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I've been vacationing at a cottage my great-grandfather built in Eagles Mere, PA, since my first summer on the planet. I have a lifetime of treasured memories from my time there, the most significant of which is my wedding five summers ago, which took place in a gazebo in the town green and was officiated by the mayor of Eagles Mere. My upcoming trip to Andalusia with my wife is in celebration of our fifth anniversary of that day.

A few weeks ago, I was at the cottage again with my mother, my sister Sunday, my brother-in-law, and my nephews. I was telling Sunday about our trip, describing some of the places we expected to go and some of the sites we expected to see. I told her about Granada and how we are looking forward to exploring the Alhambra, the Moorish palaces that served as a fortress of luxury for the sultans of the Nasrid Dynasty in what was the last refuge of the Moors and their rule of Al-Andalus.

A few days ago, Sunday gave us a late anniversary gift that she said she had found in Eagles Mere after I left. Bear in mind that Sunday had never heard of the Alhambra before that week in Eagles Mere, and that she had not gone looking for a gift for us. When we unwrapped the gift, this is what we found:

Sunday had never heard of "Tales of the Alhambra" before and had no way of knowing that many people consider it THE book to read before visiting Granada to conjure up the romance of the Moorish culture during its golden age. Liss and I had just recently been talking about buying a copy of it before our trip, but we never expected to obtain such a beautiful edition. Somehow, when it jumped out at her as she browsed the antique books in a little used book shop in Eagles Mere, my sister knew that she had found something special.

Travel is a great way to increase your odds of experiencing serendipitous events. It's extra fun to experience such a clever one before we even set sail! Thanks, Sunday!

Views: 33

Comment by Doris M on September 16, 2007 at 4:55pm
I love this story, Gabe. It almost seems as though the book found your sister at precisely the perfect moment in time. Serendipity is the best! I wish you and Liss a wonderful experience in Spain. Happy 5th!!
Comment by Powen Shiah on September 16, 2007 at 11:11pm
Wow, how fortuitous! I hadn't heard of that book yet, but now it's going on my list to read before I go to Grenada... maybe reading the book will open up the opportunity :-)
Comment by Gabe Small on September 17, 2007 at 4:47am
Thanks, Doris! I saw the pictures of Granada you uploaded--they're beautiful! I can't wait to get there...
Comment by Sunday on September 23, 2007 at 2:22pm
This was a truly amazing synchronicity. It felt like a blessing for your trip, Gabe and Liss. I look forward to seeing pix and reading blogs as you travel!

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