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5 Fun Things to Do in Phoenix AZ

My parents moved to Phoenix, AZ a few years ago in their perfect retirement community. And every time I’m there I find so many fun and cool things to do, which I’d love to share with you!

Sharing is caring, y’all.

  • Take A Hike! Get your butt outdoors and breathe in the fresh air. Plus some exercise always does a body good. There are many great hiking trails but Camelback Mountain is the closest to my parent’s house so that’s the one I hike. Two main trails lead to the summit of Camelback, a camel-shaped mountain just 20 minutes from downtown Phoenix. Both are rated extremely difficult. The Echo Canyon hike is the more rugged of the two and requires steep climbs and scrambling over large rocks. The Cholla Trail, while a little bit less strenuous, is also a little bit longer. The beginning of the hike is easy, with switchbacks and even terrain. The last third of the trail requires scrambling up steep grades with drop-offs on each side. Both hikes are a little under 2.5 miles long. Plan on taking two to three hours, depending on your condition, to make either of the round-trip hikes. Please don’t forget to bring lots of water to stay hydrated!
  • Go See A Show! It doesn’t matter if it’s theatre or ballet or opera or a concert. Whichever is your jam go do it. There are just so many opportunities in Phoenix to find something that you would love. I recently saw Wicked at the ASU Gammage theatre. Great show! Great theatre. In August, The Book Of Mormon (SO GOOD) will be performing there.
  • Visit A Museum! I love the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix. It’s one of the best places to experience the myriad cultures and art of American Indians of the Southwest. Since its founding in 1929, the Heard Museum has grown in size and stature to become recognized internationally for the quality of its collections, world-class exhibitions, educational programming and its unmatched festivals. Dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art, the Heard successfully presents the stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective, as well as exhibitions that showcase the beauty and vitality of traditional and contemporary art.
  • Eat At A New Restaurant! Before seeing Wicked at the ASU Gammage we went to have an early dinner at Durant’s Steakhouse. We got there five minutes before actual opening hours, walked through the back entrance (through the kitchen – do it, be a regular), ordered martinis (extra dirty for me) and a brandy old fashioned for mom before we were seated. And speaking of seating, we slid into our red leather booth surrounded by red velvety wallpaper before having an excellent meal. Don’t get me wrong, Durant’s is not somewhere to get a quick, cheap eat. But if you want a culinary and cool experience go check it out. Quick fun fact – John Wayne, Clark Gable and Joe DiMaggio all frequented Durant’s.
  • Check out something just outside of Phoenix! Last time my mom and I went to see Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright‘s winter home and school. Ever since I was young I loved architecture and touring mansions – the Marland mansion in Ponca City, OK and don’t think I went completely insane in Newport, RI – The Breakers!!! Marble House. WOW, just wow. So definitely check out Taliesin West. But THIS TIME we went on a boat ride on Saguro Lake with my aunt and uncle who were visiting. Saguro Lake is about 45 minutes Northeast of Phoenix. The 1,200-acre lake is 10 miles long and reaches depths of more than 110 feet at its deepest point. Its 22 miles of shoreline include rocky crags, canyon walls, marshland, and desert shrubland. The area also offers a variety of recreational activities (kayaking, hiking, fishing, sailing) including a scenic and educational riverboat cruise. We took a ride on the Desert Belle riverboat, a 90-minute narrated cruise on the lake. Let me clarify, the Captain didn’t speak the entire boat ride, there were lots of groovy tunes and time to breath in the nature. Besides hundreds, if not thousands of Saguro cacti we saw a bald eagle and a bighorn sheep!!! I was super stoked about the sheep. I highly suggest to bring your binoculars.

Have a ton of fun on all your adventures. And I’d love to hear what you love to do in and around Phoenix. 🙂

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animals · beach · catalonia · fiestas · let's learn spanish · Majorca · Mallorca · menorca · spain

Sant Joan Festival

It’s that time of year again! Sant Joan festival in Spain. Many different versions around Spain – tonight in my sleepy Mallorcan town we will be heading to the beach for some BBQ, lighting LOTS of candles around us and possibly dip our toes in the ocean. This is all to celebrate the summer solstice.

BUT the best one to experience is in Menorca. The Sant Joan festival in Ciutadella. Which is CRAZY! Looks super cool but I would rather have the tamer version of it. And it allowed me to come into full contact with the horses! Something I doubt would be possible for me at the Sant Joan festival.

Check out these pics from the Sant Joan festival in Ciutadella. Insane in the membrane.

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and this …..

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Wowzers. That is A LOT of people. But that is the Sant Joan fiesta. Es normal.

The smaller festival that I attended the other year in Menorca was in Es Mercadal and called Sant Marti. The horse is the common hero of all the local saint’s day festivals celebrated in all the Menorcan villages during the summer and clearly shows how authentic the island customs are. The drivers and horsemen, dressed up in the outfit called “de just” (of the just man) in a combination of black and white and they ride Menorcan-race stallions in a long procession or parade (qualcada) which goes through all the main streets and squares of the town.

During the two days of the holiday, strict protocol is observed, mixing religious acts which are closely observed, with moments of collective fun especially during the “jaleos” which take place in the main square and where the horses, horsemen and public take part to an equal extent in the show.

And this Jaleo is what we went to on Sunday morning at 11 am in the Plaça Constitució. It was, in a word, fantastic. First, the riders rode in a procession through the street showing off themselves and their gorgeous horses. And then the fun begins! They ride into the public circle in twos while the spectators (me!) try to touch the horse while it rears up. This went on for about an hour. I am allergic to horses. Seriously, all I have to do is look at a horse and I start to get welts on my face and arms. But after 15 minutes I was ready to get into the game. Screw allergies! It was so much fun.

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and

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and

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If you get a chance to go to the Sant Marti or the Sant Joan festival I highly recommend it. And make sure you wear clothes that can get dirt, sand, horse slobber and more on it. NO HIGH HEELS! No. Muy ridiculo – and don’t think I didn’t see it.

Happy Summer Solstice! xo

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Kitten Development Stages

Welcome to adorableness!

I’m not sure if it’s the same where you live, but here in Mallorca we have many feral cats. And feral cats mean pregnant cats and pregnant cats mean kittens. Recently we had a little grey cat show up and I tried to catch her in time to get her spayed but ehem, nope. And now we have some kittens!

While they are so stinkin’ cute I needed to refrain myself the first week or so to not touch them and just let them be with mama (aka Carla)

Week ONE:

Kittens are born with their eyes and ear canals closed. They do not have any sight or hearing and will most likely stay close to the mother. Their main activities will include eating, sleeping and passing waste. The mother cleans the kitten regularly, and this also helps stimulate the newborn.

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We weren’t sure exactly where Carla had the babies. We thought it was in the abandoned lot across the street but at about day three we found her with FOUR(!!) babies on our old lounge chair on the back upstairs patio. We had a bike on the lounge chair with a cover over it and she had made a little nest in there. Hi Carla!! Shhhhh kittens sleeping.

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And then about five days later she brought her babies down and placed them on our couch!!! Sadly, one had fallen off the lounge chair and died. 😦 So we are down to three kittens. But she carried them down one by one, each time nursing them and getting them quiet before going to get their sibling. But when they were all on the couch mama really settled in with them. And now we were getting close to week two.

Week TWO:

The eyes will begin to open, but vision will be blurry. The kitten will start to develop its sense of smell.

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Isn’t that just the sweetest.

Well, that couch is THE main couch and Carla and the kittens couldn’t stay there. We fixed up a nice box with a blanket Carla had been using before the birth. And then we moved the kittens over to the box. Well, sadly Carla did not like that and she took the babies away. This time to the lot where we thought they were born.

And then came the rain. Mallorca was cold and had a lot of rain for several days. I was hoping she would come back with them because it was so cold and wet. Finally a few days later she did. Three kittens and Carla were in the cat basket upstairs one morning. And I was so relieved! They were all good.

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Their eyes were open (all blue at the moment) and kind  of stumbling around a bit. We have been giving them lots of time with mama but also picking them up a bit and petting them to get them slowly used to humans. I need them to be sweeties and not wild, feral cats! We are looking for homes for them but who knows, maybe we’ll end up keeping them.

Week THREE:

The kitten may have blue eyes at birth, but this will change as the kitten ages. You may start to see this change in the third week. Hearing begins and starts to improve, and you may notice that loud or abrupt noises scare the kitten. Because of the change in hearing, the kitten’s ears will begin to stand up.

The sense of smell continues to improve, and the kitten will begin to pass waste without prodding from the mother. Teeth may start coming in this week, and purring might commence. Your kitten may also go mobile and start walking this week!

And they have slowing started trying to walk with mama’s encouragement. I seriously can’t get over the amount of cuteness.

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Can you handle it!? We are almost to the fourth week. Where they really start to get their own personality and getting a bit bolder. This is where I leave you but I will be back with updates as we get into the next weeks.

Week FOUR:

The kitten will start working on balance and will walk more. The head is usually large compared to body size, so your kitten may be wobbly while moving around. The kitten will begin to explore the surroundings, and you may find yourself on the hunt!

Evaluate any harmful items, chemicals, plants or small openings to minimize risk to the kitten. The kitten will still be nursing at this time, and you can start the introduction to the litter box. Don’t be afraid if the kitten tries to eat the litter; this is normal.

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