Is there a Future for Tapas Tours in a Post-Covid Spain?

Tapas are a way of life in Spain. But on the other hand, they may not be the best fit in our current Covid risk reduction environment…
CONTINUE READING >>

Tapas are a way of life in Spain. In fact, we have made it a point to include an evening of enjoying them every time we travel through this beautiful country.

Along the way we have found that while there are definite similarities throughout the country. Ham, olives, and cheese are nearly universal, each region has some unique variations.

We learned that in the Basque region tapas are called pintxos, made with small slices of bread topped with a mixture of ingredients. A toothpick is used to hold things together, which is where the name comes from, “pincho”, means spike. The “tx” spelling is Basque for the “ch” sound.

In Madrid we found fantastic offerings on almost every street corner. Then in Catalonia we could hardly imagine a visit to one of our favorite cities in the world without indulging in a few tapas tours in Barcelona.

But now, like everything else, the Covid pandemic has changed how people feel about going out and socializing while enjoying these delicious bites. Restrictions, and people’s hesitancy to be in public places, has caused this delightful custom to suffer huge setbacks.

We love everything about Tapas, so we certainly hope that this is a temporary situation and that in the near future things can and will get back to normal.

But if we are to explore the future of tapas in Spain, perhaps we should begin by looking back at the origin of tapas. That brings to mind two questions, how did tapas begin, and how did they get so popular?

As with most things that have been around for centuries, there are any number of stories about where, when, and how Tapas first appeared. Several of them revolve around royalty, usually a king, discovering just how dandy it was to have a little snack with his drink.

Of course, back in those days pretty much everything had to start with the king, and then the rest of the folks would follow along. However, some of the other stories that don’t involve royalty sound more likely to us.

Such as, serving a drink with a saucer on top of it to keep the flies out, or covering cheap wine with a plate of strong cheese to hide the smell. Both of these fit well with the meaning of the word tapas, which is a cover or a lid.

Another likely story is that because tapas bars were designed as standing-only for customers, people who ordered a snack had nowhere else to put their plates except on top of their glass.

No matter how it all began, the whole process is very social. People stand and talk, share food from communal plates at the bar, and generally eat with their fingers, so it is easy to see how this became such a popular pastime.

On the other hand, it may not be the best situation in our current Covid risk reduction environment. But we hope that as vaccination rates increase, and they are now nearly 80% in Spain, things will begin to return to how they were pre-pandemic.

Another big step toward getting back to normal is how tapas tours organizers are coming up with creative ideas to improve people’s protection while still enjoying this wonderful tradition, and how participants are open to cooperating in order to ensure everyone’s safety.

We feel confident that the next time we visit Spain, hopefully next year, we will be perfectly comfortable enjoying everything about the palate pleasing practice of partaking in tapas to our heart’s content.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.

Cliff Dwelling on the Past

We are heading to Mesa Verde next week, so we thought that this would be a good time to take a look back at some of the other outstanding ancient dwellings of the American Southwest… CONTINUE READING >>

The Ancient Native American Cliff Dwellings of Arizona

The Old West is a lot older than gunfights, Tombstones, and Boot Hills.

For our journey back in time, we rode off into the sunset, heading west.

South Central Arizona is generously sprinkled with ancient ruins left behind by the Native Americans of the area, the Hohokam, Salado, and Sinagua peoples.

They covered vast areas as they moved from one place to another following game or the rains, inhabiting this region from over a thousand years ago until, for reasons still unknown to us today, they moved away in the 1400s. If you need to make a move the movers of the company Seka will help you get to Arizona, or anywhere else, while taking all the difficulties out of transporting your things.

We Spent Time in The Big House

Casa Grande in Arizona

We began our exploration at the big house, no, we didn’t wind up in the slammer, we went to Casa Grande.

Named by the missionary and explorer Father Eusebio Francisco Kino when he came upon it in 1694, this is the pinnacle of Hohokam society.

By far their largest dwelling, it is thought to be the largest remaining ruin in America.

But by the time the good priest stumbled upon it, the great house had long since been abandoned.

Casa Grande in Arizona

The Hohokam tamed this desert with an elaborate system of irrigation canals and became successful farmers, growing corn, cotton, tobacco, beans and squash.

Their society grew and thrived for centuries, building settlements all along the Salt and Gila Rivers.

These villages grew until finally the four story tower, Casa Grande, was built near the end of their time in this area.

As much as we wanted to run straight over to the huge house, we decided to learn something first, so we took a look through the park visitor’s center.

In there we discovered that this is the first archeological site ever preserved by our government. President Benjamin Harrison set it aside in 1892, well before there even was a National Park Service.

Later Woodrow Wilson designated it a national monument.

The center is full of information and artifacts, but wanting to get up close and personal, we jumped in with a group that was being led out to the ruins by a park ranger.

The ranger explained how the giant structure is built basically of mud.

As with most natives, the Hohokam used what was readily available as building material.

In the Sonoran desert that meant caliche, the calcium rich local mud that works almost like concrete.

Casa Grande in Arizona

Thes ingenious builders laid layer after layer of the mixture upon itself, tapering the walls from four and a half feet thick at the base to about a quarter of that on the top.

Looking out from the upper levels we could see numerous smaller structures dotting the desert all around the main building. Houses, storage buildings, and ceremonial ball courts have all been uncovered, while many more still await excavation.

Lunar Standstill at Casa Grande

Casa Grande is obviously the center point of the surrounding village but it is not known what exact purpose the building served.

There are several windows that line up with the sun and moon throughout their cycles, including a small opening that aligns with the so-called “lunar standstills” that happen only once every eighteen and a half years.

That is the time it takes for the moon to go through its entire cycle of positions within the night sky.

So we know that Casa Grande was used as an observatory at least to some extent. It may have also been a temple, a center of government or some other sort of meeting place.

Or perhaps it was Arizona’s first high-rise condos.

The hike to Tonto National Monument

It’s Tanto, Kemo Sabe. Our Poor (Lone) Ranger.

Tanto National Monument

Tanto National Monument

The next stop on our ruins ramble was up into the mountains at Tonto National Monument.

It took all of the restraint we could muster, but we managed to get checked in with the ranger without once asking him if he was “Lone” and we never called anyone Kemo Sabe, except maybe each other a time or two.

Perhaps we were each being Tonto, since it is actually the Spanish term for foolish one.

Saguaro Cactus

But seriously, the Tonto ruins are a fine example of the cliff dwellings that are common in the Southwest.

The largest and best example is Mesa Verde in southern Colorado, but these structures are found throughout the four corners region.

At Tonto, there are two of these villages tucked into the cliffs.

The remote ruins are far off the beaten path, which has helped them stay remarkably well preserved.

The upper dwellings are accessible only with a guided group and reservations must be made in advance.

Tanto National Monument

Tanto National Monument

In this case a little planning paid great dividends.

Our guide led our small group up the steep mile and a half climb to the ruins, with plenty of information about the area, plants and history of the Salado along the way.

They were a branch of The Anasazi (the ancient ones) that came down from the north around eight hundred years ago.

The Salado traded and interacted with the Hohokam, but formed their own villages higher in the mountains.

Tanto National Monument

Tanto National Monument

By building high into the cliffs, looking out over the entire valley, they had natural protection.

After some time exploring the upper ruins, we climbed back down, much faster than going up, we must add.

At the bottom, we decided to walk up the short, paved trail to the lower dwellings.

These are open to the public without a guide, but unlike the upper site, visitors are not allowed to go inside the rooms.

Still, they were definitely worth a look.

Without Water at Tuzigoot

Tuzigoot National Monument

Tuzigoot

Our journey into the past continued with a trip to see what the Sinagua had left behind.

The Sinagua were so named for the lack of water in the region.

The name translates from the Spanish sin agua, meaning without water, but in the Verde Valley they found some.

We began this leg of our expedition at Tuzigoot (pronounced 2-Z-goot) National Monument.

Tuzigoot means crooked water, and is an Apache word given to this sprawling pueblo that housed hundreds of residents covering a hill along the Verde River.

Not much is left of the structures, mostly low walls, but there is a good collection of artifacts from the site on display.

Storming the Castle (to the best of our ability)

Montezumas Castle

Just down the valley the Sinagua built the fantastic cliff dwelling, Montezuma Castle, erroneously named for the Aztec ruler by early settlers.

They were way off the mark, since this sight was abandoned for almost one hundred years before the famous Aztec was even born.

The five story, twenty room cliff dwelling is stunning, although much of it is not original, having been restored several times.

We could only gaze upon it from below and across the river, because visitors are not allowed in the castle.

Up until 1951 people were allowed to climb ladders up to the ruins, but this practice was discontinued to prevent further tourist damage.

Snack Stop

Fry Bread stand in Arizona

Native American fry bread in Arizona

Fry bread stands dot the landscape and, after our hikes, we decided to quench our hunger with the sweet variety.

Similar to a flour tortilla, the bread is fried and topped with salt for a savory treat or a honey, sugar, or cinnamon combo to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Local variations depend upon which tribe is offering up the goods.

The Revenge of Montezuma. Hmmm…

Montezuma's Well

A few miles from the castle, but still part of the same National Monument, we found the Montezuma Well.

In reality this is not a well, but a cenote, or sink hole, naturally flowing with over a million gallons of water a day.

Both the Sinagua and the Hohokam used this “well” to irrigate crops using some of the ancient irrigation ditches are still flowing today.

The well might be questionable as a drinking water supply, since the water contains a high concentration of carbon dioxide and a dash of arsenic to boot.

It would most likely bring on a pretty good case of Montezuma’s revenge.

Hey, maybe that’s where it got its name.

Plant life at Montezumas Well

Because of the chemical content, no fish can live in the well, but the spring is home to several species that can only be found here.

Tiny shrimp-like critters, water scorpions, and leeches thrive in the fifty-five feet deep mineral rich water, as well as several interesting plant varieties.

For our last look into the past, we walked among the ruins of large pueblos around the outside of the “well” and climbed down for a closer look at the tiny cliff dwelling apartments built right into the walls of the sink hole.

Montezuma's Well in Arizona

At the bottom, we got a close up view of the inside of one of the waterfront homes.

The cliff dwellings at Montezuma's Well in Arizona

This provided a centuries-old peek into the lives of the native societies that used this oasis to bring the desert to life, and closed our chapter on the Old — or should we say Ancient — West.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

DELVE DEEPER:
Find out more about Native Americans in the Americas (as we do)
See all of our adventures in Arizona!
Let us show you around the Southwest
Check out our full United States travels!

YOUR TURN: Aren’t these cliff dwellings fascinating?

This post may contain sponsored links.

Alaskan Urban Mountaineering

Alaska is not known for its urban adventures. But what if I told you that you can hike up to aa alpine lake and never leave the official boundaries of the state’s largest city…
CONTINUE READING >>

Alaska is not known for its urban adventures. It is definitely an outdoors lover’s paradise. So what if I told you that a few days after our fishing adventure with our Alaskan son, he took us on a hike up to a truly pristine lake nestled in the bowl of a glacial cirque and we never left the official boundaries of the state’s largest city?

It’s true, we did that!

The fact that you can fish, climb mountains, see wildlife, and even climb up to an alpine lake without ever leaving the city limits is just one of the great things about Anchorage.

Part of the reason this is possible is the fact that the city has incorporated many miles of land surrounding the actual developed area. But that is not to discount how close some very cool stuff is to town.

A big chunk of that area is to the south of the city and includes Chugach State Park. This is also where we climbed Flattop Mountain a few years ago. In fact, one of the trails up Flattop starts right by the trail head for our trek up to Rabbit Lake, and all of this is only a little more than five miles from Anchorage.

Lucky for us, most of the people around took the left turn up to Flattop. We continued straight ahead along the four-and-a-half-mile trail up to the lake. Along the way we were warned about moose ahead by three different groups of hikers heading back.

We never saw a single moose. It was enough to make us start wondering if maybe there might be some truth to Veronica’s moose doubting phase a few years ago. But we did see a herd of Dall sheep.

As we topped a little ridge, there they were spread out before us. About twenty of the white highland dwellers that look like a cross between a bighorn Sheep and a mountain goat were standing between us and the lake.

We stayed back so as not to frighten them off, and they were definitely wary of us. We stood very still and took some photos, then after a little bit of looking at each other they headed down the valley to Rabbit Creek for a drink and some fresh grazing.

Once they moved on, we made our way to the Rabbit Lake and stood transfixed by the scene for a few moments. It is quite a sight. A gorgeous crystal-clear lake resting right at the foot of twin jagged pinnacles known as the North and South Suicide Peaks.

The lake sits about three thousand feet above sea level, which means we had climbed about thirteen hundred feet from the trailhead, and the Suicide summits rise another two thousand feet above the water.

From what we could learn, the odd and slightly disturbing name of the mountains goes back to early railroad workers. They called several of the nearby peaks Suicide, but for some reason only these twin peaks kept the name.

We also learned that Rabbit Lake is stocked with rainbow trout, but we didn’t have any way of removing any of them.

The lake looked so inviting that what we really wanted to do was jump right in. After hiking several miles our feet were burning in our shoes so we shucked our footwear and tested the water. We instantly knew we were going no further in than below the knees.

Wow! That’s cold! Seriously, our feet were numb in no time but it felt so good.

Right about the time we thought we might lose a toe or two a couple other hikers came along, so we asked them to snap a picture and quickly got out to warm up the little piggies.

As always, the hike back down was much easier and took way less time than the way up, but it did give us a chance to contemplate, while looking down the valley at the city below, just how cool it is that we could have a day like this without ever leaving a major metropolitan area.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Fall Festival Favorites

As autumn rolls around it is time to roll out the barrels… of fun! There are few functions we find more fantastic than a fabulous fall festival…

CONTINUE READING >> 

The view from the Kaatskill Flyer chairlift.

As the Autumn rolls around it is time to roll out the barrels… of fun! There are few functions we find more fantastic than a fabulous fall festival.

Over the years we have frequently found ourselves in the midst of many of these autumnal classics, usually by accidentally stumbling upon them in our travels.

However we discovered them, here are five of our favorites, plus a perfect bonus celebration… the Pumpkin Fest!

Bean Fest!

Speaking of competitions, the Annual Arkansas Bean Fest and Great Championship Outhouse Races could be the best of the bunch. You might say it’s a gas!

The festivities, as with every gathering in Mountain View, begin with live bluegrass and folk music.  No wonder Mountain View is known as “The Folk Music Capital of The World.”

Then the events kick off with the Beanie Weenie Dog Show while the cooks set up their giant pots for the main event. Each cauldron is filled with water and fifty pounds of dry pinto beans to soak, then at the crack of dawn Saturday morning fires are lit under the pots and the cooking commences.

After the beans are served it’s off to the races. These aren’t your average outhouses, oh no, these are high performance porta-potties.

This year (2021) the 39th Annual Bean Fest & Championship Outhouse Race takes place on October 22nd and 23rd.

Salmon Fest

For a different kettle of fish, we found a fascinating annual phenomenon In the Seattle suburb of Issaquah. Each autumn thousands of salmon fight their way through the town in Issaquah Creek in an unstoppable trek to the hatchery where they were born. This event spawned the beloved Salmon Fest.

For over forty years, hundreds of thousands of people have come to celebrate the return of the salmon.  Five stages scattered throughout downtown feature music, while we humans satisfy our urges through feeding frenzies at the food vendors.

The 52nd annual Issaquah Salmon Days Festival will be held October 2nd & 3rd, 2021.

Sheep & Wool

Another event that has been going strong for more than four decades is the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck. Each year the Dutchess County Sheep & Wool Growers’ Association throws this baaaa-sh in October.

Folks come from all across the Hudson Valley to witness sheep shearing,  yarn spinning,  and parades of llamas, alpacas, and cashmere goats.

But for us it was the dogs that stole the show. While the canine frisbee demonstrations were impressive, we couldn’t get enough of the border collies doing what they do best, even better than catching plastic discs, herding.  We couldn’t help but think of the movie Babe.

The New York State Sheep & Wool Festival will be October 16th and 17th this year (2021).

Crab Fest

While crabs might not be the first thing we think of at this time of year, the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival in Port Angeles had us rethinking that.  On the northern coast of Washington, this is definitely the place to be for any decapod chowing seafood lover. 

We tried our hands at crabbing in the Grab-A-Crab Derby, and were rewarded with the steamed outcome of our catch.  For those who don’t want to fish for their supper there is also “The Famous Crab Feed” where a whole Dungeness Crab is served up with corn, coleslaw, music and beer.

The 2021 Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival will be Ocotber 8th through the 10th.

Pumpkins!

Lastly, but certainly not least, for the ultimate October celebration we went to the source, North Central Illinois, and the Annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival. Eighty percent of those big orange squash come from this area.

We kicked off the merriment down to the courthouse for the Lions Club Giant Pumpkin weigh-in. Here the giants are measured and judged, as are the thousands of Jack-o’-lanterns  that adorn the  lawn.

Later we joined in the Pie Eating Contest and then ghost stories at the cemetery.  The weekend culminates with the big Pumpkin Festival Parade.

The Sycamore Pumpkin Festival will be held October 27-31, 2021.

Oktoberfest

Most likely the first thing that jumps to mind when we mention October and festival is the German tradition of beer-based festivities. The Hunter Mountain Oktoberfest in New York certainly is worthy of the name.

Hunter is a ski resort, so for a fantastic view of the fall foliage we started the day with a ride on the Kaatskill Flyer chairlift. The top of the mountain can get a little chilly this time of year high in the Catskills.

But beyond the scenic setting, the authentic food, music, and dancing had us believing we might be in Bavaria while the keg rolling, krug carrying, and the masskrugstemmen, which means beer-stein holding, contests kept us cracking up while we competed.

Unfortunately, this year’s Octoberfest has been cancelled, but we can hardly wait until 2022.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Escape to an All-Inclusive Island Vacation after Covid-19

Escaping to a far away island sounds like just the ticket to put the craziness of the past year or so behind us. Whether it is in the Mediterranean or the Pacific, nothing makes an island vacation more relaxing than having everything included… CONTINUE READING >>

Ever hear people say “I’d like to escape to an island somewhere?”

Well after the insanity of the past year and a half, who could blame them? Not us, that’s for sure.

In fact, we think that they might just be on to a really good idea. Escaping to a far away island sounds like just the ticket to put all of that craziness out of site and out of mind. And with the days getting shorter, and cooler, now just might be the time to start planning a getaway.

So let’s take a look at two outstanding options for a little self-imposed island exile, Mallorca, in the sunny Mediterranean, and Hawaii, out in middle of the tropical Pacific. And while we are thinking about this escape, we are also thinking that this is a good time for a vacation without any hassles.

No worries about where to stay, what to do, or what to eat. That means we will be looking at some all-inclusive alternatives. There’s no better way to relax. And even with the Covid considerations not completely behind us, we can feel confident in the precautions these resorts are taking.

So, let’s begin by looking at some Mallorca all-inclusive resorts. Most are either on the beach, or only a few steps away, and all of them are perfect for exploring this unique and exciting island.

Mallorca has been the historic home to the Talaiotic Culture, Phoenicians, Romans, the Crown of Aragon, and now Spain. Along the way, many others dropped by hoping to enjoy the beautiful island, or maybe ransack and conquer it.

Either way it has been a popular destination ever since the first boats began to sail the Mediterranean. Of course, now things have settled down and taken a turn for the luxurious. Catering to visitor’s comfort has become a way of life.

Still, enjoying the extravagance of an all-inclusive resort doesn’t mean that we can’t do some exploring on our own. I mean, if we are going to Mallorca, we have to see a few of the sites.

We wouldn’t want to miss Sa Calobra, The Snake Road, through the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, and especially not where the Torrent de Pareis meets the Mediterranean Sea. The mouth of the canyon opens right into the ocean, with spectacular cliffs on either side.

There is also no way we could visit Mallorca and not see the capital of the Balearic Islands, Palma. The city was founded way back before Roman times and the historic center has retained several noteworthy landmarks.

Without a doubt, the most magnificent is The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, or as locals call it, La Seu. Work began nearly eight hundred years ago and it certainly rivals any of the great cathedrals of Europe.

Keeping the sight-seeing simple, the Royal Palace of La Almudaina is right next door. We figure, why not stop by since everybody likes a good palace.

But we might consider a more tropical alternative with a hint of a chill beginning to arrive. With that in mind let’s check out some Hawaii all-inclusive vacations.

Hawaii has been very serious with taking Covid precautions, and so have the resorts. Many have reduced their capacity and extended service hours in restaurants to help with social distancing. This means we can enjoy one of the world’s greatest tropical paradises without worrying or waiting for all of the restrictions to be removed.

Great deals are available on several of the islands, so there is no problem exploring rain forests or volcanoes, surfing world-class waves, or just hanging loose and soaking up some sun on the beach with that classic Aloha Spirit.

We know the fantastic feeling of all our cares and problems from back in the real world melting away in the warm breezes and tropical sun of Hawaii, and it is tough to beat it.

And again, whether it is in the Mediterranean or the Pacific, nothing makes an island vacation more relaxing than having everything included.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.

Traveling with Big Toe Joint Pain

When you are traveling, toe pain can become a problem. Not only are you out of your element, you certainly want to be able to get out and see the sites…
CONTINUE READING >>

This ailment may seem oddly specific, but there are a lot of people who experience debilitating pain in their feet. If your hands hurt or your wrist is sore, that could slow you down. But nothing slows you down quite like big toe joint pain.

Traveling with Big Toe Joint Pain

So, it is one thing to have pain in your feet when you are at home and can spend some time sitting and relaxing, without having to move around much. When you are traveling, this becomes a problem. Not only are you out of your element, you certainly want to be able to get out and see the sites. Hotel rooms and airbnbs are great for sleeping, but not for experiencing new places.

Causes of Big Toe Joint Pain

The metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint attaches the big toe to the foot. The MTP joint is vital for supporting the body and allowing the big toe to bend up and down acting as a push-off point when you walk, run, or limp (which is most likely, if you have foot pain). Many of us are not spring chickens and our feet have spent decades helping us make life happen. Wear and tear alone can cause pain. Other more specific causes may include:

    • Arthritis
    • Bunion
    • Gout
    • Turf toe
    • Sesamoiditis

Regardless of the cause, you need to feel better fast so you can literally keep moving forward. Don’t let big toe joint pain ruin your vacation.

Treatment for Big Toe Joint Pain

Ultimately, you should check in with your regular doctor or pediatrist if you have one. When you are states, or countries away, or intent to be, you need something that will help in the interim or part of as a normal wellness regiment.

Proper Shoes

Take off the high heels or heavy boots. They may look cool, but they are not what you need right now. Anything with a heel, no matter how high, is going to put more pressure on your big toe. Make sure you have comfortable shoes that meant for movement. You may need to purchase insoles to add cushion that is more fitted to your foot. Consider open or stretchy shoes if you have swelling or a bunion for additional space.

CBD for Pain Relief

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid derived from the hemp plant. Topical CBD for joint pain interacts with your body’s natural receptors to reduce pain and inflammation. Applying topical CBD can help alleviate pain in a matter of minutes. Receptra Naturals Serious Relief Targeted Topical CBD for pain has the added benefits of arnica for swelling and bruising, and camphor for better, more effective delivery.

Ice it Down

No one likes having to apply ice to an injury, but it does reduce inflammation and swelling. This might be an option for you depending what type of big toe joint pain you are experiencing. Make sure that you don’t apply direct ice for a prolonged period of time. Us a hand towel or something similar between your skin and the ice pack.

Take Breaks

You don’t have to sit on a park bench for hours, but if that seems like good idea, make sure to keep a book with you and enjoy the outdoors. Look for coffee shops on restaurants where you can take mini breaks to sit and let your toe have a moment without pressure. Make sure your travel companions know what you are experiencing so they don’t just think you are being lazy.

More Joy – Less Pain

At a certain age, aches and pains are an expected part of life, but they should not keep you from doing what you love. The answers for enjoying your travel experience despite big toe joint pain are to be prepared with proper shoes and quality topical CBD for pain, and take the time for breaks and ice at the end of the day, in-between adventures.   We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.

Something Smells Fishy in Alaska

A uniquely Alaskan experience, so much so that you must be a permanent Alaskan resident to participate in it, meant that we could only be spectators while our son went about the business of netting salmon… CONTINUE READING >>

Summers may be short in Alaska, but the days are certainly long… almost never ending. As in, it never gets all the way dark.

That means summer is the time to get outdoors and enjoy the incredible natural beauty that the forty-ninth state has to offer before the long winter nights return. So, on our recent visit we did just that.

Our first adventure was a uniquely Alaskan experience, so much so that you must be a permanent Alaskan resident to participate in it. That meant that we could only be spectators while our son went about the business of netting salmon. We were not allowed to touch the fish or any of the equipment used to catch or store them. But watching was more than enough for us to get a full understanding of what dip netting is all about.

The process involves standing chest deep in the mouth of a river with a huge net and snagging the fish as they enter the stream from the ocean. Our son had explained this to us many times over the past few years on phone calls.

But what we had pictured in our minds was not quite like the real thing. So, in order to get the real scoop, we loaded up camping gear for a night on the beach and headed to Kenai to find out what it was really all about.

By the time we arrived hundreds of people already lined the banks. Each one held a nets up to six feet across just waiting for a salmon to swim into it. Not like any fishing I had ever done before!

On the other hand, it works. Our boy had his first catch within a few minutes, but then he went on a long dry spell. After a few hours I was beginning to wonder if he was going to get any more.

Then all hell broke loose! The high tide was receding and there were fish everywhere. Every single fisherman, or woman, was dragging out a full net every few minutes. The fish were jumping across the surface of the water and sea lions were everywhere in hot pursuit.

“Night time” during the summer in Alaska.

Meanwhile, thousands of seagulls swarmed the beach to pick up scraps left behind as folks cleaned their catch at the water’s edge. It was quite a scene and by the time things settled down about an hour later our son had eighteen big fish in the cooler.

He was ready to call it a day, so we settled in by the campfire for some dinner and a few cold beers. Then we hit the sack early because the next high tide, which is the best time for catching, was due at around five am.

But the tide had a bigger surprise in store for us.

At around 4:30 we awoke to a woman outside our tent yelling to get up. Through sleep blurred eyes I opened the flap to find that the sea had risen to within a foot or two of our tent. This good Samaritan had made like Paul Revere and warned everyone that “the water is coming; the water is coming!”

Scrambling out we pulled up stakes and dragged the tent up the beach to higher ground. Oh, I almost forgot to add that it was pouring rain while this episode took place.

Sleepy and soaked, we crawled back inside to try to catch a few more zzzzs. But of course, it was already daylight so… we waited for the rain to abate and then started our day.

The Boy caught five more fish that morning while we made breakfast and broke camp.

Back at home we all pitched in to clean and fillet the catch and then the best part, grilled the freshest salmon ever for an Alaskan meal like none other.

That gave us the strength for our next adventure of climbing up to an alpine lake, but more on that next time.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

test

Even Nomads Need a Home, Why Not in Spain?

Spain is issuing digital nomad visas for remote workers who want to continue to work or retire and enjoy the gorgeous countryside, culture, food, and weather the country has to offer… CONTINUE READING >>

In our twelve years of traveling since becoming empty nesters, we still needed a home base. For us it has been from St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands, to Michigan, then New York, and finally California. But now we ae seriously considering making somewhere in Europe our next base.

For us the motivation is that we now have family, including a new grandchild, living there and we would love to be closer to them. So we have begun to look at some of the possibilities.

That is why we were excited to learn thatfor globe-trotting Gypsynesters like us, there is a fantastic option called the Spain digital nomad visa.

Within the next few months, the Spanish government will begin issuing digital nomad visas for remote workers who would like to visit and work digitally. However, we are far from experts on how to go about getting one, and of course, for those of us who are not an EU citizen there are some restrictions and qualifications to be met.

That is where the My Spain Visa law firm can help. They are experts with more than 15 years of experience of helping people live and work in Spain. They know the ins and outs as well as all of the requirements, so they can complete the process as fast as possible and have us on our way to working while traveling.

There are certainly many other reasons that people may want to relocate to Europe. Retirement is definitely another one, and in that case sunny Spain is rightfully near the top of everybody’s list. That is why over a million people have already done it.

Retiring obviously involves living there permanently, and the My Spain Visa law firm can help with that too. There are options such as the Golden visa, which requires that applicants invest a specific amount in Spanish public debt securities or stock in Spanish capital companies. The financial obligationcan also be met with bank deposits in Spanish financial institutions.

Another option is to purchase investment real estate in Spain, and My Spain Visa can also help with the purchase of that property.

There are minimum value amounts for all of these investments so many people choose the non-lucrative visa instead. With this you only need to show that you have sufficient funds to maintain living in Spain for ten years without needing permanent employment.

These financial requirements are much lower than those for the Golden visa so this is perhaps the most popular and easiest way to retire in Spain. To us, this looks like the best way to live in Spain. Of course, to live there you need a home.

Once again, the My Spain Visa law firm can help to simplify the entire process and make it easy to find the house of your dreams. Just imagine living in the beautiful hills and valleys of the Basque Country, or along the sunny seashores of the Mediterranean. It sounds idyllic… because it is!

Another huge benefit to remember with all of these visa options is that once you are approved you can travel and stay freely throughout the entire 26 members of the Schengen nations. That means that all of Europe, from Portugal to Finland, Greece to Iceland, and everywhere in between is completely open to visit and stay for a while whenever you like.

So, whether you want to continue to work as a digital nomad with a home base in Spain, or retire completely to simply enjoy the gorgeous countryside, culture, food, and weather the country has to offer, My Spain Visa can help make it happen.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.