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2022 Road Trip-Part 4

14 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 (5/19/2022)

This morning after breakfast I drove over to check out Landrum’s Homestead & Village located there in Laurel, MS.  It was early and this living history museum was closed, but their website informs me that the museum is a replica of an 1800s southern Mississippi settlement with historically accurate buildings, such as a general store, smokehouse, trading post, schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, chapel, and Indian village.  The museum also hosts several family-based events throughout the year to celebrate several holidays.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Not far from the Landrum’s Homestead Village I visited the Veterans Memorial Museum located in downtown Laurel.  This museum is home to a huge assortment of military artifacts and memorabilia, dating from the Civil War, that reflect the stories, deeds, and sacrifices of our courageous men and women from all branches of U.S. military service.  The museum also hosts special events, throughout the year, such as the recent “Rolling Thunder 3” (June 11, 2022) which honored those veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Then I headed north 55 miles on I-59 to visit the Key Brothers Aviation Exhibit located in the Meridian Regional Airport terminal at Key Field in Meridian, MS.  Key Field takes its name from Al & Fred Key who broke the standing flight endurance record of 23 days.  From June 4 to July 1, 1935 the Key brothers flew over Meridian for a total of 27 days (using some of the earliest refueling methods known at the time-bucket and hose) to help put Meridian on the map during the Great Depression. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I drove into downtown Meridian where I wanted to visit the Jimmie Rogers Museum, but it was closed.  I was disappointed to miss that museum as Jimmie Rogers, known as “The King of Western Music” has been one of my favorite western singers ever since I was a teenager.  Bummer!  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

A few blocks away, I visited the Meridian Railroad Museum.  This museum is located in the old restored 1906 Union Station depot and displays many antique railroad artifacts and memorabilia.  The museum also has a model railroad layout depicting early Meridian, as well as several pieces of rolling stock, which includes a 1917 Baldwin Steam locomotive in the process of being restored.  Amtrak still uses a portion of the station on a daily basis.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

One of the Railroad Museum curators had told me how Mr. George W. Soule (1849-1922), an entrepreneur and inventor, had built the Soule Foundry & Museum across the street and that I should check it out.  The museum was closed but many indications around the area said that she was right.  I saw this historical marker in the Depot Park near the Soule Museum.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

My last stop there In Meridian was to visit the Antique Dentzel Carousel located in the Highland Park area.  This original carousel building is the centerpiece of the park which opened in 1906.  The carousel was built by Gustov Dentzel of Philadelphia, PA in 1896 for the 1904 St. Louis Exposition, and was later sold to the city of Meridian.  The carousel figures were hand-carved from poplar and basswood, and hand-painted with oils to match the carousel’s canopy and surrounding building walls.  An amazingly beautiful piece of machinery.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next, I continued north on SR-39 about 30 miles to visit the Sciple’s Water Mill located in De Kalb, MS.  It wasn’t easy to fine the place in that rural part of Kemper County Mississippi, but Greta (My Garmin) finally found it.  I wasn’t sure if the building was going to continue to stand long enough for me to take a photo.  Built in the early 1800s by the Sciple family, this water mill has been in continuous operation all these years and still provides ground corn meal and whole-wheat flower for local residents.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

2022 Road Trip-Part 3B#

7 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 3 Continued (5/18/2022) 

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

I asked about the two names for the museum and the curator of the museum told me all about the Three Notch Road that is part of the history of Andalusia.  Seems that in 1824 the US Army built a 230-mile road from Pensacola, FL to Fort Mitchell, AL part of which (90 miles) went thru Andalusia.  Legend has it that the surveyor, a Captain Daniel E. Burch, used three notches cut in trees along the route to guide the construction workers that followed, and the name stuck.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

After that quick history lesson, I headed west another 55 miles US-84 to visit the Old Monroe County Courthouse located in Monroeville, AL.  This famous structure was built in 1903 and served as the Monroe County courthouse until 1963 when government offices were moved to a new building on the town square.  The town of Monroeville and the courthouse are famous as the location where, in 1962, Gregory Peck and Mary Badham stared in the Award-winning movie version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” was filmed.  I also learned that the Pulitzer Prize Winning author of that book, Harper Lee, grew up in Monroeville, just a few blocks from the old courthouse, where the movie was filmed.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

Now it was another 35 miles northwest on US-84 to where I visited the Clarke County Museum located in Grove Hill, AL.  The museum is housed in the Alston-Cobb antebellum house that was built in 1854 and is nestled in the piney woods of southwest Alabama.  The museum houses artifacts and memorabilia from prehistoric, Native American, pioneer, antebellum, and Victorian periods about Clarke County’s history. 

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

Pioneer Day is an annual event on the grounds of the Clarke County Museum where local re-enactors, dressed in period costumes, demonstrate many early 1800s tasks the settlers had to perform, such as syrup making, shingle splitting, clothes washing, butter churning, flint knapping, cotton spinning, basket making, horse shoeing, corn shuck doll making, and games for the children.  Blue Herron, a Creek Indian, sets up an authentic replica of a Creek hunting village there on the grounds of the museum where visitors can experience some of that local native culture’s historic activities.

Photo Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/51650726950719578/  

After leaving Grove Hill, I continued west on US-84 another 20 miles, where I planned to stop at the 4-Gal’s Restaurant in Coffeeville, AL for a meal, but they were closed (Covid-19 I guess).  So, needing to get to my motel before all the rooms were taken, I just kept heading west on US-84 passing thru Silas, AL and across the border into Mississippi, and thru Waynesboro before finally arriving at my motel in Laurel, MS for the night.  After I got checked in, I asked the motel clerk if he could recommend a good place to eat.  He said, if I liked sea food, that the Blue Crab Grill was not too far, so I tried it.   I had their Fried Catfish platter, with a sweet potato, corn-on-the-cob, and a side of onion rings.  It was delicious!  I give the Blue Crab Grill a 5-star rating for their food!

Photo Credit: tripadvisor.com/Blue Crab Grill/Laurel,MS  

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

2022 Road-Trip Part 3A

31 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 3 (5/18/2022)

This morning, after breakfast, I headed west 25 miles on US-84 to visit the U.S. Army Aviation Museum located at Ft. Rucker, AL only to find that the museum was on the base and took a special pass to enter.  The visitor office didn’t open for an hour, and I didn’t have the time to wait around and deal with the paperwork, so I just headed west about 10 miles on SR-248 to check out the Boll Weevil Monument located in Enterprise, AL.  The monument turned out to be situated in the middle of town at the intersection of S. Main Street and W. College Street.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

As I looked around the intersection, I noticed that there was a Boll Weevil Café on the corner, and a Boll Weevil mural on the side of a building.  Not being a true Southerner (I was born and raised in the southwest) I needed a little explanation for why a town would erect a prominent monument to such an insect.  Then I spied a historical marker.  “Herald of Prosperity?”  That inscription only increased my confusion.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The internet told me that the boll weevil was the most devastating insect to hit the southern cotton industry during the early 1900s.  The cotton industry tried everything they could think of to get rid of the boll weevil, but nothing worked.  Then in 1916 a local Enterprise seed broker named H.M. Sessions suggested alternate crops as a way to combat the boll weevil.  Peanuts and other crops, such as tobacco and potatoes, eventually turned the economic disaster around (Ref. George Washington Carver & the peanut).  However, it wasn’t until 1958, with the help from scientists with the USDA, that a synthetic blend of the boll weevil’s pheromone (chemicals produced by the glands in insects) was finally developed.  As it turned out, it was the boll weevil’s own pheromone that did them in.  This product is now used to lure boll weevils into traps where they can be sprayed with pesticides.

Photo Credit: sandiegouniontribune.com/boll-weevils-begone/

I only had to walk one block from the Boll Weevil Monument to the Enterprise Railroad Depot Museum.  This small museum is located in the original 1903 Alabama Midland Railway depot which serviced the growing Coffee County and surrounding south Alabama areas during its early years of growth.  The interior of the depot is unchanged from when passenger service was terminated in 1958 and is filled with local antique railroad artifacts and memorabilia.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Heading west another 45 miles on US-84, I passed thru the small towns of Opp, Babble, and Sanford to visit the Andalusia Railroad Depot Museum (also called the Three Notch RR Museum) located in Andalusia, AL.  This small museum is located in the original restored 1899 Central of Georgia Railway depot and is filled, top to bottom, with local railroad artifacts and memorabilia dating from the late 1800s.  The depot served Andalusia and the surrounding Covington County area until 1983 when the last train left the station.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

2022 Road Trip

10 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Prelog 

This year’s driving road trip is really a substitute for the trip to the northwestern U.S. & western Canada trip that I have had planned, but have had to postpone, for two years now because of Covid.  I hope the Canadian tourist restrictions for Americans entering into their country will be lifted by next year so I can visit that part of northwest America and parts of western Canada.  The main motivations for this road trip were to visit friends in Lester, AL and to visit The Arch in St. Louis.  I missed a visit to The Arch last time I was in St. Louis because of Arch construction, and I really wanted to visit that Iconic structure.  The other motivation for this trip was a visit the Museum of Transportation, also in St. Louis, the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, TN and The Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY.  I have been told by many friends The Ark Encounter is a must-see attraction.  The map below will give you an idea of the approximate route I have laid out for myself during this road trip.

Image Credit: https://mountainhighmaps.com/products/usa-eastern

The idea was to travel mostly on rural roads rather than Interstates to enable me to see more of each state I was passing thru.  I had been in parts of most of the states I would be passing thru on this trip, during previous road trips, but this route would allow me to see new and different parts of the states I wanted to see.   As I was finishing up my packing, our cat, Thea, came in and checked out what I was doing.  Then she jumped into my suitcase and gave me a look that I took to say, “OK, I’m ready to go.  When do we leave?”  I told her she had to stay home and take care of DiVoran while I was gone, so she wouldn’t get lonely.  I guess she was okay with that, as she jumped out of the suitcase and went to search for DiVoran (or a treat that I didn’t have for her).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I’m driving my 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan again this year on the trip instead of renting a car, because it served me well on last year’s trip and is so much more comfortable.  Of course, after all these years, I fit the van, and I like sitting up a little higher for better traffic viewing.  I don’t get quite the milage in the van a new rental car would give me, but if the route weather is as cool as predicted I should be able to keep the A/C turned off for better milage than is usual here in Florida.

So, I’m looking forward to starting this road trip tomorrow, when I’ll beSee the source image‘On the Road Again’.5in x 4in Black Double Eighth Note Sticker   I will keep you up-to-date on the many and varied experiences I encounter along the way.

                  Image Credit: on the road again clipart – Bing images

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Our Trip to Spain-Part 18

3 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 15

We couldn’t believe this was the last day of our amazing tour in southern Spain.  We were up early in order to pack our bags and have our farewell breakfast.  Then we made the rounds to say goodbye to the tour company and Bajondillo staff that had been so helpful during our stay.  By then it was time to board the bus for the 30-minute bus ride to the Malaga airport.  After checking in for our Air France flight to Paris, we had time for a snack before it was time to board our 12:00 noon flight.  We had a 2-hour layover in Paris (just enough time for us to see the sights there in the Charles De Gaulle Airport) and then it was ‘Across the Pond’ on Delta to Atlanta, and another short layover, then south to Orlando, Florida, and home.  

Photo Credit: https://flyawaysimulation.com/delta-airlines-l1011-tristar/

Again, the service on all of these flights was excellent, and the memory of those delicious meals is a dream of ‘by-gone days’ that I long for, on every flight now days, when I’m handed a pack of peanuts or pretzels.  Our daughter and her husband were waiting to greet us when we arrived in Orlando.  By the time we collected our bags from baggage claim and were driven the 35 miles to our home in Titusville, it was almost midnight.  You better believe we were ready to see our own beds and get a good night’s rest.

Photo Credit: https://www.inflightfeed.com/delta-airlines/

Salutation:

Overall, we had a very wonderful trip.  We were able to visit firsthand, with the people in and around Spain’s beautiful Costa del Sol region of southern Spain.  And we were also able to visit Tangier in Morocco, as well as some of the smaller towns and villages in northwestern Africa.  This allowed us to see just how very differently people lived and worked, just across the water from one another.  If it wasn’t for DiVoran’s getting sick and missing some of the tours, we could have called this the perfect trip.  Who would have guessed that after the disastrous 9/11/2001 event here in America, that we would have been able to say this about our trip on 9/30/2001, when our trip was over?  I hope you have enjoyed reading these blogs about our trip to Spain as much as I have enjoyed writing about them.  The many memories of those wonderful times DiVoran and I had on that trip have been wonderful in themselves.  Now, here is wishing each and every one of you safe, wonderful, and memorable travels, whenever and wherever you go.

Photo Credit: Bill & DiVoran Lites               

     My Favorite Scripture: John 10:10b

—–The End—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Our Trip to Spain-Part 17

27 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 14

Thank goodness DiVoran was feeling much better this morning and was ready to join the group today.  After breakfast our group boarded a bus for the 30-minute trip to Malaga for a tour of the Perez Texeira Winery.  This was a very interesting tour that gave us an idea of how some of the larger wine company’s processing operations work.  It was a little early for taking wine samples, but there always seems to be that small group that can handle spirits any time of the day.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

After that interesting experience, we were bussed to the Plaza de toros de La Malagueta (bullring) for a tour of that famous structure.  Built in 1876, this arena is located in the eastern district of Malaga, right alongside the famous Paseo de Reding.  This bullring is famous for hosting the annual bullfights in Malaga during the Feria de Agosto (August Fair) which commemorates the conquest of Malaga by the Catholic Monarchs  in August 1487.  The small Museo Taurino Antonio Ordóñez (museum) is attached to the building and displays famous bulls’ heads and a limited selection of bullfighting costumes and memorabilia.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

After out tour of the bullring and museum, we were bussed to one of the larger hotels, there in Malaga, where we were served lunch on their outdoor patio.  It was a lovely day, and we all enjoyed the fresh air.  The food was excellent, and we discussed the many adventures we had encountered during our stay in Spain.

Photo Credit:DiVoran Lites

After lunch we were bussed back to Torremolinos and the Bajondillo where DiVoran and I took a nice rest.  That afternoon we had planned to take advantage of the ‘A Taste of Village Life’ program again and visit one of the local homes for dinner.  This meal had been arranged by the tour company and was scheduled for late afternoon.  This time we visited a local couple, about our age, who lived just on the outskirts of town in a small cottage.  They were a delightful couple (who spoke English) and we had a wonderful time discussing our lives and families.  They had prepared a delicious traditional Spanish meal for us, and we visited long after we could eat no more.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

After thanking the couple for a wonderful evening and saying our goodbyes, we walked back to the Bajondillo, where the evenings flamenco performance was still going on.  We stayed until it was over and then retired to our room where we were glad to see our beds.  It didn’t take us long to fall fast asleep after this exciting day’s fun activities.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Our Trip to Spain-Part 15

6 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 12

Today several of our group opted for a short 20-minute bus ride to visit Mijas, a lovely Andalusian whitewashed village set in the Sierra Mountains.  This village is known for its shops, cafés, and magnificent Mediterranean Sea views.  It was a pleasant ride thru the Andalusian countryside along the seashore.  When we arrived, we were told we were free to wonder the village at our own pace until lunchtime, as we all needed to meet at the ‘approved’ café for our group lunch.  DiVoran and I strolled thru the narrow streets and visited the many small shops while taking in views of the Mediterranean.  

Photo Credit: https://www.thecrazytourist.com/15-best-things-mijas-spain/

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

We visited the small Museo Historico (museum) located in the old town hall.  This is a city history and ethnology museum that displays many of the tools and other artifacts used by the Mijasians, over the centuries, for their diverse livelihoods which has included farming, carpentry, wine making, olive oil producing, and fishing.  We met the group for lunch and had a wonderful meal (can’t remember exactly what we ate, but it was good), and the mariachis singing to us, in the background, painted a perfect picture of Spanish life at its best for us.       

 

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

We passed up the opportunity to ride one of the famous ‘Mijas Donkey Taxis’ preferring the exercise of walking.  DiVoran was not sure how comfortable she would be riding on one of those donkeys.  She was afraid, with her iffy stomach, that the rocking motion might make her ‘Donkey Sick’ and then where would she be.  When the group had spent all their money in the shops and on ‘Donkey Taxis’ around town, we climbed aboard the bus for our return trip to Torremolinos.

Photo credit: https://www.picfair.com/donkey-taxi-in-mijas-spain/

Upon arriving back at the Bajondillo, DiVoran and I had a nap and then we went for a leisurely stroll along the Paseo Maritimo (seaside promenade) while we enjoyed the sea breeze coming in off the Mediterranean.  The sun was getting low on the western horizon and the colorful clouds, drifting across the sky, added to the beautiful evening we were having.  The cooking smells wafting in the air from the many seaside cafés finally got to us, and we returned to the Bajondillo in time for our evening meal.  After this exciting day, it was time to get some sleep, as tomorrow was going to be another busy day.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

i

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Our Trip to Spain-Part 14

29 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 11

We opted not to go on the overnight trip to Seville and Cordoba today, as DiVoran was still feeling a little iffy, and thought it would be best to stay close to home. We were sorry to miss that tour as it was advertised as one of the highlights of our stay in Spain.  Maybe next time we are in Spain.  After breakfast we decided to take it easy and explore the shops in Torremolinos a little more thoroughly with a self-guided tour.  

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

We had a wonderful time browsing the many shops and tourist traps there in town.  We purchased a few small gifts for our family members and a couple of items for ourselves. We had asked the Concierge at the Bajondillo for a list of the ‘Approved Cafés in Torremolinos so we wouldn’t have to worry about adding to DiVoran’s stomach problems.  After we had visited many shops and worked up an appetite, we stopped for a light lunch at the Casa Pascual Grill, before heading back to the Bajondillo for a nap.  

Photo Credit: tripadvisor.co.uk/Casa_Pascual_II-Torremolinos

In the afternoon I thought I would check out the history of Torremolinos and the surrounding region, so I went in search of the local museum.  I had told DiVoran I would see her for dinner, as she had planned to spend the afternoon relaxing at the beach in one of the lounges, supplied by various cafés and shops, under one of those nice beach umbrellas.  She would be able to enjoy her book and a glass of iced tea, to the soothing sound of the waves breaking and seagulls chirping.  

Photo Credit: booking.com/sun-beach-torremolinos/

I started my history search with a tour of the Casa de los Navajas mansion just a short walk from the Bajondillo. I discovered that Torremolinos (tower of the mills), and much of the surrounding area, is thought to have been settled as early as the Neolithic Age.  However, the area has changed hands several times over the centuries.  In some of the excavations in the area, over the years, there is some evidence of Nordic inhabitance, as well as Roman rule.  Then after the Moorish conquest of Spain in the early 8th century, it is said that the town was founded by the Nasrid Dynasty sometime in the 13th century.  Quite a mix of architecture.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After the Spanish conquered the Moors in 1492 the town was in decline, back into a small fishing village, until sometime in the early 1920s.  About that time, many of the richer northern Europeans discovered the beauty of the Costa del Sol, with its temperate climate, and Torremolinos began to grow again.  It was one of the first towns in the area to be developed into a summer retreat for northern European tourist.  The Hotel Pez Espada was the first hotel to be built in Torremolinos, in 1960, and over the years, the area has continued to grow, until now it’s considered one of the most popular vacations areas in Europe.

Photo Credit: torremolinoschic.com/hotel-pez-espada/

After I had digested all that information, I headed back to the beach to see if DiVoran was still there.  She was still there, and I gave her the short version of the history of Torremolinos, before we headed back to the Bajondillo to get cleaned up and change our clothes for dinner.  Another delicious dinner was served to our tour group, while we enjoyed another flamenco presentation, accompanied by that wonderful Spanish music.

Photo Credit: DiVoran Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Our Trip to Spain-Part 13

22 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 10

DiVoran was not feeling any better this morning, and I was beginning to worry that she might have something more serious than ‘Montezuma’s Revenge.’  I made arrangements for a local doctor (approved by the tour company) to visit her at the Bajondillo as soon as possible.  We were to go on a day trip today, and she said she wanted me to go on the tour, as she would rather stay in and see the doctor.  So, after breakfast, the ones of our group who wanted to, boarded the bus for the 45-minute trip to visit the town of Ojen, which is located in the Mirador de las Águilas (mountains). 

Photo credit:Bill Lites

This community has been famous, over the years, for its production of anisette, which is a favorite addition to the morning coffee of many Spaniards.  We were given a tour of the facility and the age-old local processing procedure was explained to us.  It was fascinating.  They had a small museum room that was used to display various antique artifacts that were used over the years, by the family, in their processing operations.

Photo credit:Bill Lites

The group was then led on a walking tour of Ojen where we were free to purchase local wines or hand-made souvenirs from any of the many small shops along the narrow, up and down streets.  When we passed the Solis Restaurante, and my nose got a whiff of the aroma coming out of their door, my stomach asked me if it was time for some lunch.  Our Program Director said we would have to do with a snack, as we had another town to visit before lunch.  So, a snack it was (can’t remember exactly what kind of snack it was).

Photo credit:Bill Lites

Most of us were glad when it was time to get back on the bus.  That was quite an exercise, walking the streets of Ojen.  Once we were back on the bus, we headed south only about 15 or so minutes for a visit to the town of Marbella.  This town turned out to be a haven for the rich and famous and those from all over Europe, who can afford to live richly for a week or two on the famous Costa del Sol.  Situated at the foothills of the Sierra Blanca mountains, Marbella’s beautiful Mediterranean beaches are lined with elegant hotels and lavish villas for ten miles in both directions. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Just west of Marbella, the area is known as ‘The Golden Mile’ with its prestigious nightclubs and coastal estates.  It made me think of Beverly Hills in California, and all the glamor that goes with that slice of American society.  Our bus tour 

thru the streets of Marbella (with points of interest explained by our Program Director) was very interesting.  When we drove past a beautiful hotel patio where people were eating, I asked about lunch again, but was told not to worry, that our lunch would be waiting for us back at the Bajondillo in Torremolinos.  I told my stomach to be quiet, as it wouldn’t be long now before it would be satisfied.  Of course, that didn’t work.

We arrived back in Torremolinos in plenty of time for our lunch, but the first thing I wanted to do was to check on how DiVoran was doing.  She told me that she was feeling better, and that the doctor was very nice, and had given her something for her condition.  She told me how she had used a Spanish dictionary to ask the maids for another pillow, and they had been generous. She said she thought she actually felt well enough to join me for a little something for lunch. 

After lunch we had a nap and by then she said she thought she could manage to go with me for a short stroll on the beach.  That turned out to be a lot of fun, as the sea air seemed to do wonders for her spirits.  Every day a new set of ‘artists’ would work their wonders with the sand at low tide, and some of their renderings were amazing.  Our short stroll on the beach ended up being longer than we had planned, as we worked our way back down the beach to the Bajondillo.  We spent the rest of the afternoon in the courtyard getting acquainted with couples from our tour group until it was time for dinner.

Photo Credit: https://www.robertharding.com/sculptures-sand-costa-del-sol/

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Our Trip to Spain-Part 12

15 Jun

A Slice of Life

  

Day 9 (Continued)

In the heart of the Alhambra is the Fuente de los Leones (Fountain of the Lions) which is the centerpiece of the Patio de los Leones (Court of the Lions).  This part of the fortress was built during the reign of Muhammed V in the 14th century and is amazingly beautiful.  The workmanship and the artwork are breathtaking.

Photo Credit: https://makespain.com/listing/courtoflions/alhambra/granada/

The views of the city of Granada, with the mountains in the background, from the various locations in the Alhambra were amazing and gave a feeling of grandiosity to the viewer.  You can get an example of what I mean from the picture below, taken from a postcard I picked up during the tour.  

Photo Credit: https://www.alhambra.org/en/

We were told that the flag of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella was first raised over the Torro de la Vela (watch tower), there in the Alhambra, in early 1492 AD as a symbol of the Spanish conquest of Granada.  This significant time in history was the turning point for the Islamic world, as the expulsion of all Moors by the Catholic Monarchs from what had become Spanish territory, from that date forth, marked the end of the Islamic rule.

Photo Credit: https://granadainfo.com/torrodelaveka/alhambra/

After that delightful tour of the Alhambra, as we were on our way to the restaurant for lunch, our attention was drawn to the Zambra María la Canastera, which is located in the picturesque Sacromonte District of Granada.  This famously unique hideaway has long featured traditional flamenco dancing and music performed in a tiny cavern adorned with memorabilia.  When I looked them up on the internet – Surprise!  They all look older.  How can that be? I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since we were there, and the picture was taken for this postcard. 

Photo Credit: https://zambramaríalacanastera.com

We stopped for lunch at a very nice ‘approved’ café there in Granada, that served us a wonderful traditional Spanish meal, while we were entertained by some local musicians playing soft guitar music in the background.  That was very pleasant.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After lunch our tour continued as the tour bus took us around the city of Granada with our Program Director explaining various points of interest, such as Mirador de Los Carvajales, Albayzin, Sacromonte, Paseo de los Tristes, and Mirador de San Nicolas.

Photo Credit: https://www.odysseytraveller.com/articles/granada-spain/

Our bus trip took us on a different route for our return trip back to Torremolinos.  This allowed us to view another interesting section of the Andalusia countryside while the many points of interest were explained to us by our Program Director.  Some names of the more interesting towns we passed thru were Churriana de la Vega, Parque de las Ciencias, Ogijares, and Velez de Benauadalla.  As before there were luxury hotel complexes and the beautiful Villa Loma Linda.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

As the hiway turned west along the shore of the Mediterranean, our Program Director had us stop near the town of Nerja for a quick tour of the caves of Nerja (Fundación Cueva de Nerja).  The caverns are said to have been re-discovered in 1959 and have become a major tourist attraction.  We were told that concerts are regularly held in one of the many chambers, which forms a natural amphitheater.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Some of the caverns stretch to the sea and the view of the Mediterranean from inside the caverns can be breathtaking.  I don’t remember if we had to pay this young boy to pose for this photo, but I think it made for a great picture, don’t you. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After that amazing tour of the Caves of Nerja we passed thru Torrox with its Faro Torrox (lighthouse), Benagalbon with its 16th century church, and Malaga with its famous bullring, before finally arriving in Torremolinos and the Bajondillo in time for a short rest before it was time for dinner.  DiVoran was still feeling poorly, and I brought her a bowl of chicken soup in hopes it would make her feel better.

Photo Credit: https://notaboutthemiles.com/malaga-spain/

—– To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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