Sunday, November 16, 2014

Last Days in Barcelona

As you can see we are enjoying our last few days in Barcelona. We have been covering a lot of ground, seeing the sights, shopping and even stubbling upon an exhibit by Ai Weiwei!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Morning Tea in Barcelona!

Just arrived in Barcelona after a fabulous week in Pedraza.  Will have to wait until I get home to do a post about that week!I

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Morning in Pedraza

Here I am early mornini ng the medieval town of Pedraza. You can see my shadow in the early morning sun as I take a pic and head out to look for a coffee shop. Alas ... but nothing is open this early in Spain!  
You must excuse my type os as the internet is sporatic in this beautiful accomodation. We are enjoying our talking gig so far !

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Great First Day in Madrid

Well, we made it to Madrid and checked in to our flat that we booked through Airbnb. The flat is great, two bathrooms for three women should do it! We explored the city today and enjoyed some olives and wine for lunch at San Miguel Market (check out the video I posted on my post called Madrid Research) We also visited the Reina Sophia Center for Art. I was so thrilled to see Picasso's Guernica! Looking forward to more adventures in Madrid, plus alittle relaxation before our talkathon!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bags not Packed but Ready to Go!

Well I had high hopes of travelling light and just putting a few coordinating outfits in a carry-on. However, since my travelling companions are checking bags and hubby's pink, well used, hard sided, light as a feather, non-carry-on was available, I decided to succumb to the "it's not a sin to check a bag" principle.
So here's the thing .... the more space you have, the more stuff you can take and the more choices you have. Yikes! As you can see in the pic below, I am really trying to be well coordinated so that I can mix and match. And, my philosophy is to be 50% fashion conscious and 100% comfortable!

My "fashion conscious note to self"? - The "uniform" for 2014 is: skinny pants or leggings with high boots and a scarf. I know this from keen observation in the field. The other day I was near an event where numerous women in a 25 to 45 age range were attending. Seventy five percent of them all wore the same ensemble. It was weird! Even the hairstyles were the same .... long and strait - ish with no bangs. 
Okay, I know that if I got in my time machine and went back to the 70's everyone would be wearing the same styles, but at least there was variety. I mean you might see long straight hair like Peggy Lipton on the Mod Squad, but you would also see short hair cuts like Twiggy or an Afro! Long skirts and peasant blouses would be everywhere as would bell bottom blue jeans and a macrame vest! (Yuk!) 
 I don't dislike the new "uniform" ... just making an observation.
blog. yebhi

So, I will take a "fashion tip" from the young-uns and work on my scarf wearing skills for now (the boots and tights might come later). And ... there's plenty of room in my suit case for a few scarves!

I found a new video for tying scarves. My favorites are the "Celebrity" and the "Cowl"!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Research for Madrid

This post is for my traveling "amigos". (My apologies to those not interested in going to Madrid!) After perusing the Lonely Planet  on Spain, I was inspired to do a little more research on Madrid, where we will be spending a few short days before our "gig" as conversationalists in the quaint village of Pedraza.
Sherry tasting at Sherry Corner San Miguel Market

We will be arriving on a Thursday at about 3:40 pm after a lot of flying time. By the time we arrive at our apartment it will likely be about 6 pm and we will be ready for a shower and a good rest. On Saturday at about 5 pm we meet our group at a tapas reception and then hit the hay to get ready for our bus pickup first thing Sunday morning. Therefore we have all day Friday and most of Saturday to check out Madrid.

Keeping in mind our time limitations, here are a few possibilities.

  • Ground TransportationA smooth trip from the airport might be nice so perhaps we could book ahead via Aerocity Shuttle Service the cost is about 34 Euros door to door non-shared. A taxi is about 40 Euros and the Metro would be about 6 Euros each (18 for all of us). There were mixed review on Tripadvisor about Aerocity but mostly from those who chose the shared option.
  • Getting around: Speaking of transportation, it sounds like the metro is pretty easy to use. Cost per trip is 1.50 E (includes up to 5 stops I think). The website is great and you can get your route sorted out beforehand on it by entering your starting point and destination! Madrid Metro. Walking is also and option and of course taxis.
  • The Hop-on-Hop-off bus is often a nice way to get an overview of the city and you can use it as your means of transportation for a whole day or more (although it does use a specific route, likely only in the "tourist" area). The cost is $30.00 per day - a bit on the pricey side! 
  • The Centro De Arte Reina Sofia .... It takes time to visit an art gallery (and we don't have a lot of it). However, if I had to choose one, it would be this one since it is mostly 20th Century art and I would most want to see Picasso's Guernica. The cost is 12 Euros and the gallery is centrally  located .... not too far from the Prado. (Don't worry ladies, I'm not stuck on this if you're not interested)
  • 24 Hours in Madrid  This website has quite a tour planned which takes you into the wee hours of the morning! But perhaps we could do a modified version?
  • Free Walking Tours There are free walking tours given by locals interested in promoting their city and tourism. The cost is free but you are expected to give a tip at the end. The reviews on Tripadvisor are great. I wasn't able to find out how long they are though. In the Lonely Planet there is a walking tour map page 112. An interesting blog reviews their experience using this tour - Walking Tour Review by Literally Organized 
  •  San Miguel Market This looks like an interesting place perhaps for lunch? Check out the video (it's not all about fish!) The "Sherry Corner" looked interesting and I like the concept, but when I read some reviews they were mixed. Some found the head phones a bit awkward and finding a place to sit was at times challenging if you are going from spot to spot. The cost is 25.00 E which includes about 4 or 5 glasses of sherry and free tapas pared with each glass. I think it might be fun just to go there and try some food and drink on our own!
  • Tapas Walking Tour - various city tours are offered by tour companies and most are pricey. The tapas tour is about $50.00 (I think we could do this ourselves on Cava Baja (below). Anyway, here is a little video of the Tapas Tour
  • Tapas on Calle Cava Baja    This street is famous for tapas and night life etc. It is a quick walk from the Latino Metro stop and was highly recommended on tripadvisor and it sounds like a good spot to explore. The restaurants are open at lunch time as well.
Cava Baja by project cortes
So ..... I am posting this, but may make some additions or deletions as my research takes me further. At the moment, my top "must sees" would be Calle Cava Baja and San Miguel Market. I will also have to get going on some research for Barcelona!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Travelling Light


The picture above is my dream! My goal is to be able to travel like this all the time. It's not that I'm trying to avoid paying for checked bags (who cares about a measly $25.00 or $50.00 when your spending way more on the flight)? And .... I'm not really that paranoid about lost luggage (it only happened to me once on a flight from Singapore to Beijing and I got my bag the next day). My true desire is to be relieved of the stress of lugging humongous, heavy bags out of the airport, into taxi cabs, out of hotels, on to elevators, on to buses etc. etc. Oh yes, I know I should be tipping drivers and porters to do the lugging for me, but sometimes I just can't be bothered ..... I just want to grab my little bag and go!

As you may have read in a previous post, I am planning a trip to Spain. Since our flight includes two stops and two different airlines, I would like to avoid the possibility of arriving without luggage should my suitcase miss one of those stops. Once we arrive, we will be travelling to three different locations, which means toting luggage to and from taxis, buses, airports etc. So .. in my opinion, the lighter the better!

When I told my travelling companions that my goal was to make it through two weeks with only a carry-on, they laughed, rolled their eyes, and scoffed at such a ridiculous idea. They insisted that there was no way that would be possible for them. So either they are way more "high maintenance" than me, or I am fooling myself!

I want to look nice, of course (well as good as it can be), but besides travelling light my top priority is comfort. No cute footwear or skimpy jeans are going to restrict my old bod. My flying "uniform" is always yoga pants, a T-shirt and a zip up light fleece. On my feet I wear the bulkiest (comfortable) footwear that I am bringing ... to avoid packing them. Also, I usually wear a scarf. It dresses up my "gym" attire and I can use it  as a light blanket to block a draft.

So ..... having done my research, I am ready to begin packing. I will let you know how I make out!

Below are some interesting sites. "It's Not a Sin to Check a Bag" is from a blog created by a friend of mine's daughter (that one is for my "diva" friends!) "How to wear a Man's Shirt" is cool but not for me. Enjoy!