Friday, January 17, 2014

Heading to Canada

We have spent the last week in E Texas in San Augustine in the RV, after an interesting and pleasant visit with the grands and Jamie. Families have challenging times and this just happens to be one of them. My heart goes out to them, but as an outsider, I can only be available to listen and be supportive. Taking sides simply can not be done, as much as one would like to.

Tomorrow, after putting the RV into the shop for routine maintenance, we will leave for Dallas and then on to Edmonton on Sunday. Visiting for 4 days with my parents will be interesting due to the frigid cold. Don't think we will be getting out much so will have to take some crafts to do and reading books. Also won't rent a car, relying on "shank's ponies"and taxis for getting out and about.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Back on home turf

We arrived back in the USA on the 8th after an overnight stop-over in London Heathrow Airport. We stayed in a hotel only 1.5kms from the airport but we discovered that was "as the crow flies". We made a complete trip around the whole airport to get to it on a public bus. Fun but as it was dark, a little nerve-wracking trying to identify our hotel and bus stop. As it turns out, the bus actually stops at all the hotels along the strip, either right in front or by going up to the door. You buy a round trip ticket the getting back the next day. And by did it cost - reminded us of our trip and costs when we came with Brooke. Still, it was certainly a good way to break the travel and then leave in the morning and arrive in the afternoon.

It didn't take us but a few days to get back into the swing of things and to the coach. We were ready to get back in her and back into a normal sort of lifestyle for us. First a visit with the grands, son and DIL. It sure was good to visit with them all again.
We even got to visit with the oldest, Zach, as he didn't return to university until the next day. it is amazing to see my little grandson now a man and a 6'4" one at that carrying on adult conversations.

We have to get the coach roadworthy before we head out so decided to go to Canada to visit mom & dad while it is in the shop. We were again lucky that our friend was able to take us to the airport again. Thanks Cathie.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Spain, we are here ... #1

We discovered that for basically the same price as a ticket back to Dal, we could fly first to Span and then on to Dallas, via London. So that is what we did. We left for Spain with a plan of renting an apartment in Valencia for 6 weeks, visiting with our friends from PC who live there. Out arrival took us first through Barcelona with another train ride to Valencia - this time a fast train. What a difference.

 Arriving in Valencia we went immediately to our newly acquired temporary apartment with a fabulous view overlooking the City Hall and plaza of the historical part of town. 
We will be here a little over 6 weeks, which will allow us to do some touring around the area, visiting with friends, and experiencing the Christmas/New Year season a different way. Synopsing our stay, we ...
~ attended free concerts of all genres, our favourite being the symphonic bands of Valencia. They are comprised of woods and percussion, and perhaps an occasional viola and bass. There are 650+ bands in the provence of Valencia, 450+ music schools, and music is mandated as a compulsary course in the school system.
 lining up for free tickets

 the concert hall, presenting a band this night of over 70 members and shared with the youth band of over 90 members, with some overlapping.
 concerts in the plazas and public places
~ we rode the tour bus and trams to visit different places in town, including the beach on the Medeterranean 
~ rode the buses with friends, one trip taking us through the rice fields only 6 miles outside of Valencia
~rode trains near and far, with and without friends, even making new friends
 Tom & JoAnn
 Gary & Peg (my favorite pix of them)
~celebrated Christmas in a far different culture than ours. They do not have Santa or a facsimile, they have the 3 Kings and they celebrate on January 6th rather than the 25th. 
 "Can you believe they put this ridiculous hat on  my head?"
 The majority of the lights were fund in the main park in front of City Hall.
 A small Christmas tree is better than none at all. Besides, this one will last all year round - a nice touch to leave our hostess.
We all brought a little bit of home and shared with new friends from Portugal and China. 
~got a taste of the upcoming March Fallas festival, visited places of culture and art,
This group had their own band accompanying them, right onto the public bus.
 This actually represents the hairdo that is seen when dressed in the costumes above.
~ and so much more. We ended our trip to Spain with a weeklong narrow gauge train tour across the top of Spain, going from France all the way along the coast to the Atlantic Ocean. Read about that in the next posting.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Jan 1, 2014 Happy New Year

Wishing each and everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. 
May 2014 be all that you wish for and more.