Scrambled August


Just like scrambled eggs, yes. Clouds of disintegrated thoughts and distended grump.

August was to be the year of our Spanish road trip. An epic journey lasting nearly three weeks to mark the year of my fortieth birthday. This would be the time we would have been sat making endless lists, marking places on the map, totting up a rough budget for the trip, looking up our hotel stays all over again and thrilling at the thought of basking in the view of the Andalucian mountains, desolate sierras dotted with pueblos blancos, the roll call of limestone villages that turn up perched upon the high mountain roads and clifftops like whitewashed visions.

We would have found seats in a small corner cafe in some town of exquisite medieval beauty and breakfasted like kings on plates of crisp churros and dark chocolate, and I would have shut my eyes to savour the pure pleasure that jets through the body when you have fried dough at your disposal, and a meal you have paid a measly four euros for.

A litany of would-haves.

A litany of memories from the winter of 2016 when we had an apartment in Barcelona, a hotel in Malaga, and later in Madrid, because Adi had an ongoing project in Spain. An entire February spent taking trains by myself at dawn, of roaming the atmospheric alleys of cities and towns that made me feel like I was walking the pages of a book not yet written, seeing cities with strangers, and returning bone-tired to Adi, who along with his colleagues would meet me at night for dinner — the Spanish eat so terribly late.

Sticking to my customary dinner-by-seven routine, I used to meet my husband and co. for post-prandial drinks. They meanwhile ordered up meat-heavy dinners that made my stomach churn, especially at the sight of rare-done meat, blood oozing from thick slabs of steak. Our Spanish friend was in charge of picking dishes for the night from menus everywhere, and I marvelled at his ability to put away all that meat. Loved seeing the passion with which he fell upon his plate of food, for no matter what our likes and dislikes, when it comes to our gustatory preferences, what matters is the singular passion for good food. Be it vegetarian, non-vegetarian, vegan or fruitarian, raw food or paleo. What matters to me ultimately is the way your eyes light up when you see a plate of food, see the world in a grain of food, to riff bravely on Blake.

Adventuring and misadventuring, I swooned over the moorish beauty of Malaga, walking all over town under the hot midday sun till the legs screamed in protest and I almost missed the train to Madrid because I had been ambitious enough to slog up its hills to the castle called Gibralfaro. There was Granada, the old lanes and bylanes of which I sighed over with a German woman, Sonja.

In Girona, I thought I was in another time and place, stood upon Emperor Charlemagne’s walls and staring at rows of cypresses guarding cathedrals and monasteries. I must have been.

The molten silver waves lapping up the deserted beach near the castle of Altafulla in ancient Tarragona. The haunting Islamic-Gothic loveliness of Zaragoza, the magnificent standalone Benedictine monastery at Montserrat, utterly charming Madrid where I walked in the footsteps of Hemingway, and then Barcelona naturally. With a start I realise, I have not written posts on some of these wonderful places and I intend to remedy this oversight in the next few posts.

After exploring all of these places on my own, I was delighted when Adi and I walked the streets of Ronda and Mijas together. It felt complete.

So, this was to be our summer of seeing places that live in my memory. Old for me, new for Adi. And I was bloody keen on him looking at them through my eyes, me looking at them through his, gaining fresh perspectives. I am gutted at the falling through of our plans, but there is no self-pity, mind you. I cannot, will not stand for it.

No, I am not your dealer of self-pity, wallowing in that self-absorbing emotion which gets you nowhere. I am simply your dealer of words, looking for a way out of discontented moments through a flapping horde of moods and memories.

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When sat in a churreria, talk less, scoff more. Easy, when alone.
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Slipping in a cheeky one of me from a cerveceria in Madrid. The waiter insisted on taking it, with the Hemingway poster that he took off the wall. He was, I imagine, amused by my enthusiasm at bagging this dark corner seat where the author once sat and drank beer while people watching.
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Fav hangout in Madrid
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Published by

Arundhati Basu

The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.

49 thoughts on “Scrambled August

  1. What a lovely write up. Felt one was walking beside you travelling to all those places. Loved your Hemingway spot. Lovely photographs too. Keep writing.

    Jayant Varma

    0124 4140478
    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a memorable journey! I agree with you that dinner in Spain is terribly late. I remember I nearly fell unconscious when waiting for my meal in Zaragoza. But the wait is definitely worth it πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everywhere I go, I travel in his wake it seems. The man one for the road!

      The fact that so much more remains to be seen is on my mind, Sheree, and this was part of my effort to see a little more. Small steps and all that. But it will have to wait. Hope you both are well and biking away to your heart’s content. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s been really hot and steamy of late which has made biking a bit more tiring but the geraniums are flourishing. How’s your garden?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We had a magnificent storm a few days ago, Isaias, which ripped through trees around the neighbourhood. You can imagine that our little plants had a rough time. Both the cherry tomato plants had to be brought inside, but not before one had had its branches snapped off. It is hanging on by a thread! But the tomatoes are still ripening, which is a good sign. The other plants being squat, survived well. Your geraniums are tough. πŸ™‚ xx

        Liked by 1 person

      1. It was a pre-birthday trip. August somehow goes down well with our travel plans for the year. I turn 40 in November. Funny, how the years roll on and give way to decades.

        Your first two sentences are succinct, yet they capture the mood of the times we are living. Sometimes I feel like the hollow men, heads stuffed with straw, but well.. cannot complain still. πŸ™‚ xx


  3. Really nicely written. It reminds us of our feelings travelling through Spain. In the end, we prefered the North where we then stayed for two months.
    All the best and thanks for sharing
    The Fab Four of Cley
    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello K, so nice to see you drop by. Are Dina and you still blogging? I will drop by to yours shortly.

      Thank you for the kind comment. I want to see a whole lot of the north of Spain and it was on our list for this road trip, but well, for the future, when we are on the road again. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Dippy Dotty Girl,
        yes, we are still blogging, Dina is still photographing and I am writing and, of course, Siri πŸ™‚ and πŸ™‚ Selma are helping and inspiring us.
        We are looking forward to your visit and wishing you all the best
        The Fab Four of Cley
        πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. … and you, dear Dippy Dotty Girl.
        We still blog as Dina likes to photograph and tries out how her pictures are received on our blog. That helps choosing pictures for competitions. And I like to write short texts and have time enough to do so. As we don’t travel anymore for ecological reasons and as travelling has lost its magic, we have enough time for running our blog. We still struggle with the question ‘why do we blog?’
        On and off we think about finishing but we always agree in the end to go on.
        Wishing you a great time, keep well
        The Fab Four of Cley
        πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I am happy to hear that you somehow manage to return to the blog. I go through the dilemma once in a while about blogging, but it is lovely to come back to it even though it is not too frequent. Wishing you four a great week ahead. πŸ™‚


  4. Your nostalgic post drew me in and has left me yearning to explore this beautiful country…as a young child on holiday in Barcelona, I remember a late meal eaten outside with meandering street dogs roaming hopefully by…I chose a pair of beloved Spanish castanets from a local market, a special souvenir that hangs on my wall to this day! You are a beautiful writer and as papa wrote, please keep on writing…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And you are such a beautiful writer yourself, Kim. Your words mean much to me as does papa’s (my father-in-law).

      Thank you for sharing your memories of your Spanish holiday…it would be interesting for you to return and compare notes as a grown-up. Have you ever put them clackers to use? xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am certain you will be able to return to Spain and do all these things again. It would be lovelier. And thank you for sharing your memories – your photos are stunning! They really stirred my longing for travel. Hopefully one day again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The need to travel is superseded by the need to be safe. And so, you are right, one day again we shall get on the road again. Thank you for your lovely comment of appreciation. And have a good weekend. Cheers!


  6. This was such a fun read. Your writing is spectacular, and those photographs – 😲 I am in awe of the beauty you captured so well. Although I suspect it does no justice for the view in person.
    I hope you are able to get there in the very near future. So sorry your plans have been disrupted. It has truly been an unusual time in our history. Happy Birthday upcoming to you. I hope you make many many memories to be cherished. πŸ’• Thank you for sharing this slice of Paradise with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello there! Thank you for appreciative comment, Holly. It is a strange year and one we have not known in our lifetime, so it is still tough to wrap your head around. But it is okay. One gets on, despite cancelled plans and all that. As for the birthday, it is in Nov. and all that matters is that I have my beloved around. Cheers for the lovely wishes, I am tucking them into my birthday bag already. πŸ™‚ Have a great week! x

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Moods and memories indeed! I feel the same and reminisce past delightful trips while waiting out this pandemic. We will once again do all of the things that had made us happy and sane. This too shall pass. – Neek

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Travel memories, I realise, are invaluable. Never more than now when all you can do is do armchair travel and daydreaming. I appreciate your kind words, Neek. Always. Hope you all are doing okay. Hugs and love. xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, is that so? Must be that thing about being in a place for a month apropos a year. You tend to stretch yourself thin. So, when I returned to Northampton after these glorious Spanish travels, I was down with a raging fever. My body must have been trying to deal with all that heady art and architecture.

      How have you been? I left a comment on your latest post a while ago, but I expect it was swallowed by the spam folder. It has been doing so on various blogs. :-/ Hope you have a great rest of the week. x


      1. I always come down with a bit of something after a long period of lots of travel! All those bugs you pick up on planes and trains, I think.
        I looked for your comment but can’t find it! I’m on my phone so I can’t get to the spam section. Plus my last post was so long ago that any notifications are buried down deep. I just moved to Italy from China, and maybe I’ll have the inspiration to write again??? We’ll see.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is a great move. One after our own two hearts here. In which part of the country are you based? Just the food itself is payoff. I hope your posts shall resume, resuscitated by the combined power of amore and gelato. (Don’t worry about the comment at all. It was just to let you know). You enjoy your new home. xx


    1. It certainly looks like a beautiful property from the outside. You would have the insider’s dope on it. We missed out on a stay in Ronda last time and was planning to make good on it. Well, another time.

      Montserrat does. Frankly I could not get enough of it!

      Hope you are having a good weekend. Cheers. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d thoroughly recommend it. Best club sandwich I’ve ever had and a bartender who asks “would you like your usual sir” by the 2nd night. Anything else you want in a hotel? 😜 The views are stunning too.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, well, ma’amji, I didn’t know you knew Spain too… ΒΏHablas EspaΓ±ol? πŸ˜‰
    I understand that you as many others had to cancel your trip to Spain?
    Very sad to hear that. I can relate…
    I hope Life is still treating you well. Stay safe from the bl..dy virus… It ain’t over.
    (Don’t know what WP is doing, I had to re-follow you again… Computer people!!) (oops… Adi is “one of them right?)
    Give him my regards…
    Phir milenge

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Un poco.πŸ™ƒ

      It is hardly anything given the rigours most are facing. Yet it is hard to think that travel would be such a dream.

      It is certainly not over. The vurus is not going anywhere. Sigh.

      Thank you for re-following me. I barely have any followers showing up on my account now, after the change I made. I have given up on numbers. But it is good to have old friends like you drop by. Adi is a computer person in that he uses one but not beyond that. 😁 He is into automation and streamlining of financial operations. If that makes sense. Most of it did not to me initially. He sends his best to you too. Phir milenge. And do pardon my ultra slow reply! I think my blogging game is at its trough-est best.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Un poco es mejor que nada… πŸ˜‰
        So that’s why I wasn’t “following”? It ahs happened to a lot of people. ‘Reason why I won’t change my domain.
        I understand what he does… I think. Nowadays many financial operations (e.g. trading) is based on algorithms… markets are going too fast for the human mind…
        Regards back. πŸ™πŸ»
        No worry about speed, ma’mji. We got all the time we can…
        Have a lovely Sunday.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Merci Brianji. I move at a ghastly slow pace I think. But, it seems to match up to the mood of this year. So I am not feeling cut up about it.

        You too have a wonderful week ahead. πŸ‘πŸΌ

        Liked by 1 person

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