Friday, April 29, 2016

5 Days in Spain

Just back from spending five days in Seville.  We did so much walking and had so much fun I didn't take time to blog.  So I'm catching up now.

The ferry was late arriving Friday evening, so here we are, killing time in Tangiers.

Note:  These were taken as a live photo on my iPhone, but Blogger isn't up to speed on displaying it yet.  Also had a great pic of a full moon over Tangiers, but the final frame is just a blur.

After crossing the Straits of Gibraltar, we spent the night in Tarifa at a small pension.

View the next morning of a Tarifa street from my room

And had breakfast.  I chose scrambled eggs, huevos revueltos (which when pronounced in Spanish sounds very much like revolting eggs. But they were delish!

Two hours later we arrived in Seville.  For the next four days we visited all our favorite places.

A park where the trees have huge roots

Eating tapas for lunch at Levies

Missing NM so we had Mexican food

Ice cream at the Metropol Parasol, mostly referred to as the Waffle

View of Seville from the top of the Waffle

And we toured the Antiquarium, housing Roman ruins discovered during the construction of the Waffle 

Note the massive footings that support the Waffle in the background

And we visited a new site.

The maritime museum.  Seville is the port that Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan and Amerigo Vespucci, to name a few, sailed from.

They would have sailed down this river to the ocean
Back in Morocco now and looking forward to good times here.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

More travel adventures

I'm back in Morocco.  It's been a while since I've checked in, so here's a condensed update.

The end of last May I moved from Maine to Albuquerque, New Mexico and I'm finally settled in.  Always takes longer that I think it will.

I've been here in Morocco a couple of days.  Joe and family moved about the same time I did, so learning a new house, a new neighborhood and how to get around Rabat.  Bigger house and much larger yard.

This is on one side of the house
Here's the other side

And here's the view from my bedroom balcony

That's right.  I have my very own balcony.

Also remembering how much I love the food here.  And the mint tea.

And the kids.

Went to their "dance extravaganza" last night and here are a few highlights.



Rachma's daughter

Tomorrow, we leave for Spain.  More adventures forthcoming.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My last day in Morocco

This is my last day in Morocco and I am the cleanest person on earth.

This morning I went to a Hammam, sort of a cross between getting the scrubbing of your life and a massage.

Waiting/changing room outside the hammam

I couldn't take a picture of the inside of the hammam. Picture a small room with mosaic tiles floor to ceiling and free-standing in the middle of the room is a counter-high marble table.  It is warm—better make that hot, just short of too hot to lie on.

Once inside the room, I stretched out and then the woman attendant drenched me from head to toe, front and back in a faintly scented oil, olive I suspect.  After a few minutes she sluiced me off with just short of too hot water.  Then the scrubbing.  With a very rough loofa mitt.  Every inch of me.  Repeated several times.  There isn't one cell of old skin on me.  

Next was more sluicing with hot water, more oil, shampooing and washing, nice creamy goop in my hair, a final rinse with hot water, a wonderful massage with lots more oil and a final rinse with icy cold water on face and arms.  This was all done while sitting up, lying down, turning from side to side and being very careful not to slide off the slippery marble table.

The attendant didn't speak English or French and I speak no Arabic, so the whole hour was conducted with sign language.  It's amazing how well people can communicate without words.

The only concern I now have is whether I have lost the protection provided by all that dirt that's been scrubbed off.

Now, off for some last minute shopping.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Season's Greetings from Morocco

It's been over a week since I arrived in Morocco.  Between French classes, visits to the dentist and catching up with grandkids and friends, I'm just now finding time to write an update.

The day after I arrived we celebrated Leila's birthday with chocolate cake and a to-die-for chocolate cake.

There's been lots of rain here this month so everything is green and lush.  When I walk home from French class, I go through the botanical garden.  Very quiet and peaceful.  Rests my tired brain from trying to remember French words and syntax.

There are also fig trees, 

and date palms.

Wish they grew in my garden.

Joe has an orange tree in his back yard and 'tis the season.  For juice 

and Christmas secrets and cookie baking!

I hope you are enjoying your Christmas preparations.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Crazy Busy Days

Lots going on the last couple of days.

Thursday we went to the Children's Museum.  But lunch first in an outdoor cafĂ©.

A ride on the dad-powered carousel.

Then inside to explore.

Yesterday was jam-packed.  A water park adventure.  WARNING.  Lots of cute old and young kid photos.

Next, trying to get four 5 to 9 year olds to take a nap.  Then a trip to a local brew pub (too busy sampling the local brews to take pictures.  Then back home for a bit before we all went to the Leander McCormick Observatory.

"The University of Virginia operates the McCormick Observatory, located on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. The observatory was constructed after a gift from Leander J. McCormick to build one of the largest telescopes in the world. The 26-inch astrometric refractor was the second largest telescope in the world when it was dedicated on April 13, 1885 (Thomas Jefferson's Birthday). The telescope was the primary research instrument for the department until the 1960's and was used for astrometry into the 1990's."  Here's a link if you want further information: 

Our tour guide was an astronomy professor with same last name but no relation to my BIL.  While we waited for it to get dark, he gave us an overview to the solar system and universe interesting to both adults and kids, who asked lots of questions.

Then to the telescope.  It took quite a bit of time to make adjustments, involving much moving of the dome, the telescope and ladder containing The Seat where we could look through the telescope.  

We totally lucked out.  Although there was some cloud cover, we got to look at Saturn.  

It's like magic.  First all I could see was this blob of white through the eyepiece.  Then, suddenly there was Saturn, looking just like it's pictures.  The atmosphere was clear enough so we could see the Cassini Division.  It looks like a dark line and is the largest of the gaps separating the rings.  I could also see the four moons.

We also looked at our own moon, so large we could only see a small part of it through one of the eyepieces.  Then, through another eyepiece, we could view the whole thing.

Our awesome tour guide to the Universe

Driving back to the hotel, I took a picture of the moon as we see it from here.  Looks nothing like the close-up I'd seen a short time before.

Tomorrow, we're off to the Outer Banks.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fun Times in Charlottesville

The last couple of days have been busy.  On Monday, we toured the campus of the University of Virginia.  While walking around we came upon this building.

I Googled it later and found this tidbit of information.  "The building was constructed mainly with monies from the Peabody Education Fund, which had been set up by George Peabody, 19th-century advocate for public education in the South."  George Peabody was an ancestor--from the rich side of Dad's family.  Basically, all the Peabody's in the country are related.

Tuesday, we had Art on the Porch.  Lots of drawing and flying paper airplanes.  And paper cutting.

Every day we're down at the pool at least once a day.  The kidlets are little fish, swimming, splashing, jumping in.  It they're good, Uncle Luke will even toss them up and into the water.

Yesterday, we went shopping.  I gave each of the little kids $25 to spend as they wish.  Decisions of that kind take a lot of time.  An hour later, we checked out of Toys R Us.  They had to pay for their purchases, take the change (if there was any) and keep the receipt until we walked out.  Fortunately, the adults were on hand to help.  I couldn't have managed four of them on my own.

Last night, the kids got to stay up until dark to light sparklers I brought with me.  Even though we were careful, there were a couple of teeny tiny burns.  I was too busy lighting sparklers to take pictures.  But there was the usual Statue of Liberty pose, running and twirling around with them.

The generosity of my BIL and SIL in opening their home to an invasion is awesome  We've had a million laughs, wonderful food and lots of great wine and beer.

There's noting better than hangin' with my family peeps.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Random Thoughts on a Roadtrip

Yesterday, I took the Sage Lady, my pretty new Prius, and we went on a roadtrip.  A long one. Twelve (12, you read that right) hours and several caffeinated beverages later we arrived in Charlottesville, VA.  I LOVES driving this car.  Even makes road construction bearable.

Sitting and driving, there’s not much else to do but listen to my awesome roadtrip playlist and think.  Below are some random thoughts in no particular order.

I left at 3:00 A.M.  It’s always inspiring to watch the sun come up.  The sky shifts from dark to gray almost unnoticed at first.  Then it’s light, then bright, then sun shining in the windows.  Back in the day when we did karate weekend workouts on the North Shore of Lake Superior, Mr. Goodwin had those of us who wanted, get up before sunrise, face the east and meditate—or at least sit quietly—as the sun rose.  A wonderful, energizing way to start the day.

A carefully chosen roadtrip playlist is a time travel device.  It can transport you back in time to revisit high school sweethearts, husbands, lovers.

America is an awesome country.  We’re great at innovating, inventing, building stuff, but our infrastructure is sliding toward third world quality.  Seriously.  We need to stop spending money on wars and killing people and instead make sure feeding people in this country aren't going hungry, make sure they have access to good health care, and repair roads and bridges.  One bridge I drove across (with a semi beside me) was downright scary.  From the looks of the potted bridge deck and rusted supports this could be an I-35 disaster candidate.

There’s a LOT of rubber tire roadkill along the edges of the highway.  I’m grateful I wasn’t in the vicinity when those tires disintegrated.

There’s a gas station chain down this way called Sheetz?  What genius invented that name.  Were they aiming for corporate logos along the lines of “Stop in if you’re three Sheetz to the wind” or “Holy Sheets, we're here if you have an intestinal malfunction”.  Gotta say, it's an odd name.

The Blue Ridge Mountains are really, really blue--even in this pic taken with my iPhone.  I need to ask SIL and BIL who live down here, why.  Anyone know what causes this? 

Taken from a scenic view stop just outside Charlottesville
It’s interesting that the Appalachian Mountains, stretching over 2,00 miles along the East Coast, have such unique regional personalities.  Blue Ridge, Smokies, Green Mountains, White Mountains.

From my room in the hotel, I have a view of the mountains.  It’s already a great day.