Tag Archives: Travel Series

2022 Road Trip-Part 4B

21 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 Continued (5/19/2022)

As I checked out the old Sciple’s water mill, I noticed a hand-written sign that pointed to the Water Mill Opry House across the road, and I just had to take a photo of that old place.  It looked to be as old as the water mill and was all closed up.  I wouldn’t have believed it, but their website informs me that on Saturday nights its standing room only for folks who come from all over Mississippi to enjoy the country music of Ed Sciple’s band and participate in some of the wildest boot-scootin’ and hi-steppin’ dancing around these parts.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After that wild ride in the countryside, I continued north 60 miles on SR-39 & US-45 to where I visited the Tennessee Williams Home located in Columbus, MS.  I don’t believe I ever read any of Tennessee Williams’ books, but I have enjoyed the movies made from some of his books.  I was the only visitor at the time, and the curator took the time to show me thru the entire house, pointing out little details as we went thru the various rooms.  A framed quote by Tennessee Williams said, “I was composed of a little Welsh wildness, a lot of puritan English, and a big chunk of German sentiment.”  That pretty much said it of the man.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Not far from the Tennessee Williams Home I visited the White Arches house there in Columbus.  This original “Columbus Eclectic” home was built by Jeptha V. Harris in 1857 and is on the list of homes shown on Columbus’ Annual Spring Pilgrimage.  The museum was closed when I was there, but the photo below shows the unique Greek Revival, Gothic, and Italianate design of the house with all its 19th century grandeur.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed north 35 miles on US-45 to visit the Aberdeen City Hall Museum located in Aberdeen, MS.  This 1912 building turned out not to be a museum, but the operating Aberdeen City Hall.  My mistake.  This was another case of me not reading all the words about a given museum or subject.  My wife, DiVoran, keeps telling me, “You have to read ALL the words Bill.”

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was driving around Aberdeen, I noticed an Aberdeen Mississippi Blues historical marker in front of a Blues Mural on the side of a building.  I stopped to get a photo and read all about the Mural.  Not being a big blues fan, I didn’t know about Booker ‘bukka’ White, Chester Aurthur ‘Howlfn’ Burnett, and Albert King being born in Aberdeen, and about the mural dedicated to the Aberdeen Mississippi Blues artists.  Now I’m a little more informed.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I continued north 30 miles on US-45 to visit the Tupelo Automobile Museum located in Tupelo, MS.  I was expecting to get a look at their 175 beautifully restored cars.  But when I got there, the museum was closed, and from what I have heard, its permanent, and all their cars have been put up for sale.  What a bummer!  So, I headed over to check out the Tupelo National Battlefield located just on the outskirts of Tupelo.  This battlefield was the location of the July 1864 ‘Battle of Tupelo’ otherwise known as the ‘Battle of Harrisburg’ where the Union forces claimed a victory.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed over to visit the Elvis Presley Birthplace there in Tupelo.  Even though DiVoran and I were Elvis fans when we were teenagers, neither of us knew he was born and raised in Tupelo.  So, this was a new experience for me.  I learned that he sang in the local Assembly of God Church choir from an early age and got his first guitar at age ten.  In the years after his family moved to Memphis, TN in 1948, he and his cousins, Jerry Lee Louis, later known as ‘Mr. Rockabilly’ and Jimmy Swaggart, later known as ‘The Evangelist’ spent a good deal of their time hanging out with many of the early black Jazz and Blues performers who frequented the Beale Street clubs and restaurants.  This is where it is suggested that a lot of the Blues, Jazz, and Southern Gospel they heard seeped into their souls and into their music.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now, I gave Greta (My Garmin) the address of my motel there in Tupelo and she took me right to it.  After I got checked in and got my things into the room, I warmed up my leftover fried Catfish dinner from the Blue Crab Grill and enjoyed that delicious meal again.  Yummm!  Then I tried to watch some TV but there was nothing worth watching, so I recorded my days activities and went to bed.  What a long day this has been!

—–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 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

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 16

20 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 12

Today our group was bussed a short distance to where we visited a small country hamlet, to learn firsthand how the Spanish villagers live, work, and enjoy life.  We strolled thru the small shops lining the narrow streets and were amazed at the variety of hand-made crafts.  Then we were introduced to a local family that produced their own wine and were shown the age-old process of wine making.  After that interesting adventure we were taken to a local farm where we were given lunch by the family, as part of the ‘A Taste of Village Life’ tour company plan.  Very few of the locals in this village spoke English, so most of our lunch communicating was done with sign language.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

A long table was setup out of doors for a banquet of delicious local foods for our group.  DiVoran didn’t eat much of anything, because of her continuing stomach distress, and the hostess was distraught, thinking it was because of her food.   She tried one thing after another to make DiVoran feel better, but she was just afraid to try anything.  She finally did take a little wine, for her stomach, but that was about all.  She tried to explain how grateful she was for their effort to please her and especially for their hospitality.  All DiVoran could do was to just sit there and enjoy the love the people shared with one another, and the beautiful scenery.  

Photo Credit: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/29484572533294841/

On our return trip we passed another hilltop Osborne Bull (Toro de Osborne).  I am always amazed at how realistic these bulls are.  They look as though they are ready to charge down the hill and chase you out of their territory.  Someone did a really good job of creating a life-like silhouette of an animal that gives the impression of realism.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Most of the rest of the return trip was along the coast of the Mediterranean where we passed thru the small coastal towns of Los Bolighes, Torrequebrada, Playa de Santa Ana, Benalmadena, and La Carihuela.  When we arrived in Torremolinos, DiVoran and I took a short nap to sleep off that wonderful lunch. That afternoon we took another leisurely stroll down the seaside promenade and then back along the beach to admire more of the day’s creative sandcastles.  By then, we were ready to make our way back to the Bajondillo for our dinner.  Tonight’s meal would be at the Cetus Restaurante’ there in the Bajondillo and would include another flamenco presentation.  We were always impressed at the beauty and stamina the flamenco dancers expressed with their dancing.

Photo Credit: Bill Lite

—–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 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

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