Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

The Rain in Spain, fell in the mountains.

This time last week, I was in Spain.  Please know that I don’t utter those words in a snooty, world-weary way – but in a “Holy crap!  I was in…Spain.”  Period.

Now, I have managed to get out of the country a few times, but when you’re an American? Mexico, the Bahamas and Canada almost don’t count as other countries.  They’re sort of like visiting cousins, by marriage.  And, there was that one blissful week, once upon a time, spent in Fiji — but all of my travel privileges were revoked after that.

For the most part, my far-flung travels have all been in my mind — via magazine, hardback and paperback, with nary a backpack in sight.  Books have been my friends, allowing me to cross time zones and timelines for nearly 50 years and it has been very good.

Then, it got better.

My Viking Beau (now affianced) gave me a passport application Christmas before last and then proceeded to take me to London and Paris to complete the gift.  As a California native who has grown up around mostly disposable buildings (thanks to our four unofficial seasons of Flood, Mud, Fire and Earthquake) the opportunity to walk right up and touch history, around every corner, was breathtaking.

Then, this summer, my daughter had the good fortune to do an internship in Madrid for two months and I decided to take a week to visit her, when she finished.  A pretty impulsive decision on my part having been one to never travel more than 500 miles in a car all by myself.  But, after my recent 50th birthday I told myself that not knowing the expiration date on my milk carton is motivation enough to try something new, from here on out.

Spain did not disappoint, at any level.  The history, the people, the food – all glorious and all worthy of much more than a week, but I’m grateful for the time I had.  We spent hours wandering the halls of the Prado museum, the Caixa Forum, and the Thyssen where American artist, Edward Hopper (he of the famous 1942 Nighthawks painting of folks sitting at the counter of an all-night diner), was featured.  Since food is a big part of my experience as a human being, dining was just as important as anything else we did in a day.  Eating at Botin in Madrid, which the Guinness Book of Records lists as the oldest working restaurant in the world, was a true highlight.  They say it was founded by Frenchman Jean Botín in 1725 and since run for four generations by the González family and Ernest Hemmingway made Botin famous in his book “The Sun Also Rises” when he sat his characters down to a lunch of pork and wine.  My daughter and I had partridge, instead.

My last day in Spain, I was treated to an afternoon in Segovia which is a fairytale land, high in the hills, complete with a first century Roman aqueduct and the Alcázar of Segovia (which served as part of the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella castle).  My incredible journey ended that Thursday with dramatic wind, rain, thunder and lightning which, for me, was simply heavenly.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for the 4th letter of the Greek alphabet airline I flew on, my trip overseas would have been perfect.  That, my friends, will be Part Two entitled “Helta-Skelta” — next week.

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