What does a newly retired teacher do when the first day of school rolls around. My old friend Ralph hit his favorite BBQ joint and ordered a plate of meat and a pitcher of beer. I volunteered to help kindergarteners find their classrooms. The first day of kindergarten is important. I remember coming home after mine with a list of demands, and profound disappointment in discovering another place adults forced kids to take naps. Donna has other plans for the first day of school this year. We will be in Grenada, Spain drinking wine and eating tapas. Donna is retired…absolutely, finally. No half measures for Schwendeman! Spain is a bucket list item.
Grenada will be our home base for a month, and then off to Italy. We have done the grand tour style of traveling before. Driving from one end of a country and back again is one way to immerse yourself in a place. “We saw this, and this, and this, and then we drove all day and saw this, and this, and this!” It leaves you breathless and exhausted. Canal cruising taught us the advantages of not living out of a suitcase. Just unpack and nestle in.
Why Grenada? The Alhambra, real tapas, flamenco caves, the relative proximity to the coast, and a great deal on a place to stay. It came down to two VRBO finds. One was tiny. It had a great location, great views, a nice terrace, and authentic Spanish charm. The other had two kitchens, a similar location, a sweet view from the bedroom, a smallish terrace, and authentic Spanish charm. This place had some elbow room. It also was considerably more expensive than the tiny place. Casa dos Cocinas had an owner who was willing to negotiate though. In short order Schwendeman secured the larger house for the same price as the tiny one. Grenada was locked in.
After a month in Grenada we’ll go back to Italy. We skipped the tourist must do’s last time around. We figure the crowds will die down by October. So, Rome and Florence will be seen. Then we are going back to Bologna for a longer stay.
If the question was, “If you could go back to Italy, where would you go?” Bologna would be the first name to cross my lips. It’s a foodie paradise. It isn’t overrun with tourists and tour groups. It is a short train ride from Modena, Parma, Ferrari, and Venice. Then too, I really want to go back to the cathedral by the food market and photograph the Shaggy from Scooby Doo Jesus.
Sure, we could have gone out for BBQ on the first day of school. That would have required flying to Llano, Texas because only Cooper’s will do. We could have volunteered to help new students find their classrooms, but that would have earned me an incredulous look. Nope, no half measures for Schwendeman. We are leaving the country altogether. Spain and Italy here we come!