Friday, February 6, 2015

January Travels

In January we went down to the Southern California Desert, where my parents were retired and saw some old friends of ours. Bev and Al are both in their 90s now and both are still active. On Wednesdays they work as volunteers at the Eisenhower Medical Center, so Sharon and I wnet off to the Living Desert Museum. I had my camera with me, so I played.

It really is a remarkable place and worth checking out if you find yourself in the area.

From there we passed through Los Angeles on our way home and spent the better part of a day catching up with Linda and Howard, friends from grad school/med school days. We'd not seen them in the better part of a decade, but suddenly it was just like old times except for that fact that we are the ones who are old now.

It had been a long time since we had seen the Huntington Museum and Gardens (my first visit was to see Shakespeare manuscripts as part of the 400th anniversary of the poet's birth in 1964), so it was nice to spend a couple of hours there in the afternoon

Our next travels: the East Coast of the US from the Chesapeake to Prince Edward Island in April and May. Planning currently underway.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Some Vacumatics

Seems like this has become more a travel blog than one about pens, but a recent find rises to the level of comment worthiness.

Long before I began playing with Pelikans, I collected Parker Vacumatics pretty seriously and they continue to be a strong interest. But, in truth, I probably add no more than half a dozen a year nowadays. 2015 will be different.

From left to right, a telephone dialer; a standard Vac Band in burgundy; one in emerald made in the US with Argentinian markings; a streamline standard with star clip; a Ripleys with a curious star clip (probably an early repair, though it has no date stamp at all on the barrel--late release? And then another, correct Ripleys along with a companion pencil. But wait, there's more. I also got this Vacuum-Filler box and papers. I added the pens. Wow!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Granada Two: Un Tesoro y Una Pickpocket

We decided to follow up yesterday’s adventure at the Alhambra by taking a walking tour through the old city. At the end of the tour, I thanked our guide Eloisa and commented to the tour director how good Eloisa was. The director replied that she is a treasure (tesoro). Exactamente!

The walk was a fascinating stroll through the old city, including the Moorish sections. And as we strolled I snapped as many images as possible. Eloisa is a young woman who has studied English for twelve years and is quite proficient. She was also wearing a Star of David so I asked if she was Jewish. It turned out not, she just identifies. She was thrilled, however, to find out that I am Jewish. The whole tour far exceeded our expectations and if you read this, Eloisa, otra vez muchimas gracias para todos.

After the tour we had lunch and decided to go back to see the interior of the Cathedral and stroll through the old Medina. When we were preparing for this trip, Sharon, having read of the pickpocket problem in Spain, somewhat sheepishly decided to buy a secure purse from Travelsmith. When a friend of ours got hit by a pickpocket in the Madrid subway, Sharon felt somewhat vindicated, and then as we walked the narrow streets of the market this afternoon, Sharon was jostled. She reacted, and got a hard look from the woman next to her. Then a few minutes later the same woman nudged her again, and Sharon noticed that she had breached the purse’s first line of security but failed to get into it. It was an interesting adventure, especially as we lost nothing.Here's hoping our erstwhile thief is spending the evening in lamentation over her waning skills.

This is the entry to an old Islamic building that was used by Christians as a coaling station. Note that part of the inscription to Allah was defaced with an obscure Christian symbol

The Cathedral

The Medina

Sharon and Elouisa

A wonderful view of the Alhambra from the town

A wealthy home below the Alhambra, now used by the University

The Baroque interior of the Cathedral. Usually I strictly follow the injunctions not to photograph, but everyone else was, so . . .

Friday, November 28, 2014


We spent Thanksgiving day at the Alhambra. It’s hard to know what to say about one of the great architectural, historical and cultural sites of the world, except Wow!

According to information, in summer the place hosts 6,000 people a day, hard to imagine, as it was plenty crowded as is.

I’m not going to say much about the site and its history. That information is easily accessible on the web. But what is notable is the site, on a hill overlooking the modern city , and the background, for the place was established by the Moors as a palace, supported by a virtual town and acitadel in the mid 14th century. It would go back and forth between Christians and Muslims for another 150 years before the Aragonians seized it.

Everyone seemed to recognize the structure’s significance and the Europeans overlayed the Moorish elements, added to them, abandoned some, but did not efface the Islamic aspects of the place. Most notably Carlos V added a palace and a citadel.

So, what I am going to post are some fairly random images with some captions. There is no way these pictures can convey the place, it has to be seen and experienced.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

From Barcelona to Granada via Valencia

We decided to break up the 850 km drive from Barcelona to Granada with a night in Spain’s third largest city, Valencia. Sharon booked a hotel in the center of the old city so we got to wander a bit and I got some images. That’s about it.

Wednesday was a long driving day from Valencia to Granada pretty much without break, arriving here in early afternoon. We went out in the evening for a stroll and dinner. I decided to leave my camera, but got a few snaps off my iPhone.

Thursday, while all our American friends and family are gorging on food and (American) football, we will be touring the Alhambra.