This page marks a departure from the previous pages. Amalia and I became engaged while we were in Iran, and scheduled our wedding for some indeterminate time in the future. If you've been following along, the last few announcements on the previous page were from after the engagement, but before we really publicized it. We finally made it public by inviting all of our close friends and family members to the wedding. Amalia wrote the wedding announcement in Spanish, and I liked it so much I just sent it out to my family with a small introduction.
Dear Friends & Family,
Demonstrating a level of laziness amazing even for myself, I let Amalia write our wedding announcement for her friends and family in Spanish, and then asked her to translate it to English. Now I'm sending it to you, just as she delivered it to me. I know it's pretty unlikely for most of you to be in Madrid on 13 June (except Cara and Noelle who will probably be the entire Groom's Side), but if you can make it we'd love to have you.
If you find traveling to Madrid for the ceremony inconvenient, fear not. We'll have a duplicate ceremony in California when we go there later this year. If that doesn't sound very specific, well at least I narrowed it down to a calendar year which is better than I've ever done before.
Lazy Bones Wade & Ambitious Amalia
As all of you know, less than a year ago, on a hot late July afternoon, I met an American who was passing through Madrid on a trip around the world on a strange bike. His name was Wade and he had small and expressive blue eyes, a big body and a warm smile. The three following evenings we had coffees, horchatas and Fanta Limón, we had dinner, we walked, we talked and decided that we kind of liked each other, but that we were probably closed for new loves… So that was all. The fourth day, nevertheless, we went to see Spiderman, a movie that Wade had already seen and that was dubbed in Spanish, and in which I wasn't interested at all.
In any case, and maybe because he was bored, Wade kissed me. It's here that the versions start to differ. Wade says that he only wanted to give me a little kiss on my cheek, but I turned my head and "slapped a lip-lock on him"… and I say "not in the best of his dreams"…. that it was obvious that he had spent the last half hour trying to find a way to kiss me, and that when he finally got the nerve to do it, I just answered politely.
In any case, don't ask me about Spiderman's plot, because it was completely lost on me. And I say: why on earth would Wade want to see a movie again he had seen a couple of weeks ago, and dubbed in Spanish, if it wasn't because he wanted to follow the old strategy of taking the girl to the movies and taking advantage of the coolness and the darkness of the theatre…? But, man, he won't give way, because he is as strongheaded as a mule, and insists that it was me who kissed him.
There is no doubt that he is strongheaded as a mule. I have had ample opportunity to learn. Like yesterday, for example, when we were in a situation with our bikes where our only options were: either entering illegally and dangerously a motorway for 8 km (4 miles) to get to the regional road we wanted, or take a dubious road with a huge sign in front of it that said "Dead End". Wade said that he preferred to ride 50 km than to face 8 km of motorway. I said that that was great, but that in a dead end it's not possible to ride 50 meters, let alone 50 km, so we had to follow the motorway. Anyway, we entered the little road with the dead end, and it turned out to be a pretty nice country road which, as expected, got to a dead end, (and I thought "now is when it gets demonstrated that I was right and we have to turn around"), and gave way to a real cow-path, surrounded by high grass, full of stones, through the very fields. But, as the compass indicated that it was heading in the right direction, there we went, among puddles, bumps, poison ivy, lizards and other terrible threats to my new and pretty bike. The cow's path became a goat's path, but my Wade (in my humble opinion at that moment, as crazy as one of those animals the path was obviously made for) carried on fearless. Then we got to railroad tracks (and I thought "this is the end"), but he found a way to cross them and so we did, only to find ("Oh, thank you Gods of the Olympus, that you finally make me right…", the very same motorway that we were trying to avoid all this time. But, as it happened, there was another little road with half rotten pavement, along which we continued until we found a fence that a man was closing with a padlock that could have tied up a dragon. I was about to say, "Hey, handsome, enough is enough. Please, accept once and for all that the motorway is our only option..." But I didn't have the time to open my mouth and air my worthy opinion, because he turned around and found a way to cross over the motorway into the middle of the fields again... until we disembarked in our much wanted road to Siracusa, in the very precise spot in which the 8 km of motorway that we were trying to avoid, ended.
I had no option, other than to accept my moral defeat and acknowledge that my man is a genius of cross-country cycling. And that he can give lessons to mules, indeed.
But, going back to the point: Spiderman changed our lives and, even if the next day I was leaving on holidays with my friend Laura, and Wade was heading for Granada to climb 3500 meters up Pico Veleta with his bike, we met again in Porto three weeks after Madrid. And there, after a wonderful week in which I learned how terribly he sings, we said goodbye thinking it was forever, because he was going to Iran with his bike and I was going back to Madrid to do my work.
It was hard to get to work, because I could only think of him. But, after several days of wandering around the house, I was able to get some ambition and concentration. And I swear that, in the very same moment that I sat in front of my computer to face ideas and words, in that very same moment, the bell rang. And in the intercom there was his voice. And, with trembling legs, I went down to open the door for him. And there was Wade, with his huge and strange orange bike, who had come after me because he could not forget me.
And to make a long story short: we are in love, deep to our marrow and liver, with all our heads, with the whole of our noble parts, with our legs, hands, eyes and heart.
And as a consequence, or maybe disregarding the consequences, we are going to get married.
And we want to invite you to our wedding.
C'mon, come to our wedding….
It will take place the 13th of June at 7 pm in the Town Hall of Los Molinos, a small town about 30 km outside Madrid.
Afterwards, we will eat and drink something to celebrate... I guess. Because, even if all of you who used to come to my house and take a look at the fridge and those of you who used to invite me to dinner and saw how I licked my lips at the very sight of a simple soup (not to mention my mum, who has always been trying to teach me cooking), know that I have always had difficulties with the catering department… well, what do I know, I guess I'll come up with something.
At this wedding, we recommend you not dress for a wedding. But, if Monica insists in wearing her Pamela… what can we do. Wade is going to buy some new clothes because everything he has is completely ruined with bike lube. And me... to tell you the truth, I feel a bit lazy. But it is true that in the end….
It's my wedding…!!
Muchos besos and we hope to see you there, because part of the happiness of getting married is doing it in front of people that give meaning to your life and being able to feel, once again, their warmth.
Amalia and Wade
Our next announcement was a short one telling people where to find our wedding pictures. Here it is.
You've probably noticed these pages turned into Wade & Amalia's pages over the last 10 months. We've now made it official and permanent. Amalia and I married last Friday in a small town near Madrid. My official designation has now changed to Happily Married Geek Recumbent Cyclist.
Naturally, that's not all of it. You can find the rest of the photos, plus more details in English and Spanish at Wade & Amalia's Wedding Photo Page.
Amalia and I have also been on the move. We just finished 2 months in Italy, and Amalia just finished her first 1000 km on her new bike. We'll send details to the people on our travel notification list in a few days. If you want on the list, look here.
Wade & Amalia
If you've been on this list a while, you've probably noticed that I've been getting very lax about updating the web page. I'm finally starting to get caught up... Well, that's probably optimistic... What I mean is that I'm finally getting to where I'm only six months behind. You can now check out my South Africa Narrative and South Africa Photo Gallery. These will be the last pages I write completely solo. Amalia and I are obviously traveling together now, so she'll be contributing to the pages in the future.
Amalia and I just finished her very first 1,000 km (620 Miles) on her brand new Challenge Mistral recumbent bike. She has turned from someone that barely knew which part of the tire went on the ground to a cycling enthusiast.
We rode through the southern part of Italy, from Rome to the bottom of Sicily. The cycling in this particular part of the world was a mixed bag. Since Amalia is quite a newbie, I thought that I would take her to somewhere that's bicycle friendly. So far, the most bike friendly people I've found in the world were in Spain and France. I just assumed that Italy would be the same...WRONG!!! The drivers in southern Italy are astoundingly bad. They're not just unfriendly to bikes, but they're unfriendly to everyone.
To give you an idea of how bad it was, let me tell a story. I generally avoid sidewalks because they are for walkers. However, we were in a horrendous traffic jam in Naples, and Amalia had a small accident. We got off on the sidewalk to go slow and easy, and had a motorcycle honk at us because we were slowing down his progress on the sidewalk. Every day was an unending sea of people honking, staring, yelling, driving close and just generally being nervous and obnoxious.
This is the first time I've seen a real newbie acclimate to cycling and I was very proud of Amalia. She had absolutely zero cycling experience... just what kids normally have. At the beginning of the trip, it nearly killed her to climb up a little hill of only 200 meters (600 Feet). A week later, we decided to take a run at climbing Mt. Etna in Sicily. At 2,500 meters (8,000 Feet) it was a very ambitious attempt, and would even be a big climb for me. We didn't quite make it to the top, but she did climb up 1,000 meters (3,000 Feet), and traveled over 60 km that day. Coming from zero experience to being able to climb 1000 meters in less than 2 weeks seems to me like a real accomplishment.
Now oddly enough, after our jaunt through Southern Italy, we went back to Northern Italy and toured it for 2 weeks by car. My niece Nicole and nephew Jason came out, and we took them from Rome to Pisa to Venice to Austria and Germany. In Northern Italy, it seems like a different planet. We didn't cycle there, but did get a chance to see plenty of traffic and the people there drive just like they do in Spain. It was weird.
At any rate, Italy is a great place for art and history and Amalia and I enjoyed ourselves tremendously. I previously didn't know very much about the Renaissance, but she did. Amalia has a PhD in music, and a BA in Art History, so she obviously knows a lot more about it than I do.
I'm slowly coming up the learning curve by reading, seeing what they made, and letting Amalia explain things to me, and finding it to be quite interesting. It was a unique period in history. It was extremely violent, and unstable as can be, and yet in just 2 generations they produced an astounding number of grand masters that have influenced art, philosophy and science to this day. Such people as Raphael, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Tiziano, Ghiberti, and others frequently knew each other and competed for the same contracts. I'm reminded of a famous quote:
"Italy for thirty years under the Borgias had warfare,
terror, murder, bloodshed, but produced Michelangelo, DaVinci, and the Renaissance. And Switzerland had
brotherly love and five hundred years of democracy and peace. And what did they produce? The cuckoo clock."
Orson Welles from the 1949 picture "The Third Man"
This photo was taken in the Doge's Palace in Venice, which is a place very well worth visiting. They have the biggest canvas painting ever made, and a lot of really cool stuff. One thing I liked in Italy is that they let you use a camera in the museums if you don't use flash or a tripod, so I got quite a few photos from most of the museums we went into. My photo page for Italy won't be quite as lame as some of my past efforts.
That's about it for now. Amalia and I are slaving away in Madrid now. We gave up out apartment to become wandering vagrants, so we're now in the odd position of being in Amalia's home town with no place to live. Fortunately, it's summer so lots of her friends are going on holiday and we've managed to stay at their houses while they're gone. We're going to stay here until mid-July, and then we'll head off to a secret-as-yet-to-be-disclosed cycling trip for a couple of months. We have the Spain page nearly done, and it should be up in a couple of weeks.
Wade & Amalia
Next - North America