Sunday, July 10, 2011

Great to be home!

Megan and I met in Barcelona and had a fun time there. It's a beautiful city and we walked our way through it.  We loved our little modern hotel which was located on a great street for walking and shopping.  We ate at a lovely seafood restaurant by the water and had Paella.  It was very good. On our second day there we were sitting on a short wall watching the sea and the sun bathers.  Megan had her new Iphone right next to her.  Some guy came on the other side of me and started talking in another language.  That distracted us and his partner swiped Megan's phone before we knew what had happened.  We had ready about Barcelona having lots of theft and were disappointed that it happened to us. 
We met up with Kate Mattox for dessert and champagne.  Kate is studying in Barcelona for one month this summer and has had a great experience. 
We left early the next morning to fly to Granada.  We loved it there.  It's a charming but very busy city.  They have wonderful sights to see.  We especially enjoyed Alhambra and had dinner at a wonderful restaurant that looks right on it.  We got to see the evening light on it and also the lovely glow from their lights that shine on it.  It's a very old fortress and castle.  We couldn't get tickets to see it all but did get to go there the next morning and tour the gardens and they were fantastic. 
We were off to Seville the next day by train.  We arrived there and just about died from the heat.  It was at least 100 degrees. We decided to take a siesta in our air conditioned hotel room and wait for it to cool off.  Later that evening we went to a club for a traditional Flamenco show.  It was fun with lots of stomping and hand clapping.  After the show we walked around an area on the other side of the river which was not scary but not very interesting either.  We then took a taxi to a better area and walked around there for awhile. 
We loved all the hotels Debbie Fremerman and Megan sought out for us.  We spent quite a bit of time in our's in Seville to avoid the heat.  Megan had quickly decided that she didn't want to study in this city.  It's fairly large and just too hot.  It didn't have the beauty of Granada either.   We spent another day and night there and were excited to get to Salamanca. 
Salamanca is located a little north of Madrid so we took the fast train to Madrid and transferred to a different station for our train to Salamanca.  Thank goodness for youth.  Megan is able to figure out the transportation quickly and she also has a great sense of direction.  I was mostly lost the whole time I was there. 
After a 2 and 1/2 hour train we arrived in Salamanca.  Megan's high school Spanish teacher had recommended this city to her. She had gotten her masters in Spanish there and loved it.  We loved the wonderful cooler temperatures right away.  It's a nice size town and very safe.  Megan got to meet some of the staff members of the school and was very impressed with them.  We were so glad that we had gotten to see it.  She has decided that this is the best place for her. 
Another train ride took us back to Madrid for our last night in Spain.  It's another beautiful city and we had a great dinner in a charming little neighborhood cafe.  
We had a wonderful but long trip home.  The dogs were very happy to see us and we are thrilled to be back home after a great trip. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Spain

I left beautiful Elba via prop plane for a bumpy ride to Milan. I then flew to Barcelona to meet up with Megan. We had a wonderful two days and nights in this gorgeous city! The only mishap was a scam to steal Megans new iPhone! It worked. She immediately canceled her service and has been out of touch ever since! We did meet Kaye Mattox who is studying in Barcelona this summer. she has had a fun experience there.
Then we were off to Granada by plane. It's absolutey lovely there. Megan had found us a charming little inn which used to be a family home. We walked our feet almost off on their hilly cobblestone paths. Dinner last night was recommend by Megans friend, Christian Oliver. the setting could not have been better and we got some beautiful photos. I am hoping Megan can help me figure out how to post them. This morning we toured Alhambra and were amazednat the incredible gardens there. We couldn't get a ticket to tour the palace and fort. Then we caught a train for Seville which took about 3 hours.
It was about 100 degrees here today so we grabbed a quick lunch and some ice cream and took a typical siesta! They dine very late here, usually after 10 pm. Tonight we are going to a traditional Flamenco production.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Venice, Florence and Elba

It's Thursday night and it's been a busy couple of days!!! We left our incredible Venice hotel yesterday after oversleeping until almost noon! We rushed around, showered, packed and headed to Venice Lunch was enjoyed in a waterside cafe, I had a margarita pizza and Krystal had grilled prawns. San Marco's piazza area was totally crowded with tourists. Many cruise ships dock here.
The main excuse for this trip was the Binnale in Venice, which is a popular international art show. We walked down to it but didn't have time to see it! Our train was departing Venice for Florence at 3:30. We hurried back to our hotel by boat to get our luggage and then took a water taxi to the terminal. We loved Venice and hated to leave so quickly but fun and friends await us in Florence!
We boarded our Eurostar train and sat next to a couple who were arguing terribly, sadly they were Americans. They either fought the whole time or wouldn't speak to each other. We and a nice trip other then that. We arrived in Florence at 5:30pm, got a taxi to Jackie and Tom's apartment. Jackie had cocktails and snacks for us on their beautiful balcony. Their 3 bedroom apartment was in a lovely and centrally located area in Florence. Jackie had been teaching a group of Drury students for a month in Florence. This was their last night there.
We enjoyed a wonderful dinner by the Arno River and headed to bed.
Krystal and I were up at 6:30 for a brisk walk up into the wooded hills above Florence, met Jackie for coffee and showered and packed up. Our bus was scheduled to depart at 10:00 am. We were heading to Elba, which is a gorgeous island off the coast of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea. We rode on a ferry to get across.
We had a delicious fresh fish lunch by the sea and did some sightseeing and shopping afterward. I was supposed to leave tomorrow to go to Pisa to spend the night and meet up with Megan on .Saturday but really wanted to spend more time here in Elba with my friends. thanks for Debbie, she was able to get me a flight out of here Saturday morning and still get to Barcelona in time.
I know we will have a great time tomorrow scouting out great and fun places on Elba.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rome

We landed in Rome yesterday and checked into our lovely hotel, the Westin. It's in a wonderful are. On put on our walking shoes and out we went to explore. Saw many wonderful sights and had pizza for lunch! Freshened up and went to the top of the Hotel Eden for cocktails. Great views. Walked around this wonderful city and enjoyed a dinner in a little cafe. We split an Argula salad and some Spaghetti Pomodore.
We crashed and slept about 10 hours. Up at 8:30 for a brisk walk around the Borghese Gardens. We don't stay too long in any one place so off we went to the train station for our trip to Venice.
I am in love with Venice!!! Debbie, our travel expert got us a room we could almost afford at the Hotel Cipriani. I don't think I can leave.....
We enjoyed a cocktail at the pool and really wanted to see George Clooney! They even have a drink named after him but no such luck. Took the cute little teak boat to san Marco Piazza and walked around the designer shops, good thing they were closed for the evening. We happened upon a little cafe and enjoyed a delicious dinner and a whole bottle of Pinot Grigio. We sat next to a cute family who had been traveling all over the world for 3 months. They are keeping a blog too...www.circleplanetearth.com. They are at the end of their journey.
It's almost 1 am so I think I'll call it a night. Maybe tomorrow I can figure how to post photos from my iPad!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Adventure

I'm off to Rome today with a fun girlfriend, Krystal Compas.  We will spend a week together in Italy and meet up with Jackie and Tom in Florence.  Then I will fly to Barcelona to see Prettiest Megs (her Dad's nickname for her).  She wants to study in Spain next spring semester or we are going to check it out.  I'll try and post occasionally on my trip.