Spain and Portugal Photos: Summers, 2004–2005

In the summers of 2004 and 2005, I escaped the gecko- and cicada-thick tropical summers of Tokyo for the dry desert heat of Spain and Portugal, all olives and piri piri sauce, fado guitar and hashish blown on Mediterranean breezes.

Both summers, I studied in Palma on the resort island of Mallorca, just a short ferry ride from the distractions of full-moon-party Ibiza and Gaudi’s Barcelona. During the week, I walked past the beautiful people on the beaches, passed the King of Spain’s summer palace and the King of Norway’s yacht, to attend an international-school-teacher-training program run out of the Bellver International College in the suburbs of Palma. Weekends, I explored the red, blue and yellow landscape of Miro’s Mallorca.

Then, studies finished, my girlfriend and I traveled: Celtic Galicia; genteelly faded Portugal; and — at last- Gaudi’s Barcelona. We drank cafe con lecche and cava, ate bacon-wrapped figs, chorizo, and pimientos de Padrón, and looked for signs of Don Quixote, for Picasso and Dali, and Civil War-era Orwell and Hemingway in cafes and cathedrals. And, dominating it all, Gaudi’s magical, fnatastical Sagrada Familia cathedral — due to be completed in 2026 (just in time for our next visit).

Portugal, 2005

Lisbon is nothing never ever. Lisbon is for crying, pure destiny and weeping, fado and light of tears. But at the same time is a radical immersion in joy. “I see you once again, / city of my dreadfully lost childhood / Sad and happy city where I dream again”. It is not the white city that a mistaken Swiss thought he saw, but a blue city of cheerful invented nostalgia. — Enrique Vila-Matas, Montano’s Malady
Ruins, Carmo Convent; Lisbon
Jerónimos Monastery; Belem
Roman Ruins; Coimbra
Ruined Cabin; Coimbra
Down with McDonalds! Graffiti; Coimbra
Get the Message; Coimbra

Mallorca — Barcelona — Pontevedra — Santiago de Compostela

Galicia, 2005

Barcelona, 2004

Mallorca, Spain