It has been awhile since I made an entry on de Voyag. It hasn't been that I haven't traveled to some great place....I will add them soon but in the last two months we have experienced a different kind of Journey or Journeys to be more exact. Although we have traveled to other destinations we have also experienced the Journeys of the human heart. The JOURNEYS that we all face as human beings. The journeys of birth and of death.
On April 16th - while in Spain we received a call from our daughter that my father-in-law age 95 who had been battling heart issues and had as recently as February had a valve replacement...had taken a turn for the worst. We decided that afternoon that we needed to get home. SO ..... with a few calls and logistical arrangements we flew that night from Malaga Spain to London and then to Denver. We were so glad we did. He recovered for a time and I will write about that later. But what amazed me and still does today is that from across the globe in one night we were able to be home in Colorado.. Travel is so different from what it used to be where you had to plan for months to make arrangements. You can literally make a decision - check the internet - book what ever reservations you need (within reason) and be on your way. The only thing holding you back is you! Back to my story.......
He recovered. But we were so glad we made the decision to come home to be with him. Destination journeys can be postponed, canceled or changed..... being with ones you love - can't. We never questioned our decision. AND .........
No more than two weeks later on the 30th on April we welcomed into this world another beautiful grand daughter. She was born to our son and his wife giving them two amazing girls and giving us five magnificent grand daughters - and I will declare that kind of journey is just if not more beautiful than any destination you can visit.
I would post pictures but we have an agreement in the family that only the parents are allowed to post pictures of their families. In this day and age of internet and privacy concerns - we honor their wishes. But leave no doubt she has already stolen our hearts and we are so thankful she has joined "the clan".
Next.......along comes May and a quick trip to see friends in Sonoma and Napa and a day in San Francisco.
We have been to the wine country of California a number of times and it has always been a treat. But this time was different. I went to visit some old friends from Colorado who have traveled around the world - extensively - and had decided after checking out living in 10 different locations in a number of different countries that Sonoma would be the place to sink their roots. Although having to evacuate five times last summer due to the fires they love it there and their enthusiasm is contagious.
The treated me to wine tasting at Imagery Winery - charcuterie at "the fig and the girl" bistro in Sonoma (to which they supply figs from their gigantic fig tree in their back yard) then home to salmon, salad and conversation. It was easy to see why they love it there. The weather was beautiful and company fabulous........thank you for your hospitality.
I had made arrangements to continue to Calistoga for the evening and eventually to Healdsburg and Santa Rosa the next day as much as I enjoyed the time.....it was time to move on.
Spending the night in Calistoga - I had booked a room at the Bergson. It is a terrific little - not sure - hotel - motel - B&B - none of those descriptions is accurate. It is more like a boutique room at a friends house than anything else. The staff was terrific - the room - as you can see was wonderful and so inviting and in the morning they had a European Breakfast laid out that was included in the cost. Be aware - the only drawback was that it lies directly on the highway. When I checked in that night it was very quiet - the city was literally shut down...but around 5:30 am the cars and trucks started their daily tasks. It wasn't that bothersome but if you are a light sleeper you may want to wear earplugs or as for a room as far away as you can get from the road. No matter - still a great place.
I finished my Sonoma/Napa journey in Santa Rosa. I had broken my screen on my iPhone and through the Apple Store and Genius Bar - had made an appointment to have it fixed in Santa Rosa. This is what I love about traveling. Where it should or could have been an inconvenience the two hours it took to get it repaired made me slow down and find what there was to do in the area. Being flexible is consistent with being patient.
First - I decided to go see the Charles Schulz (Peanuts Creator) Museum. It was Tuesday and unfortunately it was closed.....a reminder - check the internet before going to places just to get an idea of their operating times.
Second - I looked for a local winery to visit.......amazing - Kendall-Jackson has their winery at the south end of Santa Rosa. We have enjoyed their Chardonnay and I thought what a great place to visit. What I found was not just a winery but a beautiful facility that included an exhibition of the different types of wine varietals they grow and gardens that are magnificent. Also got some irrigation ideas for small areas.
It was peaceful with the colors and vineyards in the background just a terrific way to spend the time - waiting for my phone to be repaired.. !!!!!!
After picking my phone up - I journeyed to Tiburon where I stayed at the Lodge at Tiburon. I had been there before for my nephew's wedding - and it was just as beautiful now as it was then. A nautical theme pervades the hotel and grounds - as it should since Tiburon is a small city on a peninsula in the bay. But small city doesn't mean there isn't a lot of traffic and parking can be a problem.. Luckily parking was included in the price - as well as a welcome bag with a little bottle of wine and some snacks. Very nice touch. They have a small pool at the Lodge but it was a little chilly to venture into it for my taste so a stroll around the city was a perfect substitute.The city is quant and beautiful and is easy to walk.
The next day I left Tiburon for some time in San Francisco.........
SFO is a beautiful - interesting - magical and sometimes difficult city to deal with. Like any big city it has its share of poverty, drugs, crime, begging and "street people" It also has opportunities to see the City by the Bay in all of its splendor - especially on a clear day. The beauty is unparalleled. The number of places to visit and experience.....and add the seafood !!!!! YES !!!!! Along with unique - historical hangouts like the Buena Vista which lays claim to creating a recipe for the best Irish Coffee in the country. No argument here!
SFO is a place to visit again and again. Speaking of again and again - I hadn't been there for a number of years so I decided to make a break for ..............Alcatraz !!!!
You need to book your tickets days - weeks or even months online before you go if you want to make sure you can visit. Your ticket price includes the ferry to Alcatraz and admission to the grounds. When you disembark the ferry after you reach the island there is an orientation meeting to have you become familiar with area. It is MANDATORY - but we skipped it....sorry....what I have found in many tours and museums and places to visit that have lots of floors or steps or climbs - which Alcatraz has - is get to the top and work your way down !!!!!! You might be winded when you get to the top......but then as you read the information and guides and stories on the way down you are relaxed and can enjoy your time.
There is an audio guided tour for the prison itself. It is free and you should definitely take it. It was amazing -- again - to listen to the stories from the prisoners as well as the guards and think how awful it must have been - how emotionally barren you had to become to survive the incarceration. Take the trip to "the Rock" you won't regret it and better yet - you won't ever regret never being a prisoner there.
Finally - if you have read this far - good for you and thank you, So I will finish with how I started.
I mentioned that not all journeys are about travel. I also started with telling you about my father in law and coming back from Spain early to be with him and his recovery. Unfortunately it didn't last. He passed away the morning of May 23rd. My wife and her two sisters were with him in his final moments. It wasn't easy for them. It wasn't easy for him. He loved being alive with family and friends and he didn't want to go but in the end - his body just couldn't support his desires anymore.
Bill was a wonderful person. He was grandpa to our kids - but he was grandpa to everyone.......he was kind, thoughtful, caring and an amazing athlete - playing basketball until he was 93. Winning over 65 medals and MVP honors for Senior Softball and Senior Olympics. In our own journeys of life and travel - you could not have found a better travel partner to be with. May you also find you travels to be of constant discovery and wonder and joy - and that you find someone special to share those moments with.........and the simple daily moments of living too. Journey On.........
BK Travel Tips
To enjoy travel and see the world and often yourself as if for the first time and with with the eyes of a young child.