so long before getting bored of that too. It overlooked other car parking and then finally we started to see Mallorca show up on the left hand side.

IMG_3404

IMG_3389

And finally I was home.

IMG_3407

 

Fritz’s Jazz Bar – NOLA

Hello there.

Just sitting here in Phoenix, AZ sweating my face off in lovely 100° weather, trying to recover from my weekend in New Orleans. We pretty much hit every spot to be hit so keep tuned. But wanted to share this video of Mike Fulton & John Royen from Fritzel’s Jazz Club on Bourbon St. It’s always a favorite place of mine for some most excellent jazz.

You know what I say – Turn it up!

Wham! ~ Last Christmas

Okay, I try to not repeat the Christmas songs I post from Christmas’ past … even though some of my favs slip through (cough, The Waitresses, Christmas Wrapping). My Spanish students for some reason LOVE this song. So, here you go. WHAM! ~ “Last Christmas”. Don’t forget, oh you know. TURN IT UP. XO

ps – It’s almost Christmas!? How did this happen?

Run-D.M.C. ~ Christmas in Hollis

You know you grew up in the 80s when you like rocking out to Run-D.M.C. One of my favorite groups back then and started my love for rap with them, the Beastie Boys, Fat Boys, Salt N Pepa, Eminem, LL Cool J. Who was your favorite?

The boys from Hollis, Queens, NY also made my favorite Christmas rap song – “Christmas in Hollis”. And don’t forget to do what? That’s right. TURN IT UP.

Books of the Summer

I was able to read a lot of books this summer. I loooooove to read. All kinds of books – thrillers, crime, romance, biographies – whatever as long as it’s good. Here are my top five from the summer.

THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah – Set in France, 1939, it captures WWII and shows that the war isn’t fought by only the men. Women have a part too – usually behind the scenes or not discussed because it is always thought that men are the fighters of war. But it is more than war – there is a lovely but sad love story, a family torn apart through death, being frightened to be strong enough for each other and true friendships. A great read. Don’t miss this one but be prepared to grab a Kleenex for the end.

BE FRANK WITH ME by Julia Claiborne Johnson – An eccentric little boy, his reclusive literary legend mother and the assistant (Alice) sent by the publishing company try to work together living under one roof. Frank, the boy, is a bundle of knowledge with a true flair for 1930s fashion, but has rules that people need to follow or possible screaming or becoming a comatose statue on the floor will happen. Alice is Frank’s full-time companion and becomes consumed to find out who Frank’s father is, who is this “Xander” and if his mother will ever finish that book.

JUST KIDS by Patti Smith – I LOVE Patti Smith. She can do no wrong. I have been meaning to read her books (she’s written at least ten books – mostly poetry) and I finally had a chance. In Just Kids she tells us a never seen before glimpse of her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe during the coolest days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel during the sixties and seventies.

THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY by Erik Larson – This one was really good. I love non-fiction stories. It intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and a serial killer who lured victims during the same time. A combination of architecture, history and haunted stories.

GIRL IN A BAND by Kim Gordon – I guess I was into Rock n Roll this summer. Girl In A Band is a memoir by Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women. A fascinating chronicle of the band that helped pave the way for Nirvana, Hole, Smashing Pumpkins and others. All bands I still love. Read it and rock out.

Start reading up, yo! What books can you recommend? Would love to hear.

Favorite Christmas song #1

Is it starting to feel like Christmas? I am still working, rushing about here and there, so it doesn’t yet really feel like Christmas. BUT this weekend I have been listening to Christmas songs because I want to make a Christmas CD for my friends. What are your favorites?

Have you joined Spotify? Because if you haven’t, you are missing out! Spotify rocks. Pun intended? C’mon, you can listen to (almost) anything you want! I love LOVE love it. Okay, so Taylor Swift said Spotify couldn’t use her songs. Not very Christmassy, right? Just wants all the $$$$. I will move on ….

My favorites range from silly (Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses) to fun (Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas) to the very beautiful. I love them all so much. For the rest of December I will be posting my favorite Christmas songs. Who knows, maybe I will go crazy (meaning “I have time”) and post something else … but at the moment it is all about the music. Because really, that is ALL it is ever about. At least for me. Music is EVERYTHING!!! Now listen up my friends. This is my so very most favorite. And it is in the very beautiful category. Or maybe the jazz category (which is beautiful).

For you, the Charlie Brown Christmas dance. And YES, you must get up and dance – in whatever style you want. But dance, my friends. Dance.

ps – GO SNOOPY!!

.