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Good Morning From Cuenca Spain

Our second day in Spain started in Cuenca where our first day left off. When we checked in, I asked the desk clerk what time the dining room opened for breakfast. She said breakfast would be served at 8:00. I’m a pretty monochronic person and if someone tells me breakfast is at 8:00 AM, I’ll be there ready to eat at 8:00 AM. I was, in fact, in the dining room with wife Lynn at precisely 8:00 AM. We were alone except for a single bowl of fruit sitting on a buffet-serving table. We were still alone at 8:10, 8:15, and 8:20. At 8:20 I raided the fruit bowl just to keep from starving. There were some beautiful fresh flowers on the table. I ate those at 8:25.

At 8:30 the desk clerk wandered in and seemed surprised to see us. She smiled and said the waiter was running late. She brought us a big pitcher of very good orange juice. Lynn drank a glass and I drank the rest. At 8:35 a woman I had never seen before walked in and took the empty pitcher and left the room. We never saw her again. At 8:55 a male type person came in carrying platters of breakfast meat, eggs, various kinds of bread, cheese, and jams and jellies. Breakfast was here at last. No one apologized for the lateness of breakfast. That’s just the way things work in Spain and I may as well get used to it. Breakfast was actually quite good and since it was paid for in the price of the room, I gave a very good account of myself—just like I do at Shoney’s all you can eat breakfast bar.

After breakfast we packed up to head south. Our car was parked about a half mile up the hill from the hotel in a public parking area because there was absolutely no parking at the hotel. Remember the streets are only about 5 feet wide and the hotel is “hanging” over the cliff. The rain in Spain, which stays mainly in the plain, was in Cuenca that morning, so we called a taxi to haul us up the hill. The cab driver was friendly and he and Lynn engaged in animated conversation all the way up the hill. Lynn asked him for directions to get out of Cuenca. Spaniards are among the most helpful people I have ever met. The taxi driver gave us foot by foot, almost inch by inch, directions, not only how to get out of Cuenca, but directions for the next 200 kilometers as well. He did this three times standing on the rain at the top of the hill. We followed him in our rental car through the narrow streets of the old town to the more modern section of downtown with much wider streets. He signaled for us to pull over and he came back to the car and carefully went through the directions two more times.

Finally we were on the open road again. The rain stopped and did not reappear for the rest of the trip.

Driving in Spain is very much like driving in Texas. The speed limit on most major highways is 120 kph, so I routinely drove 140 kph and was routinely passed by folks going 160 kph. One time when I was on a straight stretch of highway I decided to see if my cool Renault would go 160 kph. It did and someone going about 190 kph passed me. I think Spaniards are not so concerned about how fast they are going so long as they are going faster than you. As I said, it’s very much like Texas.

We arrived at our resort about 2:00 pm and quickly checked in. Our apartment was a lovely one bedroom, one bath, kitchen/dining room and large living room with a large TV. I immediately changed clothes and headed for the beach. The weather was perfect—sun shining and 75 degrees. There were several people on the beach but since it was a huge beach, it didn’t seem crowded.

I was, as I have been before, absolutely shocked at how little clothing people wear on European beaches. One would think there was a fabric shortage. No one wears a top—males or females. I was, in fact, shocked for several hours each day for 14 consecutive days. Years ago my grandmother warned me that I would go blind if I looked at naked women. I didn’t actually go blind, but I did notice that your eyes get real dry and your vision is somewhat impaired, if you don’t blink for several hours straight.

You shouldn’t think we spent all our time on the beach—we didn’t. We did many things, including looking for retirement property to buy. We also spent a good bit of time eating—one of my favorite Spanish pastimes. I’ll tell you more about this stuff later.