Thrasher Magazine: A Gastronomical Adventure
In the summer of 2010, I had the pleasure of going on a skateboarding tour through Europe with éS footwear. The following is the tale of a gluttonous journey of over-consumption disguised as a skate trip. As seen in the November 2010 issue of Thrasher Magazine.
Photography: Joe Brook.
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A Gastronomical Adventure:
eS in Europe.
To start off the summer, the good people at eS sent us on a two and a half week gallivant across the U.K. and Europe with Scuba Steve and Sebastian Palmer at the helm. The trip began in Scotland, then England, over to France, and finally down to Spain. The plan was pretty standard. Travel around the above-mentioned countries, skate some spots, and get more acquainted with our European counterparts. However, getting more acquainted with our European counterparts meant our crew would be doubled, maybe even tripled. There were always at least 25 people in our crew at every situation we encountered. This made everything a little more interesting. Meals would require a table that was half a mile long, when we would show up to a skate spot, the locals must have felt like a double decker tourist bus had just let out, and checking in and out of hotels was a whole different story all together. So with our massive crew, we journeyed through these lands that were foreign to some us, and enjoyed the unique ride.
We began our journey in John Rattray’s hometown of Aberdeen. John showed us around there for a couple days to some of his crusty old spots that he grew up skating, and we got familiar with the road that lay ahead. From there we headed to Scotland's capital city of Edinburgh, a city filled with amazing medieval architecture, some rugged skate spots, and an interesting curry house. Our first day in town, we explored the city and went out for a full day of skating. To finish off the day right, we strolled down to a curry house down the street from our hotel for a huge Indian meal that night. We had a substantial crew, ordering everything you could imagine. At the end of the meal, the waiter politely informed us that the credit card machine was down, even though they had multiple stickers on the front door that suggested quite the opposite. While Seb and our waiter were going back and forth about this scenario, the members of our table were trickling out of the restaurant one by one. By the time it was settled that Seb would withdraw cash to pay for the meal, a majority of our crew had dined and dashed. This all happened at closing time, and we were the only ones in the restaurant. The waiter didn’t want to take any chances, so while Seb exited the restaurant to find an ATM, our waiter made a sneaky beeline to the door and locked the rest of us inside. We were now at the mercy of our waiter. He had made the quick change from giving us service with a smile, to locking us in his culinary dungeon and throwing away the key. However, after a few minutes that felt like hours, Seb returned and the waiter set us free. So we high-tailed it out of there, and re-united with the rest of our crew that had unknowingly left us for dead. Following that we had a well-deserved night's sleep, then headed south to England.
Appropriately enough, we were greeted with rain when we arrived in England. We spent our first few days traveling between Newcastle, Sheffield and Corby, Kettering, Plymouth and then finally to Bristol. We skated lots of spots, ate lots of curry, and we even saw a family with the father and all his children playing sex pistols covers at a pub, but when we got to Bristol, things got pretty entertaining. When we first got into town we skated a fun little ledge-into-bank spot reminiscent of the Baldi School in Philly. It happened to be situated right next to a playground littered with little kids, which made things pretty interesting once we showed up and completely blew out the spot with our huge crew. We quickly realized that some of the kids were getting frustrated with us taking over their spot. Of course, their parents weren’t that psyched either, and all of the sudden, one mother called out, "Da boy in da blue shirt wit da bad attitude, get over here!” This of course, was Bobby, so he made his way over to them and they had a confrontation, in which he explained to the mother that he felt it was in fact her that had the bad attitude. She didn't seem to share Bobby's opinion, and at that point, all the kids were beginning to form a line in front of the ledges to block us from skating them. In addition, the locals had just informed us that we weren't exactly in the safest part of town. So in order to avoid a small army of toddlers and enraged mothers turning on us, we booked it out of there and went on our way. The following day, we bid farewell to pounds, fish and chips, and driving on the left side of the road, and we set sail for Bordeaux, France.
France and Spain
Our massive crew arrived in Bordeaux with three stick shift vans waiting to carry us from Bordeaux to the Basque Country. Throwing caution to the wind, Scuba volunteered to drive one of the vans even though he had no experience driving manual automobiles. However, his position as the captain of the ship didn't make it past the airport parking lot, due to about 6 stall-outs in a row. When we got to town, Javier Sarmiento, Gauthier Rogers, and Mark Frolich were all waiting for us. We all enjoyed some delicious wine that Bordeaux prides itself on while we were there. In fact, we enjoyed the wine so much, that a few of us took to the wino lifestyle for the rest of the trip, opting for purple stained lips and teeth instead of bloated stomachs from frothy beverages. Unfortunately, we were only in Bordeaux for a couple days, but we managed to skate some good spots, enjoy some wine, and take in the city’s sites with Gauthier as our guide, being the local that he is. However, time was of the essence and after those few short days, we packed up in our caravan, and headed to Javier's homeland of Spain.
Oddly enough, we had more sunshine in the UK than we did in Spain. Our first two stops in Spain were Bilbao, and Javi’s hometown of Vitoria, which were both amazing cities with lots to offer, but we ended up having to settle for some slippery skate sessions in the drizzle. Our last stop of the trip was Madrid, where we endured some rain, but also got a few really good days of enjoying the city’s sites alongside Javier and his crew playing the flamenco guitar at the many plazas of the city. Early in the morning of the final day of the trip, a few of us ventured out to a concrete bowl on the outskirts of the city. We got a bit lost on the way, and Rattray seemed to be pretty confident with his Spanish, so when he spotted a few school children walking down the sidewalk, he poked his head out of the van to see if they might be of some assistance. It turned out that the literal translation of his question to the kids was, ''Hey boys, do you know where the park is?’’. This coming from a group of foreign men in a large van seemed a bit strange to say the least. However, the kids didn't seem to pick up on the unintentional connotations of John’s question, and they actually did know where the skate park was, so they pointed us in the right direction. We had a little session at the park, then got rained out and headed back to the city. Back in the city that night, Kevin was starting to feel good again after recovering from an ankle injury in the beginning of the trip. He ended up getting one of the most memorable tricks of the trip that evening, and gave us all a reason to celebrate.
With the commencement of our final session in Madrid, we all went out for one of the biggest meals of our trip. There must have been 30 of us at dinner that night as we somehow ate an Italian meal to celebrate our time spent in Spain, France, England, and Scotland. But no matter the type of meal we ate, with that many people all together at once, Scuba felt it was necessary to give a toast to our journey. So he stood up in front of us all, and tried to make sense of this trip that was about to become another memory. We all looked each other in the eyes, raised our glasses, and said, "Salud!". The trip was now complete, and the next day we all would go our separate ways, back to our respective lives, and search for the next opportunity to do it all over again.