Tag Archives: Travel

Our Trip to Spain-Part 14

29 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 11

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

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

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

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

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

Photo Credit: DiVoran Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

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

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

Our Trip to Spain-Part 13

22 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 10

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

Photo credit:Bill Lites

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

Photo credit:Bill Lites

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

Photo credit:Bill Lites

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

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

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

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

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

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

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

—–To Be Continued—–

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

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

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

19 Jun

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Recently, Fred and I made a trip to Virginia to see our youngest daughter, her husband, and our grandtwins.  We always love being with them.  They live in Williamsburg, but not in the restored colonial area.  But every time we visit there, we always walk through the restored area.

When we returned Stateside from Heidelberg, West Germany in 1983, Fred was stationed at Langley AFB, Hampton, Virginia.  Neither of us had ever lived in Virginia, so it was to prove to be a new and exciting experience for both of us – actually all four of us, since our daughters were still living at home.

We were excited to realize that we lived just eight miles from Yorktown, and that is within the “Historic Triangle” of Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown.  That area is just oozing with American history.  While that had not been much of an interest to me prior to our time in Virginia, I found myself totally engaged in it.

And Colonial Williamsburg helped that viewpoint.  In that vein, we purchased what they called the “Patriot Pass” – essentially an annual pass.  Since we lived only about 30 minutes from Colonial Williamsburg, we went there often – so often that our girls grew a bit tired of it.  Not only did we take them with us, but their schools had field trips there, as well.  Eventually, we felt we had seen just about everything they had to offer, and let our Patriot Pass lapse.  We could still walk the streets and see the gardens and shops, but we couldn’t go into the “attractions” where the “interpreters” told what was going on in their areas in colonial times.  

All that to say, this time when we visited, we decided to get the Patriot Pass and go through as many of the attractions as possible.  We are so glad we did – it was new and refreshing to hear the explanations of what was done in those areas, by people dressed in period costumes, and telling just what it might be like in colonial times to do their jobs.  

We stopped at the seamstress shop (I was especially interested in how they got the printed fabric),

Trend & Tradition – Autumn 2021

 The printer

Credit National Graphic – Visiting Our Past – America’s Historylands

The apothecary, the boot and shoemaker,

Credit National Graphic – Visiting Our Past – America’s Historylands

 The Capitol, 

Credit Williamsburg Before and After

The blacksmith among others.

Credit Military Lifestyle – March 1992

The tour of Raleigh’s Tavern was especially interesting, as we were told it was the birthplace of Phi Beta Kappa!  And there was a gentleman walking the Duke of Gloucester Street, dressed in period costume (along with a yes-man sidekick) who told about how his house was so much better than his brother’s house.  Just delightful!

Credit Trend & Tradition – Winter 2022

We had hoped to go through the Governor’s Palace, but the line was exceedingly too long, with about five or six groups ahead of us.  By the time we were on our way back there, we were both too tired, and skipped that one.

Credit Military Lifestyle – March 1992

We wanted to go in the Bruton Parish Church (that’s BRuton not Burton!!),

Credit Williamsburg Before and After

 which we had seen quite often, but it was closed that day.  It is still an active Anglican church, and was the site of many of the country’s beginnings.  It is especially beautifully decorated at Christmas time.  Just a note here – all the private residences within Colonial Williamsburg, as well as all the stores and attractions, are required to decorate the outsides of their facilities/houses, and it must be all living decorations – no silk flowers or fake fruit – it must be real.  It’s amazing what they come up with.

Credit Trend & Tradition – Winter 2022

Credit Trend & Tradition – Autumn 2021

The Capitol is at one end of the Duke of Gloucester Street, and Merchant’s Square is at the other end, just across the street from the Wren Building on the College of William and Mary.  Many shops and eateries there, which are fun to patronize.  Duke of Gloucester Street is about one mile long.

Here is a book we purchased titled Williamsburg Before and After.  Many of the pictures in this post are from that book. 

Duke of Gloucester Street – 1928

I am so glad someone decided to restore this area!

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson and a great-granddaughter. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

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 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

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