IMG_7116    Hola Sweet Friends!!

I finally have a moment to complete my post on my third and final week at Vaughan Town. I’ve learned that posting from hotels using their wifi (along with everyone else staying there) is usually not possible, so I have to wait until I return to Koln. This particular return was packed with errands preparing for my trip to Norway and visiting with friends, so I’m actually posting this from Norway where we are currently in the middle of a white out!! But more on that later.

My third and final week at Vaughan Town was again a wonderful experience with new friends. We also had a new MC, Carlotta, and a new Program Director, Lucia, who were both fantastic and made our week in Gredos so much fun! We did re-enactments IMG_7128of Summer Lovin from Grease and Goodnight (So Long, Farewell…) from Sound of Music and we were blessed with several superstars who always managed to steal the show. Several of the Spaniards were very close classmates and class clowns who kept everyone laughing the entire week. I met so many wonderful people, both Anglo and Spaniard, that I hope to keep as pen pals and perhaps see again on my next trip to Spain.

This was my third week at Gredos and I was a little tired from all the  talking and partying every night, but I managed to stay up for the Thursday night dance party and we had a really wonderful night. I heard the next morning that some people stayed up until 4:30 AM, but I was smart and snuck out around 1:30 AM so that I would have some energy on Friday. Usually Friday morning, everyone is dragging and the Spaniards can barely put sentences together – our last Friday was no exception. At breakfast, many peIMG_7129ople were red-eyed and holding their heads in their hands; most slept on the bus back to Madrid.

Once back in Madrid, I bid adios to my final group of Vaughan Town participants and headed back to my hotel. By now, the front desk staff know me, and so I checked in quickly and easily. Once in my room, I took a hot shower and lay down to read myself to sleep. It was cold and rainy outside and I was exhausted, so I stayed in for the night content to read my book and drift to sleep early in the evening.

The next morning, I had a wonderful lunch at a vegan restaurant and did a little more sightseeing. Saturday evening, I met two Spanish ladies I met at Vaughan Town during weeks 1 and 2. They are friends but were unable to attend the same retreat week, so we decided to all go out Saturday night.

IMG_7114I met Isabel and Concha at a place called Ancora, a restaurant/bar/club owned by Richard Vaughan’s daughter. It’s a great place and a band was supposed to play that night so we met there; but by 10:30 the band had not started so we left and met two of their friends at a blues club called Moe’s. It was awesome! There was a rock-a-bily band playing and they were incredible. So great to hear good live music with a slide guitar and familar songs. We danced and listened to music for several hours and I think I arrived back at the hotel around 2 AM. Glad I got a good night’s sleep on Friday!

Sunday, I had a lovely brunch at Le Pain Quotidien. It’s a chain restaurant/bakery/boulIMG_7097angerie found in Europe and the US, that serves fresh, organic food and baked goods and even has many vegan items. I have eaten there in London, Barcelona, Madrid and everywhere else I can find one. It’s consistently high-quality food and reasonably priced AND vegan! It was wonderful as always! And, I had the added bonus of talking with a man sitting across from me (it’s a communal table) who was from Atlanta Georgia!! He works for IBM and he was transferred to Madrid where he and his wife are living. I am constantly reminded how small the world is and how lucky I am to be traveling and seeing a good bit of it!

After brunch, I walked in the area around the Prado Museum. It’s a wonderful walking streIMG_7155et with trees, wide sidewalks, cafes, museums and a botanic garden. I walked through the Jardin Retiro and enjoyed the sunshine and exercise. Hundreds of people were out walking despite the cold. It was a great day to be outside!

I had already checked out of my hotel earlier that morning but my flight did not leave until 8 PM, so I enjoyed my leisurely stroll through the city, late afternoon coffee outside at a cafe, and then headed back to the hotel and then to the airport. I like to give myself plenty of time at the airport, especially when flying Ryan Air. They may be cheap, but flying with them can be a hassle especially at check-in.

I arrived back in Koln around 10 PM, and by the time I caught the train from the airport to the Hauptbanhof and then the metro to the apartment it was nearly 11:30! I fell into my bed exhausted and happy. I dreamed of Oliva and Travolta, IMG_7100quemata, pan de tomato, Spanish olive oil, wigs, snow, one-to-one’s, and many many many new faces.

I hope your dreams are filled with delightful faces and memories! Adios Spain, Gredos, Vaughan Town and of course, you, Sweet Friends.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *