Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Being Followed By Moonshadows

The days have been warm and sunny — and a bit humid (for here).

The nights have been pleasant — and still a bit humid (for here).

And moons have been out casting shadows — day and night.

Click any image for fuller moons.

THE MOON LAST NIGHT.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON: PERHAPS A WANING GIBOUS?
(MORE LIKELY A WAXING GIBBOUS... MANSCAPING.)
I SUPPOSE HE TANNED THE 'BOTTOM' HALF SATURDAY.
LOOKS LIKE A WAXING CRESCENT: THE VIEW FROM ELENA'S CHAIR,
FURTHER ALONG THE BEACH FRIDAY.

Did it take long to find me?


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Cádiz: One Last Look

Here is a final (for now) assortment of photos from Cádiz.

A NEW ELEVATED WALKWAY AND PARK.
CARMEN AND ELENA, POINTING OUT THE ROLLER-SKATE PARK
FOR SAN GERALDO, WHO LOVES TO SKATE.
GRAND VISTAS.
ONE OF MANY OLD AND GRACIOUS CITY PARKS.
SOME TREATMENT.
CHORISIA INSIGNIS TREE (SILK FLOSS TREE)
THE BIGGEST ONE I'VE EVER SEEN.
GOLI BEHIND BARS.
THE AUTHOR, BEHIND A WATERFALL.
A VIEW OF GIBRALTAR FROM THE HIGHWAY ON OUR WAY HOME.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Cádiz: Feeding Time

During our Sunday in Cádiz, we stopped for 'treats' once or twice (three times if you count the ice cream).

Having met Elena and her mother at 9 a.m., I hadn't had time for my two cups of cafe con leche. So, by noon, I was in need of coffee and my mid-day snack.

Our first stop was at the Parador (these are high-end state-run hotels throughout Spain). The olives that arrived with out drinks were out of this world. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of the group who ordered beer, I had coffee. Olives and coffee? Not so good together. Then came a pork dish that was out of this world. We also had an excellent potato salad before moving on.

(Click the images to enlarge.)

EXCEPTIONAL OLIVES!
(EXCEPT WITH CAFE CON LECHE.)
CHICHARRONES DE CHICLANA? (EXCEPT I THINK I'VE GOT THIS WRONG!)
(ELENA WILL CORRECT ME AND I'LL FIX THIS.)
PICOS (IT MEANS "BEAKS"). AS COMMON AS BAR PRETZELS.
LIKE LITTLE BREADSTICKS (ONLY BETTER).

After walking some more, we stopped for lunch at the beach.

GOLI, FINDING SOME SHADE. 
PLAYING PARCHÍS ON THE BEACH BELOW. (PARCHEESI IN THE USA.)
TABLE GAMES ARE A COMMON SIGHT ON CÁDIZ BEACHES. 
SOME SUGGESTIONS... WE HAD THAT SPECIFIC SQUID. (SEE NEXT PHOTO.)

TORTILLITAS DE CAMARONES.
DELICIOUS PIMIENTOS.
THE VERY TALENTED CARMEN WITH A PEPPER.
SARDINES! WITH TAILS, HEADS, AND EYES.
I DIDN'T TOUCH THEM (BUT, THANKS JUST THE SAME).

First Carmen and then Elena demonstrate the proper (or improper) way to eat a pepper.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ode To Joy... And The Dowager Duchess

My Mother The Dowager Duchess is known by a number of different names. First, there's the name she was given at birth. I think there have only been three people who have ever called her by that name.

MIMI (2ND FROM RIGHT) WITH MOTHER AND SISTERS.
LILLY IS FAR RIGHT.
When The Duchess started school, her sister Lilly was 14. She registered her for kindergarten and, since she didn't like her little sister's given name, she gave her an entirely different one. All my mother's friends knew her by that name. And that's the name she has gone by, officially (although not legally), ever since. It's even on her marriage certificate.

However, a popular nickname for her original given name is Mimi. Most of her family — including, ironically, her sister Lilly — called her Mimi.

My father called her Mim. When San Geraldo met The Duchess, he followed my father's lead. So, San Geraldo, his family, and all our friends call her Mim. She signs her cards (and emails) to us, "Mom/Mim."


In honour of the 88th birthday of The Dowager Duchess, here's... "Ode to Mimi."

Cádiz: The Continental Walk

Mother-of-the-Goddess-Elena was born and raised in Cádiz. After marrying and living way up north (Bilbao), she and the family would make their annual vacation pilgrimage to Cádiz and the beach, but she hadn't been back in more than 25 years. Elena's friend, Goli, was also born and raised in Cádiz and is an expert on the history, culture, and traditions. So, during our first two hours of walking, while rediscovering Elena's mother's childhood haunts, I received an insider's view of this beautiful city. Come take a walk with me. (We'll stop for food tomorrow.)

(Click for a much better view.)

MOTHER OF THE GODDESS ELENA,
BORN AND RAISED IN THIS HOUSE.
PLAZA DE ESPAÑA, 1892.
(MONUMENT TO SPANISH CONSTITUTION OF 1812.)
CASTILLO DE SANTA CATALINA, BEGUN 1598.
THE MOAT FILLS AND EMPTIES WITH THE TIDES.
INSIDE THE WALLS OF SANTA CATALINA.
CASTLE OF SAN SEBASTIAN, BEGUN 1706.
TOWERS.
THE CATHEDRAL.
FROM THE ROOFTOP BAR OF THE CATHEDRAL HOTEL.

Follow me...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Noche De San Juan: Bonfires And Insanity

Last night, we welcomed — and bid a heartfelt good riddance to — Noche De San Juan (St. John's Eve, the feast day of Saint John the Baptist).

The evening is traditionally marked with bonfires. They could be seen all along the beach. Smokey but picturesque. Fireworks could be seen here and there in the distance. Bars and restaurants stayed open later than usual. Some of the chiringuitos (beach bars/restaurants) hosted big events. We were unfortunate enough to be right across the street from one of those chiringuitos. Strobe lights. Booming music pumped through gigantic speakers. Until 3:15. In the morning!

There was a mess on the beach that was cleaned up in time for today's beach-goers.

We're already talking about where we'll escape to next year.

Tomorrow, more pictures from Cádiz.

Click any image to amplify (quietly).

BONFIRES, FRIENDS, AND FAMILIES.
FUN TO SEE BUT BLASTING MUSIC FROM HUGE AMPLIFIERS
IS NOT PART OF THE TRADITION.
STILL CLEANING AS PEOPLE ARRIVE FOR A DAY AT THE BEACH.


Next Noche de San Juan, we've got to find 'us' a quiet place.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cádiz: Cross Over The Bridge

Sunday, I drove to Cádiz (two hours away) with the Goddess Elena and Mother-of-the-Goddess-Elena to spend the day visiting with good friends of theirs, wandering the city, eating, walking, eating, walking, eating. You'll get to see it all. So much to share!

Meanwhile, here's a view of the bridge we didn't cross because it's not yet finished. The bridge is called La Pepa (also known as "the Second Bridge"). It crosses the Bay of Cádiz from the town of Puerto Real. The "First Bridge" of Cádiz, also known as Carranza Bridge, was built in 1969.

I look forward to crossing Puente La Pepa.

But, as San Geraldo once said, "I'll burn that bridge when I come to it."*

(Click any image to bridge the gap.)

PUENTE LA PEPA.
IT WILL BE THE LONGEST BRIDGE IN SPAIN.
THE PYLONS OF CÁDIZ (ELECTRICAL POWER).
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.


Brother, cross over the bridge...

*For my non-native-English speaking readers (like San Geraldo?), the expressions are:
1.  I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
2.  Don't burn your bridges.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A New Attitude?

Yesterday, I walked more than 13km (more than 8 miles) in less than 2 hours. And that included stopping for pictures along the way... and to buy a bottle of water.

(Click any image to see how big a walk it was.)

CASTLE SOHAIL, FUENGIROLA.
NEARLY 13KM FROM HOME.

I began my walk around 4:30, after lunch and our first huge servings of tarta de cuajada (see the previous post). Later that night, after dinner, we had even huger servings of tarta de cuajada. I don't think 13km was quite enough.

San Geraldo asked Elena, "How many days will the tarta still be OK to eat?"

Elena responded, "It doesn't matter. You'll have finished it long before."


Do-Rag
While on my long walk in the spectacular sunshine, I realised I hadn't put on any sunscreen. Normally, I apply it every day before I head out — especially to the top of my shiny head, which until recent years didn't offer the sun such a vast target.

I wasn't wearing a hat since I'm not a huge fan. So, after walking for some time, I took off my tank top (singlet) and wrapped it around my head sort of like a "do-rag." I had a feeling it wouldn't be a great look for me. I was correct. In my case, it should probably be called a Don't-Rag. But I kept it on. In the past, I would have been much too self-conscious. So glad I'm over that.

San Geraldo sets a powerful example.

THIS MORNING WITH SAN GERALDO AND HIS "FLY-RAG."
(IT MUST HAVE WORKED. I DIDN'T SEE A SINGLE ONE.)

Ooo Ooo Ooo Ooo... Ooo!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I Wanna Thank You

Yesterday was a truly amazing day. I'm feeling loved and grateful for (and extremely confused by) the many kind, generous, loving messages I received. I keep thinking the messages had been somehow mis-directed — meant for someone else — but, San Geraldo will give me that look (you know, that look) and I will then offer a very whiney, "Thank You!"

But, really, thank you!

I received a text message this morning from Elena saying she and her mother (visiting from Bilbao) were on their way to the beach and I needed to meet them because she had something for us. She said it was fragile and needed to be refrigerated. So I threw on some clothes and met them just as they arrived at the beach.

Over the weekend, San Geraldo had baked brownies for their family. Elena's mother said they couldn't return an empty baking pan. So, she made what she called "tarta de cuajada." Cuajada is milk curd. Elena's mother's version of tarta de cuajada includes cream cheese; some people call that "tarta de cuajada con queso (with cheese). Elena's mother's tarta de cuajada looks like flan (only more beautiful) and tastes like a light cheese cake (only more delicious).

If you need us tomorrow, San Geraldo and I will be at the gym all day.

OUR TARTA DE CUAJADA.

While at the beach, Elena texted me to say she had found some interesting beach glass. So, after my coffee, I met them on their way back and received more gifts!

ALMOST-YELLOW GLASS
IT'S MORE TARTA-DE-CUAJADA–COLOURED IN NATURAL LIGHT.
THIS MUST BE FROM A FUSED-GLASS VASE,
GREEN INSIDE, WHITE OUTSIDE.  OR NOT...
COBALT BLUE!!!
A GREEN AND WHITE GLASS NUGGET.
OK, NOT SEA GLASS.
GOMINOLA (FRUIT JELLY) FROM ANA CRESPILLO'S FRUIT MARKET.

Won't you all stand up and take a bow.