2008 Feb 27 - Trip to Illinois and Louisiana

On 25 February 2008, friends in our village - Georges, Annie and their two sons, Ludovic and Lillian - took me to the Zaragoza airport so I wouldn't have to take the bus.

I left the Zaragoza airport enroute to Stansted, England. From there I would take a bus to the Heathrow Airport. I would have to spend the night near the Heathrow Airport (because of my flight schedule), but then I would fly non-stop from Heathrow to Chicago.

I had not been in the USA for about 4 years. I was going to visit my daughter, Aimée, and her family in Chicago, Illinois for 3 weeks and my sisters, brother and relatives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for 3 weeks. I have kept in contact with everybody and seen them via the internet and a webcam, but now I was going to see them “up close and personal!”

Click on any picture to enlarge it.

I arrived in Stansted (off the top of this map) and took a bus (National Express) to a hotel near Heathrow.

It was necessary to spend a night in London because the flight leaving Heathrow left at 2:15PM and the flight arriving at Stansted arrived at 2:30PM. Therefore, I had to spend the night and catch the flight out of Heathrow the next day.

The flight time from Zaragoza/Pyrenees to London/Stansted - 2 hrs.
The bus ride from London/Stansted to London/Heathrow - 1 hr 30 min.
The flight time from London/Heathrow to Chicago/O’Hare - 8 hr 35 min.

Total travel time: 12 hrs. 5 min.

The Zaragoza airport is located 10km (6.2 miles) south-west from the city centre. It is a joint civil-military aerodrome which is currently experiencing a major increase in passenger traffic with a growth rate of over 77% between 2004 and 2006.

Zaragoza is 2 hours from our village.

For your information

As of April 2008, until further notice:

Ryan Air has changed their flight schedule to and from Zaragoza/Pyrenees:
Ryan Air now has only ONE flight in and out of Zaragoza to Stansted
Zaragoza to Stansted – LV 10:40pm – AR 11:45pm.
Stansted to Zaragoza – LV 6:55pm – AR 10:05pm.


Ryan Air now has TWO flights in and out of Barcelona/Reus:
to ReusLV 6:10am – AR 9:20am
Reus to Stansted – LV 9:45am – AR 11:00am

Reus to Stansted – LV 10:40pm – AR 11:45pm
Stansted to ReusLV 6:55pm – AR 10:05pm

The Reus Airport is approx.:
3 kms (2 miles) from the City of Reus,
13 km (8 miles) from Tarragona and

80 km (50 miles) south of Barcelona.

There is a lot of modernization going on at the airport. A new check-in area has just opened on the side of the old departure terminal and the smallish but modern arrivals terminal is now open. There is also a small kiddie’s playground area with a slide, etc. just outside the departures terminal, by the model of an airplane.

Reus is approx. 1.5 hours from our village.


My first stop was Chicago, Illinois. I went to visit my daughter, Aimée, her husband, Richard, and my two grand kids, Lauren (10 years old) and Jared (8 years old). They live in Round Lake, Illinois, about 1 hour north of Chicago and about 5 miles (9 km) south of the Wisconsin state line.

I wanted to see some snow (we had not had any in the village for a couple of years)…..and I was not disappointed. When I arrived at Aimee’s house, there was about a foot of snow on the ground. It was a pretty site.

This is Aimée and Richard's House in Round Lake, Illinois

Standing with my back to the garage, these pictures are looking to my left and right.

The School bus stops in front of the house facing the camera (upper right hand corner of the photo on the left).

The deck behind their house was still covered in snow.

The morning after I arrived, Jared came into my room and said, “Paw-Paw, you want to walk with us to the corner where we catch the school bus?” I said I wasn’t sure if I wanted to or not. He said, “Well, you have 15 minutes. Hurry up and get dressed.” I was still in bed with my pajamas on, so I quickly dressed and walked with Jared, Lauren, and my son-in-law, Richard,

It was and 26ºF (-3ºC) when I walked out of the door. The sharp wind cut right through the sweater and down-jacket I had on….I was freezing!! It was only about a half-block to the corner where the children caught the school bus. Fortunately, we only had to wait about 5 minutes before the school bus arrived. I really felt sorry for the kids. But they had on their heavy coats with snow-pants over their school clothes. They were better prepared than I was.

When the children get to school, they each have a “cubby-hole” (it’s like a tall locker with no door). At their “cubby,” they take off and hang their jackets, snow-pants, and show-shoes, Then they take their “school shoes” out of their back-packs, put them on and take their books and homework out of their back-packs and put them in their desk. It’s a chaotic but organized scene! The RE-dressing takes place if they are going outside to play and when school is finished for the day and they are going home.

I was really glad we didn’t have to wait too long for the bus!


Not far from their house was a frozen lake. Fishermen had walked out onto the ice with a bucket or crate and their fishing pole. They would cut a hole in the ice, sit on their bucket or crate and fish until they caught something.

I never liked fishing very much…..mostly because I seldom caught anything. And I certainly wouldn’t go sit on a bucket or crate out in the open, on the ice with no protection from the sharp wind and frigid temperatures and hope some cold, hungry, confused fish might bite my hook and I could take home a fresh fish for dinner.

I'm sorry, that just doesn't sound like fun to me. I would much rather go to a climite-controlled supermarket and buy one at the seafood counter. That is much easier….and warmer!


Both Lauren and Jared took Karate during the winter months.

I went to their class to watch them practice. After watching them practice, I knew I certainly didn't want them to get mad at me!

"POOKIE" the Traveling Bear

Jared inherited the little traveling bear that Lauren had last year. The bear's name is "Pookie" and is supposed to travel around the United States and the world. Where ever he goes, he send back postcards to his owner in the class. When the postcards arrive, the teacher tells the students and they have to find the city and state - or country - where their bear sent the postcard.

This is a fun way for them to learn geography.

Aimée helps the teachers in Lauren and Jared’s class twice a week. That’s her putting up the postcards with yarn indicating where the postcard is from.


That's me answering questions. The girl is Lauren's friend, Katarina, from Russia.

This is a picture of Lauren's class. Lauren is standing in front of me.Lauren asked me to go her class and tell her classmates about Spain.

I showed them where Spain was and where I lived. I told them about the small village we live in and about the 300+ year-old house we live in.

The students then then had a chance to ask me questions – like....

What type of food do the farmers grow?
The farmers tend mainly to trees: Walnuts, Almonds, Peaches, Cherries – but mostly Olives

What type of foods do the Spanish eat?
I told them about how I had eaten baby octopus fried in butter and garlic for breakfast.
(I don’t think they believed me – but they said they didn’t want any!)

They asked if the village ever got snow.
I told them we had gotten a few inches two years ago. Because we don’t get snow that often, the village doesn’t have any snow-removal equipment. So, they take the attitude that “Mother Nature put the snow there; so, Mother Nature can take it away.”

I thought they had many good questions for being in the 4th grade.

The OSCAR MAYER "Wiener Mobile"

One day, while out shopping, we happened to see the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile. This “Big Wiener” mobile (and others like it) travel around the United States advertising the Oscar Mayer Wiener.

When we first saw it, there was a note taped to the door. The people were taking a break. So, they posted a note on the door saying “Be back soon. We are warming our buns!” So, we went back later and they gave us a little whistle shaped like the “Big Wiener” mobile.


Besides Karate, Lauren and Jared also take baseball lessons. Jared was taking a pitching class. Lauren was taking a class to learn how to pitch and catch.


One Sunday, we went to Schaumburg, Illinois. They have this castle, where inside – 6 knights put on medieval armor and fight in a legendary competition for the title of “King’s Champion.”

First you entered the castle and went to the table where the (paper) crowns were. You were given a crown and told to go into the Hall of Arms displaying Medieval artefacts.

The Lord Chancellor tells everybody to gather near the Throne because the King was coming to "Knight" some special guests.

The Buglers sounded their horns and the ceremony began.

As part of the ceremony, while we were waiting to go into the arena and be seated, the King "Knighted" many of the guests that were celebrating their birthday.

Unfortunately, neither Lauren or Jared were celebrating their birthdays.

The Lord Chancellory talked to the crowd assembled in the Hall of Arms and told them they would be seated by the color of their crowns. When your color was called, you were to go through the doors into the arena and take your assigned seat. There were 6 different colors, to correspond to the Knights. We had been given a green crown.

Each time your Knight came into the arena, you were to cheer and shout as loudly as possible.

As you can see, we were seated in the GREEN section.

We are really getting excited about see the GREEN Knight. He is the one representing us, and we want him to win.

The Story begins....

After fighting wars for years and sacrificing, King Philippe has finally secured the peace of his ancient enemy, the King of Leone.

His son, Prince Tristan, goes on a mission for his father. He must leave his bride in the King’s care and ride to Leone. He travels to Leone to sign a treaty that will free the two kingdoms from further war. But as fate would have it, he is captured and held prisoner before he can get the treaty signed.

Princess Leonore, a newly wed, longs for the return of her husband, the Prince.
She seeks news of his return and remembers their bittersweet parting.

The Lord Chancellor introduces the Tournament of Knights where the guests of the King will watch incredible feats of skill and daring, performed by the brave champions who come from every corner of King Philippe’s realm.

The parade of colors enters the arena.

We get to see our GREEN Knight for the first time.

The King, Princess and Lord Chancellor welcome the Royal Guests and announce that the games will now begin.

Dinner is served....

We were served a delicious meal of:
- Garlic Bread
- A bowl of “Dragon’s Blood” (Tomato bisque soup)
- A Roasted Baby Dragon (Roasted Chicken)
- Spare Rib
- Herb-Basted Potatoes
- Pastry of the Castle
- Pepsi
- Coffee

All served with NO eating utensils. The bowl and plate were made of pewter. The bowl had a handle so you could drink the soup, everything else had to be eaten with your fingers – just like they did in Medieval Times.

While you ate, you were treated to an exciting, yet touching, story set in Medieval Spain. Along with lots of jousting, swordsmanship, hand-to-hand combat, extraordinary horsemanship and falconry.

Extraordinar Horsemanship

During the grand celebration, the Herald of Leone brings a message from the King of Leone. It is delivered by this brave horseman, who has prepared a special stallion presentation for the King and
his guests.

The Kingdom is home to a prized collection of magnificent Andalusian stallions. Through the evening the Master of Horse and his team will present the King, Princess and their guests several dazzling displays of superior horsemanship.

At the end of the stallion presentation, the horses bow to the King.


The Royal Falconer performs with his mighty bird of prey. The tournament includes a live flight of the royal falcon, soaring over the heads of the King’s guests.

The Royal Falconer teases the falcon by swinging a dead bird around his head while the falcon circles the arena several times before the Royal Falconer finally lets the falcon “catch” his prey.



Hand-to-Hand Combat

....and then it was over.

The Prince was rescued and reunited with his bride.

The King, Prince, Princess and Lord Chancellor thanked the Knights for a fine tournament and also thanked the royal guests for coming and making this tournament a success.

Lauren was tossed a red carnation by the Green Knight for being an exceptionally enthusiastic fan.

And it's time for us to say good-bye to the Medieval Times -- it was fun while it lasted.

Now back to the present -- with traffic jams instead of Jousting, honking car horns instead of hand-to-hand combat.....and knives and forks instead of greasy fingers!

By the end of a week's stay, the snow had started to melt. I only stayed a week wtih Aimée and family and then headed to Baton Rouge for three weeks. But after Baton Rouge, I will return to Chicago for another 2 weeks.

- Remember -
Click on any picture to enlarge it

Home of cajun and creole cooking....and many relatives and friends.

This is the Louisiana State Capitol building. It is 450 feet (137 meters) tall, and has 34 stories.


Most of my family lives in or near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My first sister, Judy, and my brother, Grady, both live in Baton Rouge and near to each other. My second sister, Hedy, lives in Port Gibson, Mississippi (about 2 hours away from Baton Rouge). My aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends either live in Baton Rouge or nearby. So, staying at my sister’s house in Baton Rouge made me centrally located.

(Right to Left)
We are lined up in the order we were born -
Floyd, Judy, Hedy, Grady.

(Left to Right)
Grady, his son, Ricky, holding his son, Dakota, and me.

Ricky holding his son, Dakota.

Ricky had invited us to their house for a jambalaya dinner. Needless to say, I was anxious to go because this would be some good, Southern cooking. I was not disappointed!

I felt sorry for Dakota because he was suffering with an inner ear infection, but although he was hurting, he managed to smile for the camera.

This is Grady's (my brother) family with their spouses -
Ricky (holding Dakota) and his wife Jessica Britney and her husband Steve Linsey and her husband Jim

Bambi, Judy's daughter, and me.

(Left to Right)
Floyd, with Bambi's son, Vincent.

(Left to Right)
Floyd, Vincent and Hedy

(Left to Right)
Floyd and Hedy.
Hedy lives in Port Gibson, Mississippi. She came to Baton Rouge and stayed for a few days when I first arrived. When she returned to Mississippi, she developed pneumonia and was not able to come back and visit longer. She's well now and, thankfully, didn't have to go to the hospital.

Vincent's Grandmother, Judy, and Aunt Connie gave him a huge plastic duck for Easter. He loves it and tries to carry it all around the house with him. Sometimes he sits on it, sometimes he lays on it, but most of the time he wrestles with it.

Vincent is such a happy baby. He smiles almost all of the time. I tried to find a little space in my suitecase so I could take him home to Spain, but unfortunately there was no room.

Hayden is Cindy's son. He is really getting big. He is now going to school and speaks very well. Unfortunately, he wasn't feeling very well the day I was trying to take his picture and was being uncooperative.

(Left to Right)
Floyd, Nancy (Grady's wife) Britney and Grady
One night the five of us went out to dinner at the Olive Garden Restaurant. The meal was wonderful. I had pasta with a seafood sauce.....fantastic! And best of all....I had a great time.

After the meal, we went to a little ice cream parlor for dessert. By the time we had finished dessert, I thought somebody would have to roll me to the car, I was so full.

(Left to Right)
Britney, Nancy, Steve, Grady --- Floyd, Nancy, Steve, Grady

(Left to Right)
Cometa and her daughter, Julie
Besides my relatives, the two people I wanted to see in Baton Rouge were Cometa and Sherry. I went to school with them in grade school and high school. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of Sherry. We keep in touch with each other via email, but it was really nice to be able to sit and talk with them face-to-face.

Sherry, send me a picture so I can put it here in my blog.

Plus some facts and trivia

NEW State Capitol Building
The Louisiana State Capitol building is located on a 50-acre piece of land, which includes the capitol gardens and Capitol Lake. The structure was completed in March 1932 after 27 months at a cost of $5 million.

The modern capitol building replaced the Old Louisiana State Capital building, which was built in 1847.

Tallest state capitol in the United States.

The capitol is surrounded by a fifty-acre park with ten miles of walks and drives.

Tallest building in Louisiana from 1932 to 1969, when it was surpassed by Plaza Tower in New Orleans.

There is an Observation Deck is on the 27th floor and overlooks Baton Rouge at a height of 350 feet. The views are spectacular. To the east are formal rose gardens and a well-preserved Arsenal, constructed in 1835. To the west, the Mississippi flows toward the Gulf.

Old State Capitol Building
The land donated by the city for the capitol building stands high atop a bluff facing the Mississippi River. Some believe this site was once marked by the red pole, or "le baton rouge" which French explorers claimed designated a Native American council meeting site.

In 1862, during the Civil War, Union troops (from the North) captured New Orleans and the seat of government retreated from Baton Rouge. The Union troops first used the "old gray castle" (as it was once described) as a prison and then as a garrison (a place occupied by troops) for African-American troops under General Culver Grover.

While used as a garrison, the Old Louisiana State Capitol caught fire twice. This, in turn, transformed the building into an empty, gutted shell and was abandoned by the Union troops.

By 1882 the state house was totally reconstructed with the installation of a spiral staircase and stained glass dome, which are the focal points of the interior. The refurbished state house remained in use until 1932, when it was abandoned for the New State Capitol building.

The Old State Capitol Building was restored in the 1990s, and is now a museum.

The Old Governor’s Mansion
The Louisiana Old Governor's Mansion was built in 1930 under the governorship of Huey P. Long, its first resident. The building is said to be a copy of the White House. It is said that Governor Long wanted to be familiar with the White House in Washington when he became president, so he had the White House duplicated in Baton Rouge (some people dispute this legend).
However, in 1935, Louisiana’s controversial governor, Huey P. Long – then a U.S. Senator – was fatally wounded by an assassin in the New State Capitol building. He died two days later as a result of his wounds and is interred in the Capitol gardens on the south side of the Capitol.

NEW Governor’s Mansion
The New Governor’s Mansion was built in 1963 when Jimmie Davis was Governor of Louisiana. The Mansion is located on the edge of the Capital Lake near the Capitol Gardens and the Louisiana State Capitol.

Capitol Gardens
This area of the Capitol Gardens is between the State Capitol Building and the New Governor's Mansion.

Capitol Gardens
In this photo you can see the State Capitol building through the trees in the Capitol Gardens.

Memory Lane
In this photo, I was just strolling down memory lane. The tall building on the left side of the photo used to be called the Louisiana National Bank Building, but I see it has been changed to the Chase Building. I used to work on the 13th floor when I worked for Ethyl Corporation. The 5-story brick building in the foreground was where my ex-wife worked for Bell South Telephone company. From these two jobs, we left Baton Rouge in 1972 and headed to Washington, DC where we went to work for the F.B.I.

Some Louisiana Facts and Trivia

Louisiana has the tallest state capitol building in the United States; the building is 450 feet tall with 34 floors.

The world famous "Mardi Gras" is celebrated in New Orleans. Mardi Gras is an ancient custom that originated in southern Europe. It celebrates food and fun just before the 40 days of Lent: a Catholic time of prayer and sacrifice.

Louisiana was named in honor of King Louis XIV. King of France from 1643-1715.

Louisiana is the only state in the union that does not have counties. Its political subdivisions are called parishes.

Louisiana is the only state with a large population of Cajuns, descendants of the Acadians who were driven out of Canada in the 1700s because they wouldn't pledge allegiance to the King of England.

In Louisiana, biting someone with your natural teeth is considered a simple assault, but biting someone with your false teeth is considered an aggravated assault.

In 1803 the United States paid France $15 million for the Louisiana Territory. 828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River. The lands acquired stretched from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border. Thirteen states were carved from the Louisiana Territory. The Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the size of the United States.

bayou: \BUY-you\ n. a French name for slow-moving "river"

The St. Charles streetcar line in New Orleans and the cable cars in San Francisco, California are the nation's only mobile national monuments.

Thanks to: Samdu Kreutter, Karolyn Goss


Judy, Connie and I were invited to go to Aunt Ruthie and Uncle Jay’s grand daughter's house for a crawfish boil. Naturally, I accepted. Judy and Connie were unable to go because they were babysitting Vincent and Hayden.

I thought it was going to be a “small-ish” affair, but they told me later that their grand daughter (Debbie's daughter), Shannon, and her husband hold this at their place every year. There were 50 immediate family present and a lot of them brought guests. So, you can imagine the number of hungry people waiting for that first pot of crawfish.

The crawfish were boiled for a lot of Cajun seasonings - along with potatoes, ears of corn, mushrooms and cloves of garlic thrown in as lagniappe (lan-YAP) - an “unexpected something extra.”

I heard some people say that the crawfish were smaller this year, but for somebody who had not had any for 4-years, the size didn’t may any difference to me.

There were plenty of sacks of crawfish, and a couple of large pots to boil them.

Don't they look goooood?!?

(Left to Right)
Dale, Debbie, and her son, "Boogie"

Aunt Ruthie and Floyd

The the first pot of crawfish was poured on the table, most of the socializing stopped - it's hard to talk with your mouth full. Notice Doris (Debbie's mother-in-law) in the blue dress. (You will see her again at different tables.)

(Left to Right)
Photo 1: Vickie Armand (Laird)'s son, Aaron Laird, his wife Brandi and baby Amelia. Aaron is the grandson of Aunt Ruby and Uncle Billy.

Photo 2: Aunt Ruthie and Uncle Jay

Hey, there's Doris again - at a different table next to a new pile of cooked crawfish.

Boogie seems to be enjoying himself.

Well, there's Doris again. Looks like she found what she was searching for......big crawfish!!

Debbie and a friend -- Dale and his wife, Jeanette

Dale, Jeanette and Brenda -- Brenda again.

Vivian and her husband John.

Well, I'm full. I guess it's time for me to move on.
I'm headed back to Chicago. I can still get good cajun food there -- Aimée is a good cook.

On 26 March, I flew back to Chicago. The temperature is a little warmer, but on 27 March, the day after I arrived, we had a dusting of 3-inches of snow. A couple of days later, I'm looking through Aimée's window above her front door. As you can see, the lakes have started thawing, the snow is just about all gone, but the temperature is still pretty cool - but above freezing.

Now you can see the whole deck. Although it looks like a spring day, Aimée said she has been warned not to plant anything until after Mother's Day. Because there was always a chance of more snow or freezing temperatures.


Everybody was awakened by a loud thumping (or banging) noise coming from downstairs. Come to find out, it was this robin who was determined to get into the dining room. It kept flying into the window pane.

It would fly off of a perch and bang into the window head-first. You would think, after a few attempts it would realize it was impossible and go away. But no. It kept flying head-first into the window pane again.....and again.....and again....for hours! Around noon, I guess the sun would shine on the window and the reflection was such that it didn't seem tempting, and it would go away.

Only to RE-appear the next morning, flying repeatedly into the window pane until around noon again. You would think it would get a headache and stop. But like I said, it was very determined!

I kept looking around the neighborhood to see if flocks of birds might be gathering......like the Alfred Hitchcock's movie, "The Birds.". But there were no flocks of birds....of any kind -- just this one stupid robin.


I had never been to Wisconsin. So, one day we all took a trip to the Sprecher Brewery.

The Brewery was founded in 1985 by Randy Sprecher. It was the first micro-brewery in Milwaukee since Prohibition.

You pay for the tour....

Then you wait by the "Beer Garden" for the tour to start.

One of the employees comes and guides you through the brewery.

This is the bottling area and conveyor belts. The tours are only given on the weekend - when they are not working. The tour guide said that during the week, when they are working, it is so noisy you wouldn't be able to hear him talk.

I thought it was really cute the way they painted the walls to look like German houses.

Once the beer is bottled, it is then packed in boxes ready for delivery.

Once you have finished the tour, you are brought back to the "Beer Garden" where you can sample their beer and sodas. Included in the admission price of $3.00, you are given tickets to sample 4 beers (they have 14 beers to choose from) -plus- you can sample their 7 different sodas as many times as you want to (no tickets required).

(Left to Right)
Lauren, Aimée, Richard, Jared

It's fun for the whole family

Notice Jared's 2 front teeth....or the lack there of.
He lost his 2 top front teeth while I was in Baton Rouge.

This is the Indoor Beer Garden.

Even I tried some of their beer.
However, I enjoyed their Root Beer better.

Lauren and Jared enjoying the Root Beer, Cream Soda, etc.

Of course, they had a Gift Shop.

After we toured the Gift Shop, we said good-bye to Sprecher's and headed for something to eat.


Not far from Sprecher's was a famous hamburger place - Five Guys.

While you wait for your order, you can help yourself to a bucket or two of roasted peanuts.

I thought maybe we would have to run Jared's hamburger through a food processor so he could suck it up through a straw -- because of his lack of teeth, but he surprised me and ate it with no problem.

Then we headed back
home to ILLINOIS.

Not far from Round Lake, is a little town called Long Grove.

Just before you enter the little town of Long Grove, there is this H-U-G-E house.
I'm sure 3 families could live in it comfortably.

The people have converted the houses into shops,

and renovated the old shops into boutiques.

I loved this house with the wrap-around porch.

Back into the skies and headed home.

London, England

Again, because of the flight schedules, I had to spend the night in London. I had searched and found a "moderately priced" hotel (for London, that's not easy!) near Heathrow Airport.

The room was just big enough to turn-around in.....and possibly change your mind at the same time! I was able to fit 2 pieces of luggage, a back-pack and myself into the room at the same time! However, there was no dead-bolt on the door, so I put my largest suitcase against the door. That way, if the maid or anybody else, tried to come in, the suitcase would tip over and wake me up.

The room was really all I needed it for. I arrived around 7:am and I just wanted to sleep until around midnight. Then I would have to go back to Heathrow and catch a bus that would take me to Stansted where I would catch a 6:am flight to Spain.

After sleeping for a couple of hours, I heard an alarm going off. I thought it was my alarm clock -- but after hitting it a couple of times, I realized it wasn't. So, I got up and stumbled over my bags and finally realized it was the fire alarm in the hall!

GREAT! Now I would have to get dressed and go outside! Just as I had finished putting on my pants, the alarm shut off.

GOOD! Now I can go back to sleep. Only, now I was awake and couldn't go back to sleep. So, I watched TV for a couple of hours until my eyes started to close, cut off the TV and went back to sleep. I slept for awhile and woke up around 9:pm. I got up, shaved, showered and got dressed and wondered what I was going to do until midnight.

I finally decided to check out and go back to the airport.

I went to the desk and asked if they could call me a cab to take me back to Heathrow. The desk clerk asked me why? The airport is closed at this hour. I told him I had to catch a bus from the airport around 3:am to take me to Stansted. He called me a cab and away I went.

When I arrived at the bus terminal at Heathrow, I found I was not alone. There were about 4 people mopping and buffing the floors, and several homeless people were scattered around the benches sleeping.

I found a trolly to put my luggage on and a quiet little corner, got my book and started reading. Around 2:30am people with suitcases began arriving to catch the bus I was waiting for.

We made it to Stansted with no problems. The plane left on time and I was headed home to Spain.

I arrived at the airport in Reus and Colin, from the village, picked me up.

As we neared the village, we had a traffic jam......
Not the kind I was used to seeing in Illinois and Louisiana with cars.....no, this was with sheep!

Yes, I knew I was getting close to the village!

Torre del Compte
-- home at last!

~•~ The End ~•~