Spain III (cont’) 2012

The guys called us to let us knowย  they made it to town and gave us directions to the hotel we would be staying at for the night. We hopped in the Volkswagen and drove about ten minutes just outside of Liereganes. Wyatt, the singer of the band, Craig, the guitar player (and my travel companions “boyfriend” aka her guitar god) and Damon, the bass player were all standing in front of the hotel to greet us. Big hugs all around, it had been a while since we had seen each other, they had already been touring for two and a half weeks before we arrived. Carmen, the tour manager, was also there and it was so great to finally meet her in person! Her and I had been working together via email for the past two years coordinating booking details, interviews and promotions for the show – I act as sort of the liaison between the band and the booking agent/tour manger. Jason came down from the room shortly thereafter and we headed upstairs to our rooms. It was about five o’clock in the evening and we had about an hour and a half to catch up and relax a bit before we had to meet back in the lobby to head to the venue so the guys to do sound check before the show. Jason and I got a little snooze in, but not much of one of course because we hadn’t been able to chat all day, for some reason his cell phone went wacky and decided it didn’t want to work so we had to talk about the drive and how our days went, etc. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Looking through my photos, I did not get one of the outside of the hotel, but here is a picture of the view outside the window from the inside of the hotel.

We met everyone in the lobby at six in the evening and we all piled into the big blue van and drove to the venue. The town was still silent. I was still nervous about how this show was going to turn out but did not express my anxiety to any one else in fear I might pass my stress onto them. The last things the guys need is to worry about is playing to an empty room.

Here we all are, minus Damon the bass player because he is the one who took the photo, waiting on the promoter and the club owner to show up. Left to right: Shirley, Craig, Jason, Carmen, me and Wyatt.

The venue, inside, was so cool! If I was a man I believe that is exactly the way I would want my man cave to look like. Let me rephrase that, I would love to build a man cave like Los Picos for Jason, I am sure he would love it!

Stone walls, thick solid wood bar, wood floors and cut out windows with decorative wooden shutters on the inside..very cozy.

While the guys were doing sound check, Shirley started getting cranky and decided she needed to eat and eat now so we left to find a place to eat dinner. I was actually OK with that because I was a little hungry myself, the guys were busy and all of the merchandise had been set up.

We came across a restaurant/bar inside of a local hotel, I had croquette. Not as good as the croquette I had in the Netherlands many years ago but it was still delish and I was happy to have found them in Spain! Croquette is a finger food shaped like a mozzarella stick but fatter and is filled with, instead of cheese, a white sauce which is mixed with meats and fish and vegetables, the inside filling has some what of a puree texture and I love them.

We were in the restaurant for about forty-five minutes and walked back to the venue to find the doors locked. There wasn’t much to do, by the time we left,ย  it was around seven-thirty, the town shops were closed so we took seat on a bench in front of the venue and I played bejeweled on my cell phone until someone opened the door. The guys had finished sound check and had gone to dinner, no big deal,ย  we went in, had a drink and waited on them. Check out the ice cubes in the my glass of Jack Daniels,ย  they look like little shot glasses!

I’m not sure how businesses stay alive in these towns, where do the people work, how do they make money to spend money? Out of curiosity, I went to my handy know everything tool..Google and found that as of 2011 the population of Lierganes was only 2,457. I suppose many of the almost 200,000 people of Santander, which is eight miles north of Lierganes, may come to contribute to contribute to their economy. It is a perfect little get away town that if I lived in the area I would want to frequent.

The venue, Los Picos, was celebrating its forty-fifth year in business and the promoter working for Los Picos certainly must have done his job in spreading the word. Combine those factors along with the simple fact that Spain, plain and simple, loves American Southern Rock music and you have the success that was.

Just as the doors were opening, Jason and I went into the back stage area, he likes his quiet time before he hits the stage. The room was a little bigger than my bedroom walk in closet at home and it was there you could really feel the age of the building. Bands from all over the world leave their marks on the wall to let everyone know they have been there, shelves racked around the room are full of classic American vinyl records, old guitars leaning up again the walls and of course them empty bottles of liquor complete the Rock n’ Roll themed backstage area.

The rest of the guys came in to let Jason know there was only ten minutes to show time, with that said, I made my way back out to the bar area..I needed a refill anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

I was surprised to find….a full house! People of all ages, not kidding you, there were kids of eighteen years and there were adults of sixty years in this crowd. What’s happening is the older generation is finding Hogjaw’s music and in a not so common fate between parent and child, their children also come to love the music and join them to see the show. I can’t say the oddity of parent and child enjoying the same music is new to the Hogjaw scene, I hear of these stories from the parents back home as well, it is new to the stereo typical parent-child relationship regarding music.

At live shows I typically am running around taking photos, trying to get the perfect “Oh my god that’s awesome” shot. This show there were so many photographers and videographers I decided to take a back seat and let them do their thing. There were also so many people there I could not get to a good spot to take that shot. I did bring my camera and of course I did take a couple pictures so here they are:

 

He works hard for his money!

One of the videographers..Doing what he does – I stayed out of the way ๐Ÿ˜‰

From what I remember, they played for two hours, they have 30 songs plus a few cover songs they like to play as well. With all of their material they have plenty of time to give the crowd what they want..music to feel, love and rock to!

Two hours is a long time and I have seen Hogjaw play many many many many times since the group inception so sometime during the set I went out side to get some “fresh” air. I say “fresh” air not because Spain doesn’t have fresh air but because I am a nasty smoker and I went out to smoke..there I said it! ๐Ÿ™‚

So, I went out to get some “fresh” air and these two guys were also out there..polluting their lungs with the nastiness. I ended up trying to have a conversation with a couple of Spanish men..trying? Yes, trying because I have a very limited Spanish vocabulary and these guys had an even more limited English vocabulary. It was fun, I was trying to teach them how to pronounce English words and they were trying to teach me new Spanish words. Finally, a guy who spoke English pretty well came over to tell me just what one of the guys really wanted….He wanted to cut a snippet of my hair. Apparently, he was telling me how beautiful my hair was and that he had a hair fetish and would love to add a clump of my hair to his collection. I was mortified, I have never heard of anything such as a hair fetish in my entire life. It very much creeped me out! The creepy hair fetish guy that followed me around for the remainder of the night is on the right

The rest of the night was nostly a blur, the Jack and Cokes got to me, but I do remember roaming around the back of the venue, shoeless and that we found this alien face on a tree!


 

 

 

 

 

 

Spain III 2012

Coffee, was of course, my first thought upon waking up in Liereganes. The Bed and Breakfast had a homey feel to it so I felt comfortable enough to only put on some flip flops and make way down stairs to grab myself a quick cup of coffee. It was not as easy as I hoped, the wife/ innkeeper must have thought I looked hungry because she went all out and proceeded to try to sit me at a table so she could serve me properly. I tried to resist but stopped myself because she looked like she was really enjoying herself, instead I asked if I could be seated on the patio outside. She looked at me like I was insane, it was cold, windy and looked like it was going to rain at any moment. Outside the Inn every thing was green, flowers were in full bloom and the patio set was wrought iron with a table top decorated in mosaic tiles. I enjoyed the quiet and took just a couple of pictures while waiting for the coffee to be brought out.

I wish I would have taken a photo of the whole spread but shoulda woulda coulda..I didn’t. There was a carafe of coffee, a stainless steel pitcher of steamed milk and a basket of bread with jam. I think I have figured out why the coffee is so much better in Europe. I believe there are two main components, both of these having to do with the milk, their cows are not fed corn and grains to quickly mass produce so the milk tastes much better and they steam the milk. At home, I simply brew the coffee and throw in some cold half and half, most likely from an over corn fed cow..it does not taste any where near as delicious as the coffee I had in Spain!

Oops, I almost forgot! Here is a pretty flower from the garden at the inn..I don’t know what it is but it’s pretty ๐Ÿ˜‰

After coffee I went back to the room to shower, get ready for the day and pack my things so we could check out. The guys were coming in around five to check into the other hotel, they made a reservation for an extra room there for us so we didn’t have to worry about that and we had some time to kill so we walked around the sleepy town of Lierganes. Here are some more photos for you to enjoy!

In a way I cannot explain, this is my most favorite photo I took from the entire trip. The history this man must have in his memories, I wonder has he lived in this quiet town his entire life or does he have amazing stories to tell from his past? I love that he is, most likely about ninety years old, still walking around his town and enjoying the beauty that is.

These little ducks had their own oasis in their owners backyard, I feel a little sad for the one on the right. It looks as though the other ducks are in a huddle talking smack about her, ha!

Notice the flared nostrils? Yea, so did I along with his stomping his front foot. He was not very happy that I interrupted his feeding session!

So pretty!

Dang it, I forgot until just now that I wanted to hike myself over up the wall to see what was on the other side!

Their were succulent plants all over this town, this was one of the most elaborate displays.

Sweet long shot of an elderly couple still in love.

So much green!

Looking back at these photos brings back to mind how quiet this town was, how many elderly people reside here and how much I kept thinking to myself….why on earth would a band like Hogjaw play a show in a town like this? Where will the people come from? Will they even like the torrential rock that would soon shake their town?

Spain II 2012

Waking up in Barcelona, getting ready for the day we packed our bags, checked out and lugged our stuff to the car. Before we hit the road for our next destination, Liรฉrganes, Spain, we walked down to the local cafe for a much needed (or two) cafe con leche and a jamon y queso croissant (coffee with milk and a ham and cheese croissant). Have you ever heard someone with a strong southern accent try to speak in Spanish? I don’t remember if I mentioned this or not but my travel companion is originally from the Appalachian Mountains and currently resides in Salisbury, North Carolina. I may have blocked the whole feeling of embarrassment of listening to her try to communicate with the locals because I am having a hard time describing the experience but I will say this, It was painful to hear.

We weren’t in any rush to get on the road because we weren’t meeting up with the guys until the following day so we relaxed and enjoyed the scenery.

Across the street there were a group of, what looked like, kindergartners getting a lesson from the local police in how to cross the busy streets of Barcelona. I was fascinated with this and ask one of the chaperones if I could take a photo of the event and she apologized but kindly declined my request. So..no photo..sorry ;/

The walk back to the car wasn’t horrible but it was raining and of course I only brought two pair of shoes for the entire three week stay, my flip flops and my silver glittery coach flats. I was wearing my flip flops, of course, I’m lucky I didn’t slip and fall on my face! Noted for next year and advice, most likely advice I don’t really need to give but just in case you are a dumb ass like me, three pair of shoes are necessary when traveling. Flips flops are a must, a pair for night life and a good comfy pair for loping around the town all the live long day. You will find yourself walking almost everywhere for long periods of time even if you have a car. Parking is just about non existent, think trying to find a parking space at one of the San Diego beaches on the 4th of July and double the frustration.

Back at the car we programmed the GPS and started the six and a half hour drive to Lierganes! The drive from eastern Spain to western Spain is not impressive -three hours into the drive we stopped at a little town to fill up the gas tank. Gas is very expensive, to fill up the Volkswagen Polo it cost us around 52,00 Euro, which is roughly 65.00. I drive a Volkswagen Jetta and for me to fill up it costs, today, around 40.00

As I was saying, the drive was not impressive and I was driving so no photos were taken during the drive time. I took the photo below at the town we stopped in to get gas. Nothing special but I thought they looked neat and I had never seen trees so stumpy before so I here they are. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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It wasn’t until we arrived in true western Spain that I had to pull over and take some photos of the beautiful luscious green landscaping. These are pictures of some random stop along the highway. Image

 

It wasn’t too much longer before we arrived in Liereganes, a small and quiet town lovely but my first thought was, ” Hmm, this town is in the middle of what seems to be nowhere, it is a very small town and the guys are scheduled to play a loud rock n roll show…here? I was more than a little nervous for them but the show wasnt until the following day so I brought myself back to the present time and attempted to find the hotel I had booked for us for that night. The GPS failed us – or it was an operator error – and we could not find this hotel! Frustrated, I turned left, spotted a local neighbor walking his dog and asked him for help. The problem with that is..although I could ask for help..I was not able to understand his reply, note for next trip and advise for those who plan to travel to Spain…learn Spanish, not only how to speak but how to understand it!

Luckily, this gentleman was just that..a true gentleman! He asked me to stay where I was, turned on my hazard lights for me, because he asked me to do so but…no entiendo, I told himย  (I do not understand) and then he walked away. Shirley and I sat there very confused as to what was happening but a few moments later the gentleman comes back, this time in a Toyota Landcruiser..a very cool, very old, Toyota Landcruiser. Because I could not understand his directions…this guy got in his vehicle so we could follow him to our destination! ๐Ÿ™‚ Screaming Muchas, muchas gracias, senor!!” from my window with a huge smile on my face I found a parking spot, we unloaded our bags and checked into our hotel. Below is the outside view, the sign with the name of the hotel and the view out the window from our room.

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Checking into the hotel was another fun treat, again I had no problem telling these locals what I need but I am not able to understand their replies! Finally, we figured out where to park the car, which room we were to stay in and that we basically had a curfew. This was, as I said earlier, a very small town and the inn keeper and her husband live in the hotel, they lock the door and when we were ready to come back we were to ring the bell and they would let us back in.

Strange to me but no problem. Time for us to eat again! Across the street was a bar that was filled with people watching the futbol match, we went in because I wanted to watch the match, a drink sounded wonderful along with some food. They were not serving food, bummer. Off we went to a restaurant down the street, this place was empty and looked if they were just about ready to close for the night but we were sat at a nice table draped in white linen, utensils set perfectly and wine glasses already on the table. The waitress was very friendly an happy to serve us, two minutes in..it was obvious she was a lesbian and was smitten by me. She was not inappropriate but i did feel a little uncomfortable when she sat down at our table to chat, I don’t remember the conversation because it was all over the place and again that language barrier was difficult! She explained the menu to us and we finally decided on pork chops with an egg and fries and of course a glass of their house red wine, yes I know..I was having pork and should have ordered a white wine but I don’t drink white wine so red it was…I’m a rebel like that ๐Ÿ˜‰

The waitress went off to place our order with the chef and that’s when my travel companions mood took a turn for the worse. I don’t know if her meds were wearing off, if the problem may have been her age (she’s fifty) or if she was just showing me her true colors but whatever it was..I did not like it. She complained about how long things were taking, how much she just wanted to go back to the hotel and go to sleep, mostly at how long it was taking for our order to be brought to us. Once the meal finally came it was delicious and we devoured our entire plates. Of course Shirley’s bitch session was not over so she proceeded to complain about how long it was taking for the waitress to bring our check. A fore warning for those of you traveling to Spain in the future…service is good but it is very slow, the people are not like us in the states who want things now and get things now, don’t complain about it, embrace it and enjoy your life in that moment you are in. I promise, if you do so it will make your experience all the better!

June 7 – Safe to say…

So it’s safe to say…I cannot complete anything. I started out this blog to test out the difference between blogspot.com and worldpress.com – to see if one was easier than the other. I thought it would be a great idea to get into it by participating in a photo a day for the month of June challenge. Epic fail, to say the least.

Not only did I start the challenge of two days late but now here we are just finishing day seven of June and I only managed to post two photos, day three and day four (of which day four I actually posted on day five). Day six was supposed to be “signs” I ran into a problem here because I do not want to post just any photo, I want to be creative and postthe bestphoto. Let’s face it, who has time to be creative when you drive an hour to get to the office, work eight hours and then drive home for another hour? There is a cool sign I wanted to photograph – it’s the new sign on the Arizona I-10 freeway boasting the states centennial existence. Too bad the sign is on the freeway and although I do get stuck in rush hour traffic, on the day I was to take a photo of a sign – I whizzed right passed it.

On to something new. In April, I was able to take a trip to Spain! I will attempt to post photos from my journey and write as much as I can about my trip! Wish me luck in my attempt to finish it! ๐Ÿ˜‰