dem doggone bloggin’ blues …

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home (m)owning …

sears range 2

I miss living on a boat …

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heading home …

hh

Six weeks in Europe.
Time to head for home and go camping with our grandsons.

Dan & Debbie
Seaside, Oregon

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disjunctive syllogism …

cockburns

Cockburn’s Port Tasting Room (Vila Nova de Gaia) – Porto, Portugal

I wonder about all this new technology we use .. at times it actually seems to drive us further from each other. Much like Social Networking. Watching families at dinner, party of five, all yielding cell-phones and seemingly disinterested in each other or their meal. And then, here I am traveling 150mph on a train to Lisbon, First class, with high-speed WiFi, posting my thoughts via RF. Radio Frequency. The very medium I have spent most of my life studying. Magic by any stretch, moreso if one delves into the inner workings of electromagnetic fields.

I mean, it is amazing. I sit here studying Logic formalism on my Kindle, disjunctive syllogism strikes a chord, and within a minute I have downloaded George Boole’s 1854 classic treatise on Logic, ‘An Investigation of The Laws of Thought‘ via Amazon’s Whispernet. Behold a miracle!

But I miss real books too, at times … almost becoming impractical in our modern world it would seem. I can carry a thousand books on my Kindle all across Europe, on the beach at Aveiro, Portugal yesterday, on the plane returning home.

And still, having said all this … I don’t want to forget what it feels like to turn a page of a really great book, made from wood. It’s nice having options, isn’t it?

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Holding Luna …

lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal

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Potter in Portugal …

lello

We are in Porto, Portugal!

I have no idea what we have gotten ourselves into. Clearly, I am the only person on our planet that has never read any of the Harry Potter books. We are, we’ve been told, in the city where J.K. Rowling started writing the series, and tonight will host the World Premier for the new book at the Livraria Lello Bookstore just down the street where Rowling frequented for inspiration. This just might explain why, as we started investigating hotels, we found everything suddenly booked!

Dare I attempt to read the first book? It might be a nice break from the mathematics I’ve been reading on these long train rides.

The big event starts at 12:01 … I am sure I will be fast asleep!

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Flamenco’ing in Sevilla …

Sevilla1

Sevilla … takes your breath away. I mean, it’s to be 108-degrees today and it does indeed … take your breath away. It’s also unbelievably beautiful and leaves you gasping for air as well, but in a good way!

We are gobsmacked with the beauty of Spain. The people, the food, the wine, the weather … ok, scratch the weather part. Did I mention the Rioja wines? Actually, we stumbled upon an odd meteorological anomaly to find Madrid coolish! Low 80’s and a delightful breeze that lasted into the evenings. I think it has dissipated however and now all of España has turned the temperature dial up to ’11’ (past maximum). Mucho caliente!

Not to be discouraged, and hitting the Sangria hard, we have fallen in love with Sevilla and just changed our hotel reservations to add one more day to catch another Flamenco concert here. And here is the back-story – one of the goals in coming to Spain was to pursue learning Flamenco guitar. The investigative part .. at least. It’s one of those ‘twilight years’ goals .. like running with the bulls but with less risk of dying! We are in the heart of Flamenco and after attending a concert in Madrid I’ve hit the streets of Sevilla looking for more music.

Serendipity is a huge part of traveling. We were having dinner last night, some of the best food of our travels, and Debbie sneezes. The woman at the table next to us says ‘bless you’, which leads Deb to ask ‘where are you from?’ and later I ask her husband ‘and what do you do in Fresno, California?’. ‘Oh, I teach Flamenco guitar and am studying here in Sevilla for a month’. Wait … what?! Have I just hit the motherlode? Si! A little more conversation and Olé .. I now knew the Flamenco venues, upcoming concerts, the best beginning Flamenco guitar to buy, and how best to convince one’s wife that buying a guitar from a luthier in Spain will afford enough savings (over a similar guitar back home) to pay for the flight back to Sevilla when the guitar is finished. A free vacation! Tickets for two of course!

I just love that logic … Adios

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St. Emilion …

family 2

I am carless .. finally. And what a grand feeling it is! We managed to find the Enterprise Auto drop-off in the center of Bordeaux amidst the hubbub of the morning commute and ubiquitous construction. With great pleasure and a sense of relief, I handed off the key to the nice representative after she thoroughly checked the car for dents and scratches, checked the mileage, and insured we had filled the tank with petrol. ‘Au revoir’ we both exclaimed as we literally skipped to the tram to take us around the city to our hotel.

Here’s the deal .. apparently, if your car gets stolen or you damage it severely, the car company can put the value of the car onto your credit card and you must await resolution from your insurance company back in the states. Gulp!

And this is the beauty and wonderment of having a great travel partner by your side. Imagine, if you will .. Debbie’s incessant positivity versus my doom and gloom. I wake up, to three alarms (they do fail you know) and wonder if the car is still in the parking lot. Stolen? Did the battery die overnight? Will the engine start? Did someone break-off the side mirrors? Will I find a gas station? Was there a trucking strike overnight such that if I do find a station it will have petrol available? Wasn’t that front tire a bit low? I don’t think I saw a spare … get it? And for Debbie? Everything has a viable solution. No worries .. the universe is of a grand and beautiful design, as long as she gets her morning coffee. If something goes wrong, we will find a solution. We always do. Geez … must be nice.

So … unencumbered now without car rental, I feel liberated. Shoulders relax, smiles return. VISA balance zero. Of course the car started – no flat tires, mirrors intact, gas tank filled, we arrived safely, and Debbie got her coffee. Life is good.

Here we are in the town of St. Emilion. We drank a lovely Merlot, Franc, and Cabernet blend in the very chateau where the treaty was signed ending the 100 Year’s War in 1453 and France regained control from the British. Behind us … hectares upon hectares of green grapes ripening for Autumn harvest.

Off to Spain tomorrow …

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