Oakland to Barcelona

We are in Barcelona! Our flight on a Norwegian Airlines Dreamliner 787 was great! Duke totally surprised me and booked us in premium class!! I’ve always said that if I won the lottery I would always fly first class. But as I walked back to coach class and couldn’t find my seat until the steward pointed up front I was totally blown away! Duke can sure keep a secret! The best secret ever!

In Barcelona we took the Metro into town. The trip cost us €4.60 each. We are staying in a small hotel called K+K Hotel Picasso on the edge of the Gothic Quarter. After a nap we went for a walk to try to stave off the urge to sleep and to defeat jet lag. We walked up Las Ramblas and through the Gothic Quarter.

As usual for my trip reports here come the food photos! We had dinner at Llamber Taverna Gastronómica. We had four small plates to share.

Patatas Brava and warm bread with tomatoes.


Rice in squid ink with cuttlefish

And beef

The cost including two glasses of wine each was €70. Everyone was friendly our waiter was from Bangladesh. As tired as we both are it was a perfect first meal in Spain.

Reno to Walnut Creek

It is not an auspicious way to start a trip. After our flight from Reno to Oakland yesterday we waited at the baggage carousel to claim our bags. Duke’s bags came but mine didn’t! Southwest had lost my suitcase! We filed a lost luggage claim form. I had visions of buying a new wardrobe in Europe, not necessarily a bad thing.

Allison and Maddie picked us up and we headed for Walnut Creek. About halfway there my phone rang. It was Southwest saying they had found the bag. We turned around and got the bag. Thank goodness!

We’ve had a fun few hours visiting here in Walnut Creek. We went to see some lady bugs.

Then we played at the park and went out for hamburgers for dinner. This morning we went for a hike. This afternoon we will be on a Norwegian airlines flight from Oakland to Barcelona.

San Jose, Costa Rica

Our last full day in Costa Rica. Tomorrow we fly to Houston and then to San Francisco. Today we checked out the Costa Rica Jade Museum. It’s a five story relatively new building and very interesting.

Our last dinner of the trip was at La Diez Parilla Argentina, quite near our hotel. My steak was tender and tasty and the service was great. They told us they had only been open four months.

San Augustin Archaeological Park Day 5

Tonight is our last night at El Monastario, our wonderful hotel near San Augustin. Duke and I discussed over dinner and agreed that this is one of the best places we have ever stayed. This is Duke at breakfast.

Today we toured a coffee farm. It is about a mile down the road from El Monastario.

First we walked through the field and watched as Hector picked some coffee.

Then he showed us how he processed and dried the coffee.

Then he husked and roasted the coffee.

Finally he ground it and brewed some for us to drink.

It tasted great and we are bringing some home.

San Augustin Archaeological Park Day 2

Today we went for a horseback ride! We rode about eight and a half miles and visited three Archaeological sites that are more remote than the sites we visited yesterday!! It was wonderful!

It is so beautiful here, lush with wonderful views and lots of interesting flowers, crops and birds. Our guide Boliva was great and his horses were nice and calm and well behaved.

Every morning we’ve been here we have heard a loud raucous bird in the trees. If I understood our guide correctly it is a chachalaca bird. Some people even have them as pets. At one of our stops we saw one up close.

Our first stop on our ride was Purutal – La Pelota. An ancient burial site that was excavated in 1984. That’s four years after Duke was here. The statues are colored. As I understand it these are the only statues that they have found that are colored. They are located exactly as they were found.

Our second stop was at La Chiquita. We left the horses at the top and climbed down to a spectacular overlook of the Magdalena River Canyon and two waterfalls. There were carvings overlooking the canyon too.

Our third stop was El Tablón where the statues were excavated by a German archaeologist in the early 1900s. They were sent to Germany and then later repatriated. Next it was back to our hotel.

I got to practice my Spanish a lot today talking to our guide. At one point I asked what he uses for coffee when he drinks coffee at home. He said he has a few coffee bushes. He picks the coffee, roasts it, grinds it, and brews it all right before he drinks it. Our hotel told us they do the same thing for our breakfast coffee. The coffee is delicious.

Coincidentally the wife of our guide is the niece of the man Duke stayed with in 1980. The girl in the picture below from 1980 is a bank manager today!

The ride today was so tranquil and beautiful. We saw fewer than twenty other tourists!

It started raining hard after we got back to our hotel. I wanted comfort food for dinner so I had delicious Pasta carbonara and Duke had lasagne.

I haven’t been on a horse since I was in college. I’m sore and tired tonight but it was a wonderful day!

Santa Fe to Ignacio, Colorado – Day 11 Southwest Road Trip

Today was an easy day. We had a great breakfast at Tia Sophia in Santa Fe. It is so nice to stay someplace where you can walk to all the sites and nice restaurants. 

Then we drove north from Santa Fe into Colorado where we are staying at the Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio, Colorado. It was a beautiful drive.