Posts Tagged ‘travel’

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.

http://www.aubergenola.com/room-pictures.html

 

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?

Heaven……

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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.

http://www.dragosrestaurant.com/

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.

http://www.postandcourier.com/20160618/160619418/charleston-strong-a-rallying-cry-in-a-time-of-mourning

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.

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My Buddy

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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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Pat

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Vivian

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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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We love castles, we love tiara’s, we love villages with old warm charm, cold beer, wine, music, vineyards and adventures. Germany was going to fit the bill nicely for us girls. We like grumpy people who we make smile. We like happy people who already smile. We got lost, we got found, we danced and were sung to by older German men. We were scolded. (mild infraction regarding touching something on display) We rode boats, horse carriages, cable cars, buses, trains and we made friends. We ate & drank everything! We had one flasher but that’s for later. Now a lot of that above is really a reminder list of what I need to write about for this report. Germany gave it all to us and more. First stop – Rudesheim My first tip – pronounced Ru des hime , at first we thought it was like “shine.” This part of the trip includes three Maryland girls (me, Kelly & Vivian) Ellen from New York and Kathleen from Ireland. We moved around far more than usual on this vacation because there was a lot we wanted to and accomplish. At times it was grueling but I’d do it over again.

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Day One –  after the long plane ride and a train here it was a matter of find the hotel, eat and rest. Day Two – GREAT DAY ! We start our Rudesheim exploration with the Ring & Romantic ticket.  This gets you a chairlift to the Germania monument, cable car to Assmannshausen town and a riverboat tour.  If that’s not enough there is a bonus, a deer sanctuary plus you get to feed them!  Oh and did I tell you the chairlift goes over vineyards?  It does!  Coolest thing ever! You want to get over jetlag? You get this ticket! http://www.ruedesheim.de/en/discover-ruedesheim/cable-car/ Scenes from the day: oh and Ellen laid an egg and Kelly had to run with an omelette !!!

 

 

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Funniest thing ever is when that egg fell out of Ellen’s bag at the restaurant.  I’m going to stick to the story that she laid it though right in that town we nicknamed Assman.  We did indeed run with Kelly’s omelette!  The food came too late at another place and the boat was pulling up and we had to “Runnnnn Forest” with the omelette.  It was delicious.   When I go back to Rudesheim I am going to do this ticket again.  The photos speak for themselves. Our evening leads to merriment! (more…)

short and sweet

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I really enjoyed this tour. We went on the Connemare/Cong outing. The guide was funny and informative. I can’t tell you how the sight of Kylemore Abbey just stuns you. Incredibly beautiful. Our driver knew the roadside sheep as well and stops and waits patiently for them to cross the roads. There are many beautiful sights to behold on this tour. The day just goes too fast.

 

their website:  http://www.galwaytourcompany.com/gtc/daytours.jsp

 

our photos:

 

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Unfortunately, I did not get the time to write a proper trip report on Greece but instead did a travel video that I think captures the essence of Greece and our wonderful trip.

Delos is magic and has incredible history !   What a place, I am so glad that we made that a priority to visit.  At the little refreshment stand we meet a fellow who lives there.  I told him you are so lucky.  He said to me thank you really for that because my family says, “WHAT ARE YOU CRAZY STAYING THERE”?  there’s nothing around”?   He told us that’s why I love it so much and offers us to see some of his photos.  I said, “sure,”  and he brings me his camera and proceeds to show us some of the most incredible sunsets and photos of Delos that I have ever seen.

He gets a call that a group has lost their 80 year-old grandfather so he zooms off  in this tiny white truck to find him.  He says just keep the camera and when you’re done looking just give it to one of them inside.  It was getting close to the last boat leaving Delos and before you knew it he was back.  The elderly gentleman had taken an earlier boat.  Kelly and I say our goodbyes because we didn’t want to miss our boat and off we go walking while he waves.  On the walk, we come to a dead-end.  Ummm this isn’t it we realize.   In the next moment, the fellow comes around the bend in a tiny white truck with the dust blowing.  He yells, “says get in the back,”   The next thing you know we are speeding along the paths of Delos  being bounced laughing our butts off drunk from happiness.  Who would have thought we would be roaming around Delos like this?

He took us to the boat and stayed till we left.  Than he took the truck along the island following us waving till he was a tiny white dot left in Delos.  What a nice guy!  That’s Greek hospitality.

our wild ride:

This is a video I made for my trip to Sicily.   I am very happy with the results!

 

Maybe it was my cool room which I loved with all the Spanish touches that shot me with such a Spanish feeling.    This place evoked what I had always imagined.  It’s crazy but I felt Spanish.  In my own mind, I could start speaking it fluently at any moment.  Now to be fair, that is in my own mind.   In reality, I know maybe five things.

Seville oozes a charm.  It has the most orange trees I have ever seen in my life.   Thousands.  It’s a bittersweet thing because from what the locals told me you can’t eat them because they are very bitter.  Luckily someone told me that or I would tried to make my own juice in the morning.   They are beautiful and decorate the city in a magnificent way.

Not to take anything away from the other places I have visited in Spain but somewhere in my heart where I was feeling Spanish I have decided I am Andalusian Spanish.  It must be the case.   It has everything I want to see and feel….small tiny lanes, adorned balconies, siesta, yes God grant me siesta, I could do that in life.   There are bells, the tapas, animated conversations and a vibe I can’t almost describe but it’s there.  My friends felt it too!

Strangely enough I didn’t have a whole lot planned for Seville.  I usually have big ol list but for here I did not, I did have a few things but really left it to let’s see where the Spanish winds take me.  The winds first brought us to the Cathedral with the lane full of outside cafes which is extremely up my alley.   I am a huge fan of cafe life and people watching.  I found out that old saying from my mom “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” is true since I always ordered too many tapas.   I like the smiles in Seville.   I like the history as well.  One of my papers, I did bring along was on a free walking tour with Pancho.  It was a kind of spur of the moment thing.  We met the others at the fountain by the Cathedral and were off for a walk and a bit of history.  We learned of girl who snitched on her father in the Jewish quarter.  She had a boyfriend she wasn’t supposed to have and with that a great many tragedies were endured and deaths.  Roads of sorrow. See it’s not ALL beautiful oranges thru the lanes of Seville.   We learned of father and sons battles and King Alphonso’s gratitude for Seville’s loyalty.  The eternally grateful symbol is stamped all over Seville.     Look for it!  We know why several crosses were placed in areas to keep down the partying at residential squares.   We know what the local word  is for tourist girls and romance.  We saw a beautiful balcony that’s in a movie and up to that point I was thinking that needs to be my Juliette balcony but alas someone else already stole the idea for Don Juan.  We saw where the Romans have been and what they left as in columns.   Our guide was a lively bright girl from Poland.  I think her name was Anna.  I’m not going to tell you everything about the walk so you can experience this on your own.  One thing I do not recommend with Pancho Tours is the meetup later to go see the Flamenco.  I didn’t care for it or the location but I highly recommend the walking tour and DO TIP!!!

I recommend the following:

Do climb the Giraldo tower.  I had the bad knee from a spill in Barcelona and just took my time going up and made sure to stop at all the windows for views.  I spent so much time here I missed the entry for the Alcazar.  I thought I would be able to fit it in later in the trip but could not, big regret but something for next time right?  My friends did see it and absolutely loved it!

Do visit the Cathedral and the tomb of Christopher Columbus.  Will any of us especially in America ever forget the year 1492?   It’s been tattooed in my brain since I was a child.

I did not get to lots of things in Seville.  There just wasn’t the time on this trip but I am extremely happy and grateful with all that I did get to see and do along with cafe life.    I sacrificed a night to go to Granada for the Alhambra palace.  That was no mistake but I surely wish I would could have had more time for my  Andalusian Sevillian Spanish life I was leading.   It was incredible and that was just Seville!  Imagine visiting all the others?  I will!

Granada’s  post is next and the best reflection photo I have ever taken in my LIFE!!!  I’m so proud of that photo!

ciao for now,