Travels with Greg

Travels with Greg

Yvonne and I are continuing our journeys in Spain, and we are taking Greg, Yvonne’s father, who died four years ago at the age of 96. Greg was a gifted engineer and inventor whose greatest joy in life was taking things apart and figuring out a better way to put them back together. He also loved to travel, especially to engineering destinations. 

Late in his life, for example, Yvonne asked if there was anything left on his bucket list. He thought for a while, then said he’d like to see the new bridge over Hoover Dam, an engineering marvel that replaced the old road he had driven over many times. And off we went!

We are now traveling to places Greg was never able to visit, and Yvonne decided to bring a vial of Greg’s ashes with her, to scatter in places he would have enjoyed seeing.  On this trip, there have been two spots that seemed especially appropriate.

The town of Segovia is famous for an engineering wonder: one of the world’s longest and best-preserved elevated Roman aqueducts. Greg would have been amazed, as we were, by the beauty of the stone design and the simple fact of its survival for two thousand years. Now part of him rests beside one of the huge stones at its base.

Farther along, on the La Mancha plateau, we came across another feat of engineering, this one in use from before the 17th century to the mid-1950s. A hilltop in the town of Consuegra has a group of windmills that scholars believe were the ones Miguel de Cervantes had in mind when his literary creation, Don Quixote, tilted at windmills. Greg would have enjoyed hearing about the story, but he would have been more interested in the mechanics of the windmills.

As we learned in a tour around and inside the windmills, the mill keepers would judge the wind’s direction using a series of eight small windows, then turn the top of the mill to catch the breeze using four wooden arms with sails. The energy would be transmitted through a series of wooden gears to grind grain. Greg would have loved it! 

And so the windmills, along with the aqueduct, became the latest stops in Greg’s travels. We’re happy to have him along.


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