I could use a lot of adjectives to describe Cuba.  This is a small report on my first trip to Cuba and hopefully the start of many more.   I had read somewhere that Cuba was timeworn but magnificent.   That is a complete accurate statement!!!

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I’ll start with our Casa.  Lovely place and owners.  Location cannot be beat, blocked to traffic but a stone’s throw from everything.  We had a 2nd floor apartment in this gorgeous historical home.






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I think we packed a lot in on our San Francisco trip.  It was much colder than I anticipated so we bought sweatshirts than we were fine.  We saw a lot of other tourists who must of experienced the same.  I bet sweatshirts sell well in SF!!!  🙂

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We stayed at a hostel and although it was decent and a super nice staff, I would not stay there again.  Outside the hostel, were too many aggressive homeless.  I have never seen that before and it was rather shocking.  One being very aggressive even made it into the lobby !  I’ve seen homeless everywhere but not really going after people.


Besides that, we had a wonderful stay.   Here is a lineup of our activities.  We loved Dylan’s Tours and that’s how we got to a lot of these things.


The streetcar ride  ( a must )

Fisherman’s Wharf & the Seals


Pacific Heights

Day trip to Monterey/CarmelPebble Beach  (very nice and beautiful scenery)

Golden Gate Bridge

Suausalito /Muir Woods  (BEAUTIFUL)

Haight Ashbury

SF Fog (hey it’s an attraction too!  🙂

For your viewing pleasure photos of our first trip to SF.  Last year, I went to a lot of places for the first time.  Gosh I love that !  Exploration 🙂  San Francisco has many things to offer.  Go ahead a treat yourself !

I think pictures speak louder than words so here are some more !

It’s vital to have comfy shoes here.  Next time, I will bring more warm things!

(watch there be a massive heatwave)

After a great trip in the hot summer, I returned again in November.  This time with my mother who had herself a glorious time.   A cold front had hit Nashville and it was extremely cold not what I remotely expected.   We stayed at the hostel that I used in August.  Mom liked it a lot.  I was very surprised !


This time I mainly went into bar after bar.  I had Mom listening at the door and if she liked what she heard, we went in to possibly find a seat.  It does get very crowded.  Sometimes we were lucky.   There was a Marine’s ball in Nashville so we met lots and lots of them and they all looked so nice and the ladies gowns were beautiful.  I took lots of pics of Mom well because she is Mom.  🙂   Her knee gave her problems and we had to put on her brace but that didn’t stop her for a minute !   The trip was too short.  I did not get to take her to any of the museums or Grand Ole Opry.

We do plan on coming back !!!


Exploring Nashville On your Own

Posted: March 28, 2017 in Travel



This is a brief report on my first trip to Nashville.  I went solo because I had the time & there was a hostel in Nashville.   Hostels are a great way to meet other travelers.  I returned in November with my Mom and I will post that trip report next.   I had a WONDERFUL time!!!  Nashville has something for everyone.

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Highlights of my trip:

*Ryman Auditorium tour (Original Grand Ole Opry*)  A must do !!!

*Johnny Cash Museum*  I had a crush on him when I was a little girl. (had tears in my eyes at the end of the tour)

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Just go for it !!!

I’m behind in my trip reports and am trying to catch up with them now.  I decided Niagara Falls was going to be my destination on a solo trip.  Honeymoon capital or not, this girl is going to explore and see something amazing.  Always budget conscious I decided on a hostel.  Don’t be shy.  Don’t miss out on anything when you have the opportunity.

“Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aesop

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.  (Anonymous)

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My hostel Gorge View:  http://www.gorgeview.net/   (Wonderful stay)


*Seeing the Niagara falls of course
*Crossing the bridge and exploring the Canadian side
*Visiting the Old Fort Niagara & met a ghost
(googled in trolley while shaking to see if I was crazy) I wasn’t !!!
*The Maid of the Mist boat tour is amazing
*The Fireworks
*Lots of walking

More photographs:

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I’ll be honest, that’s what sealed the deal for me to head to New Orleans for Memorial Day.  I MISS THAT SHOW!   It catches a spirit that I admire in people & places.  I wanted to see if it was real, this New Orleans spirit especially after what happened with Katrina.

My accommodations: Auberge NOLA

Affordable price & location.  I was in a six-person female dorm room.  The place is great and clean as a whistle.  The staff was super friendly and the guests just made it all the more better! The courtyard was a great place to socialize.  I would definitely return.



Places I explored:

The Garden District   (beautiful)

The French Quarter  (only the first few blocks are a smelly affair)

Lafayette Cemetery  (gorgeous)

Frenchmen street & miles and miles of walking.

Algiers Ferry

Tours I used:

Free Tours by Foot  (French Quarter & Garden District)

Free Tours by Foot

Save Our Cemeteries  (dedicated to the preservation)  Very important!!!

Save Our Cemeteries

I fell madly in love while in New Orleans.  Matter of fact, I still keep thinking about it and often daydream about jumping on a plane going back for more.

Grilled Oysters….why is the whole world not grilling oysters right in the fire?



Who had the best?  THE BEST?

Hands down Drago’s !!!  If there is a line it’s still worth the wait.  They gave us a voucher to an upstairs bar and a free drink till our table was called.


Food scenes

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Random NOLA and the cool things you see along the way….

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I want a new tradition which is to go to sleep in a new place for my birthday. I have been time to time in other places but it was never really a tradition it just happened to work out way. I decided my tradition would start with Charleston.

Charleston you sure are PRETTY!  Shockingly pretty actually.  Houses are so big you can never get the whole photo with your camera.  Block after block, street after street some just take your breath away!

Here is a brief account of my thoroughly enjoyable stay and inexpensive digs that fit the bill perfectly.

I am a budget traveler so if it isn’t cheap, I can’t go so with that I do my research which led me here.  Since I traveled to Charleston for my birthday I decided on a private room as a treat instead of my usual dorm.  I was on the 2nd floor, the Dylan room and the front porch was just outside my window.  Perfect morning coffee spot!  (bring your own if you are up before breakfast being served)

Charleston has free buses and free trolleys.  There is also a $3 dollar bus from the airport to the Visitor’s Center in town.  From there I jumped on the free 213 bus and made by way to NotSoHostel and was dropped off a couple of blocks away.  I used free buses and Uber whichever worked out better during my stay.  Charleston has some very good public transportation as well as a horse & buggy to get you through town.  (poo poo bag attached to horse)  This explains why the streets are pretty clean even on the horse routes.

I went on two outstanding walking tours with “Free Tours by Foot.”  I had used them on a recent trip to New Orleans.  Scott was my guide both tours and he is outstanding, has a passion for history and a love of Charleston that shines brightly.  (and a witty sense of humor)   I did the Historical Walking tour as well as the Civil War.  Did you know that many of the brick houses standing today still have the fingerprint indention’s of the slaves who made the bricks by hand?  I put my fingers right where their fingers were and it was a haunting feeling to say the least.   Charleston had two types of slavery.  There is the gang system (brutal and used throughout slave states) and there is also task slavery considered a bit less brutal.  After a task was completed, the slaves’ time was their own.  This was usually reserved for low country rice plantations.

SCIWAY states:

It has been suggested that the task system allowed far more freedom to the slave. To some degree this is true – tasking could be better than unrelenting gang labor. There was time to tend a garden and raise crops for either home use or sale. But life was never easy. Sam Polite, a freed slave explained what slavery was like.

Every slave have task to do, sometime one task, sometime two, and sometime three. You have for work till task through. When cotton done make, you have other task. Have to cut cord of marsh grass maybe. Task of marsh been eight feet long and four feet high. Then, sometime you have to roll cord of mud in cowpen. Woman have to rake leaf from wood into cowpen …. If slave don’t do task, they get licking with lash on naked back.

Another freed slave, Prince Smith, explained that on Wadmalaw Island

There was three kinds of day’s work on the plantation. One is the whole task, meaning a whole hand, or a person in his prime. He was given two task for his day’s work. A task carried from twenty-four to twenty-five rows, which was thirty-five feet long and twenty-five feet wide. The three-fourth hand was given one whole task, which consists of twelve rows. All the young chillun was included in this group. Us half-hand was the old slaves who did a half task for their day’s work. When it was time to pick cotton, the three-fourth hand had to pick thirty pound and the half-hand twenty for their day’s work. Those who attended to the gin only include the three-fourth hand.

So sad…. I can’t wrap my mind around it but one thing Scott the tour guide said that rings so very true, you need to see and enjoy all the beauty of Charleston but the flip side of  this place in history needs to be addressed and thought about as well, I agree.

There are many many stately homes & plantations you can visit here.  With such a short trip, I was only able to visit one house.  The Nathaniel Russell House.  Here is a bit of information on the stately home.  It was GORGEOUS inside and also had beautiful gardens that you are free to roam.  Next time, I am coming with a book, finding a bench and having a good read pretending I live here.   In the fall, I will be coming for a week.  I found so much more that needs to be explored and I intend on doing just that with the added benefit that instead of 100 degrees it might be 70!  Lord did I sweat, let me count the ways!

Remember Bubba from Forrest Gump?

Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.

Said in the voice of Jaqen H’ghar, “Does a girl eat shrimp”?

(for you Game of Thrones people)

She does….

Every church I passed by that had graveyards, I would duck into explore for a bit and   Charleston had many old hauntingly beautiful ones.  There are many ghost walks in Charleston and some of them are through these cemeteries.  I didn’t see or feel any but I  did announce to anyone listening, you go about your business and I’ll go about mine.  🙂


I walked miles and miles, ate everything , met loads of nice people, road in a horse & buggy  and learned lots of new things.   What more could a girl want?   Well one thing, 80 degrees or less.  That could be very good.

Charleston Strong

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My visit was after the memorials held to honor the victims .  Here is a link to the Charleston Strong tribute.


Random photos from my trip

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OH and btw being a Maryland girl I consider myself to be a crab con·nois·seur !  We are crab fanatics!  The She-Crab soup was GREAT!  Next time, I plan to explore all things crab as well.  *I might bring my own can of Old Bay*  We shall see.

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Useful links:

https://www.historiccharleston.org/russell.aspx   Nathaniel Russell House

http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/charleston-sc-tours/   Free Tours by Foot

http://notsohostel.com/    NotSo Hostel

It’s an older place but who cares that just brings on the ole Southern charm!




My favorite months in Italy are May & September.  If you have an opportunity to visit any other month of year, I recommend you seize the moment.  The moment for me came in November.  My agenda was to revisit Rome and an overnight trip to Assisi.  I only had eight nights.  That’s rather short for me.  I generally always stay two weeks in Europe.  I decide eight will have to do and I shall be utterly grateful for them all.

I have visited a lot of the usual tourist attractions so for this trip, I decided let’s try to visit some places off the radar plus whatever I happen to stumble upon while roaming.  I did not think this fellow would be one of them.  We gazed at each other a long long time.  Love at first sight.


My Buddy


Let’s see what is going on in Rome & Assisi


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Never really planned on a hot summer Florida trip.  Originally I was supposed to be on an Alaska cruise with my dear friend Brenda.  She had to cancel so with that I needed to use the airline ticket that I had purchased to Vancouver.  Where to go?  Since I hope to one day move to Florida, I thought why not go during the hottest month, see how it is, can you handle it ?  South Beach is always a fun place so a plan was put in motion.  I get a wonderful email alert that airfare from Baltimore is going on sale for $97 round-trip.  I call my mom and ask if she would like to come for a week.  I booked us at the Posh Hostel and it’s coed.  Mom says that’s okay by her, my friend Kelly says I can come too so she gets booked than my friends Vivian & Marnie decide they can come four nights during the stay.  My friend Pat lives in South Beach so that’s another one added to our little summer soiree.  Hostel link:  http://www.poshsouthbeach.com/    It says open to any free spirited traveler.  Well that’s me!  Think I am going to fit in here nicely.  Oh, I am also going to visit Key West.  I have never been but my sisters and quite a few friends love it tremendously so it is about time for me to investigate what all the fuss is about.

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my Mom

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me and Marnie

Kelly the cheap date

Kelly the cheap date

Did I mention it is Tarzan hot in South Beach?  It is. No matter we will sweat and have fun, if we can’t get the fun part going we still will indeed sweat!

The Posh Hostel has a free shuttle. (later I will do a review)  I came in on the day that the shuttle only comes every two hours and wouldn’t you know it I arrive about 15 minutes after it has left!  Okay should I get taxi or suck it up?   I decide to wait.  I had cowboy boots on and I truly wanted to take them off and throw them.   Those buggers didn’t touch my feet the rest of the trip.  What was I thinking?

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this was on my old blog….needs to be on my new one 🙂  Leaving snowy Maryland while I’m California dreaming 🙂

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that’s me in there ready to land

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ewww ewww and more ewww

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