Travels postsThursday July 03, 2014
Dreaming of the NY Yankees at the Pension Neuer Markt in Vienna
Me: And I had nightmares.
P: (yawning) About what?
Me: I dreamed the Yankees were in the postseason and were crushing the Oakland A's in the first round. They won the first two games and were winning the third game, 22-6.
P: (laughing) I usually have nightmares about monsters and mean people.
Me: So do I.
-- early morning conversation with Patricia about jetlag, etc., at the Pension Neuer Markt in Vienna, Austria last week.
I suppose my mistake, a week into our two-week trip to Europe (Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, Geneva), was checking out the Major League Baseball standings the night before. In the first four days of our trip the Yankees had won four in a row, including a sweep of first-place Toronto, and were now in second place in the AL East and threatening, and my initial reaction was exasperration with the rest of the league. “Can't you guys do anything right in my absence?” So the nicest present when P and I returned home last night—besides, of course, Ward meeting us at the airport, and Jellybean greeting us at home—was the fact that, since the above conversation, the Yankees had gone 2-7 and are now a game below .500.
It's a bit incongruous dreaming about the New York Yankees in the middle of Europe, particularly during the early rounds of the World Cup; but, as I wrote 12 years ago, they're a difficult team to get away from.
I'm still too Minnesota Nice to take pictures of strangers without permission, so I didn't get any shots of the many Yankee-cap-wearing folks tromping around Europe. I probably saw about three dozen people doing that. But I did have a conversation with a guard at the “Treasures” section (reliquaries, mostly) at St. Stephens Cathedral in Vienna about her Yankees periphernalia. It was one of the last rooms, she was behind a desk, the place was as quiet as a church, and she was wearing a Yankees shirt. Fairly low cut. So I imagine my first attempts at a question, along with my subsequent hand gestures pointing to my own chest, didn't go over particularly well. Then I got to the point in English. “Why Yankees?” I asked. “Do you know the New York Yankees?” She smiled, laughed, and admitted she only got the shirt because she'd recently visited New York and that's what you do. Indeed. Witness my new HOLLAND shirt from the Amsterdam airport. Which, beyond the airport, we didn't even visit.
I just wonder how much money the Yankees get from all of this. Here's hoping for knock-offs.
Non-Yankee posts about Europe to follow.
Yankee caps for sale in Lausanne, Switzerland. Right next to caps reading OBEY and BULL.
SLIDESHOW: Patricia and Erik's New York Adventure
SLIDESHOW: In late January, Patricia and I spent a few days in New York—me for work—but it meant we took separate flights so I had a window seat on the way out. I know this shot is overused but ... It's me saying goodbye to the Cascade mountains ...
... and goodbye ...
And hello, gorgeous! (Click here for bigger version.)
Patricia arrived three days earlier, visiting her friend Karen while I prepped for the Boies/Olson interview, so she was there for the big snowstorm. I missed it by a day. My flight from Seattle to JFK, by the way, took 4.5 hours. Getting from JFK to midtown Manhattan? Two hours. It took an hour just to get my bag. Efficiency not a strong suit.
I love walking around New York because even the renovated buildings (St. Patrick's, above) are beautiful. But it was a bit cold for most walkabouts. I mean, I'm from Minnesota and it was cold.
Oh, Scribners. Whither us?
Even the Legos in New York are big. Don't get any ideas, Ryan.
Our first stop after the interview was MOMA. How many of these soups, btw, have been discontinued by Campbells? When was the last time they made Pepper Pot, for example?
I love this guy. He's got another hole in his rear, and I tried to get a photo of someone looking into it but most were wary of being so captured. As was I.
Love this as well: Jeff Koons' Pink Panther. That's Jayne Maynsfield holding Pink Panther. Or is Pink Panther holding her? And which of them is less real?
It's like an Edward Hopper painting of an Edward Hopper painting.
Over the weekend we stayed with friends on the upper east side, one of whom, Mirra Bank, has spent the last few years working on a documentary, “The Only Real Game,” about a province in India, Manipur, where baseball flourishes. Mirra had planned to visit the New York SABR convention in conjunction with her doc but worried we'd be bored. With SABR? And baseball? Bored? Don't think so.
And who was the guest speaker? Jane Leavy, one of my favorite baseball writers. We got to chat a bit, and, yes, I owned up to my hatred of the Yankees, so she signed my book, “For Erik: It's okay to hate the Yankees. I like you anyway.” She probably has to write that a lot. Her next project? Babe Ruth, possibly. I'm there.
SABR was Yankee country. You couldn't get away from it. It was actually kind of charming.
Not even on Broadway. Patricia and I saw “Wicked,” not “Bronx Bombers,” which hadn't officially opened yet. We liked “Wicked.”
Richard and Mirra recommended Bar Centrale for drinks after the show. I now pass on that recommendation. I also recommend i Trulli, an Italian restaurant, on East 27th.
The obligatory Times Square shot. Patricia's in the midst of getting a cab.
Our last full day when we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I recommend the audio guides. They tell you not only what the piece is but how and when it found its way to New York.
Batman, 2,000 B.C.?
Even the Met's listing of all its art is a kind of work of art.
The view from the upper east side. *FIN*
26 Things I Learned While Camping on San Juan Island and at Baker Lake
- The wrong time to get attacked by mosquitoes is two days before camping. Makes you sensitive to what you can't avoid.
- The 2008 Mazda 3 doesn't have a plug-in or outlet to charge iPhones.
- Washington State Ferrys do--but we figured it out too late. Thus no personal pictures here. Apologies.
- The San Juan ferry trip is 100 times better on a sunny day (returning) than on a cloudy day (going).
- San Juan Island has a camel. Her name is Mona. She has a baby. T-shirts are for sale.
- A camel is all well and good but it doesn't beat baby alpacas.
- If you go to Downriggers, in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, spend the extra money for the dungeness crab sandwich. The grilled crab sandwich sounds like “grilled crab” but is actually a dollop of crab mixed with a gallon of mayonnaise and then the sandwich is grilled.
- Orca whales are actually dolphins.
- The skeletons of whale fins look like human hands.
- Dorsal fins are made of cartilage.
- Porpoises are shyer, smaller and chunkier than dolphins. They are nerds, essentially. Dophins are BMO-Seas. (Apologies.)
- Oceanographers are worried that boat noise, including noise from whale-watching boats, is depleting the whale population. Which is why we watched them from Lime Kiln Point State Park. Which may be why we didn't see any.
- The Whale Museum at Friday Harbor, where I learned #s 8-12, and which my nephews, 10 and 8, didn't want to leave after an hour, kicks ass.
- The scientists at Lime Kiln Point kick ass, too.
- Putting up a two-person tent is hard.
- Changing into your swimsuit in a two-person tent is harder.
- Changing into your swimsuit in a two-person tent, and getting a good look at your stomach, is a good way to get someone to go to pilates class next Wednesday at 5:30 PM.
- There are many multimillion-dollar yachts for sale at Roche Harbor, San Juan Island.
- The rich obviously need another tax break so they afford to buy these multimillion-dollar yachts and get our economy going again.*
- Yachta Yachta is a good pun but a bad name for a boat.
- Ryan, 8, likes rock climbing.
- Jordy, 10, knows the words to Sir Mix A Lot's “Baby Got Back.”
- Baker Lake is fucking gorgeous.
- A good brat beats a great hotdog.
- Patricia is freaked by worms. Even inchworms. Particularly inchworms that come down from trees on silk threads. She calls them “ninja worms.”
- The sign in park outhouses, advising against throwing garbage down toilets because “it is extremely difficult to remove,” is not only one of the most understated signs ever written, it also makes me think park employees are not paid nearly enough.
Baker Lake. We woke up to this. We went swimming in this. So can you. Because it's ours: a National Forest.
Searching for Birds in Bodega, Calif.
If it's been a quiet week on ErikLundegaard.com it's because Patricia and I drove from Seattle to Bodega, Calif., for our friend Ward's 50th birthday. Ward actually lives in Seattle but his friends, with Patricia at the forefront, told him he had to do something special for his 50th; he couldn't just have a party. Initial discussions, I found out this past weekend, actually centered on Lebanon, but others reined in that thought and offered the Oregon coast. Bodega Bay was the compromise between the Oregon coast and Lebanon. As it always is.
My reaction upon hearing the party's location was the film nerd's reaction: You mean the place where Hitchcock filmed “The Birds”? I suggested all blondes attending wear their hair in a chignon.
Tippi Hedren demonstrating the chignon, which, oddly, is a masculine word in French.
We actually stayed a few miles south of Bodega Bay, at Dillon Beach, renting several houses with spectacular views of the ocean. Saturday morning, after the initial, intense warm-up dinner, with too many courses and too much wine, Ward convinced the entire crew to attend a charity pancake breakfast, then a mid-afternoon wine-tasting, but I begged off, not hungry, a bit hungover, and a whole lot curious about Bodega. I drove into town searching for ... I don't know what. That diner. That schoolhouse. Tippi Hedren.
This and that looked familar but not familiar enough, so I pulled over to the side of the road and read the Bodega Bay (pop 1423) section of Lonely Planet's Coastal California book. Apparently the place is “the first pearl in a string of sleepy fishing towns” and “the setting of Alfred Hitchcock's terrying 1963 avian horror fllck, The Birds” (I like the helpful addition of “avian” there, not to mention “terrifying”), but as to what is where, the book wasn't much help. So I stopped in at the Terrapin Creek Cafe for a quick lunch and peppered the waitress with my “Birds” questions. She suggested the Visitor Center back on California 1, which runs through town, and which I'd passed on the way in. There, as soon as I mentioned “The Birds,” the woman behind the counter took out a single-sheet black-and-white map and a yellow highlighter, and in a tone somewhere between Selma Diamond and comatose, laid out the particulars:
- The Tides Wharf restaurant where everyone gathered during the attack
- The gas station that goes up in flames
- The house across the bay on Gaffney Point that never existed
- The Potter schoolhouse five miles south on California 1 in the town of Bodega; and
- The country store across the street that has the most extensive “Birds” collection anywhere in the world.
“I get the feeling you've done this before,” I said. This brought a smile. “Only about eight thousand times a year,” she replied.
So I filled up my car at the gas station that blew up in “The Birds,” then drove across California 1 to the Tides Wharf Restaurant, where Tippi Hedren had watched in horror as the gas station blew up in “The Birds.” But the perspective still seemed off. The gas station was across California 1? On a hill? The Tides Wharf included a gift shop that barely mentioned “The Birds,” just—after a search—a few postcards, some lame T-shirts, a big picture book, and a smaller, almost mimeographed pamphlet called “The Birds by Hitchcock: Sonoma Coast Guide: Expanded Second Edition.” This last, I figured, you could only get there, so I got it there, then peppered the girls behind the counter with questions. The second was a fount of information. The Tides Wharf where we were? Not the original. The original burned down in 1965, along with the gas station, which, yes, had been on this side of California 1. But the schoolhouse, the Potter Schoolhouse, still existed. Five miles south on “The 1.”
And that's where I went. Here's the famous scene:
The Potter Schoolhouse attack in Alfred Hitchcock's “The Birds.”
In the town of Bodega, I initially mistook St. Theresa's Church, made famous by Ansel Adams, for the Potter Schoolhouse, made famous by Alfred Hitchcock. But then I turned into a small road and there it was. It's privately owned now, and there's no bench in the backyard, let alone a playground or jungle gym; but I still got out and took a picture:
The Potter Schoolhouse today.
Then to the country store. As quiet as the rest of the town is about “The Birds,” the country store is just that noisy. It's like a museum but with all of the pieces for sale.
Apparently Tippi Hedren also sells wine now. Apparently she was in Bodega Bay the weekend before, at the Tides Wharf, signing autographs. I bought my share of swag—including a “What Would Hitchcock Do?” T-shirt—and acted the tourist. I just needed the Bermuda shorts and the camera hanging around my neck to complete the picture.
The next day, on the way out of town, Patricia and I returned to the schoolhouse to complete the picture:
We'll photoshop the birds in later.
Take a long drive with me
On California 1, California 1...
--The Decemberists, “California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade”
This past week, driving along California 1, the state route begun in 1934 that winds down the California coast, as Patricia and I traveled from Seattle to Bodega Bay for a friend's 50th birthday celebration, I kept thinking of baseball and pitching.
I know. Apologies, and bear with me.
Most roads, certainly most highways, are like fastballs down the pike. They may have some bend in them but nothing you can't handle. California 1, in contrast, is like the craziest pitch thrown by the greatest pitcher ever. It twists and swoops and dips and soars and bends and keeps bending and keeps bending further until you're almost heading in the opposite direction—north when you want south, south when you want north—until, at last, it finally breaks the other way, your way, and the whole damn thing begins again.
And the speeds! A good freeway may vary its speeds a bit, like a good pitcher will vary his speeds between the 95-mph fastball, the 85-mph splitter and the 75-mph change-up. These differences are nothing on California 1. There, you'll be spotted 55 mph. Then with hardly a warning it'll cut back to 15 mph. Back up to 45. Down to 25. Then 15 again. Then back up to 55. All on these swooping, dipping, winding roads, with incredible views of sky and ocean, cliffs and haystack rocks, and you're so distracted by it all, by the beauty and the winding roads, you find yourself going 55 in the 15 zone, 15 in the 55 zone.
But worth it. We can't wait to go back.