End of Trip Report… Spain and Portugal

David de Ubaldis and Buddha painting

End of Trip Report… Spain and Portugal

December 26th.

How pleasant!  I’ve been home for over 3 weeks, but have been busy, busy, busy!  Today I’m finally able to slow down and RELAX… and a snow storm has arrived to make SURE I do just that!  Wonderful! 

So… when I was last “seen” I had just arrived in Salamanca.  Salamanca is a wonderful old city!  It has been a university town since the 13th Century and has amazing Renaissance and Plateresque architecture.  I’m still trying to figure out exactly what makes “Plateresque”, Plateresque… but it was very beautiful!  The city has not one but TWO cathedrals.  The “old” cathedral dates back to about the 12th to 13th century.  The “new” one was built between the 16th and 18th centuries.  Our idea of “new” in this country is a little different! 

The University is historic!  Columbus was supposed to have tried to drum up support for his voyage to the “Far-East” at the University.  Of course, EVERY place in Spain claims to have been instrumental in Columbus’ voyage.  There is a great story about a Salamanca professor, Fray Luis de Leon, who taught theology at the University.  He ran afoul of the Inquisition and was imprisoned for seven years.  When he was finally allowed to return to the class room, he began his first lecture with the famous words… “As I was saying…”. 

Fray Luis de Leon felt that the insanity of the Inquisition was not worth even commenting on!  The classroom where he taught is still used today… and has the same (very basic) benches and tables that furnished the room in Fray de Leon’s day!  Pretty amazing! 

I returned to Madrid to pick up my Buddha painting.  The artist David de Ubaldis did an amazing job of painting it for me.  I am very pleased!  It is already up on my wall!  I still have to get it framed, but that is on my to-do list.  I also took a day trip to Toledo again from Madrid.  This time I spent the day just wandering with another woman I met along the way.  It is always nice to find a companion for a day or so!  We had a great day together.

I flew home from Madrid on November 30th.  I only had a one bag luggage allowance so I had to get everything into one bag.  It would have been easy except for the three and a half foot tall (8 inch in circumference) tube of rolled up oil painting!  I DID manage to secure it to my backpack well enough to have it count as ONE piece… but it looked so “odd” that the TSA tore it open and inspected it.  NO damage was done though!  The LAST time the TSA opened a bag of mine they sliced through another Buddha painting I was bringing home from Thailand! 

So… I hit the ground running once I got home!  Between unpacking and getting back up to speed here, I’ve barely had time to “breathe”.  I am in charge of getting volunteers for our church’s annual gift wrapping fundraiser at Barnes and Nobles.  I had signed up for 5 days of wrapping for our church and two days of wrapping for a Buddhist group that helps slum inhabitants in India get medical care.  That was a commitment of 2 people an hour for 12 hours a day for a whole week.  We were allowed the last week before Christmas… the best money-making days!  They were busy days! 

Then, two groups that had been scheduled to wrap cancelled at the last moment, and I was asked to bring in wrappers for an additional two days.  We used those two days to earn money for “Gilda’s Club”.  Our church is spearheading the effort to get a “Gilda’s Club” brought to Greenville.  We are very excited about the enthusiasm that we are seeing for the project in both our own church and the community at large.  The brief explanation of what a “Gilda’s Club” is, is that it is a place for people with cancer AND their friends and family to go for support, community, pot-lucks and information.  It will provide services that were not available (and needed) when my husband was fighting his cancer.  I am personally very excited about the project! 

The wrapping “gig” is a lot of work… but FUN!  I enjoy the heck out of it!  While most of the hours are “covered” by volunteers, I am usually there MOST of the hours to add an extra “hand”.  Sometimes I get a little TOO helpful!  LOL!  My Mom came to visit for a week during that time as well, so I have been a busy girl! 

I spent Christmas with friends here in Greenville.  And that brings me up to today.  A pleasant snowy day!  Virtually everything in Greenville closes when as much as a half inch falls.  Today we have had about 5 inches of very wet snow… which is still falling as of night fall.  I DID venture out very early today to buy half-price Christmas bows for next year’s wrapping, but other than that, it has been an easy day at home.  Nice! 

I’ll post photos as soon as I get them uploaded.   Until then…

Life’s a TRIP!