Travel


Of course, everyone has heard of the tragedy here in Paris where two terrorists, brothers again, killed twelve people in the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that made fun of every religion there is. Among those killed was a policeman who happened to be a Muslim. This isn’t about being Muslim, it about being full of hatred, fear and enemies of free speech. I am not political and am not able to speak of any of this, really. I do know the gunmen were connected to Al Qaeda. I was here in Paris when the attacks of September 11th occurred and now here I am still in Paris when this attack occurs. Maurice didn’t want me to leave the apartment yesterday as the gunmen were said to be headed back to Paris for a final suicidal finish which didn’t occur, by the way. So it’s scary but I think the best thing is to continue living our lives, unlike so many in the world are unable to do, such as those in Syria. We aren’t being bombed, innocent bystanders. The night of the attack we went out to eat at a couscous place in our neighborhood with friends, a normal activity, lucky to be alive and living a good life.

IMG_3869
I had tagine with beef, prunes, almonds and potatoes. It was really good.

IMG_3871
The pretty interior.

IMG_3873
At the end we had a glass of mint tea which was poured into our glasses from a high height. They did this in Morocco too so it must be a custom.

IMG_3876
Our tea pot and tea glass. I don’t understand why they don’t serve the tea in cups with handles because the glasses are too hot to pick up at first-ancient tradition.

A very dear friend of mine is here in Paris. We set out to Montmartre the other day and I wore my light winter jacket which turned out to be a mistake and I just about froze to death before I got home. It barely got above freezing all day. I survived however and we had an interesting walk through the Montmartre cemetery as we headed toward the metro.

IMG_3836
A grandiose tomb devoted to the Polish who died in war.

IMG_3839
A very unusual family tomb. Note the leaden gray skies.

IMG_3842
I took her to see this tomb of Dalida, a famous French pop singer who lived in Montmartre. She was actually from Egypt.

IMG_3848
This is the tomb of the famous cancan dancer painted by Toulouse Lautrec.

IMG_3858
I took this one because the flower looked so yellow against the gray statue. It’s a bit out of focus. I think I will have to get a new IPhone soon.

IMG_3862
By the time we got to the metro it was dark and it was nice to see the Moulin Rouge lit up at night.

I am back in cold, gray Paris but am still thinking about some food, namely Paella, when we were in Spain sitting outside in the sunshine (although the French I was with still kept their coats and scarves on).

IMG_3753
Isn’t this lovely? This was at a birthday lunch the day before we left. I feel like all I did while there was eat.

IMG_3760
A plate of paella there.

IMG_3792
A Spanish door knocker.

IMG_3801
On the last day we went to a place in a part of Nerja that Maurice and I hadn’t seen before. There was a rather rustic restaurant on the beach called Ajo’s and we ate there and I had my last sangria.

IMG_3804
They cooked their paella over fire so it had a smokey taste in these enormous pans, about three feet across. It wasn’t as good as the first one pictured here because it only had chicken and shrimp with a few little clams in it but I loved it.

We are still in Spain mainly for the birthday of Maurice’s son which is January 2nd. Because of this, we were at a New Year’s Eve party, just family, but it was nice.

IMG_3731
One custom here that I didn’t know about was eating a grape for each chime of the clock at midnight as the new year rolls in. We each had a little bowl of twelve grapes at our plate. I discovered that the seeds had grapes which seems to be true all over Europe. Maurice, and most French that I know, eat the seeds with the grapes. I guess because I was raised on seedless grapes, I just don’t like the taste of the seeds so I took the time to remove them before midnight. You have to do a lot of chewing to get twelve grapes down in twelve gongs.

IMG_3716
A pretty sunset on the beach in Nerja. As you can see, there isn’t white sand. It is gray, sort of rocky sand, not fine at all but, hey, it’s got the ocean coming in and I liked walking on it.

IMG_3719
The sunset didn’t amount to much but it gave the clouds in the east a lovely glow.

IMG_3734
Out of order, but a photo of the fireworks we could see at the Balcony of Europe. We set off some of our own. They were bought in a little house with no signs, in an ordinary neighborhood. I guess the Spanish authorities don’t want fireworks sold to amateurs either.

IMG_3728
You can get excellent, thick hot chocolate in Spain, as you can see here.

IMG_3736
The oranges were ripe in the trees around Nerja. Christmas decorations by Mother Nature.

Here’s to a Happy and Healthy New Year to all of you. Thanks for the good year.

The cathedral in Nerja is, in a word, elegant. It is very well cared for, richly decorated and is gilded with gold everywhere.

IMG_3689
The exterior. Note the blue skies. We have had excellent weather.

IMG_3709
The very opulant Mary standing next to Jesus. This was the type of church that didn’t have candles to burn but little electric candles that could be lit if you put in some money.

IMG_3704
Look at this great altar with the creche in front.

IMG_3698
This little group in costumes was out front of the church one Saturday singing Spanish Christmas songs with tambourines and castenets and some drums. The next day there was a choir singing songs in German. Nerja is packed with English and German people enjoying the warm weather.

I don’t think I ever heard of Nerja in Spain until a few years ago. It’s really pretty little city just south of Malaga on the ocean with Africa just across the water which you get a glimpse of on a clear day.

IMG_3702
A pretty view from what they call “The Balcony of Europe”.

IMG_3711
The city hall decorated for Christmas.

IMG_3679
The beach-just a little too cool for sunbathing.

IMG_3686
Sangria is a must when in Spain. They served free tapas which were just like snacks here but nice to have while sitting in the sun people watching.

IMG_3692
Near that Balcony of Europe.

Next Page »