We left Hungary and flew overnight on a South African Airways 747 to Johannesburg, then on to Durban. We stayed at Greg and Becky’s new home in Waterfall, KZN, visited friends and acquaintances from our last visit, spent a weekend holiday south of Durban on the Indian ocean, but most of all were captivated by our granddaughter Felicity.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a small book.
We first flew to Budapest to meet with Gabi Papp, who had stayed with us years ago as a Rotary exchange student when he went to Rifle High School. The week after my niece’s wedding in Germany in June, 2006, we visited Gabi at home in Debrecen, Hungary. It was a memorable experience, and when we left we told him that we’d come back either when he was elected Prime Minister of Hungary or got married. Apparently, (and unfortunately for his country, but good for him) politics are not in his future, but Kitti Karakas was.
We arrived at the bustling and confusing Budapest airport at the same time as his younger brother Balint flew in from a trip to revisit old friends from his Rotary exchange experience in Mexico, and we connected at the baggage claim area. The Papp family first took us to their vacation villa on the beautiful Lake Balaton, then after a couple of days recovering from jet lag, and touring the wine country, several ancient and historic areas, and a mineral spa, we went to Budapest for the wedding. Which was remarkable:
We won the prize for the guests who came the farthest to attend the wedding.
Gabi, his wife, and their families could not have been more gracious, and except for the heat and humidity in Budapest, everything was perfect. We were ready to travel overnight to South Africa.
I think we have figured out what to pack, and where it is going to go. I programmed my GPS so that we can find geocaches in South Africa. Here’s the list and note how far the geocaches are from Grand Junction:
The only slightly surprising information is that Lufthansa only allows one checked bag for free, so we’ll have to pay them for the second one. Darned airlines!
UPDATE: We learned that since I was a member of Lufthansa’s frequent flyer club, the second bag was free. Yay!!
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I struggle to remember most books I’ve read recently, but this will linger. It’s rich and beautiful, with characters you can’t forget and plotting that’s nearly perfect. My only suggestion: buy it. I borrowed it from my library and spent the better part of two days trying to finish it before the Kindle gods consigned the bits and bytes inside its memory to random gibberish. I wish I’d had a chance to savor the ending.
Best novel I’ve read in quite some time.
View all my reviews
It’s harvest time in the Grand Valley. Thanks to abundant rainfall and a warm June, the peach harvest is very good this year. We bought a flat of organic peaches at the Grand Junction farmers’ market last week, and today, Georgia and I made peach jam and peach chutney:
Responsive Flickr Gallery Error - Photoset not found
Not only does it taste good, we know what went in it. No High Fructose Corn Syrup or mystery chemicals. Nice.
Four of us left the new park between the Botanical Gardens and the brewpub about 9 o’clock this morning. A new member had joined us, so our group of retired people included a Grand Junction police officer, a Colorado State Patrolman, a parole officer and a judge. Thanks to the fact that I haven’t ridden in several years, and they had, they were faster than I was. That’s the spin. The fact is that they’re in better shape than me. But I’m working on it.
Here’s the route. For those of you who have ridden in the Tour of the Valley, it should be familiar.
We rode across a newer bike bridge which crosses the Colorado River and leads up a very steep hill to the Orchard Mesa area. The peach harvest is underway, and the trees are heavy with fruit. Along the way, we passed several old and new vineyards and roadside fruit stands. And tucked behind the trees is some truly remarkable sculpture, including one of a large fish made entirely out of license plates. And coming back along the river in a state park, we came across several native birds taking advantage of the abundant moisture and lakes, including a family of ospreys.
The Palisade website might entice you to visit. Here’s their brief history of the area:
Palisade, Colorado is renowned for its ability to grow some of North America’s best fruit. Palisade has a rich history of raising all types of fruits and vegetables in a climate unique to this section of the Western Slope. As early as the 1890s, apple, cherry, peach, pear and plum trees were planted in the area. In 1909, the town celebrated the first Peach Day festival, with President Taft as the speaker. During harvest season, which runs from late June to early October, you’ll be able to find these great fruits and vegetables at stands and orchards throughout the town.
If you’re going to be here in September, you might enjoy the Palisade Winefest. And you can follow our route, with stops at the vineyards along the way (and a free shower afterwards) at the aptly named Tour de Vineyards.