Monday, October 17, 2011


Hotel pool overlooks beach and ocean
The ancient city walls of Ronda
In the fall of 1970, I traveled to Europe by myself.  First I visited relatives in Belfast, Ireland, my mother's birthplace.  But true to fashion, the weather was cold and damp.  So I flew off to Barcelona where the weather was not much better.  Go south everyone said.  So I boarded a train for Malaga, Spain.  Little did I realize it was a 24 hour ride, not 4 hours!  But during that ride, I met some terrific guys who had recently graduated college in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).  They were headed for Torremolinos.  I followed their lead and found a studio apartment overlooking the beach where I lived for about 2 months.  Here I am back again 41 years later and except for that apartment high on a cliff over the beach, nothing is the same.  

Ronda has the oldest bullring in the world 
Torremolinos has become the snowbird destination of Europe.  The beachfront is lined with shops and restaurants, hotels and apartments.  It is busy but not  overcrowded in this the shoulder season (between high season and off season).   The weather is magnificent.   Twice a day we walk the promenade that runs along the beach for miles.  Afternoons we usually spend a couple of hours at the pool.  

We did take 2 day trips.  One to the city of Ronda.  Though there is evidence of  prehistoric settlements from the  Neolithic Age in the area, the town was originally settled by Celts and later Romans.  Aside from its history, Ronda is best known for famous summer residents they used to entertain like Orson Wells and Ernest Hemingway who were drawn by the town's famous bull fights.  

The other trip through the Andalucian countryside included a stop at an olive oil factory.  With over 300 million olive trees (some as old as 1,000 years), Spain is the leading producer and exporter of olives and olive oil.  Making oil from olives is not unlike making wine from grapes.  Depending upon the quality of the oil, 4 - 11 kilos (kilo = 2.2 pounds) are necessary to make one kilo of olive oil.   

GOOD FOR A LAUGH:  A blind man sat down next to a Jewish man in the park during Passover.  The Jew is eating his lunch and offers a matzah cracker to the blind man.  He touches it for a moment and says, “Who writes this crap?”Geri's website

Friday, October 7, 2011


With Kevin in New York
After Colorado, it was back to Boca Raton for a week.  And a busy week it was -- in and out of our storage unit unpacking and repacking for the upcoming 3 month trip.  Plus I was reviewing and running off copies of the lectures I was scheduled to give on our upcoming cruise.  Once that was all behind us, we relaxed at the Riveside Hotel on Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale, a charming hotel in a great locale -- another winner from  (See earlier post about how skyauction works).  We took long walks along the New River and on A1A beside the pristine beach.  We spent a good part of one day on a water taxi meandering along all  the beautiful waterways lined with multi-million dollar mansions.  

Cunard's newest ship The Queen Elizabeth
On Sept. 19, we flew to New York to board the Queen Elizabeth.  It was docked in Manhattan overnight so we had the opportunity to see our nephew Conor, and our friend, Kevin.  On Sept. 20 we sailed out of New York harbor and arrived in Newport, Rhode Island the next day.  The weather was beautiful and the town was quiet following the busy, summer tourist season.  

College roommates 44 years after graduation
Unfortunately, the weather was not so great the next day in Boston, but that did not put a damper on my reunion with 3 college roommates.  All four of us had not been   together in over 20 years, but we talked and laughed as if we were back in the sorority house.   

The great thing about this trip was the opportunity it offered to see some special people along the way.  That continued with our stop in Portland, Maine.  Our friend Perry  met us at the pier and we spent the better part of the day talking, lunching and being shown the highlights of Portland. 

Quebec city, Canada
Last stop in the USA was Bar Harbor, Maine.  Then on to Canada where we spent one day in Nova Scotia and two in the charming city of Quebec.  The massive Hotel Fontenac dominates the city overlooking the restored buildings along the waterfront.  

Last chance to step on land was in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.  Finally, we saw a few trees turning color, but our cruise was just a bit early to enjoy the height of fall foliage.  

Fall colors in Newfoundland, Canada
Five sea days after Newfoundland delivered us to Southampton, England which happened to be my 65th birthday.  65 years old???  44 years out of college???  Can it be?  I like what Sophia Loren said about aging: "There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age."

We spent the day in Southampton.  The weather was damp and chilly as it often is in England.   Next morning, it was off to the  airport for our flight to Malaga where we will spend the next 7 weeks enjoying the Costa del Sol.  

TRAVEL TIPS:  If you are looking for a cruise, is a great site for checking the sailing dates and itineraries of all the major cruise lines.  No obligation to book your trip through them but their prices are competitive.