Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Time To Go North!

Janet and Phil bid a sad farewell to their biking village, Montecorto.  They loved the quiet, laid back and non touristy aspect of this great spot.

Look!  Phil didn't actually turn the heat on under the Spanish electric kettle!
The kitchen of their villa.
Bye bye, Villa!
Bye, bye Village Centre Fountain!
Bye, bye Churro cart that comes every Saturday??
This was a piece of news and obviously had left after Janet and Phil arrived the previous Saturday.  Janet resisted the urge to try the really crispy, greasy deliciousness!
Enroute to Cordoba, they stopped at an old Roman Theatre.
These men were shaking the Olive trees to release the ripened olives into the net below.

They stopped in the town of Osuna to have lunch.  Yes, it's true that Janet's phone has internet access and it's also true she couldn't be bothered to look anything up.  Worst. Lunch. Ever.  You know you are in serious trouble when two minutes after you order, two people are rummaging through two different freezers to find the goods to make your lunch. 
There aren't enough words in Janet's bad language vocabulary to describe this effing french fry extravaganza!  It's ll the same colour!

The above really bad lunch, was however, a major learning curve for Janet.  There wasn't any toilet paper in the "Servicios".  We are not talking about a toilet paper holder that was empty as there wasn't even a holder.  There was simply no toilet paper to be had.  Happened the next day as well at a different restaurant.  End result:  Never leave your hotel without some!

They left after barely eating Bad Lunch One and Janet plugged her brain in.  Right across the square, was Trip Advisor #4 restaurant where lunch was fabulous!
This particular days choices of tapas.

Janet says they had two nights in Cordoba.  They spent some time at an ancient Mosque - Mezquita.  It also has a Christian church built with in.  Very beautiful.
Spaniards obvioulsy love to dine in the sun.

They then drove from Cordoba to Toledo, which was a bit more of a car ride that Janet had bargained for.  They stopped in a random town, La Carolina and ate at a random bar that turned out to have delicious food.
Migas....who knew such incredible food existed!

Flamenquin....ham, pepper and cheese rolled inside thin pork and deep fried.  Yummy!

This is a selection of Olive oil.  AT A GAS STATION!!!  Unbelievable!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sick In Espana!

At Janet and Phil's biking tour, they have two social evenings where they drive from the small village of MonteCorto to Ronda, a very beautiful, much larger village.  The first evening was Tuesday, but Janet wasn't feeling well, so stayed at home.

Please see below, Phil's photos of the evening.  Whoops!  There aren't any!

Tuesday, during the day, they rode 36KM along a rail bed was never actually finished, but has been refurbished for walking, biking and horseback riding.  This was the flattest part of Spain Janet has seen thus far!
They rode from Olvera to Puerto Seranno and had lunch at the end.  Check out this industrial size box of wine!
On Wednesday, a break day, Janet with her head cold and Phil went to Ronda.  They also visited some caves that were discovered in 1905 by a farmer.  The farmer was looking for fertile bat droppings for fertilizer when he discovered the interior of the cave.  There are more than 5000 drawings inside that are more than 5 times older than the Egyptian Pyramids!  Janet and Phil were dumbstruck at the interior of the cave.  The Pileta Cave is still in the hands of the original farmers' family, who strictly control the number of visitors.  Anything found after 1911 had to be turned over to the Spanish government.

Thursday, Janet still had her head cold so decided to skip the bike ride.  Drew took Phil to a really cool village called Setinel de las Bodegas.  It sounded so cool that Janet made Phil drive them there for dinner.  Many of the buildings in the village are carved out of caves.
They had delicious tapas at this restaurant.
The interior of this bar was a cave.
  Friday she mustered up the strength to go and asked their super guide Drew if they could go somewhere easy.  Drew laughed, which Janet read between the lines as meaning "are you nuts lady, we have been on all the easy rides!"  He did comply, however and they went for a nice, mostly flat ride in the country.  Check out their riding buds!

This guy was so cute, but then again, Janet is a major sucker for donkeys.
Look at the little babies!

Oh my, what a life!

Here are Janet and Drew getting ready to ride back out of the village where they stopped for a break.  You can see the incline behind Drew where they now need to go.  Janet is trying rock hard to whip out her sick card, but Drew isn't buying into it.
Best.  Thing.  Ever. And, everywhere in Spain!
Fresh squeezed orange juice.  Janet doesn't drink that much juice at home, but now seriously doubts it's possible to drink anything but fresh squeezed.
Everyone knows that Janet watches several times, each festive season, the movie "Love Actually" so she buys into the hype that love is actually all around us.  Turns out it is.  Whilst Janet was standing in a square, she was watching a couple, when all of a sudden, the man drops to his knees and pulls a small box out of his pocket.  Janet quickly grabbed her phone and took a couple of photos.  She left it at that and met Phil for lunch, but was berating herself for not having said something to them.  Phil encouraged her to go find them, so she left lunch and turns out the same couple were still in the square.  The man could speak some English and Janet was able to email the photos to them.  They were super excited that someone had caught their special moment in a photograph.
Lest you think Janet has become some kind of hard core biker, this is how most big hills end!  Walking uphill is good exercise, right?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Who Said Anything About Spain?

Just like that, Christmas is over, everyone leaves the house and now I'm staying next door with Miss Bean and her handlers!  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but would it kill a guy to let a puppy girl know what's goin' down?!

Amber says Janet and Phil have gone to Spain....wherever that is.  They must be having a good time because nobody can bother to Facetime with me!

First they stopped in Barcelona.  They did lots of sightseeing.  Janet took an all day cooking class that also included a trip to a huge market.

Here is the cooking school all set up.
They made Creme de Caramel for dessert, Grilled Vegetables with Romanesco Sauce, Tomato Bread, Spanish Omelette, Paella and Prawns.  The instructor was Rosa and Janet said she was excellent.

Janet was in charge of helping with the prawns.
They also went on a Tapas Tour.  The first stop was original "Jamon" shop in Barcelona.  Ham is a super serious business in Spain and there were legs of ham in the shop for in excess of 3000EUR!

This particular ham melted in your mouth!

They also went to a cheese shop that was run by kind of a cranky lady.  Everyone who knows Janet will attest to the fact that she is a rule follower.  She didn't hear the "you can't take any photos" lecture and snapped a photo of this cute sheep label on a box.  She was hugely humiliated.
Unbeknownst to Janet, while she was at Cooking School, Phil went back to the Cheese Shop and apologized (like Janet hadn't done that enough the night previous).  Cheese Lady said it was no big deal.  Good to know, next day!
This was the buffet breakfast at their hotel.  Janet says more than 40 years ago when she and our Aunt T went to Europe, they stayed in Youth Hostels.  This spread would have served as breakfast and, when no one was looking, take away lunch!

Check out these cute "Mommy and Me" toilets!
There are lots of street vendors in Barcelona selling fake luxury goods.  All the goods are spread out on a sheet with ropes attached.

When the Policia arrive, vamoose!
Look!  A puppy dog parking spot.  See, I could have gone!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Another Major Disappearance!

Again, Janet does a vanishing act!  What's up with this woman?  We are going to do a blitz to get our heads around this Christmas stuff.

A lot has happened since you saw Janet lounging in bed in PDX over U.S. Thanksgiving and Banana decorating the Christmas Tree.

We went out for Chinese Food, our usual Boxing Day gig, but Boxing Day fell on a Monday this year and the restaurant was closed.  So, this year, we went on Christmas Eve.
Everyone was complaining about going for dinner at 5PM, but it turned out to be an excellent time.

Finley was able to open up a gift prior to going to bed.
Finley loves to give us our cookies.  Check out Watty Man's super Christmas bandana!  I don't have any bandanas!  Not a one....is this not sad and pathetic?  Also, nobody made mention of my 11th birthday on 29 December.  More sadness.  What is happening in this house!

Janet and Phil went next door to see the incredible felt Christmas Tree Amber made.  It was amazing!
It's about 6' high!  Amber thought it would take an afternoon, but actually took 5 days!
We had Amber, Kris, Wolf and Bean, Ken, Karen and Raeleigh in for ham dinner.  In addition, Meg, Derek, Finley, Mikey, Bronwyn and Jer were here.  Barely any photos!

Janet refurbished a needlework she made for Meg more than 40 years ago.  She changed Meghan to Finley and had it framed.
Janet says she loves it!
However, the ultimate gift was from Uncle Jeremy!  Tape, tape and more tape!  Construction size rolls!
Name one kid on the block with this variety of tape!
Some serious relaxtion was had, far and wide!
Well, for some of us, that is!
 Last year, and this year, Janet made baking for the three residential floors of her volunteer job.

And guess what - we got to go on the beach!!  Janet was remembering the next day why we don't do this on a routine basis as there was sand everywhere!
Watty Man was a bit afraid of the waves, but he did well.
And then, before you knew it, it was all done!

Every year, we can take our Christmas Tree down to FirePerson's Park for shredding.  Janet hauled the tree down by herself and went in to make her donation.  The Fireman on duty told Janet it was too early to bring the tree down.  She was not in a mood to be trifled with, so at the end of the day it was left!

This was a couple of days later and there were more trees to keep ours company.