Saturday, October 19, 2013

Just the highlights...

Having spent three weeks with my brother and Our Father (see prior post), we were bound to have a few interesting experiences.  Particularly since this was Our Father's very first trip abroad. 

Here are a few of the things that stuck in my own aging brain.

I was reminded that my Great Grandfather, Juan Ramos, went to Hawaii with his daughters.  He was 90 years old when he made that trip.

We took Our Father to noon mass at Notre Dame de Paris.  Shortly afterward, he lit a candle near the altar and left a photo of my mother behind it.  It was an emotional few hours.

After having had a "so so" steak frites at an otherwise good cafe in Versailles, we were hoping Our Father could have the kind of steak we know France can provide.  The opportunity came when we visited le cafe du Commerce following a strenuous morning of shopping a the porte de Vanves marche aux puche.  Our Father's steak frites was so good, he's still talking about the experience.

Wandering the jardins des plantes, my brother spied a statue of a naked lady.   He said "Hey! Chris!!  Get a photo of this, OK?"  Who am I not to comply?  My father quickly followed suit.  We all laughed.

One fine, warm evening, the four of us (my brother, Our Father, Jude, and I) took the bus to see la tour Eiffel.  We timed it so that we arrived just before the hour.  La tour "twizzled" for 5 minutes as everyone "oohed" and "aahed."  A slow leisurely stroll led us under the beautifully lit tower and out the other side.  As we visited the Trocadero, the Tango group filled the plaza with great music and dance.  The entire evening roundly rocked Our Father's world.

In Barcelona, we were out for a walk I heard a large bore four cylinder motorcycle running through heavy traffic at nearly full chat.  The Man Was Moving!  I used to ride and the sensation of speed in close quarters can be exhilarating.  It was amazing to what degree the Spanish live life to it's fullest.

On the AVE between Barcelona and Madrid, my brother and Our Father sacked out in their seats.  We couldn't believe it.  They were both so mellow and the ride so smooth that they slept like babies.  It was then that we noticed that one of my brother's shirt buttons was undone.  Both Jude and I had to take a few photos.

In Madrid, my brother had an incredible Ox tail dish for dinner one night.  I couldn't help but tease him by making my hand "swish" like the food he was eating used to do.

Our Father builds classic guitars as his Keep Me Off The Streets Late At Night hobby.  They are beautiful instruments.  We knew that some of the finest Flamenco guitar makers worked in Madrid.  So, my brother and I took Our Father up around the corner from our hotel to visit Jose Romero.  With my brother translating, there was a pleasant conversation and Our Father learned a few things about how Jose builds his instruments, what the Romero legacy is (it stretches back 5 generations), and was impressed to see that Paco de Lucia himself sometimes uses a Romero.  It was another in a long line of emotional experiences for Our Father.

Satan in a Tiny Glass was served several times during the trip.  It seems to be some kind of Spanish tradition where a short glass of something yummy is served to guests at the end of a meal.  While it's likely to be used to help ease the pain of paying the bill (not really, just kidding), it can be ridiculously tasty stuff.  We looked forward to sampling whatever the waiters would bring us as the bill arrived.

My brother figured out that one place served us an afterdinner snort of Karlova Vodka Carmelo.  Somehow we ended up with two shots of the incredible liqueur.  Truly Satin in a Tiny Glass.  It was about that time that we started laughing at the prospect of having to decide between Karlova and Betty Ford.

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