Yesterday — it seems so long ago, because it is actually a day and a half — we left Barcelona. Reluctantly — we’d gone to the market in the morning for the last chance at those delicious pastries and fruits; stopped at the hotel for last-minute packing; and then had an interesting cab ride to the airport with Jordi. He spent some time telling us about the architectural peculiarities of Barcelona homes, and more time talking about Catalan Independence. Life at the Barcelona airport was tedious in the wait-in-line for an hour to check in way of airports, but got more interesting once we were on the plane and the crew announced that we would be taking off half an hour late. Because we had only an hour in London to make our next flight and knew that we would have to go back through security again, this piqued our interest considerably.
In fact, we were half an hour late into London, and semi-frantic activity ensued. When we got to security, the person there had to print out new boarding passes with new seat assignments for us all. Then she practically pushed us into the screening line, the guy there sort of waved us through without really looking at the X-ray scanner, and we ran another quarter mile or so to the gate. We made it on to the plane, and in fact with considerably better seats than we’d started with, plus a little extra exercise. After that, it was eight hours on a trans-Atlantic flight — little to say. We got to Newark on time; the one checked bag (with our walking sticks, pocket knives and my backpack) arrived several hours later.
Today was another travel day — we went from Newark to Guilford, Connecticut to see friends there — three hours driving up, and four hours driving on the return trip. Between construction, rush hour, accidents, and general unfathomable traffic hold-ups we spent seven hours in the car. We remarked that in seven hours, we could walk about 14 or 15 miles; we could drive (today) about 200 miles; or we could fly (yesterday) from London to Newark. Of those choices (and assuming no rain), we would prefer to have walked the 14 miles, although it is valuable to be able to cover all of that additional territory when the circumstances demand it. On the other hand, when the afternoon rain came pouring down with no more than a minute’s warning, we were happy to be in the car, not struggling to pull on our ponchos, and not having to walk several more miles through the mud and little rivulets in the path.
Connecticut/Guilford — which is right on the ocean is lovely — worn slabs and boulders of pink granite, and marshes shape the landscape. The trees are just beginning to turn colors and the summer’s flowers and greenery remains lush and bright. Even the muggy gray clouds and haze didn’t hide the pleasures of the views. Cormorants, egrets, and ducks swam on the marshes. The homes, old and new, were expensive but interesting.
Now we are settled for three days into a very suburban hotel in Fairfield, New Jersey that has free breakfasts, a laundromat, easy access to transportation to the city, a restaurant that features the current American version of Mediterranean cooking (with quite acceptable chefs), and pleasant helpful staff. Tomorrow we’ll sleep in, head into the city for an afternoon of shopping and looking around, and an evening at a play written and performed by some of Anthea’s friends from CMU.
Layers of spider webs holding last night’s rain, in a Connecticut yard.
Boats docked in a Guilford bay.
Connecticut has many stone buildings (this restaurant where we ate lunch is one) and stone walls that reminded us of Spain. It’s a transition between the West Coast with most houses built of wood, and Europe (at least around the Mediterranean) where so much is stone or brick because of wood’s scarcity.
A bit of autumn color beginning to show. It’s difficult to take a photo of trees without getting power lines showing up — it’s an indication of the deeply uneasy relationships between the two things. The storms blow the trees onto the power lines, and people are without electricity for days at a time.
A pool of pink granite in a front yard.
An old stone wall. The stones stacked diagonally and on edge may indicate that it was built by the local Indians.