Catalonia – Europe’s Next Country?

From Vagabrothers.com The Vagabrothers go to Barcelona to check out the growing pro-independence movement in Catalonia. With almost 60% of Catalans in favor of separating from Spain, some wonder if Europe might have to re-draw it’s borders. But what is Catalonia, what makes it different from Spain and why do they want independence? Alex and … Continue reading

The Regattas of San Sebastian

From Vagabrothers.com Alex and Mark stop in San Sebastián in the Basque Country to witness one of the city’s most cherished festivals – La Bandera de la Concha. The annual rowing regatta is a celebration of the ancient Basque tradition of rowing…and an excuse for some Basque bacchanalia. Check out the video to join us … Continue reading

Surfing the Basque Country

While protesters rallied in the rain for the release of Basque prisoners (see post), hundreds of surfers gathered down the coast for the annual ZarautzPro. The six-star ASP professional surfing event drew surfers from around the world for the competition, momentarily infusing an international mix of visitors into the sleepy beach town. My friend Griffin … Continue reading

Old Basque Dude

War and Peace in the Basque Country

Thirty Basque men, women, children and seniors stand in the rain silently, forming a long human chain in front of the Kursaal Building in San Sebastian. The modern, stylish building stands triumphantly over the beach and the old town, a physical symbol of the Basque people’s opening their doors to the world and a peaceful … Continue reading

Review: The Basque History of the World

I am back in the Basque Country, my favorite home away from home. It is a land that I have come to love dearly after living here for a year and coming back to visit as regularly as I can. The Basque Country fascinates me. Growing up in America, I had the perception that the … Continue reading

Deja Vu: Buses & Hitchhiking Across Aragon

This morning I decided to leave Barcelona and head north to visit my good friend Griffin in the Basque Country. I felt listless in Barcelona. It had been over two weeks since I’d stepped off the ship, and I’d been bouncing around Italy and Spain ever since. In Barcelona I’d been in a 6-bed dorm … Continue reading

Book Review: The Sack of Rome by Alexander Stille

Too few Americans know who Silvio Berlusconi is, let alone why this man is one of the most notorious public figures in Europe. The former Prime Minister of Italy has become a symbol of the shortcomings of Italian politics, the physical embodiment of corruption, the political power of the Mafia, manipulation of the media, and … Continue reading

Adios, siesta

August in Europe is the month of rest. In Spain, while the big-box stores remain open, mom and pop businesses everywhere are closed as families take off for a few weeks of relaxation. Even here in a big city like Barcelona, owners scrawl a note on the window, draw the shutters, lock the door and … Continue reading

Sketch from Barcelona

Crises bring out both the best and the worst in people. Two days ago I was robbed here in Barcelona – an example of crisis bringing out crime. But the following day I witnessed a bizarre scene in a local bookshop as I was interviewing the clerk, something that inspired hope. The Clerk and I … Continue reading

The Anarchist Bookshop of Barcelona

There is a little anarchist bookshop in the Raval neighborhood of Barcelona, just off Las Ramblas. It is an anachronism of a bygone era. It sits beneath towering tenement houses on a road so narrow that the laundry drying from the fifth story balconies almost totally blocks the sun. I felt like I was wandering … Continue reading