Intermission Entry 13, October 29th, 2011, 2:14am (GMT +0)
Madeira is an island in the Atlantic owned by Portugal and is the Indy's next stop after the Canary Islands. They're known for two things: steak cooked on a stone, and some strange hill-basket contraption where you ride down the mountain in a wicker seat.
I only had a few hours, though, and so it was one or the other. Stomach rumbling, I decided on the steak (not to worry, I'll be back next cruise for the strange wicker toboggan). The stone is featured more prominently than the steak is, as it comes out from the kitchen on a thick wooden frame with small glass bowls on the side. I stuck my nose in each bowl in turn – minced garlic, hot peppers, and a sour cream based garnish. I scooped a little bit of garlic onto the stone and it immediately jumped up, popping and sizzling.
We cut our steaks into strips and cooked them, along with onions and other vegetables that came on the side. The smell and sound of sizzling steak made the meal a memorable one, although the stones began to run out of juice by the end of the meal. My last couple pieces were a bit rare.
Next cruise: wicker death toboggan. And an odd note – we're running 12 day cruises right now, but the cruise remains our measure of time, not the land-based week. Living here means living on a twelve day week – it reminds me of revolutionary France and their ten day week.
From the notebook, October 12th, Train from Paris to Munich
I managed to get a couchette this time instead of a seat – it is far preferable to the arrangement on the train from Barcelona. Six of us are in a small room on the train, sleeping three deep. I have a top bunk, which is a good thing. There are two middle aged German guys on the bottom, a young couple from Dubai in the middle, and a young tattooed French guy across from me up top who I think speaks English but is pretending that he doesn't.
Munich tomorrow at 7am, and 15 minutes to catch the train to Vienna. If I miss it, there's a train every hour, so no worry. The level of travel difficulty is about to go up, as I speak even less German than I do French and am not traveling with my family any more.
Life is good. “Traveling is easy,” has become my motto. Eight months ago, I had no idea that I would be on a train headed for Munich, but traveling really agrees with me. I'm finding that I am happiest and healthiest when I am headed somewhere . . . it is almost a disappointment to arrive sometimes!