Sept.27, 2022 -Our trip to Spain and Portugal

I am now home and will start putting up the daily diary of our trip to Spain and Portugal.

It was a great trip with a few days of rain but mostly very good weather. This seemed to be the perfect time to travel to this part of the world.

We were afraid we might run into some issues as we left home, but everything worked out nicely for the most part.

Our group was a very interesting blend of people from the east and west coasts of America. We were all around the same age, late sixties and older.

We refrained from talking politics for the most part and I find that refreshing. I’m as interested in your politics as you are in mine. I have no desire to try to change what or how you think or don’t think think. I’m pretty sure you feel the same about me and my ideas. We can discuss the wider issues in a general way if you won’t find it frightening or triggering.

That being said, my adventure will be seen starting below and will be put up over the next few days. We are dealing with jet lag at the moment and can’t find anything or any words when needed. After the text is done, I will come back and put up some photos supplied by my wife, as usual.

I hope you find this interesting and even helpful if you are heading off to Spain or Portugal soon.

Sept.6 – We have arrived in Bilbao this afternoon.

We had a long and unexpected layover when we landed in Munich.

The crew was short a pilot and the flight was oversold. Why do we allow our elected officials to not solve problems and then reelect them? This is an old problem and is disgusting. If you reserve a seat and don’t show up, you should face some kind of financial penalty. But the airlines shouldn’t be able to sell more seats than they have available.

I cant sell more of anything I don’t have or own. That’s a crime in the real world and should be treated as such in all industries. This is just another example of the quality of our public officials. Sorry, I’m stepping down from my soap box now.

It is cool in the center of the old city of Bilbao. The sky is a clear blue. There is a church at the right end of the plaza out in front of the very nice NYX Hotel. The estuary of the river, Nervio’n is behind the park. This area where the park now sits was the site of small homes where most of the ship workers who kept this port city humming, lived. Today there is a bandstand and a few kiosks.

Many large ocean going sailing vessels with loud and energetic crew could be seen here a hundred years ago loading and unloading cargo. Today no ships or boats come up here. Only the tourist boats ply the narrow green waters. The river was deep here in the past but no longer.

The towns buildings are thin and five or six stories tall, for the most part. The opera house is off to the left. Taller buildings can be seen out in the distance where the museum of modern art awaits us.

The city of Bilbao was built on a series of hills. They can be seen everywhere around us and are thickly covered in green tree as we came the short distance from the airport to the hotel. We missed connecting with our pick up person from the tour as they didn’t have a placard.

No problem. I speak Spanish well enough to get by and asked everyone in sight if they were or knew where our ride might be. No one had a clue. So we took a cab into town on our own. The short ride to the city was lovely. The taxi was metered so there was little chance of being cheated as an unknowing tourist. We have been victims on our travels a few times, I must say.

This town was famous for ship building and manufacturing of steel a century ago. Now the river has silted up and the steel mills are long gone. Unemployment was a big problem thirty years or so ago as the world quickly changed. The community got together and figured out that tech would help solve the problem. Many people were retrained and the older workers retired. It was a tough time for the small city.

We came in a day early as usual so we could get settled in and used to the time change. We will meet our guide tomorrow. The hotel is modern inside with a jungle motif.

We travel light for three weeks. Two carry ons, a backpack for me and my wife carries a large purse and another soft bag that fits easily under the seat in front of us. She carries nylon bags that are thin and light wait for items purchased. They are strong and take up little room. We seldom travel with checked luggage. Don’t you always regret bringing too much luggage and stuff you don’t use?

Make a list and when you get it down to an easily manageable amount and save it. Use that list each time you travel. Your travels will go smoother and easier. Less stuff to keep track of and to take up precious time is a good thing on vacation. It gives you more time to enjoy what you came to see.

My new book, “The House on The Cliff” is back from my editor and will be on Amazon soon. My book of short stories, “Sunrise, Sunset” is in production now to become an Audible book.

Thanks for coming and spending some of your time here, R.C. Hand.