When I’m done with my chores, I sit at my window and observe. There’s a lot going on here to keep me busy. I see children growing up, people moving in and moving out. Lives being nurtured and destroyed. The best stories are woven on my street.
Because I need to tell them and I need to hear what others have to say. I need to get out of my little shell and explore. Because my life isn’t your life nor your thoughts mine. You don’t share my experiences, my way of life, or my religion. There are doors I want to open that I never knew existed. I want to hear new voices and opinions, concordant and discordant. Pretty and not so, often downright ugly. So many worlds exist within this world. I love me a good story.
Maybe you’d like to read some of my stories? If so check them out here.
Site of the 1929 Ibero-American Expo, this grand 50,000 sq meters plaza is a must see for all who visit Seville. It was designed by Seville architect Anibal Gonzalez as the site for the 1929 Ibero-American expo and has a unique palace-plaza structure with four bridges and two towers. It also has a moat like canal surrounding the perimeter that can be traversed by boat. We visited the plaza in the morning briefly and then returned in the evening for a lazy stroll and were wowed as it was lit up and the fountains played. The 49 Spanish provinces are represented by beautiful tiles. Again, we admired the blend of Renaissance and Moorish architecture and walked through the gardens nearby. It was an unforgettable experience. And for those interested in pop culture you can spot the plaza in movies like Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and The Dictator. Loved it!
During our visit to Barcelona, we took the optional trip to Montserrat (meaning serrated)- a multipeak mountain range that is the site of a Benedictine Abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, which houses the Virgin of Montserrat. The mountain is located approximately 50 km northwest of Barcelona. We took the tour bus, though it can also be reached via cable or the Montserrat Rack Railway.
A functioning monastery with over 70 monks in residence, it was founded in the 11th century and rebuilt between the 19th and 20th centuries.
We were in absolute awe of the magnificent church facade, the dome, the sculptures, and beautiful biblical scenes. It is the home of one of the oldest boy choirs in Europe (from perhaps the 14th century) consisting of thirty boys who live in the monastery.
Btw, the gelato (tiramisu flavor in particular) is fabulous. It was a short visit, wish I could have stayed longer.
If you are in Spain don’t miss visiting Seville, the capital of Andalusia, a city with many charms. The highlight of this city is a walking tour of the Jewish quarter, a lovely labyrinth of narrow streets bordered by beautifully upkept houses, and charming shops that one can spend hours exploring. A highlight of this tour is a visit to the Casa de Pilatos that is a stunning blend of Mudejar (moorish) and Renaissance architecture unique to Spain. Get transported to another era as you walk through the grounds, beautiful courtyards and gardens. You will never want to leave.
Novel Times Book Club #2 Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone – Novel Times with Simi K. Rao
It’s about nurturing memories.
I love every aspect of the process. The idea, the planning, the anticipation, the getting there, the realization you are there. The sound of unfamiliar tongues, the excitement, the anxious confusion–Where to go, What to do? The myriad choices and lack of time. Always the lack of time. The flavor of the food, the hubbub on the streets, so on and so forth.
But what I like the best are the wistful recollections once I get back.
Were you surprised by the crowds on the Paris streets?
Yes! And that they smoked. All of them!
And they were all so smartly dressed. Just like we’d heard and read.
And remember the guy with the mustache while we were waiting in line to get into Notre Dame?
It felt surreal like I was watching a movie or something. He was a handsome dude. I couldn’t stop staring. He must’ve felt embarrassed.
Doubt it. It looked like he was enjoying the attention.
And Notre Dame– what an awe inspiring experience! Climbing the spiral staircase was a test of stamina, both mental and physical.
Rodin was something else though. That guy is… ahem!
I lost count on how many Caprese sandwiches we ate in Italy. So many I almost got sick. But the cappuccino and gelato! Couldn’t get enough. But then we had to buy the water! Can you believe it?
Yeah, but then we got to climb the tower in Pisa.
I was trying to keep a straight face while looking at David and the other sculptures at the Uffizi.
The Belgian waffles tasted so good. Because it wasn’t a DIY
Do you remember the seagull scavenging for ice cream?
And the not so scenic drive to Palomar but the Hale Telescope was awesome!
Lost in the streets I’ve known like the back of my hand
Surprising what a few years away can do.
My mind has reset. Everything looks new.
Scars, memories erased
Do I want to go back?
Yes, or maybe no.
I feel most at peace when I am among the trees and shrubs or even the desert, and rocks. Sometimes, vastness is overwhelming but I don’t feel judged. I can just be me. I don’t have to pretend or feel stressed. I can relax. I don’t sense the passage of time, be it minutes or hours. Time just moves.
We chose to take a guided tour to Canyonlands National Park- a sunset tour, promising the best views. Let me state at the offset that even though most places can be seen on your own, I personally prefer guided tours because I feel you can get the most in the least amount of time plus you are saved all the legwork.
We had to drive to the pick up point at the junction of HWY 128 and US 191 about 14 miles from the lodge. The scenic route is through a canyon along the Colorado and well worth the extra drive.Continue reading