Write2Camp in Europe

Come and literally join me on my literary journey!


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GOT WINE — GET FRIENDS!

“Earth Rocket to Mars, we are now approaching Planet Earth.”

A translucent light blinked, “Mars to Earth Rocket, good luck! And bring back living species!

Three green Martians stepped out from their flying saucer. They overlooked a stone fortress surrounded by acres of vineyards. Near the fortress, groups of living creatures gathered around tables drinking and spitting.

“Looks like we found our living specimens!” the tallest Martian said. “What a bizarre way of consumption.”

“The sign over there is in Spanish! It just so happens – Spanish is one of the 1000 languages I learned for this trip!” The shortest Martian slowly read out loud;

“Private wine tours in Rioja!”

“They go on ‘whine’ tours? Now that is really weird!” The middle Martian said. “Let’s observe them!”

In a flash, they beamed their bodies behind large oak barrels by the fortress walls. Their ears grew as they listened to the living specimens communicate.

“We stayed overnight in Barcelona.” A female homo sapien gushed.

“Oh how lovely! And we visited the oldest tavern in Madrid,” another creature squealed.

“Got to give it to ‘em,” a deep voice drawled. “I’ve never tasted the likes of this in Texas! It’s way too dandy to spit out! Sure wish humans would get better with age too!”

The group began to sputter and giggle, when suddenly one of the human specimens tripped and tumbled against the wine barrels.

“Well, well, what do we have here?” he exclaimed.

Three tall green Martians slowly emerged from behind the barrels.

The mesmerized group returned the Martians’ shocked stares …  till a male human raised a glass and slurred, “You guys sure look like you need a drink!”

Before the Martians could protest, each one was handed a glass of fizzy red wine.

“We like sparkles.” the middle Martian said and sniffed the wine, swirling it in his glass till he finally dared to taste it.

“Mmmm good … more MORE!” the three exclaimed. (After all they had just completed an exhausting 125 year long trip).

Suddenly a voice boomed out of a Martian’s finger-ring. “Soooo? What shape is Planet Earth in?”

The Martian took a long swallow, before answering. “This sun filled planet is like one big fermenting grape – enticingly sweet – but irresistibly naughty.”

“Have you found any living specimens yet?” The voice sounded impatient. “You know that you must return before night fall!”

The three Martians giggled. “Return? Are you out of your extra-terrestrial mind?”

The leader tossed the blinking ring into the vineyard and winked his forehead eye at their new found friends. “Here’s to this day, we’ll never remember, with the friends we’ll never forget.”

“Cheers!” They all raised their glasses in salute.

“Here’s to galaxies and aliens,

Martians and Homo sapiens.

Rich soil and Spanish sunshine!

Sniff, swirl and savor – sweetly we favor,

A glass of Rioja wine!”


ROAD TRIPS TO SPAIN

https://winetourismspain.com/road-trips/

 

 


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MY LAST ROSE

My  Last Rose

While on a stroll in my windswept yard,

I searched for plants that weren’t hit too hard.

For rain, hail and winds stripped and cropped,

Dainty rose pedals till they dropped.

But then a sun ray shone down from the sky,

And something pink and shiny caught my eye.

 

I pushed back the fern and lifted a branch,

To see sparkly rain drops twinkle and dance,

Upon a single rose – spread in full blossom, 

A delicate beauty – quietly awesome.

For nothing is quite as lovely or shines much brighter,

Than when frail life morphs into a damn good Fighter.


 

My pink rose.

by Angelika Schwarz

More of my poems and short stories  are available in my series: Brighten a Senior’s Day I, II, III. 

Uplifting, entertaining and fun reading from the ages of 9 to 99.  

If you enjoyed this little poem,  

please do let me know, and if you like: share  

Thanks!

 


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I LOVE my E-bike!

I have never before mentioned a product I use, but this time I can’t help myself.

If you should ever consider buying an electric bicycle, you might just be overwhelmed by all the choices that are on the market. I was.  I try to support local stores, so I set off visiting one bike shop after the other. All of them offered e-bikes, but not one of them had a folding e-bike in their itinerary. The sales person usually began to leaf through his catalog to present me a folding e-bike starting off with about 2000 Euros ($ 2232.90). Wow… that was out of my league.

Although I was skeptical about buying a bike before I could test ride it, I decided to check the internet.

In my search, I listed:  compact fold, maximum loading, minimum mileage/kilometer range and price. The E-bike Xia was the only one that showed up.

And amazingly enough … the price was right! https://www.germanxia.de/

Since we camp a lot, I needed a bike that could easily fold and be stored in the back of our Nissan. The maximum weight was important, since I’m not exactly a light weight and I do carry heavy camera equipment with me. A big added plus is when the battery is fully charged… the e-bike runs up to 138 kilometers!

I love LOVE my e-bike. For the first time in years, I have no knee pain after a bike tour. The comfortable upright position, without having to lean on my wrists is perfect.  And it’s easy to get off and on the saddle, because of the low slung bar.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT E-BIKES

Yes, There Are Age Limits: At least 40 US states and Canadian provinces have a minimum operator age for e-bikes, typically 14 or 16 years of age. In Alberta, 12 year olds can operate an e-bike, but in Quebec, you must be 18.

Speedy Enough: Think cars are that much faster than an e-bike? Think again. The average car speed for around-town driving is 18 mph. Average e-bike speed? A very respectable 15 mph.

Yes, They Still Count as Exercise: Though they’re pedal assist, an e-bike can still give you a workout, improving your cardiovascular health, fitness, and aerobic capacity.

Here are a few photos of my Stallion… Ah… s’cuse me, my e-bike. I call him Silver, as in the Long Ranger’s horse … Hi Yo Silver! My boomer friends will surely know what I’m talking about.

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Tarifa, the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen!

Of course that doesn’t mean there aren’t many more beautiful beaches. But the Tarifa beach is the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen. (Click on photo to enlarge!)

The most wonderful restaurant owner in Marbella!

The most wonderful restaurant owner in Marbella!

We would never have discovered this place if we had never met Javiar, the owner of a beach side restaurant.

Because we ordered a huge fish platter at the ungodly hour of 11:30 in the morning (we were the only guests), Javiar was the host with the ‘mostess’. He told us of so many wonderful places that we must see, none of which were in our guide-book or in the tourist center. So, I can only recommend — talk to the  natives!

Since Javiar’s passion is kite-board surfing, he told us we must go to Tarifa, which just happens to be the El Dorado for kite board surfers in the world!  Meanwhile we found out  that Tarifa  is called Europe’s wind capital. Due to the Strait of Gibraltar, which  forms an ideal wind tunnel, it’s blessed with 300 days of wind and sun every year!

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Only a two-hour drive from Marbella, Tarifa lies in the most southern point of Europe. When we arrived we were literally blown away – more ways than one!

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But what really impressed me were the clear turquoise waves spewing out, in long billowing formations. Gusts of spindrift sprayed from their crests, reminding me of swarming insects gathering in silent dance formations, before spreading into masses of buzzing clouds.spray1

Tarifa is mainly known, though, for its canned Tuna. Maybe you too have opened a tuna can from Tarifa? Every year from March until August, tuna,  up to 3 meters in length and 700 kilos in weight, pass through the Straits of Gibraltar to spawning grounds in the Mediterranean. Guess how old Tuna can get! 35 years old! Who would have thought that?

In conclusion, if you like, check out the short slide show with a few more of my impressions of Tarifa.

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Oh, and if you enjoyed my post,

please  leave a comment,

like, or and  share the link..dsc05541sm

Thanks so much!

Hasta la Vista!


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A most beautiful coastal walk.

As I sit here listening to the ocean roar behind my open terrace doors, I am gratefully soaking my feet in a basin filled with warm water, colored in a golden hue, from the 4 bags of chamomile tea.

What a day! I never knew that Spain has thousands and thousands of miles of gorgeous pedestrian walks along the Andalusian coast line. The walks, a combination of board walks, hard packed sand, and tiled walks — wide enough for 6 cyclists to ride abreast, are dotted with palm trees, beach bars, restaurants, and tapa stands. Between clusters of trees, trickling waterfalls find their way into the hundreds of streams, flowing into the Mediterranean.

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Spain: Andalusia Coast line

Although it seemed like a thousand miles, we walked ‘only’ about 15 kilometers. That’s a lot for me, since I’m not used to walking such distances, and my sore toe didn’t help either. The forever changing views of dancing lights reflecting over breaking waves, the peace, friendly faces, and the crisp salty air, spurred me on … causing me to forget that we have to walk back too.  Everything is so immaculately clean, shiny, and welcoming… (Is that a word?).

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Click on an image below, in order to see a slide show and larger images. 

You get the impression that Spain is a rich country, flourishing, and happy.

But…. The other day we walked away from the fancy shore lines, and saw quite another Spain. Slums, poverty, and sad faces. Like in so many tourist areas, unfortunately those who serve the tourists, live in pathetic dwellings. Like in so many tourist areas, the real-estate lords, shovel in the cash, and the service folks, come way too short.

Spain is recovering, slowly but surely, though, from a serious crisis. Everywhere you look you see builders, construction workers, and shops opening. It surely must help that Europeans aren’t traveling to Turkey anymore, which allows countries like Spain to profit from the additional stream of tourism.

This is the second addition of our trip to Marbella Spain. Hope you enjoyed it, and if so … let me know. 🙂


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Marbella, Spain

Marbella, Spain this time we aren’t in our caravan underway,  too many miles (2,400 kilometers or 1,500 miles)  from our town in Germany. Besides, driving over snowy mountain passes is no fun with a caravan. But I’m not sure which is worse; we rented  a small car with a stick shift. I haven’t driven a stick shift  for over 30 years…needless to say, the car and I died several deaths, accompanied by wild, clacking, windshield wipers (under the DRY glaring sun) since I couldn’t figure out how to turn the darn things off.  BUT — we made it. The car is  now parked in a terrible  underground garage! Yes, a garage with tight corners, low ceilings, steep hills and valleys! Honestly, I’m afraid to take it out … maybe next week….or the week after that?

After a lot of research I found a lovely one bed room apartment with a gorgeous sea view, for a quarter of the normal price, since February is in the off season. …………………..Click for larger image.

 

 You would never think it’s off season, though. Cafés and restaurants are full, masses of pedestrians stroll through the ancient city streets of Marbella, and summer time sounds of laughter, balls bouncing along sidewalks, and the smell of suntan lotion overrides perfume  scents. The only thing, but a big difference, is that the beaches are almost empty. Not a soul is in the water, and even those who dare dip their toes into receding waves do it only once, to hastily bury their feet back into the warm sand.

 

The wide pedestrian walks under palm trees, swaying in the almost constant wind, the garlic and grilled fish aromas, and the interesting architecture of the endless high rise buildings, adorned with gigantic balconies and picture windows, confirm that Marbella is a huge tourist magnet. Other than the ‘ancient city square’, Marbella is modern, and doesn’t offer much more culture. But a number of interesting cities are within a good hour’s drive, like: Seville, Gilbrator and Malaga. We haven’t visited them yet… but plan to. I will be sharing about them as well….if I ever dare drive the rented car out of  the hall-of-horrors underground garage.

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Want to see more? OH GOOD! Then just click

My photos of Marbella, Spain 

to see  more of my photos in high quality resolution. And if you enjoyed  your visit… please let me know. 🙂

 


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SAILING AROUND THE WORLD WHEN YOU HAVE NEVER SAILED BEFORE !

Crazy or What? 

I got to tell you all about my stepsister. 

 

When Anna turned 55, she married her second husband, a –  soon to be retired – Dutch guy. He retired after a few years, and instead of moving to Amsterdam, he surprised her with his long kept secret dream. He asked her to travel with him around the world.

Wow, that’s cool, she thought.

But then he added … “on a sailboat!” 

Anna, a petite, quirky, blue-eyed, blond, worked as a legal secretary her entire employed life. The only kind of sport she had ever undertaken was horseback riding. And her only fame to claim was speed typing. Anna had never set foot on a boat — not even a rowboat. She had no idea what she was getting into, when she said yes, while visions of  golden sunsets over turquoise water, luxurious cabins, a smiling captain, a Chinese cook, and a mahogany bar, with shiny brass ornaments, danced through her little naive head. She imagined all the smart marine style clothes she’d wear, silk bed sheets covered with seagull prints, navy blue and white striped deck chairs, and an array of wide brimmed sunhats to shield her sun-tanned brow.

They sold everything they owned; horses, apartment, house, cars bikes, teacups…you name it…absolutely everything, and invested the money in a modest used sailboat, with a teeny little cabin and kitchen. “We will be on a tight budget”, her husband said… “After all, the money has to hold us over water, so to speak, at least six to eight years.”

“What?” Anna’s mouth fell open. “You’re joking, right?”

“No joke. We’ll need that time if we want to sail comfortably around the globe.”

My tall, gaunt, husband already has the stature of a sailor, she thought, as he crinkled one eye shut in a sailor- like wink, and puffed sweet aromatic tobacco in his Cuban pipe.

Before they set sail, Anna completed a sailing and navigation course, (with flying colors, I may add) and earned a licence for their MF/HF radio. And her husband, who already had absolved a coast guard training course, took lessons, from a doctor friend, in how to operate an acute appendicitis, just in case….!

Finally after a year of preparations, they set sail. From the first month on, my half-sister sent, per email, monthly updates with all the gory details.

She wrote about cockroaches crawling out of the cuspidor’s drain, while a native dentist treated her in some remote harbor. She described sudden hurricanes and monster waves, tossing their little boat around like half a walnut shell spiraling behind a speed boat. She described seasickness was like getting your insides turned outside … over and over again. She complained about feeling claustrophobic and bruised when they were tossed around in their miniature cabin. And she admitted to occasionally hoping they’d go under, just to end the endless torture.  She prayed for help, more than she would like to admit, and asked herself hundreds of times, if her brain was out to lunch, when she agreed to sail along.

Their used sailboat was in need of constant repairs. After each sailing spree, they barely made it into the next harbor. One of the many big challenges was getting replacements for their broken equipment, which meant waiting it out for months at a harbor before they could set sail again.  

But when the seas were calm and the wind was steady, she forgot the storms and basked in the beauty of it all. She wrote of the vibrant colors in the water, of dolphins diving through the still sunsets, flying fish, and whales. She described sunrises that filled the sky with a fiery fierceness. She wrote of snorkelling in the coves of Tahiti, Corsica, and New Zealand. And she wrote, with love, of the many friends they had made while waiting for their new equipment around the world.

She asked Hubby and me to join them for a short excursion between two countries. But thank goodness we agreed to say ‘thank you … but no thank you.’ The height of our adventurous nature is – taking a spin on a calm lake, in a big boat, with a bottle of Chianti wine.

Sometimes Anna wrote about being lonely, and how much she missed her family and girlfriends. She confided, more than once, that she is doing this just for the love for her husband. What a strong love that must be. 

Anna is a landlubber now. She and her husband sailed twice around the world in eight years. They bought a piece of land in Thailand, built  a lovely house and a guest house, and they plan to live there till the mighty sea – just may… who knows – beckon them back once again.

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