Regulars and Shorts

Publisher’s Notebook: Travels in Spain

By John deJong

John checks in from his adventuring in Spain.

Dispatches from Spain: John shares a trip celebrating the memory of his mother with Greta, Sophie and Rachel

When John deJong was very young, his family lived in Spain. RoseMary deJong, his mother, died last October. In memory of her, and his father Dick deJong, he took his two daughters, Rachel and Sophie Silverstone, and me to visit the land of his earlier youth. He remains there a while longer, traveling alone. Thank goodness for emails. Here is a brief note among many, one that carries his distinctive “don’t get me started” flavor.

— Greta Belanger deJong

Short drive from San Sebastardo to Bilbao, or Bilbo as they say it in Basque. Surprising how much of Tolkien I see here.

I spent 2 hours trying to figure out how to pay a parking ticket I got yesterday while I was checking into the Pension. F’ing bureaucrats! No signs, one pay station every two blocks and no clue where to pay. Well maybe if you can read very fine-print Basque, which could be Chinese for all I know. Actually it’s a fairly simple translation: “x” for “ch” and “k” for “c,” but it looks very different. Speaking it, they drop their “c”s and “s”s, so gracias is graia.

Anyway, Bilbo is beautiful. Went to a Chinese, or rather Xine, restaurant and had squid in its own ink, with a little soy sauce, really good when it’s not cooked too much. I’ll stay here two nights, then on to Santander, which is on the coast. Bilbo is about seven miles up a river, but you can still see the tidal action. There’s something about the pounding of “oceanic” waves that I love. I must have picked that up in Cadiz when I was young.

You’d love it up here in “green Spain.” It looks like a severely rumpled Wisconsin with rocks and great forests.

—John deJong is the associate publisher of CATALYST.

This article was originally published on May 4, 2014.