Saturday, September 6, 2008

Spanish brandy

A tasty brandy I probably bought at the Madrid airport as I was leaving. The bottle doesn't really have a very interesting story, but it reminds me of the streets of Madrid. There was something about Madrid that made it seem dirty, not in a extreme sense, but more raw than many other European cities. The only other bottle I bought in Spain was a cheap wine at the grocery store for a few Euros, that was unforgettable at best.

The best drinking experience I had in Madrid was at a restaurant near the Modern Art museum. I ordered the "Grande" sangria with a girl I had met at the hostel, but she didn't seem too interested in having some. So, I had a whole pitcher of Sangria to myself, and three quarters of the way though it I was feeling pretty good.

Hostel Review: Wombat's Hostel [Vienna, Austria]

Wombat's Vienna Hostel
I learned about the wombat's hostel from a Top 10 list of hostels on Hostelworld. This hostel was one of the nicest and cleanest hostels I have ever stayed in. It felt new and clean, and the rooms were large with accompanying bathrooms. I traveled there probably in the summer of 2003 or 2004, after visiting Venice. The hostel was kind of out of the way, but convenient to get to tourist destinations. I enjoyed Schonbrun castle and the musical film festival they held. Vienna was a nice city, but I wouldn't put on a top ten list. The hostel had a bar and outdoor lounge, but I don't recall a kitchen.

City Review: Las Vegas

Don't bother; crass to the extreme.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hostel Review: Cat's Hostel - Madrid

Cat's Hostel in Madrid is one of the most beautiful hostels I have stayed in. It isn't much to look at from the street, but inside is a 17th century palace with a great courtyard and mosaics. It is located within a few blocks of the subway, and it is within easy walking distance to a grocery store. The hostel also includes a bar in the basement which hosts local music groups. They had a cheap payaya night that was very tasty, and they served a free continental breakfast when I was there. They also offered a beer vending machine but no kitchen. The hostel had 3 computers with internet access that were often in use, but there was also free wifi in the hostel.

I think the biggest drawback to this hostel was the small room size, and I would recommend getting a room with the fewest possible number of beds. The beds were about 2 feet apart, and my room contained a snorer as usual.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Summer concerts

The Boston Landmark Orchestra performed a concert dedicated to Red Sox and Apple Pie. I only recognized Sousa and Leonard Bernstein on the program, and Bernstein because of "the maestro" on Seinfeld.

Sent from my iPhone

Red Sox Concert

Boston Landmark Orchestra

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Martha's Vineyard Hostel

Aquinnah, MA

The Vineyard [Martha's Vineyard, MA]

I spent Labor Day weekend on "The Vineyard" for a very reasonable sum.
Approximate expenses:
$64 - round-trip bus and ferry from Boston's South Station subway stop to Vineyard Haven [town on the island].
$15 - 3 day bus pass on the island
$25 - groceries of sandwiches and salmon steaks
$86 - 3 nights at the hostel [w/ $25 off coupon]
$11 - dinner and liquor in Wood's hole

I left Boston on the 3 pm Bonanza bus. You can just buy the tickets at the bus terminal before you leave and I think the buses leave about every hour or so. The traffic was pretty bad so we missed the 5 pm ferry. We arrived early for the 6:15 ferry, so I stopped at the burger restaurant and liquor store around the corner. I bought a $5 burger and a Bacardi and Dr. Pepper. On the island I caught the bus to Edgartown and loaded up on groceries at the Stop 'N Shop. I then headed over to the hostel in West Tisbury [bus from Church St. in Edgartown]

I relaxed at the hostel and cooked my salmon steaks in the kitchen oven. They came out great and cost less than the lunch meat I bought. The hostel also had a smore's cookout, and I roasted up some marshmallows with graham crackers and chocolate.

On Saturday, it rained most of the day, so I hung out in the hostel reading an Agatha Christie novel. I don't think I have ever read an entire one all the way through. It was ok, but it seemed geared towards old people. I then went out to Oak Bluffs and had a few drinks. I ran into some fellow Texans at the bar who were playing dominoes in the lounge. Weird.

I met Jacob, a guy from Montreal on the bus back to the hostel, and we hung out with two french girls the next day at Aquinnah. That didn't work out as well as I had hoped since I didn't know any French. I got a medium burn in all the places I didn't put suntan lotion, but it wasn't too bad.

I caught the ferry back on Monday, which was pretty uneventful. (other than me finishing the murder mystery ;)

I found on the web that there is another bus company that goes to the ferry for Nantucket and futher up Cape Cod. [Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway ] I'd like to check out some more of those hostels. []

I think my next travel adventure will be to Montreal.

Note: this hostel has 2 free computers and free wifi.