The last I posted, I was going off to dinner at Meson de Candido for Roast Suckling Pig, favabeans with meat and a fine bottle of wine. Absolutely nothing wrong with that meal! The crackling of the pork was particularly good. The next morning, as I was gazing out over the city, I noticed hot air balloons preparing to launch from one of the plazas in the city. That was a first! about six balloons took off from the city and floated north-with the prevailing winds. Quite a site, unlike the ballooning in New Jersey over farm country. An urban balloon launch and I was there to see it! Cool! Then drove to Avila, an incredible walled city, 33 foot high walls three feet think and 88 turrents or guard posts. Supposedly, it took 20,000 men-10 years to complete the project. Just an incredible sight. Then drove on to Toledo and had my introduction to Spainish descanso or fog! It was brutal and the road did.,t have a straightaway of more than fifth yards at a time. A bit tough driving, but given the number of accidents in the fog in Spain.. well you get the drift! The Parador in Toledo sits south of another walled city in a prime location. These Paradors are something. Toledo was very difficult to find one’s way as it is a series of alleys, switchbacks and every street combination possible. Yeah, the Cathedral and the Alcazar are noteworthy. Today. I drove four hours to Granada-site of Washington Irving’s “A Tale from Granada”, there is an eponymous hotel here as well! The Parador here is quite nice, the most expensive one in the 88 properties the government owns because of the location. Imagine a five star hotel inside Disneyworld!The Alhambra is an ancient Moorish fortress the towers over the city with such prominence, it is easy to appreciate the strategic location. This was my first exposure, a precursor of things to come after Spain. Islamic art, architecture, culture and history. Quite fascinating stuff and an extraordinary place. I didn’t think I would ever surpass the hotel experience in Santago De Comp or Leon, but the location, within the walled city is unequaled! Finally met some Americans in the hotel from the New York area, the guy supplies colleges with caps and gowns. Yes, he supplies NCC and FIT ! Small World. The couple from Brooklyn gave me some tips on another Parador to visit and some ideas on Morocco. This is so much fun!!!! Tomorrow, I head south for the last leg of the Spanish tour and will spend the night in Algecires, Spain, gateway to Tangier.I return the car on Wednesday, won’t Avis be happy! Adios Amigos!
posted Monday January 2007