I am not generally a big city fan. However, every preference has it’s counterpoint, and for me, the balance shifts with one word: Paris. There are a selection of cities around the world that call to me, but Paris holds a never-ending fascination.
One main facet of this draw, is the fact that Paris is made up of a series of neighborhoods, intimate streets lined with gourmet delicacies and delicious finds. All of the delights of France come to life in the form of bakeries, chocolate shops, butcher shops, and freshly picked produce. And the cheese! Oh my goodness, the cheese!
Time is always surprising; It seems like just yesterday, not nearly 27 years ago, that I first locked eyes with Jim, in Ken’s living room. Jim, full-bearded and scruffy, just off the boat from Alaska. Myself, fully focused on going to school for international law and moving to Paris. An unlikely pair? Apparently not~ Six days after our first date Jim asked me to marry him, and the rest, as they say, is history. Astonishingly, June 2nd we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. 25 years… it seems unreal, and presents a very literal example of how fast time moves by.
Spain- a land of arid plains, flamenco, tapas and bullfights. Home to one of our favorite cities, Barcelona, as well as smaller gems like Seville and Granada. What do you envision when you dream of the Iberian Region? For me it’s the astonishing flash of color in a flamenco dancers dress, hillsides covered with white Andalusian villages set amongst the grey-green olive orchards, and lazy afternoons enjoying tapas and sangria at a street side cafe.
Ronda – the gorgeous town in Spain that bears my name, is an enchanting town with a population of around 35,000. Both Ernest Hemingway and Orson Wells spent many a season in the town and For Whom the Bell Tolls is, supposedly, set partially in this town. Famous for both it’s historic bullfighting ring and the bridges spanning the deep gorge, it’s an excellent spot to spend several lazy afternoons in the town square. The Puente Nuevo (the new bridge) was, ironically, completed in 1793, is not exactly new, but it one of my favorite views in town.
For this post, and several more to come, I am going to talk a little bit about my employer, Grand European Tours, and the tours Jim & I have experienced with them. Yes, this is a bit of a deviation from the normal content, but never fear, I’ll still be talking travel!
I started with Grand European Tours in 1997 and have been with them since that time, except for the two year period when we were on our RTW trip. Many of my fellow employees are also good friends and, being a small company, a type of family. Continue reading →