At 8 a.m. on April 17th, we left the Crown Princess ship and took a taxi to the Barcelona, Spain Train Station.  There we boarded our train to Valencia, Spain.  We had two nights there at a very nice Hostal, Venecia.  The location was centrally located and we were able to do some sightseeing, despite 4 hours at the Emergency room.  It’s a very beautiful city with Roman and Moorish influence on the architecture.

On Thursday, April 19, we had a busy day traveling by 2 high speed (AVE) trains to Malaga.  The trains were very modern, clean and comfortable.  Jim was able to buy food and drink, but I had to pack some supplies in order to continue on a semi-liquid diet.  We also had a very short window of time for change of trains in Madrid.  We walked over a mile with all our luggage and asked help 3 times to find the next train.  We made it with 6 minutes to spare!  Whew!

In Malaga, we caught a cab to our hotel for the night, Holiday Inn Express.  We made contact with sister JoAnn and John by WhatsApp and planned for checking into the apartment in Cariheula, the next day.  Something that you may not know about other countries is that it is hard to find ice for cocktails.  In Valencia, we had bought an ice tray at a 1 Euro store and had a freezer in our room.  At other hotels, you go to the bar and ask for a glass of ice.  They usually give you a couple of cubes, unless you beg for more.  Anyway, at Holiday Inn, we were able to get as much as we needed.

The next day, we met up with JoAnn and John and the Rincon Rental rep at our apartment.  All went well on the check-in and we settled in for our 2 week stay.

As  I said previously, we made several day trips while staying at the apartment.  The following are pictures from our travels.


Malaga Centro

Battery Park, Carihuela

Weekend jaunts near our apartment

Ronda, by Train

Nerja, White Village on the Sea


Florida and the Crown Princess Cruise

We were in Florida 4 days before the cruise and spent 2 of them with Aunt Amy and Cousin Jim.  She is 81 years old and has had major health problems, but is still a lot of fun.  Uncle Jim passed away less than a year ago, so we all talked about him and how much he is missed.


Cheryl with Amy and Jim (cousin) by their pool in Tampa

Our cruise started on the 3rd of April, out of Fort Lauderdale, FL.  We had 7 days at sea, crossing the Atlantic Ocean.  Both of us really enjoy those sea days.  Also, we both were in the Pop Choir which rehearsed every day and performed on the 10th.  There were 20 men and 25 women, so a very nice size group.  We sounded good!


Our first port was Funchal, Madeira, Portugal.  We took a Princess tour (1st time ever!!) to see some of the countryside and scenery outside of town.  We stopped here once before and had walked the town.  Very lush, green and beautiful.


Our next port was Gibraltar, as in “Rock of G….”  It was cold, windy and raining, so we stayed on the ship.  We were there in 1989.   Had planned to walk off, but everyone was getting very wet when they left.

The next day, we docked at our third port, Cartagena, Spain.  We went on our second tour to Elche, the Palm Tree capital.  We had a very good guide, Pedro and learned a lot plus enjoyed seeing all the different palms and very old buildings in this UNESCO city.

Our last port before Barcelona was Palma de Mallorca, Spain.  We had been here 2 times before and taken the train and bus to Soller on the other side of the island.  This time, we took the city bus to Plaza de Espana and walked around.  We also had Paella for lunch.  We love that dish.

Our cruise ended in Barcelona.  We actually had one day there, prior to disembarking on the 17th.  We stepped off the ship briefly, but decided not to head into the city.  We had been there a few times before. It was a very enjoyable cruise, and we were glad we met Janet and Tom and hope to see them again.

Saying goodbye

Tom and Janet with us on deck

Back from our 5.5 week trip

We’ve been home a little over a week from our March 30 to May 7 trip.  We enjoyed almost all of our time in Florida, on the Trans-Atlantic Cruise and stay in Spain and Germany.  We have so many photos, that it will take me a little more time to select the best to include here.  In Florida, we were able to see Cheryl’s aunt and 1 cousin in Tampa.  The ones near Orlando did not find the time to get together with us.  Oh well.

The Cruise on the Crown Princess was very enjoyable and we met a lot of fun people.  We got to know one couple, from Palm Beach, FL area very well.  Janet and Tom had just retired at age 55 and were celebrating.  We ate dinner with them almost every night and shared many common interests.  Hopefully we’ll see them again when they take their 5 month RV trip around USA.

We got off the cruise in Barcelona and took a train to Valencia, that morning, April 17.  That’s where we had a glitch in our well made plans.  I, Cheryl, had been having pain in my abdomen for a couple of days.  On our one full day in Valencia, I went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with Diverticulitis, which I hadn’t had before.  I was given RXs and put on a VERY restricted diet, liquid at first.  So, I wasn’t able to partake of the wonderful and drink of Spain!  Boo Hoo!

The next day, we took 2 trains to Malaga (liquid diet on the train was a challenge!).  After one night in a hotel, we checked into our 2 BR, 2BA Apartment with Jim’s sister JoAnn and husband John.  It was overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in the beach area, Carihuela, of Torremolinos.  Very nice apartment with all the amenities.  During our 2 weeks there we took day trips (by bus, cab and train) to Mijas, Malaga Centro, Benalmadena, Ronda, and Nerja.  We went to all these places on our visit 3 years ago, but enjoyed them again.  John was not with us then, so some of these places were new to him.

After those 2 weeks, Jim and I flew to Munich, Germany and spent 3 days before flying home on May 7.  We used the S and U-Bahn system of light rail to tour the city.  It really is a beautiful city.

Our April & May Itinerary

Keys’ Itinerary – Crown Princess TA & Spain Apt:  3/30 – 5/7/18

March 30 –  Delta flight from LAX to Orlando (MCO)-  DL1061

Rental car, Alamo; Comfort Suites Orlando Airport, 1936 McCoy Rd.

March 31 – April 2 – 2 nights in Tampa (visiting Aunt Amy)

Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Airport, 6902 W. Hillsborough Ave.

April 2 – Ft. Lauderdale Hotel- Rodeway Inn and Suites, 2440 W. State Rd. 84

April 3 – April 17- Crown Princess TA for 14 days to Barcelona Spain

At Sea until April 11 – stop at Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Next stop, April 13 – Gibraltar, UK Territory

April 14 – Cartagena, Spain

April 15 – Palma de Mallorca, Spain

April 16 and 17 – Barcelona, Spain

April 17 – Train to Valencia, Spain.  Hotel Venecia, Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 3 , Ciutat Vella       46002 (2 nights)

April 19 – Trains to Malaga, Spain.  Holiday Inn Express Malaga Airport, Avenida            Velazquez 290, Churriana. (1 night)

April 20 – May 4 – 2 bedroom apartment with JoAnn and John Engelking,

Calle del Remo 3, Edificio El Remo, apt. 4E, 29620 Torremolinos (Malaga)

In Carihuela area.  Contact through Rincon Rent (0034) 687-541-588 or    info@rinconrent,com (Day trips from here by bus and train)

May 4 – Flight to Munich, Germany; Norwegian Air, flight D85100

May 4 – 7 – Hotel in Munich- Comfort Hotel AM Medienpark, Bahnhofstrasse 15,            Unterfoehring, 85774, DE (3 nights)

May 7 – Flights home:  Munich to Toronto, Canada- Luftanza flight LH4941

Toronto to LAX – Air Canada flight AC7871, arrive 11:10 p.m.

During the whole trip, send emails or call Skype No:  951-268-2393

On cruise ship we can receive texts. (In Florida, of course all of the above.)

March, 2018

Can’t believe that we have been at home for this long!  The time has been filled as usual with Pickleball (ran a 32 person Tournament last weekend; lots of fun), Ukulele and Guitar jam sessions, and friends.  I, Cheryl have been really enjoying getting back to singing and gaining confidence.  I’m also back to writing; sending out a weekly Newsletter to 200 Pickleball players and fans.  Makes me feel like I’m back in highschool, LOL, not physically, however.  The ortho surgeon says I definitely will need a right shoulder replacement.  However, he wants me to wait 3 or 4 years.  Meanwhile, I am learning to do more with my left hand and arm.  I am playing Pickleball mostly left-handed; still serving with the right.  I even am able to win a few games, with a good partner’s help!

Speaking of health issues, we have been catching up on doctor appointments in anticipation of our 6 week trip, starting next week.  Jim is seeing the acupuncturist again for sciatic pain (left, not right side this time).  Hopefully it will help since we will have long plane and train rides.  The spot on his cheek from removal of the squamous cancer is healing nicely.  His health, otherwise is good, and mine too.

We had some sad news about loved ones, however.  My Aunt Betty (wife of my mother’s brother) died a few days ago.  She turned 85 in early March and was in a private nursing home.  I had hoped to see her when we are in Florida, next week, but didn’t get there in time.  Also, good friend (and former sister-in-law) Angie lost her husband, Scott at the young age of 53.  It was a freak accident and so tragic.  So difficult to lose the ones you love.

I am going to attach our Itinerary for our TA Cruise and Spain trip here.  It is on Microsoft Word, hopefully it will work.  I’ll copy and paste on another post, just in case.  Love to all and best wishes.

TA Cruise and Spain 2018 Itinerary

Early 2018

Hello to all and hope 2018 has been treating you well.  We haven’t made any big trips so far.  There have been 3 small excursions:  3 nights at the Edgewater Hotel & Casino in Laughlin, NV (Jim won some money!); 4 days with cousin Dale and Diana in Stockton, CA with a day-trip to Murphy’s, CA and Ironstone Winery; and a 4 day cruise on the Carnival Imagination (didn’t get off the ship in Catalina or Ensenada, MX).

Weather wise, it has been Southern California’s usual roller-coaster of high and low temperatures (freezing last night), with only 3 inches of rain in 2018.  We also had an earthquake of 4.0 with the epicenter very near us.  It woke me with a big jolt.  Jim thought I had a bad dream and shook the bed all by myself.  Wrong!

As usual in the beginning of the year, we try to see as many of the award nominated movies as we can.  We really enjoyed “The Greatest Showman,” “Three Billboards in Ebbing, MO,” “The Post,” and “Darkest Hour.”

Our time has been filled with Pickleball play and events, Ukulele and Guitar jams, and making reservations for our big trip coming up in April.  We have scheduled hotels, transportation (planes, ship and trains) and an apartment in Torremolinos, Spain.  Jim’s sister JoAnn and husband John are joining us there for 2 weeks.

There has been another health issue for Jim; a minor one.  He had surgery a week ago for Squamous cancer on his left cheek.  They used the MoHs technique and took out a section about the size of a dime.  It is healing well and he has not had pain.  Considering his complexion and all the “pre-cancer” spots he has had, it is surprising that this is the first surgical removal.

Our grandchildren are growing up so so fast (aren’t they all?)  Jerica, our Sweet Sixteen year old continues to excel in both vocal and instrumental (trombone) music.  She has added Speech Meets to her repertoire!  So proud of her growing self-confidence.  The youngest, Lauren, at 11 is in Student Government (also showing great self-confidence), playing percussion (including the bells) in band, and still taking piano lessons. Just recently she entered the scary world of orthodontia, by getting braces on her teeth.  It seemed young to us, but good to fix them asap.

Looks like the rest of February and most of March will be the same, but Jim may find some small trip for us; he’s always looking.  Our best to all.


Happy Holidays

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and are enjoying being with family and friends during this season.  I know it is bittersweet for those who have lost loved ones recently.  We lost 2 very close friends this year and think of them often, but treasure the memories.  We were with family recently, as blogged, but did not get together with any for Christmas nor for the New Year.  However, we do have some really wonderful friends to share these times with.  We performed in some Ukulele/guitar concerts and had 6 others over for Christmas dinner, yesterday.  Since all contributed, it was easy to do.  At New Years we will be with 100 others at a big party with food, dancing and more.  We usually skip these types of events on that night, but got talked into it.   It should be fun to share this night with good friends.  Our best to all and much love.

More Visits with Relatives in Louisiana and Texas

On Saturday, November 18 we visited with Jim’s 3 nieces (sister Pat’s daughters) and some grandnieces in Marksville, LA.  His other sister, JoAnn and husband John joined us there.  Tamra, Dawn and Kim grew up in Marksville, but only Kim still lives there.  We visited, partied and ate in her large outside patio.  It was great to see them all again.

The next day, we drove to JoAnn’s home in Spring, Texas and spent the next few days there, including Thanksgiving.  Her son-in-law Keith came from Atlanta and the 2 of them cooked up a great feast.  We were joined by a couple of friends for the dinner.  The weather was beautiful in both Louisiana and Texas, as you can see from the last photo.  We drove home November 24 -27 and are staying here for the rest of the holidays.  We enjoyed driving our 2017 Red Velvet Chrysler Pacifica minivan on this 5 week, 6000 mile trip (and yes, Jim drove every mile!)

For those who wondered about our home and the fires:  We so far have been very lucky.  There have been fires North West of LA, south of us and even to the east.  But we haven’t even had any smoke.  We feel so badly for all of those who had and to evacuate and especially those who lost their homes and businesses.  We have had the strong winds, dry air and are surrounded by dry underbrush, so are also vulnerable.  We would love to have some rain (it actually looked like some today, 12/16).

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings to all.

Arkansas Time Share

For six days, in between relative visits in Indiana and Louisiana, we had a timeshare condo in Fairfield Bay, Arkansas.  It is north of Little Rock and in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains.  The area was very beautiful with lakes, rivers, hills and woods.  Most of the fall colors were gone and the leaves were falling constantly, but it there were still plenty of trees with foliage.  Our condo was 2 BR/2BA and quite large and comfortable.  This was a nice leisurely time to relax with out driving very many miles and to be by ourselves.  We took day trips to the local towns; rented movies and played our instruments- ukulele and guitar.  We even found a makeshift Pickleball court for one day of play.  There was a fully equipped kitchen, so we did quite a bit of cooking, which we both enjoy.  Next we went to Louisiana to visit with nieces and grandnieces.

Relative Road Trip

On October 23, we left Southern California in our new Chrysler Pacifica minivan (purchased in August) and headed east to visit family in many states.  It started with daughter Jina, husband Steve and grandchidren.  On the first night we attended Jerica’s vocal concert.  It was very enjoyable and they did a great job.  Then Saturday she was in an Honor Band at Doane University, also very good.  We stayed 5 nights with them.  Lauren and Cheryl played ukuleles together, there was a lot of card playing and cooking of good meals by Jina, Jim and Cheryl.  The weather was mostly mild, but there were snow flurries on the last day.

Our next visits were in Indiana.  First in Indianapolis, we met 2 of Cheryl’s high school friends for dinner.  Went to see her niece in Muncie one afternoon and spent a day with brother John and wife Donna, back in Indianapolis.  There were some beautiful fall colors in Indiana.  Then we drove to Newburgh/Evansville to spend time with brother Ben, Angie and family.  It had been 5 years since we had been in Indiana and they have not come to California to see us!

While in Evansville area we took a side trip to Owensboro, KY to visit the International Blue Grass Music Museum.  It was fun to see the history of Blue Grass in more detail and listen to the music.

We headed to The Land Between the Lakes after leaving Indiana.  First stop for lunch was in Grand River, KY at Patti’s Cafe.  Already decorated for Christmas in Big Style!  That night we stayed in Paris, TN and next in Memphis, TN.  We then went to our RCI timeshare in Arkansas, more on that later.