This time I will begin with thoughts from Ricardo.
Our last day in Andalusia.
Here are my final notes as we wrap up our time in this land that is deep in history, magic and adventure. We have been traveling now for a month investigating all that there is here in Andalusia - viewing the past, present and a glimpse into the future in this ancient land which has been inhabited by Phoenicians, Romans, Visigoths, Muslims, Jewish and Catholic Kings and now to us in this present day. We have learned of some their battles for control and power over a two thousand year history, which has come down to the present day where once again people of all types are living in harmony as brothers. I would recommend to all that it is worth the time to travel through this part of Spain, but one must give it time so more can sink in. I could have given it much more time since throughout the year there are many different festivals and celebrations and as our time was short they were out of reach for us. Our goal was to spend 4 - 5 days in each place which wasn't enough to build community as we like to do. However it was enough to meet many wonderful people here and from other places in the world traveling as we were. This part of the world is clean, orderly and safe with ease for getting around from place to place (we did it mostly with trains and a few buses). We will leave tomorrow for a week in Buxton, England to be with good friends Dan and Fi and their sons - Aidan and Will and then to Portugal until the end of February. Thanks for traveling with us. As we all know the world is a big track of land and one has to chose wisely. I feel that Andalusia was, for us, a very wise choice. I know that we will return to Spain again in the future.
|Cadiz- Mosque, church and Roman ruins|
Stay with me if you want, as this might be a long post and there will be many photos and lots for us to remember for ourselves. This is one of the ways that I remember the many things we do - writing them and then able to go back and review as I wish.
|A typical street scene of tapas bars|
|A view from the tower to the ocean|
|Amazing old trees in Cadiz|
|View of Cordoba from Roman Bridge|
|Roman ruins in Cordoba|
"The Most aMazing M day" ....Mezquita, Mushrooms, Muslim women and haMMaM.
|"blending" of cultures|
We followed this experience with the the meal Ricardo had been waiting for - mushrooms with garlic and oil - so, we had them for breakfast!! These tapas bars are open all the time and there does not seem to be a rhyme or reason as to what one eats when. Restaurants are also closed from 4-8 pm (just when we usually want to eat) so it is a timing thing. We have taken to eating a big meal before 4 and then a snack later in the evening.
After the mushroom breakfast, later in the day we went for a meal at the "Salon de Te" which is a Teteria (Moroccan style tea cafe). We sat down in a small room where there was a group of 5 young 22 year old Muslim women who were from Malaysia but had just finished 2.5 years of medical school study in Ireland and were traveling a bit before heading back to Malaysia. None of them spoke Spanish and were using their phones to try translate all the items on the menu so I sat with them and read them the whole menu translating from Spanish. We had many laughs and chatted about our lives and theirs for a while. Then we quietly left them while we ate and they ate. In between a woman also with a hijab who was from Saudi Arabia spoke to the women a bit. She spoke in Arabic but the women did not speak Arabic and they found that they all could speak English. She wished them well while inviting them to visit in Saudi Arabia and hugged them all goodbye.
The girls were ready to leave and I then hugged each of them goodbye as the other woman had. They left to pay their bill and seemed to be struggling so I went to ask if they needed some help but they said no and shooed me away. Then they continued by writing things on their computer to the owner and once again I asked if they needed help and they said no. So, off they went.
We then were ready to leave and asked for our check. The owner told us that the girls had paid for us and that was what they were writing in their phones - looking up the translation for how to ask for our check.
We were baffled and grateful - we just don't know why this beautiful good deed was given to us - they were young and very sweet and oh so nice. We kept hoping for the rest of the day that we would find them walking around so we could thank them or do something kind. We will pay it forward to someone else - as it was such a kind and generous act of love.
So, if that is not enough wonderfulness for a day....we went again to a spa bath (Hamamm) with massage - same Arabic baths as we had in Granada and Ronda and now once again in Cordoba - a wonderful way to end this magical day.
|Maimonides, born 1136 in Cordoba. Statue|
in former Jewish section of the city
|"Flower" street - there is a big contest|
in the spring each year of courtyards and
balconies decorated with flowers.
|Medinat al Zahar - home of the Calif|
|Olive press to make olive oil - in town of Baena|
|60% of the world's olive oil comes|
from Spain - we have eaten it everywhere
|Fernando, his family owned the olive factory for|
7 generations - in Baena - 160,000 olive trees
This day was special, but we seem to have many wonderful experiences like this - we feel very grateful and lucky to experience travel in this way.
A few other notes from this month experience. We met a lovely family from Melbourne, Australia while in Granada and then here in Cordoba another couple, also from Melbourne. We found, in conversation that they know each other. We are mounting a list of new friends to visit in the future. Maybe Australia for next winter (their summer)!
One of the odd behaviors that we have is watching TV series either on disks, Netflix or Itunes and recently finished a series of Downton Abbey, Newroom and many series of Parenthood. This is an odd form of entertainment while we are in this other world but it is our way of being!
We are trying to add a bit of drawing to our day - not every day, but more and more. Richard has been faithful to his Chi Gong - everyday. Me....sometimes. I have taken to sleeping late everyday - partly because it is dark and partly because I can!
Now...of to England and then to Portugal for a month. You will surely be hearing more as it happens. Thanks for joining us.