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Monday, September 30, 2019

Our Very Pleasurable Reunion with David and Vicki

Aloha Everyone,

David is a retired US Navy doctor and his wife Vicki, is a retired social worker. They purchased a salt water sailing boat 5 and a half years ago. They lived on their boat on the Potomac River for 4 years. David and Vicki are now cruising the Atlantic Ocean and are planning to winter in Rota, Spain.

Sorting through my copious notes, here are several interesting things I would like to share with you.

a). Their home is a 48 foot sailboat built in Remington, North Carolina in 1988.

b)  Only 30 were built and if properly maintained, it could last forever.

c)  David & Vicki are owner #5.

d) They fell in love with it at first sight and renamed it “First Sight.”

e). First Sight is a Bluewater Ketch, meaning it can travel on oceans and it has 2 masts.

f) First Sight uses wind power, solar, and a diesel engine.
g) David and Vicki make their own water using reverse osmosis and the tank capacity is 400 gallons.

h) While living on a boat sounds very romantic, you spend more time doing maintenance than sailing.

The above is only a portion of what the two of us learned about David and Vicki’s fascinating life on a sailboat.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Salamanca Plaza Mayor

Aloha Everyone,

We are delighted that our hotel is less than 14 minutes walk to the Plaza Mayor and the Old City. This area of Salamanca was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

I recall watching one of Rick Steve’s specials on Plaza Mayors. Venice, Italy because of its size and beauty; Mexico City, Mexico also for its size and historical significance; and Salamanca, Spain because it’s one of the prettiest, intimate and charming plaza mayors.

Today, the plaza was filled with international students. Salamanca boasts having the third oldest university in Europe. Established in 1218, the university is well known for having a diverse student population.

We were entertained by a group of ethnically dressed women dancing to the music of a flute player. They eventually led us to a booth manned by a religious organization, “un mundo, un hogar, un corazon”.

My interest was focused on their origami heart, “corazón” which they were giving away to people who were donating money. I always carry a packet of origami paper and make cranes, the easiest to make, to give to people who briefly enter our life. Now I will start making origami hearts which are flat. It is more portable than cranes.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, September 28, 2019

To Salamanca

Aloha Everyone,

Saying “adios” to Segovia was difficult. I have been enjoying waking up to and going sleep with the amazing views from our hotel balcony. This morning, there were 7 hot air balloons floating simultaneously in the sky. When I saw one just floating over the old fortress, I had to paint the scenes. The few color pencils I packed are insufficient to do justice. Prior to leaving Segovia, J.J. and I walked back to an alley where we previously spotted an artist’s supply shop and purchased a small watercolor set.

The Segovia train station is only accessible by private cars, public bus or taxi. Our taxi driver seemed deeply engrossed in his private thoughts. However when J.J. gave him a generous tip of 20%, he brightened up and thanked us several times. Tipping is not customary in Spain unless they spot you as an American tourist.

A cheerful trio sat next to us while J.J. and I were waiting for our trains. The couple on the left were from California. Their friend on the right told us he was born in Hawaii. I scribbled our names, email and blog address before hurrying to catch up with J.J.

All is well. We are happily settled at another Ibis Hotel. This time our view is that of a peaceful garden. The room view has improved after 14 nights stay with this chain and achieving Silver status. After Salamanca and 30 nights, it will be Gold.  Highest tier is Platinum.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, September 27, 2019

Lee, an Incredible World Traveler. Teen Climate Activist, Greta Thunberg

Aloha Everyone,

Lee from Vancouver, British Columbia fits the title, “Citizen of the World”. Lee is fluent in English, French and Spanish. She has been traveling for more than 40 years and is familiar with many countries, their cities and towns. 

Sitting on a flat large stone bench in front of the Alcazar fortress, the two of us hanged on every words Lee uttered. J.J. and I were mesmerized. The three of us probably were talking for about an hour until church bells reminded us it was the early Spanish lunch hour (1:00 pm). Promising to stay in touch, we exchanged emails, hugs and parted company.

Perhaps our paths was meant to cross. Lee is also visiting Salamanca and she is staying at the same hotel. 

Today is “Youth for Climate.”  Started by a now 16-year-old Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, hundreds of Segovia students are on strike. The protest draws attention to the growing danger of climate change. Student groups were everywhere, including in front of the Alcazar, delaying entrance of other visitors.

With distressing and disturbing breaking news reports coming out of Washington DC, it is refreshing and gratifying to see the youth of our world calling out to adults, politicians and lawmakers about the potential dire consequences of Global Warming.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Walking Tour of Segovia

Aloha Everyone,

Segovia is a pedestrian friendly city. Because of its proximity to Madrid, this is a very popular destination with both local and foreign tourists. Many come for the day, add the walled city of Avila, and return to Madrid by nightfall.

Our hotel reservations in Segovia does not include breakfast. J.J. and I just walk two minutes to McCafé to for a cup of coffee and croissant.

Our lunch is more elaborate, as we learned to wait until 1:30 pm, still early for Spaniards. Our lunches are served in sit down restaurants. We usually have a Menu del Día (set menu for the day).

There are 5 choices for our first course, 5 choices for our main course, drink, dessert and coffee. My green salad and squid were excellent. J.J. loved his clams with potatoes for starter and a baked beef for his main course. His leche flan dessert and my melon in season was a perfect finish to our sumptuous lunch. We paid $30 for the 2 of us. We skipped our coffee and returned to our hotel room to rest.

Here are our previous day’s menú del dia.

Aloha -- Cathi