Tag Archives: Travel Series

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 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

Our Trip to Spain-Part 11

8 Jun

A Slice of LIfe

Bill Lites

Day 9

DiVoran woke up this morning feeling sick to her stomach, and with a case of diarrhea, and didn’t want to get out of bed.  We couldn’t figure out if it was the water in Morocco or the water during the meal, we had enjoyed the night before, that was causing her problems, but she said she was staying close to our room all day.  That was a real shame, as this was the day scheduled for our group trip to tour Granada.  After breakfast I checked on DiVoran again, and she told me to go ahead with the trip.  She said she had a good book to read, and that she would be fine.  As our group boarded the bus for the 1½-hour trip, I was sad because I knew how much she would have loved to be going with us.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Our Program Director gave us a running monolog of the points of interest on our trip thru the Andalusia countryside and the Parque Natural Montes de Malaga National Park.    There were ranches, villas, and luxury hotel complexes, (each with a story of its own) as we passed the small towns of Puerto de la Torre, Las Escaraillas, and Castillo de Lachar, before arriving in Granada.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

As we arrived in Granada we were informed that the city is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and was founded by king Muhammad I in the early 13th century.  He ruled the Arabic Gharnata kingdom from 1232 to 1273. 

Photo Credit: https://www.guidigo.com/Tour/Spain/Granada/

The main attraction during our tour of Granada was a visit to the magnificent Alhambra Palace.  This sprawling hilltop fortress complex encompasses the royal palace from the Nasrid dynasty, and overlooks the Albaicín quarter of Granada’s old Moorish city. The Moorish portion of the Alhambra includes the Alcazaba (citadel) which is the oldest part of the fortress.  This brilliant jewel of Moorish architecture is a 13th century complex of palaces, fortifications, and gardens.  It reminded me of a fairy tale movie set, with its maze of quiet courtyards, serene pools, sparkling fountains, opulent harem rooms and lavish baths.  The Alhambra is considered the last remaining example of the Moorish kingdom in Spain.

Photo Credit: https://www.britannica.com/Alhambra-fortress-Granada-Spain

I was amazed at the intricate decorative inlaid tile work everywhere I looked.  It was some of the most beautiful and creative mosaic work I have ever seen.  I could understand why it took so many years to complete this grand palace.

Photo Credit: https://www.dosde.com/discover/en/tilework-in-the-alhambra/

The Patio de la Acequia at the Generalife and the Alameda de la Alhambra Park and its gardens were beyond description.  We were told to stay together as we ventured into the gardens.  A person could easily get lost in that garden maze.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

There are several beautiful and peaceful courtyards within the Alhambra’s vast grounds, whose pools are supplied by water from the Darro River via a cleverly engineered aqueduct system and the Torre del Agua (water tower).   It also supplied the necessary water pressure for the many beautiful pools and fountains throughout the Palace.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I had to stop and have my picture taken at one of the beautiful fountains, with the sound of water peacefully bubbling, to help soothe the tired soul.  The entire tour was breathtaking, and I was so sorry that DiVoran had not felt like coming on this tour as I know she, being the artist in the family, would have been enthralled by the amazing beauty and grandeur of the Alhambra, as I was.

—–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 10

1 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 8

Today DiVoran and I had a free day to relax and do anything we wanted.  As it happened, it was the time of the year for the local ‘Feria de San Miguel’ and Torremolinos was ready to celebrate.  So, after breakfast, we headed into town to join in the festivities.  We admired the decorative tiles as we strolled down San Miguel Street and enjoyed browsing the many small shops.

Photo Credit: https://www.gct.com/destinations/country/spain/

The streets were filled with people ready to have a good time.  Many of the locals were dressed in festive traditional costumes and didn’t mind having their picture taken with us tourists.  Many of the costumes related to the traditional Spanish Flamenco dancers for women and bullfighter paraphernalia for the men.

Photo Credit: DiVoran Lites

We had lunch at one of the local (approved) cafés, and then strolled back to the Bajondillo for a short rest.  In the afternoon we joined many of our group, in the park, to enjoy the celebration of the local festivities, as a musical team lead singing to honor ‘Feria de San Miguel’ from a bandstand.  As the excitement picked up, there were also several shikhat dancers in the troupe who performed flamingo dances for the enjoyment of us all.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After the performance was over, DiVoran and I took advantage of the tour’s ‘Dine- Around Program’ that set us up to visit a local family home and get to know them and some of their local culture.  Neither DiVoran nor I spoke Spanish, so we were very lucky that the two ladies we visited that afternoon spoke good English, so we could communicate freely.  The program had arranged for the host family to prepare a traditional Spanish dinner meal and to enjoy it with their guests.  I can’t remember what the meal they served was, but it was excellent.  What a wonderful time we had with those two ladies during that afternoon visit.  After that delightful experience, we had a leisurely stroll back to the Bajondillo for a good night’s rest.  It had been a wonderful day and we felt lucky to have been on this tour just when the ‘Feria de San Miguel’ celebration was taking place and to have been able to join in on the festivities.

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 9

25 May

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 7

The next morning after breakfast there at the hotel, a professor from the local Abdelmalek EssaâdiUniversity (ENSA) came and talked to us about the Islamic influence on Moroccan life.  He told us about his own modernized family, and how most of the Muslim world are not extremists.  He emphasized that most of them only want to live a trouble-free life, as we do.  I’m sure this presentation had been hurriedly arranged by the Moroccan government to give our tour group, and all Americans visiting their country, a feeling of security after the recent 9/11 attacks.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

After that informative presentation, we packed our bags so we would be ready to head back to Spain after our morning adventures. We were offered an opportunity to take a quick trip thru the bazaar again, and we jumped at the idea.  It was in the bazaar this time, as we finished our shopping at one of the small shops, that the owner approached us and said, “Please come back, we need you.”  I guess the working-class people were already beginning to feel the effects of the global shutdown of tourism.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

After the quick trip thru the bazaar, we were taken to a local café, there in Tangier for a wonderful lunch (with Moroccan rhythms playing in the background).  We were always so pleased to know our tour company had contracts with the local cafés and restaurants where we took any of our meals, assuring us that all food and water was safe for our consumption (no side effects).

Photo credit: DiVoran Lites
Photo credit: Bill Lites

After lunch we boarded our bus for the short trip from Tangier back to the ferry landing.  Our Program Director was pleased that we had all had a good time and again drew our attention to several points of interest, as we made our way north along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean.  A boy and his donkey was there to bid us ‘Fair Well’ and to ask us to come back soon.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

It was another beautiful clear day, and we enjoyed the 1½-hour ferry trip back to Gibraltar.  On this ferry trip from, Morocco back to Spain, DiVoran got really thirsty and purchased a bottle of water from the snack shop there on the ferry.  We didn’t think anything about the water not being pure since it was sealed but, upon later thinking, the safety procedures for that bottled water may not have been as stringent as those in the U.S.  

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Our bus was waiting for us at the ferry landing in Gibraltar.  On the ride back to Torremolinos our group was treated to another one of our Program Director’s discourses on the various points of interest we may have missed the day before.  We arrived at the Bajondillo in time for a short rest before dinner at the Cetus Restaurante’.  It was really good to be back at the Bajondillo where we could unpack our things and sleep in our own bed tonight.

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 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 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 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

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