Keith Byron


Keith Byron

I've been singing in choirs for over 30 years, and choir has been very, very good to me!

Thanks to my choral activites, I have been able to travel to Europe a couple of times, Mexico, Costa Rica, and various domestic locales. One week from the time that I am typing this, we are headed back to Europe and I wanted to be able to document my travels as well as share my experiences with friends, family, and anyone else who has any interest. :-)

So, please sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Air BlueKnote is about to take off.

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona November 10th 2011

Though I am home, this entry will be about the last day in Spain. Any other postings will be summary and maybe some random photos that I want to add. It would seem that the rain in Spain DOES stay mainly on the plain. We had the very faintest of rain in the time that followed Granada, and most of that time was along the Mediterranean Coast. When last we heard from our intrepid heroes, they had just checked-into the Hotel Arrahona in Sabadell, just outside of Barcelona. The hotel was clean and adequate. Nothing to write home about. Sabadell was a suburb. I felt like I was in Walnut Creek or Diamond Bar. Somewhat comforting, to tell the truth. That evening, Daniel and I headed into Barcelona, where we found the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, which ... read more

Europe » Spain » Valencian Community » Valencia November 8th 2011

Yesterday, on my 39th birthday, we woke to a beautiful shimmering Mediterranean morning. The sunlight was playing off of the water in the distance and I felt like it was wishing me a good year. ☺ We got our stuff together, checked out of the hotel, and started to drive toward Valencia. We had a hankering for some food, but didn’t want to guess at a restaurant. So we headed toward the golden arches. The arches led us to a mall. So we went in and bought a couple of things, headed to McDonalds and had a nice burger ‘n’ fries type of meal, followed by my first birthday treat, which was Häagen-Dazs – a scoop of crème brulee and a scoop of chocolate with pralines and caramel. Yum. We got on the road for Valencia. ... read more

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Granada November 6th 2011

Yesterday, we drove from Lucena to Granada. Granada, the pomegranate of Spain, is a nice town, but the hotel is what is worth talking about. We stayed at the Hotel Alhambra Palace. It’s the most pricey of the hotels that I chose for this leg of our trip and it’s worth it. The lobby is gorgeous, there are views for days, and the service is exceptional. The parking is a little odd, but they make it work for you. The size of the room was OK and the bed was moderately comfortable, but the wall with the headboard has a Moorish scroll around the edges, the ceiling is coffered with a Moorish star pattern. The bathroom is a little busy, but pretty. The view out of our window is fantastic – all of Granada lays below ... read more

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Seville November 4th 2011

Today, we woke in the lovely Hotel Ciudad de Lucena. It is a really nice hotel in its way… the bed isn’t super comfy, but it’s not bad. The amenities are OK. The breakfast was adequate, and the price was right. It’s a little out of the way, but it is centrally located (ish) to Cordoba, Malaga, and Sevilla, so I chose it with the idea of being able to make a choice. Meh. I should’ve just chosen a city and gone with it. So, after breakfast, we headed to Seville (Sevilla). We told the Garmin to get us to the city, but we were unsure of where to go when we were there. On our way, there was rain and there was some more rain. THEN there was the time when it was WAY too ... read more
Olive Trees

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Córdoba November 3rd 2011

Driving and driving and driving and driving… That’s what we did all day today. We went from Tiedra, near Valladolid, to Lucena, near Cordoba. It took about 6.5 hours. Now, we didn’t reach our hotel for an additional 1.5 hours because the hotel is in a new area that our Nav System didn’t know. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown… but we’re here, now, and it’s a nice place. Seems very much like a convention hotel. That being said… we drove through some beautiful countryside. Some sweeping plains, some rolling hills. We saw earth and plants of so many colors. Sometimes there were patches of red earth, golden grass, green pines, yellow and amber trees. It was gorgeous. Throughout Castilla y Leon, there were also beautiful churches and castles all along the ... read more

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Toro November 2nd 2011

Yesterday morning, several people took off early, before the mass of the group. The rest of us headed to Bilbao Airport. Daniel and I stood in line with the choir for a bit, and then we went down the line giving hugs and goodbyes to these wonderful people. After our goodbyes, we headed to the lower level of the airport to find the Sixt Car Rental kiosk. At Sixt, I was helped by a lovely young lady named Gloria who was very helpful and spoke better English than I speak Spanish. It took a little while to get everything in order, then I tried to enter our first hotel into the Nav system (Garmin) and it couldn’t find our hotel’s address. So, Gloria and her coworkers helped me to enter something CLOSE to where the hotel ... read more
Hotel View

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » Bilbao November 1st 2011

This morning, we woke up and found that only three people from our group could attend the closing ceremonies for the Tolosa Festival, so we took a vote and decided to just come directly to Bilbao. Our hotel, Hotel Hesperia, is really quite nice. It’s another contemporary space. Very clean and nicely appointed. And FREE WiFi that works! Since we arrived early, we got an earlier admittance into the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. The same guy who designed the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles designed the building. It’s really cool. There is a statue of a slightly abstract spider outside. The spider is thirty feet tall, created by a lady named Louise Bourgeois. On the audio tour thingy, it said that she named the spider “Maman” (Mommy) because she saw her ailing mother in the same ... read more

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » Tolosa October 31st 2011

Tolosa, Spain. Monday, October 31, 2011. We woke today with butterflies in our tummies. We had breakfast and a last rehearsal before the competition. We took lunch in the hotel, went to our rooms for a little rest and preparation before heading into Tolosa. We got there and almost immediately went in for our warm-up, which was a 15-minute event to touch each piece to make sure of sound and where we are standing. Then there was a lot of waiting. Hurry up and wait. The polyphony round was first. We sang Karimatanu Kuicha (Ko Matsushita), Sanctus Benedictus (Josep Vila), Kyrie (Tomas Luis de Victoria), Irish Blessing (Daniel Hughes), and finally Veni (Knut Nystedt). I feel that we did well. There was some more waiting and then we went in for the Folklore round. We sang ... read more

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián October 30th 2011

Another day in Spain. Not missing home, yet… Each day, we’re introduced to something new and wonderful. Today, it was San Sebastian, or Donastia to the Basque folk. But first, I realize that I left you with the fact that we were going to head to Polanco. Polanco is a small town of 5500 people and it is utterly charming. We arrived after a slightly harrowing drive with a gentleman named Iñaki at the wheel. Nice feller, but a little heavy-footed around curves. The Tolosa Festival provides transport to the different venues, which works out because our ACFEA-hired driver needs to take a break. When we arrived in Polanco, it was beautiful, with the sun setting behind lush hills. I forgot my camera, so I took some shots with my phone. I’ll try to get those ... read more

Europe » Spain » Basque Country October 29th 2011

Well, now! Yesterday, after checking out of the hotel, we had some time to wander Burgos a little more, so I went into the cathedral proper with Lorri Nieto and Yumi Mori and did a really quick run-through because we needed to get back to put Lorri and Yumi’s luggage on the bus. After doing that, the three of us headed to where the shops and restaurants are so that Yumi could get some churros y chocolate and buy a para agua (umbrella). We did find a place with delicious churros y chocolate for 1.90 euros (for each of us) and we saw Ryan Nakagawa, Ben Walter, Jacques Maitre, and Johnathon Atwood as they were finishing theirs. Yumi and I continued on to El Corte Inglés, which is the major department store chain in Spain. After ... read more
Now You See me...

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