In late September Laura and I were able to travel together back to Europe, this time to Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. The circumstance we found was an invitation to follow and shoot behind the scenes on the last leg of the European tour consisting of Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Nathaniel Rateliff, and we would have been able to travel longer had it not been for the wedding shoot in Wisconsin that had already been booked for a year or two.
Jumping back into European traveling mode only six months after our last trip was rather easy and automatic, though I hadn’t planned on making it back overseas so soon. We were rushed, of course, in getting to Amsterdam as soon as possible in order to catch up with the sequence of the final three shows of the tour, Cologne, Germany, Berlin, and Brussels Belgium. This time we wouldn’t be spending the majority of the time with only each other as we did last year. Instead, Odessa Jorgensen and Gill Landry, close friends of Laura’s would be doing much of the traveling along side us.
This time around we weren’t able to write the daily blog posts as we did last May, but we were able to do as much shooting. I’ve yet to finish getting my photos from the first trip processed and scanned due to a busy summer, but this time a round its actually been much quicker. Here are a few I shot of Laura and Odessa in Brugge and Berlin, respectively:
Kodak Portra 400nc
I’ll have more to share soon, including some of the concert and behind the scenes photos, though the best of those will be held until November for publication in print. If such things interests you, please keep track of Drt & Ink, my collaboration with Laura at our new site, drtandink.com and the blog at drtandink.com/blog.
We have been in Spain for two days now and it is amazing! Arrived in the morning by train from Paris to a quiet station. Not sure what to expect, we began our search for a hostel. I had researched a few places and wanted to try to find one of those before we settled. This required a map and a new understanding of the subway system which seemed more confusing than Paris’s. Thankfully, Amos has a quick understanding of directions and we arrived at a quaint Garden Hostel within an hour. It was located in a quieter section of the city and I like it immediately. We stayed in a 6 bed dorm room, always a unique experience. (Amos: The first night our room was shared with some Canadians from Nova Scotia who were on their way out early in the morning, bound eventually for London and hoping the volcano gods would allow them to do so, and the second night was shared with three fellows from Finland who spoke only a little English and didn’t seem to mind that there was a girl in the room when putting on pants in the morning.)
Having no plans, we spread the maps out again and began to take a closer look at this sicty of Barcelona. A few minutes later we met Santi, the hostel gourmet chef. (Not his official title) He introduced himself and told us about places of interest in the city. We also learned that he was living at the hostel in exchange for some services including providing the hostel with an assortment of treats for guests throughout the day. Santi is a self-described nutritionist and chocolate chef. His treats included 1 pintxo + 1 cup of wine or 3 raw chocolates + 1 cup of tea for one euro. I immediately thought of my sister Jill and how much she would love this hostel and its ammenities. Santi also informed us that he taught guests free chocolate making classes and would cook us a meal of paella (the traditional Spanish dish) + sangria for 7 euros.
Our time in Paris seems to be marked by one thing in particular, the search for shoes. Neither of us are too happy with the shoes we brought (only one pair each) and it would be nice to upgrade shoes to save our feet closer to the beginning of this trip rather than the end.
Ok, so that was the thought. By now, we’re half way through the trip, on a train to Barcelona still having found no shoes. We kept a eye out for shoe stores during our exploration of Paris (the French word for shoes is chaussures, which we pronounced in a very American way every time we saw a shoe store) and eve made a few trips specifically for shoes but without luck.
I think both of us would enjoy having a pair of shoes bought in Europe. As for me, my feet don’t hurt that bad anymore and I’d prefer a pair of Spanish shoes over French shoes if they are yet to be found.
Craig and Lora Burnett‘s flat is in the 15th arrondissement of Paris on the 6th floor of a classic 7 story Parisian which Craig informs me comes from the approximate era of the 1850’s. About the time Napoleon III decided to knock down one of the lower-income neighborhoods in order to build up housing with a more consistent appearance. The 6th floor flats in these buildings have balconies that wrap around and connect separate doors while most other flats have small individual balconies at best.
Our immediate notion on arriving in Paris was that it was so much easier than Rome. Our second notion was that Paris is much more expensive than Rome. A cappuccino in Rome at a small shop may cost €1,50, and in Paris it is more like €4.
We were rushed onto a metro right away when the train from Rome arrived by our new friend who we shared a cabin with, Pauline. Pauline lives in Orleans but drew some recommendations on our map of Paris and felt it was necessary to get us on the subway as quickly as possible.
We exited the metro at Dupliex Station well after Pauline got off at her stop and our fist order of business was finding Craig and Lora at Rue de Alençon. That was actually quite easy and at their house we also met Twig, their nine year old chihuahua with only one tooth. Twig and I were instant friends.
Laura and I spent the first afternoon in Paris on a walk in the general direction of the Seine looking for shoes to buy and other general novelties. Paris is much more shopping-oriented and the style of buildings seemed almost monotonous even on the first day. We did come upon several monuments and cathedrals and spent an hour or two in a small café where we had what will surely be the first of many Nutella crépes.
Craig and Lora offered to make us dinner that evening so we soon made our way back to their flat. Laura was instantly in love with the salad and baguette slices with chevre that Craig had prepared and is now compiling a list of meals we’ve had in Europe to recreate and share with friends when we get back home. We may or may not have had three bottles of wine between the four of us, depending on who you ask, and I was quite content when finally going to bed.
I don’t know if anyone even likes the movie Marley ad Me. Except our moms. I guess the people on this plane are on average more mom-ish than we. They were showing this movie on a long flight I was on over a year ago. Aren’t they exhausted yet?
We’re flying north over Greenland, Iceland, and Sweden. It seems we’re so far north and we’re so close to Summer Solstice that the skyline is a perpetual sunset. At least the colors have remained for the duration of this trip.
Can’t tell what time it is. Middle of the night ish. We’ll arrive in Rome at about 9am but that means something more like 2am in Central time. Obviously we have no phones and neither of us wear a watch. Thats another thing to acquire on arrival: a watch.
Laura is reading a book our friends lent us about two people who, in 1982, drove a VW van from Paris to Marseilles stopping for a night at every other rest stop they came to and wrote a book about the trip afterwards. She often informs me that she’s getting a VW van. I believe her.
For this trip, I’ve started reading Gibran’s A Tear and a Smile. So far so brilliant.
30 minutes later…
We just caught glimpses of the mountains peaking out from the cloud cover over Greenland. My Goodness…
Laura Dart and I are taking a trip. We’re going to Europe. I think there may be listeners out there who would like to hear about what we decide to do, especially with little planning, and so we will post some of our writings here on this blog. I’ll try to label who wrote what, but you can assume all the good writing is by Laura because she’s a better writer than I.
I’ve recently been offered a new job, which in accepting, has provided me with enough free time in between to travel. I haven’t had this much time off all at once (a whole month) since I moved to Oregon over two years ago. So one night I call Laura on the telephone, and I say, “Lets take a trip.” She replies with an “Oh yes!” and we promptly begin planning.
What you may generally expect:
Since it benefits my idiom, I’ll try to be as free-form as possible, and Laura may play the sweet and well-composed companion who’s great goal in life is to laugh. This may or may not lead us to mention the things we do or do not end up doing as we travel and the thoughts we may or may not have. Either way, consider the following posts until the end of this trip to be just for our own fun, and as way to bring you with us. I think the first things I’ll talk about are the places we plan to go and the few things we’re bringing with us. There will likely be more cameras on this trip than shoes, maps, or pairs of pants.
The plan so far:
May 5th: Fly to Nashville (To see Becca and pick up Laura)
May 7th: Fly to London.
May 10th: Train to Paris.
May 14th: Train or car to Marseilles.
May 15th: Somehow get to Spain and spend the rest of the trip exploring the Mediterranean coast. Barcelona. Valencia. Seville? Gibraltar/Morocco?
May 24th: Fly back to the US, arrive in Oklahoma City to visit my sister and her husband.
May 27th: Drive to Stapleton, Nebraska to spend two days with my parents. (Including the classic ranch event, the branding)
May 30th: Fly home to Portland.
June 1st: Start a new job.
The desert could not be claimed or owned–it was a piece of cloth carried by winds, never held down by stones, and given a hundred shifting names long before Canterbury existed, long before battles and treaties quilted Europe and the East. Its caravans, those strange rambling feasts and cultures, left nothing behind, not an ember. All of us, even those with European homes and children in the distance, wished to remove the clothing of our countries. It was a place of faith. We disappeared into landscape. Fire and sand. We left the harbours of oasis. The places water came to and touched… Ain, Bir, Wadi, Foggara, Khottara, Shaduf. I didn’t want my name against such beautiful names. Erase the family name! Erase nations! I was taught such things by the desert.
– The English Patient, p138