We rented a small car at Sixt by Ciampino, it was only 119 e for 8 days – a good price. It is not hard to drive in Italy if it is not in Rome. In Rome traffic is very intensive, the streets are complicated, some with trams, and not surprisingly there a traffic jams. But Ciampino airport is by a highway and in the middle of the day it was a good drive out of the metropolitan area. 40 km north we reached a town Monterosi, and from there turned towards a lake on a small road. The countryside was beautiful, the warm and peaceful day reflected on the lake:The town by the lake is calledᅡᅠ Trevignano Romano, is very picturesque and is loved by Romans for getaways: Fancy chimneys: There were several hill towns on our way, but we stopped only in one -Montefiascone. There we climbed the hill in the center, admired the cathedral and enjoyed the swings on top of the hill in the park with the far away views! The cathedral is build on the side of the hill leaving the top for the park. But the interesting part of it wasᅡᅠ that it was of octagon shape, very unusual. The other interesting feature-ᅡᅠ it was built on an old Roman temple, turned into a church – mausoleum for St. Lucia. Her body is in the center of the octagon, mummified, I guess, in a fancy glass coffin. It is evidently an example of one of those strange Italian fascinations with mummies and reliquaries: We reached Pitigliano at dusk. Made total of 185 km, not so many but we got tired. This was the most exotic stay of our trip. It is called Grotto on In the very center there used to be a place to house horses. the new owner Anna turned it into a very cozy apartment built literally in a steep vertical rock! With modern amenities, kitchen and all a person needs. There were windows towards the valley of a stream very very low down. Luckily – we didn’t need to climb up or down to the Grotto because the center of the town was there. Well, we had to go down one flight of stairs only, so here it is: The red doors are ours: This is the view from our entrance or exit: Pitigliano is a town of inner gardens and stairs. I wonder how old people manage to survive: This church was seen also form our doors towards the other side of the deep valley:Pitigliano at night: A view from the other end of town: ᅡᅠᅡᅠ ᅡᅠᅡᅠᅡᅠᅡᅠᅡᅠ This is the cathedral of Pitigliano: St. Mouse or Rat? The castle-palace of theᅡᅠ nobleman who ruled the town, it was being restored:We walked around two mornings and two evenings and the rest of the days we spent driving to some other hill towns and the hot springs.

Italy- 2019-itinerary and Napoli

It was last beginning of March. We visited my parents in Lithuania for a couple of weeks and then flew to Napoli directly from Kaunas, my city. It is a good flight, a convenient one.ᅡᅠ But we did not plan to travel in Southern Italy, just used the direct flight and then a train to Rome. After a couple of days in Rome we planned to rent a car and drive North to Tuscany. After our travel experiences we decided that it is more fun to stay in one place at least for 2-3 nights, so we arranged our trip based on that principle. Also – we looked for attractive places to stay at, so it defined the towns where we were staying. We flew to Napoli pretty early, in the morning, so we had some time to leave our bags in the train station and walk around town a little:The center was kind of claustrophobic -ᅡᅠ for me the streets were too narrow and churches tucked in between buildings so much so that you may not even notice that there was a church. but we found the Domo – cathedral” Lots of different figurines by cafes and shops: It was a Mardi Gra day – so kids were dressed inᅡᅠ costumes, parents taking there pictures. Like following a strange tradition – rarely a kid seemed very happy in his costume…they were just doi8ng what they were supposed to do – to trash their squares and streets throwing confetti and something that looked like liquid chewing gum. Which made me feel very sorry for the street cleaners…A little “lady bug”: There were also processions in pedestrian streets collecting money for their parishes: The most typical Napoli street to me: We even didn’t stay long enough in the city, got tired and went to wait for the train by the station. Trains in Italy are far from the quality trains in Japan…I don’t mind their seating arrangements and softness, I mind the noise that immigrants make by talking on their phones for hours…I guess phone services are very cheap there. But what can you doᅡᅠ – nothing is perfect during a trip. In Rome we rented and apartment through Air B&b close to train station – why to carry the bags. Stayed for 3 nights, then 2 nights in Pitigliano, 2 nights in Tigliola by Quirico d’Orcia, 3 nigths in Sienna and back to Rome, a sleep on the way by some lake. the trip was good, saw a lot, enjoyed even hot springs, but the very last part of our drive to Rome on its circle highway we got stuck in such traffic jam, that had nerves over the top to get in time to the airport…Travels are rarely unstressed…

Poland 2018, Gdansk

Gdansk is amazing. In all aspects. Considering that it was totally bombed during the 2nd World War and now it looks as it looked before the war – makes you believe in the Fenex legend…No wonder there is a new 2nd World War museum built and opened on the outskirts of the old town, right where Russians and Germans had flattened the city. It is in a modern structure, the main part of the very informative expositions being situated under the ground level in a very creative manner:

The museum is only underground and the offices are upstairs in this leaning tower.
That is how Russians from one side and Germans from the other side attacked Poland. Based on casualties Poland suffered the most of all countries. There are very extensive displays of all the stages of the war, of all the facts and stats and lots of survivors speaking on TV screens. Lots of chambers recreated, walls of photos of the Jews killed in the camps – and a voice constantly reading their names. There is even a street after bombing recreated there, in those spacious undergrounds…
The Pact of Molotov and Ribbentrop in which Russia and Germany made and agreement to divide Europe between themselves…But obviously – it didn’t work well.
Gdansk is a port, lots of waterways there. And when you think – all those buildings are rebuilt, and most of them in the old style. Except for some, that are very contemporary but match the style.
I liked this building. A little Gaudiesk, but not as busy.
We stayed in a very nice apartment in the very center of downtown in front of the farmer’s market, through Air B&B. They even had a parking for our car. It was not hard to find it , lots of choices and it was the season – end of June. I highly recommend to go to Gdansk!
Wherever you go in downtown – it is picture perfect!
There are two parallel pedestrian streets that are rebuilt exactly as they were before the war, makes me wonder how did they recreate all he sculptures, frescoes…
There are several fancy houses as museums, but the facades were impressive enough that I decided to leave them for the next visit.
The fountain on the main square for me,the lay person, didn’t look worse than fountains in Rome…
Business is more important than fun frescoes…
A fountain with 4 lions.
The Europe center – where Polish revolution led by Lech Valensa started. There used to be a factory here and the factory workers started their strikes against Russian invasion in the late 80s.
Now Lech Valensa is still working in this building and visitors sometimes see him. We were not as lucky :-).
Again in the city center, again enjoying the buildings but not the weather (it was windy, rainy and cold -Baltic sea normal :-))
Like Dega’s Absinthe… 🙂 So young and so disappointed in life already…What a miserable teenager – her parents took her to eat fantastic Ukrainian dumplings with whatever fillings and the best Paska- cheese pie I ever ate in my life – and she sat as if taken to jail…
Paska- traditional Ukrainian cheese pie, it is only for Easter celebration and we ate it in June…
At last – we got a clear sky of especially beautiful color because those were the shortest nights, almost White nights!
There was a city gate from the river side with 4 wide covered passages with very good acoustics. Gifted young people figured out it is a good place to play some music there. And they were playing all weekend long, even late into the night- there were trios, duos, quartets – changing each other. Their music was really good, mostly classical and they played well, but it was sad to see how people do not pay much attention and just walk by.
We drove to Gdynia close by – they are always mentioned together so I expected to see something similar, but no way. Maybe we didn’t find the nice parts of the city. maybe we had no time for that – we just found this hill with views.
Then we stopped at Sopot- it is a resort known for its music festival. During Soviet Union times- for us it was the biggest festival. it has the same white sand as in Lithuanian resorts. Walking by the sea must be fine, but there are no waves, it is in a cove and sheltered by two ports -Gdansk and Gdynia. So how can it be a good area for vacations?
Sopot – the houses are old style and nice.
I don’t even remember the name of this town. It was on our way from Gdansk home, we stopped here to eat – and there was hardly one pizzeria…Traveling is an adventure- you never know what you gonna find. Sometimes beyond expectations, sometimes- below.

Lithuania 2018, Estates

Last summer I stayed in Lithuania pretty long, like never before. thanks to my good husband who took all the responsibilities of taking care and irrigating our gardens. I guess I stayed too long, because close to the end I fell of a ladder and broke my knee. Consequently I had to extend my stay by 3 more weeks in order to somehow reach home. Though totally for 4 months there was not much use of me in our household…Never ever break your knee, always be aware of that! Never loose concentration and attention!

My misfortune happened in this property at mom’s friend…
But this blog is about estates – so here is one of them. a dilapidated on, close to which my father spent several of his teenage years and where he lived through the horror of war, neighbors killed, etc…In this green field, believe it or not, hemp is growing.
Zypliu estate, not far from Kaunas. Those estates. tat are bought by some rich people, they are usually restored and are used as museums, event venues, concert places and also they usually have a period restaurant.
Flower gardens in front of the main palace are usually arranged in French fashion.
In front of the main palace. THat was one of the two cold days in Lithuania last summer…it was a very hot summer, like never before…
The palace had a good exhibit but the main attraction was the fact that everyone was supposed to pick a had from a big heap of hats and wear it while touring. Here is our friend Egle.
Three mothers and…
…three daughters.
Gelgaudiskio estate, but it was already closed.
This estate is close by the town Babtai.
My parents by the main building.

It is fun to drive around Lithuania and visit those restored estates. I very much recommend! Some of them organize good concerts, if it happens to visit at that time!

Poland 2018, the Magdeburg Castle

I was lucky that during my visit to Lithuania this summer my friends Arᅤᆱnas and Nijolᅣラ drove us to Northern Poland for a several day trip. That land at some point in history was Prussia, so it has a very well built red brick churches and castles, built by the crusaders. Also, the soil is fertile and flat, good for agriculture. But some of the roads are still very narrow and have big trees growing very close to their sides. The biggest of the castles, in fact the biggest castle in Europe from red brick is the Magdeburg castle. If you are interested in its historical significance, have a look at Wikipedia. it also has fantastic pictures of the whole castle from the other side of the river. We didn’t stop for those pictures, so here are mine glances inside the castle courtyards and halls. The good feature – most of polish museums provide you with the “talking stick – audio guide” – you can switch it into any language of your choice and once you enter each location, it starts telling you stories about what is shown. It even sends you from one location to another, whereas otherwise you can end up seeing only a fraction of the rooms and places. The castle is rather big and complicated. I would advise at least 3 hours visiting, maybe even more. Here are the views through my eyes:

The first courtyard.
Those are the 4 rulers of the castle during the crusader times – they are called the Grand Magistrates.
This is a chapel and there is a story about that hole in the window and the column – it saved the inhabitants during some war but it escaped my mind :-). It is funny what stays in our minds after visits to museums and what not. And then you start wondering, was it worth visiting?
Located not far from the Baltic sea, amber was the main “gold” of the Magistrate.
Monks were making decors from amber, mostly pieces of crafts used in their services and their chapels, but also traded them.
It reflects what a wide color palette amber has…
Now there is a pretty big amber museum in one of the cellars in the castle.
There was some modern amber jewelry.
How did they manage to make those stone balls that were used in a canon only once, as far as I understand. Humanity uses a lot of resources for war reasons…
This courtyard was used by monks as a garden area, for growing vegetables.
This pelican is staged on top of a water well in the very central courtyard. I guess it is there to remind monks how they are digging their hearts like this bird. or maybe something else…
Beautiful loggias surround the yard.
There were some cellars for prisoners and unruly monks, too. This is a corridor to them.
Seems that the monks were short…or maybe they slept in a sitting pose.
Bathroom – the hole opens to a moat down below. What a nice environment they had! 🙂
I loved the corridors, they are like music.
Monk’s church or chapel – whatever the proper name for it. Not completely restored yet.
The main dining hall.
It has an appropriate fresco – The Last Supper
Those were the doors through which food was delivered to the dining hall.
This shows what a big fortress it was and still is.
Modern combined with old. Some decors I really liked.
A better use of a canon ball.

Lithuania 2018, Neringa

Good friends of ours Egidijus and Jolanta took us three Lithuanian-American ladies to Neringa for a couple of days. And it was wonderful! I haven’t seen Nida the town, my namesake, for 30 years, or maybe 32. It was sentimental. Luckily – the weather was perfect! Neringa is a narrow slit of sandy dunes and earth blown by winds to this corner of the Baltic sea, where it protects an inner sea from the salty waters and too many boats. The biggest river Nemunas is bringing its waters into this inner sea called Kurᅤᄀiu Marios. Several little fishing villages are fighting nature since ages ago. Some of them are under sands, some survived or moved to another location. And now they are flourishing resort towns. Especially Nida, where I used to spend my childhood summers with my parents. I will never forget how we used to fish on this pier at every sunset, and that is where I ran to the first thing we got there:

And I couldn’t help but run to see the sand dunes.
They do not look so white this time. Some growth occurred on their slopes, but still it is the most beautiful place in Lithuania for me…

We had a small walk in the very center of Nida and admired the clouds on the East, the flower beds all over with flowers very well matched in colors. And so natural, like it is their place to grow.

We had a real banquet in one of the restaurants there, it was beyond amazing, all Lithuanian tastiest foods in their abundance on a very nicely set up table.
Traditional decors…
They even have a tuk-tuk, nowhere else I saw it in Lithuania.
Those are signs that fishermen had on their sail boats. Each one carries the owner’s story.
The next day we went to the sea, sparse visitors, it was good!
Then through this and other forest paths towards the big dunes-who can put a price on it?
That is what winds do to the pine trees-makes them love each other.
A sign towards the beach – made me smile. Luckily it was a cool day and nobody was taking off their panties on tat bench.
A sort of wild orchids grows there.
On the top of the great dune! It is called Parnidᅤᄒio kopa.
Hikers can’t walk beyond this fence – it is a protected ecological zone.
To see this vastness of nature and no people – what can be better?
This a a Lutheran church, an old one. Thom Mahn, the writer, lived in Nida and attended this church. It was an area occupied by Germans for a while, therefore the Lutheran church.
We attended a concert there. Our ex president V. Adamkus and his wife were sitting in the first row. The president gave a beautiful speech before the concert.
Sunset colors reflected on pines reminded me the colors of our mountains in Utah also during sunset.
New buildings are being built strictly in the old style.
The promenade by the inner sea is very long and beyond amazing…Far away – the marina building is seen.
A new Catholic church, that was not there in my times…
Sand sculptures in Juodkrantᅣラ which we checked on our way back.
Straw sculptures on waters in Juodkrantᅣラ – at some point they get to be burned.
The big ferry in Klaipᅣラda that takes cars and people to Neringa strip.

Klasᅣラs susitikimas, 2018

Baigᅣラme mokyklᅣナ 1976 metais. Beveik su visais klasiokais praleidome kartu 11 metᅤᄈ, beveik giminᅣラs…Turᅣラjome keleta susitikimᅤᄈ iki ᅤᄀiol, bet 40-meᅣヘio susiorganizuoti nepavyko. Geriau vᅣラliau negu negu niekad. Mᅤᆱsᅤᄈ auklᅣラtoja J.Kovienᅣラ gyvena labai jau graᅤᄒioj vietoj Lampᅣラdᅤᄒiuose palei ramiai plaukiantᅣᆵ Nemunᅣナ ir ji mums pasiᅤᆱlᅣラ susitikti jos kieme. O groᅤᄒis:

Kaip ᅤᄒinia, man iki klasᅣラs susitikimᅤᄈ fiziᅤᄀkai toloka, bet ᅤ걆 kartᅣナ pasisekᅣラ-kaip tik buvau Lietuvoje. Susitikome treᅣヘiadienᅣᆵ, idant nesusitrikdytᅤᄈ ᅤᄀeimᅤᄈ savaitgaliai. Tania ir Dainᅣラ suorganizavo, aᅣヘiᅤᆱ joms. Ir buvo gerai, dalyvavo net Inga ir Ina- uᅤᄒsienietᅣラs. Kaip kad Audrius, kol neturᅣラjo ᅤᄀuns ir turᅣラjo gerᅣナ jumora, vadindavo mus – ” intermergaitᅣラs” (Tokᅣᆵ filma kadaise rodᅣラ). Kadangi neplanavau ᅤᄀio ivykio ᅣᆵtraukti ᅣᆵ savo Blogᅣナ, ne iᅤᄀ nepagarbos ᅣᆵvykiui, bet gal dᅣラl savo sulietᅣラjusio galvojimo proceso, todᅣラl nuotraukos neiᅤᄀfasonuotos, neiᅤᄀkonfiguruotos, bet gal save paᅤᄒinsite. Plius juk buvo didelis susijaudinimas! Taigi -ᅤᄒiᅤᆱrᅣラkit.

Mᅤᆱsᅤᄈ auklᅣラtoja, kaip visados ᅤᄒavinga…
ᅣフia Dainᅣラ dovanoja Auklᅣラtojai medelᅣᆵ, kuris pavasarᅣᆵ graᅤᄒiai ᅤᄒydᅣラs.
O ᅣヘia fotografavomᅣラs ir keitᅣラmᅣラs adresais 🙂
ᅣフia kaᅤᄒkam fotografuojanᅣヘiam ranka sudrebᅣラjo :-)…

Pasiaiᅤᄀkinu, kodᅣラl taip vᅣラlai iᅤᄀleidᅤᄒiu ᅤᄀias nuotraukas ᅣᆵ eterᅣᆵ. Lygiai lygiai savaitᅣラ po susitikimo kritau nuo kopᅣラᅣヘiᅤᄈ ir susilauᅤᄒiau tibialio virᅤ걞nᅣル, liaudiᅤᄀkai – kelᅣᆵ. KKL darᅣラ operacijᅣナ, dᅣラjo metalᅣナ, buvau “ᅣᆵkalinta” LT dar mᅣラnesiui, o nevaikᅤ갸ヘiojau 3 mᅣラnesius. Nuostabᅤᆱs daktarai, nuostabᅤᆱs draugai padᅣラjo, ypaᅣヘ Audronᅣラ, kuri tᅣナ patᅣᆵ vakarᅣナ atlᅣラkᅣラ su skaniais maistais, Tania ir Algis I. veᅤ햐ラ ᅣᆵ ligoninᅣル patikrinimams, aᅣヘiᅤᆱ jiems. O man buvo itin liᅤᆱdna ir Lietuvos nuotraukas atsiverᅣヘiau tik prieᅤᄀ savaitᅣル…Vis tik nevaikᅤ갸ヘioti yra baisu, o dar kai ta proga pamatai kitus su didesnᅣラm bᅣラdom…Linkiu bᅤᆱti budriems, angl. “aware” visᅣナ laikᅣナ ir nekristi.

O dabar trumpa reklama. Rasa suspᅣラjo man ᅣᆵtaigiai paskaityti trumpᅣナ paskaitᅣラlᅣル prie stalo apie marketingo naudᅣナ, tai jos minᅣヘiᅤᄈ bei pavyzdᅤᄒio (vyko vaikᅤᄈ pasiekimᅤᄈ reklama) ᅣᆵkvᅣラpta noriu supaᅤᄒindinti Jus visus su faktu, kad kai turiu laiko ir netingiu – raᅤᄀau Blogᅣナ apie mᅤᆱsᅤᄈ keliones. Niekad gyvenime neplanavau, kad nuskils tiek pamatyti, iᅤᄀ to dᅤᄒiaugsmo nesusilaikau nepasidalinus patirtais ᅣᆵspᅤᆱdᅤᄒiais ir ypaᅣヘ vaizdais. Pabrᅣラᅤᄒiu – tai ne verslas, jokio uᅤᄒdarbio iᅤᄀ to as neturiu (na netiesa, per daug metu uᅤᄒdirbau kartᅣナ $40 uᅤᄒ vienᅣナ nuotrauka iᅤᄀ turizmo agentᅤᆱros :-)). Bet galvoju taip – kol kas mes niekas neturime laiko skaitineti svetimus Blogus ir ᅤᄒiᅤᆱrinᅣラti gamtos vaizdus kompe. Taᅣヘiau juk nejaunᅣラjam, deja. Ir gal net ᅣᆵ pensijᅣナ kaᅤᄒkada iᅤᄀeisim, ir gal keliauti darosi vis sunkiau ir sunkiau, ir gal atsiras noras pasigroᅤ햐ラti be streso kaᅤᄒkuo. Tam aᅤᄀ ir pluᅤᄀu :-), prisipaᅤᄒinsiu – su vyro pagalba, nes be jo nei keliauti, nei kompo nustatyti Blogo raᅤᄀymui nesugebᅣラᅣヘiau (aᅤᄀ gi esu “technologically disadvantaged” :-)). Visuomet knygose raᅤᄀo padᅣラkas, taigi – aᅣヘiᅤᆱ mano geraᅤᄀirdᅤᄒiui ir nusimananᅣヘiam Andrejui.

Linkiu nepamirᅤᄀti vieniems kitᅤᄈ, susitikinᅣラti ir toliau, linkiu visiems kuo geriausios sᅣラkmᅣラs ir kai turᅣラsit laiko ir noro – uᅤᄒmeskit akᅣᆵ ᅣᆵ mano kelioniᅤᄈ Bloga, pasirinkite ᅤᄀalᅣᆵ, kuri Jus domina ir keliaujam kartu. Yra ᅤᄒmoniᅤᄈ, kurie labai giria mano nuotraukas (ᅣヘia jau ne lietuviᅤᄀkas bruoᅤᄒas save pagirti :-)), cha! Ir iki kitᅤᄈ susitikimᅤᄈ.

Mexico 2018, Guanajuato

Guanajuato is about 70-80 km away from San Miguel. There are two ways of driving. the longer passes by a town where Mexican revolution started. but this time we didn’t visit it. The road goes up and to tell the truth – it was a scary drive, to many time you have to drive on a very steep edge. But you enter Guanajuato via a perfect side, close to downtown, plenty of spaces to park on the streets. Still I preferred the not so beautiful drive back because it was shorter and not high up on the ridges. This time we didn’t sleep in G., just walked around and came back home to “Life Path”. We wanted to compare both of those magic towns. but it is hard to compare. i thing Guanajuato has more museums, both of them are perfectly colorful and beautiful. G. has more culture expressed on the streets, I would say – much more. But it is amid some hills, an old mining town and not so convenient once you decide to drive out. It is also significantly dirtier. Whereas San Miguel is very clean. The world knows Guanajuato mainly because of its exhumed poor people’s bodies, turned into mummies and placed in a museum, some 110 of them. We don’t enjoy such things, I think it is ridiculous to expose them for peculiar viewing. Only because they were poor and could not pay for their grave site. But there are really good museums, including the birth house of their beloved son Diego Riviera, so we visited this one. Sad as it is – I almost forgot everything I saw there last time, 4 years ago. This time they had an exhibit of some artist, whose name I didn’t write down – he has a peculiar way of creating art:

Guess how it is done and how many dogs do you see in the pic.?
It is not on paper and not on anything- those are planks of stone, nature made but found and a little enhanced by a creative person.
Those are the premises of Guanajuato if you enter it from the longer, scarier but more beautiful road from the North.
Mexicans like to make their life more joyful by bringing color to their neighborhoods.
Guanajuato is a city of permanent celebration, this happens on their main square.
This is the biggest pleasure in Mexico -to see their dances, to hear their music, to get their joy and patriotism. The first thing this girl asked me was”How do you like Mexico” -it says a lot
In their events they include ancestors’ Indian dances – and how those young and strong muscle bodies were jumping around! Almost flying.
It is their pride – the beautiful theater with all the muses on top.
The main square.
I liked this witch more than when they place Santas on similar locations…
One of the smaller squares.
The museum of Don Kichote- we ran out of time to see it this trip.
Escondido Hot Springs – They are in a big park or area, several pools, two ponds and 3 ‘strange’ pools – two of them have roofs, which keeps the warmth of the not so ‘caliente’ water. But they were crowded, it was Sunday after church, lots of Mexican extended families were there with their pick-nicks and all. The open pools were empty or almost empty because it was cool in the air and not so warm in the water. The enclosed pools had warmer water.
One of the ‘strange” pools that has no roof – therefore too cool. But I suggest going there, it is some 10 km from San Miguel and costs 150 pesos per person.
It took us a day to drive back to Queretaro, to return the car there, get on a taxi, reach bus station. get on a bus, reach Mexico city. get on a taxi again, reach our apartment we rented this time in Polanco also through Air B&B. Here are the evening fountains by a mall close by.
I have to show this apt. – it was contemporary, very freshly decorated, 2 bedroom, so comfortable, spacious and quiet, that I didn’t want to leave it :-). The price – $53 with all fees included. Highly recommend!
We rented the apartment in Polanco because we wanted to see how the Museo Soumaya looks at night. And it looks beautiful!
The next day we ordered Uber taxi, reached the airport and flew home. It took us 4 h non stop to Vegas. Then some food shopping in Trader Joes and 3 h driving home. And there is nothing better than home :-)…

Mexico 2018, San Miguel de Allende

It took us several hours to reach San Miguel by car from El Geiser. On the map you see a highway on the East side of Queretaro, you are driving from there and you plan to join it and proceed North. No way…it is a toll road and it is tricky to find a place to get on it. You have to do more research how to get there, which takes time and attention. We ended up driving through the whole million people town of Queretaro and getting onto a highway on the West side of it. It was additional stress and more time on the roads. Then in San Miguel it is not so simple to get on the right road while doing a number of roundabouts. We got lots once even with a GPS. So be careful and very attentive while driving there. We stayed in the very center. That also added the chill of driving on their cobbled streets. We picked a place to stay on a pedestrian street, which meant low noise level. The place is called Life Path -so we assumed there will be people who speak English. they are considered a rehabilitation place and so silence is required. That is what we need! Forget it- nobody speaks a word of English there and silence is required only during the day time while gringo’s (American expatriates) are doing yoga in a nice hall there or if they are meditating, but after they leave- I do not say that it is a party place, but it seemed to me that it was an overnight place for guests to sleep after participating in some party or wedding in this city. Which meant they would come late at night and walk in the room endlessly on stilettos. Happy people. Everything else in “Life Path” was perfect! I even had one class of yoga -meditation, it was good! Highly recommend! And yes, yoga was taught in English.

Here is our picture perfect the street we lived in.
Those are the views from our room. There are 6 rooms total in that ‘rehab.” center.
The kitchen where we were fed with very good breakfasts.
The view from the stairs of the house.
Colorful streets of San Miguel, the colors are not enhanced!
Boy, I like their love for trees! 🙂
Mexicans like such big dolls, those ones are in the market in San Miguel.
And they are patriotic.
More of this wonderful city, so beloved by artists, most of them – gringos. The ones who met – they said they are having such happy lives there! House help always takes some hard labor away and makes you happier, indeed.
It would be hard to choose anything here, too much 🙂
The cutest ! 🙂
Here- I don’t know who is cuter…
Lights and shadows of the architecture.
It was not easy to find a moment when there are no cars in a street…
No money is spared for their weddings. This is how they decorate even the premises of the church for their wedding…
What they lacked in technique, they compensated in their design and colors of clothes.
The symphony of Orange…
It is very popular to have areas for living on roofs, their climate is perfect for it!
Some streets were closed for transportation and it was such a relief! Maybe it is because of Christmas season, maybe for tourists to enjoy.
Their main churches the very center of Downtown at night.
Dolce vita!

Mexico 2018, Bernal and El Geiser

We rented a car for a week in some hotel on the edges of downtown in Queretaro. And drove towards Bernal. Locals say it takes half an hour. They are wrong. Maybe it would if they don’t close the important exit on a highway and you have to drive far away, turn around and so on and so forth. The other unpleasant feature on Mexican roads in smaller towns but sometimes even on highways are the Topas, or ‘lying policemen’. I think it shows how Mexicans like to not obey the speed limits so they are forced to, or maybe it is to make sure people do not drive fast where there is a lot life close by a road. Whatever they are for- I hate them…It causes stress on a car and on us inside. Luckily there is pretty good highway that leads to Bernal once you get on it through the maze of Queretaro roads. And there is a couple of seafood restaurants right by the highway – they are called Mariscos. Everything is tasty there, but Sopa (soup) mariscos – wow!

Here is the view of La Pena while entering Bernal.
We have been to Bernal 4 years ago at exactly the same days – the 11th and 12th of December. In exactly the same hotel Celia with exactly the same owner. It was like coming home. This time we had a King room with this view and also of La Penia.
As it was our second trip to here I already published a lot of pics from Bernal -the magic town center, this time mostly nature which never disappoints.
The first thing we did – tried to climb La Penia. it is like the climb to Angel’s Landing here at home, but the cacti are bigger by the side of the trail. Obviously I couldn’t climb the whole thing. just a little part and then waited for Andrei in a nice cafeteria by the trail.
The entrance to the empty church before the parade came. All those flowers are live ones.
The reason we came to Bernal on those dates were the Mary of Guadeloupe. last time their parade on the 11th impressed us so much that we decided to go along the memory lane. When it gets darker every house carries their St. Mary of Guadeloupe statue to the church for her to stay overnight in company of other St. Marys. The church is very beautifully decorated with an abundance of live flowers, especially the doors, and so with an orchestra and Indian drums beating families and business groups enter the church in full regalia.
Driving towards the geyser, its steams visible in the distance.
The only day we had there – we didn’t spend in Bernal, which we could. But as the owner mentioned that El Geiser is still fuming – we drove there some 40 km, 20 of which are on a country road with nobody around, just cacti and Joshua trees.
The geyser in in a valley like in a goblet of hills. Its waters are caught into pipes (an engineering marvel!), one of which supplies several hot pools, the other is directed towards enthusiasts in their swim suits. As mu husband says – it is like in heaven standing in the steam! I didn’t see that heaven while standing there for my glasses got steamed :-).
Pleasure combined with rehab and health! There are hotels there, very inexpensive. there are massage parlors, also very good and inexpensive and one van also camp there and cook all the meals while healing in the magic waters.
After spending 4h in the pools and steam we wanted to eat. We were not like some Mexican families there prepared with boxes of food . So we drove to another magic town Tequisquepan for some tasty gorditas. they are praising themselves with their wine, cheese and arts and we can agree to that. Bought some cheese there.
This area of Mexico has such type of buildings which are not churches, sometimes even guest cottages.
Again back to sleep in Bernal. I like their idea of fences grown from cacti!
La Penia from a different location looks different. Our hotel if far away on that slope.
Our hotel Casa Celia in the middle, the narrow one.
The lobby of a really grand looking hotel with all the tiles and marbles and an old agave bloom in the role of a Christmas tree. And we were the sole guests…The world is not fair.
The church doors the next day, you can tell – I love flowers!
On the way to El Geiser again, the next day.
This time there was a very strong wind, so it blew the steam to the other direction, we could not get much of it, but we could still get the healing powers of the pools. And I can witness two things – my knee started getting better so much noticeably faster. Another is not a thing but a man, who was standing by my pool and sticking only his hand into it. As he spoke English I found out that he drove all the way from Mexico city because he had a sore finger with the hopes to heal it. But why not to use the opportunity to heal the whole body once you are here? People never stop in making you wonder…
A blooming field of some culture with La Penia in the distance, driving away from Bernal…
The only still field of blooms we found on our way from El Geiser to San Miguel de Allende.
Andrei saw this bird in our yard by Casa Celia. It may be Western Tanager.