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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. …

Huaca Pucllana: Just Some Ruins In Your Neighb, NBD

Miraflores, the neighborhood in Lima where we stayed and spent much of our time, is a lovely, leafy, normal 21st century ‘hood with people on smart phones and a confusing number of Papa John’s. So it’s jarring to round a corner and find, in between high rises, ancient ruins dating from 500 AD. In fact, until 20 or so years ago, Huaca Pucllana—the size of a city block or two—was considered just an odd part of the neighborhood, largely ignored as a site of historical or cultural importance. It was that weird hill made of bricks that kids used for motocross (this is true) until excavation began in earnest in 1992. What archaeologists discovered was a huge compound, built in layers over time, that served as a ceremonial and administrative hub for the Lima people, who flourished between 100 and 650 AD. Some fun (fun?) Huaca P facts: -Much like Blake, the Limas loved a reno. Every ten to fifteen years, perhaps coinciding with a change in leadership, they would add a new layer to …

The Best Of What We Ate: Asia

With all the food we’ve eaten on our trip thus far, it’s a wonder there’s any left for the rest of y’all. And, like the hook from any Iggy Azalea song, there are some things that we just cannot get out of our heads. (And, like Iggy tracks, some of these dishes didn’t make us feel good about liking them.) We honor them here; below, a list of the best single items we ate in Asia. We’ve excluded specific dishes from our favorite restaurants (check out Blake’s list of those here) so, for the most part, these skew in the cheap eats direction. Sea grapes, Okinawa, Japan The caviar of the sea! …The vegetarian caviar of the sea! We had these at Booten in Naha. Drag them quickly through good soy, done. Beef Bowl, Ishigaki, Japan If you are a reader of this blog, you may or may not be sick of hearing us go on about Ishigaki Beef. Well, TOO BAD, because we never knew beef could taste this good and thusly cannot stop …

Blake’s on a Plane: A Skydiving Q+A

Blake jumped out of a plane over Lake Taupo. I drank orange Fanta and ate Tim Tams firmly on the ground. We’re different people, it makes for a healthy marriage. While I had no desire to go skydiving, I did have all the questions. Here are some things I wanted to know about her experience and what she had to say. -MacKenzie Q: Were you scared? A: I could tell from the skydivers around me that this wasn’t the case for everyone, but the most scared that I felt was standing at the desk, deciding whether to commit to jumping. Once I said yes and was going through the pre-jump steps (reviewing the safety video—yes, Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” was utilized—getting suited up, talking to my instructor, watching people on the previous plane fall from the sky like army man toys), I kept expecting to feel the fear, but it never quite came full-on. Q: You are a brave human. What’s going through your mind when the plane is ascending to jump height? A: When …

Singapore: The Good, the Bad, and the Clean

If in the not so distant future—maybe on an episode of Black Mirror—Switzerland were taken over by Chinese people, you’d have an approximation of Singapore. It’s a weird place, guys. Weird-good and weird-bad. In the lead up to our trip, everyone we talked to who had been to Singapore was like, “…oh. How long? Three days, yeah, that’s okay, just go to eat.” So our expectations were low. But turns out Singapore is pretty okay! Blake, in fact, loved it, and lays out her case below in a series of “Pro” arguments. MacKenzie didn’t hate it either, but for the sake of debate, she’ll take the “Con” sections of this post. Pro: Singapore is clean and orderly as fuck. Allow me to go ahead and state the obvious first: it’s super nice to kick it in a city where there isn’t trash and dog excrement all over the sidewalks and the subways run like clockwork. As it turns out, a place becomes very approachable when there are rules and people follow the rules, even the …