Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Where is Travel Today

If all has gone to plan, we fly from Paris, to London, to Washington DC today.  Regular blog service will resume next week, or maybe sooner depending on jet lag after a month away.  

The photo above?  That is a Presidential White Top, turning east, just to the south of the building we live in.  


I look forward to sharing this latest adventure with you all.  

This has been an amazing adventure. Over a month, in confined spaces and we still love one another.  Days at sea, different countries, languages, and cultures.  At one point or another both of us have been unwell, I had a cough that could wake the dead.  These things happen in life, not because we are traveling, but because we are alive. The only thing I grew tired of, was driving in France.  A few factors, I drove more in 11 days, than I normally drive in 6 months, and it was all on unfamiliar roads, with roundabouts, and with a manual transmission.  Next time we need to plan non-driving days.  

THANK YOU for being patient and tolerant of my advance posts and on the fly editing. Hopefully there will be a couple more extended adventures in the next couple of years, there are a couple of bucket list items to partake in that will require some time away from the keyboard.  

Monday, May 27, 2024

Moody Monday: I didn't know I couldn't live without that

 I go shopping without a clear plan of what I want or need.  Let me modify that, when I go into the grocery store I often have a vague list of things that we are out of or running out of that may even be a short written list.  But the bigger question of what am I going to buy, what am I going to make over the next few days, is open, and inspired by what I see.  I often emerge with things I had no idea I would buy.  If nice steaks are priced well, we are having steak.  If there is seafood that looks good and is not priced like gold, I may suddenly be preparing fish.  I kind of don't know what I want until I see it. The same happens at my local farmers market, what I buy and what I prepare, depends on what my favorite vendors have in this week.

When I go to Ikea, I do like Ikea, I usually have one or two items I want to pick up, and I generally leave with a cart full of things I didn't know I needed.  A few months ago we went for new rugs for my bedroom, and came home with rugs, towels, a couple of kitchen towels, cutting boards, and a picture frame. Not the craziest list of things I have found I needed while wandering through the maze at Ikea.  

When I travel, I often see things that inspire me.  I find new foods that inspire me, that now need, that I didn't know I needed until I saw them. Things that become a part of my daily comfort, that I didn't know existed until I saw them.  Travel widens our view of the world, of the possibilities, and I have been so lucky to have seen so much of the world, with more left to see.  

Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Sunday Five: Work in Progress.

1: What did you learn this week? 
2: Have you forgiven anyone this week? 
3: What have you seen this week that made you go "wow!" 
4: Have you tasted anything new this week?
5: Have you reached out to anyone new this week? 

My Answers:
1: What did you learn this week? That my French is terrible.
2: Have you forgiven anyone this week? Yes. 
3: What have you seen this week that made you go "wow!"  Amazing landscapes and architecture. 
4: Have you tasted anything new this week? Bull stew, who knew? 
5: Have you reached out to anyone new this week? I have had time and a WiFi connection, so there have been a few random emails. 

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, May 25, 2024

The Saturday Morning Post: Ten Travel Essentials

 GQ has a YouTube series where they interview celebrities and sports figures asking what there 10 essential are.  Let me take a stab at my 10 travel essentials. 

1: My Nikon D5500 with an 18-200mm lens.  This is my daily carry camera, and I almost never leave home without it.  

2: My Chromebook, the current one is an Acer, it is the third one I have owned. It is a 12 inch, weighs less then 3 pounds, and is easy to travel with. 

3: Airline travel credit card. I have more than one.  The air miles from them have paid for a lot of travel. Over the past 4 years, I have all but stopped using cash. 

4: Cash, I always have a modest amount of cash with me.  It is rare that cards won't work, old habits die hard I always have real money with me. I keep a enough Euros and GBP on hand to take a taxi to a hotel and have lunch when I arrive. 

5: Passport card.  If I am leaving the country I carry my passport, but I always have a passport card with me.  It works for border crossings in north America, and at the airport.  

6: The flying pharmacy.  I take just a couple of prescription medications, and I always have a few days supply with me, along with anti inflammatories, digestive aids, and antihistamines. There is also a hair brush, toothbrush and toothpaste in the kit.  

7: Mobile phone.  I am carrying a Samsung, 5G phone.  I seldom talk on the phone. It connects me to email, and I can post to my blogs from it, do web searches, and get directions.  

8: Electronic support bag.  I keep this packed and ready to go, it has chargers for my phone, Kindle, and Chromebook (and Apple lightening.) Also other cables, and a PowerPoint remote control, I like to pace when I am speaking.  

9: Asics Cumulus Gel shoes.  I have multiple pairs of these, and they are the shoes I wear 95% of the time that I have shoes on.  I have them in plain black for semi-formal occasions, and neon yellow when that is what I feel like.  I buy them when I find them on clearance, or when I see a color I love.  

10: Travel Penguin.  He seldom appears in public, but he is in my essential travel bag.  Oh, the adventures he has been on, the things he has seen.   

Friday, May 24, 2024

100 Ways to Slightly Improve Your Travel Experience: #7 Always Be Flexible

I remember when I took this photo, I had flown into Boston a day early, so I would have a day to go see Harvard Square, and the first 48 hours I was there is was just above freezing and raining heavily.   At times I couldn't see these buildings for the low clouds and rain.  Not the kind of weather for exploring a city. 

I looked around, found an indoor shopping area attached to the hotel, went to lunch, did a little shopping, walked a block to a nearby historic church, and chilled.  

When we were in Iceland last year, we had reservations at a nice hotel in Vik, and we drove into a blizzard on the way there, were forced to turn around and drive back to good weather, cancel the hotel reservations, and check into a different hotel 150 miles away.  We ended up at the Blue Lagoon the next day having a delightful time. We will make it to Vik, maybe the next trip. 

J warns people to not try to control Rome, it will control you, it will turn on you, things will be closed, plans will be disrupted.  Go with the flow, walk around the block and see what wonder is around the corner.

Here in France, I had all of the hotels meticulously planned and booked. Then we drove into the shopping center and traffic jam that is Aix-en-Provence the other day.  Last night I booked a different hotel, and cancelled one, going in a different direction.  One where I can park and have less traffic to deal with.  

Don't get upset, or try to force it. Always be flexible and look for the joy around you.   

Thursday, May 23, 2024

The Thursday Ramble: Driving on the East and West Coasts of France

This was taken a few years ago, when we spent a week on the west coast of France.  I recall being terribly confused, the west coast of France is east of the USA, I kept thinking it was the east coast of France.  Thankfully Ms. Garmin can find her way around, except in Bayeux, she was terribly confused and stopped talking to me until I escaped the old part of the city.  Garmin sells SD memory cards with regional maps, they are worth their weight in gold when traveling. 

The rental car this trip is a Nissan Juke.  I have driven them before, a four door, kind of cross over, not really an SUV, but not a hot hatch.  This one has a manual transmission, my first time driving a manual in nine years, I was pleased at how fast the skill comes back.  It took a couple of tries, but we changed the language on the car to English, including the built in GPS (Sat Nav.) We have gotten the lady lost a couple of times, but generally we go wherever the little voices tell us to go.  Ms. G is onboard if needed for backup. We also reset the home location, the Gite, in the middle of 12 acres of greenhouses.  

Roundabouts take a little getting used to.  So far so good.  

I find France fairly easy to drive in. Take the extra insurance, and drive so you never need it.  I always think of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" when I am saying yes, $10 a day extra and if I return a smoldering wreck to you that just fine. (If you have not read the book, it is a wild-wild ride through a Drug Enforcement Convention in Las Vegas by a stoned journalist - it is a unique read.) And be patient, if you make a wrong turn, or miss a turn, don't panic there will be a round about shortly ahead to give you another try at finding the road you wanted.  The important thing is don't panic.  And drive slower than you normally would.  Even the tortoises are slower here.  (I was called out in a comment for confusing turtles who live in water with tortoises who live on land - a nit picking comment - but a lesson remembered.)