Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 4th, 2014

Great day in Washington DC, one of our favorite US cities. 
First  a practice Parisian breakfast and then the National Art Gallery for four real treats:

A fabulous exhibition of Andrew Wyeth's work.

A collection of work by Degas and Cassatt.

and a Titian I had seen previously in Naples, Italy.

 A moment to relax

Another to reflect

Then a ride on the Silver Metro line and finally pizza and shopping in Union Station. Back at the hotel I did laundry so we could fly out all clean.

September 3, 2014 Cremona

A safe landing; check-in at our new favorite DC hotel, Capital Skyline; and a quick call to Walter.

We were all set for a visit to Cremona the following day. 

A couple of details. (1) Ila had fallen a few days before and was pretty bunged up. We knew nothing about this until we called Tuesday evening. 

(2) Walter had told us this would be his last year to be involved in the winery. Alas, when we arrived, he seemed as involved as ever and didn't say a word about quitting. 

James and Amanda drove down for the day! How nice to see them!

Just one of many scenes at Cremona looking at the Patuxant River from the back of the winery.

We had a nice visit with Nancy. She was very excited about the legacy she and Norman had put together. Her enthusiasm was infectious. 

James and Amanda wanted to tour around a bit and we headed back to take Walter home. Ila was feeling better - she wanted a visit. We didn't stay long, but I think it was long enough.

Later, we met James and Amanda for dinner and some good time with them.

Good first day!

August 12-September 2nd

It was a dash to the finish line. The final grapes were harvested, crushed, and pressed. The winery was cleaned to within an inch of its life. The house was shut down. We said a lot of good-byes. I made arrangements with Omar to take care of the garden and the vineyard. We had a long conversation with Antonio about his responsibilities with the wine. We had a wonderful, long-awaited luncheon with one of Eduardo's aunts, Christina and Raul. There was time for a nice visit with Estela. (I hope she knows how much I appreciate her.) By the time we got on the bus on August 20, we were pretty tired.

Here are some of the highlights of that final week.

The day after we arrived in the valley, I was at the chiropractor for my first session with my back. It had given me trouble for weeks and I knew I had to get better before we went to Europe. I managed to have six treatments before we had to leave for San Antonio. My back wasn't fixed, but it was much better.

It's always fun to trade Perote's cactus for something a little softer.

Stanley's dental appointment in SA was uneventful. We know he needs additional dental work, but it was nice to know nothing needs to be done immediately. Our time with Frosty and Jill was good. Jill and I had time to make some dinner reservations in Paris. What fun! We saw a couple of movies and drove out to Hondo for a few hours on the deer lease. Our time with Sarah and her family was limited to a single dinner and a quick visit on Monday evening because they went to Alpine for Labor Day week-end. It all worked out. We had time to put everything in order for a departure on September 2nd. 

And, we're on our way! Next stop Washington DC!

August 11, 2014

Some of our visitors were leaving on the 7:00 AM bus to Monterrey so were all up early for a final good-bye.  The rest of the group left about 10:00 and after that it was just Stanley and me and Solo Vino. I think Solo Vino was a little bit happy to have the place back to himself. He's not accustomed to sharing quite that much!

He went for a walk in the garden with me and we found

our broken pot masterpiece was looking pretty good

One of the little cacti we had divided was blooming and looking awesome

And the olives were ready to pick. It was a very small crop, but we are already making plans for a huge showing next year. We got them into the salt mixture right away. They were ready for jarring up before we left. Something to look forward to upon our return to Mexico.

August 10, 2014

Final day of the fiesta!

We were up early. What better way to start the day than with a cup of coffee and a box of grapes that needed to be destemmed by hand.

Folks started gathering up and soon we were on our way back to Jardin Botanico for the final event.

A little hospital session for all the hang-overs.
There were burritos, micheladas, sangria and all kinds of other goodies to eat and drink. Of course there was music

 And a bit of dancing!

A small rodeo

And finally group pictures

First, our Alianza family

And then again with the US visitors!

Then it was back to Perote - first the front patio

And then the back palapa for the final sunset!

What a wonderful time of celebration it was!

August 9, 2014

 Saturday was a day for everyone to be on their own. There were tours of the old bodega

 Some folks couldn't stay out of the local bars

 Lamb was slowly cooking away

 I was so glad to have Nacho and his mother, sister and two nephews. They are a very important part of our Parras family!

 It was approaching dinner time and the skies looked like they could burst open with rain so we moved the party under cover.

 That full moon wasn't going to stay hidden for long. Soon, the clouds parted and we moved back outside.

The mariachis were wonderful and they added so much to the fun, but for me the best part of the evening was an opportunity to introduce the matlachines of Iglesia del Santo Nino.

They danced their hearts out for us! Mil Gracias!

I have no pictures of the food or of Ale, the chef - soon to be very famous! Thank you, Ale! It was delicious and I really appreciate the time and thought you put into every dish. I couldn't have asked for more!