Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Weekend in Maine

Last week Alla noticed an ad for a lecture in Camden, Maine. We’ve never been in Camden and the lecture sounded good, so off we went. According to Google Maps, it’s a 3½-hour drive to get there, but somehow we managed to spend all day at it. The problem involved shopping. Alla and I both hate to shop, so we don’t do it very often. We had a little list of things we’d been meaning to buy, so we stopped at some of the factory outlet stores along the way. One stop proved especially successful: Alla really needed a new pair of casual pants, and she found an excellent pair at Lucky Jeans. She liked them a whole lot more than the pants she had on, so she left the dressing room in her new jeans and told the clerk she wanted to wear them out of the store.

As she rang up the sale, the clerk realized that we had a little problem. Lucky sews anti-theft tags into their clothing and the clerk normally de-activates them at the counter. Alla might have to take off her pants for this. Fortunately, the store manager knew that they could de-activate the tag simply by folding it in half, which the clerk accomplished while Alla sat on the counter. Seeing me staring at my phone, Alla warned the clerk that she was about to become a public figure as I took this photograph for my blog.

After all stops for shopping, lobster sandwiches, walking around and rubbernecking, we got to Camden as the sun began to set. Had I known how much I’d like Camden and the view from our balcony, I would have shopped less and driven more directly. It’s a harbor town on a rocky bay, set at the bottom of colorful hills. The oldest buildings date from the early 1800’s, and the downtown architecture still looks quite historic.

After Saturday’s lecture, which we both enjoyed, we climbed Mount Battie. Alla complained a lot during the climb because we expected open vistas all the way up, but the trail took us through woods until the very top. We could have driven up, and I had to entice her to complete the hike by promising that we could beg a ride down if she didn’t want to walk back. She took me up on my offer, and we ended up riding with a really interesting couple. They had overheard us speaking Russian and the guy told us that he’d not long ago spent two years in Kazakhstan. He was a Peace Corps volunteer, and he spoke pretty good Russian. His poor girlfriend suffered in smiling silence as the conversation suddenly veered clear of her language. I think at least the rest of us felt like we got back to our car too quickly, and would have enjoyed talking more.

We got some rain on Sunday, but mostly while we were at church. We made good use of the rest of the day and didn’t leave the area until nearly sunset. This time we very nearly drove directly home and confirmed that Google Maps hadn’t lied: it really was only 3½ hours of driving. We want to come back, and the Town of Camden hopes we will. They sent us home with a colorful free magazine describing what a wonderful place it can be even during late autumn and winter. Alla is studying said magazine even as I write this.

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