Forgive me for a massive post, Gentle Reader, but I had so little time
on the second half of my trip abroad (aka Gail's Grand Tour) that I did
not have the opportunity to blog, or even make notes, that I feel I must
get it all out at once so I am caught up on my own life.
Last of England
Nottingham I had a brief few days in London visiting family. I stopped
consuming a ridiculous amount of fat in the form of British breakfasts,
and actually walked around for a while. Visited the meat market and St.
And was spoiled by the second cousins with a posh trip to the amazing Gilbert Scott
at the newly made over St. Pancreas station. The food was absolutely delicious and the company more so.
saw old friends I hadn't seen in ages. One of them it's been over 12
years and she hasn't changed a bit. The other whisked me away to a
speakeasy in Soho. I tasted two cocktails themed on tea, amazing, and
after ate some of the best food I have ever eaten in London at a little
place called Spuntino's
It's what I would call New York Italian American fusion. It pays to
know people who work in hospitality, what we used to call R&B in my
day (restaurant & beverage).
I had two clandestine meetings.
One of them with my French publisher (there is a good chance I will be
in Paris next year) and the other with . . . wait for it . . .
publisher at Styxx is absolutely lovely, and full of news of her new
kittens. (Photos of said kittens left me wondering how difficult it
might be to get a Swedish cat into the USA.) The coffee in stockholm
amazing, and I can't even talk about the cakes, soooo good.
The Swedish edition of Soulless is the first on in hard back and it has lovely black page edges, Styxx's signature look.
is a lovely city, and not as cold as I had expected. I really had a
very lovely time wandering around, everyone spoke English beautifully,
which was slightly embarrassing.
spoke at the library which is this amazing building, a full circle of
books surrounds you, it is the closet thing to a literary mecca on
ate delicious Italian and the Japanese food. The Swedes rather
disregarded their own cuisine, except the cakes of course. The following
conversation occurred on several occasions.
Publisher, "What shall we do now?"
Gail, "I'm open to anything."
Publisher, "Shall we have some cake? Yes."
Sometimes I am more like Alexia than even I care to admit.
never been to Budapest before. I have to say something about the
hungarian language ~ it is remarkable. At times it sounds Finnish or
Italian but also has some passing resemblance syntactically to Japanese.
It's a very old living language and I thought it amazing to listen to. I
was lucky enough to have three days in Budapest and my publisher there
was determined I should make the most of it. They spoiled me rotten with
both events and much personal touring. I got to see a great deal of the
city and have a Turkish bath!
Self and my lovely guides!
first we ate more amazing Italian food, but then my guide, the adorable
Szilvia, discovered my love of local cuisine and made certain I had an
abundance of Hungarian fare.
soup (sort of beef stew with tomato broth and potato and carrots and
lots of paprika) + kind of potato casserole made with egg, sour cream
and sausage + a Greek salad (for my California sanity) + elderflower
cakes! A street food that like a baguette meets pretzel meets churro
big enough to wear on my forearm. Made wrapped around a steel cylinder
over and open brassier and then rolled in cinnamon sugar or vanilla
At the book faire, a small version of our BEA, I had my very own booth babes. So fashionably dressed.
got to meet my Hungarian translator. I asked her how difficult the
books were to translate and she said the steampunk parts were the
hardest but that I did manage to make her laugh even when working.
city is just lovely and we mostly walked everywhere. I took a million
photos, but I won't bore you with all of them here since they are mostly
old buildings. I have a weakness for spires and Budapest indulged me
The parliament building with a Earthday fair out front.
"Just an apartment building," says Szilvia.
We ate at one particular restaurant purely because of the menu.
a meeting with bloggers at this fantastic cathedral like cafe, but we
were driven out by piano playing and ended up in a smaller one down the
On the way there we encountered the Budapest's critical mass, strangely accompanies by a Zombie flash mob.
out of Hungary, however, was a bit dodgy for a while. I had Szilvia's
number and several a horrible moments of thinking I may end up stranded
on her couch. RyanAir "had no record" that my checked luggage had been
paid for already, and with no time to argue they sucker-punched me with
$120 in charges. (Twice what the flight cost!) No more RyanAir for me.
The security was so slow at the Budapest airport, and I got a pat down,
that in the end I literally had to sprint for my plane. (Discovering
that I am well
out of shape!) Luckily, there were two other girls
in the same situation so they held the plane for us, but I was
literally the last person on board!
fancy myself having ~ after too seasons excavating in Peru, high school
spanish, and a two week language emersion in Cuernvaca ~ a decent
understanding of Spanish (if not being a very good speaker). However, I
forgot how incredibly fast they speak the language in Spain. I catch
maybe one word in five, so I can only loosely follow any given
conversation. Lets not even mention Catalan.
After the horrendous
RyanAir debacle of the wee morning hours, I landed feeling slightly
shaky and not a little traumatized. My pick up was then late which left
me with the realization that, without internet, I had no phone number
and no hotel information for Barcelona. I was just considering my
options when a lovely young lady with a horrible cold came bouncing up
full of apologies. She proved to be my editor. Thank goodness! After the
stoicism of the Hungarians and the Swedes the effusive exuberance of
the Spanish was quite awe inspiring.
was the whole concept of St. George's day. This is a massive festival
in Barcelona all about St. George, the city's patron saint, and the
fated dragon. For some reason it has be co-opted by vast numbers of
books and a red roses. Everywhere, you go in the city there are tents
with books and stalls selling flowers. It's quite remarkable.
ended the day at a signing that included several famous musicians and
possibly a reality TV star or two. This occasioned the appearance of
large crowds which gave me my first taste of what it will be like at
ComicCon, I suspect. None of them were for me, of course, but it was
brilliant people watching.
writing this at the airport in Barcelona. I left the same amount of
time to get here as I did in Budapest yet I am over an hour early. My
gate information still isn't posted and I've been typing for over an
hour. Thus I sit, sipping my very last European coffee and listening to
the British Tourists Abroad down the end of the table from me talk about
This is a strange life my little scribbles have catapulted me into.
[Posted from Heathrow hotel night before I return home.]
Flight from Barcelona to Gatwick on EasyJet was wonderful. Pleasant,
not crowded, on time and one could buy both magazines and bus/train
tickets on board.
GAIL'S DAILY DOSE
Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
If Famous Writers Had Written Twilight…
PROJECT ROUND UP
Deportment & Deceit
~ The Finishing School Book the Second:
Visiting the first Beta.
Etiquette & Espionage
~ The Finishing School Book the First: Release date Feb 2013.
~ Soulless Vol. 2: (AKA Changeless
) First chapter reviewed, drops on YenPlus
April 12th. Print release tentatively
~ Parasol Protectorate Book the Last. Out now!
~ The Parasol Protectorate Abroad Book the First:
Release date Fall 2013.
Soulless Reviews from
Quote of the Day:
from the menu at the parasol decorated restaurant in Budapest. I don't
know what the mean by "wingles" but I might have to use that word as a
name in a future book.