YAY!  Back in Cadiz again!  Been here 2 weeks now and the time is flying by!  I will be here for a total of 2 months.  I love it here!  My walks through the parks and plazas.  Sitting at the many benches along the way.  Staring off at the sea and thousand year old Fig trees.  The little beach and small fishing boat harbor, people, statues, beautiful architecture, many birds and the occasional cat laying in a tall bush!  

It is Spring here.  It is sunny and cool with a little rain throw in and the flowers are beginning to bloom and loving it.  The scents in the air from all the many different blooms is incredible.  Nothing like spring for the masses of flowers blooming.  

The parakeets that migrated here from the Canary Islands are doing their spring mating ritual and squawking away.  Along with many other birds.  It is a Great time of year to be here.  Although it is still cool it is warm enough to go for long walks and enjoy the many sights along the way.  

They are now preparing for the onslaught of tourists and locals that come every year for the Easter Processions.  The Processions come from all over this area of Spain.  They last the entire week leading up to Easter Sunday.  It is a pretty amazing celebration to be able to see.  

There are 4 or 5 large processions each with a hundred people or more with assorted bands playing everyday leading up to the final day.  They go from the afternoon to the wee hours of the next day and then begin again the next afternoon.  Incredible and Spectacular!!!!!

People come from all over Spain and other countries around the world to see it.  There is not a room left at the many inns, apartments and hotels in town!

There are comfortable seating areas cordoned off all along the way through the main plazas of the city to the main cathedral.  They can be reserved at a small price so you have a comfortable front row seat and a first hand view of the passing procession.  

I prefer to walk along with the processions and stop at different viewing areas to get a better feel of what is going on.  You can usually find a good spot to stop and check things out when you want.  Although talk about super large crowds it is wall to wall people.  YIKES!!!

Last year I saw a homeless guy who was frustrated trying to get through the crowd.  He was crossing the parade route and where he was going was totally blocked by people.  Probably 10-15 deep.  No one wanted to move aside.  Finally he just stuck one arm out straight and pointed his finger at the crowd.  Stared straight ahead at them and started walking towards them.  Amazingly enough they immediately let him through.  It was like Moses parting the Red Sea!!!!!!!!!! Interesting Concept and it worked!!!!!!!  Who’d a Thunk!!!!!!!!!  I got a big chuckle out of that one!!!!

Needless to say I am very very content here.  There is no place I like better!  It is the perfect spot for someone of my age to be able to just walk around aimlessly and have interesting things to see and do.  All without a whole lot of effort and getting some exercise in at the same time!!!!!!!!  Perfect!!!

For more photos of Cadiz click on links below

Well Cadiz is a  very very beautiful and peaceful place.   I have really enjoyed the 3 months I’ve been here.  I think I have now explored every nook and cranny there is to be seen.  I’m sure there are a few I missed but not many.  I wish the weather had been better but can’t have everything and it was unusually cold most places this year!  

The friends I met from last year Victor and Carmen have been a big part of my stay.  They are really nice and I enjoy their company.  Not to mention eating Tapas with them in the outside cafes.  The place I rent from them is perfect for me and I am quite comfortable in it.  I hope I will be back again next year but time will tell on that one.

I have thought many times since my first trip here that it would be a perfect place to live.  If I were 10 years younger I definitely would consider taking on one of the few old fixer uppers left in town.  I have always loved old houses and doing that type of thing.  I have always been good at picturing the before and after in my mind!  

As I walk along through the many streets.  I often stop and look at the old places I see and think of what they would look like if given a new life.  The problem with it now is.  You need a lot of energy to do a project like that.  I just don’t think I have it in me anymore!  Not only that but I’m not sure I want to spend what time I have left doing it.  The years go by so so so fast now!

The cool windy days when I first came gave me the incentive I have needed.  To get the long overdue work on my website done!  It was a mess and a totally frustrating project to do.  

I am glad I could step away when I needed to.  Go for a nice long walk through the many Parks and Plazas.  Checking out the ducks, stray cats, feeding the birds with my stale bread.  People watching sitting at the many benches along the way.  It really helped me come back to life.  Then coming back and giving it another go around.  Till it starts beating me again.

I have to hand it to all the people who do this kind of thing for a living.  It is one of the hardest and most complicated things I have ever done.  If it hadn’t been for all the many articles and advice I have received from others.  It would have never happened.  Thank You All!  It was just way way over my head!

The big IF ONLY is.  I should have taken the time to learn before I started.  The only problem with that is.  I didn’t know what I needed to do or learn until after two years of working on it has shown what needed to be done!  That’s the Catch 22!  It’s like most things you do in life.  Live and Learn as you go.

I am sure in most professionals eyes my website is a very long ways from perfection.  But I am only trying to have a nice presentable site.  To leave a diary and a memory of my travels behind for my new Grandson and anyone else who may stumble across it.  At this point in my life I am having a hard time figuring out what I went into the next room for!  Never mind how to write HTML!  YIKES!

All things considered it has been a really really GREAT time.  I am a little Sad to be leaving but Happy to be starting a new adventure! 

My time is up here in the Schengen Zone!  You only get 90 days then you have to leave for 90 before you can come back.  I am heading to Serbia to see some really good friends!  Then to Romania and Bulgaria for the summer months!  YAY!  LIFE IS GOOD!!!

The first photo below is of the giant Phoenix that Victors great grandfather designed and cast in Bronze.  He was a really great artist at the time with iron!  He made many many of the intricate old street lights, railings and the elaborate doors on the old houses in town.  Which are still here and just as beautiful to this day!

Unfortunately he had his two ironworks businesses confiscated from him by the Franco Regime.  Fortunately they didn’t kill him too!  He is very lucky because Victors other great grandfather was taken away and killed by them!  They even had the audacity to send the family a bill for the bullet!  That’s how they know he was killed!  They have never found out where he was buried.  It was a Horrible Dictatorship!!  A Very sad time for Spain!  It was of course a much longer story then this. 

The second photo is of the massive building the Phoenix is on.

For more photos of Cadiz go to  CADIZ 2017and  CADIZ thoughts now and next year

Made it to the ripe old age of 70!!!  Pretty amazing in my book!  Never thought I’d make it to 60 let alone 70!  I’m In the beautiful city of Cadiz, Spain for my birthday!  Couldn’t think of a place I would rather be.

I feel very very gifted to have been able to see and experience what I have so far in life.  I have no regrets about getting older.  The regrets I do have from the past were all a part of learning.  My biggest regret is not having known what I know today many years ago.

I look forward to many exciting new adventures in the future and all that life has to offer!!!!  There are many many many things in life to be Thankful for! 

You do not have to look very far to see them and to see how much better off you are then others!  Just waking up in the morning is one of the best ones!

One of the others is being able to take a photo like this of this very beautiful old lady from Monopoli, Italy.  She was so full of life just made you smile inside!  If I can have the smile she has when I get that old I will be fine with that!!!

Take Time To Smell The Roses and Don’t Eat Yellow Snow!!!!!!!!!  I am Endeavoring to Persevere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  LIFE IS GOOD!!  Dave

It is SEMANA SANTA here in Cadiz.  A truly Majestic event!  It is a week long Catholic celebration!  A Holy week of much eating, drinking and watching the Brotherhoods of Cadiz 31 different processions of Paseo’s passing through the streets! 

They start off at their Cathedrals and all end up at the Main Cathedral in the center.  Then go back to where they started to end their march through town.

The Paseo’s are the elaborately decorated floats that take 40-50 men to carry.  Each procession has a large group of people some as many as a hundred or more people leading the way. 
Most have pointed hoods covering their faces and are of each brotherhood’s colors representing what brotherhood they come from. 

They are pretty eerie looking!  It is said unfortunately that the KKK got the idea for their hoods from them.  Then comes the Paseo and then the marching bands playing very solemn music.  They are really pretty amazing to watch pass by.  It is a tradition that dates back to medieval times. 

Although they are Incredibly beautiful and I wouldn’t want to miss it.  They are like watching paint dry because they are so so so slow.  They stop many times to rest for a bit.  It takes them 3 or 4 hours to walk the 2500 meters or mile and a half through the narrow winding streets that they travel. 
It is a week to be remembered!!!!!!!!  Life is Good!!!!!!!!!!!!

 BLOG PAGE 

To see more photos of Semana Santa go to: Semana Santa 2017

Well had a great time at my sisters house was real good to see her, Tigger our cat and all my old friends from my neighborhood and hers.  Quite a few good parties were had by all!!!!!  The month went by super fast!  Time seems to move by in the blink of an eye now. 

Just got back to Cadiz on the 7th.  Great to be back!  It was a super long trip 30 hours Yikes!  Half the time was sitting waiting in the airports in Miami and Madrid!  The rest a shuttle to Miami the two flights and a train ride to here.  I was exhausted by the time I got here.  It has taken 3 days to start to feel normal again!  Never had jet lag before this time I did for sure! 

A little damp here today but suppose to clear up soon.  That is what March is here it’s their spring.  I don’t mind as long as it is not cold.  It is so good to be back!  Went out and stocked up with food and drink yesterday morning.  So I am in and ready to to live life in Cadiz.  I am exhausted from the trip and ready to lay back for a while. 

Today I will start my walking again I think just woke up but the sun’s out!  Still pretty wiped from trip!  Well by the time I washed up and was ready to go for my walk a big cloud came over and it is now raining like a Cow Pissing on a Flat Rock!!!!!!  HAHAHA OH Well so much for the walk for now! 

Sun comes out again went out for a quick walk to a park I like.  Saw big black clouds coming so headed back to the room just got in and it started to pour rain and hail stones! Just made it YAY!  Needed that walk it felt good to get out in the fresh air!  Even if it was short lived. 

Well today I woke up to a beautiful sunny day got my ass up and ready and out to take advantage of it.  Did my usual old walk all over through the parks and plazas that are my favorite.  Still sunny and I feel great really needed a nice long walk and a sunny day!!  It brought me back to life again!

This afternoon after they finished cleaning up the rooms for the next round of guests.  Victor and Carmen the managers of the place I stay and her sister came up and spent some time hanging out talking and laughing.  It made my day!  LIFE IS GOOD!

For more photos of Cadiz go to CADIZ 2017 and CADIZ thoughts now and next year

I’m in Cadiz, Spain the oldest town in western Europe.  The same spot and apartment I was in in the spring.  I love it here!  I’m here at Victor and Carmen’s place.  The young couple that run the place for a guy from Madrid.  It is great to be back! 

I even looked at a couple of places to buy and rent long term this past week.  I don’t know about buying but the vacation rents here are high except for this place.  Even they are high in the main season and early fall.  I have slowed down a lot this year so that is why I was thinking about it.  Less moving and more long term stays.  It is a super town!

The old town where I am is pretty big takes up the whole peninsula.  There are really no bad areas and plenty of places to walk and enjoy life.  It’s another great place!

Victor and Carmen wanted to buy a place and we’re just getting to the position of being able to afford it.  But a couple of really big Germain real estate conglomerates came in this summer and bought every cheap place in town.  Prices went from 40k -70k to them being over a100k and most closer to 200k now.  There are still a couple cheap ones but they need tons of work. 

It really sucks for them and me.  Hate seeing things like that happen.  The English and Germans did the same thing in Portugal and ruined it for the people living there too.  Likewise in Central America with the Americans and Canadians.  So Bummer Dude!  I was thinking about buying here but now the cost I think is more than I want to spend.  I really really like it here so I may bite the bullet and do it. 

On the other hand it will take away my freedom again!  I am not so into losing that now that I really have it for the first time in my life.  No worries, no big problems is great for me so lots to think about.  Victor said the taxes are crazy high!  It costs them over a $1-2 thousand to get a driver’s license and the income taxes etc I guess are outrageous.  So we will see.

Long term rents are fairly cheap like many for under $500- 700 a month and quite a few to choose from.  I could apply for a 2 year visa but it is a pain in the ass and all has to be done in Miami.  So multiple trips back and forth to there.  It would mean hanging in Florida for a couple months and I don’t think I’m into that anymore.  I am just figuring life is too short now to be hanging around in a place I would rather not be. 

I really don’t need to get a long term visa if I don’t buy a place here and expect to stay all year.  I can do what I am doing with 90 days in and 90 days out of the Schengen zone by going to the Balkans.  That way I can work around the whole visa thing and not need to worry about getting the two year one.  The only time I would need that is if I wanted to stay longer than 90 days in a row in the Schengen zone or the whole year. 

Next year I will come to Cadiz first then I want to go to Serbia to see a couple friends I met in Chania.  Then check out a  couple of places in northern Romania that I didn’t get to go to.  Because they were booked up in August when I wanted to go this year.  If I leave Cadiz in June it is the perfect time to go.  Because it is cool there then and there should be plenty of places to stay. 

Also never got to the Ukraine.  There are a couple places there I want to see.  So the pre plan plan goes something like this.  First Cadiz then to the Belgrade area of Serbia to see my friends.  Then to the north of Romania after leaving there to find a place to stay for August ahead of time.  Then to the Ukraine from there. 

Then back to Varna Bulgaria until August it is one of my three most favorite places in Europe so far.  Then hopefully to a place I find to stay in the spring in Northern Romania for August.  That is if I find one seeing as I don’t really know if I will like the area or not yet.  Then maybe to Varna or Chania and probably back to Cadiz in the fall. 

Really all the places I was in this year the weather was perfect.  Except for August getting too hot everywhere.  The heat really gets to me now and takes away from me being able to walk around as much as I do.  I just decided to wait it out in Bucharest this year.  The temps are perfect here now so back to life as normal with lots of walking around and enjoying the days!  LIFE IS GOOD!!!

VICTOR CARMEN ANABEL PILU  AND ME OUT FOR TAPAS

For more photos of Cadiz go to: Cadiz 2017

Well I am in Rota Spain for a couple of days.  The place I am staying in Cadiz was booked solid for these two days back when I booked for the month.  With friends of Victor’s and Carmen’s for a wedding party. 

So I decided it would be nice to come here for something different to do.  I took a ferry from Cadiz to here it takes about 45 minutes and was a nice slow and leisurely trip along the coast to here.  It has a nice harbor here where the ferry comes in and is lined with a huge amount of sailboats and fishing boats.  Pretty nice first impression. 

The town itself and the houses are all really well kept.  I think other then the really old places most of the houses are from the the 70’s but with nice design and very well done.  Very clean everywhere. 

It is more of a tourist town for people from Europe and beyond who want to relax and play in the sea.  Many English speaking folks so if that is a plus for you then you are good here.  It has a really long beautiful beach and promenade all along it.  It kind of reminds me more of Portugal than Spain with all the white stucco houses.  There are some semi high rise buildings along the beach but older ones and not very high.  All seem to be done in good taste instead of just thrown up for resale. 

I have a very tiny room that is very nice and is well kept.  It has a big cathedral style window with a big marble shelf that I can stand up and lean onto too look out at the small plaza below.  It was cheap so I didn’t worry about having a balcony although I would have liked one they were twice as much.  The plaza has a few benches and is lined with trees on both sides and is mostly used by people who live around it.  Real nice! 

So I was leaning on my window looking out and there was a cat running around going crazy and playing in the plaza below me.  Jumping and climbing up and down the trees.  I gave him the cat call don’t know how to write it but what you do to call a cat kind of like a kiss but louder. 

He came running over on the plaza below me and has been trying and trying to get up to my window to see me.  Why I don’t know unless he figures I have something to feed him.  He was climbing up what I thought was a power line on the side of the wall.  But turned out to be just a seam in the wall where two walls meet on the side of the building. 

I didn’t see anyway for it to be able to too but he or she managed somehow to get to the window 10’ below me.  He was like I am going to do this.  Now he is just sitting on the window sill meowing and looking up.  HAHAHA it was funny!!! 

So I woke up this morning and looked out the window and there was the cat staring at me from a large strip of fancy decorated molding with about a 1′ wide flat surface on top.  It goes around the building about 20’ up the wall and comes from the front around to within 15′ of another strip that starts 3’ under my window.  He was on the strip that comes around from the front.  Have no idea how he got up there but there he was. 

He couldn’t reach me because of the 15′ gap between the two strips.  He just sat there and looked at me then started rolling over and playing like he was on the ground I thought he was going to roll off.  He stayed for the longest time it was still dark so couldn’t get a photo.  When it got light enough and I got my camera out he was gone.  What a crazy cat. 

So tonight I decided if he came by I would go down and pet him.  He did come by but when I called to him he just looked at me and kept walking.  I guess he figured he tried twice and couldn’t get to me so decided it had better things to do and was over it and kept walking!  Story of my life!!  HAHAHA!!!  As you can see it doesn’t take too much to amuse me!! 

So anyways it is a pretty nice town and if you are coming for the beach it is a nice one.  Nice and wide.  It is nowhere I would care to stay for any length of time because there aren’t many real old places although most are pleasing to the eye and not just thrown together.  It also lacks benches and real nice plaza’s to sit in.  There are some but they are stark with few plants and benches and more for open aired restaurants. 

It kind of makes you feel like they didn’t put benches because if they did you wouldn’t sit in the restaurants.  It is the same in all the pedestrian zones few benches to sit and people watch except the one next to the beach it has a bunch.  It would be worth staying maybe a week at the most for me but real nice nevertheless.  Mainly because I know there are better places!!!

VICTOR AND CARMEN AT THE WEDDING IN CADIZ

 TOP SPAIN 

Well Polignano A Mare has been a really nice little place to see.  It’s not a very big town but it has some dramatic views from its cliffs overlooking the sea and its buildings overhanging the edges of them. 

It’s big claim to fame is it is where Domenico Modugno the songwriter that wrote nel blu dipinto di blu or as it is better know Volare was born. 

The old town is tiny but is for the most part one big pedestrian zone.  One side of the old town ends on the cliffs.  Above a cove and small beach that has a beautiful shrub and tree lined cobbled walkway coming down to it from the cliffs.  On the other side of the old town there is a long esplanade along the sea that’s goes along the edge of the cliffs for probably a mile or more.  Pretty nice view from the top! It is well taken care of and is pretty clean. 

About the only negative thing I encountered was that for some crazy reason they have asphalted most of the roads coming into it except for the pedestrian zone.  I think they tried to asphalt over the cobblestones because the asphalt is all patched up and falling apart.  To bad it was pretty ugly and sad to see.  I guess they tried to modernize things at one point.  Some politicians bright idea no doubt and it has backfired on them. 

But it is minor in the scheme of things as everything else is well kept and there is a lot of rehab of the old going on everywhere.  Maybe someday they will put the roads back to cobble who knows.  All and all it isn’t a place I would spend a long time but it has been a very pleasant stop along the way and I am glad I did.  I couldn’t choose which one of the photos of the old lady I liked the best.  They both together tell a very short story!!

Well been planning where to go from here.  I leave on the 15th 4 days from now.  I have really enjoyed this town it has been a very peaceful, relaxing stay and I am now reinvigorated for the next part of my journey. 

Antonio the guy that owns the place where I’m staying is great.  He has brought me many home cooked meals that he and his mom have made for his family.  Super nice of him!! 

I have also been here long enough now to get to know many people that I meet along the way in my daily walks.  At least by a buongiorno or arrivederci, a smile and a nod and a couple speak a little English. 

I love watching the catch come in and everyone meeting the boat to get first dibs on the best of the catch.  The guy at the produce stand I go to didn’t want to change a 20 the other day so just gave me the couple of apples I had picked and said catch him later with the money.  It has made the time spent here very worthwhile. 

Just woke up been sleeping a lot today it has been a lazy rainy day first in a very long time.  Feel a little more alive now.  Seemed like every time I woke up I was still tired.  Anyways decided to go to Bucharest, Romania after Polignano Mare close to here and then Bari to get the plane. 

Antonio the guy that owns the place here had mentioned it when I first came and showed me an airline from Bari which is real close from here and super cheap.  Wizz Airlines!  I don’t know if you get the Cheeze with it or not.  I guess maybe I just gave it to you!!!  HAHA! 

I had thought about Bucharest but figured it sounded like a cold place so put it out of my mind till the day before yesterday.  I was talking with Antonio again and he said it was very warm there and now was the time of year to go.

Anyways I forgot about it and just woke up thinking I should look.  Mainly because I didn’t like having to wait for the ferries till 11pm or 12am to leave from here to cross over to Albania.  It would mean either getting a room for the day and not staying all night or hanging around all afternoon and night with my luggage.  Plus I would have to share a cabin and I didn’t like that and it was a 120 bucks. 

Just looked and I can get a really decent daytime flight to Bucharest and be there early afternoon for like $60.  Checked out the rooms and they are good prices and the photos look great.  The flight, photos and the fact that it has a pretty big old city center made the choice for me.  So that’s what I’m going to do at least today anyways. 

Just couldn’t wrap my head around Albania.  The photos just didn’t look so good to much older modern not enough real old.  But I still might pass through it when I go back to that side along the coast.  Bucharest looks interesting and I like the mystique of the name! 

The last photo is of the very special meal I had with Antonio and his family just before I left!  One of his sons is named Aldo so Alden meet Aldo!  I will always remember it!  CHOW!!!  Monopoli a Great time was had by all!!!  LIFE IS GOOD!

 TOP ITALY 

I’m in Monopoli now.  It has been terrible booking rooms here in Italy with booking.com.  Finally in a B&B to stay that is exactly how it was described. You can’t know how good that feels right now!!! 

I just can’t believe how much trouble I am having with even booking a room here in Italy.  People say they have a balcony and private bathroom in the room in the room description.  When I make the booking it is always the first thing I ask them in special requests.  It is the first time you have the chance to ask them a question. That is do you have a balcony and private bathroom in the room.  Please if you do not.  Do not book me the room. 

Then they email you OH that room doesn’t have a balcony or that room doesn’t have a private bathroom in the room that room has been booked.  They clearly state on their booking site in the description of the room that it does and when booking.com sends you a confirmation it does.  But when you hear back from the people they do not. 

Then if it is a non refundable reservation I either have to take what they have or call booking.com and hassle with them for half an hour or more to get my money refunded.  If anywhere it says under the description of the room some rooms have this or that.  You can rest assured your room is not going to have it unless you are very lucky. 

It has been a real big pain in the ass here.  Last night I couldn’t sleep I was so mad about it.  I don’t know what to do it has been a very frustrating time for me here.  Lecce was the first town I have really really liked but I stayed in two places that did not have what they said they had.  I just got tired of fighting about it.  I guess I am not doing something right. 

I think a lot of it has to do with booking.com having a lot of B&B’s now and the people not knowing how to set it up right on their site.  Because when you ask they tell you.  Also you see the people from most of these places 10 minutes and they are gone.  They meet you at the room or some at the train or bus station to take you to the room.  Show you how the keys work tell you a couple of things about the city.  Then you don’t see them till the next morning.  Sometimes you don’t see them again.  They tell you just leave the keys here or there and go. 

Very weird to me and impersonal not what I think of in a B&B.  I am saying these things so that you are very very very careful with booking a room here in Italy.  It has left a constant bad taste in my mouth since I arrived!  Make sure in special requests when you reserve the room on booking.com.  You ask if what you want is there and if not for them not to book the room.  Otherwise you do not have a leg to stand on with booking.com.  I am very very careful and do this all the time and I’m still getting taken for a ride!!!  HOPE this helps someone!!!

So I am in Monopoli a small town with a great vibe.  After Lecce and this my feelings about Italy have been boosted dramatically.  Finally a great room just how it was described and with two nice big balconies.  One in the living room and a really big one off the bedroom. 

The biggest plus of all is the bed it is super comfortable not the hard as a board mattresses I have had in most of the places here.  Perfect!  It is a little pricey a night but I don’t care if the old town is nice.  I will be here for a lot longer time than the 3 nights I booked. 

I just got in and Antonio picked me up at the train station and is super nice best of all he speaks good English.  I’m excited so now all I have do is see the town.  I don’t really feel like it now but maybe!  Now I really want to get out and look.

I had a really terrible nights sleep last night.  I was so pissed off at booking and the people renting these B&B’s not being honest about what they are listing.  I tossed and turned and got up several times just couldn’t get it off my mind.  Woke up half dead this morning going I have to get the F out of Italy.  So this is like a big relief and now I am tired but excited. 

Just got back from walking couldn’t sleep thinking about it.  It is a real real nice town.  Little but super nice old city.  There is a  harbor full of commercial fishing boats and old men fishing along the wall. 

So I’m sure the eating here is going to be good.  Not that the food hasn’t been real good other places but getting a little tired of the pasta and pizza.  Although it has been amazing.  Now I know the seafood is going to be super. 

From the harbor you walk along an old fortress wall with esplanades in between.  Then come to a couple little beaches and the further you get out of the old city there are small cliffs down to the sea.  Pretty nice! 

I will think about it tonight but am pretty sure I am up for a long stay maybe a couple of weeks or more!  I’ll see if I can work out a deal tomorrow with Antonio he seemed open to it when we talked.  He said go look at the town and we will talk more so I’m into it. 

I have found a few places in my travels this year and years gone by that if they had been on the sea would have been perfect like Lecce here and Granada in Spain.  But seeing as how they weren’t there isn’t much I can do about it. 

I am definitely a sea person and this little place has it.  It is the only thing that keeps things constantly changing for me and has this super special vibe all its own.  You can come close with other things but the sea has the mother of all vibes going on! 

Monopoli may not be the best place I have ever been but it is really really nice and I really need to come down from all the searching.  It has worn my ass out and there isn’t much left!  I have to pull hard on my belt to keep my pants up now.  I just sooo need a rest from it.  The old gray mare ain’t what she used to be any more kind of thing! 

Talked with Antonello I can stay to the 15th and he gave me a much better deal. YAY!!!!  He has the room booked after that or I would have stayed even longer.  At least now I can stop and relax and get my thoughts together on where to go next.  I was getting very tired changing places every few days.  Guess I am getting old and do not like to move every 3 days anymore. 

I was very happy to find this place it is a really great room with big balcony and nice people.  The old town is small but very nice.  So I am good for a while.  Now it is time to relax and enjoy it!!!  PLOP PLOP FIZZ FIZZ OH WHAT A RELIEF IT IS!!!!  You have to be old to remember that saying!  HAHA

Well finally a city to write home about.  They say it is the Florence of the South.  The best thing about it was the immediate great vibe it had and what a beautifully preserved old city it is!!! 

It is not on the sea but a little inland from it.  I guess 5 is my lucky number as this is the fifth place I have been here.  This place is what I have been expecting to see in Italy. 

The old town’s so well preserved I have not seen one building that looks like it is going to fall down anytime soon.  The buildings and plazas are impressive in size and content and are everywhere amongst the tiny narrow streets. 

You really know you are in an old Roman city it just has that feel everywhere.  The main buildings of interest are massive.  So big they look like they almost don’t belong in such small quarters. 

The old city is pretty much all a pedestrian zone with only delivery trucks and people that live here suppose be able to drive thru.  Most streets are so small there is no room to park even a small car so most people have scooters or bikes.  It makes it a great get away from the the honking horns of other cities.  I don’t think I have heard any in the days I have been here walking around in it. 

The people are more relaxed and much more willing to smile and acknowledge your presence.  Just that alone is a huge plus for me.  It has been a real pleasant stay for me.  I was able to walk for several days thru the winding streets getting lost amongst them and enjoying every minute. 

Although it is walled in for the most part it is easy to get yourself turned around because the streets wander thru it in so many different directions. 

One of the biggest buildings and attractions the basilica di santa croce which is said to have taken 100 years to complete was being revitalised and was scaffolded off with curtains.  The front of the building had a full size photo of what the place looked like covering the scaffold.  I had to get within 50’ of it to realise it was a photo.  It made me look twice before it dawned on me that that was what it was.  Pretty cool way of doing it.  Just wish I had been able to see it because the photo was incredible of it. 

You can look it up online if your interested.  Real nice!  It is said there are 22 churches in Lecce.  That’s an incredible number considering its size!  There were a couple of other large buildings also being preserved so it is an ongoing thing for them and it shows!  The 3 days I will have been here were just enough to have seen the lion’s share of it. 

If I hadn’t already booked a place somewhere else.  I probably would stay a little longer.  At least now I can say that what I expected to see is here I just didn’t make the right choices of places to go until now.  Hopefully my picks in the future will reveal more of the same. 

I know if I were to go to some of the famous big cities I’d find plenty to see there.  Those places are easy to figure.  I never have been one to take the easy route.  You would think I would have learned by now but I haven’t. 

I’m just not into putting up with the high prices and all the flag waving tour groups.  One of these years I’ll come in early March and do just that but until then.  I am looking for what I want to see in out of the way places like this.  I guess that is why it is so hit and miss.  Let’s hope I hit a few more before I have to leave for Croatia , Montenegro Etc because my 90 days will be up soon. 

One thing for sure it was like a big relief came over me the minute I arrived here.  I slept really good last night and was up an at them early this morning ready to get on with my adventure. 

I’ll tell you one thing I miss is my memory foam mattress at my sisters.  I don’t know what it is but all most all the places I have stayed at have been newly renovated along with the mattresses.  But they like them incredibly firm here and I wake up every morning feeling like an old horse. 

Well this place just shows to go ya that if you look long and hard enough you will find somewhat what you are looking for!  In this game close counts!!!  Thank you for being here Lecce!!!

Brindisi is a port town where ferries leave for Greece and Albania.  It is a mishmash of very old and new buildings all kind of melded together in the old town.  Some sections have more old others more new.  The old town is somewhat interesting and can pretty much be covered in a few hours walking it. 

The esplanade along the sea is what I am now considering to be Roman stark!  I stopped here for a couple of days as I was passing by it heading South to Lecce.  I wanted to see if it would be worth stopping again on my return trip or just to pass it by and head north to other places.  I will choose the later and pass it by. 

It’s not bad but like I said after two days walking I have pretty much seen enough to make a decision.  I think the main reason tourists come here is to catch the ferries of which there are many. 

Glad I saw it glad I’m leaving.  Not enough to keep me entertained!  Not many places have been lately!  Hope I find one soon I am really tired of bouncing around but life goes on.  Just have to keep trying never say never. Time will tell the tale!  Out of here in the morning!

 TOP ITALY 

Taranto turned out to be one of the better stops so far in Italy not because of the town but because of the really nice couple I met Magda and Marco at the place I stayed! 

The day I arrived it was early afternoon and when I got there they were just sitting down for their Sunday meal.  They invited me to join them and it was the best meal I have had since coming to Italy. 

A pasta bolognese and a stuffed meatloaf roll with smoked mozzarella and like a prosciutto in the middle.  It was fantastic!  A little wine that her father made and a lot of conversation because they both spoke or understood English somewhat.

It was my first chance to sit and converse with anyone since I got here so it turned out to be a great afternoon.  They had recently opened the B&B after a lot of hard work renovating this very old building. 

They are both engineers and did a fantastic job of designing and renovating it.  It has a great view out over the harbor from the house and my balcony and is to the side and back of a very old cathedral.  The view straight to the harbor and the fishing boats.  Perfect setting! 

It will probably be the highlight of my trip to Italy as meeting Victor and Carmen was in Spain.  It is what I come to these places for to meet new and interesting people like these two couples are!!!! 

They are in the very old part of Taranto.  A little island in between the old newer part like 1970’s and older and the port side where ships come in to load and off load cargo etc.  It is a very small island and has the very narrow streets and ancient look that I like.

That being said there is a massive amount of work needed restoring these old buildings as many are about to fall down.  If not for the city shoring some up until they are bought and rehabbed they would be lost forever.  Magda and Marco are at the beginning of that renaissance to rebuild the old and preserve this place. 

It looks a little shabby now but the potential is huge once people start to see what can be done by what this couple and others are doing.  It has unbelievable potential there are amazing views around the whole island. 

The other side from here was the wealthier part of the island and so the homes were better built and have managed to be maintained a lot better.  The island is only a few blocks wide and maybe 4 or 5 times as long to begin with. 

I think if Italy itself were in better shape financially it would already have been done.  It is just too nice not to have it happen.  What a waste it would be!! 

I only stayed for 3 days because it has a ways to go and will take a few years before those great things come about.  It was to say at the least a most interesting place to see!  I saw a lot of beauty to be had in these old buildings. 

The last night there I met a friend of theirs Rossella she was just as sweet and nice as Magda and Marco.  I wish my new found friends the best of luck with their new adventure. 

They made my stay a very memorable one!!!!  Thank you Magda, Marco and Rossella you guys are great and just what the city needs more people like you!!!

MAGDA ROSSELLA MARCO

 TOP ITALY 

Well I hate to have to say this because it is the last thing I would have expected to have to say.  Italy just doesn’t have anything so far for me to justify staying and paying the high prices for everything.  The places I have been have just been OK at the most. 

Plus I am running out of affordable options!  I have been so discouraged I’m am going to have to find a pretty nice place to change my attitude towards it!  I just don’t get a warm cozy feeling here. 

Other than a couple of really nice people I met that owned the places I have stayed it has been real lonely.  It is very hard to get a smile and unless you speak Italian they could care less about you.  They make it pretty obvious that all they want is your money and don’t expect them to be friendly for it in the least. 

Unless of course you are going to stay and spend more.  Most just slap your change on the counter and don’t even look at you!  Pretty much sucks been trying to figure it out but am getting tired of trying.  It’s not even close to what I had heard or expected when I came. 

I must have picked all the wrong places.  Right now I am just very confused about it.  Not at all what I expected.  Just having a hard time getting back on the right track it has been one thing after another since I’ve been here.  I’ve spent all my time figuring out what the next move is. 

People say go to the North but that is even more expensive.  I’ll figure it out but Damn what a pain in the ass it is right now. 

You know when I go somewhere I try to fit in with the people even if I can’t speak the language here.  I don’t know whether it’s the economy being so bad and everyone hurting or what.  I can only get a few to respond back at least with a smile.  I have never had so many people pretend I’m not there when I try to ask a question about anything.  I mean what the hell.  I’m wondering if I am in a different Italy then people have talked about. 

I am trying to look for the good but am having a hard time finding it.  I do manage to get a few smiles from the women and men because I do try hard to fit in.  But for the most part it’s like pissing in the wind.  They just don’t seem to want anything to do with you. 

I guess when people come here they come with a lot of cash to spend on vacation and there are plenty of people who will be nice as long as the cash is following.  But if approached in the way I come to see them they don’t want to be bothered.  It’s like who the hell are you wanting to talk to me!!  Very weird to me! 

I must be missing what I am supposed to be seeing!  I just don’t know if I have given it my best shot yet hate to leave with a sour feeling about it.  Keep hoping the next spot will be better.  I’m not going to waste a whole lot more time though!!!  I’ve got a couple more stops booked.  So I have to go to those places but after that we will see!! 

To end this on a positive note the train rides through the countryside, the mountain valleys and along the mountain streams have been great.  You get to see places that even if you had a car you wouldn’t see.  The miles and miles of spring flowers everywhere, grape vines, olive trees, fields of artichokes It was nice to see.  The trains are fast and on time and go just about everywhere.  It is actually easier to find a train then a bus to go places.

 TOP ITALY 

Well Salerno is a nice little place not one I would come back to but ok for a short visit.  It has a beautiful setting on the sea surrounded by mountains in the distance.  It has a nice esplanade along the sea and a large section a full block wide of planted greenery and pathways between it and the main road and buildings.  

There are plenty of benches to sit at although most are cement so not to comfortable.  In the cold and windy weather I have been having since I arrived here.  There is also a WC about midway for us old folks. 

There is another wide pedestrian zone a couple of streets up into town from the sea that goes from the train station to the end of the old part of town.  It goes thru the commercial part of town and is packed with people shopping. 

I didn’t see one bench to sit at the whole way guess they want to keep you shopping not sitting.  I usually go up one or two narrow streets above it and try and find something different to look at and discover. 

Walked thru a lot of the old town the last two days so got a good feel of what it is about.   Didn’t do as much as I would have liked to because everything is steep and hilly after the first few blocks by the sea.  It takes the energy out of me fast.  The old town is small enough to see a lot in a couple of days. 

The old buildings are nice and I like the way there are a lot of small alleyways going every which way.  With arches that connect the the houses on one side with the ones on the other side.  It’s like going through a maze. 

The place I’m staying at is nice and on one of these alleys.  I’ve been tired lately 3 days at a place never lets you get settled before the next move.  Said I wasn’t going to do that this time but other than Cadiz!  I just haven’t found anything close to wanting to stop at for a while since. 

Hope the next spot Taranto is better it does look it but you never know till you get there.  I can usually tell by the time I walk to where I’m staying whether or not I will like it.  After all these years of doing it I am very finicky and I know exactly what I am looking for when I go to a place. 

You can tell a lot from the vibe and the surroundings.  It usually takes me 20-30 minutes walking thru the town to get to the places I stay at.  So it gives you an idea right away. Not always but most of the time.

I thought about going to Pompeii because it is close by.  But decided I didn’t want to make the trek to see more ruins.  They all look the same after you have seen as many as I have.  I know Pompeii is different but I have seen it many times on documentaries not the same as in person but sometimes better.  I guess I am just getting lazy! 

If it is close to my place then OK but to spend the day going and coming back from a place right now is not appealing to me.  I am trying to find a spot to spend some real time and relax!!  I am a little worn out from all the travel this year.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  LIFE IS GOOD!!!

Well looking back at the last two opinions I’ve given on the places I’ve stayed.  I feel like a downer so sorry about that!!  I would much rather have been able to say they were great. 

I’m just not into the big cities or the glitz.  Should have known better!!!  But thought I would give them a try.  In big cities everyone is in a hurry like any big city in the world.  Everyone pretty much keeps to themselves and either looks the other way or straight ahead never acknowledging anyone else is there. 

I stopped to ask this fairly young guy something about direction today and he never looked or acknowledged I was even there let alone talking to him.  Didn’t think he heard me at first asked again same response nothing.  ASSHOLE!  Not what I’m used to in smaller cities that’s for sure! 

Walked for 3 hours today took 5 photos 3 of them were of the same thing.  That about sums up what I found of interest to me here. 

Don’t get me wrong the buildings are really nice and very old but because of the mass amount of dirt they have accumulated thru the years.  They just look and are dirty and for some reason feel cold and very governmental with straight lines and totally uniform.  I don’t know how else to explain it. 

They are everywhere so there is no lack of the old.  It’s just after seeing them for a while they all kind of look the same.  I’m sure there are many things I missed because in 3 hours you can’t get that much area covered especially in an old city this size but it was enough for me. 

I did cover a fair amount of ground though because there was very little sitting and watching people go by.  I was on a mission to see the city.  Not just the tourist attractions of which there are many.  I will go and spend another few hours tomorrow but my expectations aren’t high. 

What monuments, cathedrals etc I did see today were just kind of ok but not spectacular in any way.  I guess really it is  just a different type of architecture then I am used to.  It is kind of minimalist or something like that.  I did really see the beauty in it but it was different.  It was hard or cold not warm at all. 

I just couldn’t get that same feeling from it as other places.  Where so much work has gone into decorative and beautiful features and clean not filthy with dirt.  I guess the dirty part was the prevailing factor.  I’m sure if I looked beyond the dirt it would be a very different point of view for me. 

The only problem is because of the mass scale of the buildings.  It would take a hundred years to pressure wash the place to bring it back to the beauty it once was.  Just my opinion and I’m sure some will love it. 

It is a World Heritage city and has the largest historic city center in Europe.  It is also one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in Europe.   Although a lot of places have that same claim to fame.  It also has one of the most important Ports in Europe plus many other cudos so who am I to be the  judge.  Just not my cup of tea! 

You have to remember I am looking for some place I might be interested in settling for a while.  I would like to find 3 or so places to spend a few months at a time instead of spending all my time looking and in trains, planes and buses.  I am not just looking for a place to spend a week or two having a good time!  Even if I was this is not the place to do it! 

Well for the first time in Europe I had money taken from me.  I do not know if it was when I got on the busy sardine packed crowded bus when I arrived or what but it is gone.  I have no way of proving or even knowing what day it disappeared. 

I have been using my credit card to buy stuff and had some cash in my pocket for small stuff.  So hadn’t opened up my wallet to get money till today 3 days  after getting here.  They left me 100 US and 20 Euro.  Weird that if it was a pickpocket they put my wallet back with some money left. 

I had my hand on my pocket on the bus because I was worried about just that, being pickpocketed.  But they are slick and it could of happened.  There were a lot of distractions on the bus from the rocking back and forth to the crowd pushing and shoving. 

I have other thoughts on who got it too but I won’t go there.  They did not take my credit cards so that’s a Good thing.  I would be in trouble if they had. 

Oh well such is life.  I guess I should feel lucky they left me anything.  HAHA! Another learning experience I think it is called the law of averages!  My own fault for keeping it all in one place I knew better!!  Learned that years ago just got lax about it.  Never ever do that!!! 

Now someone is sitting around counting my hard earned money and their easy take.  Just remember this in any big city or anywhere in the world you are not back on the farm any more!!!  MY BAD!!!  Out of here in the morning!  Not a good start to my Italian adventure!  Shit!!!  Dave

 TOP ITALY 

Well my first few hours in Naples.  I am all ready to leave!!! 

I am on the corner of a Y on a very busy street and one that is smaller but just as busy.  So far it has been nothing but listening to cars honk their horns and drive like crazy people at 5 mph. 

Where the two roads fork off people are going nuts many starting to go up the little street to avoid the main street traffic.  Then changing their minds and weaving back into the main road cutting others off. 

People walking needing to get across on the crosswalks have to step in front of them and pretend they don’t see them.  Or just stare them down and use hand gestures if they don’t slow down.  Just to use a crosswalk that cars are suppose to stop for. 

All this to get across the road and then when they start across they drive around them and thru them if they can and they never do stop.  I have heard more horns in the last hour then I have heard all year put together. 

This is not what you would call relaxing and I will be leaving as soon as my 3 nights are up.  It is a sheer disregard for those around you everyone giving each other the finger as they drive by trying to fit 3 where 2 should be. 

Scooters all the time driving thru and back and forth among them with 3 people and dogs on them.  They all miss each other by inches all the time.  It makes me dizzy watching them. 

I’m really really surprised someone isn’t killed every 5 minutes.  It is the same walking seems like people would just walk over you if you don’t move.  It is like they don’t even see you even dragging a suitcase you have to take a hard line while on a walk and stick to it. 

They jam the people on the buses so that you can’t put a knife between them.  My suitcase was a nightmare to get on and then off the bus.  No one wants to move to let you on because it is so overcrowded it is just plain insanity. 

There was one moment of niceness when another old guy reached down and gave me a hand pulling it up and through the crowd onto the bus.  All the time yelling at them to back off.  Once on I was worried about pickpockets because that type of situation is when they get you.  Should have never gotten on!

I’m not into it at all especially after coming from such a laid back spot as Cadiz.  Really really glad I didn’t stop in Rome I’m sure it is exactly the same maybe worse because it is lot bigger.  To me it is just not worth seeing the antiquities of the past when the present is so screwed up. 

Did I already say this I am not into this at all!!  Plus I got a room with a private bathroom just out the door because the place had a really good rating.  Figured I would give it a shot.  I’m not liking that at all either.  Just to much of a pain in the ass everytime you want to piss or get a glass of water and I do that a lot. 

So that is what my first few hours have been like.  Other than the 4 hours I passed out after spending 15 hours on 2 planes and 4 buses getting here YUK!  I’m hoping it is better in the morning but it doesn’t look promising!!!! 

11PM traffic has slowed down quite a bit and is not as crazy.  Not as much honking either but just watched someone trying to cross the road at the crosswalk they still don’t stop and it is very hard for her to get across because now they can drive faster.  What the HELL!!!! 

Didn’t even leave the room today just didn’t look inviting!!!  I will give it my best shot in the morning but then again I may sit here and plan on where I am going next!!!  Gotta go with the flow or change it and move on!!!  Couldn’t get out of here fast enough!!!  LIFE IS GOOD!!!

Well after Cadiz Marbella was a big let down!!!  It was built up to be this very trendy high class spot on the Costa Del Sol.  Said to be the most expensive and beautiful place on the coast. 

I found the expensive part to be true!  But other then that it was just another faceless city that was ruined by the building of high rises!  Plus the destruction of all the old along the waterfront. 

What little of the old city that is left.  Is full of very nice little places on narrow little alleys.  All with balconies of flowers hanging over the tops and sides of the wrought iron railings.  It is a must to see if you are here  because it is about all that is worth seeing. 

The rest of it the parks, plazas and the esplanades along the sea all seem to be very stark and sterile and not very peaceful.  Although the plaza’s have some statuary and are nicely tiled with marble they left out the greenery to go with them. 

The parks are not well kept most of the fountains if there were any were not working and look like little thought went into building them.  Plus they were just plain dirty.  Just feel like they did it just to say they had one and then forgot about them. 

The esplanade is not bad and it is long but there are so many people on it it is uncomfortable to walk on.  People walk in groups six to eight wide not wanting to spread out to let people coming their way get through.  It was almost annoying walking along it. 

I felt no charm at all about the town other than the old section.  It was a totally commercial environment slaughtered with places for the tourist to spend their money.  Other than the old town and the tourist area along the water it was not well kept at all and it was run down looking. 

It had beautiful mountains surrounding the city inland.  But all you could see was an occasional glimpse of them through the very narrow openings in the high rises.  Trouble is there were very few openings at all.  The high rises were so close together and then most had buildings behind them. 

I did have a nice room in the old section with a nice balcony that was one of the few pluses of my stay!  Moving on there are too many other nice places to see to stay here!

 TOP SPAIN 

I went out with Victor and Carmen the young couple who manage this place this afternoon.  We went to a Tapas bar and had something to eat and drink sat in the sun and enjoyed each other’s company.  Then went to the new town and stopped in another sidewalk cafe along the beach. 

Had a couple of more drinks and enjoyed the rest of the late afternoon it is now 8pm.  So it was more than the afternoon.  It was great they are two really nice people!!!  It was a real pleasant change of pace from my normal ritual. 

They have their hands in all kinds of things from tour guiding to teaching young Swedish kids Spanish and Spanish living in the summer.  They also manage apartments and a few other things.  Nice to see that they are so very enterprising and very nice people.  Mellow laid back full of Life, Laughter and fun to be with.  Perfect afternoon! 

They are having multiple parades of churches carrying the golden and silver pasos with the statues of Christ and Mary etc with bands and huge processions of people following.  They all start out in the afternoon and end back at the church they started at in the wee hours of the next morning.  Pretty long event. 

There are 5 or so different ones everyday about an hour apart when they start and all go along the different routes hundreds of people involved.  Like the first one starts at 3pm and ends at 2am before it gets back to church.  Long Long procession!  Pretty cool! 

Thought we were going to sit at a table and watch them come by but there are two cruise ships in town.  So the place was slammed with no place to park or sit so we went to a couple of places out of the way to sit. 

The processions last all week with different ones everyday so tomorrow I will walk down and watch.  They are supposed to be incredible.  All gold and silver and life like statues.  I looked it up.  The following came from Wikipedia:   

Spain is known especially for its Holy Week traditions of Semana Santa. The celebration of Holy Week regarding popular piety relies almost exclusively on the processions of the brotherhoods or fraternities. These associations have their origins in the Middle Age, but a number of them were created during the Baroque Period, inspired by the Counterreformation and also during the 20th and 21st centuries. The membership is usually open to any Catholic person and family tradition is an important element to become a member or “brother” (hermano).

Some major differences between Spanish regions are noticeable in this event: Holy Week sees its most glamorous celebrations in the region of Andalusia, particularly in Málaga and Seville, while those of Castile and Leon see the more sombre and solemn processions, typified by Semana Santa at Zamora and Valladolid. This is a religious holiday.

A common feature in Spain is the almost general usage of the nazareno or penitential robe for some of the participants in the processions. This garment consists in a tunic, a hood with conical tip (capirote) used to conceal the face of the wearer, and sometimes a cloak. The exact colors and forms of these robes depend on the particular procession. The robes were widely used in the medieval period for penitents, who could demonstrate their penance while still masking their identity. These nazarenos carry processional candles or rough-hewn wooden crosses, may walk the city streets barefoot, and, in some places may carry shackles and chains on their feet as penance. In some areas, sections of the participants wear dress freely inspired by the uniforms of the Roman Legion.[1]

The other common feature is that every brotherhood carries magnificent “Pasos” or floats with sculptures that depict different scenes from the gospels related to the Passion of Christ or the Sorrows of Virgin Mary. Many of these floats are art pieces created by Spanish artists such as Gregorio Fernandez, Juan de Mesa, Martínez Montañés or Mariano Benlliure. Brotherhoods have owned and preserved these “pasos” for centuries in some cases. Usually, the “pasos” are accompanied by Marching bands performing “Marchas procesionales” a specific type of compositions, devoted to the images and fraternities.                                                                       

Pretty impressive I have seen smaller ones in other places but this one here has different ones every day this week.  Pretty cool stuff!  Brought my camera never thought to take a picture of us together.  Typical of me these days.  Will try to get some of the parade tomorrow.  Friday going to Marbella.  LIFE IS GOOD!!!!

ENTRANCE TO THE OLD CITY

THIS IS THE CHURCH THIS PROCESSION ABOVE ORIGINATED FROM

 

Our Lady of the Palm

November 1: Our Lady of the Palm, Cadiz, Spain (1755)

The Church of Our Lady of the Palm preceded by some time the miracle which made it famous. There is no exact record of why it was named that way.

The miracle for which it is best remembered took place during an earthquake and a tidal wave on the first of November, 1755. There had been an extremely strong earthquake on that day that was reported to have been felt throughout all of Europe. Cadiz is a seaport of Spain exposed to the Atlantic Ocean and was directly in the path of the tidal wave said to be more than 90 feet high. The recently reported tsunamis in Asia pale in comparison to that wave. Lisbon, with 275,000 inhabitants, was said to have lost 90,000 people and had 85% of its buildings destroyed from the wave. The water penetrated as much as 8 kilometers inland, mainly striking Portugal, Spain and Africa.

The townspeople of Cadiz were in terror and were on the point of abandoning the town when two unidentified men – thought later to be the patron saints of the city – closed the water gates and urged the people to go to the Capuchin Church of Our Lady of the Palm. Here a Mass was in progress. The priest calmly finished the Mass, seized a banner with a picture of Our Lady on it, and went out into the street where the wall of water was already advancing upon them. He planted the banner in the street almost in the shadow of the great wave and called out in a loud voice, “Thus far, my Mother.” The water advanced as far as the banner, and then miraculously stopped its forward progression, even though up until that point it had destroyed everything in its path. Then, as the priest walked boldly forward toward the wall of water with the banner in his upraised hand, that gigantic wave receded from him and turned away from the face of Mary to return placidly to the ocean.

An anniversary procession was established, along with a confraternity of Our Lady of the Palm. With the exception of 1837, when there was a Civil War, the procession was held annually. The rosary was recited along the route of the tidal wave, and prayers of thanksgiving said.

Many years after the first miracle, another storm caused the people to remember Our Lady of the Palm. Ships were wrecked in the harbor of Cadiz, and the ocean was impassable. The people demanded a procession of Our Lady of the Palm, though it was out of season, and when the procession was finished, the storm abated.

*from The Woman in Orbit and other sources

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Cadiz is a really really nice town and it has a super good vibe about it.  It is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Spain.  It is also one of the oldest still surviving cities in Western Europe. 

I wish I could have stayed a little longer but such is life.  The only thing about it that I thought was to bad was the fact that big development did get to sneak in and change the look of the most important part before they caught on.  That being the very farthest point of land in town.  I like to call it the point because that is what it is. 

Unfortunately they managed to throw up a few nondescript semi high rise buildings most about 12 stories tall so they stand out above all the other older places.  Most of old are 5-6 stories.  All done for the tourist trade taking up most of the two sides of the point.  At least they are well kept and a few did add nice touches to help them blend in. 

Fortunately the area in front of the harbor was spared but they came pretty close to it!  BUMMER DUDE!!!!  Really really to bad!  But for the most part like I said in the last post at least they caught on before it was all gone.  It has happened to so much of Spain it is a shame.

Spain was a poor country for years and big money took advantage of them just like in so many other places!  It would not stop me from coming back though!  It is one of the few places in my travels I would not hesitate to return to. 

A great vibe, beautiful esplanades along the sea.  Many parks to sit in filled with exotic plants supposedly brought back by Columbus.  Lots of statues, a great market and lots of green Canaries flying around! 

Everything you could ask for is close by groceries, booze and cigarettes what more could you ask for!!!  They also have some nice beaches if that’s your thing.  A small one in the harbor of the old city and bigger ones in the new town just outside the old city walls. 

It’s funny here people that let their dog out to piss always follow with a jug of water to wash down the area they pissed in.  Interesting!!!  VERY NICE!!!  YAY!!  Cadiz

For more photos of Cadiz go to:  Cadiz thought’s now and next year

Well I had a really shitty day going to Seville.  Started out me getting to the bus station in Albufeira and finding out they had changed the clocks ahead last night and I missed the bus. 

I was so pissed finally got tired of waiting there and took a bus back to Faro.  It was along the way of the bus to Seville and figured I could figure out something else on the way.  If not still catch the late bus. 

Well that didn’t work either so I spent the day waiting for the late bus to Seville.  I guess I should have been glad there was one.  It was cold and rainy and no heat in the bus stations.  I was frozen by the time I got to Seville. 

I just got into my new place in Seville it is beautiful.  Brand new everything in a beautiful really old building two small balconies one in bedroom and one in living room.  Right in the heart of the old town all the sights minutes away!!!

A elevator brings me right to the room when the door to the elevator opens you are in your room.  The door to the elevator is the door to the room.  Pretty cool PERFECT!!  It has a code you have to enter into it before it takes you to the room.  So no one else pops in uninvited. 

They really did a nice job mixing the old with modern things.  I am very happy after a terrible day waiting for buses!!  It was almost worth it getting here and having such a nice place to stay!! 

Well I can’t really give a good opinion of Seville.  I only stayed for three days and 1½ of those days it rained.  The place I was staying in was booked after that and the prices jumped through the roof because of the festivities leading up to Easter. 

I guess Seville really puts on quite a show and people come from everywhere.  Places are booked up months in advance and those that are left go sky high with their rents. 

It is a very beautiful city in the old part of town but the greatness seems to be spread far and apart.  In between it is fairly modern.  I haven’t really had a chance to see to much of it except the greatest parts.  So I have to think about it. 

It’s like there are really fantastic and incredible things and then not a lot else around it.  It’s really nice but I am not sure how great it really is.  That would take much more time to see. 

The main attractions are stunning that’s for sure they really are totally awesome a couple of them.  Yes there were a lot of old buildings nicely decorated but few and far between that were stunning.  For one of the richests cities in the New World I guess I expected more. 

Even the main bus station which is huge in the Plaza de Armas where buses come in from the West and South.  Was totally run down and very hollow.  It was definitely a get in and get out of kind of thing.  So I left kind of wondering what I missed. 

I really didn’t have too much of a desire to stay even if I could have.  From what little I saw I think Granada and Valencia have a lot more incredible examples of architecture. 

Like I said and I will say it again.  I just didn’t have the time to see it.  So I can say I am in no position to make even the statements I have made.  They are more of gut feelings then explored and tested ones. 

Although in the time I had I walked so much every bone in body hurt and I was as stiff as an old horse the day I left.  All the things I have read about it were great so I just must have missed it!

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Photos only of other Places in Spain click SPAIN

So my welcome to Albufeira didn’t start out so good!!!  I got here about 1pm didn’t get to the room until 3 or after.  All because the bus station I thought I was coming into was the wrong one.

Turns out there is a new bus station just outside of town.  I ended up waiting for a bus to the center station which I thought again was the right one and it wasn’t.

Never did figure out what I did wrong!  Then I had to pay a cab $8 bucks to get here because I had no clue where I was.  All I can say is if you come here take a cab from the bus station it will save you money in the long run.

So it didn’t start out to be a good day.  The one good thing that happened to me that changed the direction my day was going.  Was I had to check in at the bar down stairs.

There was a girl that was bartending and taking care of checking hotel guests in.  Got the key to the room I was supposed to be in but it was occupied we then tried 3 other rooms but they were occupied too.  We finally found what room I was supposed be in.

It wasn’t her fault management had screwed up what room I was supposed to be in.  She didn’t know which were or were not occupied so it was hit and miss.  Finally found one that wasn’t.

She was super nice and so said come down after you get your stuff in the room and have a beer on the house so I did.  Spent the rest of the day having a great conversation with her while she proceeded to bring out all kinds of different drinks from Portugal for me to try.

Had a great time with her probably would have stayed the rest of the night but her shift was over at 6pm. Good thing!  She never charged me for anything but I did leave a good tip.

She reminded me a lot of the girl I met in Faro the first day or two.  Just a real bubbly and happy person inside and out.  Had a good time laughing and carrying on with her so at least I had a good time that day after all.  This girl was young enough she could have called me grandpa! What a shame!!!  It did make up for the bad start of the day though!

The next day I went for a pretty long walk around town gathered up some groceries and headed up the hill.  Brought the stuff to the room and figured I would go to the  bar down stairs where the bartender was that I met the day before.

There were a  couple of British couples there when I got there.  Had a few drinks with them and was having a good time.  Was getting wasted but every time I started to leave they would buy more drinks.  Man the Brit’s can put down some pints of beer.

Then the guy that owns the place came in.  It was his birthday so he was buying all kinds of rounds of different drinks for everyone.  Here try this and this one and this one.  Then he started making appetizers to go with the drinks and then more drinks and more drinks.

It was a great time but am really feeling it today didn’t even go down to the bar today just incase they were there.  I really liked the people and a great  time was had by all!  I’m just glad all I had to do was get in the elevator and go up to my room!!!!  Couldn’t have made it much further!!

So the town is nice what little I’ve seen of it took me a couple days to get my bearings.  I stocked up with food and just relaxed a little.  Real nice little place.

I have another apartment now.  Just down the hill from the other.  This one has a good size living room, two sofa beds with beautiful balcony overlooking the sea, a tiny bathroom room with small kitchen and an upstairs bedroom, two twin beds with big window looking out at the sea and big bathroom.  Plus this year I am getting heated places and it is working out much better.

The first one with the nice bartender was up a long hill from here but also nice.  I was just trying to save one less hill to walk up.  Man they are killing me.  I will be in much better shape though when I leave here or dead one of the two.  HAHA!!!

Not bad for 25 EU a night HUH!!  The first one was 27 EU and had the nice bartender but that giant hill was a killer and this place is nicer!!!  Plus the SuperMarket is a short walk from here.  It is nothing but big pretty steep hills walking through this town everything is up and down crazy but pretty what little I have seen of it.

The big problem is both towns here in Portugal I have been to have had shitty WIFI!!  Ok if you just want emails but pretty much worthless for anything else unless you get lucky and hit it when it gets good for short periods.  I pretty much gave up trying to do anything on the website it was just too frustrating.  I decided I didn’t come here for that but to chill out and it just wasn’t happening playing with the site.

The site is a mess right now I am trying to separate photos into a year at a time instead of lumping them all in one.  Putting them all in one page made them too hard to load and to many to go though to get to the ones at the bottom.  I’ll get it done some time this year hopefully sooner than later.

Walked around town today and took some Photos not many because there just isn’t that much of interest here other than the views from the cliffs overlooking the sea.  There may be sites I haven’t seen but because of the many hills I didn’t walk as far around town as I usually do.

There are plenty of benches along the top of the cliff to sit at and stare off across the sea.  It is mostly older simple little stucco houses typical of Portugal.  With the white paint, red tile roofs and fancy chimney tops it all pretty much says Portugal.

One nice thing is there are no high rises.  There is a large pedestrian zone in the center of town with benches scattered throughout but it is mostly just a large commercialized district.  Not very much fun to walk through unless you want to buy trinkets and eat at higher priced restaurants.

There is a public bathroom at the top of that zone near the old bus station for all us old people.  They also have an elevator down to the beach from cliffs in one spot along the cliff walk.  I probably wouldn’t have stayed as long as I have other than the fact the weather has been cold and rainy off and on.

Just decided it was a good spot to wait out the weather because I have a gorgeous view of the sea from my balcony.  Plus the apartment is real nice and cheap.  This is their early part of spring so the good and bad weather is to be expected.  Next stop Seville!!

Well finally back on the road again.  Went home to my sisters place to see her and my cat.  It was great to see them both she spoils the Hell out of him.  He has more toys and places to hang out than Carter Has Liver Pills!!!  If you remember that saying you are old!!  My sister and I  surprisingly get along great in our old age.  Here’s THANKS to her for letting me stay.

My former neighbors and still friends had a party for me and also a Super Bowl party the following week with many of the same people a good time was had by all and I really enjoyed seeing them all.  It was great to see everyone although I didn’t get out quite as often to see them this time.  Did get out for a couple of nice dinners with friends of my sister’s and mine.

This time all I wanted to do was get my normal once a year doctor stuff done and my taxes and hit the road.  I did get a lot of my older travel photos loaded on my site.  It took me almost 3 weeks to do.  There are so many it is hard and slow to load so now I am going to have to do it again differently to make it easier for people to see them.  I’ll do it a little at a time as I go.  Good rainy day thing to do.

I just couldn’t relax until I could leave again knowing that this is exactly what I should be doing.  Took me all my life to figure it out so now everytime I stop I feel like I’m wasting what precious time I have left. 

I’m now in Faro, Portugal.  YEY!!!!  Portugal is just as I remembered it beautiful!!!  It has a really peaceful comfortable feeling about it and the people are very friendly.  The little stone decorated sidewalks and pedestrian walkways everywhere with different beautiful designs.  The tables from the restaurants set up on them to hang out and eat, drink and people watch from.  The small to large parks everywhere with plenty of benches to sit and while away the day.

The Storks nesting and having their young from the top of every tall structure in town.  The houses with ceramic tile on the outside instead of paint.  It is a thing here in Portugal to have ceramic tile on the outside some towns have more than others.  Lisbon was full of them. 

The orange blossoms are blooming and the air is heavily scented with it everywhere you go.  It’s like I never left!  They are my fondest memories of years past when I came to Lagos and Lisbon 4 years in a row.  It is the only place in my travels that I have returned to that many times. 

Saw a lot of town today but was still pretty tired so didn’t go too far but what I did see was pretty nice.  Faro has a nice feeling about it just like Lagos did.  It is not to big but is a nice size to stay for a while.  Have to spend more time looking around.  Probably be here for at least a week maybe more. 

I went to bed last night not long after I got here like 8pm or close to it and slept like a rock got up in the night very little it was a long two days getting here.  Can’t remember when I have gone to bed that early.  Took a fairly long walk around town today came back and took a 2 hour nap.  I had a good dinner 2 grilled pork chops, fries, rice and a beer for 7 Euro about $7.50 so I’m good with that. 

The place, room and bed I’m in is nice but balcony is a little small.  It does have a fridge though and is steps to the center.  Looked at half a dozen other places today found one with a nice big balcony but the room was real small and didn’t have a fridge.  So am thinking I’ll give up the nice balcony for the fridge and bigger room.  I mean what can you ask for for 25 Euro.  Big decisions HUH!

I’m about 2 blocks from the harbor that looks out over a huge protected marshland behind and along it.  It is considered one of the 7 natural wonders of Portugal. 

The weather has been gorgeous.  Almost as warm as Florida hot in the sun cool in the shade.  I walked quite a ways today and took photos.  I’m a little stiff from all the walking because I didn’t walk at my sister’s house and now it’s paying me back.  It won’t take me long to get back into shape just a getting old thing! 

I met this really beautiful women today she was passing out flyers for a restaurant.  We talked for an hour or more just having a good time laughing and carrying on about our lives.  She is 35 and has traveled all over the world for work and is just one of those truly bubbly people that you seldom meet.  It was great I loved every minute of it.  To bad I am 69 and she is young enough to be my daughter.  Her father was younger then me. 

I was sitting in the park later and she saw me there and came and spent another hour talking to me there.  It made my day!!!  She had the prettiest eyes and biggest smile.  Her name was Thelma and she was definitely a Thelma and Louise type person totally crazy and full of it. 

Somehow I am totally attracted to those types but I am smarter than the average bear and stop short of the jumping off the cliff thing!!!  A good time was had by all!!  You now know what park I will be in tomorrow!!!  What the Hell she made me crazy!!! 

Kind of like the 3 Swedish girls in the photo’s of Nicaragua I think they felt safe with me because I was old and they were just at ease with me and totally open.  They wouldn’t go anywhere without asking me to come with them.  Made all the young guys jealous and me happy as a pig in shit!!  So much for that!  

Went to the same place I ate last night nice big old jolly guy owns the place.  It’s a little out of the tourist zone.  Walked in and as usual he had a friend or two hanging out at the little bar shooting the shit with him. 

He called me over right away and handed me a small piece of hard bread with some kind of stewed pork inside that they were eating and drinking wine with.  It was really good and I went and sat down at the table.  He came over and said he had some really nice fresh fish today so that is what I had.  It was great and the same price as the last meal

After the meal and during he was talking to me in Portuguese and English switching on and off.  He calls me Trump now to bust my ass.  After the meal he brought out the Portuguese equivalent of Raki out and poured me a drink it was fire water alright.  Then he poured me what he called his special one and it was fire water too but real real tasty.  I asked if I could buy some and he said maybe.  I guess I have to go back a few more times to get there with him!!!  Gotta Love It!! 

Well woke up this morning Sunday at 4 am to the sound of the kids coming out of the bars.  Forgot how late the bars stay open here but was reminded this morning!!!  Still passing by beers in hand shouting and carrying on at 8am what a difference 15-20 years make when I used to be doing the same thing!  LOVE MY LITTLE PLACE HERE IN PORTUGAL!!!  LIFE IS GOOD!!!!  Dave