Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Vuelta a España 2006!

You may recall that last year, when I had just moved to Madrid, one of the first things that came through town was the Vuelta a España. And then a week later, the UCI World Road Championships were in Madrid. And I got a photo fo Tom Boonen from about three feet away (he just happened to walk past when I happened to have my camera out.)

The other day, the Vuelta came through Guadalajara; I left Guadalajara a couple of hours before it got there (everyone was in a rush to get out of town before all the roads were closed), so it was lovely to learn (from a billboard upon arriving in town) that the Vuelta was coming through here yet.

It was here today! I went and watched from the finish line; naturally, my camera didn't get any shots of the finish. I got a couple of good ones though, of the people who weren't riding by so ridiculously quickly.

Afterwards, since I was already wearing cycling gear (so that I could get a photo of myself by the finish line, of course) I decided to take a ride up to the Alhambra. I rode up past it by where all of the hotels are, and in front of one of the hotels were the bike buses for some of the teams. I chatted with the italians and loked at the beautiful bianchis, and then with the phonak mechanics, who were super friendly. They were pressure washing and tuning all of the bikes. At some point, one of them picked my bike up (and made a face from how heavy it is; I took a picture) and started washing it, and then another one of the mechanics completely tuned it up. My bicycle is shinier that it's been since I bought it. And teven then, since I had put grubby pedals on it, it wasn't really so shiny. And it was nice to have the gears and brakes adjusted, since I had mounted the thing myself after moving back here to Spain, and, um, last time I checked I still wasn't very good at those two details of bike fixing.

They also gave me a water bottle (they gave everyone who was passing by a water bottle.) Thanks, Phonak! (namely: Antonio and Modesto.)

Other than that, I moved some stuff into my new place today; let's call the new place my experiment in living in suburban hell. It's not that bad, actually, since it's actually in an apartment and it's actually _in_ Granada. It's past the Carthusian monastery, though, which in my previous frame of reference for Granada was pretty much as far out of town as one would want to be. (I was going to link to a picture of the monastery here, but this connection is slow and I'm hungry. I encourage you to find a suitable image on your own. The couple of minutes I gave myself to do it only resulted in interior pictures, and I wanted to show you an exterior.)

It's with two of the people (whom I know from a conference here before) who do stuff with the CSIC/EEA (Superior Council for Scientific Investigation/School of Arab Studies.) If it weren't with people whom I already knew, I would never move into somewhere that far from the center. By "far," in Granada, I mean a twenty minute bike ride from the center. It's really not that far away. The furniture in that place is awful; it's like a 1980s suburban Omaha dream house. There are flower patterns everywhere, even on the bathroom tiles.

Woohoo! The Surly is so shiny!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Granada, Nada happening just yet

I'm finally in Granada, where the whole look-for-a-place-to-live drama begins again. Sort of. Not really in that I have a couple of options: one (expensive) has a gorgeous balcony and is pretty close to the center of town, and whatnot. But it's too spency, and this is Granada, not Rome or NY or the Bay Area. So I'll just be there for a week or so until If ind someplace cheaper.

Another option, which I hope works out, is to move in with two of the people form the Arab Studies School (Escuela de Estudios Arabes) where I do research. Apparently, they're not that close to the center. Where they are, I don't know; I'm hoping it's near the university not-near the center, not near-an-industrial-polygon not-near the center. I've got wheels, though, so I'm good. By wheels I mean my bicycle.

I think I neglected to mention: I went on the best bike rides last month. I would ride up form Guadalajara through a little town called Marchamalo and 12 kilopeters up a road to another town called Usanos, in a middle gear the whole way, and then I would go back down to town quickly. And there were cows, and goats with pretty-sounding bells, and whatnot. Also, one day I rode to Hita, and saw the archpriest's plaza, and a bull that they had just, erm, valiantly fought to death.