Posted tagged ‘favorite places’

“Never hesitate to go far away, beyond all seas, all frontiers, all countries, all beliefs.”

June 22, 2017

Today is lovely. I woke up to a blue sky and the brightest eye squinting sunshine I’ve seen in a while. My house is comfortably cool. Outside my window, I can see chickadees on the branches munching sunflower seeds. None of the leaves of the oak tree are blowing. It is a still day.

Though Gracie ate on Tuesday, around midnight she started panting and walking from room to room. She’d sit on the couch for a bit then get up and walk some more. Around 12:30 am, I took her to the emergency vet for the third early morning in a row. She was given anti-nausea medication which settled her down. The vet told me that this was treating only a symptom. I already knew that. She suggested a battery of tests, most of which I probably can’t afford.

Last night was different. During the day, she ate two small cans of dog food, not her usual as I was tempting her taste buds. She ate treats, new treats. She napped and last night slept through the night. I had anti-nausea pills for her, but she didn’t need them. She and Maddie, the cat, are having their morning naps now. I’m going to take one later. I am exhausted.

The best part of any summer has always been having empty days to fill.  When I was a kid, it was games and crafts at the local playground. I’d be there all day. During high school, I did little on summer days, but I was never bored. When I was in college, it was a summer job which I didn’t really mind. Working in the post office was easy and paid well. The pace was slow. Europe filled my summers when I was a teacher. My trips generally lasted 4 to 5 weeks. I knew how to travel on little money. I slept in hostels or on night buses. I ate as cheaply as possible sometimes buying bread and sandwich fixings. I found bars where I could get a drink and eat my way through happy hour. I had only a broad itinerary open to change. It was a wonderful way to travel. They were some of my favorite summers.

Posting my Ghana pictures yesterday got me thinking about the faraway places I love. Ghana, of course, is my favorite. The rest are in no order, no preference. Old Quito is on that list. The narrow streets, the old buildings, the colors and the women’s hats still have a prominent place in my memory drawers. I loved Portugal and Morocco and the Roman ruins in Italy. Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso was my second favorite spot in Africa. It was my weekend getaway. The beauty of the Andes took my breath away. On overnight bus rides, stops at roadside restaurants where the menus were in languages I didn’t understand and peeing in a hole in the little house in the back were part of the adventure. In Morocco and in Ghana I found out that thitting the hole is a lifetime skill.

I don’t travel summers anymore, but I keep my passport up to date just in case.

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

March 2, 2013

Today I’ll be at the MultiCultural Festival most of the day. We are having a Peace Corps table and taking turns passing out literature and answering any questions. The event opens with a parade of flags at 9:30, and I’ll be there with the Ghanaian flag. All day long there will be performers from a variety of countries, an international cafe’ and tables selling goods from other countries. I’ve been hankering for a bit of shopping, and this may be just the time.

I have favorite countries and favorite places in other countries. Mind you, all of these do not include Ghana which is, after, all my favorite country second only to home. Today the travelog is my favorite country, Portugal.

We drove as far north as you can go without crossing into Spain. Going through some villages, I had to wait for the green light as the road fit only a single car. Oxen pulled carts were driven on the small roads, and I had to pass them with the utmost caution. The roads were so windy we could see where we’ve been from where we were. I saw Iron Age ruins and Roman ruins still in the process of being excavated. The food was wonderful, and I remember a small restaurant on Easter Sunday where I ate kid. We stayed one night in Nazaré, a fishing village. Women, widows, dressed in black sat along the side of the walk. Dinner was at a restaurant by the water, and through the huge front window we watched the ocean splash over the rocks and the reddest sun go down behind the rocks. Dinner was a whole bowl of shellfish.

In Obidos, we walked the top of the wall surrounding the small village. All of the houses in the old part of the village were white with red roofs. We wandered the narrow streets where we saw small houses covered in colorful flowers.

The town I loved the most was Miranda do Douro, in the northern most part of Portugal. From my room I could see the lights of the Spanish border station. The town reminded me of one in an western movie, one with dirt streets and small buildings close together bordering the road. In the church was a statue of the Christ Child. It has a wardrobe of different outfits, and his clothes are changed periodically. Bougainvillea covered the fronts of house and overhung the wooden fences. Everyone of them was in bloom.

I have always said I won’t visit a country twice (except, of course, for Ghana), but I might just make an exception for Portugal.

 

“A moment lasts all of a second, but the memory lives on forever.”

April 15, 2010

In the summer, we love the breeze off the ocean, but in the spring, on days like today, it’s chilling. The sun just isn’t warm enough yet.

The tops of the pine trees are swaying in the wind, Gracie and Fern are jostling for spots by the front door in the sun and my heat went on this morning. It’s the start of an average day.

My life has seemed to hinge on serendipity. I get to the proverbial fork in the road, toss a coin and start walking: heads to the left and tails to the right. The scenery has been spectacular.

I have favorite places. Some are close at hand. I love living near the ocean. Nothing is more beautiful than a sunrise or a sunset on the water. A walk on the beach is an adventure. The sounds are amazing: loud and raucous seagulls, waves hitting the shore and the squeak of  my feet as I walk through the sand. I still stop and pick up seashells. When I was a kid, they were my favorite souvenir, still are I think. By the time I get to the car, my pockets are filled with seashells, my arms with driftwood and my shoes with sand.

I have favorite places far away. Some I visited only once. Ghana doesn’t count. It was home. The old center of Quito, standing astride the equator, the B&B in Youghal, Ireland, Stonehenge in the distance as I walked from Salisbury, the donkey carts on the roads in the Douro Valley and flying over the Andes are still vivid in my memories.

The deck in summer has now become my favorite place of all. It is where I start my day with coffee and the newspapers. By afternoon it’s a good book, lunch and maybe a nap in the sun. At night, it’s candles and breezes and dinners with friends. It’s laughter and companionship. It’s the prettiest spot of all.