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 Our Trip to Spain-Part 8

11 May

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 6 (Continued)

When we arrived back in Tangier, we were delivered at our hotel, where we had time for a short rest and a change of clothes before we headed for our next adventure.  We were taken to the palace (kasbah) of the local leader there in Tangier, where we admired the beautiful palace grounds, gardens, and kasbah guards.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Photo credit: Bill Lites

One of the horsemen guards even let me hold his gun (under his watchful eye) for a photo.  This didn’t give me a lot of confidence about the security of the kasbah.  I’m not sure when that gun was manufactured, but it sure wasn’t any time during the 20th century.

Photo Credit: DiVoran Lites

The guards were friendly (I think they were really mostly there for show) and our Moroccan tour guide talked them into allowing us to have our picture taken with them (They look pretty friendly don’t they, with their big smiles and all).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Photo credit:Bill Lites

After our tour of the kasbah, and just before sunset, we were taken to an area where we were served a delicious traditional Moroccan dinner (the only course I can remember the name of was ‘couscous’) in an authentic Moroccan tent.  Before and after our meal we were entertained with a folkloric show, which included traditional Moroccan music, and of course, belly dancers (there  they were again).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites 

The food was excellent, and the show was wonderful.  There were also several specialty acts, as part of the show, such as a fire eater who entertained us with his fiery torches and feats of daring (didn’t seem very smart in a canvas tent, but hey, who was I to complain).  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites 

One of the performers (I called him the ‘Candle Man’) was a juggler of sorts, who spun plates on a stick, twirled steel hoops in all kinds of positions, and walked around the stage area, in various positions, balancing a tray of burning candles on his head.

Photo Credit: DiVoran Lites

Then there was this acrobat (who I called rubber girl) who could tie herself up in knots, you wouldn’t believe possible, while we watched.  She put herself into some of the most amazing poses, most of which were while she was balancing in some unimaginable position.  All of the acts were great, and we enjoyed the entire performance.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After the performance was over, we asked a couple of the performers if we could have our picture taken with them, and they were kind enough to do that for us.  We had our picture taken with one of the belly dancers that performed that night.

Photo Credit: Bill Lite

And of course, we had to have our picture taken with the ‘Candle Man’ as he was bobbing around the tent.  He would stop at each table, showing off his balancing act, while having his picture taken with many of the folks in our group.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After dinner, and the show was concluded, the ones of our group who wanted to, were invited outside to take a short camel ride.  DiVoran was a good sport and was elevated to new heights on her Berber camel.  She said, “Ahmed, the camel handler, was very polite and gently helped me on a stool and onto the camel, and we walked around for a little while.  Then after the camel had stopped and had kneeled down, Ahmed helped me down and said, ‘You pay me one dollar now please.’  I was glad to be off that camel and was happy to pay Ahmed his fee.” After that great meal, the exciting show, and the short camel ride, our group was bussed back to our hotel for the evening.  I, for one, was looking forward to my bed and a good night’s rest.

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 7B

4 May

A Slice of Life

Bill LItes

Day 6 (Continued)

We enjoyed an excellent lunch, while musicians played quiet Moroccan music in the background as we ate.  Everyone seemed to be excited and were all talking at the same time, about the things they were going to do and see while we were in Morocco.  It was a very relaxing time for all of us after the excitement of our tour thru the bazaar and the walking tour of Tangier.

Photo Credit:DiVoran Lites

As we were finishing our lunch, the musicians began to play rhythmic Moroccan music, and a dancer appeared on the small stage to perform for us.  We were to find that these shikhat dancers were a common entertainment for tourist no matter where or what the occasion; at lunch, dinner, or any other special event. After the performance was over, we went to our room and were given time to finish unpacking our things and have another short rest.

Photo Credit:Bill Lite

That afternoon, the ones of our group who wanted to, boarded a bus for a short trip thru some 25 miles of Morocco’s picturesque countryside, to visit the small town of Asilah located on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean.  This old walled town (medina) was built by the colonial Portuguese in the 15thcentury.  The medina is an art center now, known for its many murals and the annual Moussem Culturel d’Asilah festival that takes place there. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

We toured the village with its narrow streets and its many small shops while our Program Director explained the many points of interest to us.  We walked along some the old walls of the city with many of its newer buildings located on, what seemed to be, the very foundations of the walls, which gave them a grand view of the ocean.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

On the way back to our hotel in Tangier, our Program Director pointed out several beautiful villas (Villa De Ojen) and luxury hotel complexes (La Mirage Hotel) along the Moroccan countryside, that cater to the rich and famous.  Everyone in the group was impressed, but I don’t think anyone was ready to shell-out the kind of dirhams (Moroccan dollars) it would take to stay in one of those establishments for any length of time.

Villa De Ojen Photo Credit:Bill Lites
Photo Credit Bill Lites La Mirage Hotel

                                               

We made a quick stop at a small fishing village, also situated on the Atlantic seashore.  DiVoran remembers that all the houses in the village were white, and we were told a person could tell who lived in the houses by the color of the doors.  Blue doors indicated a fisherman’s home, and a green door indicated a farmer’s home.  We weren’t really sure what significance, if any, there was to being able to identify who lives in the house, but that was the story we were told.

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 7A

27 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 6 (Continued)

Then we were taken to a Moroccan carpet shop, where we were all seated around this large display room with the walls covered with an assortment of smaller rugs.  DiVoran remembers that they were very insistent that we wanted to purchase one of their fine carpets.  She kept telling them that she didn’t want to buy a carpet, but they must have thought their salesmanship would win her over, and kept at her until she finally said emphatically, ‘NO!’

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The owner would explain the style and origin of his finest carpets (wall samples) and then ask if anyone had a favorite they wanted to see in full-size.  I guess, as with most tour groups, there were several couples who were interested in purchasing Moroccan carpets.  When someone picked a particular wall sample, two of his helpers would find and bring out that carpet and roll it out on the floor in front of us.  The selection was huge and amazing, and the workmanship was outstanding.  If the customer decided to purchase the carpet, the owner might barter with the customer over the price some, which would include the cost and  method of transportation of their carpet back to the United States, or whatever country they were from, as part of the deal.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After the carpet store, on another street, the aroma of freshly baked bread wafted into our nostrils.  We stopped at a small bakery, where DiVoran and I, and several other people, bought samples of the different types of breads that were available for sale (some still warm from the oven).  There was the typical Moroccan flat bread, square decorative breads, and small buns.  Once we had completed our purchases, we stepped outside, and all shared our different breads around the group.  What a taste treat that was.  What a tragedy, that today that kind of group activity can’t be enjoyed!

Photo Credit: https://www.virginlimitededition.com/bread-making-class/

It made it very convenient to have two tour guides for our walk thru the streets of Tangier.  That way, if some wanted to stop at a certain shop, the rest of the group could continue with the other guide.   We bought a few souvenir items for our family as we browsed the many shops and, after assembling back with the rest of our group, were ready when our tour guide said it was time to head to the hotel for lunch.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

We boarded the bus which took us to the Hotel Ahlen, located in the Karima Quarter of Tangier, where we were to spend the night.  We were assigned our rooms and told where to assemble for lunch.  We unpacked our things and had time for a short rest before we were called for lunch.  Our lunch was served in a large dining room at the Ahlem Restaurant there in the hotel. 

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 6

20 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 6

Today was the first day of our optional two-day overnight trip to Morocco and Tangiers.  After a good night’s rest, and a great breakfast at the Bajondillo, we boarded the bus for our trip to Gibraltar.  It seems that the bus ride must have been coordinated with the ferry schedule, as we had time for a quick bus tour around the Rock of Gibraltar, which is a 1400-foot-high limestone monolith, and is famous the world over.  This gave our Program Director a chance to describe some of the local points of interest while we watched the ever-present, and mischievous, Barbary Macaque monkeys torment the tourists as we passed by them.   By then it was time to board the ferry for Morocco.  

Photo Credit: https://www.euractiv.com/spain/gibraltar/

It was a beautiful day for the ferry ride, and we enjoyed the 1½ hour trip across the Mediterranean.  I was surprised to learn that Gibraltar and North Africa are only 9-miles apart at the Strait of Gibraltar.  It was on this ferry trip that we got our first glimpse of how the 9/11/01 terror attack, on the World Trade Center, had affected many of the people around the world.  We were surprised when a Muslim family came up to us and said, “We are very sorry about that terrible thing that happened in America.”  We could tell that they were truly sorry about what had happened and wanted us to know that it wasn’t the way of all Muslims.  We were very appreciative of their sympathy with the U.S.

Photo Credit: https://travel.davidmbyrne.com/morocco-spain-ferry/

When we docked in Africa, our group boarded a bus for the short trip to Tangier.  Our Program Director pointed out several points of interest along the way.  He informed us that he had arranged for a local guide to help him escort us on our walking tour of the city and the local bazaar.  He made it especially clear, that for our safety during our entire tour of the city, we should listen closely to him and our local tour guide for instructions, and for all of us to stay together.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

When we arrived in Tangier, Our Program Director introduced us to the local tour guide, and told us that he spoke fluent English (although with a British accent), and that he would be able to answer any questions we might have during our tour of the city and its many points of interest we would be visiting. He also informed us of the informal itinerary for the day, which would include a trip thru the local bazaar, a stop at a one of the more popular carpet shops, and other shops, as we strolled thru the crowded streets of Tangier.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Our first adventure (and what an adventure that was) was a tour thru the local bazaar (souk).  As we strolled thru the open market, we were surrounded by an amazing verity of foods; including all kinds of exotic fruits, vegetables, spices, oils, and an amazing display of every kind of fresh fish and meats imaginable.  What an outstanding experience that was.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next was a leisurely stroll thru some of the streets of Tangier, where we saw a small privately owned pottery shop that displayed some of their beautifully created original plate ware outside.  I thought it was a very smart idea the owner had come up with, to place his/her samples on the inside of the entry doors so they were displayed when the doors were opened out.

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 5

13 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5

Today was a free day to relax from our tour of Ronda and do anything we wanted.  So, after breakfast DiVoran and I joined a small group for a leisurely walking tour down the beach promenade from our Bajondillo to visit the old La Carihuela fishing village. We found the stroll along the seaside promenade to be dotted with many small hutlike outdoor chirinquito (beach bars) and restaurants and the atmosphere was very relaxing.  The town of La Carihuela is a typically quiet old Spanish fishing village that has carried on this tradition for hundreds of generations.  The people in the small shops, and the street venders in the area, were friendly and allow us tourists to enjoy browsing without being hounded to buy something.

Photo Credit: https://7across.com/resorts/Spain/LaCarihuela-Playa-Sol

Our group made its way down the seaside promenade another mile or so to visit Benalmadena.  This is an old traditional Spanish town located on a hill that rises from the sea and is known for its Castillo de Colomares Monument (dedicated to the life and exploits of Christofer Columbus), Tivoli World amusement park, the Sea Life Aquarium, and the Teleferico Benalmadena (Cable Car).   DiVoran and I were tired and didn’t take the cable car ride but waited at the bottom for our friends to return.  We discovered we had passed up an opportunity to take in the incredible view from the top of the hill.  We said we would do it another time, but never seemed to get the time.

Photo Credit: https://trip101.com/article/hings-to-do-benalmadena-spain/

I believe most of our group were pretty much worn out by the time we returned to the Bajondillo and were ready for lunch at the cafeteria and a long nap.  After that great nap, the rest of the day was spent browsing the market and the many shops there in Torremolinos.  We opted for having dinner in one of the ‘approved’ local restaurants. We enjoyed a traditional Spanish meal (can’t remember exactly what) and finished it off with a dish of Tocino de Cielo (similar to Mexican flan).  Yumm!

Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/Tocinillo_de_cielo/

After that delicious meal and the walk back to the Bajondillo, we relaxed in the patio (the sun was getting low by now and the patio was shady and cool) with some of the other guests from our group, and exchanged experiences of the day.  It is amazing how different the interests are in a group who came on this tour of the Costa del Sol, but not all for the same reasons.  By the end of this interesting interlude, DiVoran and I said our good-nights, and were ready for a good night’s rest.

Photo Credit: https://www.zoover.com/spain/torremolinos/bajondillo/apartments/

—–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 4

8 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4

This morning after breakfast our group boarded the bus for an all-day tour to Ronda.  On the way, our Program Director gave us a running account of the countryside we were traversing, with its history, culture, and points of interest.  Much of the scenery was picturesque as we passed thru some of the smaller towns such as Churriana, Alhaurina, Alozaina, and El Burgo, bordering the foothills of the Sierra de las Nieves. 

Photo Credit: https://www.hotels.com/churriana-de-la-vega-spain

Called ‘The most beautiful city on earth’ by Earnest Hemingway, Ronda is located on a high plateau, with the city’s ‘medieval’ part (El Ciudad) being separated from the ‘modern’ part (15th century) by a 300-foot plunging river gorge (El Tajo).  The ancient stone bridge (Puente Nuevo), which took 34 years to build, was complete in 1793, and links the two parts of the city.  The view from the bridge is amazing.

Photo Credit: https://handluggageonly.co.uk/

Ronda has archaeological roots dating back to the Neolithic Age.  Said to have been settled by early Celts somewhere around the 6th century BC, but most of the present-day city is of Roman origin from about the time of Julius Caesar.  Conquered and ruled by Islamic nations from roughly the 1st century BC to the 16th century AD, most of the city’s older edifices are mainly of Moorish architecture.   Located on the far side of the Puente Nuevo (new bridge), we visited the Convento de Santo Domingo.  Established in 1485, it was the seat of the Court of the Inquistion for many years.  Renovated several times over the years, it is said to be one of the oldest and most visited buildings in Spain.

Photo Credit: https://owaytours.com/en/ronda/convent-of-santo-domingo/

Then our group visited the ‘Plaza de Toros de Ronda’ which is advertised to be the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain.   Built in 1784 the bullring is host to the famous annual ‘Corrida Goyesce’ (bullfight) which draws thousands of bullfighting fans from the world over to the famous event.  There is also a bullfighting museum in the building.  The ‘Museo Taurino’ holds over two hundred years of famous bullfighting regalia and artifacts, including a collection of original weapons used by the Real Maestranza (circa 1686) in Spanish Wars. 

Photo Credit: https://barbaraathanassiadis.com/rondas-feria-goyesca-andalusia-spain

Our group stopped for lunch at an ‘Approved Restaurant’ there in Ronda, where we were served a delicious Spanish meal (I can’t remember what it was) as we were serenaded by musicians singing some of their favorite Spanish songs. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Our return trip was by a different route, and we again enjoyed the ‘Travel Log’ given to us by our Program Director.  We appreciated the knowledge he displayed while explaining points of interest, the local culture, and the people.  We passed thru the small towns of Casarabonela, El Chenil, Zalea, Cerralba, Casapalma, and Miralmonte, as we traveled thru a large portion of the Guakalhorce Valley.  Then I saw this huge bull standing on the top of a hill and thought, ‘I wonder why that bull is running free so close to the road’?  I took this photo and asked our Program Director about the bull.  He told us it wasn’t a real bull but was actually a 14-meter (45 feet) silhouette called Toro de Osborne (The Osborne bull).  The one we saw today was one of 90 bull silhouettes, placed in various outdoor locations throughout Spain.  The story we were told was that the silhouettes had started out as a ‘Brandy de Jerez’ advertisement in 1956, but over the years, has become the unofficial national symbol of Spain.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

 We saw some people riding horses off in the distance, and it was just recently that my wife, DiVoran, informed me that some of the horses we saw on our travels that day may have been Pure Spanish Andalusian Horses (PRE) which have been bred, and shown throughout the Iberian Peninsula, for many centuries.  We arrived back in Torremolinos in time to wash up for our dinner at the Cetus Restaurante there at the Bajondillo that evening.

Photo Credit: https://www.cortijoelchenilcaballos.com/

After dinner DiVoran and I took another leisurely stroll thru the quiet streets of Torremolinos to walk off that great meal and to enjoy the wonderfully pleasant evening activities of the town as it settled in for the night.  It was a cool and very relaxing stroll, and just what we needed to end an exciting day on the Costa del Sol.

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 3

30 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 3

After breakfast this morning, our group assembled in the conference room for an introduction orientation to the Casta del Sol by our Program Director.  Once he had explained all of the details he thought we would need, to navigate around the area on our own, he gave us time for a Q & A session.  All of this would be helpful in the days to come, to help us understand what was available to us in the area, during our leisure times.  Then he went over the tour itinerary and discussed the ‘Optional Tours’ available, and we were given an opportunity to sign up for the ones we wanted. We had already decided which Optional Tours we wanted to go on and were glad, with all the recent worldwide confusion, that they were still available.  This took up most of morning and it was lunch time before we knew it.

Photo Credit: https://favpng.com/png_view/meeting-clip-art-png/4bkPvG6q

After lunch our group was led on a walking orientation tour of Torremolinos by our Program Director, who pointed out the highlights of the city.  He also showed us the various shops and some of the ‘Approved’ restaurants that the tour company had arranged for us.  This was especially helpful for everyone to know, so we could enjoy the local culture and food without the fear of thinking we might come down with ‘Montezuma’s Revenge.’

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

There were many beautiful grand old Moorish style buildings and large villas interspaced between newer high-rise apartments buildings and condominiums along the sea-side promenade.  This gave us the picture of how some of the early wealthy visitors, who came to this area, spent their time and money to enjoy the Casta del Sol.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Then we boarded a bus for the short 30-minute trip to tour Malaga, which is the main city of coastal Andalucia.  An old Moorish fortress dominates the city that is made up of twisting, narrow streets, and a lovely waterfront promenade.  The city gives one a taste of the new Spain, while at the same time, retains much of the look and culture of the small-town old Spain.  Being the birthplace of famous painter Pablo Picasso, Malaga and the Costa del Sol are well known, but didn’t really start becoming the popular winter holiday area, for the European wealthy that it is today, until in the early 19th century, 

Photo Credit: https://outofoffice.blog/malaga-spain/

As part of the Malaga tour, we visited the Perez Texeira Winery for a tour of their facilities.  This was a very interesting tour, that gave us an idea of how the larger wine company’s processing operations work.  Of course, we were offered a small sample of the various wines they produced.  Our Program Director assured us we would have a safe trip back to Torremolinos, as the bus driver was not allowed to partake of the winery’s generous sample offers.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

On the way back to Torremolinos, our Program Director explained the various points of interest as they related to the colorful history of the Costa del Sol.  We got back to Torremolinos in time for dinner at the Cetus Restaurante there at the Bajondillo.  As part of the ‘All Inclusive’ plan, dinner entertainment was included.  This evening it was a complimentary Flamenco Cabaret show that was very entertaining for everyone.  The music, the costumes, and the performers were outstanding, and it made for a beautiful finish to a wonderful day.

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 2

23 Mar

A Slice of Life

   Bill Lites

Day 2

When DiVoran and I arrived in Malaga, Spain there was some confusion at the airport, as people from many different airlines gathered to wait for transportation to our hotel, 30-minutes down the coast in Torremolinos.  To make matters worse, we couldn’t find our luggage.  We were finally told that our luggage had gone to Istanbul, Turkey by mistake.  That was a bummer, as we had wanted to ‘travel light’ on our flights, so we had put almost everything else in our suitcases.  It was two days before the airline delivered our bags to us.  Hey, no surprise there, right! 

Photo Credit: https://www.spanish-web.com/costa-del-sol/

Our tour group was bussed from the Malaga airport to the sea-side resort town of Torremolinos.  The Bajondillo Apartments on the shore promenade, overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, there in Torremolinos, was our base location from which, most of our meals were taken, and our daily adventures started each day.   It didn’t take long for us to get settled into our lovely fourth-floor apartment (nothing to unpack).  It actually turned out to be a one-bedroom kitchenette with a sea-view balcony.  By then, we were hungry, and were glad when they announced it was time for lunch.  After lunch, DiVoran and I went to our room and had a long rest, to help us recover from the long overnight flights from home.

 Photo Credit: https://www.hippostcard.com/listing/torremolinos-spain-bajondillo/

That afternoon we joined a group for a leisurely walking tour, with our Program Director, to get acquainted with the immediate vicinity around the Bajondillo Apartments, which included the seaside promenade, and the adjacent beach scene.  When the tour was over and we made it back to the Bajondillo, we had time for another quick nap, before we were called for an excellent ‘Welcome Aboard’ dinner at the Cetus Restaurante, there in the Bajondillo, hosted by our tour company.

Photo Credit: https://www.atrapalo.com/apartamentos-bajondillo/torremolinos/

After dinner DiVoran and I took a stroll along the beach promenade to check out the shops and beach cafés.  Then we sauntered down onto the beach to admire the many sand sculptures that were still standing after the tide had come in.  We stopped to get a photo of DiVoran in front of one of the symbols Torremolinos uses to advertise their many apartment complexes there on the Costa del Sol.  All that exercise (which we needed after those many hours flying from the U.S.), sun, and fresh sea breeze, was very relaxing and just what we needed to help put us in the mood for a long restful night’s sleep.

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 1

16 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

That terrible 9/11/2001 attack had shaken our nation, and we started trying to look at how this event was going to affect our lives.  One of our immediate concerns was that six months earlier, DiVoran and I had signed up for (and paid for) a two-week all-inclusive trip to southern Spain; to begin on 9/19/2001.  We had been looking forward to and planning for that trip with anticipation for the past six months.  Now what were we going to do?  All the airlines were shut down, and who knew for how long!  Would our trip be cancelled?  Would we be able to go?  Should we go?  Question after question ran through our minds.  So, after much prayer and consideration, we received our assurance in the scriptures; ‘…He will order His angels to protect and guard you.’  Luke 4:10b (New Living Translation).

We decided right then and there, that IF our tour was still a go, and IF the airlines started flying again, and IF we could get seats, we wouldn’t let this terrible event ruin our plans.  WE WOULD GO!

Photo Credit: https://www.flightglobal.com/airlines/cancellations/

Day 1

By some miracle, it wasn’t long before things began to calm down.  We contacted our tour company and were assured that our tour to Spain was still on, and that they were looking forward to seeing us there as scheduled.  The airlines started flying again, and since many people were “Never going to fly again!” we had no problem confirming our itinerary on the designated airlines, and even on the scheduled date.  Of course, the atmosphere at the airports in Orlando, Atlanta, Paris, and Malaga, as well as on all the airplanes was very tense, but everyone tried to force a smile and were very courteous to us.

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

Other than short layovers in Atlanta and Paris, we made all of our Delta and Air France connections, as scheduled, without any problems.  Looking back on those flights, I must admit the service was excellent.  The food on each of the flights was wonderful (no peanuts or pretzels), the flight attendants couldn’t do enough for us, and we had plenty of room to stretch out and sleep if we wanted to, as the flights were only about half-full (No they didn’t go so far as upgrading us to first class).

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

—–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-Prolog

9 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when terror struck the United States on September 11, 2001?  I’m sure you do.  That’s not the kind of event a person easily forgets.  As it happened, my wife, Divoran and I were in the middle of a wonderful family get-together at one of our favorite places in Central Florida; DeLeon Springs State Park. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Our family had been visiting the campground since the late 1960s, before it was a state park.  We loved camping there and knew the original owners well.  One of the unique things about this campground was its rustic Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant, where you can cook your own breakfast on the hot-plate in the middle of your table.  This particular day our son, and his family, as well as our daughter, and her husband had joined us for a special family breakfast together.

Photo Credit: https://www.floridarambler.com/ponce-de-leon-state-park/

We could not have been having a more wonderful family time, when the terrible news came filtering into the restaurant over the airways.  I remember how deathly quiet it became, as all the airplanes in this country were grounded.   You might remember how everything seemed to be on hold, as if the country was holding its breath, to see what would happen next.  We finished our breakfast in stunned silence, not really able to grasp the enormity of the attack.  It wasn’t until we got home, later that day, that we were able to see the news reports of just what all had happened.  It was only then that we began to understand how devastating the event had been, and finally the impact began to sink in.  We could have never understood, at the time, just how much this event would change our lives, and the lives of most people the world over, forever.

Photo Credit: https://www.latimes.com/travel/la-xpm-2001-sep-11-attack/

–To Be Continued—–

Did you know that Bill and his wife DiVoran loved DeLeon Springs so much that DiVoran wrote a trilogy set there-Onisha

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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