Author: THE MACKS

3/üç from Istanbul

Scene-setter: Ask Blake to recite any scene from Good Will Hunting or A League of Their Own and she’s got you covered, but there are some serious gaps in her cinematic education. Take, for example, that she had never seen a Bond film before 2014. How they let her graduate from the 90’s without seeing GoldenEye is baffling to MacKenzie. After Skyfall sucked her in, we moved on to the classics, starting with From Russia With Love, the 1963 James Bond romp that finds Sean Connery in Istanbul, navigating cisterns and collecting countless STIs. Pound-the-table recommendation: Sometimes the biggest tourist attractions are the biggest mehs. The Statue of Liberty is way smaller than you imagine, and Blake, a Plymouth native, will be the first to tell you that you can skip the rock. But for all the eating and strolling and coffeeing that we do, we also see sights like real Lonely Planet-clutching tourists. I mean, you aren’t about to go to London and not visit Buckingham Palace (JK, we only drank beer and sang karaoke and got haircuts …

MACKS Approved: Madrid, Spain

Click on through for our Google map. 1. Bodega La Ardosa: Tapas for days at this place, which has been serving the Malasaña neighborhood since 1892. We recommend the house vermouth, the cured beef, and their tortilla española, which is legitimately made by the owner’s wizened mother and is the best we’ve ever had. We began an evening of eating and drinking with a couple Madrileños here, and there seems no better spot. 2. Frutal Zumeria: What with all the jamon you will no doubt be consuming, it’s essential to know where to get a juice. Several locations. 3. La Venencia: The sherry bar (with snacks!) of your Spanish sueños. If not for a dinner reservation, we would almost certainly have been there all night, sipping sherries dry and sweet, eating our weight in jamon, olives, and cheese. There’s also a resident cat who doesn’t give a crap about you, and the proprietor will reprimand you sternly should you try to take photos. 4. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía: Guernica happens here. 5. …

All Around The World

While on Easter Island, we drove our rented ATV up the steep slopes of Rano Kau, a volcano near the main town of Hanga Roa. We came around a bend and eyed a dude ahead of us, running at a quick clip. Blake pulled up beside him. “Sir, are you okay? Is someone chasing you? Are you in distress?” He looked confused, and only at that point did we realize he was running by choice—jogging, if you will. It takes all kinds. We, meanwhile, strictly limited our running to once a location in order to bring you our trip in roughly 90 seconds:

Prado LOLs

Peter Paul Rubens, “Saint James the Elder” and “Saint Andrew” Basically the Mast Brothers. Francisco de Goya, “Half-Submerged Dog” This dog, whom we love. Francisco de Goya, “The Family of Carlos IV” See you in my nightmares forever! And speaking of rough looking royalty… Hyacinthe Rigaud, “Louis XIV, King of France” Gimme those booties though. Francisco de Goya, “Queen María Luisa in a Dress with Bustle” Diego Velázquez, “Felipe IV” Diego Velázquez, “Mariana of Austria, Queen of Spain” Striking (and unfortunate) resemblance between Mariana and her uncle, Felipe IV, pictured directly above, right? Did we say uncle? We meant husband. Oh, but ALSO STILL HER UNCLE. Peter Paul Rubens, “Saturn Devouring his Son” and Francisco de Goya, “Saturn Devouring his Son” Exactly two more depictions of Saturn devouring his son than we were interested in seeing.  

3/tres from Madrid

Scene-setter: While we’re not huge fans of Hemingway the man, bro can write. The Sun Also Rises mainly takes place in Pamplona, but towards the end Jake decamps to Madrid to fetch Brett, who has called things off with her matador boyfriend, fifteen years her junior (get it, Brett). As we know, the only remedy for a broken heart is a martini or twelve and suckling pig. Jake and Brett find theirs at the Palace Hotel and Botín, respectively. We didn’t make it to Botín, which apparently still serves up excellent lechon, but we did stop in at Casa Revuelta just around the corner for some beautiful bacalao. Our recommendation is that you make a night of it and hit both. Pound-the-table recommendation: Make friends with a Madrileño. We’ve been overwhelmed on our trip by the kindness and hospitality shown to us by friends and friends-of-friends around the world, but the folks in Madrid really go above and beyond. From Carola, who went toe-to-toe with Spanish postal bureaucracy on our behalf, to Saul and Almudena, …

Let’s Nerd Out Over Pre-Columbian Artifacts (Masturbation Sculptures Within!)

The Larco Museum is a fantastic place to spend a few hours if you’re the type who enjoys ABC Carpet & Home and the History Channel in equal measure. The museum offers visitors ice water subtly flavored with orange AND the grounds are beautiful—a lovely oasis in the middle of Lima—so what more could you want from an afternoon really? Below, some things we saw. …like this guy, crafted by the Moche people, who also made these water vessels/kettlebells, #isymfs. Apologies for the crappy image quality, but for all our fellow textile nerds, this scrap of fabric, woven by a Chincha artisan sometime between 1300 and 1500 AD, holds the world record for threads per linear inch, clocking in at 398. This series of strings and knots is a khipu, used by the Incas for various forms of record keeping such as tax payments. The position of the knots and lengths of the strings represent numerical values, sort of like a fiber-based abacus. There are also some spectacular examples of jewelry, such as this ensemble …

MACKS Approved: Lima, Peru

Lima! No one told us! We knew, of course, that it was a culinary capital in a Peruvian-food-is-the-new-New-Nordic-cuisine kind of way. But we’d also heard that the city itself was unwalkable, unlovable, unremarkable, a forgettable layover on the way to Machu Picchu. We decided to come for the food, which was every bit as good as expected, and ended up impressed by all the rest. Click through for our full map. 1. ámaZ: This resto charted at #9 on Blake’s latest Best Restaurants in the World list. The chef’s other, chichier restaurant is Malabar, which is on the San Pellegrino list and zzzzzzzzz. We purposefully avoided Lima’s pricier dining options, so this was our fanciest meal—and even then, it had whiffs of the Rainforest Cafe. But the food delivered, and now we can say we’ve eaten giant Amazonian snails. 2. Huaca Pucllana: Accessible ruins in Miraflores. Read all about ’em. 3. Larco Museum: If you go to one museum in Lima, make it this one. Perhaps that’s a biased recommendation seeing as we did, in …