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Toucan2 Sep 12th, 2006 02:59 PM

I'm still reading as well. I think we will all be sad when the trip report ends!

cigalechanta Sep 12th, 2006 03:29 PM

Dear travelgirl2, your report has cheered me up. You have a wonderful family with wonderful times.

olive_oil Sep 12th, 2006 05:29 PM

Holy Moley! What a trip.

I've been hanging around here at Fodor's for several months now, how is it that I have only just found this thread?

I think it was seeing the reference to "400 responses" that caught my eye. Well, now it's 401.

I have spent the entire evening reading this from start to finish; it's great! i am on the edge of my seat. Thank you, Travel Girl, for sharing all this. It is wonderful.

Olive Oil

paula1470 Sep 12th, 2006 05:39 PM

Also still reading. I love how well your boys travel and how well they adapt to all the different situations. I look forward to your report everyday and will be sad when it's over.

Rosiegirl Sep 13th, 2006 05:00 AM

I have been reading from the beginning. What a wonderful education you are giving your boys. And having fun, too. I look forward every day to a new post.

maureencol Sep 13th, 2006 06:39 AM

It's funny, I read some of the responses from the readers and they do the same as me! Come in to work, sign on the computer, get a cup of coffee and read the latest travel story from Travelgirl! I won't have anything to do when your trip ends! LOL

tower Sep 13th, 2006 10:21 AM


Happy you're all back safely..and loaded with great memories and a certain sense of massive accomplishment well-earned and deserved. Congratulations....TG2, youe DH and Ds1 and Ds2.

You asked above: "Stu T. - Are you back from vacation? Where did you go?"

First of all, you may not recall, but we were in France for three weeks in May....combined our typical auto trip through Cote d'azur and Provence and a great canal barge trip emanating from Strasbourg in Alsace. Super! And as I mentioned earlier, we're thinking of re-visiting China (1984) and Japan(1946-48) in the very early spring..your notes will come in strongly...especially Jane Yeo and the Cave guide in Guilin.

By the way, picky-picky case in point..."vacation" never seems to apply to our worldwide implies "VACAT-ing ones job" job, no we never refer to our journeys as "vacations"..same situation with "retirement" implying "something to retire from". Since I've been writing solely and more seriously these past twenty years, there is nothing to "vacate" and nothing to "retire from", as my own quasi-maverick mind set dictates. Then again, what would one expect from a sometimes curmudgeonly 77 year-old??

So there is my lecture for today's class......there will be a multiple choice quiz tomorrow.

Please keep on writing the report!

Love and admiration , Stu T.

travelgirl2 Sep 14th, 2006 08:29 AM

Day 52 – Salamanca

Today we have such a hard time waking up. I know I shouldn’t, but I suggest to the kids that maybe they should stay home today. They are torn, but their tiredness wins out. I also skip school. We have been staying up so late and walking around so much, that we all welcome the break.

We have lunch at TARANTELLA, an Italian restaurant near the Plaza Mayor. For dinner, we take out pizza from the restaurant next door to the internet cafe, GIOVANNINO’S RISTORANTE.

We go to the INTERNET CAFÉ on Calle Palominos. We just sit for a few hours, playing games, catching up with friends via email, writing on Fodor’s, etc. This internet café is possibly the nicest I’ve ever been to. Everyone is efficient and it is always perfectly tidy. There are about 30 computers, with 4 spots to plug in laptops. It costs 1.50 euros per hour.

On thing I am noticing more and more is the way people walk here. My walking style is direct and purposeful. The people here seem to meander along. Especially in the evenings, when people are out for a stroll. So many times someone walking in front of me just slows to a stop, for no particular reason. Unless I really pay attention, I end up bumping into the people in front of me. This happens a lot. And I’m not even what I’d consider a fast walker.

Another thing I have noticed is the way people talk with their bodies and hands. In fact, we spent a whole hour-long class one day learning to be expressive with our voices and gestures. It’s harder than it sounds. This really freaked out the Japanese girls, who are so reserved! Also, the Japanese girls shake their head back and forth to say yes. Up and down to say no. That led to some hilarity as the instructor made up funny questions to ask them and then we laughed at their answers. To us, their heads said ‘yes’, even though they meant ‘no’. They were very cute and took it all with good humor.

callalilli Sep 14th, 2006 11:10 AM

travelgirl2.. still reading, as all above posters, as soon as i log on, i look for your updates. Thank you so much for taking us along on your wonderful trip.

job816 Sep 18th, 2006 01:47 PM

Travelgirl - just got back from 10 days in France and actually missed your report. It was like I left my book at home. But I am glad to catch up and again want to thank you for sharing your journey with us.

tower . . . just wanted to respond to your thoughts on the term vacation. I prefer how the Brits and others refer to their time away from daily life as going/being on holiday. Even though this term probably got incorporated into everyday language from religious dogma, I do believe traveling and having new adventures to be a holy experience.

tower Sep 18th, 2006 02:32 PM

Job...I heartily agree with your is, at the least, a spirtual experience...especially where we travelers are so often in respectful awe for a new place to visit, a new cultural barrier to vault, new customs to observe, etc. Yes, a holy immersion, indeed.

Stu T.

travelgirl2 Sep 19th, 2006 06:41 AM

Day 53 – Salamanca

Today at school, Carmen asks us what we have been doing. I mention that we took the trash out that morning. On the way to school, we dropped a bag of trash in one of the large bins in front of our apartment building. Carmen is aghast. She tells us that the law is that you can’t take the trash out until 9 pm. The trash is collected at night. This helps to prevent bad odors. Well, now that I think about it, the large trash bin was completely empty. And the law does make sense. But, no one ever told me this rule. At home, we put the garbage out in the morning and the truck comes during the day. Carmen tells us that if a policeman sees us, we can get fined.

Today’s cultural class is very interesting. We learn about Franco and King Juan Carlos. We see some historical news footage on the transition to a parliamentary monarchy.

I am having such fun in school that I decide to buy the level 2 books. If I take them home, maybe I will continue to study on my own. Each set of books (book and workbook) costs us 28 euros.

After school, it is time to go shopping. I get the boys Salamanca University sweatshirts. I try to get some gifts for our friends in Stockholm, since we will be visiting them next. But, at 4 pm, many of the stores are still closed. I continue to have trouble adjusting to the store hours in Spain. I am such a 24/7 American.

The kids are still tired, so they ask me to pick them up at 8 pm. We have scrambled eggs for dinner at the apartment. The next day, the kids are disappointed to find out that they have missed a fun and scary evening. As a surprise, the staff planned a haunted house for the kids. They turned out the lights, the counselors dressed up and they made a haunted house out of the whole convent/school. That must have been super scary, running around in all those old buildings. The kids that stayed loved it. I love how the staff really interacts with the kids. I think this is because of the great job Jose does as the camp coordinator. I hope he comes back next year, because the camp wouldn’t be the same without him.

I am starting to get sad that we are leaving Salamanca in a few days. We all love it here and don’t want to leave. I think it is because we really feel like we are living the life of a Spaniard. Settling in to this place for two weeks makes us feel like we are more than just visiting. Meeting people and having somewhere to go each day has been a lot of fun.

sundowner Sep 19th, 2006 08:18 AM

I'm sure it's hard to keep this up with "real life" going on so thanks for posting, tg2!

LCBoniti Sep 19th, 2006 03:53 PM

Travelgirl -

" . . . we really feel like we are living the life of a Spaniard. Settling in to this place for two weeks makes us feel like we are more than just visiting. Meeting people and having somewhere to go each day has been a lot of fun."

That is exactly why this trip report is so enjoyable!

HappyCheesehead Sep 21st, 2006 09:37 AM

Travelgirl - I am just back from our trip to Croatia and Italy and was looking forward to seeing what happened to you while I was gone!

Looks like we still have a few more episodes to go :) and I am still enjoying.

LCBoniti Sep 21st, 2006 01:48 PM

And will we have a trip report from you, H.C.?

smalltowngal Sep 21st, 2006 05:25 PM

I'm brand spankin'new to this forum (just a week or so) and I read this whole thread and keep checking everyday for more. Thanks, Travelgirl; and "what happened next?"

Scarlett Sep 21st, 2006 05:34 PM

Welcome to Fodorville, smalltowngirl ! You picked a good thread to begin your addiction here :)

smalltowngal Sep 21st, 2006 08:03 PM

Thanks, Scarlett. The first day I found this forum I was on it for five hours (!)
Enjoy all the posts.

HappyCheesehead Sep 22nd, 2006 08:45 AM

LOL LCBoniti! I do not have the gift of words that many here do, but this weekend I am going make a stab at it. First of all, I have to think of a catchy title. I am considering "I Survived the White-Knuckle Drive of Death in Croatia" Think it will get readers??

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