Category Archives: Travel
Hiya folks and a Happy Easter!
Just wanted to let you know I’ll not be around for a good week since we’re off tomorrow on an adventure to discover Crete.
As you can see, I’ve had a bit of a snafu (almost cancelled the tickets), but we’re going and I’ll be a brave girl (how can I say “no” to Crete?). I’ll be bringing along my camera for sure but no laptop, and so no on-the-road updates. Please make sure to stay tuned the first few days of May.
Hope you’re all having a great weekend and “a bientot”!
Sitting in a Roissy airport hotel room, trying to “relax” before a 4:00am wake-up call, I just wanted to drop you a note to say that I’m fluttering between free hotel wifi signals, airport signals, and who knows what awaits me when we arrive in the Casamance tomorrow!
For my 365 challenge, I spotted these sweet little white flowers outside the hotel. Late or early bloomers? You decide!
See you soon from the “Pays de Teranga”!
when there’s a table covered with bowls of olives prepared a hundred ways for you to choose from,
when teas and herbs are scooped out with little shovels into simple paper bags,
when the selection of fresh fish is abundant,
and of course when you are willing to buy black fungus to eat with eggs!
We’ve arrived back in La Belle France, greeted by sunny weather and a couple of days around Beaune, visiting friends and seeing the dentist (not exciting news, but hey).
Oskar and Maya (our German Shepherds) are doing another fantastic job of professional doggie travel. They know that I come to throw the ball for them every couple of hours, and in some ways get more hands-on attention than when they hang out with us in the house!
We leave tomorrow and head towards the Dordogne. It’s only until Saturday afternoon that we’ll be in limbo, so in the meanwhile I’m enjoying not having to clean a house!
Hope all is well with you!
We’re getting ready to leave Austria and I’m already getting twinges of that nervous feeling which prevails during the “changeover” days. I refer to it as “The Awkward Time”, when we’re shifting out of the comfort zone we’ve created in our “home” and float in limbo until the next one. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, with all the times I’ve packed the bags and boxes, gotten into the car and left a house for the final time. I’m not.
I live presently in nostalgia for the past and I find myself looking around our “home” and environment knowing it will be the last times, I snap photos even if I know they’re not perfect or artistic, because sometimes I just want to document where we’ve been: a visual journal which travels as a partner to our driving log.
We have so many photos…never printed since we went off film and into digital. Backed up on the hard drive, and over and over again onto DVDs, they can’t even all fit onto my laptop anymore. Yet when I scan thru them in iPhoto I am invariably led back in time: our faces younger, we are thinner or heavier, hair is short or long, it’s summer or winter. We were there, then.
And like a song from days gone by, I know that at a future time these snapped images will bring me reeling back to a moment in time, in my life on the road, making “home” where ever we are.
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!
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.
Greetings Dear Friends!
Whew! I’ve had my hands busy writing and sending out postcards yesterday, thus the silence here. Postcard mailing is a task I enjoy doing, but should have done today, as we are rained in. Actually, it’s a sort of Pacific NW drizzle, with thick enough clouds to obscure the view. Quel dommage!
Tant pis! I thought I’d share with you today some of the images I snapped before the rains came.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you more about this special region of Austria, and the village where we are.
A demain !
Yesterday during a day trip from Ravensburg we came exploring this magical area of Austria. Quite spectacular for breath-taking scenery, we were lucky to find a “hutte” on the hills over Schwarzenberg with such a view. I’ve nicknamed the place “Heidi’s House” in honor of the melted cheese, braided hair, herder girl from lore. OK, Heidi was a Swiss Miss, but “die kleine Schweiz” is just a stone’s throw from here, so please humor me!
We’ve never been to Honfleur before, so this was a great chance to visit the historic village. I walked for several hours amongst the back streets, savoring the ancient architecture, very narrow buildings and tiny alleys. This place particularly caught my eye as it featured several types of stone, brick, stucco….so many layers as testament to time.