We still walk almost every day, usually about 4-5 miles but sometimes up to 10 when we can find the time. Kepa loves it and looks forward to it. Sometimes we stop off at a family dive bar (only in New Orleans can those words go together!) near our house called Down the Hatch.....it feels a bit like stops on the Camino. Kepa very rarely (like maybe once a month?) gets to ride in the pack any more though, he's just too big. Thank God for Bob strollers.
We are amazed (shocked?) to realize Kepa still remembers the Camino. We are sure that will eventually fade, but for now he still picks up his camino stick, walks around, and pretends to hike. When we watched the new Camino Documentary that came out in the last year (more on that in a moment), he stared at it intently for an hour and a half. And then he wanted to watch it again the next day. When asked if he remembered, he replied with a tone that implies, why are you asking me that, as he said "yeah, en camino."
Two movies that are at least semi-Camino related came out this year. The first, a documentary called Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago may be the best Camino film we've seen yet. It has its faults, and certainly romanticizes a tad at times, but it is a well-made movie and (separately) one of the most accurate depictions of what the Camino is really like we've ever seen. Far better than the Martin Sheen movie, The Way. If you are the type of person who liked this blog at all (and that still baffles us!) then we highly recommend this documentary. One of the six pilgrims featured is a French woman walking with her four year old. Her reasons and experience look far different from ours, but it was still interesting to see a child featured. The other movie isn't really Camino related at all, more hiking. But Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, may be the best hiking/journey/transformation film we've ever seen. This is a tired, over-done genre (we've talked about that while critiquing The Way in the past).....and Wild manages to invoke pretty much all of those cliches only in order to defuse them. There is some really annoying (and obvious) product placement for Snapple and REI, but other than that, it is sublime.
We are still in close contact with Marian, our Basque lady friend, and keep in fairly good contact with the Double-A's in Texas, Kim and David from England, and Joan from Catalunya. Kim is recovering nicely from her cancer and Marian is busy building and running Casa Rurals in the Basque Region. Let us know if you want to rent one from her, she'd appreciate it :)
In non-Camino news, we remain active and busy (though broke) as we try to keep updating and fixing our 1885 house in the Irish Channel of New Orleans. Brittany's academic book came out this year (a comparison between Spain and the U.S. South), Todd has an academic article (about Sofia Coppola's road-movie Somewhere) in December, he does monthly movie reviews for a tiny magazine in Houma, and Todd and Brittany have been busy on a couple of other joint writing projects. Mary Ann has now been living in New Orleans for a year-and-a-half and got her own apartment, about a mile from us, last August. She seems to like it here, when she has time and energy to enjoy the city. Her job really is working her hard. Todd still commutes to Thibodaux, and Kepa rides with him for daycare three days a week. Brittany is still working in New Orleans. Kepa is working on potty training. He's both late, and slow to take to it. Let's hope that isn't still a topic of conversation this time next year :)
Brittany's mom passed away suddenly in December. Her Aunt and Uncle are still Frenching it up on the West Bank of New Orleans. And even Frencher than that, the paperwork has finally come through for both Brittany and Kepa's dual French citizenship. Now Todd is the only non-international in the house.
If all of this typing hasn't yet put you to sleep, here is our year in pictures:
Our plan had been to take the year off from travel in order to save up for a Basque trip in the Summer of 16, but Mary Ann rented a house for a week over July Fourth at Folly Beach just outside of Charleston SC and invited us along (it was her trick to get a family vacation). Charleston is our second favorite city in the nation, has a great food scene, and Folly Beach is the (rare) beach that matches our family vibe. So we agreed to go along. On the way we spent the night in Nashville in order to eat at Rotier's and then see Gillian Welch, our favorite musician (along with Dylan of course), at the Ryman. Mary Ann sat with Kepa in the balcony (planning to leave as soon as he was a distraction) and we had great seats. But Kepa made it three hours glued and mesmerized. After 11 hours in the car, a 2-year old stayed up for a seated concert until 11 PM. We are in shock. And thank goodness they played his Camino bedtime song: "The Monkey and the Engineer" The next day we stopped off in Orangeburg for one of our two favorite BBQ joints in the world, Duke's. It was Kepa's first experience.
|Upper Left: Dave Rawlings Machine/Gillian Welch at the Ryman, The Rest: Duke's|
|Folly Beach SC|
|Bri in front of Husk|
As usual, our biggest Fall activity is hosting tailgates for Tulane football. This year was a particularly fun yet challenging year because for the first time in almost forty years Tulane football moved back on campus, to brand new Yulman Stadium. The tailgating scene on the quad is some of the best we've ever seen anywhere in the south, and that has made gameday much more fun. Alas, the team couldn't quite match the new enthusiasm, going 3-9 for the year.
|You'll Love Yulman Stadium.....Kepa does!!!!!|
|Bri and Kepa on Tulane's Homepage|
|Bris is front and center, but Todd was off meeting Kepa and MaryAnn at the parking spot, so they missed out!|
|Pumpkin Patch Lovin' Cowboy|
|Upper Left: Kepa in the window at Sucre. The Rest: The Tee-Pee|
|From Upper Right, Counter-Clockwise: The Family on Mardi Gras Day, Kepa enjoys a oversized tooth brush thrown from a float, Mary Ann in her Oui Dat costume, & the family at the Irish Channel St Patrick's Day Parade|
|Scott, Nicole, Bri, and Kepa on the left. Torta de Santiago from Kenneday on the right.|
|Left: The family races to finish turtle soup at French Quarter Fest, Top Right: Boudin Stuff Fried Chicken from Patois also at FW Fest, Lower Right: Kepa blows his bubble gun at Jazz Fest|
So two years out of Santiago, we're still trekking on, even if a bit closer to home. Kepa says hi.....