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The Trip: Part 4

It’s Christmas morning. I’m sitting on one of the sofas in our apartment on the island of Mallorca, looking out the window at the gradual lightening of the sky as the sun comes up over the Mediterranean Sea. The island of Ibiza is off to the left. I’ve just put on a pot of coffee and wife Lynn is rousting herself out of bed. The view out the window—which is really the view from our balcony—is spectacular. We are on the top floor of our building looking down on a narrow cove about as wide as a large river with sheer cliffs on each side. The water in the cove is so clear you can see the formations on the bottom even from our balcony. The sun is now shinning brightly and the sky is so clear, it looks like you can see forever. I think I’ll move my laptop to the balcony and let the sun warm my aging muscles. (Later this morning I’m going to the gym to abuse those same muscles that I’m now coddling.)

Last week at this time we were sitting in our hovel in northwest Germany watching it snow. The change is dramatic.

Last night we had dinner reservations at the local restaurant presided over by an award-winning chef. The meal started at 7:30 and consisted of 7 courses. First, a very friendly waiter brought us a bottle of white wine. It was dry and fruity with a hint of blackberry. A bit impertinent, but it finished well. In other words the wine tasted good. The same waiter brought a plate of Smoked Canapés to go with the wine. There was smoked salmon on toast points, some other kind of fish on toast points, toast with caviar, and a pyramidal shaped stack of delicious fish balls. (Perhaps not what you’re thinking.) They actually looked a lot like hush puppies. By the time we finished the canapés, the wine was about one-third gone.

Next came a Carrot and Celery Bouquet with Roquefort cheese. The wine went well with course too. We then had a Salmon and Avocado Mousse in Sorrel sauce. It melted in your mouth. (Well not really your mouth.) The wine in the bottle is getting perilously low, while the wine level in us continues to climb. Then came Crab Bisque with Brandy. This is a soup dish to be accompanied by the same white wine. Excellent combination.

A glass of Sherbet to cleanse the palate preceded the main course, which was Iberian Pork Tournedos in Pink Pepper Sauce with Potatoes and Vegetables of the Season. This was accompanied by an entire bottle of red wine. Whoopie. By now we had been eating and drinking for two and one-half hours. I’m getting full and Lynn is asking the people at the next table if they know the Auburn University fight song—War Eagle. You may remember she sang it in Mexico on an earlier trip. We are spared a repeat performance because desert arrived—Chocolate Trunk with Ice and Blackberry Sauce. A bottle of champagne also arrived. It was almost more than a couple of rural types from Huntsville, Texas, could bear. Almost, but not quite.

The eating part of the night ended with a plate of Nougats and Mignardises, which were several kinds of chocolates and other sweets, which we stuffed into our pockets to be enjoyed at a later time. (You might be a redneck if…) We actually didn’t drink all the wine in the two bottles (all of the white but only half of the red) and drank only one glass on champagne. With just a modicum of liquid encouragement Lynn really does have a tendency to burst forth into song. After a seven-course meal involving that much wine, she’s usually good for the rest of the evening’s entertinment.

Speaking of song—about 3 hours after we sat down to eat, we heard music coming from the next room. From a distance it didn’t sound too bad. It turned out to be a trio consisting of a guitar, a bass, and a female vocalist. The guitar player, a male, also sang occasionally. They were performing on a small stage in front of a small dance floor. Most of the dinner guests moved into the music room. Although the rhythms and tempos were suitable for dancing, no one was on the dance floor. Lynn and I sat through 3 songs and when the fourth song turned out to be a rumba, we did it. We were the icebreakers. We danced our little hearts out. We got a hearty round of applause at the end of the dance. After that everybody danced. The small dance floor was so crowded we sat out most of the dances and just listened to the music, which as it turned out proved to be a bit of a challenge. Although the stringed instruments maintained an acceptable tempo and rhythm and even played in tune, the vocalists were not quite as precise. When the female vocalist sang solo she did hit the majority of the notes correctly i.e. that’s 51% of the time. When the two vocalists did duets, the percentage was much lower.

When our ears could stand no more, we ventured back to our suite to get a good night’s rest before taking on a day of sightseeing in the city of Palma de Mallorca, thought by some to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.