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Boston: Off to college

A month in Boston

sunny 77 °F
View 2017 Summer on randjb's travel map.

We arrived in Boston Aug. 19 having taken a Norwegian Airline flight from Venice via Oslo. For those unaware, the reason for Boston is that Chesirae is going to Emerson College, moving into the dorm on Aug. 28. We booked an Airbnb, one bedroom apartment in Back Bay for a month to give us plenty of time to get settled, see Boston, move her in and make the transition. Back Bay is a great place to see Boston from - highly recommend it for its location but even more because it is a great place to live.
To our delight, Mark and Mary visited Boston for four days during the first week we were here, helping to make up for their not being able to join us in Granada. That was a busy and delightful time, though they had weather adventures both getting into Boston and back out again. All worked out fine, we are glad to say, though they did have to spend one night sleeping on the floor of the Kansas City airport.
The following Monday we woke up excited knowing this was the big move day. Chesirae to the "T" from our place to Emerson. We are staying only a mile away but with suitcase in hand, the T is a lot easier. Debbie and I stayed back until she gave us the word that she was ready for the rest of her stuff: four suitcases and two boxes. We managed to fit that all in a single Lift car but only room for one of us to ride. Debbie is always looking for a reason to walk, so I took the ride.
We pulled next to the curb in front of Emerson and a crew of Emerson students helped unload the car, putting everything on a cart which they wheeled into the dorm and up the elevator. Emerson College is on Boylston Street directly across from the Commons, on one of its busiest corners. With roughly 500 students moving in that Monday, most of whom arrived by car, the logistics for handling the traffic should have been daunting, but obviously Emerson has done this before. The Lift car was in and out in less than five minutes.
We helped Chesirae with her initial unpacking and then did some critical shopping for her new digs. Lunch was at Intermission Tavern, half a block from the college, across from the Majestic Theatre on Tremont Street. Highly recommend this tavern for an authentic Boston experience though they do over air condition.
Chesirae sent us off that evening and, though we did drop by the next day, she was pretty clear that parents needed to move on and let their kids go. We have seen her roughly once a week since, particularly when she's in need of a better than average meal, but we have no doubt about her independence. We are now in the "only when needed" stage of parenting, and I get the feeling her needing us will decrease fairly quickly in the next year.
Of course, this is what we have been aiming at ever since we got her in China, and we are proud parents. At the same time, waking up without her in the house has required an adjustment, and I'm still working out just how our new relationship needs to adjust. In the first two weeks of school, we've had one minor crisis that needed hugs but otherwise she has set her own sail. We will watch her course with interest and love.
Meanwhile, Debbie and I are also adjusting to having just the two of us around with no set schedule or "must" things to do. We've had a lot of fun in Boston enjoying a wide variety of experiences including theatre and comedy clubs, two river cruises, the science museum, walking tours, lots of history, house tours, and even a Red Sox game. Now, we have a couple of events remaining but are ready to move onto San Diego and start settling into our new home. (We think Dan and Kim have been there more than we have! :-)
When we leave next Monday, we think that finishes the big changes we've experienced in 2017, but who knows what's in store.
We do know we will be in the Bay Area the last week of October and are taking a 15 day cruise with Doug and Debbie through the Panama Canal in December - so the travels will continue...

Posted by randjb 13:15 Archived in USA Tagged bay back college boston emerson chesirae Comments (0)

Rock of Gibraltar and Costa del Sol

Southern most Spain and Africa

sunny 85 °F
View 2017 Summer on randjb's travel map.

We had another small adventure leaving Seville as, without my driver's license (stolen in Paris) my reservation for a car could not be used. Luckily Debbie was also a Hertz Gold Card member and we finally got a car. Trying to get the car through the narrow street we were staying on was another adventure, but again we managed. Karen and Doug had joined us by this time, though they had already had their own set of adventures including the airlines losing Doug's suitcase for two days. Because Chesirae, Debbie, and I each have one large suitcase, we could not fit into one car, so we made our separately out of Seville intending to meet in Gibraltar for lunch.
The ride from Seville to Gibraltar went without incident, but upon arriving at Gibraltar we faced a long line of cars crossing the border from Spain into the English crown colony. The Spanish side of the border does not look inviting and the Spanish have made only a paltry attempt to help people get into and out of Gibraltar - I assume because Spain still wants England out of there and England won't go. (The irony is that Spain owns the second pillar of Hercules on the other side of the Straight of Gibraltar and it too won't leave even though that small bit of land is completely surrounded by Morocco.)
If you go to see the rock, here are a couple of pointers: park outside the border (there's a big parking lot there), walk through customs, and take a taxi to where you want to go. The wait to get our car through was not too bad, however once in Gibraltar, parking is at a premium. We got separated from Doug and Karen and took almost two hours to reunite because we couldn't park close to one another.
Second, Gibraltar has a very nice Main Street, which is a cross between a shopping street and a Caribbean street. If you want to browse, good place to do, though prices are in English Pounds, so not as cheap as in Spain.
If you want go to the top of the rock, you can take a cable car, but if you do, you'll still have quite a walk. The cable car takes you up but the top of the rock is much longer than most pictures show. You might want to consider one of the many taxis that will drive you to the top as well as show you the sites on the way. If you negotiate, your group can probably get your own taxi for the same cost as taking the cable car and without the hour long wait. In our case, we arrived late because of the parking problem and didn't have time to wait for the cable car. We also didn't figure out the taxis until too late. Still, seeing the Rock of Gibraltar, even from below, was worth the effort. Go, but you'll need an entire day there.
After leaving Gibraltar, our destination for the night was Pearl Bay on the Costa del Sol. Spain is working hard to create its own version of the Riviera, and this part of the Mediterranean coast is filled with places to stay, long beaches, golf courses, and beautiful scenery. We stayed in an Airbnb run by Beran, a lovely woman who made a great effort to find us accommodations in the same condo complex when the air conditioning in her unit went out. We loved the apartment she found for us,. The complex had a pool, which Doug and Karen used extensively, and beyond that the Mediterranean beach. We loved the setting so much, we took a day off just to enjoy being on the coast! On a trip this long, we need an occasional vacation from the vacation, as our friend Mark has said.
The next day we traveled to the tip of Spain and took a ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar to Tangier, Africa. Tangier is quite a change from Spain even though its only a dozen miles away. The city is definitely Muslim, though we were told by our guide that they are not very strict there. We explored the old city, sampled delicious food (I loved the dates!), and got a good taste of Morocco. Most of you will have seen some of Tangier watching movies as Hollywood likes to shoot on location there. If you saw the Bourne Ultimatum, for example, you saw the narrow roads, the buildings and roof tops of the old town. Tangier is friendly to Americans and yet definitely a part of the Muslim world, not European at all.
With Africa, Chesirae touched ground on her fourth continent and 18th country; not bad for 18 years old.
Returning from Africa, we had a late dinner at one of the beach restaurants; this one featuring a singer. She sang songs ranging from Aretha Franklin to Led Zeppelin, and pretty much carried ithem off. We enjoyed dinner, the music, and the beautiful night time coastline until midnight.
We left the next morning and all agreed we wished we had planned more time on the Costa del Sol.

Posted by randjb 08:30 Archived in Spain Tagged costa africa bay del sol pearl tangier Comments (0)

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