Monthly Archives: July 2010
A quick post as I’ve been super busy all day today: we got back last night from a 2-day whirlwind road trip, and as always, the priority is to get some new pics up on BumpyTours!
So to say “hello” and send a smile here are some fun guys I found hanging out on a wall in Durnstein, on the Donau river.
Last year after leaving Budapest we drove NW over about a weeks time, thru Prague, Dresden & Berlin. Ending up on the shores of Sweden, “home” for the summer was found in Varberg, on the SW coast. Being there was great, but knowing us, we get “ants-in-the-pants” and the road calls out our names. There was our “Bobbing on the Baltic” cruise, and then later we finally took the Hurtigruten up part of the Norwegian coast.
This was not our first trip together to Norway, for that we have to reach way back to 1999, the summer we drove three months from Southern Spain all the way past the Arctic circle.
The summer of ’99 we bought a cheap tent and sleeping bags; there are many excellent camping sites in Norway, but I think our favorite was the day we left Bergen and headed inland. The morning in Bergen was key to preparing for our expedition: we had to make sure we had enough boxed wine (vino is super expensive in Norway, like everything else, so boxed is best!). Food is also vital, but we’re not into “freeze dried” camp food, so we go to the market and load up on smoked fish, cooked shrimp, creamy dill sauce, a couple of lemons and dark brown bread.
Ok! The car is packed and we’re off! A couple of hours inland from the coast we came to a rustic area, hardly any trees, but brush and rocky landscape. A restaurant/cafe/campers outpost appeared on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. We parked, picked up our gear, foodstuffs, and simple walked straight out of the parking lot and into the wilderness. This was the day Bumpy got his moniker “Chief Bumpy” (Indian name) as he was cutting the trail (lucky for me he had years of experience in Tomogamy, Canada), he found the perfect spot.
Imagine being just the two of you, under the blue sky, scrambling across rocky under-footing, to discover a big lake – and you are all a.l.o.n.e…..it was fantastic! After assembling the tent, Chief Bumpy obliged us to take a dip in the lake. Skinny dipping in freezing water is an awakening experience (ah hem!), but I can attest that I did do it. Once. Chief Bumpy repeated the experience the next morning (wowza!).
This single night out in the Norwegian wilderness, alone together, remains ingrained in my memory bank and my pre-digital photo album. There are so few places on Earth, or perhaps even moments, where I think you have that sort of “revelation” and awareness of how insignificant we can be, to be in awe of the greatness around us, and be happily humbled by such. For me, that night under Norwegian stars, was such a moment.
I knew when I walked past this hedge of yellow flowers that they would make for a good textured photo. What do you think? Found in a sort of creepy alley, below are road where we ascended up some dank cement steps. I know that I’ve been out of NYC a long time when I think such places are “creepy”. I think I better get back there and thicken up my skin a bit!
Enjoy your Tuesday!
Such an icon,
I wish I was the privileged owner of such a fine automobile, alas not. But sincerely, it was simply stunning to see up close. For me this car conjures up another time, one I’ve only seen in black & white movies on TCM. Boy, do those people look innately elegant! If only for a moment I could go there as one of them…
But back to planet Austria: yes, we left the house at 9:30am with an overnight bag packed (“don’t forget the bathing suits!” – check), but I did not remember the passports, thus any thought of crossing over either into Italy or Slovakia was out of the question. Even if there are no “real” border controls anymore, photocopies of such docs just don’t cut it with the local authorities.
The plan was to check out “Karnten” and the “Worthersee” region: big lakes, fancy shops, casinos and innumerable hotels. It was packed. We don’t “do” crowds too well. Then again, I don’t know what we were expecting? I mean, it is July, it is summertime folks! Rooms were available, that wasn’t the issue. It was that if we wanted a view, we’d have to pay the price, and no one was willing to budge an iota on prices (hello?! haven’t you all heard there’s a financial crisis going on?!). So, they’d rather leave a room empty than fill it with nice people with two fur-babies like us. Tant pis! (too bad).
Back in the car, we took a different country road heading back in our “home” direction, thinking we’d find a mountain place. Nothing felt right. The key was in the lock by 6pm, O&M were happy, we’re pooped, but it should settle down our ants-in-the-pants for a few days at least!
The Summer season across many European countries brings with it festivals of all kinds, from music, to food and wine, to flea markets, to car rally’s! From what I understand (since I don’t yet own one of these babies) there are rally’s for specific car manufacturers: ie. the Ferrari Club of X (insert town name here) to more general invitations “Join our Rally! Enter here with your fee”, and all sorts of cars show up, different makes, models, years. The latter was the sort of rally the Ennstal Classic is.
I was camera trigger happy with so many cool cars to check out in the hours before they took off for the 337km race, but you can feel they eyes of the owners piece the back of your neck if you get just a little too close for comfort. I think it would be a hoot to participate in one of these, but only if I can just sit back and not drive nor navigate. Or, if I can follow by heli!
It’s been five years now since we’ve been living “on the road”, having enjoyed every minute of it. There are definitely the pros and cons to such a lifestyle, but I’ve fine-tuned the process to fit our needs. So as I state in the title: “Must Have Items”, this is purely from personal experience of what Bumpy and I can live with and without.
1. Year-round clothes – basic items which would get us thru any season, anywhere. Heavy winter clothes are not convenient to pack, so when we find ourselves in places such as Budapest for Christmas, we just throw on another sweater and have a shot of palinka! Clothing which requires dry cleaning is also not part of the scheme: it’s either machine or hand-wash. Accessories are great and easy to pack. One day I’ll write a post about my packing habits.
2. Two sets of copies of important documents – this includes photocopies of passports, birth certificates, residence permits, drivers license, dog passports too! I’m sure you have your own similar system for your trips, which I’d love to hear about for new ideas. On a side note: I’ve also photographed all these documents and saved them as encrypted PDFs on a USB key, which I always have in my handbag at all times.
3. Medication, First aid kit, medical documents – Duh, a no-brainer. I double check all expiry dates on meds and bring the old stuff to any pharmacy (it’s bad for the environment to dump in the garbage or toilet).
4. Laptops & external hard drive – we each have our own (I even carry around a wifi router!). The external hard drive is crucial to life in general. I back up, back up, back up. More on that another time.
5. Stereo & iPod – The iPod we’ve had for years and its followed us on all our trips. The stereo/iPod dock is a recent purchase and I was reluctant to spend so much, but with rationalization, it became apparent that we really “deserve” (cough cough) good sound. I hate to admit it, I love blasting that thing and dancing around the house!
6. Good kitchen knives / saute pan (kitchen utensils) – Eating out in restaurants can be entertaining, it can also start to get tiresome. Plus part of the fun of living in new places is to discover the regional gastronomy. Local markets are colourful , you get to support home-grown produce, and people love to talk about what makes their particular goods special. Once your basket is full, it’s time to head”home’, and there’s nothing more frustrating than to go into a kitchen only to discover a mish-mash of dull knives and crappy pans. Thus, we bring our own. I happen to like Henkel (except when I’m not paying attention and chop off half my finger nail).
7. Coffee maker – Another pet peeve: we like strong coffee with warm milk in the mornings. This press is small, lightweight and also doubles as a tea pot.
8. Box containing our favorite cooking staples – Hot oil, spices from our trip to Morocco, Herbes de Provence, Balsamic vinegar syrup, Worchestire, Tabasco, Herbal salt and mixed pepper.
9. Excersie mat, resistance bands and DVDs – I fall prey to not consistently being in shape, but with these tools, I am more motivated and less likely to let myself go into the deep end of total lethargy. Small and easy to pack, they can go anywhere.
10. Little luxuries – ahhhh! A girl needs even just a touch to make her life feel special. I’ll let you know later what mine are that fit into our lifestyle.
I have a thing about clocks, particularly big ones on buildings. I shoot them everywhere I go – a collection if you will. So this past Sunday when we were in Bad Gastein for the day, I saw this one, and loved it for its golden hands.
I promised I’d upload more photos from our Saturday morning excursion to the Ennstal Classic Car Rally, so here goes! It’s almost 10pm now, the day has flown by and I’ve been busy with my first day of the challenge.
But back to classics for a moment: Saturday’s event is pretty famous if you are in the “know”; all sorts of cars from very vintage MGs, Mercedes, and BMWs, but also some Audi Quattros which were looking very “Back to the Future” and sorta cool in that 80s way. A few “real” race cars made their appearances too, alongside cars with leather pouches and straps to keep the front hoods down. The people were just as eye catching to observe: lotsa’ attitude, sunglasses, jeans and suede driving moccasins was the uniform of the day. All cool stuff. I’ve been meaning to replace my mocs come to think of it…..
If you were to see all my RSS feeds you might wonder when I get anything done which needs doing (note to self: brush the dogs). However, there are a few places on the web which I really don’t want to miss, one of them is Simply Hue. Vicki creates a lovely blog, and I admire her pretty, feminine, almost dreamy images. So, last week in the hopes of having some of her photographic talent rub off on me, I decided to jump on her Flickr bandwagon “Creative Challenge”, where this week “Favorite Color” was the assignment. I’ve chosen “Silvery Moss”. Is that it actually a “color”? Perhaps you know the proper name and can tell me so I can note it for a paint swatch someday. All I know is that “Silvery Moss” is definitely one of my favs. Maybe I can find it at Farrow & Ball?
It’s sometimes mind boggling what one can accomplish before Noon: walked the dogs at 6:30, coffee an hour later when Bumpy woke up, run the dogs, do the dishes, put on makeup, get in car and GO! Where to? To the Ennstal-Classic Rally of course, silly!
And so there I was surrounded by an incredible assortment of beautiful vehicles driven by beautiful people — what to look at first?! I just hate that when that happens! Don’t you?
This gorgeous weather we’ve been having becomes slightly uncomfortable as the morning hours pass and the mid-day sun gathers strength. But, grab a Coke and meander amongst the display from a designers’ dream. It was hard to choose which auto we wanted to drive home — we thought we’d leave the final choice to O&M.
I’ll post some more pics hopefully tomorrow, and as I fall asleep tonight, I’ll remember what a girl can do before Noon (note to self: more heli rides!)