“I love to travel but hate to arrive.” (Herman Cortes) “It is better to travel well than to arrive.” (Buddha) The observation from Cortes preceded air travel; the one by Buddha precludes it. And according to Al Gore, “Airline travel is nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo.” (He may have been paraphrasing.)
“I have seen more than I remember and I remember more than I have seen.” (Benjamin Disraeli) Your interpretation of this may be age-dependent; I prefer the youthful interpretation over the senile version.
Since last we spoke, we have seen, visited, stayed in, passed through, or otherwise experienced pieces of Málaga, Cadiz, and Seville in Spain, Lisbon and Portimão in Portugal, Casablanca in Morocco, Gibraltar, Dublin, Ireland, and Chicago and Minneapolis in the US. We have settled, temporarily, in Fridley, MN, USA.
Fridley is an inner-ring suburb of Minneapolis, seven miles north of the condo we walked out of 491 days ago. It was named for Abram Fridley, the first territorial representative for the area in 1855 and a member of the Minnesota Legislature when Minnesota became a state. In 1857, the area seceded from Ramsey County to form Manomin (from the Dakota word for ‘wild rice’) County, the smallest county in the state. In 1860, Manomin County was annexed by Anoka County and became Manomin Township, with Ramsey reclaiming the title of smallest county. In 1879, the state legislature, of which Abram was a member, changed the name to Fridley Township. In 1949, Fridley Township became the Village of Fridley, which seemed to have something to do with the Minnesota post-prohibition law that allowed incorporated areas to operate liquor stores. In 1957, the “Village” became a “City”, which seemed to have something to do with Minnesota’s “Home Rule Charter City” law.
According to most text books, the history of the area and Minnesota in general began, ignoring a few unsavory French Voyagers and Priests, in the 18th Century as a Spanish territory and the Louisiana Purchase in 1802 made it part of the US. This opened the way for permanent European settlers, primarily Scandinavian and German (aka, Lutheran and Catholic).
The oral history of the Dakota people has them arriving 500 years earlier, displacing the people who were already here. The Ojibwe, aka Anishinaabe, came in 18th C. when forced out of northeastern US.
Famous people from Fridley include Rose Totino (pizza), Jon Melander (football), Brooke Elliot (film), Marilyn Belgum (comedy), and Ducky Doolittle (peepshows and sex education, which are different careers). According to Google Map, there are ten restaurants within three tenths of a mile and ten grocery stores within a mile of the LivINN Motel. In Málaga, we would have walked without thinking about it; here the walk would be through car parks and across motorways. And that might get us to Wendy’s or Target. The Fridley Historical Society Museum is 2.3 miles away. We haven’t visited it.
I have taken one photo since we arrived.
The name of Minnesota, and many things in it, comes from one of the Dakota languages. It is variously translated as ‘clear water’ or ‘cloudy water’. While these may sound conflicting, the later seems to refer, not to the water quality, but to the reflection of the sky. Which leads to the Hamm’s Beer translation as, “Land of Sky Blue Waters.” And my personal favorite, “Where the heavens meet the water.”
Our alarm in Málaga went off on May 1, at midnight Minnesota time (Central Daylight Time; 7:00 am, Central European Time). We checked into the LivInn Hotel at about Midnight, May 2, (CDT; 7:00 am, CET). While Málaga, and most of Spain, is west of the Prime Meridian, they, and all of Spain, set their clocks to match most of Europe.
In the 24 hours between the start and end of our day, after dutifully arriving at the airport two and a half hours before our scheduled departure, we dutifully waited with several dozen others for 30 minutes for the Aer Lingus counter to open, with three-months’ worth of luggage, one wheelchair, and one walker. After a frank and open conversation between a very pleasant Aer Lingus agent and less pleasant Aer Lingus passenger about why Agent couldn’t check Passenger’s luggage any farther than Chicago, we managed to check in and get through security with one carry-on each, one personal item each, one computer each, and one medical device each. After 84 days, we left Málaga at 12:30 CET, with much ambivalence.
It was a three hour flight to Dublin but they’re on Greenwich Mean Time so we gained an hour, although it is almost due north. We had just over an hour to find our connecting flight. The first official looking person we found directed us to the Non-EU passport line. That we learned was the wrong line because we were connecting, not arriving. The line for connecting passengers was two or three elevators in the other direction. Then we learned there is a special line for connecting passengers headed to the US, which seemed to take two or three elevators in a different direction. We got to our gate in time.
It was a nine or ten hour flight to Chicago, but who’s counting at this point. And we had about two hours to find our airline, our terminal, and our gate for MSP. No problem.
Problem. We had to retrieve our luggage in terminal 1, take a train to terminal 3, recheck our luggage in terminal 3, print boarding passes, get ourselves and our one carry-on each, one personal item each, one computer each, and one medical item each through security again. This time we had a native guide, who was fluent in English but spoke a local dialect, perhaps Woodlawn, pushing the wheelchair. He got us to the gate with 10 minutes to spare before they closed the door.
Minneapolis was a piece of cake. We just needed to retrieve three-months of luggage in addition to the one carry-on each, one personal item each, one computer each, and one medical device each. Somehow the one medical device each included one CPAP, one wheelchair, one walker, and one cane. Just one elevator down to baggage claim, one elevator up to the skyway, one elevator down to the street, and we found our Lyft driver, who took us to our car, which had been stored in Savage, which took us to Fridley. When we checked in, it was seven am in Málaga; time for Julia’s Bakery next door for café mitad (40% expresso and 60% hot milk) and churros. But now we have Embers across the highway.
The snow is gone but we’re still wondering why we’re here.