Austria, churches

Chasing lakes and waterfalls in Aus-cro-slo-aus… part thirteen

Our last full day of our trip was probably our most touristy-vacation-esque of our trip. We went to Salzburg and walked around, taking in the sights. Once again, I regret not buying any art, since we passed a few galleries which were closed by the time we departed in the late afternoon. Salzburg is a beautiful city, with lots going on, and a lot of photogenic scenery. We mainly walked around, but we also visited St. Peter’s Abbey and, after Bill lit a candle for his late father, who was a Catholic, we had a very expensive but delicious lunch at Peter, one of the restaurants in St. Peter Stiftskulinarium, which was founded in 803 AD. We didn’t know anything about the restaurant when we visited, but it turned out to be a very successful stop.

Below are some photos from our walk around the city before lunch…

Peter is right next to the Abbey. They were decorating it for Christmas and, I have to admit, I was drawn in by how beautiful the restaurant was looking with the Christmas lights, trees, and ornaments. It turned out they have good food, too… for a price. But we didn’t mind, as it was a really nice meal and the only “fancy” one we had on our trip. In fact, we didn’t spend much money on food at all, most days. I wish it showed on my body, but I guess I’d have to give up booze for that to happen…

Peter gets mixed reviews. Some people think it’s an overpriced tourist trap. Personally, I enjoyed it, except for the pop music on the sound system, which didn’t seem to go with the food. Also, we were surprised when we came into the restaurant and the hostess told us we didn’t have to wear masks if we were vaccinated. We weren’t upset about it… just surprised. The restaurant was pretty busy and was doing a brisk business. I had originally wanted to get steak there, but they sold it by the gram and it started at 350 grams, which was way too much food for me. Maybe if Bill and I could have split it. We were happy with what we had, though. The duck was delicious, and Bill always enjoys venison whenever he can get it, since I don’t usually eat it myself. Our bill was about 250 euros, but it was money well spent.

After lunch, we walked around the cemetery, taking notice of how beautiful and ornate the graves were. Some of them had actual well-tended gardens on them. I haven’t even mentioned Mozart, who is everywhere in Salzburg, since it’s where he was born.

And as we came out of the cemetery, we found the Wasserrad, a long running source of power…

It was at about this time that we decided to pick up a few souvenirs, mostly for Bill’s co-workers, who bring us stuff on their travels. I also got a new beer stein for my collection. I now have two from Germany, two from Austria, and one from Switzerland. I tried to talk Bill into getting a hat, like the ones we saw in The Sound of Music. He turned me down.

And finally, we decided to visit the Stieglbrau, a restaurant affiliated with the brewery. It also has a Biergarten/Winter solarium for those of us who just come to drink, as Bill and I did… I think it was worth visiting for the views alone! Last time we were in Salzburg, back in May 2012, the restaurant wasn’t open. I don’t remember why.

Bill ducked in to a little gourmet shop to get some Stiegl beer, some deer and antelope sausage, and a new beer mug for me. I was really feeling the urge to shop, since so many places in Croatia and Slovenia were closed.

The sun was sinking as we went back to the garage to get the car. Austrians are so civilized, they had a very clean WC there, which I needed to visit. Unfortunately, I almost walked into the men’s room… a couple of locals laughed about that! Then, on the very short drive back to Ray’s house, we were stopped at a light, and some mean spirited jackass on a bike and carrying a skateboard knocked on the window. When I looked up, he shot me the middle finger while wearing a most hateful expression on his face, which is illegal in Germany and, my German friend Susanne says, is also illegal in Austria. Needless to say, I quickly fired back, and hope he fell off his bike and neutered himself. I don’t know why he flipped us– or really, me– off. I had nothing to do with any traffic offenses, since I was sitting in the passenger seat, minding my own business. Asshole.

We decided to relax on our last night on vacation, though if I’m honest, I was really ready to go home. After awhile, it gets tiresome living out of a bag. I also really missed the dogs. So, although we had a good day in Salzburg and could have seen a lot more, I was ready to go back to normal living.

Stay tuned for the last post in this series, part fourteen.

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dog rescue, dogs

Noyzi makes a friend! Can Tommi come out to play?

Our German neighbor used to have an adorable Labrador Retriever named Levi. Levi had been adopted from Americans who were leaving Germany and couldn’t take him with them. Levi recently got very sick and passed away, so our neighbor acquired a new puppy, name of Tommi. Tommi, like Levi, is a lab, although it looks like she got him from a breeder. I adored Levi, and was very sad when he died. He was a very sweet, friendly, and gentle dog, who always wanted to say hello. He was also well behaved and well trained, and would come over to visit us. Tommi looks a lot like a young version of Levi, and is just as friendly and outgoing. It looks like he’ll be a lot like Levi when he grows up.

A few days ago, I had Arran and Noyzi on their leashes, ready to take a walk. Our neighbor was outside with Tommi, packing up her car. It looked like she was headed to the barn, where she boards her mare. I once tried to have a conversation with her about horses. I spent most of my childhood showing my Appaloosa. But she seemed doubtful that I knew anything about horses and, in fact, even doubted that my horse had been an Appaloosa. The picture I showed her was of us mid flight over a fence and his spotted rump evidently wasn’t so easy to see. When I showed her another photo of us winning reserve champion at a state 4H horse show, then she realized I knew what breed my horse was. In that photo, she could see his spots.

Yes, that’s me when I was a horse person. Rusty, the Appaloosa pony, was my best friend. We won over 200 ribbons , a medal, and several trophies together, but the biggest prize was getting through high school unscathed and many years of companionship.

I think this is a common thing with some Germans. Sometimes they act like they know better about certain things, even when it’s clear they don’t. 😉 But rest assured, I did spent years working in barns and taking care of horses and, at least in those days, I knew what I was doing. Someday, when we settle down, I would love to have a horse in my life again.

Anyway… I think our neighbor distrusts Arran, mainly because Arran’s a bit high strung and bossy. When we first moved to the neighborhood, he didn’t seem as friendly as our other dog, Zane, was. Zane was a beagle with a touch of lab in him. He never met a stranger. Arran is a beagle with, I think, a healthy portion of German shorthaired pointer, and possibly a touch of coonhound. He’s very sweet, but kind of cranky and emotional.

Arran showing off his junk.

Noyzi, by contrast, is very nervous around people he doesn’t know, especially men. But he LOVES other dogs! He’s only about two years old, and still wants to play. Arran will play, but Arran is eleven and doesn’t have the stamina he once had. And he’s only now, after three months, starting to come around to liking Noyzi at all. Consequently, when Noyzi and Tommi first touched noses, I think Noyzi fell in love.

A couple of days later, Bill took the boys out for a walk. The neighbor was outside with Tommi again, and he came over to greet Arran and Noyzi. All three of them started trying to play. Bill had Arran on a long Flexi-lead tape leash, while Noyzi was in a harness and two regular nylon webbing leashes. Tommi was off lead. Bill said it was clear Noyzi liked Tommi and wanted to play some more. After their walk, he kept looking over at the neighbor’s house, eagerly searching for his new friend.

Noyzi loves snow, too.

As you can see in the video, he now knows Tommi’s scent and seems to want to leap the fence to get to him. I think he’s more likely to try to climb the fence than jump it, and he’s big enough that I think it’s possible he could clear his obstacle. However, I have not seen any indication that Noyzi wants to run away from us. He doesn’t charge the door when the doorbell rings, and he seems very attached to me… and to his bed and food.

We may have to find him a younger playmate, though. It’s so nice to see Noyzi acting more like a regular, goofy, funny dog. He’s really settling into his life in Germany, and making life during a pandemic a lot more interesting and fulfilling. I hope someday, he and Tommi can have some fun. If he was a human, I think he’d be knocking on the door, asking our neighbor if Tommi can come out to play!

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staying home

British style Trivial Pursuit and a surprise “visit” from my mom…

We had big plans to try a new restaurant yesterday, but the weather was icky and I didn’t feel like wandering around in the cold and wind. That gave us the perfect opportunity to try out the new 40th anniversary edition Trivial Pursuit game I bought from Amazon.de. I ordered it when Bill’s mom was visiting us last month, but we never got around to trying it until yesterday afternoon. Over wine and Steely Dan, we played the game, quickly realizing that it was a British version, which made it a bit more challenging. We got lots of British culture, sports, and government questions. I’m not complaining, though. It made the game more interesting.

At home in storage, we have the original game that came out in the 80s. Bill was always very good at Trivial Pursuit. He says his ex wife complained that he cheated, he was so good at it. Fortunately, Bill and I are evenly matched. I won yesterday’s game, but it was close.

After we were finished playing our board game, I took a look at Facebook and noticed a long, lost, familiar face… There was my mom, featured on the Facebook page for the assisted living place where she’s lived for the past ten years. She looks great, standing next to an exquisite counted cross stitch project she recently finished. My mom is super talented with keyboards, knitting needles, and other needles. I inherited her musical gifts, but not her talent for making beautiful works of art with needles, beads, and thread.

After my dad retired from the Air Force, my parents ran their own business out of our home. Mom sold knitting and needlework supplies, and she taught countless people her crafts. Dad sold art and framed pictures for people. Mom was also a church organist for about fifty years. Unlike most kids, whose parents worked out of the home and forced them to be “latchkey”, both of my parents were always home. I didn’t always appreciate that about them, but now I know I was lucky in that I got to spend a lot more time with both of them than my sisters did.

I tried to cross stitch when I was a kid, but I was terrible at it. I don’t have the patience to sit still for that long. I don’t have the dexterity to use a needle and thread. I have always hated sewing, even with a machine. I couldn’t make straight seams to save my life. My mom, by contrast, does just about everything with a needle except crochet. She told me it was because when she was growing up, her mother crocheted (and I have inherited one of the afghans Grandma Elliott made), but didn’t knit. A neighbor offered to teach my mom how to knit. Mom said yes to that because the neighbor had a TV. She and the neighbor would watch TV while they knitted together. I never learned any stitching skills, although one of my sisters has followed in my mom’s artsy footsteps. She knits and cross stitches and all that. Meanwhile, I’m the most musical of her progeny.

I did appreciate the yarn my mom sold. As a child and teenager, I showed horses, and that required me to braid manes and tails. Either yarn or rubber bands are required for braiding manes and tails, so I always had my pick of the best colors and highest quality yarns at the barn!

Mom’s yarn came in handy at the barn… I was 16 years old in this photo. I miss these days.

I haven’t seen my mom in person since the summer of 2015. I’d love it if she came to visit us again, especially since we live in a new city and have a better house for hosting guests. But flying across the Atlantic is tough on her, despite the fact that she’s aging so well. I’m long overdue for a trip home, anyway. It’s been five years since I was last in the States. Bill’s contract is coming up for renewal again this year. We’ll see if we stay or go. If we go, I’ll visit Mom when we get back to the States. If we don’t, it may be time to plan a visit to the USA before it’s too late. Bill needs to go see his dad, his daughter, and his grandchildren, too.

We were thinking we might go out today, but the weather is similarly yucky. Maybe we’ll play another game of Trivial Pursuit over more wine and conversation. Or maybe I’ll finish my latest jigsaw puzzle… we’ll see.

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Germany, restaurant reviews

We finally see the inside of the Sindlinger Hof and eat Greek food!

Bill and I have lived in Unterjettingen for almost four whole years.  Unterjettingen is just on the edge of Böblingen County, but feels pretty far removed from the area near Panzer Barracks.  We feel like we’re pretty much out in the country… more like we’re in Calw, the border of which is maybe two or three kilometers away.  When most Americans think of Böblingen, they probably think of the downtown area, which is very built up.  Where Bill and I live, it’s pretty rural.  There’s a tiny village called Sindlingen just next to us, where there’s a farm that sells fresh produce, there’s a Christmas tree lot, and a horse farm owned by a former Olympian.  I’m not sure, but I think the horse farm is a castle that doubles as a B&B.  Every year, there’s also a large horse show that I can’t bring myself to watch.

I must confess that my heart kind of breaks every time we drive through tiny Sindlingen.  I grew up riding and showing horses and I haven’t been in the saddle in decades.  I really miss having horses in my life; I would rather hang around them and dogs than most people.  I usually catch myself looking wistfully at the horses who cross the road as their riders take them on a lovely hack in the beautiful countryside.  Dammit, I miss that so much!  Someday, when Bill finally retires, maybe I’ll have a horse again… and a smart alecky donkey, too.

Another thing that has always intrigued me, at least until tonight, was the large Sindlinger Hof restaurant.  Ever since 2014, Bill and I have passed this impressive looking facility that always seemed to be closed.  After awhile, we got the sense that it only opened for private events.  So, since September 2014, we’ve been passing this restaurant, wondering if we’d ever have the chance to try it.  Well… tonight, we finally got the opportunity.  Apparently, the Sindlinger Hof was taken over by a Greek restauranteur.  Although it says “Sindlinger Hof” outside, the restaurant is now called “El Greco”.  Bill noticed a sign indicating it was going to be open, so we decided to try it tonight.

The first thing to know about El Greco in Sindlingen is that it’s got plenty of parking.  Right next to the restaurant is a country lane where I’ve seen many riders and horses… and tonight, we did encounter some evidence that horses had been near the restaurant.  Having cleaned my fair share of stalls, I know what fly picked manure looks like.  Not that I fault the restaurant for that, of course.  I find horse manure a lot less offensive than dog poo, and there was no sign of that tonight.

When we approached the very attractive and busy terrace, we were told that all of the tables were reserved.  We decided to eat inside.  I’m glad we did, even though it was a bit warm this evening.  The inside of the restaurant is very attractive.  There’s a long row of nice booths alongside wide windows, and plenty of comfortable tables and chairs.  The bar area is especially nice, although it doesn’t appear to be set up for drinkers.  I didn’t see a lot of different libations there, just beer and wine and extra dishes.

Bill prays Mormon style as he looks at the menu, which offers both German and Greek dishes.

One or two of the very busy servers appeared to be a little bit nervous.  I don’t know exactly how long El Greco has been operating, but it kind of had the feel of opening night.  There were a lot of people there.  I noticed that the staff was competent, but seemed like they weren’t quite in sync.  I’m sure that will come in time.  Since it was our first visit, we decided to have some tried and true choices.  I went with gyros and Bill had souvlaki.

We each enjoyed salads, which were very good.  I especially liked the dressing, which was kind of a light mustard vinaigrette.  Then, some time later, a cook brought out our main courses.

Bill enjoys his souvlaki, which was delicious… tasted like it came right off the grill.

 

And I had gyros that were better than usual… I even enjoyed the pommes, which tasted fresh.  I finished half of this and brought the rest home for later.  Takeaway was no problem.

A look at the bar area.  It’s very nice!  I’m sure this facility was built for the horse events that take place across the street, but we rarely saw it open.  It’s out in the country, so maybe it doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves…

 

There’s a lot of seating, although most people preferred to sit outside.  

 

Dinner was very good, although it took some time to get our plates cleared and the check presented.  Bill had to ask again for the bill.  Again, I think it’s because they just opened and had a lot of business.  The service itself was professional and friendly, if not a bit harried.  I think once they get into a groove and aren’t so new anymore, it’ll be a nice place to have Greek food.  And… bonus is that it’s within walking distance of where we live.  It’s not as close as Dimi’s was, but it’s certainly reachable by foot if the weather is nice.

 

Bill enjoys a house shot of ouzo.  I give them props for not giving me fruit juice!  Both the pepper and the ouzo had a kick, too.

And this is the view you get on the way out…

 

Not a great shot of the terrace, but I didn’t want to be too obvious.  

Total bill for tonight was 35 euros, which Bill rounded up to 40.  The waitress thanked us for coming in and said she hoped we’d be back.  On a side note, I had one of those thrilling experiences of actually understanding a lot of what was said to me tonight.  I call that a big win!  Hopefully, this place will stay open awhile so we can go back and try some of their other stuff.

Edited to add:  My German friend has provided a link to an article about the people running this restaurant and another they have in Horb.  Open the link in Google Chrome to get the translated version.

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disasters, dogs, Sundays

The Sunday dog walk from hell…

Our dogs, Zane and Arran, need regular exercise.  So do Bill and I.  On weekends, we usually take them to the nature park near our home, where they can burn off some steam and do some baying.  Although it’s good for us and the dogs, I have to admit that dog walking is not my favorite activity.  I would rather let my dogs run off lead somewhere.  When Bill and I walk together, the dogs constantly get tangled up, so we’re forever keeping the leashes straight.  But we don’t have any dog parks near where we live, so leash walking it is… and again, it’s usually a good thing.  I feel better when I get back.

Good thing they’re cute.

As we set off for our walk, Zane and Arran immediately needed to poop.  Arran squatted next to the big sign about cleaning up your shit.  A German couple, turned out to be our neighbors from a few doors down, stopped to talk to us as Bill was cleaning up the mess.  They were a pleasant couple, but as we were talking to them, the dogs saw a cat, which made them freak out.

Then there were two other people with dogs walking by, also causing Zane and Arran to bark and carry on.  Since it’s Sunday, we try not to be too noisy, but when you’re dealing with dogs– especially scent hounds– that can be a difficult endeavor.  We ended up going a different way than we usually go, just to avoid some of the people and make less noise.

We got deeper into the woods, where we encountered bikers and hikers with no incident.  But then about halfway through our stroll, we were confronted by four or five people on horseback.  I didn’t take time to count.  Since I used to ride horses myself, I understand the dilemma.  There was really nowhere for us to go to avoid the group, though, because we were in a thick part of the woods.  I knew the dogs would bark like crazy because they have never seen horses before.  Sure enough, they did.  Both of them made a racket that could have woken the dead.  I was dying inside and trying to keep Zane under control as the riders passed us.  The dogs remained agitated for the rest of our hour long walk.

I was getting more and more irritable as we got closer to home.  The temperature was warm.  The bugs were out.  I was sweating, swearing, and sneezing, owing to my allergies.  The dogs were being noisy.  I just wanted to get home, enjoy some peace and quiet, and sit on my can with our new fan blowing on me.

Then Zane turned his head and I noticed something bright yellow on his eye, almost like it looks when a camera flashes on it.  It took a minute to realize there was some kind of yellow flower petal stuck to his eyeball.  We stopped and Bill tried to get it out, but Zane was not being still enough and Bill’s fingers were too big.  We didn’t have much time to investigate, anyway, because suddenly the group of horse people were back.  This time, we were near a field, so we started walking the dogs into the field to avoid the horses.  Unfortunately, a big group of cyclists were behind the horse folks, so they also wanted to come in the field.

I could have tried to explain the situation, but they were German… I am sure someone in the group spoke English, but it was hard to explain over the furious barking from Zane and Arran, who once again were going nuts.  I’m sure I had a full on resting bitch face, which I regret, especially since I really do understand the situation for people riding horseback.   I’ve been there myself many times.  I just wasn’t enjoying our walk very much and just wanted it to be over.

We were almost home when the same guy who stopped us on the way out on our walk stopped us again.  He introduced himself and said maybe we should come over sometime.  Ordinarily, I would have been really delighted by the invitation, but I just wanted the stressful Sunday dog walk from hell to end.  Bill gave him his cell number.

The dogs are now pretty tuckered out.  Whatever was stuck on Zane’s eye isn’t there anymore… so he either got it out or it’s balled up under the eyelid.  ETA: Bill checked again and found it stuck under his lower lid.  He managed to fish it out without much trouble.

At least they’ve had their walk and the chance to poop.

The source of Sunday stress…

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military hops, Space A, Spain

An extra day in Seville… and a run in with Romas…

Since we were originally planning to get to Rota Naval Base by Wednesday, the 22nd of January, we only booked two nights at the cute hotel we stayed in.  But then we realized there weren’t going to be any suitable flights out of Rota on Wednesday or Thursday.  I didn’t want to get there early and be stuck behind the gates of the base, because I knew we would be staying in Navy lodging.  I was also hungover as hell.  So I told Bill we should stay another day in Seville and check out the cathedral.  Bill was fretting a bit, but managed to get his office on the horn and get his leave extended.

A word about this whole “leave extension” thing.  It seems that if one is on active duty, in order to be eligible for Space A flights, one must be on leave.  If you let your leave expire before you get out of wherever it is you are, you can’t use Space A to get home.  So it was very important for Bill to get the leave extended through the weekend to give us more time to get a flight that would get us in the vicinity of where we needed to go.  There was a Wednesday flight from Rota to Germany, which we could have taken to get to Spangdahlem Air Base or Ramstein Air Base, both of which offer Air Force flights.  But we decided to take a risk and plan to stay in Rota.  More on that, later…

So, with the help of a former Army co-worker and Facebook friend, Bill got word to his office that he needed the weekend.  His request was approved and he could finally relax a bit.  We asked for one more night in the hotel and naturally got charged a higher rate since I had booked a cheap room and we were put in a superior room (and charged the cheaper rate).  I was surprised the room was considered “superior”, but then I realized that we had a window that actually sort of had a view of the street as opposed the inside of the hotel.

The nice thing about being in Seville on Tuesday is that the cathedral stays open a bit later.  So once I had recovered more from my hangover, Bill and I headed over to Seville’s gorgeous, humongous, impressive cathedral.  I had been in the cathedral before when I visited Seville with my sister in 1997, but somehow I forgot you have to pay to go in there if you’re just going for cultural reasons.  It’s worth paying, I guess.  There is a small museum you walk through before you go into the massive structure itself.

A daytime view of the cathedral…

 

An evening view of the cathedral from another angle.

As we were looking for the appropriate door by which to enter the cathedral, we were approached by several older ladies who were holding out rosemary sprigs.  I wasn’t sure who or what they were, though I have run into gypsies before, most recently in Athens, Greece, when one of them said I look like Angelina Jolie (I really don’t.  She was either trying to flatter me or had serious cataracts).  But I hadn’t run into the scam these women were running.  They could have passed for Spanish women involved with the church.

There was a little voice in my head telling me to ignore these women, but they were very pushy and before I knew it, I was reaching for the sprig. So was Bill.  Then one of the women started to talk about Romanian blessings and got too close to Bill, who still has a wee touch of PTSD from his time in Iraq.  She pushed him toward the wall, alarming him.  He yelled “No!” and held up his hand just as I also stepped away from one of the other women.  Bill’s reaction apparently startled the women and they quickly walked away from us.

The side door is where you go when you want to visit the cathedral…  This is close to where we were accosted. 

I was merely annoyed by the encounter, but Bill was really shaken up.  We went to the front of the cathedral and there were a couple of flamenco dancers performing beautifully on the street.  I was enjoying watching them, oblivious to Bill’s lingering discomfort over his run in with the Roma women.

Front door of the cathedral, near where the dancers were.  Wish I’d gotten a photo.

We finally got into the cathedral and I was wandering around, snapping photos and looking at all the stained glass.  Suddenly, I turned to Bill, who had tears running down his cheeks.  This is a normal thing for Bill in cathedrals.  He is usually overwhelmed by their vastness and ornate decor.  I’ve seen him cry many times in many cathedrals in Europe.  But this time, he really seemed upset rather than moved.  I put my arm around him and asked him if he was okay.  He told me that he was overcome by a combination of powerful feelings… the beauty of the cathedral and his usual reactions to such beauty was colliding violently with his perception that we had been violated by the Roma women.

God’s eye…

He said, “I haven’t felt like this since I was downrange!”

I wiped his tears and listened to him tell me how angry he was about running into these women, trolling the touristed area around the cathedral, which is supposed to be a holy place.  Shame on them for screwing with people that way.

I asked Bill if they had managed to steal anything.  He said they hadn’t, other than the positive experience he was hoping to have in the cathedral.  Although he was very shaken up, he couldn’t deny that Seville’s cathedral is amazing.  But I’m afraid those Roma women gave it an unpleasant color he won’t forget anytime soon.

Beautiful stained glass and ornate sculptures…

I would have loved to have heard this organ…

 

The courtyard… full of orange trees!

 

On the way out…

On a positive note, I think we had our very best meal of the trip on Tuesday.  We happened to find a small restaurant/bar in a quiet section of the Jewish Quarter.  I was attracted to it by the way it smelled.  Leave it to me to follow my nose to find the best food.  I was a little tired of tapas, so you can imagine how delighted I was when we sat down at a table and I noticed one of the specialties of the house was dorada.  

 
Bill was still a little upset…

I discovered dorada when Bill and I lived in Germany and frequented Greek restaurants.  It’s a delicious, mild, white, flaky fish that is usually pretty pricey.  We spent a lot of money on dorada at a touristy restaurant in Athens, though I’d had it several times in Germany for less money.  It’s still usually  a rather expensive dish by my experience.  But at this particular place, I could have it for about 12 euros.  Cheap!

I love dorada!

Bill ended up with a skewer of beef and vegetables that hung from a hook over his plate and came with delicious fries.  I love the way fried potatoes are done in Europe.

That hook looks like an IV pole.

Check out the huge wine glass on the bar!

We drank fizzy water, since I was still nursing a hangover.  The waiter in this place, which was overwhelmingly populated with locals, was just awesome.  He was quick, cheerful, and friendly and he brought out the best meals of our trip.  We finished with a round of espresso and a couple of complimentary glasses of orange wine.  Needless to say, I recommend Casa Antonio- Bar Los Caracoles to anyone visiting Seville.  Here is a link to another appreciative blogger’s post about this establishment.

Outside of the restaurant…

As the day wore on, we were starting to wind down.  As much as I like Seville, I was kind of ready to get to Rota.  I wanted to see a different place and there always comes a point in a vacation when you start thinking about getting home and getting back to normal life.  The longest vacation I ever took was a month.  As much as I enjoyed seeing all I saw on that trip, I also recognized that after a couple of weeks, I start longing for a sense of normalcy and the ability to do laundry at will… and I missed my computer too, since I was wanting to write and can’t really so well on my iPad.  I think I need to invest in a laptop for our trips.  That will take care of at least one issue related to staying on vacation for “too long”.  Of course, since Bill has to retire, these long and frequent vacations may soon be a thing of the past anyway.

Flamenco dresses…

To make matters worse, I started my period.  That seems to be my custom on these trips.  We went out to buy some Spanish feminine hygiene supplies and ended up getting sidetracked by my sudden desire to buy a silk flamenco shawl.  I had been wanting once since 1997 and almost got one in 2009 when we went to Barcelona.  But I was always put off by how expensive they are because they are made of silk and there’s a lot of handiwork on them.  You can get cheap ones, but I wanted one that was better quality.  I found one I loved in the window, but the price was 390 euros…  So I opted for a less expensive one that was on sale for 150 euros (a little over $200).  It’s turquoise and very beautiful.  Maybe next time, I’ll spring for the really expensive one.  Too bad I don’t have anyone to pass it down to when I die.

I thought about taking Bill to a flamenco show.  I went to one the last time I was in Seville.  But Bill wasn’t into watching dancing, so we skipped it.  I kind of regret it now, though.  Seeing those two dancers near the cathedral reminded of me of how graceful and beautiful flamenco is.

I had to take a photo of this horse.  I used to have an Appaloosa, which is a familiar spotted horse here in the United States.  I am not sure, but I think the above horse might be a Knabstrupper, which is a Danish horse breed that shares some of the same genetics as Appaloosas do.  I believe the Knabstrups were a bit endangered at one point, so I think some Appaloosas were imported to help save the breed.  Anyway, regardless of whether this horse is an Appaloosa or a Knabstrup, it was very cool to see a spotted horse among all the bays, grays, and chestnuts.

One last shot…

 

We ended up at yet another tapas bar for dinner.  It was probably my least favorite of all the places we went to.  The bartender wasn’t all that friendly and the menu and the wine wasn’t all that exciting.  In retrospect, we should have gone back to Casa Antonio- Bar Caracoles again.  Won’t make that mistake again if we go to Seville.

Our last dinner in Seville…

After we ate dinner, we had a nightcap at the first tapas restaurant we came to when we first arrived in Seville.  Props to the waiter for remembering us.  Even though there weren’t too many American tourists around Seville during our visit, I don’t think we’re that distinctive.  I got a kick out of using their restroom because the toilets had a little target in them.  I’ve heard of them in men’s rooms, but even the women’s room had one.  It was a picture of a glass of beer.  I’m guessing it was directed toward women who insist on hovering over the seat instead of sitting down.

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