Monday, March 31, 2008

Best of Sunsets

Great sunsets just no Margaritas, but Sangria is OK.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Across the street

Yesterday we moved across the street and up the mountainside a bit, the vagarities of timeshare trading. We will be here at the Club Calahonda for eight days in a two bedroom walk up to the 3rd floor in a fairly quiet resort. Reception said that occupancy had been down this winter by rather high percentages. But we have wireless internet access in the room. It has its ups and downs speed-wise, but at least I can do my blog. We overlook a quiet pool and have a vista view to the sea.

From Tarifa to Tangier's or Back to Africa

We took a tour from the resort to Tangier's. First a bus to the fast ferry then a Moroccan Bus. Our guide in Tangier's was Muhammad and our driver was also Muhammad. A very popular name.
The Cave of Hercules. Used as a dwelling in ancient times and as a quarry for mill stones for grinding olives for olive oil.
Marks of quarrying on walls
William with a half finished stone
the famous outlet
At the lunch stop first a horse show
This horse liked me

The smoke from the shots of the long rifles (I hope they were shooting blanks--probably not)
The belly dancer
Into the Souk where the walking vendors are more persistent than even the ones in Puerto Vallarta
Our guide in traditional jalaba and fez
A show of carpets in a huge shop
Then on to the herb shop where the herbalist will cure all.

Day Two: 3/23/2008

Dawn is clear and beautiful. We have a large one bedroom suite. We meet lots of friendly people at the introduction meeting (free sangria), even some from the USA, though most are Brits. We watch a demo of making paella and have some for lunch.Sunbathing on our grass is relaxing,
then we watch the sunset over Gibralter and Africa (Mt Moses) from the roof. Together known as the pillars of Hercules from the myth that he made the strait at this point.
William tries to spy out something in Africa.
I make a version of paella for dinner. We had bought a raw 1/2 of a small chicken at the Supermercado. I think the chcken had been chased down and run over as it is terribly tough. Usually small means young, but in this case I think it meant stunted.

On the Beach at Mijas-Costa

Arrival: 3/22/2008
Our arrival in Malaga is uneventful until we get to the Avis car rental place. They are on break.
When the girl comes back things go poorly. We want to extend the contract we obtained in France to April 6th, the date of our final return to Malaga. After she tears up the paperwork 4 times, we finally get the price we agreed to in France as a daily rate, extended to the number of days we want now. We are given a lousy map, a ticket for the garage, vague directions to the car, and out the door.
Then we can buy the train tickets from Malaga to Madrid to San Sebastian to Paris. This takes 2 ticket agents, a supervisor, and a long time.
Then we try to find the car. Finally. Of course all the operating instructions are in Spanish.
As we try to exit, the ticket the Avis girl has given us does not work on the unmanned gate. Avis is closed. William buys another ticket and the machine eats it. As William is trying to pry the ticket back out of the machine with a pop top from a soda can, a worker comes by and opens the gate for us.
As we exit the train station, we immediately head in the wrong direction and circle around in Malaga. Every time we try to head toward what looks like a highway we are stopped and redirected by road construction. Signage is minimal. A sign to Cadiz points a way, then no more signs. Finally after numberless rounds and rounds we enter a highway and immediately get on A7 in the wrong direction. We drive a few miles until we find a place that has a clear off and on as that seems the simplest solution.
It is dark as we arrive near the resort, but we spot it, get off at the proper exit, and arrive unscathed at our destination.
As William is unloading the car a wind storm starts to howl.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Blogging in the lobby

I even got a flash drive so I could put up pictures, but this place has no way to use it. We are in the sun at Dona Lola resort on the seaside at Calahonda on the Southern coast of Spain. We are mostly resting and sunning. We did go to Tangier, so we could say we went to Africa. Also saw some flamenco dancing at the resort last night. Saturday we move across the street to another resort for another week. Will see what type of access they have or maybe we can find an Internet cafe. Those are usually cheaper and more accommodating.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Flores de las Fallas

Arrived too late for the fireworks and the bonfire of the Fallas, but the floral tributes to Our Lady of the Forsaken are still on display in the Plaza de la Virgen. The crowd is so thick that we are unable to get further than the doorway of the Basilica of the Virgin. So we crowd watch while sipping dos cafes.

Also we meet up with one of the Holy Week processionals purely by chance.

Valencia Cathedral,
the home of the Holy Chalice, gold with jewels, and the left arm of Santo Vincente the Martyr, patron saint of Valencia, is a study in light white and gold with high windows filled with white and gold mottled glass. The stone pillars, crossed arches and walls are a white/beige sandstone. The crowd is thinner here so we get in to see the chalice and the arm.

Trouble is that most of the city is closed for Holy Week, except for a few restaurants. Even the great Central Market is closed. We tour the restored Silk Merchants Hall and settle for lunch at a Pan's.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Barcelona on the Bus

As with many large cities, Barcelona has a hop on hop off tour bus system. Since we were going to be here for a short time we decided that the bus was the best to get an overview of the city.
Art and fantastical architecture best describes Barcelona.
Hard to get a good shot of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral--under construction for more than 100 years now.
Vichy water at lunch
Notice the ubiquitous security camera
William was ready for this store (really just candy).
Can you find the pigeon ready for a nap?
This heroic statue was labeled Barcelona. A really heroic city.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back with the Romans in Montpellier, Fr.

At the top of the hill is an ancient Roman water cistern.
And the attached aqueduct.


Bobby Julich at the start of the race.
Nice weather in Nice for a bike race.
Faster, faster, as this group is just trying to finish.

Nice is nice

No, we didn't eat here. It was closed.

Top of Castle hill looking down at Nice. Yes, we did walk up here.

Long time no wifi

Back to Genova:

Who is the crazy guy in the lobby of our Bed and Breakfast?

William is having too much fun to be a galley slave.

A picture postcard shot of Genova from the top of the Museo de la Mare.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Genoa on the Shelf

We are in Genoa the birthplace of Chris Columbus, but the city is not banking on that association. We have a nice room in a B&B next to the harbor and many of the sites. But not near many open restaurants as we looked around on a Monday night. So next door was a take out pizza and that looked fine. William was holding the pizza and I was fumbling with the keys in the double doors when unbeknownst to me a woman came up behind William and tried to enter with us. William said she looked like a hooker so he closed the outer door on her as she was shouting "but I live here." But she didn't have a key as she never came in. Interesting.
The on line ad for the B&B must have been written by Frank and Ernest as the toilettes are down the hall and the Internet is only in one room, not ours. But we have been promised access to the Internet room until Thursday. Of course the place where the signal is strongest is up on a bookshelf.
Highlights of Sorrento:
Pompeii; William peeks out
Caesar Guillermo
A plaster cast of a cart driver who was found next to his mule
These Baths are cracked up from the hot mud
William wants a courtyard with statues---I think he has the Three Graces in mind rather than dogs eating deer

Naples Archaeological Museum:
All the good stuff from Pompeii and Herculaneum was moved here
And William tried to take pictures of most of it
He was having fun

The City of Sorrento is built on gorges. Made me dizzy to look down too long.
At lunch we were entertained by a picture of the pope standing in front of a picture that looked to be depicting the toilet training of the baby Gesu.
St Francis, William and the cat
Vesuvius across the bay of Naples. The snow from the day before had melted off.
Dog on a roof --a city playground for a small dog.