Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Day Forty One: Half way home and Already planning our Return.

Well no pictures here either though the meal we had at Victoria's and Phillips really rates photos along with the other meals. Being at their house is almost like home. It certainly makes the long trip to and from NC to NJ a pleasant trip. I can't thank them enough. But all good things must come to and end and so with the wild wood flower. Well here is that song.

So we slept and headed to Hampstead NC. It had been two months and a hurricane later. we knew our houses were OK, but we really didn't know what to expect. Thankful that we and our properties had escaped damage, but somewhat not right that we had had such a wonderful time and some of our friends and neighbors were still trying to recover from Florence. Now that we are home, we will do what we can to help.

Day Forty: What can you say about a flight across the Atlantic?

Not much. You know the routine. Wake up. Make sure everything is packed. Get to the airport early. Check bags ( They are full of wine). Wait in line. Take off shoes. Forgot belt so take it off. Get singled out for explosives check. You don't speak Spanish. She doesn't speak English. SMILE. Point out you have artificial knee. SMILE. Load everything back in back pack and go wait for another two hours. Walk two miles ( according to Apple Watch), find your gate and sit down and wait. Be in group One ( new boarding procedure) as is everyone else. Buy last minute stuff that you hope the USA will not confiscate. Board pane.Wait on Jet tube for 1/2 hour. Get on plane. Pray no one shows up for window seat. Take two Valium. Wait Wait. And you have only two people for three seats. There is a God. Maybe it's the Valium. Get NY Times International. read some of it. Get meal. Remember to take meat since Barbara is giving us Pasta in NJ when we land and get to her house.
Sleep, Eat, Drink, get up every two hours so legs do not fill with blood or water. Land. Pray customs doesn't take my contraband bought in Madrid airport.
Breeze through customs because I bought/Received Global Entry for the USA. Makes me a VIP. Pick up luggage which was checked because of the wine I was bringing in.
Call Tony who will bring us to Chuck and Barbra's.
Everything is smooth. In fact as we are riding to Chuck and Barbara's house what should come on the radio. Remember this was our 50th Anniversary trip.

Well we got to Chuck and Barbra's and had a great meal, nice talks and oh too short a visit. Tomorrow we leave for Silver Spring. Half way home.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Day Thirty Nine: 10,000 kilometers later

Woke up today on Toledo ready for the short trip to Madrid. One hour to be exact. An uneventful ride on a Friday to a nice but nodescript hotel near the Airport. Too early to get in our rooms, so I fire up the GPS and head back to the airport to return the rental car. GPS works just fine. A little trouble finding Hertz since they moved sometime in the past, but did not correct all of their rental return signs. But it isn't that big and I find it. Sign my name and I am off back to the Hotel.
I get there just as Mary Ann and Linda are checking in. Dump the bags and lay down to rest. Tonight will be packing night. Unless you wanted pictures of the rental car garage, there will be none so far. In fact if you want pictures of the rental car garage, you will have to take them yourself. I have none.

So we rest and then meet for drinks at the hotel bar. Some appetizers and drinks and it is back to the room to pack. We manage to get everything in our suitcases without throwing anything away.

All packed and ready for our flight tomorrow. Should be back in the USA around 4:00 PM.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Day Thirty Eight: Goodbye to the City on the Hill

No not San Francisco. Our last day in Toledo and Spain/Europe in general. We of course have friday as the last real day, but it will consist of getting to the hotel near the airport, unloading, returning the rental car and back to the hotel to pack. We fly back to JFK Saturday around noon.

So we sleep late and have a lazy morning. Then we are out to ride the tourist train that is pulled by a tractor and takes people around the city. Many cities have them, but in Toledo it is a good way to get around and see the city without the up and down climbing Toledo has to offer.  It was also really nice because it takes you out of the city to see Toledo as El Greco painted it. The ride supplies earphones that give you the history and stories of Toledo in 13 different languages. I have already forgotten most of what was said. Of course I listened for awhile in Korean and flipped between English and English for children. Could not tell any difference between the last two.

Pictures from the train ride.

Our train.

 Toledo with its River.
Left of that picture.
 Me outside of Toledo.

We get off of the train hungry. But we are having suckling pig at a nice restaurant tonight so we don't want a big meal. We find a small place that has just the right sandwiches and plates. And it also had sangria of course.

Some last minute souvenir shopping and we head  for dessert. However since this is a national holiday, every place is filled. We resort to the first place we ate at when we arrived. Very slow service. And only inside. Today the rain has gone away, and the temperature is 60 degrees. Very Spring like. So after dessert, we walk to the old wall and have some beers outside overlooking the river that flows around Toledo.  Nice day.

Having a beer on the old wall.

 Some of the many nice buildings in Toledo.
The entry way to our apartment. House was built in the 1500's.

More Apartment pictures.

 Our bedroom.

 Living room.

So our last meal in Toledo will be in the Cardinal's residence( he has moved out long ago) for suckling pig. It was very good.

Three very happy travelers. Headed to Madrid ( Friday)and the airport and JFK ( Saturday) and home in time to vote.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Day Thirty Seven: One More Hill To Climb

We awoke in Toledo to clear skies and crisp Autumn air. And this nice spacious apartment is just what we needed to end our trip. Lots of room to relax and read while the laundry gets done in the kitchen clothes washer. We will venture out after the laundry is done. So far we have walked to the market and back for some supplies. Coffee, cookies, yogurt, laundry detergent and such. I think we are almost ready to head home to the States. Wonder what is going on there? Very nice to have no news except what I want to see on the Internet.

 Ceiling above our bed.
 Living room.
 View out one Living room window. We are almost on top of the highest hill. Also how not to take care of your roof in the house across the alley.
Comfortable reading while the laundry gets done.

 The steps leading down to our apartments street.
 Further down we go.
 Our apartment.
 Inside hallway.
 Above the courtyard.
Our bedroom.

 Apartment across from us. Neat walls.

 Well the dryer is a little bit slow, so we stopped it, hung some clothes out to dry, and headed to see the Cathedral of Toledo. Having seen many churches in our travels, I get a bit jaded when touring them. However this was enormous and had more plundered gold than I could imagine. I cannot imagine how much it would cost in today's dollars to build. That said it was very nice to see. Even if the bell tower was closed to tourists.

 Inside the Cathedral.
 Another processional alter. Once owned by Queen Isabella of Spain.
 The choir's seats
 More detail.
 The main alter. Notice the size of the people in front of it.
 A painting that must be over 40 feet tall.
 Behind the alter.
 Looking down the length of it.

So we are now hungry. The first restaurant we stop at has a nasty waiter and high prices so we leave and go next door to this family run restaurant that is just our style.

 Deciding what to order.
 Families eating lunch.
 My bean soup for starters.
 Linda's local soup.

 The streets of Toledo.
 On our way to an old Mosque.
 An old gate.

The old Mosque. It really isn't very big and in fact the central part of it had a big crucifix hanging there.
 But the view from the city wall was very nice.

We took a Taxi back to our apartment and the ladies sat/laid down to read. I am headed out to the market. It may not be open tomorrow as Nov 1st is a holiday.

I picked up some bread and croissants for breakfast for tomorrow. I also managed to pick up some more blood pressure medication that I had ran out of. A nice thing here is that if you have your empty medicine bottle, they will sell you more. A months supply cost 21.00 Euros. Now why are they so expensive in the USA?

I then happened by the Halloween celebration taking place in the olde town Toledo towne square. There was a band and a few people dressed up, as well as priests and clergy that had things for the young children to do. Low keyed but nice.

The Band playing in the square

One of their songs.

I went home and just laid around. Part of the time I sat at our second story window and watched people pass below at the intersection of 4 alleyways. Signs of the time are that I only saw one person with a map. Everyone else either knew where they were going, or had their phone out in front of them following either Goggle Maps or Apple Maps. Have done the same myself.

All three of us managed to get dressed and go out to brave the cold weather. It was 52 degrees. Short cut to the fore mentioned square and we find that most of the restaurants are sort of fast food. Since it is so cold (The restaurants supply gas heaters outside) we decide to eat in. Now this shows you we have been away too long. Mary Ann and Linda have fried eggs and french fries while I have a Cheese Burger. Everything was oh so good. Mary Ann and I did manage to do in a liter of Sangria. No food pictures from there. We go back to the Apartment, and retire for the night. But not before having some chocolate and almond candy picked up earlier at the market.

Yes there were some poeple dressed up for Halloween. Mostly teenagers and some with painted faces as in the USA.


So just before I am going to bed, I look out the window and the Cathedral is all lit up for this Holy Day.

There are no words to describe this sight.