The advantage of living in Oregon is the variety of geography we have within a day’s drive. And the fact that every season features some part of our state in a unique way. Since I am limited in my time off and ability to travel far – I am currently enjoying my own Oregon re-exploration. Although most think of the Oregon coast as a place to visit in the summer- winter is my favorite time of year – less people and fantastic storm watching. What a rush to see huge swells approach the headlands. To watch a squall approach from the sea and have it slam you head on. Last Sunday morning I remarked to someone – when those winter storms it is a perfect time to either sit inside and cozy up with a book or its a perfect time to be IN IT! To face the wind and let the Gert Boyle in you come out! (Oregonians will get that reference).
Taken in 2009. Found this church at the end of a dirt road while trying to get lost among the vineyards of the Luberon in Provence, France.
Many people I know have a version of what I have just decided to call “the list”. The Bucket List, the List of 100, 1,000 places to go before you die (ugh that is singed with a reality I don’t really want to think about). Inspired by A Wandering Memory – and his musings on the magical travel list – I thought I would share some places I want to go from my list.
- Camino – I have been dreaming about the Camino since 1995 (see my first blog post) – and I have been (for lack of a better word) totally lame for not yet going. The providential rib-sharing moment this past Saturday with the director/producer of the Camino documentary – plus tales from my friend Sue’s recent trip – this trip for me is long overdue. As part of my week away to review and plan for the coming year (back in June, more on that later) – I have put some baby steps in place to make this happen. Stay tuned.
- Visit a bakery in Malta. Hmm.. that must seem completely random. But back in 1976 – when I was a wee lass, I sailed around the Mediterranean for 6 months with my grandparents, aunt and two cousins. We spent a few weeks in Malta and every day my grandmother would send my cousin Ian and I to the local bakery at the very moment that the bread would come out of the oven. We would buy a loaf and run back to the boat for afternoon tea and delicious warm bread. It is one of the most wonderful memories I have of my grandma. I want to return to Malta for other reasons – but I am going for that afternoon bread moment.
- Myanmar – for obvious reasons (see my friend Steve’s blog stevievolz.wordpress.com). Architecture, culture, lovely people – and a chance to see this relatively untrammeled country before it becomes overrun Thailand-style.
What’s on your list? Where are you going next?
This is a story I have never told – and I thought of it today while I was eating ribs… and meeting Lydia Smith (she doesn’t know she met me) who is the director/producer of the documentary “Walking the Camino”.
She may or may not live in my neighborhood. But she definitely loves BBQ. So although we have only met – ok we sat at a table together – we share these two things in common: Camino & BBQ.
Back to my story. Several years ago I travelled to London with my mom. And we had a great time exploring the British Museum, the art galleries, listening to chamber music at St. Martins in the Field. We visited many pubs and it was all delightful.
One night we were returning home late on the Tube. And as much as I tried to ease the way for my mom during our travels, there are some things you can’t avoid.
Two London drunks sat on either side of my mom on the Tube – even though there were empty seats everywhere. I was sitting across from her and immediately got nervous, waiting anxiously to see what would enfold. Sure enough the two drunks thought they would have a little fun with this American old lady.
They were speaking in accents too strong for me to understand but body language and lewdness communicated enough and I waited for an embarrassing moment to occur.
One of the drunks leaned his head into my mom and rested it on her shoulder while his buddy on the other side of my mom laughed in jest at my mom. Without missing a beat, my mom returned the head lean-in by leaning her head on the young man… and patted the young man on the shoulder.
Two drunk London thugs… their eyes couldn’t have been bigger. And they both sobered enough to hug my mom and say “that would never happen if you were a Londoner.”
I sometimes forget how amazing my mom is – she takes situations like that and breaks down barriers and assumptions and welcomes the young and sometimes foolish into her life.
Augustiner Bier Hall, Munich, Germany (photo taken during World Cup, 2006)
That whole book thing just opened up a Pandora’s box of opportunity. And I don’t need any excuses to drink beer (they tried to make me go to rehab but I said no no no) – and only yesterday I was biking through beautiful hop fields in the Willamette Valley. Beer is always on my mind.
I love books, food, beer, anything that captures a sense of place.
In Portland, there are two places that nail that sense of place beer-wise and German-wise – Stammtisch on SE 28th and their partner spot – Prost on NE Mississippi. Prost is great and the concept of marrying German beer garden atmosphere with a cart food court is brilliant. But Stammtisch just takes it one step further with the German food and dark wood paneling to match.
Stammtisch has rotating options for about 18 German beers and they always have one of my favorites – kolsch. (Drinking kolsch in Cologne, Germany is a whole other post of true beer love) What makes these two places great and authentic is how they pour the beer. Rinse appropriate glass with water – make initial pour – set beer aside for a few minutes to settle – then top it off and serve.
And with an order of sausage… teutonic heaven.
Sure you can drive over to John’s Market in Multnomah Village, and take a six pack home of any world beer imaginable, but I want to close my eyes and imagine I am back at the Augustiner waiting for a soccer game.