This is the first post of a bunch about my adventures in Europe.
I had the privilege to be the drummer for the Blue Man Group aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s EPIC ship, where we cruised through the Mediterranean for four months. The EPIC is basically a huge floating city, complete with enough cabins for 5,000 guests, 1,700 crew, 22 restaurants, a pool deck, water slides, a sports deck, rock wall, outdoor mega-screen club/bar/sundeck, a spa with wet and dry saunas and hydrotherapy pool, passenger and crew gyms, outdoor jogging track, comedy club, Cirque tent, casino, many bars, bowling, art gallery, Crew Bar, and of course, the EPIC theater, where Legends in Concert would perform Tuesday thru Thursday, and the Blue Man Group would perform Friday thru Monday. There was no shortage of fun to be had on the ship….
But this post is about what we did in port. We sailed the same route each week: Sunday was Barcelona, Spain; Monday was at sea the entire day; Tuesday was Naples, Italy; Wednesday was Civitaveccia, Italy: the port nearest to Rome; Thursday was Livorno, close to Florence, Italy; Friday was Cannes, France; and Saturday was Palma, Majorca, an island just off of Spain. Then it was back to Barcelona on Sunday to do it all over again. Barcelona was where the whole adventure began for our cast. We were all flown from our respective home cities to Barcelona where we had one night, followed by a 6am call the next morning to catch the bus into port, where we would first board the EPIC.
OK- so I push too hard sometimes. I get it. Now I get it more than I got it before. And I might need to get it again, although this was a tough lesson to take this time.
It actually started in Athens, GA, where I decided to see if I could do bikram (hot) yoga for 3 days straight, while also doing our shows everyday. I’ve only done bikram 2 times in the past, and both times it seriously kicked my ass! Like, “I’m not going to be doing anything for the rest of the day”- kicked my ass.
“I’ve been doing yoga everyday for almost 2 months now, I’m feeling pretty good. Let’s give this a shot.” So I tried it. First day, not too bad. Better than I expected. Charles and I went, and survived, so we went out for sushi afterwards. Probably a good food choice- healthy, light. But the saké was not. It was fine at the time, and if that was all the bikram I was to be doing for the week, that would have been fine. (more…)
Sometimes you get a good vibe the moment you set foot in a place.
Athens was one of those places. Everyone fell in love with Athens, GA from the moment we showed up. What a cool town. It’s rather small, and the downtown is actually only a couple of blocks long, but its cram packed full of really cool shops: from the swanky to the vibey-vintage- awesome fooderies: great sushi (in GA, believe it or not!),
Vietnamese, Thai, American diners, bars with good food, coffee shops, desert places, and most of them one of a kind shops too- a fair amount of live music venues, including the Georgia Theater where we saw shows on 2 of our 3 nights there- great venue- There’s a bikram yoga place there BikramAthens (where I did bikram on all 3 of my days there!!), and just a cool vibe all around.
Athens is definitely a college town, so I’m curious what it’s like when school’s out, but I can’t imagine it being a total ghost town, as it’s just such a cool place.
I’m a bit sad that we couldn’t be there on a weekend, so we could’ve seen more if the local music scene, and I’m definitely already missing this cool town. I’ll be going back to Athens the next chance I get.
Had a great time at Tapas 177 last night!
I was so happy when we walked downstairs to find a live salsa band, and they were killin it! I’ve actually played in salsa bands before, and have listened to the music for years, so I know when it’s good, and these guys were the real deal!! Timbalero, Congero, Bongero, piano, bass, guiro, singers and trumpet. All providing the right elements! A very nice suprise. Some serious dancers there too. Really made me wish I had learned to salsa!
Then there was the food. Somewhat pricey, but so worth it.
We also ran into some people that had been at the Blue Man show (easily spotted by the blue hand print on the bald guy’s head)- so they got a kick out of meeting the musicians from the show.
Since I’ve been here in Cincinnati, and after I found the Findlay market, I’ve been cooking fish in the apartment almost every night. The only drawback I suppose is that my apartment suite smells like fish!
This is a dish that I was cooking a lot while I was here. As per my wife’s recommendation, I cook the vegetables first, usually just putting a bit of water in the pot and covering it, and cooking on medium low heat. Tonight was broccoli, asparagus, and kale. I prepare the fish by simply putting salt and pepper on both sides. I like to let the pan warm up with a little bit of olive oil in it, then just pan fry the fish. When the fish is almost done I like to throw in little grape tomatoes that I’ve sliced in half because I like the flavor they add. Then the brown stuff you see on top of the fish is the parts of the fish that stick to the bottom of the pan. I like to scrape it off and put it on top for some flavor and a little bit of crunch. I top everything off with lemon and perhaps a bit more of my special Himalayan rock salt that I brought with me on tour.
Tasty. Healthy. Satisfying.
How about an avocado, basil pepper chicken sandwich on toasted Multi-grain bread with grape tomatoes, olive oil mayo, and pesto spread!
The chicken was precooked and flavored from Findlay Market. Got the hand made pesto spread there too!
Findlay Market is a farmer’s market type place, close to downtown Cinci, that’s open 6 days a week! It’s really great, with lots of local produce, meats, and on-site bakeries, spiceries, etc… It’s where I did the majority of my shopping here in Cinci.
I’m gonna miss you Findlay!