SPAIN & PORTUGAL
1st day: We have eaten our way across the Atlantic on a nice cruise ship. We are in Malaga, Spain. There are a lot of foreign people here. The only ones who speak English are the ones who want to sell something to you. We went sightseeing today and saw a cathedral built in the 14th century, and a stone wall built by Julius Caesar and a statue of a horse with a man sitting on it with a pigeon on the man's hat. There is a strange piece of plumbing in my hotel bathroom.
2nd day. Today we saw a cathedral built in the 14th century, and a stone wall built by Julius Caesar. I asked the maid what that thing is in the hotel bathroom she blushed and ran out of the room. I'm very confused about the pesetas, not being sure what they are worth. For my record of purchases, I'm writing them down this way: one silver bracelet cost three big coins, one middle-sized coin, and two little coins. This will probably look strange on my customs declaration. One woman in our group tried to exchange her money in a grocery store - she understood the guide to say the Spanish used potatoes, instead of pesetas.
3rd day. Granada. There are a lot of foreigners here, too. One man in our group had spent all summer studying Arabic since Granada is known as a Moorish city. Today he learned that Arabic hasn't been spoken here since the Moors left in 1491. This afternoon we saw a 14th century cathedral and stone wall built by Julius Caesar and it looked like that same statue of a horse with a man sitting on it, with the pigeon on the man's hat. The hotel here has that same thing in the bathroom.
4th day. Driving through the Spanish countryside today we saw 3 different herds of goats - looked like about 300 or 400 goats in each herd. I can't imagine what they do with all of those goats. We are seeing some interesting things, but it isn't easy to understand the local guides. I think the one we had today had studied English from a Japanese teacher in Czechoslovakia. I hope I'm losing weight with these Continental breakfasts. I don't know when I've ever eaten so little for breakfast and so much for the other meals. The service in the dining rooms is so slow that I get hungry again between courses. I have bought a few little souvenirs, and it took me an hour and 15 minutes to pack tonight.
5th day. Today we saw a 14th century cathedral and a stone wall built by Julius Caesar. I think the highway we were on also was built by Mr. Caesar it hasn't stood up as well as the walls have. We also saw another statue of a horse with a man sitting on it with a pigeon on the man's hat. And the hotel bathroom here has one of those same things. I asked the bellboy what it was but he just walked away. Our tour group is turning out to be very nice, and we find that we have a lot of things in common. Mostly what we have in common is head colds and the tourist disease. Today we saw some more herds of goats. I find that I'm spending a whole lot of money for postcards and airmail stamps. One woman in our group who has traveled a lot says she asks each of her friends before she leaves home: "which do you want, a postcard or a pillbox?" - they cost about the same. Airmail for one letter from Spain costs two middle-sized coins and the stamps are so big! I had one letter weighed for airmail, and whenI put enough stamps on it, it weighed so much more that I had to put on more stamps! The Spanish mailboxes are not much like ours at home. There is no collection time on them, and the hole at the top is very big instead of being a narrow little slot.
6th day. Last evening I saw the Barber of Seville. He gave me a very good haircut for just two big coins and two little ones. Our tour is so well organized that even the emergencies are supposed to be arranged in advance. If you're going to fall and break you arm, they want you to do it between 3 and 5 in the afternoon after lunch and before the cocktail hour on weekdays only. I mailed another big bunch of airmail postcards today. We did not see a 14th century cathedral today. It was a 13th century cathedral. I've been in so many churches this week that my clothes are beginning to smell like incense and altar candles, and I find myself genuflecting even when I enter the hotel dining room.
7th day. At our luncheon stop today we had a set meal, and we found out what they do with all of those goats. I asked the waiter if they had the same thing for lunch every day and he said YE-eh-eh-ehss.
8th day. Today is a free day on the tour itinerary. This usually means that either the shops will all be closed, or it will be raining or that the night before the tour escort and guide will be stoned, and will need the whole day to recover. This morning I saw three different people putting trash in the mailbox I've been using. I'll bet the post office people won't like that very well. I've been buying a few more little souvenirs and tonight it took me two hours to pack my things, and I still had a pair of shoes left over I think I'll carry them in the birdcage I bought today.
9th day. Portugal. Just as I was getting used to spending pesetas, we have to use escudos. Portugal has those same things in the hotel bathrooms. Our hotel here is very nice. It has 600 rooms, 12 floors, and 1 elevator. The elevator runs through a corner of my room. At least my room has a nice view; it overlooks the hotel laundry and there are always some interesting things hanging on the line. In Portugal they always offer wine with the meals I think this is because with some of the strange things on the menu, no one would order them it he was sober. Last night our menu included rabbit brains cooked in chocolate sauce. I didn't order any because I don't like chocolate.
10th day. Manuel's Souvenir Shop in Lisbon has some Portuguese souvenirs that are extraordinary. The ordinary ones are made in Japan; these are made in Hong Kong. Today we visited a 14th century cathedral and saw a stone wall built by Julius what's-his-name and a statue of a horse with a man sitting on it. There were NO pigeons on the man's hat, but anyone could see that the pigeon had been there because there was a feather on the man's shoulder. I think the Portuguese language was invented by a Spaniard with loose dentures.
11th day. Today I found a real bargain to buy. There was a nice young man standing on a street corner. He spoke very good English. He said his father owned the Omega Watch Company in Switzerland, and that his father sent him one watch every week to sell, to prove his ability as a salesman. He said he was interested in international friendship, so he preferred to sell the watches to tourists, at a great reduction in price. He told me I was the lucky tourist for this week. It was a $350 watch and he offered it to me for just $85, for international friendship, he said. I asked if it kept good time, and he said, "Did you ever see an Omega watch that didn't keep good time?" Of course I hadn't. He said it was a new model, so silent that no one could hear it tick. Of course, I bought it, because it was a good bargain, and besides, I am interested in international friendship too.
12th day. Today I found a bathroom scale in the hotel, and I was surprised and pleased to see that my weight had gone down from 175 when I left home, to 90! Then I learned that the scale was marked in kilometers or something like that, and instead of losing a lot, I had gained a few pounds. Now we are back in Spain, and we have to use pesetas again. I find that I have 2 1/2 pounds of Portuguese coins left over, and nobody wants them. I think I'll take them home and melt them down and make a miniature statue of a horse with a man sitting on it with a pigeon on the man's hat and sell it to some tourist.
13th day. Now I've seen an Omega watch that doesn't keep good time. It doesn't even keep bad time, because there aren't any little wheels or anything else inside it. Of course that nice young Mr. Omega personally guaranteed it, but he is in Lisbon and now I'm in Madrid. I still believe in international friendship but not quite so much as before. Today we could understand the local guide, but it was so foggy we couldn't see what he was describing.
14th day. Today we didn't see any cathedral. It was a mosque, instead. The difference between a cathedral and a mosque is that in a mosque there isn't any place to sit down except in the restrooms and then you have to face east. A little mosque is called a mosquito. FINALLY I found out what that thing is in the hotel bathrooms and I used it today. It's to soak your underwear and drip-dry things in, in detergent, before you wash them. One of the ladies in our bus uses it for something else. She keeps ice in it to chill champagne.
15th day. Everybody noticed when we were loading today, that the aisle of the bus is getting narrower. We have so much souvenir junk on our bus that the roadside vendors are trying to buy things from us. I had spent all morning packing for another move, but all of the things just wouldn't go into the bags. Finally I took five pounds of dirty clothes to the post office and mailed it home in a box to my landlady. I marked it 'unsolicited gift' value $9.95 - the postage on it was 14 big coins and 7 middle-sized ones.
16th day. Now we're back on the ship and ready to eat our way across the Atlantic again. Everybody has a cold except the ship's doctor.
17th day. Funchal, Madeira. This is a beautiful place which has everything except level ground. The principal products are wine and lace. In the shops they give you so much free wine that you don't realize what you're paying for the lace. In Funchal the ship took on 1200 tons of water, 1 ton of fresh fruit and vegetables, and the passengers brought on 2 tons of souvenirs and Madeira wine. I think I'll call this my animal trip. I ate like a pig, drank like a fish, followed the guide like a sheep, carried souvenirs like a burro, and stayed happy as a lark.
(Given to me by one of the Tour Directors)