Monday, October 31, 2011

My White Knight

Chivalry did not die with Don Quixote. If you read my blog a couple of days ago, you read about my losing my hat in a ravine. I took this picture the next day -- when it wasn't raining -- and you can see the bridge I was standing on and the gorge it crosses. I really hated losing that hat. Imagine my surprise the next day when we were about to get on the bus and leave; Richard Frisbie, who shall forever be my champion, presented me with the hat. It was totally soaked but none the worse for wear. Richard had gone for an early morning walk and climbed down into the gorge and retrieved it!

That was not his only act of kindness. Throughout the trip he was unfailingly cheerful and never lost patience when one or the other of us got a little tired and cranky -- or just plain diva-ish. Then at our dinner the last night, he noticed I was shivering because the private dining room where we were going to eat was chilly. Next thing I know, he's talked the waitress out of a tablecloth and is draping it around me. And I was cold enough that I wore it all through dinner. I have no pride where my comfort is concerned! I called Richard my knight -- but I was wrong. He's absolutely a prince!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just Desserts

Oh, my gosh, I´ve just had heaven on a plate! The food in Spain is amazing and the quantities they are serving us would feed a small -- or maybe not so small -- army. We are in the parador in Almagro, a charming and beautiful town. For lunch we were served a local specialty for an appetizer -- pickled eggplant stuffed with pimiento and garlic. The dish dates back to the Muslim tradition -- the Moors occupied Spain for several centuries. The first course was cod topped with julienne vegetables and "foam of potato" -- sort of a thinned mashed potato thingie. Totally full -- and having left a lot of food on my plate -- I made the mistake of looking at our menu only to discover that a second entree was coming. The pork plate, with potato and vegetables, went practically untouched. I played with my food so it would look like I´d eaten some! Then came dessert -- fritters of Calatrava with bitter almond sauce and quince sherbet. It was fabulous.
We´re off to the town where it is tradition that Cervantes was imprisoned and where he began his masterwork. Bet I sleep on the bus!!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Rain in Spain.....

Is not only on the plain. Yesterday it was in the hilly country between Alcala de Henares and Cuenca. I loved Alacala de Henares -- not far from Madrid, it was the birthplace of Miguel Cervantes. And the point of this trip is to follow the route of Don Quixote (which I am reading on my Kindle every chance I get). The weather was lovely the first day and our walking tour around town a delight. The parador is the newest of the 90+ paradors owned by the Spanish government. I´ve stayed here before and it was like going home -- to the most technically up to date, comfortable room -- except it´s built around a centuries-old convent.
Last night we stayed in the parador in Cuenca -- it, too, was a convent. While it has all the conveniences, the decor is more traditional and I felt like a Spanish princess when I opened the shuttered window to see, across a deep gorge, the "hanging houses" of the old city.
It rained most of yesterday -- the wind broke my umbrella and sent my rain hat (a special souvenir of a very windy day in Oxford) over the bridge and down, down, down into the gorge. Still, it was worth it to see this beautiful old town.
The rain stopped late in the day and the lighted, wet streets made colorful photos - which, since I left my large camera in the room and carried my point-and-shoot, will probably come out fuzzy. You´ll have to take my word for it.
The food ranges from excellent to "interesting" and there´s way too much of it. It´s going to be hard holding on to my old-girlish figure on this trip!
Must fly -- time and the bus wait for no one!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Wow! I can't believe how long it's been since I've blogged. (Though those of you who check my Traveling Teddy's blog -- -- know that the bear has checked in a bit more often.) I've been on the road BIG time. And I'm fixin' (that's how we get ready here in Oklahoma) to hit the highway again. So here's a quick catch-up on where I've been since the first of September.

Jack and I (with our dog, Roxie) made a road trip to Ennis, Texas to experience some Czech heritage. The picture above is a beautiful costume (called a kroj, pronounced kroy) at the Sokol Hall museum -- one of several Czech dance halls. And, of course, we had some great Czech food. Sweet kolaches and spicy klobase were big favorites.

The Travel Media Showcase -- a kind of speed-dating for destinations and travel writers -- was held here in OKC and I played tourist. We started with a trip to eastern Oklahoma to explore the Cherokee heritage there. In Tahlequah, a number of the street and road signs are bi-lingual.

At the Ancient Village at the Cherokee Heritage Center we watched demonstrations of native crafts and skills. Scott Ennis posed with Batman (yep, that's what the kids named the bear).

Jack and I made a quick but fun-filled trip to Fort Worth. We traveled down on the Heartland Flyer -- I heart the train. We had a great dinner with McKenzie Zieser at Reata.

We spent a lot of time on our feet the next day -- four museums after lunch. So I was ready for some pampering at the spa at the Omni. I'm getting my toenails painted with OPI's "It's Totally Fort Worth It."

Last week I spent four days in Florida. Though Apalachicola was the main destination, I stayed in a beach house on St. George Island. It was gorgeous -- right on the beach -- and I slept with the balcony door open so I could go to sleep with the sound of the surf.

The seafood in Franklin County is the best! I'm not a big raw oyster fan but I'll eat them here. They're unbelieveably fresh and good. It didn't do a lot for my appetite, however, when our guide at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve told us that the oysters are still alive when we eat them. Ugh, I ate that little oyster when its teeny heart was still beating! I had no such qualms when Chef Brett Gormley served bacon-wrapped grouper stuffed with fresh crabmeat.

It was wonderful to get up early and watch the sun rise over the ocean. I really like this shot -- I think it looks almost like an abstract painting.