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Treasure-Find in Spain by Lu Sobredo

 TREASURE-FIND IN SPAIN By Lu Sobredo The meshing of the modern and of the medieval. That is Toledo, Spain. That was my takeaway this Spring 2024. The rays of the setting sun bathe the hillsides. Artful shadows form on one structure onto another accentuating contrast between light and dark. A transformation that still takes my breath away. Toledo, Spain has captivated my imagination since I was introduced to this photogenic medieval city in the summer of 2010.  We mostly took day trips in the earlier years of our visits. In 2021, it was time to splurge a little and stay a few nights at the Parador de Toledo, a monastery turned hotel in the old city. The lone structure that sits the highest almost atop the hillsides. The view of the Parador from the city center at night is ethereal with multiple windows illuminated, appearing like eyes from the past peering at the grandeur of the old city below. A photographer’s dream: my husband was in his element. A dreamer’s dream come true for me as
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Conflicted or Brain Fog by Lu Sobredo

 CONFLICTED OR BRAIN FOG? by Lu Sobredo It had to happen in February In the shortest month of the year When the weather does its best imitation Of indecisive magician. It’s winter coat weather at night And early morn Yet the afternoon sun beats on the skin With a vengeance for a short spell To announce spring is coming. Fickleness surrounds fragility. And in my head, fog floats in. But unlike the iconic fog Over the Golden Gate Bridge, A photographer’s dream shot, My brain fog is my personal nightmare. Not to be mistaken for dementia, thank God But disturbing, nonetheless,  Making one forget to connect to virtual meetings Or take daily anti-inflammatory dosage of pills. Yes, my loyal health conscientious friends, I eat and drink anti-inflammatory food routinely  To help me as well. Naturally. Ah, but the numbing pain later in the day,  a potent reminder that natural treatment is not enough. A reminder of what I had forgotten. But wait, did I forget? How would I know with this fog?  Hov

Biko or Sweet Rice Pudding: Fuel for Holiday Angels

  BIKO OR SWEET RICE PUDDING Fuel for Holiday Angels  By Lu Sobredo I associate Christmas with a house filled with the aroma from the kitchen. This morning, the mixture of caramel on the stove with a hint of ginger and vanilla infused in coconut milk woke up images from my youth. Usually a few days of preparation when my folks were still with us is now down to a couple of days, with only my darling hubby, our dear son and me at home; and with the Rheumatoid Arthritis trying to rule the day. I’ve reduced the tradition to a few items. Number one on the list that I make in advance of Christmas Eve when my wrists and fingers would cooperate is Biko Aklanon-Visayan style). I often get asked for the recipe. I share the ingredients and steps below for anyone to use as the basic essentials. I get everything done while on my laptop waiting for the sweet rice to cook in the rice cooker, then becoming fully engaged over the stove when stirring the caramel sauce. INGREDIENTS 2 heaping cups of raw

I Love To Travel, Granted There Are Inconveniences

I LOVE TRAVEL, GRANTED THERE ARE INCONVENIENCES By Lu Sobredo I love to travel. And I love writing about our travels. The fact that I was able to travel at all in 2016, after the diagnosis in 2013 of a crippling illness called Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), was truly a miracle. However, I am practical. As a responsible travel writer, I like giving a balanced account of my experience when touring abroad. I see so much beauty and tasty treats in the nooks and crannies of Spain, Portugal and other European, and Asian regions of the globe we’ve visited. Spain is at the top of our travel destination by a mile. But I do my best to give a balanced perspective. Travel is as joyful as it is stressful. And anyone setting off to go on an adventure or a relaxing journey outside the comfort zone of home must face the reality that there are inconveniences that come with travel. First, there’s no denying the breathtaking scenery makes me quickly forget the snag we experience just purchasing a ticket for

So, You Want to Visit Barcelona?

  SO, YOU WANT TO VISIT BARCELONA? by Lu Sobredo A very pleasant Barcelona experience awaited me in 2021. Sagrada Familia Cathedral 2021 It finally happened! I’m in Barcelona. My 5th time in 11 years. My husband has been coming here with family or by himself for research and to attend conferences many more times, I had lost count. This Fall 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic is still very much around. Many of the borders in various parts of Europe opened to Americans. And I am simply thrilled to be out of my American pandemic cocoon.  I remain practical and obsess over health protocols because of my autoimmune illness. Fortunately, mask-wearing is taken very seriously in Spain or one risks getting arrested and fined or worse. The fines could be quite steep. Taxi- drivers not wearing a mask can be fined €100. Anyone inside a public place not wearing a mask could have the same fate. The Spanish Government has indeed taken a strict stance on mask wearing and other health practices. Vaccination r

Life Must Be Lived: Traveling with RA to Spain and Portugal

  LIFE MUST BE LIVED: TRAVELING WITH RA TO SPAIN AND PORTUGAL Flights From San Francisco to Lisbon and Madrid by Lu Sobredo Picture this! A woman suffering from an autoimmune disease with limited mobility travels across the Atlantic from the west coast of the United States of America in the midst albeit declining cases of COVID-19 pandemic. The picture I wish to show is one of hope! A rheumatologist officially delivered the diagnosis to me: Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) for which there is no cure; the same individual told me that I would be crippled soon, all words uttered without taking a breath eight years ago in the afternoon of August 5, 2013. He offered to begin infusion of expensive drugs that very day, not knowing any more about my disease or stating goals for improving my condition. It felt as though the world was suddenly enshrouded in darkness, my heart sank and the voice inside my head was screaming in sheer helplessness. On the outside, I kept my composure as I listened.