A Time for Chores, Family, Friends, and Fun

It was time for our nearly three months in Europe to come to an end. We weren’t unhappy with having to return to Barcelona to fly back to the Bay Area. Barcelona is a wonderful place to say hello and goodbye to Europe.

Our roving retirement isn’t like a vacation, it’s like living in lots of different places while managing life stuff. When we are in the Bay Area, some of this life stuff is chores and visiting family and friends. In other words, we are always super busy.

Getting Flight Ready

There was one final task to complete during our time in Carcasonne. We were scheduled to fly to the US in three days, so we got a Covid rapid test before leaving town. Although our flight went from Barcelona, we did it in France since conversing with the test tech would be easier for us in French than Spanish.

Why test, you ask? Well, all travelers to the US have to present a negative Covid test taken within three days of departure. ALL travelers. The pharmacy we chose took care of us and after 45 minutes and 25€/pp, we were able to upload our negative results to our French AntiCovid phone app, which is valid throughout the EU.

Hasta Luego, Barcelona!

After 77 days, I turned in the rental car in Barcelona. Two-plus months on the road had not been kind to it. The car was returned with a cracked windshield and a tire that frequently lost pressure as well as other as yet undiscovered maladies, undoubtedly. Thankfully, I purchased bumper-to-bumper not-my-problem insurance from the agency at the start. Worth every penny, even though it seemed like a lot of pennies at the time.

For our final 36 hours in Spain, we strolled around town and hit a couple of spots for sangria, tapas, and paella. Both places, Cuitat Comtal and Cachitos Rambla, were close to our hotel. Once again, Barcelona did not disappoint.

Bay Area Chore Time

Our flight back to the west coast on United was uneventful and uninspiring. Service for the biz section is still mediocre but way better than cattle class. The United Club at our connection in Newark was packed, it took us a while to find a place to sit. The Golden Age of Travel has not yet returned.

Our limited stays in the Bay Area generally involve chores and time with family and friends. This visit was no exception. It seems like we are constantly running from place to place. All of the local football teams were out of town or on a bye week, so I didn’t even get an in-person football fix. Oh, well, next year?

Fleet Week

An incidental highlight of our week in the Bay Area was not one but two afternoons on rooftops in The City (San Francisco) to watch the Fleet Week Air Show featuring the Blue Angels. On Saturday, we met some Facebook friends from a nomad group we belong to. In addition to being nomads, our friends are pet sitters and were lucky enough to score a cat sit at a place with a great rooftop view of the bay.

For Sunday, our son’s girlfriend invited us over to watch from her roof. Although only 8 blocks away from the Saturday spot, we were more underneath the flight path, bringing the jets closer to us. All in all, quite a treat and very impressive on both days. Ironically, we had never seen the Blue Angels in all of our prior years of living an hour away. Apparently, we had to leave the area to value the experience enough to go. It was awesome, both times, watching and listening to the planes never gets old.

Beef Two Ways in Austin

We then jetted off for a brief visit to friends in Austin. It was great to catch up with them and partake of some seriously good beef. One thing I’ve learned in my travels is to eat whatever everyone around you is eating. Duck in France? Mais oui! Paella in Spain? Fabulosa! In TX, it’s all about the beef.

Two nights, we just went to eat at local golf clubs. Even though these were not famous places, my filets were perfect, like they didn’t know how to make them poorly. One night, we went with friends to the famous Salt Lick BBQ. Other friends had dissed the place when we told them we planned to go. I must say the side dishes were nothing to blog about. But the meat? Excellent. The brisket, ribs, and hot links were all good. I’m sure we will be back for another time.

What’s your favorite Air Show?

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  1. Those photos of fleet week are excellent! Having two rooftop experiences is so wonderful. I really appreciate that you pointed out the well pads in another photo. I saw those last month from a plane and wondered what they were!

  2. Hey, the Blue Angels did perform in and out of NAS Moffett up until 1992. Did you not watch them back then? I remember being right under their flight path in Sunnyvale.

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