Grandpa Ramping It Down

1 July 2023

When one is in pain, one needs distraction.

That was the case while visiting the Third Tunnel of Aggression in the DMZ north of Seoul. Walking down the 11 degree ramp, noting the distance to my destination, it occurred to me how challenging the climb out would be.

The tunnel is 358 meters in length, thankfully cool because it is also 73’ underground. Dripping water everywhere. But that ramp up is long and daunting. So I thought, what if….


Teenagers in California

TSA and teens: "Put the bunny on the belt!"

TSA and teens: “Put the bunny on the belt!”

The challenge: taking two teens, Mikaela 13 and Gabrielle 17, to California and planning excursions they will enjoy. It is a big challenge. What will they think is fun? Where to eat? Mikaela has not traveled to Italy and Spain like her big sister, so will their impressions be influenced by that? There is a big generation gap, as what I think might be fun may not be what a teenager wants to do. But, I have been there and done that with my past foreign exchange daughters, so I might pull this off. Let’s go. (more…)

España – Gabrielle and Pat Wrapping It Up

Nazarenos with capirotes pointing to Heaven

Nazarenos with capirotes

Beginning 35,000 BC, Celtic, Phoenician, and Romans landed in their turn, by fifth century A.D. Vandals arrived from North Germany, Visigoths from Eastern Europe, and then the Moors out of Northern Africa. A millennium ago local kingdoms arose with El Cid, and by 1469 Isabel and Fernando, the Catholic Kings, ran out the last Moors, reestablish Christianity and established the Inquisition the same year they dispatched Christopher Columbus westward. Isabel’s grandson was the Habsburg Carlos I/Carlos V who became the Holy Roman Emperor in 1519. The Crown passed from the Austrian Habsburgs to the French Bourbons in 1700. Napoleon invaded in 1808. Thus began 167 years of Civil Wars to drive out either the French, the Bourbon monarchy, the Habsburg monarchy, the Carlist, the separatist, the church. In 1936 all Hell broke loose with the Mother of all Civil Wars. Enter the meddling and manipulations of the Falangists, Communists, Nazis, and extreme Nationalist. Enter and exit The Caudillo, Franco.

Today, Franco’s hagiographers are gone, there remain strong separatist feelings, Catholicism is strong, Spain is still struggling to compete economically in the EU world, but its culture is rich. Having travelled two weeks and 1850 miles through provinces of Madrid, Andalusia, Valencian, Catalonia, Aragón, and Castile y León, there is much to love about España.


A Day in Toledo España 

By Gabrielle Bremer – Through the Lens Photography

img_2051.jpgPublic transportation is stunning in Europe. Everything is fast, clean, and comfortable. It was only a 40-minute train ride to Toledo from Madrid. From the station, we walked into town. Up the huge hill, we sorta climbed, thank God for (more…)

El Escorial España con Gabrielle

3 April 2016

Our “driver” brought Little Polo around and points us in the right direction to exit Segovia. We almost drove to the hotel but those sharp turns, driving left to get right, one ways, and narrow streets that look like an alley waiting to rip a mirror off, cause the bravest driver to just park the damn car, walk to the hotel and get a driver to maneuver the maze and park the car. Leaving town seems so much more direct. We are off in light rain and drive the short distance into the Sierra de Guadarrama to The Valley of the Fallen.  (more…)