Dispatches From
Lynne & Carl
On The Road

Lynne and Carle are two retired Balboa Island school teachers who have undertaken a tour of the world. From time-to-time they send dispatches about their travels to their friends.
This is one of those dispatches.

June, 2002

We have done so much since I last wrote to you, and I
will try to write succinctly and clearly so that you
can get the pictures. In September we closed up the
temporary apartment we had rented, said tearful
goodbyes to darling Brendan (now, in January, he is 2
1/2 years!), and hugged his baby brother, our newest
grandchild, Parker, who was born in July. (By the time
we get down to San Diego to see them, later this
month, Parker will be 6 months old, crawling, smiling,
laughing, and we will have fun getting acquainted with
him!) We quickly drove north to see our friends, Ginny
and Walt, who continue to serve as our 'anchors' and
'caretakers' and always provide us with a
mother-in-law apartment in which to stay, good meals,
good friendship, and a very funny, very fat, cat named
Bluey. He is a gorgeous mix of siamese and sealpoint
and some other stuff, likes to be brushed and combed,
but is definitely NOT a lapcat.

Middle of October we flew to Mexico City with our
traveling friends, Linda and Del, who often come to
Europe and roam around with us; perhaps some day we
can bring them to meet you, for we are sure you would
all like one another! From Mexico City we took a bus
to San Miguel De Allende, about 4 hours northeast of
Mexico City. It is a colonial town with a great deal
of history, Allende being involved in the Mexico
revolution......though he and his compatriots ended up
with their heads stuck up on spikes in the neighboring
town of Guanaguato, where their heads reposed for
several years, or so the story goes; I've yet to
figure out how heads could last that long out in the

Back to San Miguel: it is a town of about 50,000
people, with about another 25,000 in the outlying
areas. Many are expatriates, but there are lots and
lots of indigenous peoples also, who look rather like
Indians, but are Spanish/Mexican in origin. Because
San Miguel (after this I'll write it as SMA)is
primarily an artist's town, there are lots of
galleries, featuring paintings, carvings, gorgeous
fabrics, and local crafts. Lots of people speak
English, but many people go there for the excellent
Spanish-language intensive courses; we opted for using
a private tutor for the three of us (Carl is insisting
on sticking with his 'Spanglish', which is the same as
his 'Italglish' and his 'Frenglish'......I leave the
thought of that and how it all sounds up to you!),
three afternoons a week, so that gave us lots of time
to walk around the town. Linda and I took a few
drawing classes; I even sketched from a nude model in
the class one morning-what an experience. I'm not a
good drawer, but we wanted some sketching experience
for when we're traveling and see interesting things to
add to our journals. It sounds great, but time will
tell whether I really follow through with it.

Often we started our days with a breakfast at one of
the many courtyard restaurants; most of the buildings
are built on the Spanish style of open courtyards, so
there is lots of variety to choose from. In fact, SMA
has over 200 restaurants, and some one told us only 3
of them are not good......we did our best to sample
different ones, and enjoyed them all. The center of
town is the Jardin, or piazza, with lots of trees and
benches, and is located across from the cathedral. We
even found a coffee place that had a window (La
Ventana)take out place opening on the street. Only
problem was that the sidewalk is narrow, the street
narrow, and the cars sometimes very wide.......but we
managed. It was nice to have a touch of the U.S. in
lattes and mochas to go.

Lunch was almost always out someplace fun, with good
soups and salads and wonderfully fresh tortillas.
Around the corner from our apartment was a tortilla
factory, one of many, so we were able to have fresh
corn tortillas all the time, and Carl also found a
place that made flour tortillas. Then there were the
bakeries, all too many, and ALL good, with fresh,
integral breads, rolls, and delicious oatmeal cookies.
How come we always find the best bakeries???????

Our apartments were in a 'compound', which means that
there was a small door opening into a huge courtyard,
with a main house, occupied by Carmen, the caretaker,
and her family. We walked through the courtyard,
around the back, and into a smaller patio; our
apartments were studios, actually-ours was on the
bottom, with a tree growing right up through the roof,
and Linda and Del's was upstairs, a bit smaller, with
no tree, but a funny ceiling, called a 'boveda', which
meant it was partially brick with windows up in the
'tower' section. All in all, our apartments were quite
cozy and very well equipped with stovetops and
refrigerator and sink and dishes, etc., an efficient
bathroom, and the biggest beds I've seen in a long
time-definitely NOT European style! The cost was only
$400 per month, and included all the utilities. We
thoroughly enjoyed our time there, and hated to leave.

Within walking distance were several restaurants, lots
of artisan's shops, the central market, some smaller
markets, a gym, 5 churches, a newstand, and just about
anything else we required. The town is easily
walkable, though most of the streets are the old
cobblestone style; because SMA is designated an
historic site, no new construction can happen in the
town proper, which means, thankfully, no McDonald's or
Jack-in-the-Box or other such thing. SMA boasts the
second-largest English-language library in Latin
America, and the library provides tutoring for
children, a computer lab for kids and adults, and a
great lending library system, along with a cafe, and
shows foreign-language and English-language films
several nights a week, plus it has many cultural
programs throughout the year. The library was
definitely a bonus for us, and we had our tutoring
sessions in Spanish out in the sunny courtyard three
afternoons a week. I'd like to say my Spanish is
terrific, but since our return mid-November, I've yet
to even open the book or look at the cards or listen
to the tapes.........

We left SMA mid-November, returned to northern
California for 5 days, and then flew to Hawaii, to be
with our friend Linda, and Sam-the-dog. Linda, and her
husband John, are friends we met in Spain during our
first trek abroad; John is a Captain in the AirForce,
and we frequently go to keep Linda and Sam company
when John is deployed on a mission, which was the case
this trip. Linda left Thanksgiving night to go to
Florida to spend 3 weeks with John; we happily took
care of Sam, walked a lot, went to the gym, and did
some sightseeing and enjoyed the warm weather,
especially as we kept reading about how cold it was in

Christmas was going to be small, just stockings for
Linda, Carl and myself (and Sam, of course), but when
Linda returned from Florida, she already had her
Christmas present, that John was getting to come home
a month early, so Christmas turned out to be quite a
bit bigger for everyone. We had a great Christmas
dinner, way too much candy and sweets, and had lots of
fun opening presents-ours were really just stocking
stuffers, but we enjoyed watching them open theirs.
Linda and John made our stockings 'themed' to go with
our summer plans (more about these later). We stayed
on for a few more days, flying back to California on
the 30th, arriving in northern California in time to
go to sleep on New Year's Eve and wake up the next
morning in a new year!!!!Such is the life for old,
retired people who can't stay up late!!!!

Currently we're packing up to go south to see our
grandsons, be present for their joint baptism on the
26th, take care of routine doctor appointments, and
begin serious training for our summer adventure.
Prepare yourself by sitting down to read this part: We
will walk, with our friends, Linda and Del, 500 miles
(that's 750 km.)from St. Jean de Puy, at the French
side of the Pyrennes, over the Pyrennes to Santiago De
Compostela, in the northeast corner of Spain. That's
mostly Basque country, supposed to be gorgeous, and,
we hope, not too hot, since we'll start the walk the
first week in May and take about 8-10 weeks to walk.
Along the way we'll stay in refugios, which are run by
the Confraternity of St. James; they are dormitory
style, with showers and toilets, usually communal
kitchens, and cost between 50 cents and $2.00 per
night. Walkers have first choice in the refugios,
followed by cyclists. Those traveling by car or bus
cannot stay in the refugios. Along the way, we'll stay
occasionally in a hotel in the bigger cities, take one
day off a week, and take plenty of time to see
cathedrals and other sites in the different towns and
villages. Linda and Del did about 1/2 the walk last
year, hampered by a very sore foot of Linda's which
required them to lay up for two weeks, so they are
excited about doing the whole thing properly, and
sharing the experience with us. We saw their extensive
picture album from last year, and practically drooled
over the pictures and their descriptions, so the
experience will be wonderful, I'm sure. I neglected to
say that the route, of which this is just one, is
really designated a 'pilgrimage', because Santiago de
Compostela, along with Rome and Jerusalem, are
considered the top three holy sites for Christians.
Legend/myth/story has it that the bones of St. James
are buried in Compostela, and the pilgrimage attracts
10s of thousands each year.

After that, who knows. We want to see more of Europe,
perhaps renting a car and traveling through
England/Scotland/Ireland, and also spend more time in
France and Italy. There are many friends scattered
throughout Europe whom we want to see, and spend time
with-we are always entertained in great style, eating
wonderful meals and learning more about the local

Please continue to email us, using this new email
address: carl14usa@yahoo.com Of course, we love to get
snail mail, and Ginny always forwards mail sent to us
at: 12503 Lakeshore North
Auburn, CA 95602

Take care, good friends, know that we think of all of
you often, with love and hugs, Lynne and Carl