Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Europe Travelogue #7 From Moron Air Force Base, Spain
Dear Family & Friends,
Thought I had better send another message since we have the use of Jerry and Lori’s computer and internet access. We are staying with them in their lovely little home on the air base, which is about 35 miles from Seville, and it is nice to have all the
comforts of “home”. Jerry is Elaine’s nephew and these are the lovely people we visited last year when they were stationed in Germany. They are both looking fabulous, doing awesomely well in their new location, where Jerry is now the squadron commander here, and so are their very charming and intelligent children,
Mitch and Maddy. Mitch is in second grade and is learning Spanish rapidly after a similar feat last year in Germany. Maddy is in kindergarten and is also learning Spanish and is quite a good little artist. What a fabulous education they are getting with all their international exposure!
Jerry picked us up at the bus station last evening, and today took the entire day off to show us around Seville. What a beautiful and interesting city! There are many well preserved old buildings with interesting facets, windows, overhangs, doorways, and overall trim largely due to the Moorish influence here. And it is quite surprising how green the city is, with many types of large old trees, numerous
parks, boulevards, blooming jacaranda trees, flower beds, fountains and outdoor cafes. We visited the Plaza de Espana, built for the Ibero-Americano Expo in 1929. This is a huge building with several towers, a huge fountain and a lake (dry today), and many alcoves of intricate carved wood ceilings and colorful Spanish tiles showing coats of arms and pictures from the various regions of Spain. From there we visited the Alcazar, which is an old palace, part of which is still used by the royal family. It has an incredible garden, lots of Moorish architecture and colorful
tiles inside, and by using an audio guide, we learned about it’s long and colorful history.
The air base here is a small one which is located out in the countryside amongst many fields of golden wheat and green and yellow sunflowers, also orchards of olive trees and other crops we can’t identify. This part of Spain looks very agricultural and quite productive. There are lots of birds too, the most noteworthy being the very many large black and white storks that we have seen in both Portugal and here.
They make huge nests of sticks, a lot like osprey nests, which are perched high on power poles or even on people’s chimneys. Almost all of them have fairly large young birds in them. Jerry and Lori have a swallows nest under their eves and local ordinances prevent them from removing it. Today we could see all the little babies sticking their heads out of the opening, waiting for the mom to come and feed them.
Of course, we came here from Lisbon, where we ended our car travel adventures on Tuesday. It was somewhat of a relief to turn the car back in and not have to worry about it being hit, or maneuvering around in it anymore. Most of the time it was great to have it because it allowed us to go a lot of places that would have been difficult to see by public transportation. But in the cities, the streets are so
narrow and convoluted, with many one way streets, that we were always having a difficult time finding our way around. The car did enable us to end out trip on a relaxed note because we drove to the Algarve region, which is the southern coast area, where we managed to rent a small apartment right on the beach in a small
fishing village called Salema, and for only 50 Euros a night. We had three delightful days and nights there,with good weather, and because the apartment had a
kitchen and refrigerator, we could cook some of our own meals, something we enjoyed after all this time away from our RVs. Lee & Susie were fighting a cold while there, so they were glad to kick back for a while. One day we did take a small day trip to the most southwesterly point of Portugal at Sagres. There is a large old fort there, that we visited, and also watched fishermen catching fish off the very high cliffs.
Tomorrow Lori will drive Lee & Susie to the airport in Seville where they will start their journey back to the USA. Elaine and I will stay here until Friday, when we will try to catch a train or bus to Tarifa, where we will catch a ferry to Tangier,
Morocco. The next day we take a train to Casablanca where we meet up with our English tour group and start our 2 week swing through Morocco.
Sending big hugs, as usual.
Love, Mary & Elaine

1 comment:

Jonna said...

Hey you guys! What a fantastic trip, it looks like you are having a great time. I love reading the travel letters and now pictures too! Keep it up, we're all eyes!