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    2019, November

  • O Segundo Dia em Coimbra

    15 November 2019
    Our second day in Coimbra again began overcast with a light rain. Undeterred, we roamed off to other areas of town, the remarkable Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro, a walking tour of the centuries-old University, and later the ancient Romanesque Old Catheral.
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  • Coimbra – Day 1

    13 November 2019
    Our stay in northern Portugal was coming to an end, but before heading south, there was time for another overnight trip out of Porto.
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  • Passadicos do Paiva

    03 November 2019
    The need to get out into nature led us to discover the ruggedly beautiful scenery of the Paiva Walkways in Portugal's Arouca Geopark. The 8.7 km (5.4 mi) long trail traverses landscapes that are beautiful, peaceful and wild.
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  • 2019, October

  • Azulejos

    18 October 2019
    The dictionary definition is rather dry – “a kind of glazed colored tile traditionally used in Spanish and Portuguese buildings.” But the reality is that azulejos a beautiful presence throughout Portugal and certainly a part of its cultural soul.
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  • Braga

    17 October 2019
    The alarm on Jeannie's tablet woke us early to catch the 08h45 train for our overnight in Braga, Portugal's 3rd largest city, built more than 2,000 years ago. It was worth the early wake up.
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  • A Festa and a Feast

    08 October 2019
    Well, it was a simple way to take the train up into the Douro valley, visit a quinta, have a lunch, then take the train back. We were kind of wrong. It was much better!
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  • Santo Tirso – What a Surprise

    02 October 2019
    We often like to visit small, somewhat obscure towns and villages on our travels, and though we had no expectations, Santo Tirso certainly turned out to be unexpectedly delightful.
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  • 2019, September

  • Guimarães – Birthplace of a Nation

    22 September 2019
    Guimarães (him-are-esh) the birthplace of Portugal, has wonderfully preserved its past. The old city center is a labyrinth of narrow lanes and charming plazas framed by medieval edifices.
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  • Aveiro – Portugal’s Little Venice

    18 September 2019
    On the shore of a vast, coastal lagoon, Aveiro is a historically maritime city and a prosperous town with a delightful city center known for its, architecture and its highly regarded university.
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  • Nobody Knows the Tremoços We’ve Eaten

    12 September 2019
    On settling into a new country or town, we often search out one of the “walking food tours”. Of all the things we learned on our food tour in Porto, the most interesting, fun, and delicious was how to eat tremoços.
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  • Gardens, a Museum, and Hope

    08 September 2019
    Porto is really working hard to clean up and revitalize itself from deep economic problems of the past. Here are two examples of their progress and potential.
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  • The Festival – Viana do Castelo

    04 September 2019
    We made plans to visit Viana do Castelo located at the mouth of the Lima River in Portugal. But we didn't see the town, there was too much going on!
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  • 2019, August

  • A Year-Five Recap

    31 August 2019
    On Aug 14 2014, we embarked on a life of travel. So, here are some thoughts and images of the last five years. Lots has changed over those years, but we have changed the most ... and for the better.
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  • Traditions – old, new, and missed

    26 August 2019
    Traditions are everywhere. Some are shrouded in the distant past, others evolve within a couple of generations. Some exist within families, communities, regions or countries, and some are merely personal.
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  • A Seafood Feast

    22 August 2019
    The alarm went off at 07h30. The day was expected to be hot, so we decided to go to Porto’s northern beach of Matosinhos, to visit the Mercado Municipal de Matosinhos and eat seafood.
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  • A Walk to the Beach, and a VW Bus

    21 August 2019
    The Douro River flows to the Atlantic from high in the mountains of Spain, passing Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia about 5 km (3 mi) from the ocean. So we went.
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  • Vandalism or Genius?

    17 August 2019
    Sanctioned or unsanctioned, love it or hate it, street art exists. Is it really art? What do you think?
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  • Another Day at the Races

    16 August 2019
    When we arrive in a new city, we love to wander. Sometimes there is a destination, and often there is none, but this day provided a surprise with plenty of excitement ... a bike race!
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  • Portugal – Another Adventure Begins

    12 August 2019
    It has been over a year since we traveled abroad, and after much research and a session of “Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe”, we decided on Portugal.
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  • 2019, June

  • Wanderlust Strikes Again

    30 June 2019
    So much can change in one year! It’s hard to believe that it was twelve months ago we returned from Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. We've been busy while we've been back.
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  • A Farewell to Dubrovnik

    04 June 2019
    Dubrovnik is a spellbinding place set in a valley of ancient walls and fortifications, it offers a remarkable range of back alleys and passageways in which to wander.
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  • 2019, April

  • The Sieges of Dubrovnik

    04 April 2019
    Dubrovnik is beautiful, culturally and physically, but there's a much darker story to be told about this city.
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  • 2019, March

  • Dubrovnik – Pearl of the Adriatic

    25 March 2019
    Dubrovnik is about as south as you can go and still be in Croatia. The country is narrow here, next to Bosnia and Herzegovina on the western side of the Dinaric Alps that rise dramatically from the Adriatic.
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  • 2019, February

  • Half the Fun

    10 February 2019
    It is often said that getting there is half the fun. And while the exact proportions could be argued, there is no doubt that travel by ship can be a source of entertainment in and of itself.
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  • 2019, January

  • Parks to Palaces

    23 January 2019
    The Stella Maris departed Zadar towards our day's first destination, the Krka National Park. Then after an overnight in Primošten, a visit Roman Emperor Diocletian's retirement palace in Split. Oh, and some clean laundry!
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  • Adriatic Island Hopping

    02 January 2019
    Departing early from Pula, our destination was Zadar by way of the islands of Lošinj and Olib. Getting there was indeed, half the fun, but once we got to Zadar there were plenty of wonderful surprises.
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  • 2018, December

  • Poreč, Rovinj, Brunji, and Pula

    28 December 2018
    On our arrival in Poreč, our transport wound its way down to the dock near our ship. The next week is going to be a different kind of adventure for us.
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  • 2018, November

  • Gorges, Waterfalls, Lakes, and Goodbyes

    28 November 2018
    Today’s walk would be along the impressive Mostnica gorge, through the meadows of the Voje valley and up to the beautiful Voje waterfall. Then, there would be one last walk before departing for Croatia.
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  • A Long Hike, Some Hail and a Slovene Feast

    26 November 2018
    Awakening to another beautiful morning in this stunning region of the world, the day began with a great breakfast. We were ready to meet a day that continued to get better ... for a while.
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  • Walking Adventures in Slovenia – I

    09 November 2018
    We awoke to sunlight peeking over the distant hilltops through our open window and enjoyed the cheerful songs of birds in the meadows. Today we begin our walking holiday in Slovenia.
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  • 2018, September

  • Flowers, Fungi, and Fliers

    08 September 2018
    We were expecting beautiful vistas overlooking the foothills and mountains of the Julian Alps, and we certainly weren’t disappointed. But don't forget to look down.
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  • Pohod v Slovenijo – Walking in Slovenia

    02 September 2018
    As the taxi pulled into the drive of Pri Lenart, Zana came out and warmly greeted us with a big, cheerful smile. Such was the start to several days of wonderfully challenging walks over some of the hills and mountains of Slovenia.
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  • 2018, August

  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

    15 August 2018
    It was our last night in Ljubljana, but there was no rain or clouds or winds. Then jeannie said, “I don’t feel so great and my stomach is still a bit unsettled.”
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  • Karst to Coast

    14 August 2018
    Though Slovenia is a small country, it isn’t lacking in interesting things to see or places to visit but, we didn’t have an automobile, and many places are essentially inaccessible by public transport.
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  • 2018, July

  • Jeannie’s Genealogical Journey

    30 July 2018
    As we departed Trieste, Italy, I eagerly scanned the roadside for the first indication that I had entered the country that my Dad’s ancestors came from, and only two generations removed.
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  • Ljubljana – a Slovenian Surprise

    17 July 2018
    The longer we stayed here the more we came to appreciate the origin of the name Ljubljana. The most popular belief is that it derives from the word Ljubljena, meaning “Beloved”. And we agreed.
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  • Trieste – a Crossroads

    11 July 2018
    It was finally time to leave Verona. After double-checking the time and platform, we boarded our train right on time and settled in for Trieste, Italy. A new set of adventures lie ahead, and our excitement is growing.
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  • Arrivederci Verona!

    09 July 2018
    After our delightful trip to Bergamo, it was time to get serious about packing and getting ready to depart Verona, a place that for two months has become familiar and comfortable, and that we have been calling home.
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  • Italy, Art and Automobiles

    04 July 2018
    Italian automotive aesthetic mastery has been exemplified by sleek elegance, understated, clean beauty and an innovative style. It has admirably carried on the tradition and elegance of classic Italian art.
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  • A surprise in Bergamo

    04 July 2018
    We had planned a visit to Bergamo (pronounced BARE-gah-mo), and we knew that it would require an overnight stay, and for good reason, the city was truly a medieval gem.
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  • 2018, June

  • All was going well, and then …

    28 June 2018
    They say that accidents most often happen within 40 km (25 mi) of home. Not always, and that can add a whole different dimension. This post was penned by my brother Michael.
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  • Padua, it is.

    26 June 2018
    My brother and his wife were eager to go on with us someplace that we hadn’t yet visited. As we scrutinized a map, it seemed that there was one very obvious place that we hadn’t gotten to - Padua (It. Padova).
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  • The Giro d’Italia

    18 June 2018
    Of bicycling’s three Grand Tours, the Giro d’Italia is the first of the season. Of all the things that my brother Mike was excited about seeing during this visit, being able to see a stage of the Giro d’Italia was at the very top of his list.
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  • Il Mio Fratellino – My Little Brother

    13 June 2018
    Well, even though he stopped being “little” many years ago, he is still my “little brother.” In any case, we were excited that Mike and his lovely wife Kathy, were coming to visit us again, this time in Verona.
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  • Malcesine – part 2

    05 June 2018
    The plan was to go up to Monte Baldo, but the day had other plans. The morning was cold, windy, and overcast, so we just wandered. Malcesine is as charming in the early morning as it is in the late evening, even when overcast ... but that would change.
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  • Malcesine – part 1

    03 June 2018
    Our brief day-trip to Peschiera made us want to return to Lake Garda and the mountains soon. The weather looked good to spend two nights in the small lake-side town of Malcesine. It was a good move.
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  • 2018, May

  • Pescheira del Garda

    20 May 2018
    Our first trip to Sirmione (Seer-me-OH-nay) on Lake Garda didn’t turn out as we had planned. It didn’t turn out bad at all, just different than planned.
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  • Bolzano / Bozen – Confused? We Were.

    17 May 2018
    There was a different feel to this city in the once-Austrian, and now-Italian region of South Tirol. When I tried speaking my rudimentary Italian, I had the feeling that someone in lederhosen might be scrutinizing me suspiciously.
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  • Brescia

    14 May 2018
    Best known as a manufacturing center, Brescia is much more than an industrial town. Its significant history, art, and architecture made for a full day's visit, leaving much still to see.
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  • A return to Venice

    08 May 2018
    The last time we were in Venice, it was our first time to Venice, it was winter, and it was cold. This time it wasn't cold, and it was more crowded, but Venice was every bit as magical.
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  • Verona – WWII and Today

    06 May 2018
    During World War II Verona, because of its strategic importance, was a target for heavy Allied bombing. he city suffered considerable damage, and to add insult to injury, the retreating German troops destroyed all the bridges.
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  • Fossil Hunting in Verona

    02 May 2018
    As we first walked into the apartment building that we would call home for the next two months, I looked down at the polished limestone and marble floor and in one of the tiles was a spiral-shaped artifact. It was clearly a fossil.
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  • 2018, April

  • Romeo $ Juliet

    30 April 2018
    Spoiler Alert: "Romeo and Juliet" is fiction; Love is real; and the two are not mutually exclusive or equivalent. Oh, and Shakespeare was a genius.
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  • Le Piccole Cose

    28 April 2018
    For us, there are many advantages to being in one place for a while. We re-learn them every time we travel and stay in a new place. We realize it is something important, but it always becomes more evident after about two weeks.
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  • A Morning Serenade?

    23 April 2018
    Interesting things happen most often when you least expect them.
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  • Visitare Vicenza

    22 April 2018
    We are in our third week in Verona and were in need of another trip, “So, let’s go to Vicenza this Saturday,” Jeannie says. Without looking up, I reply “OK.” Then it dawns on me how that sounds.
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  • La Bella Addormentata

    16 April 2018
    Mantua is known to the locals as La Bella Addormentata – the Sleeping Beauty. While this ancient city is often overlooked by those scurrying between the more popular destinations, it is the lack of crowds that makes leisurely exploration of this old medieval city such an adventure.
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  • Primavera Italiana!

    10 April 2018
    Primavera, or springtime, is without question, the best time to visit just about any place, and Italy is certainly no exception. And while most people only think of Verona as it relates to Romeo and Juliette, it is, oh so much more.
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  • The Tooth – a bite too far

    05 April 2018
    Not long before we left Florida for Italy I was eating something, and bit down onto a hard peppercorn. Letting out a yelp, it felt like a hot poker in a lower molar. ...
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  • Di Nuovo in Viaggio

    03 April 2018
    The travel bug. Wanderlust. Itchy feet. Whatever you may call it we have a serious case. And this time we are in Verona, Italy. Ah, fair Verona, where we lay our scene.
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  • Back to Florida, Another Sequel

    02 April 2018
    When we returned to Florida last year we had enjoyed a beautiful spring in France and the Cotswolds of England with its delightfully cool summer before returning to familiar surroundings.
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  • 2018, March

  • Roots

    26 March 2018
    Our 2018 adventures will begin March 29, and we’ll travel to three countries. We’ll start in Verona, Italy and then Croatia and Slovenia, where my (Jeannie's) dad’s side of the family came from.
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  • 2018, February

  • Three Days in Oxford

    22 February 2018
    Our days in the Cotswolds had come to an end, and the plan was to drive to Oxford for a few days before our flight back to Florida.
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  • A Collage of Cathedrals and Churches – 2017

    05 February 2018
    Throughout our time in Europe, we often visit churches, not for religious purposes, but rather for the fascinating history and architecture, and as peaceful places for reflection.
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  • 2017, November

  • A Rambling We Go

    19 November 2017
    Once our plans to spend three months walking in the Cotswolds of England were finalized, we began our research about where to begin our explorations. In a word, it was marvelous. Here are the results.
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  • 2017, October

  • Stone Circles, Sticks, and Standing Stones

    26 October 2017
    Stone circles and standing stones are enigmatic places, but likely served several different needs, from places of ceremony and worship to political or astronomical purposes. In any case they remain a prehistoric mystery.
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  • The Cotswold Way – Selsley to Painswick

    06 October 2017
    It was time to take a slightly more ambitious hike on the Cotswold Way as we had only been rambling about on shorter 4-7 mile walks. So we mapped out a route to Painswick that seemed a perfect destination for a 10+ mile, long day’s walk.
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  • “I think I see the boar running!”

    01 October 2017
    We were on a 7-mile, non-hilly walk with the Stroud Rambling Club when Geoff spotted the boar, at least that is what I thought. I quickly scanned the cliffs on opposite shore of the River Severn for what I expected would be wild pigs ...
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  • 2017, September

  • Life in the Cotswolds – Festivals, a Supper, and a Circus

    12 September 2017
    Of course this isn’t the first time we have spent time in a small English village. Last year we developed a love for taking the public footpaths on long walks through the countryside. This alone would have been reason enough to return to England, but add to that the ability for greater social interaction because of a common language, we…
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  • Cricket, the gentleman’s game

    07 September 2017
    Cricket is a quintessential English game that, we are told, should be enjoyed on a pleasant summer’s afternoon, broken up by breaks for Earl Grey tea and cornered sandwiches ... and so we did.
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  • 2017, August

  • Hamlets, Villages, and Towns

    31 August 2017
    Hamlets, Villages, and Towns - what is the distinction between these settlement types. It seems contextually obvious that a hamlet is smaller than a town, but it is all somewhat defined, and they are even more fun to walk through.
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  • A long walk to visit the Queen of the Cotswolds

    27 August 2017
    One of the primary reasons we came to this region of England was to walk, and we have been rambling about the countryside for many miles every day.
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  • Beauties and Beasts

    18 August 2017
    Summertime in the English Cotswolds has been a feast for the eyes. The golden stone buildings, rolling hills, and the green pastures, fields, and woods are visually amazing. But ...
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  • A Dance, Some Church Bells, and a Butcher

    04 August 2017
    Jeannie was especially excited to be visiting Cheltenham, as we hadn’t seen any dance in quite a long time. We didn’t really know much about the group, the venue, or the city, but we had our performance tickets, a reservation for lodgings‎, and train tickets.
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  • Walking in the Cotswolds

    02 August 2017
    Since we’ve been here, we have been walking, rambling, strolling, ambling, hiking, strolling, sauntering, trudging, plodding, dawdling; yes, we have been doing all of these things. We have also tromped, slogged, stomped, trekked, marched, glided, wandered, roamed, traipsed, and coddiwompled.
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  • 2017, July

  • Home … Again

    26 July 2017
    It had been a good, brief visit to Bristol, but we were eager to get to our next home, in Selsley, a village of around 175 houses, a church and one pub, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Stroud.
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  • Forward into the Past

    19 July 2017
    It was about 20 years ago when we almost moved to England because of Jeannie’s work. She had traveled there regularly over the course of a year, and the opportunity to relocate came really close, but it fell through.
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  • Au revoir Toulouse

    15 July 2017
    Once again it is time to move on. Once again it is time to reflect on the bitter-sweet nature of leaving a place where we have had such wonderful experiences.
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  • Cordes-sur-Ciel – A city in the sky

    03 July 2017
    The route to the hilltop bastide of Cordes-sur-Ciel didn’t allow much of a view of the town until we were close. But the instant we saw it sitting high on its hilltop we knew that this was a good choice for a couple of nights.
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  • 2017, June

  • Bastides and Beaux Villages – part 2

    29 June 2017
    The roads on the way to our next stop, Puycelci were every bit as lovely or even more so as those we had already been on. The cool air that passed through the car carried the delightful fragrances of wildflowers and occasionally the earthy scents of the pastures.
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  • Bastides and Beaux Villages – part 1

    29 June 2017
    Our time in France was drawing to an end, and with just over a week remaining, we wanted to take another road trip before we left. Recommendations by many people had suggested that the region between the L'Aveyron and the Tarn rivers was an especially beautiful area. Well we're going to find out.
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  • An Apéro Sleep-over

    24 June 2017
    When we first arrived in Toulouse, Jeannie had researched some local groups that we might contact. l’Association France Etats-Unis” is an organization whose goal is to promote friendship and mutual understanding between the peoples of the two countries. It was a good move ...
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  • Good Friends, Good Food, and Good Fortune

    13 June 2017
    Serendipity does and will strike again ... someday, somewhere. This is a story of places, people, and memories, some spanning more than 20 years, all revolving around the same region in France, ahhhh.
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  • A visit to the French Basque coast

    10 June 2017
    Saint-Jean-de-Luz - 18 km (12 mi) south of Biarritz and very close to the Spanish border, is a well-protected port that reached its height during the 17th century when it was called the "Viper's Nest" by English sailors.
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  • Beaches, Basques, and Biarritz

    06 June 2017
    We were interested in a trip to Biarritz on the French Atlantic coast, but it required a bit more thought than one might think. Since it is just over 300 km (180 mi), too far to walk, and we don’t have an automobile, there was research to do, calculations to make, and scheduling to consider.
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  • 2017, May

  • A Profitable Brotherly Visit

    30 May 2017
    A day never goes by that we don’t marvel at something; whether it is being surrounded by centuries-old buildings, the food, or the culture in general. So, it was curious when, in conversation, we were introduced to the French verb profiter.
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  • Friends are family we meet along the way!

    22 May 2017
    “One of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are.” ~ Edith Wharton Of all the things we experience as we travel, food, architecture, landscapes or climate, what really impacts our lives are the people we meet along the way.
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  • The French elect a President

    12 May 2017
    While visiting friends in a small town outside Lyon on 07 May, we were asked if we wanted to walk with them to vote for their President. The opportunity was unique, and it would be five years until the next election so we eagerly agreed.
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  • 2017, April

  • Château de Foix

    29 April 2017
    We were looking for another day trip out of Toulouse and had been evaluating several options, but Foix (pronounced fwa ) kept popping up. Easily accessible by a one-hour train ride, it was in the piedmont of the Pyrenees ...
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  • Food, Glorious Food!

    24 April 2017
    The question has come up before. How do you spend your days? More often than not, some portion of our days are spent shopping.
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  • An Early Train to Albi

    16 April 2017
    Our mornings begin with the sun streaming into our small apartment, but this morning we had to set the alarm to ensure that we got up early for our first journey out of Toulouse since we arrived - to Albi.
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  • Nous Aimons Flâner …

    10 April 2017
    Wandering is one of the ways we get to know a place. Given a choice of directions we almost always pick the way we have ever traveled. Nous Aimons Flâner ... we love to wander.
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  • Jeannie’s Day Out

    02 April 2017
    Yesterday was a very low-key day. Chris woke up with that scratchy, back-of-the-throat thing and by late afternoon we had to cancel our anniversary dinner reservations. Today, the morning again started off rainy and cold, a continuation of the previous day's weather.
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  • 2017, March

  • A Cascade of Light and Color

    30 March 2017
    Before we even walked into the Church of the Jacobins in Toulouse, I was worried that the clear skies, and bright morning light was going to be problematic.
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  • Adapting in Toulouse

    27 March 2017
    Regardless of how many times we move into a new town and apartment, it is still a challenge. That said, it is always an adventure, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Such challenges keep the brain sharp ... or so they say. There are times when my mind just says, “huh?”
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  • A Brief Return to Paris

    22 March 2017
    Over the past three years, it was much simpler to depart on another leg of our adventure. Since we didn’t have a house and cars, packing up and going was straightforward ... we just repacked our bags and left. Yet, we have never reflected much on what we leave behind, but rather what we are going to ... always looking…
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  • Packing … again

    16 March 2017
    Goals are good, so mine is to pack lighter for this trip. Yes, easy to say, not so easy to do.
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  • 2017, February

  • Sheboygan – USA

    22 February 2017
    Our time in Canada had come to a close, and we boarded a plane for our return to the USA. We were heading to Sheboygan, Wisconsin for a visit with Jeannie’s side of the family.
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  • Québec City

    16 February 2017
    Québec City, one of the oldest cities in North America, occupies a commanding position on cliffs overlooking the St. Lawrence river, and is an old-world style gem with narrow cobblestone streets and 17th- and 18th-century architecture.
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  • Just North of the Border

    14 February 2017
    No matter where we travel, we always seek out nature. Whether in forests, woods and other natural areas, or parks, gardens, and greenways, we find these places to be refuges from the commotion of big cities.
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  • A Day at the Races

    02 February 2017
    It was a late summer day in Montréal, and the big event for the weekend was a bicycle race. Not just any race, but a world-class competition. Jeannie opted out of the days activities, mainly because she didn’t want to keep up with my need to wander far and wide to capture the ‘perfect’ image.
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  • 2017, January

  • To the Land of the Maple Leaf

    24 January 2017
    Back in North America, we were going to spend a month in Montréal, Canada in a small, charming, urban cottage before returning to the USA. This city is wonderfully diverse, friendly, historic, fun and delightfully French.
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  • Iceland – a Land of Fire and Ice

    19 January 2017
    With one last, spectacular view of the fingers of the North Sea infiltrating deep into Norway's mountainous interior, the blog is off for a brief stay in Iceland - a very different and special kind of place.
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  • A Year-Three Recap

    10 January 2017
    Three years ago in 2014 we shifted the base of our life from a home with cars and work, to no home or cars or work. This post, written by Jeannie provides a brief summary of where we have been and where we are going.
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  • Mountains, Museums, and Mostraumen

    02 January 2017
    The weather in Bergen isn’t always bad. Yes, it does rain a lot, but often it is short lived. Flip through the images and you will understand why we can say Bergen has been very good to us, in spite of the weather.
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  • 2016, December

  • On the Fjords Again – Rosendal

    14 December 2016
    After a few days back in Bergen with its approximately 240 days of precipitation a year, we were ready to get away again. Previous excursions had been to the north, so this time we decided to look south. ...
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  • Hurtigruten – a Norwegian Adventure

    05 December 2016
    On many cruises, there is only water all around until you arrive in a port and see land. But on Hurtigruten, it's different ...
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  • 2016, November

  • A Glacial Excursion

    28 November 2016
    Awakening with the 0500 (5:00 AM) sunrise, we were excited about the day’s adventures. After a delicious breakfast at our hotel, we had time for a good, long hike into the mountain forests around Balestrand. Then ...
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  • A Fjording We Will Go!

    21 November 2016
    In Norway, the concept of friluftsliv, literally translated as ‘free air life’, is a deeply felt awareness that being outside is good for the spirit, mind, and body. ...
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  • Street Art in Bergen

    14 November 2016
    For most people, the words "graffiti" and "street art" are interchangeable. However, ...
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  • Bergen Begins …

    13 November 2016
    When we landed in Bergen, Norway, I think we were a bit more unprepared than we had been upon any previous arrival. I mean, we had done our homework, but ...
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  • 2016, October

  • A Home Base

    31 October 2016
    This is a break in the Slow Nomads timeline reflecting events that we feel are interesting enough to warrant such an interruption. The normal timeline will resume as soon as possible. ...
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  • Det var hyggeligt!

    14 October 2016
    Back in the big city of Copenhagen after spending almost three days on the island of Bornholm was briefly a shock, but ...
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  • Island Time

    08 October 2016
    Some readers have wondered how we came to have good friends like Niels and Jetta in Denmark. It's a simple story, and with good friends, it doesn’t take much effort to find opportunities to meet and continue friendships ... this time in Denmark.
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  • 2016, September

  • Back in Denmark again!

    30 September 2016
    It had been a very long time since we were last in Denmark. In fact, it was 1992, our friends Tom and Barb, and us, all experienced cyclists, were embarking on our first bicycle tour in a foreign country, but also our first venture to a non-English speaking country ...
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  • A Wee Bit More …

    21 September 2016
    Who knew? Obviously, we didn’t. It was so much better than we expected. And then you top it all off with a tour of a gin factory, Elton John, and a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.
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  • Time Travel

    17 September 2016
    Walking over stone floors and cobblestones that have carried feet for centuries, the experience is almost exactly like someone had 300 or 400 years ago. ...
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  • Even Better Than The Real Thing

    10 September 2016
    Rosslyn Chapel was featured prominently in The Da Vinci Code, a 2003 novel by Dan Brown and film of the same name, at least that’s how we knew of it, and it was sort of in our neighborhood, we figured we should go see it.
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  • Tractors, Sheep and the Yellow Brick Road

    04 September 2016
    Yes, we will miss out on the experience and eclectic fun of two, world-class events that occur in Edinburgh, but we had a great day with unexpected icing on top!
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  • A Tale of Two Castles

    02 September 2016
    There are many similarities between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle, both are built upon massive, rocky crags, surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs ...
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  • 2016, August

  • A Day With Shining Armor

    30 August 2016
    Though the charming town and the impressive Palace are reason enough to visit Linlithgow, we went because of a special annual event, the Linlithgow Spectacular Jousting tournament.
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  • Isle of Skye – The Misty Isle

    28 August 2016
    After our first visit to the Highlands, we were eager to see more of this remote and rugged land. We had also heard that the Hebrides Islands off the western mainland were spectacular and still more remote. ...
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  • Highlands, Lochs, and Castles

    22 August 2016
    The Scottish Highlands cover the northern two-thirds of the country, it is there that you find much of the mainland’s most spectacular scenery. Join us on this our first visit to this beautiful part of Scotland and some of its history.
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  • HMY Britannia

    17 August 2016
    HMY Britannia was the Royal Yacht; that is, the personal vessel of Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Family. After being decommissioned in 1997, Britannia was retired to the Port of Leith in Edinburgh as a visitor attraction.
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  • A Walk in the Park

    14 August 2016
    As we have said before, we love parks and gardens, and have had the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful in the world. There is a great deal of green space in Edinburgh ... have a look.
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  • A Stroll Along the Water of Leith

    11 August 2016
    The weather on Sunday was beautiful. Though cool, the sky was clear and blue, truly a day to get outside, especially in Edinburgh. ... but.
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  • To the Shore

    10 August 2016
    The Firth of Forth ... isn't far or difficult to reach, so it was worth a few bus rides to go for a few visits.
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  • Coddiwompling in Edinburgh

    04 August 2016
    Wandering is how I get to know a place. I do it without thought, or so I thought. ...
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  • 2016, July

  • Bagpipes, Haggis and Kilts

    30 July 2016
    Bagpipes, haggis and kilts - those were the main things I knew about Scotland, oh, and that movie Braveheart and Scotch. And I really didn't know anything about haggis, and I don't care for Scotch. And, come to think of it there's also Sean Connery, and golf. ...
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  • The Remains of the Stay

    26 July 2016
    Our time in Lancashire is coming to an end, and we will miss this place. The walks, the people, the beer, the sheep ... and, well OK, the weather ...
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  • The Short List

    22 July 2016
    When we rented our car for the last three weeks of our time in Northern England, there were three places that we wanted to be sure to go. These were places that all the locals advised us were special. ...
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  • Over Hills and Dales

    21 July 2016
    In spite of the fact that we were in a small village, mostly without a car, there really was lots to do. Of course there was the walking, lots of walking ...
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  • Finally

    16 July 2016
    It was about 31 years ago when we made our first journey to England. ... we planned to visit Stonehenge ... then up through Wales on our way to the Lake District.
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  • Medieval Abbeys

    09 July 2016
    It was the early 1500’s, and Henry VIII was not happy. Though he had inherited a significant amount of money from his father Henry VII, he had spent a great deal of his inheritance. The religious houses were, at the time, the wealthiest institutions in England and Wales. ...
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  • Many Bridges to Cross

    04 July 2016
    To cross a river or stream generally requires a bridge. In the past, a place to ford may have been used, but could be impractical during certain times of the year, and not very practical in most modern vehicles. ...
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  • A Walk in the Shire

    01 July 2016
    No orcs or hobbits, but lots of sheep and cows on a glorious day in the area that provided some of the inspiration for Tolkein's trilogy of the Lord of the Rings.
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  • 2016, June

  • To York, To York

    30 June 2016
    After having been without a car in a small village for three-weeks, we felt the need to go further afield. So, we went to Manchester, rented a car, and shortly after took our first road trip to York. ...
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  • Baaaa

    17 June 2016
    There are around 32.8 million sheep in the UK. Sheep are a part of life and a part of the landscape. ... and, of course, one must watch where one steps.
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  • An Egg Hunt

    15 June 2016
    We have been admirers of British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy’s work for many years. Of all the items we kept for our post-travel life, his art books were carefully packed away for future inspiration.
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  • Money Does Grow on Trees?

    04 June 2016
    The first time we encountered a felled tree with coins hammered and bent into the wood, we assumed it was a one-of-a-kind find.
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  • Styles of Stiles

    04 June 2016
    For hundreds of years the country lanes, footpaths and tracks of England have been traversed by many a traveler. ...
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  • Life in a Small English Village

    01 June 2016
    After two years of travel, living mostly in larger cities, our goal was to find a more rural location with opportunities to be out in nature. After our search settled in northern England, we found an apartment ...
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  • 2016, May

  • Goodbye to Ireland

    30 May 2016
    We arrived at our hotel in Dublin after 18:00 (6:00pm) and were pretty tired after the day’s drive and visit to Newgrange. After a good night's sleep, we caught an early taxi to Dublin Port ...
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  • One Last Stop …

    28 May 2016
    Our time in Ireland was almost up. ... Our route, however, would have us diverting northeastward for one more stop. ...
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  • Kinnitty and the Slieve Bloom

    26 May 2016
    Having spent most of our time in Ireland in close proximity to the sea, we departed the coast for the Irish Midlands, and more specifically the village of Kinnitty ...
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  • A Nod and a Wink

    19 May 2016
    Some say that Doolin is to Irish traditional music what New Orleans is to traditional jazz. How cool is that?
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  • A Day on Inisheer

    10 May 2016
    If you stand on the Cliffs of Moher looking seaward and it is somewhat clear, you can see the three Aran Islands. ...
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  • The Burren – a Landscape of Stone

    08 May 2016
    After the excitement of the Cliffs of Moher walk the previous day, we were in the mood for something a little less, shall we say, perilous? Not that it wasn’t really fun ...
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  • The Cliffs of Insanity

    01 May 2016
    After a month in Killarney and the surrounding areas, we were moving on. We had nine days to get to Dublin to take the ferry to England. So, where would we go in the meantime? ...
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  • 2016, April

  • Goin’ to Doolin

    29 April 2016
    The morning was quite cold as we loaded the car and prepared to leave Killarney. There had been snow forecast overnight, and while there was none around us the mountains in the distance obviously had a fresh dusting on the tops. ...
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  • Departing Killarney

    25 April 2016
    Our days in Killarney were drawing to an end. Irish spring was still weeks away, but so were the throngs of tourists that flock to the area. Visiting places during the off-season does have its drawbacks, but the advantages are much greater. ...
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  • A Day in Kenmare

    25 April 2016
    Just a short visit after passing through a couple of times. We had originally considered living here, but Killarney won out because of the National Park. ...
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  • The Gap of Dunloe

    23 April 2016
    Just in case one might think Jeannie was out shopping, this is NOT the GAP, as in the clothing and accessories retailer, but rather the stunning mountain pass ...
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  • April Fools … Not!

    20 April 2016
    Throughout our travels, there has been one thing that has been the greatest delight, and has meant the most to us – the people we have met and the friends we have made. ...
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  • Beara II

    20 April 2016
    Our stay in Castletownbere was enjoyable. The Sea Breeze B&B was very comfortable, and though it was a long walk into town, it was scenic and pleasant. ...
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  • The Princess’s Ring – Beara

    16 April 2016
    The least well known of the peninsulas of southwestern Ireland, the Beara peninsula is a hidden jewel that shines only for those who look beyond the more famous neighbors ...
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  • Where are Chris and Jeannie, literally?!

    15 April 2016
    Chris and I are now in the small town of Kinnitty, Ireland, relaxing in the parlor of the Ardmore Country House B&B. Well, I’m relaxing and Chris is furiously composing and typing the next blog post. ...
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  • Corca Dhuibhne – The Dingle Peninsula

    07 April 2016
    The entire loop from Killarney is only about 180km | 111mi long and can be driven in a day, but it deserves much longer. ...
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  • Genius Loci – Spirit of Place

    02 April 2016
    Our travels have taken us many places old and ancient, places of history, mysticism, religion, and lore. ...
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  • 2016, March

  • A Tale of Two Rings – part 2

    29 March 2016
    The next morning came bright and sunny, though still a bit cold and windy. We packed an went down for breakfast and I had a delicious and filling, hearty Irish breakfast. ...
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  • A Tale of Two Rings – part 1

    27 March 2016
    The Ring of Kerry is a scenic road circuit that skirts the edge of the Iveragh Peninsula – the middle and largest of three fingers of land that extend into the Atlantic on the Ireland's south-western extremity. It is one of Ireland's best-known and most iconic drives.
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  • St Patrick’s Day Parade in Killarney

    24 March 2016
    Though most people think of St. Patrick’s Day as an Irish party holiday, it began as an Irish holy day, and was first celebrated in 18th and 19th-century. Originally the Irish, Catholic and Protestant alike, went to church rather than party.
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  • Killarney – getting out

    18 March 2016
    Yes, I caught a mild cold. But the symptoms were under control, and I felt reasonably well enough to get out. At least well enough for walks into town through the National Park for groceries.
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  • Settling in to Killarney

    11 March 2016
    After a good but short stay in Dublin, we took a taxi to the car rental at the airport. The line was a bit long, computers were up and down, and we decided to upgrade to a diesel rather than petrol car with a bit more space. ...
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  • A Wee Bit o’ Pub Music.

    09 March 2016
    A sample of the great pub music available in Dublin. I recorded it using my phone, and offer my apologies to the two acoustic-only performers ...
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  • A Few Days in Dublin

    08 March 2016
    The flight to Dublin was cramped but uneventful. Once we arrived at our apartment it wasn’t quite ready from the previous tenants, so we deposited our luggage and went for a long stroll. Dublin was cold, rainy, windy, but wonderful. It’s a big city, crowded and bustling, yet charming and friendly. Over the next few days it was not only…
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  • 2016, February

  • The Countdown Begins … Again.

    24 February 2016
    So here we are, scrambling. It is less than two weeks, um, one week, um, a few days before we depart on the next leg of our adventures and we are ready. As we have expressed before, we always try to keep looking forward. Though we don’t like leaving our families, friends, and familiar surroundings, our sights are set on…
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  • On the Cape Canaveral Coast

    12 February 2016
    This visit “home” is quickly coming to an end. Regretfully we haven’t been able to visit everyone we wanted to see, though we have been able to spend time with many friends. There have been so many distractions. Visits with Jeannie’s dad have been a priority. His health is declining yet he has generally been in good spirits; and while…
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  • 2016, January

  • The Ancient City, Florida

    27 January 2016
    Life back in Florida has been pretty comfortable: walks on the beach, visits with friends, and falling easily back into some old routines. The weather that was warm when we first arrived has turned chilly, slowing us down a little. At least the mosquitoes have slowed down too.
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  • 2015, December

  • Back on the beach

    27 December 2015
    We returned to Florida not because we were tired of living in Europe, but primarily because winter was approaching. The experience of cold weather from last winter in France and Italy was still somewhat fresh in our memories so off to sunny Florida we went. Our choice of transportation for the return was a trans-Atlantic cruise that took 13 days,…
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  • Our Thanks and Warmest Wishes …

    24 December 2015
    ... to all our friends and family who have followed us on this adventure by way of this blog. May the peace and joy of this season travel with you wherever life’s journey takes you, and hope that you will continue to “ride along in our backpacks” during the new year.
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  • The Atlantic Crossing

    22 December 2015
    Our taxi deposited us at the terminal right at 11:30 a.m. It was busy with people pouring from cars and taxis, and porters loading luggage onto carts. The line moved fairly quickly as we began our slow walk toward the check-in counter. Within our first hour after departing the taxi we were boarding the Equinox. The rooms would not be…
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  • A Kiss in Barcelona

    07 December 2015
    While walking around the Gothic quarter of Barcelona, we turned down a small street. At the end of the street we could see a mural of two sets of lips locked in a personal moment. At first we thought that it was an example of street graffiti, but as we got closer ... The photo mosaic was designed by Joan…
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  • Barcelona – Time to depart

    06 December 2015
    The leaves of the Plane trees (Sycamores) are starting to turn brown and darkness comes noticeably earlier each day. Autumn has begun. Our time in Barcelona is almost over and only a few days before we board a ship for the return to Florida. Life in Barcelona was a little busier than normal. Early in our stay here, my brother…
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  • 2015, November

  • Barcelona – an Architectural Feast

    18 November 2015
    So many of the places we have visited throughout the world are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. “World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.” Listed sites are considered to be of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity. Seven properties in Barcelona,…
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  • Gaudí’s Masterpiece – the Sagrada Familia

    14 November 2015
    The independent Catalonian spirit has fostered much innovation in many areas, but nowhere is it more obvious and available than in art and architecture. At the turn of the century the style of the day was Art Nouveau, or as it was called in Spain– Modernista and Catalonia - Modernisme. Some of the world’s greatest proponents and practitioners were in…
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  • Barcelona – More Than a Great City

    11 November 2015
    Taking the train from Madrid to Barcelona used to take just under nine hours. Fortunately today, with ALL our luggage, it only takes about three. The speed display in the car we were in showed a top speed 300 kph (180 mph), but averaged a little less than that. The terrain in the center of Spain is rather arid and…
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  • Nomads at Sea

    06 November 2015
    This is a break in the Slow Nomads timeline reflecting events that we feel are interesting enough to warrant such an interruption. Though the posts indicate that we are still in Barcelona, we are actually currently at sea, the normal timeline will resume as soon as possible. The moon rose over the Mediterranean while we were at dinner. Its reflection…
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  • 2015, October

  • A Barcelona Teaser

    26 October 2015
    My, have we been busy. Shortly after we arrived in Barcelona, we were joined for a week by my brother Mike and his lovely wife Kathy. Thus began the whirlwind, and since then we have been busy trying to sample just some of the things that this city has to offer. We really like Barcelona for many reasons. But since…
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  • Adiós Madrid – Final de Meandros

    24 October 2015
    We have been in Madrid for just about a month, and of course we haven't/couldn't see everything. That is a difficult concept to accept at times, but for the experiences we want, it is essential. The days that have no defined purpose or destination are often the most rewarding; because it seems that for those brief moments we feel as…
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  • Meandros en Madrid – 3

    19 October 2015
    Madrid, besides being the capital of Spain, is a great city. The best thing about a great city and its culture is its people; and the best places to experience being among the people are parks and markets. The diverse population in Madrid enjoys a vast amount of beautiful green space and parks for walking, picnics, and sports. Recreational areas…
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  • Meandros en Madrid – 2

    16 October 2015
    Madrid is filled with people. There were times when we felt that they were all on the same street with us. But we could turn off onto a quiet little callejón, and be alone except for the little old lady pulling her two-wheeled grocery cart to the market; or the lone office worker who had stepped outside for a cigarette.…
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  • Meandros en Madrid -1

    15 October 2015
    We wander, ... a lot. It tends to be somewhat directed, but our path may meander like a three-year-old chasing pigeons. Most of these images of Madrid were made sort of on the way somewhere, or once we had arrived, and yet they are a stream-of-consciousness-like collection of visuals and memories of a month of strolling through Madrid. Captions have…
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  • Toledo

    14 October 2015
    Inhabited since the Bronze Age, Toledo was mentioned by ancient Roman historian Titus Livius as early as the first century BC. Beginning as a Roman fortification, then as capital of the Visigoth Kingdom, after that as a fortress of the Moorish Emirate of Cordoba, still later an outpost of the Christian kingdoms that fought to oust the Moors and, then…
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  • Segovia

    10 October 2015
    Andrés Segovia (1893-1987) is a name that every guitarist knows or should know. He is considered the greatest guitarist of all time as well as the father of the modern classical guitar. Though he was not from the town of Segovia, it was through his name that the town was to me at least somewhat familiar. Another rather famous reference…
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  • Salamanca

    03 October 2015
    There is an energy that can be felt when you are in a university town, and there was such a feeling in Salamanca. Maybe it was that there are 30,000 students at the University of Salamanca or just a larger than average number of young people for a city, but the energy was indeed there. The historic Salamanca University, founded…
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  • 2015, September

  • Ávila

    30 September 2015
    Inhabited since before the 5th century BC, Obila ("High Mountain") was a small fortified town conquered by the Romans about 61 BC and named Abila or Abela. Its layout was typical for a Roman town of the period, rectangular in shape, with two main streets intersecting in the center at a forum. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire,…
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  • Vuelta a España – the Tour of Spain

    25 September 2015
    As a former avid cyclist, I used to follow the Tour de France (TdF) every year. Since about 1984 or 1985 when the Tour was running, the TV would be on whatever channel was showing any of the race. I would watch for hours at a time and saw some of the greats - from Greg LeMond who first won…
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  • Madrid – The First Week

    21 September 2015
    As our train entered the Estación de Atocha safely and with all of our luggage, we quietly breathed sighs of relief. The high-speed RENFE (Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles—National Network of Spanish Railways) train had travelled between Montpellier, France and Madrid at speeds in excess of 225 kph (140 mph) in some places. The few stops that were made…
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  • Avignon – the Final Stop in France?

    12 September 2015
    As the TGV high-speed train leaves Strasbourg behind, the realization that we are leaving France is really beginning to sink in. In total, we have been in-country more than 9 months, and we are now heading to Spain with a two-night stop in Avignon. If we had taken the train straight through to Madrid, it would have been a 12+…
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  • Strasbourg – a Visual Retrospective

    09 September 2015
    Strasbourg was a great location from which to explore this part of Europe. At the eastern edge of France, we were close to the Alsatian wine villages, Germany and the Black Forest, Switzerland and the Alps, but Strasbourg was a gem in itself. The Cathedral, celebrating its 1000th anniversary this year, was the centerpiece. But as we roamed the back…
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  • The Black Forest

    06 September 2015
    Today we were going deep into the Black Forest. It is home to a very special cake, cuckoo clocks, dense evergreen forests and picturesque villages, and a place that inspired some of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. We were also excited to be meeting  Karl and Ingrid (relatives of a work colleague), who were going to help show us around.…
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  • Gengenbach – Gateway to the Black Forest

    05 September 2015
    We now return you to the adventure already in progress. Since we had only been to a small area in Germany for part of a day with our friends, Niels and Jette from Denmark, Jeannie contacted Linda, a friend from her former job who has family in the Black Forest area. We connected with her cousin Karl and his wife…
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  • Doors Close and Doors Open

    03 September 2015
    Breaking news update. As before, this is a break in the Slow Nomads timeline reflecting events that we feel are interesting enough to warrant such an interruption. The normal timeline will resume as soon as possible. Unfortunately there are not any photographs associated with this post. We are preparing to leave France. Our last night is in Avignon where we…
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  • 2015, August

  • Into the Alps

    23 August 2015
    The 2.25 hour train from Basel wove its way through the mountains and past small towns and villages to the city of Lucerne. We changed trains for the remainder of the journey to Alpnachstad where we boarded the worlds steepest cogwheel railway for the steep (45°+) ride to the top of Mount Pilatus (2,128 m (6981 ft)). The view from…
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  • A Swiss Treat

    23 August 2015
    Switzerland – home of the chocolate, cheese, watches, chard, army knives, bank accounts and the Alps. While living in the Eastern part of France, it is easy to take short trips into Switzerland. So Jeannie began her research of the area and possible 1- to 3-day trips that would give us some more quality time in nature and out of…
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  • The First Year – a Review

    16 August 2015
    As of 15 August 2015, it has been one year since we set off on this adventure to travel and live abroad. There are so very many aspects of this new life, and this post is an attempt to provide a very brief summary and some reflection of our experiences of the past year. Where have we been for the…
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  • Ribeauvillé de Nouveau

    09 August 2015
    We slept soundly in this little medieval town, Riquewihr. We had no big plans for the day except to walk back to Hunawihr and then to Ribeauvillé, maybe get some lunch, take the bus back to Sélestat, then catch the train back to Strasbourg, and then walk back to our apartment. But first, breakfast. We headed downstairs to the basement…
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  • Return to Ribeauvillé and Beyond

    08 August 2015
    Our return to Ribeauvillé had several goals, all of which had to do with being outside. The weather forecast was calling for clear skies and comfortable temperatures. So, we packed our backpacks for an overnight away. After the relatively short train ride to Sélestat, we boarded a bus for Ribeauvillé. We had travelled this route before, so we were in…
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  • Two Hikes Around Turckheim

    04 August 2015
    A few days after our visit to  Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg and Ribeauvillé (previous post) we took the train south and west to Turckheim, famous for its surrounding medieval wall and Gewürztraminer wines. In the morning after gathering some information from the tourist information center, we went out on a walk, first through the forest and then off through the vineyards…
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  • A Mountain Fortress and a Preview

    03 August 2015
    We have really enjoyed living in the urban apartments throughout France. Partially because it is so vastly different from our life experiences prior to this adventure; the dynamics of living in cities that are centuries or even millennia old is something that is difficult to comprehend. Certainly these are modern cultures that exist in ancient settings, but it is quite…
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  • 2015, July

  • Oompah, Dance, and a Saint

    27 July 2015
    Sunday morning woke to rather cool temperatures. The weather had been much milder over the past week or so, with sunny days mild to warm days and cool nights. Today was a day for long-sleeves. The event today was a performance of musique et danses traditionnelle Alsacienne at the Place Guttenberg, just around the corner from the Cathedral. We arrived…
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  • A Night Away in Alsace

    26 July 2015
    Colmar, Alsace's most beautiful city, is a town founded in the 9th century, and still retains stunning medieval architecture and even its own “Little Venice”. Though it was the last town in France to be liberated in WWII, it is now the capital of Alsatian wine. The French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, (1834-1904) was born in Colmar. Of course he is…
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  • A Tale of Two Expectations

    22 July 2015
    [Several of the links below are in bold, they are audio recordings. I apologize for the poor quality, but I think the point will be made.] During the summer months in Europe there are always cultural events to experience. We are continually on the lookout for concerts, dance, street performers, or other such events that help make this adventure special.…
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  • Munster

    18 July 2015
    The heat wave here in Europe continues. The temperatures have soared back into the 35-38° C (upper 90s F), and we needed to get out. Where to go? We are near the Vosges Mountains so maybe we can find a walk in the woods. Since we don’t have a car, we are limited to places within train or bus transport.…
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  • Voyage Temporel*

    15 July 2015
    Strasbourg is vastly different from any other place we have lived, on so many levels. This city lies on the Eastern border of France, on the Ill River where it flows into the Rhine on the border with Germany. It is deeply permeated with Franco-German culture. The city has been disputably French or German off-and-on for centuries, and yet today…
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  • Some Assembly Required

    03 July 2015
    As we settle into our new apartment in Strasbourg we realize that it is very different from our flat in Lyon. It’s nice, but smaller, and with not as much of a view ... from the inside. As soon as we walk out onto the pedestrian-only street we are in the bustling Petite-France old quarter. Medieval buildings of black and…
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  • 2015, June

  • Nos Amis Lyonnaise – Deuxième Partie.

    29 June 2015
    Our busy weekend, begun in the previous post, was not yet over, there were more friends to visit. We had been invited to spend the night at the home of Michel and Francoise (Lucie’s parents) in the Beaujolais area. So Sunday morning, we took a short train ride to L’Arbresle where Michel picked us up. After stopping in a neighboring…
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  • Nos Amis Lyonnaise

    28 June 2015
    Leaving friends and family last year, we hoped life would not be lonely. When you don’t speak the language where you are living, how can you make friends? We have discovered it is not so difficult. If you are open to encounters and accept invitations even when you are a little unsure. Early in our travels, as we relaxed in…
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  • Lavender in bloom

    23 June 2015
    This an audio blog post, there are play-back controls beneath the image. Be sure to turn up the volume!
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  • Wine – a Tale of Three Tours

    17 June 2015
    Wine is a state of mind here in France. To not have wine with lunch or dinner is almost tantamount to not breathing. It doesn’t hurt (help?) that in Lyon, we are pretty much at the one of the centers of the wine universe. In 2014 France was the world’s biggest wine producer, making almost 4.5 billion litres (1.9 billion…
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  • Montchat en Fête

    14 June 2015
    Although we are living in Montchat for only a short time, we have come to love notre beau village de au coeur de Lyon.  Every excursion down the shopping street or to the market is a delightful adventure. We were standing on the sidewalk the other day admiring the items in the window when a very grandmotherly woman stopped next…
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  • Notre Vie en Roses

    13 June 2015
    Three hundred thousand visitors were expected for the 17th World Convention of Rose Societies. There was floral art, paintings, gardening workshops, a fashion show about roses, information stands of French rose growers, and exhibitions all over the city. The fragrance that wafted about on the breezes was intoxicating, and the colors were unbelievable. These are photos of just a few…
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  • Medieval Festival Musings

    10 June 2015
    We don’t ever have to go far to find truly medieval things. The middle ages spanned the 5th through the 15th centuries, beginning with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, then later morphed into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. So there is much in Lyon, and much of Europe that survives or was rebuilt after the wars…
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  • 2015, May

  • Cascades Chambéry

    31 May 2015
    At the crossroads of ancient routes through the Dauphiné, Burgundy, Switzerland, and Italy, Chambéry lies in a wide valley between the Bauges and the Chartreuse Mountains on the Leysse River. We wanted to get out for a hike in the forests again, and our research indicated that there were some nice green areas near Chambéry that were accessible by public…
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  • A Ride in a Bubble – Grenoble

    23 May 2015
    With the mountains all around, Grenoble is known as "Capital of the Alps". Its history goes back 2000 years to when it was a small Gallic village. Later, in the 11th century, Grenoble became somewhat significant as capital of the Dauphiné, though for the most part it remained a minor outpost on the edge of the French kingdom. Although in…
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  • It’s a Big Small World?

    20 May 2015
    In its 16th century, arcaded building and galleries clad in pink, the Maison des Avocats (House of lawyers) is a beautiful Renaissance building in Vieux Lyon, and home of the Musée International de la Miniature et Décors de Cinéma. The museum is the work of Dan Ohlmann, miniaturist artist and founding director. This museum contains an amazing array of exhibits,…
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  • Annecy – The Venice of Savoy

    17 May 2015
    Day trips out to new places are always multi-faceted adventures. Not only are we going to a place we have never been before, but simply the act of getting there is often an experience in itself. Such was our visit to Annecy (pronounced ann-cie). We had heard that there was some damage to the railroad tracks near Annecy, due to…
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  • Dijon

    15 May 2015
    Yes, the Dijon of mustard fame. We had spent the night in Beaune, and our plan was to take the train the short distance further for a brief visit to the capital of the Côte-d'Or département and of the Burgundy region. After a breakfast of café crème, fruit juice and a croissant, we strolled the town of Beaune once again…
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  • Yay! A Holiday

    09 May 2015
    It seems there is a holiday each week during May in France. Last week, it was May Day and even public transportation was shut down. You really have to plan in advance cuz grocery stores and everything closes! Yesterday we visited the beautiful town of Annecy. It was a busy day, walking more than 12 km (8 miles) around the…
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  • Beaune, the “Capital” of Burgundy Wines

    07 May 2015
    We seem to have gotten pretty good at train travel here in France. Not that we have figured it all out, but we’re working on it. For example, there are kiosks all over the train station, but our credit card does not have the chip-and-pin technology that is prevalent here. We have the chip, but not the pin part. Our…
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  • Joan and Mel

    03 May 2015
    We made some new friends, Joan and Mel. They are from the US, got rid of all their stuff, and are traveling kind of like us. We met just in time for them to leave. Introduced by a mutual acquaintance, we met over drinks a day or so before they were to move to Paris from Lyon. Almost four hours…
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  • 2015, April

  • Apartment Hunting … Choose Well!

    30 April 2015
    Our travels have now taken us to apartments in Rennes, Brussels, Montpellier, Lyon, Rome, and now again in Lyon. This has given us a good bit of experience picking out an apartment online, and then actually living in it. Most of our rentals are for longer stays, so we only look for furnished apartments. The shortest stays were in Brussels…
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  • Back to Venice?

    23 April 2015
    The Medieval village of Perouges had been on our list of must-see places near Lyon for a while. And as we began to do some more research, this weekend (19 April) popped up on the community calendar as the weekend of the Parade Vénitienne de Pérouges or Venetian Parade of Perugia. Perouges is 36 km (22 mi) north-east of Lyon,…
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  • A Waltz Through Vienne

    22 April 2015
    We were in need of a day-trip. So we closed our eyes and stuck a pin in the map. Well not really. Our excursions are pretty much dictated by the train routes that are available, and we generally look for locations that are no more than 2-hours away. Of course there truly are lots of options in any direction, which…
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  • A Couple of Days in Lyon … Wandering

    19 April 2015
    We had a couple of beautiful days wandering about Lyon, clear skies, great temperatures, and spring flowers everywhere. It is truly a grand city. Not much text in this post, just a visual smörgåsbord to delight the eyes ... enjoy.
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  • Lyon, Déjà Vu, and a Birthday Party Too!

    16 April 2015
    Back when we first began this adventure, we went to St Malo, joined by my brother Mike and his wife Kathy. While there we just happened to meet Nicolas, Lucie, and their 2-year old daughter Noémie. That meeting just happened to be much of the reason we are back in Lyon. Click here if you want to read the details.…
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  • My Terrace Afternoon

    09 April 2015
    Sitting outside on the terrace of our apartment, I am in awe that we are living in Lyon France. For all the traveling we have done, even the 6-8 week stays in other French cities last year, this time it really does feel like we live here, and we only arrived a week ago. Chris has gone for a wander…
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  • Home Sweet Monchat

    08 April 2015
    In the 3rd arrondisemont of Lyon is a small neighborhood known as Montchat. It is here we found an apartment where we feel at home. Primarily a residential area, our flat is less than two blocks from the small, tree-lined commercial street Cours du Docteur Long. Montchat is far from the bustling center of Lyon; it’s basically an urban village.…
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  • Skara and the Cranes of Hornborgasjön

    07 April 2015
    [This post is a spur from Getting to Gothenburg] We weren’t in a big hurry to rush out from Gothenburg, as the weather was still wet and cold, but we were excited to get to Skara. The route there was uneventful, the terrain was rather rocky near Gothenburg, but flattened out a bit the closer we got to Skara. Farms…
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  • The Götheborg

    06 April 2015
    In 1745, the 18th century Svenska Ostindiska Companiet (Swedish East India Company) shipping vessel “Gothenburg,” was returning from her third voyage, a two-year journey to China, and wrecked on a reef near the mouth of the city of Gothenburg’s harbor, and over the next two years, one-third of the cargo was salvaged. It wasn’t until 1984 that divers relocated the…
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  • Getting to Gothenburg

    05 April 2015
    We departed Oslo, Norway by train. The snow was only beginning to melt and the temperatures were still pretty cold. It would have been nice to stay longer. Spring was at hand and would be fully involved within the next week or two, but it was time to head south to meet our friends, Niels and Jette, who were driving…
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  • 2015, March

  • Oslo (or Should it be O-sno?)

    29 March 2015
    Although we enjoyed being back in Florida amongst family and friends, and warm weather, the desire to return to our adventure called very strongly. Our return this time was through Scandinavia. The flight from Orlando left about midnight, so we were more or less ready to get some sleep while in the air. We had decided to fly Norwegian Air…
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  • Toto, I don’t think we’re in [ fill in a place ] anymore …

    22 March 2015
    Flying back to the US from Rome was uneventful and everything went smoothly. We even got some sleep in between movies and feedings. When we arrived in Florida, we still had two weeks or so of (Florida) winter weather. High temperatures in the 50-60° F (10-15°C) range were colder than we wanted, but things quickly returned to normal with highs…
    fill in a place ] anymore …">Click here to read more



  • 2015, February

  • Escape to Rome

    24 February 2015
    We had mixed feelings about leaving Venice. With only three days there, we had just barely been able to taste the mystery and beauty of the place. But Carnevale was going to start in a day or so with its crowds and expense; the weather was changing for the worse; and the full moon was bringing high water which would…
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  • Venice – Magic, Romance, and Water

    14 February 2015
    We barely scratched the surface of Florence and its treasures before we had to leave. But that is the risk of travel. Even in those places we have stayed for six or eight weeks, we had to leave unable to see or visit everything we wanted. You can’t see it all. And as I have said before, “Embrace every experience…
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  • Birthplace of the Renaissance … Florence

    05 February 2015
    Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, was founded as a Roman military colony about the 1st century BC. During the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries Florence achieved preeminence in commerce and finance, power, learning, and especially art. Among the most famous of the city’s cultural giants are Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Machiavelli, Galileo, and its most-renowned rulers, generations of…
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  • Snow Days …

    02 February 2015
    This is another of the out-of-sequence posts that I have to share now and again, but it is a story that bears telling. Jeannie and I, along with my brother Mike and Kathy, had been to Florence for three days and then to Venice for three days. After saying our goodbyes, we took the train back to Florence and they…
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  • … Everything changes

    01 February 2015
    To paraphrase Heraclitus of Ephesus, c. 535 – c. 475 BCE, The only thing that is constant is change. It was 15 years ago in spring that we began a month-long bicycling adventure in Tuscany/Umbria. Our first two weeks were spent in Camucia at the Il Borgo Agriturismo. It was our second bicycling trip to Italy, but this time we…
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  • 2015, January

  • Language problems? No.

    20 January 2015
    As we have traveled in foreign places, one of the joys and one of the curses has been dealing with the language. Now that we are in Italy, we have had to switch languages again. Not that our French was getting anywhere near good, but we were just beginning to get a little comfortable; words and phrases were coming out…
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  • A Roman Bridge to Cesi

    12 January 2015
    No, the Roman bridge doesn't lead to Cesi directly, but after several days of being stuck indoors with the flu, we had a wonderful drive. First, we only had to drive a few kilometers to see the Ponte Fonnaia, and then ... well.  As is ofttimes the case, we saw a tiny town on the side of a mountain (and…
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  • Carsulae

    09 January 2015
    Carsulae is a well-preserved Roman city located in the Umbria countryside. It grew up as a way station on a previously unoccupied site shortly after the Via Flaminia was built in ca. 220 BC, its location probably influenced by the presence of some natural springs. Surviving Roman documents of Via Flaminia do not mention the existence of Carsulae, but it…
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  • Feasting in Italy

    06 January 2015
    We’ve been in Italy for just over two weeks, and it’s been cold, rainy, cold, snowy, cold, and did I say cold? But there was only one day, in Orvieto, that we got out and just couldn’t take the below freezing temperatures and 25+mph (40+kph) winds. It was so cold Jeannie wouldn’t/couldn’t even window shop. But the last two days…
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  • A Neighborhood Walk

    05 January 2015
    A 5 mile (8k) ramble on country roads up to Colpetrazzo, a tiny village up on the side of the Martani mountains. We strode on paved roads, dirt, and stone; through woods, farmlands and vineyards, passing old buildings and new. The bare branches of the trees provided a lattice of contrast against the grey clouds. The brown, newly-tilled fields added…
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  • Snow!

    04 January 2015
    When we came to Italy, it was to hopefully get away from some of the colder weather further north in France. It didn’t work out that way. In fact, much of the peninsula was hit with cold and snow 31 December. To us, from Florida, it was a beautiful sight. We woke to small flakes dancing about in the breeze,…
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  • Lyon … Serendipity Strikes Again

    01 January 2015
    We were only in Lyon three weeks. Didn’t know how much we’d like the place and we hadn’t even expected the Fête des Lumières. What an incredible four day event THAT was. Then it got really cold, and rainy. Shortly after that we both came down with colds that slowed us down for about a week. But I digress. Back…
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  • 2014, December

  • To Italy We Go …

    31 December 2014
    It was odd that it only took a 1.5 hour flight to travel to Rome. So much longer when you start in US. It will be interesting to travel around Europe with such short flights. We got our rental car and left the airport around 4pm, knowing we would not arrive at Herb and Jeanie Klinker’s cottage (named Lucciole after…
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  • Leaving Montpellier

    27 December 2014
    We have always said that our travels do not stem from a desire to leave someplace, but rather to go somewhere else. To us it is a significant difference. I think it is a corollary to the “glass half-empty or glass half-full” thing. And so it was, on 01 December, when we departed Montpellier. It had been a wonderful place…
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  • Rain, Rain, Go Away …

    17 December 2014
     Overcast, rainy and cold. We are pretty much over the colds we caught, me first, then Jeannie. But between the sniffles, the cold temperatures and the rain, our time outside has been limited since the Fête des Lumières. We have gotten out most every day, including long walks (>13km or 8 miles). We even took a ride on the local…
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  • Arles

    16 December 2014
    This post is from Montpellier, prior to the move to Lyon. The time-line is almost back to normal. November 19th started as one of the coldest mornings so far this autumn. It might have been nice to stay in bed, but it was time for another train trip, this time to Arles, just inside Provence. We walked to the station,…
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  • Fête des Lumières – Night 4

    09 December 2014
    The final night of the Fête des Lumières is tonight, and we realize that we are tired. We have already walked over five miles going to lunch and visiting the area of our apartment we will stay in when we return in April. So when we returned to our current flat, we decided not to try and hit any more…
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  • Fête des Lumières – Night 3

    08 December 2014
    Lyon wasn’t really a destination for us when we began our planning. Coming here evolved out of several factors. We had originally planned to search out some warmer climes for the winter, but it’s not warm here. Whatever reasons we may have had for being here have been eclipsed by the serendipitous happening of the Fête des Lumières. Tonight was…
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  • Fête des Lumières – Night 2

    07 December 2014
    Together with our new friends Nicolas and Lucie (a great story that will have to wait til later), we returned to the Fête des Lumières. Though most of the images are repeats, they show different parts of the sequences that we saw. Keep in mind that the images that are projected on the buildings are filled with motion and constantly…
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  • Fête des Lumières – Night 1

    06 December 2014
    Ok, we left Montpellier and have moved to Lyon. I haven't written about all that, but I will. Often it's necessary to alter the timeline for things that are exceptional, and the Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights) is one of those things. Last night was the first of four nights when the city is brightened up by 70 installations…
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  • A Special Visit – II

    02 December 2014
    Our friends Rich and Patti drove to Montpellier from Barcelona, Spain to visit us. That meant they had a car. Originally, our plans were to possibly spend more time driving out into the countryside. However, given the difficulties of navigating the narrow, convoluted streets we decided to leave the car safe in its parking space. Besides, their first day was…
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  • 2014, November

  • The Story of Brioche Saint Nicolas

    28 November 2014
    With apologies to Flat Stanley and Mister Bill. Click image below to view.    
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  • A Little Night Photography

    26 November 2014
    It has been overcast and chilly with some light rain over the last couple of days. One night there was a break, so I took off for a few shots of Montpellier at night before we leave 01 December.
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  • A Special Visit – I

    24 November 2014
    Long-time friends from Florida visited us in Montpellier recently. We have known Rich and Patti for far longer than I want to calculate. At our last April Fool’s party (40th wedding anniversary), they threatened to come to France and drink wine with us. To our delight, they drove in from Barcelona where they had spent a few days to do…
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  • Nîmes – The French Rome

    22 November 2014
    When one is able to just get in to a car and go somewhere, travel without a car can seem difficult. For some destinations it is impossible. But there are so many places to visit that only require a train ticket. Non-automobile travel has several obvious advantages, you don’t have to drive, or navigate, or park, and you can actually…
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  • On the French

    19 November 2014
    Whenever I talk with friends back in the USA about living in France, curiously people most frequently inquire if the French are rude and snobby. I always reply emphatically, no. Having been in France now for over three months, on multiple visits previously, in many regions and in Paris (twice), we have never encountered out-and-out rudeness. There have been the…
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  • Adventure, Sophie, and Serendipity

    12 November 2014
    Of all the wonderful things that we have experienced in France, it is the people that have made this such a magical journey. In spite of the fact that my language abilities are rudimentary at best, we have been greeted with patience, assistance and, very often some English has been spoken by almost everyone we have encountered. I was always…
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  • Abbeys and Castles – The Road Less Traveled

    06 November 2014
    As we took the roads out and away from Carcassonne, the massive fortress dominated the view behind us for quite a while. Even from a distance the towers could be seen above the vineyards and trees until they finally disappeared from view and, for us, became only a memory. The narrow country roads we were now traveling were designated a…
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  • Abbeys and Castles – Lastours

    04 November 2014
    Our morning walk through the Cité de Carcassonne was, once again, cold and windy. Though this time we were bundled, the temperature difference between being in the sunlight and being deep in the shadows of the centuries-old stone walls was tremendous. On top of that, it seemed that the wind was stronger whenever we stepped into the shadows. Even though…
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  • Carcassonne – The Medieval Fortress

    03 November 2014
    I was born and grew up in Florida, and just to the south of my birthplace is St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement in the continental United States. St. Augustine is a charming and historical city, and location of the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest fort in the United States, whose construction began in 1672. It is…
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  • 2014, October

  • Abbeys and Castles – I

    31 October 2014
    Abbeys There are so many places that we would love to visit, and many we can get to via train, bus and foot. But there are many others that will require a car, and Carcassonne and its surrounding area was one of those places. Besides, it was time to take an expedition that was more than just a day-trip. Our…
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  • Charlie’s Angels

    30 October 2014
    OK, I am getting behind on my writing, not unlike when I was in graduate school. But the nice thing about my blog is that, well it’s mine and I can do as I wish. Like this post. It is really out of sequence. But I have read the fine print and I don’t have to maintain a timeline. This…
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  • Béziers – The Canal du Midi and Massacres

    29 October 2014
    Béziers is one of the oldest cities in France, dating from about 575 B.C. It was old when the Romans arrived. Its location made it a major east-west trade route through the region. Béziers suffered greatly in 1209 during the Albigensian Crusade, in which the Catholic Church exterminated the Cathar religion. The entire population of Béziers was massacred, Cathar and…
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  • Returning to Montpellier

    28 October 2014
    “The only thing constant in life is change” ― François de La Rochefoucauld Leaving Belgium on the train, the early morning view through our window was like looking into a landscape painted by one of the old masters. The low morning light bathed the peaceful idyllic countryside. The cattle in the pasture, crops in the fields, and the small village…
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  • A Day in Ghent

    24 October 2014
    Bruges is a beautiful little town, while Ghent is quite large and very active, and it has been said that "... you get the feeling that this is a city first and tourist destination second, in sharp contrast to Bruges." Getting off the train and making our way into town  you could tell that this was going to be a…
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  • A Day in Bruges

    24 October 2014
    The trains from Brussels to Bruges run pretty much on the hour. We left early hoping to avoid crowds, but that strategy didn't work. The off-and-on rains got us and the crowds a bit damp, so we ducked into a local museum for a bit. Emerging just as the weather began clearing enough for us to roam about town, we…
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  • Brussels – II

    24 October 2014
    Hotel breakfasts are not generally satisfying, but when shared with friends, they are always better. So it was in Brussels. We tentatively planned our tour of Brussels with Niels and Jette over breakfast, and shortly after began the day’s exploration. Following the route that Jeannie and I took the day before, we revisited the Cathedral of St. Michael and St.…
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  • Brussels – I

    17 October 2014
    The luggage had been packed the night before. We were ready to begin the next leg of our journey as we went down to breakfast and noted that there were two additional places set. As we began with our coffee and fresh croissants, another couple came into the room. They had a brief conversation with our host, in French, and…
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  • Normandy – a Day Apart

    12 October 2014
    We walked the route to the train station and back yesterday so we would know how long it would take. The tour we were taking to the D-Day beaches, or at least a couple of them, was to meet us at 08:00, so an early departure from the B&B was essential. Our tour van arrived right on time and we…
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  • Bayeux – I

    10 October 2014
    It was a long day getting to Bayeux from Rennes. It was made longer because we were leaving a place where we had only started to get harmonized with the pace of life and our surroundings. The rhythms of our life were beginning to get comfortable, and we left. The train ride was good, going along comfortably through the countryside…
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  • Calories Coming and Going

    08 October 2014
    Forgive me dear readers for getting out of sequence, I am writing here about Brussels, Belgium and well, based on the timeline of the blog, we haven't gotten here yet. I am about five days behind real time, but after a bottle of wine with dinner, so be it. Jeannie and I have two different ways of looking at things…
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  • Finistère-IV

    06 October 2014
    Once again we woke to a foggy morning, but by the time we finished the fresh coffee with our breakfast, the fog had lifted and we had to say our goodbyes to Stang Korvann and Bryan and Jilly. While it had been a wonderful experience, we had a 4:00pm train to catch in Quimper. After packing the car and getting…
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  • Finistère-III

    04 October 2014
    Morning came with a fog that surrounded the trees and buildings in an ethereal haze. It made for a slightly later departure which allowed us to linger over our breakfast a little longer. Bryan offered to prepare eggs and we enjoyed the delights of the region. Fresh eggs, croissants, butter, homemade comfitures, fruits, and good coffee would fill us until…
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  • Finistère-II

    02 October 2014
    I left the window open a crack when we turned in. So as the morning light crept in to wake us there was a chill in the air. Not getting up wasn’t an option, but the big, warm bed was so comfortable. Yet, the day called with new adventure. We had planned to drive to the coast, to Crozon, and…
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  • Update on the Wrist

    01 October 2014
    [For those that are just joining this blog, back on 30 June 2014, we had been in Texas for a few days near Austin, in the town of Round Rock enjoying a long overdue visit with family. As we were hiking a rather friendly, though rocky trail with my brother Mike and his wife Kathy, Jeannie slipped on an algae-covered…
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  • 2014, September

  • Three Days in Finistère – I

    28 September 2014
    As we close in on our final days in Rennes, we felt drawn to explore more of Brittany (French: Bretagne; and Breton: Breizh). Bordered by the English Channel to the north, the Celtic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Bay of Biscay to the south it is an ancient land. The region has a strong Celtic…
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  • Tales of Two Days

    27 September 2014
    Home Alone - Jeannie This weekend featured an air show outside of Rennes. Chris had been looking forward to it and we planned to attend on Sunday as it was to begin in the morning and we thought it would be less crowded. On Saturday we walked around the town hall looking an exhibit of photos from the time of…
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  • A Setback at Mont Saint Michel

    20 September 2014
    We’ve had a setback. Our travel to Mont Saint Michel was an uneventful one hour bus ride to Beauvoir, a small village near to the Mont. There was only minor difficulty locating our bed and breakfast near the village church. We were greeted warmly by our hosts Richard and Cathy, two British expats in their fourth month of running their…
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  • A Day in Fougères

    14 September 2014
    Being here long-term and adapting to French culture doesn’t preclude our being tourists - far from it. It is obvious that we are foreigners [étrangers] as we practically run down the street at our normal speed, passing most of the locals who stroll at a bit more leisurely pace. As we stride along our eyes are constantly looking about at…
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  • Words

    12 September 2014
    The biggest advantages of being in countries where the language is Latin-based, e.g. France, is that the alphabet is essentially the same. Except for a few (yet essential) accent marks it is generally simple to look up a word or phrase in a dictionary and derive the meaning. We couldn’t do that in China. Yet, we are still struggling. Even…
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  • Lemonade

    08 September 2014
    Quand la vie vous donne des citrons, faites-en de la limonade! Bécherel, Brittany's booktown, with 750 residents, one bakery and 15 booksellers was the destination of our Sunday adventure. The locally famous book fair was being held and it was sure to be an interesting metro and bus trip out to this small village; in spite of the fact that…
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  • The Slow Life

    07 September 2014
    Our daily life moves in slow motion for me. I laze in bed each morning with a cup of coffee, reading e-news, checking posts from friends via email and FB. Long walks every day, daylight lasting much later into the evenings, and window shutters that provide total blackout in the apartment, all contribute to later awakening. Now if we could…
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  • Smiles … and Giggles …

    05 September 2014
    On a walk past an elementary school playground ... (volume up and hit play >) [audio mp3="https://slownomads.phoosh.net/wp-content/uploads/Children-Rennes.mp3"][/audio]
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  • The French Twist

    03 September 2014
    Not the hairstyle, but in this case the way that a pâtisserie or boulangerie will twist the ends of the small bag that contains another French twist, the croissant. A fresh croissant is a buttery flaky pastry, light and airy and so good with local confiture de fraises or strawberry jam. I have never actually seen how the bakery person…
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  • 2014, August

  • To Market We Will Go

    31 August 2014
    To market, to market, to buy a fresh bun, Home again, home again, market is done." I hope you don’t mind if I write a bit more about food. The markets are spectacular, with such variety of color, texture and aroma. But making an actual purchase can be a bit daunting. For instance, in French, how do you ask for…
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  • North to Dinan

    29 August 2014
    Life without a car has, so far, been easy. Local trips have logically been on foot, covering 5-8 miles (8-12km) per day. That doesn’t include any transport on the Rennes Metro or bus system which we try and use daily. Beyond Rennes, it is the train. If you have to get older, and considering the option, it’s not so bad…
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  • Les Petites Choses – 2

    27 August 2014
    Les petites choses = The small things Gardens - places of beauty and joy. Age merely modifies the frolicking.
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  • Settling In

    26 August 2014
    It’s been a long time since Chris and I set up household in a new place. How quickly one forgets all the little details, and working in a different language adds a whole new dimension. Last week we set up our mailbox; this was pretty simple as no language or bureaucracy was involved. Chris tried what he assumed was our…
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  • Les Petites Choses – 1

    25 August 2014
    Les petites choses = The small things Jeannie's sugar cube: (the clubs, spades, and diamonds are mine).
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  • A Delightfully Cacophonous Plethora of Food.

    23 August 2014
    Although "cacophonous" and "plethora" are considered somewhat pejorative terms, teaming them up with “delightfully” truly makes the description adequate. Rennes Saturday market is the second largest in France, with over 300 producers with their stands. There is food everywhere. There are people everywhere. It is gastronomic overload! It was great. Enjoy the photos.
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  • On our own.

    22 August 2014
    When we arrived in France we weren’t alone. I am not speaking in figurative terms, I know that all the good wishes of friends, family, and colleagues are with us on this adventure. But on our arrival we had friends (Matt and Brigit) waiting in Rennes, and the next day family (my brother Mike, his wife Kathy as well as…
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  • Routine.

    18 August 2014
    Nothing has been routine for a long time. From the time we launched our lives into this sea of unknowns, things just haven’t been the same. Habits have been broken, patterns disrupted, and things taken for granted have disappeared. Now that we have settled in one place for a time, we are subtly looking for some organization in our lives.…
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  • Once Again, Nous Sommes Arrivés

    17 August 2014
    As transatlantic flights go, it was a good flight, long, with little sleep. The arrival in Paris was also uneventful. Well, let me rephrase that, as I don’t think that “arrival in Paris” should ever be paired with “uneventful.” The arrival involved no bureaucratic issues. But as our bodies said that it was 12:30AM (6:30AM Paris) the brains were a…
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  • A Distillation

    14 August 2014
    Distillation: something that consists of the essential points, aspects, or implications of something larger or longer. Most asked question: Are you excited? When we can catch our breath long enough to even think about it … well (sic) yes! When do you leave? Tomorrow, Friday 15 August 2014, about 1:00pm, Cincinnati then Paris, then a 2-hour train to Rennes arriving…
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  • Lasts and Firsts

    10 August 2014
    As the countdown continues we have begun to wax a bit nostalgic. Even though, as I said before, we don’t tend to look back too much, it has been difficult to not to take notice of the lasts and firsts. For example, last night we had a wonderful dinner with some dear friends, fellow travelers all. While the notion of…
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  • The Countdown Begins

    05 August 2014
    Well, it is now T-10 days. We fly out August 15th. Are we ready? Yes and no. We finally worked out a plan for the cars. Jeannie's is sold and will be delivered to its new owner this weekend. My Subaru will go to CarMax next week, then I will rent a car to give us transportation for the two…
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  • 2014, July

  • A Tour de Marks

    30 July 2014
    Ah, North Carolina, especially the western mountains. Cool, moist and green. Though we had originally planned a big road trip that would have included even more family and friends, the reality of time and distance forced us to step back and focus on a smaller area. Thus, this third leg of our pre-European tour was to the Asheville area of…
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  • North Carolina Evening, then …

    25 July 2014
    Singing frogs rejoice in the joy of the day’s rain. Cool mountain evening. Night in the mountains, sitting in the evening air fireflies dance about.   Then the next day on the trails ... the Fungi!  
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  • Compression

    18 July 2014
    Frank Lloyd Wright often employed a principle he called “compress and release”. He used it to help direct people from one area to another. One author described it as “Sometimes, when we are comfortable in our surroundings, we are not particularly aware of them—it is only when we are made to feel slightly uncomfortable that our senses are peaked enough…
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  • Bratwurst, Cheese, and Our Northern Family

    13 July 2014
    We traveled to Sheboygan, Wisconsin to visit Jeannie’s side of the family. Though technically they are her relatives, I have always been treated as one of the family, and in spite of being a Southern foreigner I happily call them my family as well. Her mom and dad were both born in Sheboygan, and grew up there. Several generations have…
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  • Family and FooBeach

    05 July 2014
    Jeannie and I were in Texas to visit family when she fell and broke her wrist. We originally were to have all gotten together south of Saint Augustine in the same condominium that my parents had rented every summer for several years. Several generations of immediate family and relatives would gather at the “Four Winds” condos for a week of…
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  • 2014, June

  • A Tumble in Texas

    30 June 2014
    There are adventures that you choose, and there are adventures that are forced upon you. We have been in Texas for the last few days near Austin, in the town of Round Rock enjoying a long overdue visit with family. Today as we were hiking a rather friendly, though rocky trail with my brother Mike and his wife Kathy, Jeannie…
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  • Whispering Floors

    29 June 2014
    The wood floors whisper underfoot as I wander the house, alone, for the last time. The furniture has been sold or taken to storage, there is no art on the walls, no sounds but the air conditioner and its cooling breeze. From room to room memories waft about, reminding me of so many good times. Neither Jeannie nor I have…
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  • Too Tired …

    24 June 2014
    ... to write. The house is, once again, empty. Surreal, but ... ONWARD! ... yet still ... .
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  • Where is the ________?

    21 June 2014
    Our home has been becoming more and more difficult to live in. Not because it’s not nice, but … maybe an example might serve to illustrate. We have been packing like crazy people. Since the movers come Monday the 23rd, the pantry, refrigerator, and drawers have all been packed. Thursday’s dinner was to come from a can, definitely for convenience…
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  • Connections and Reconnections

    14 June 2014
    We were in Miami the other night. The next day we applied for our French long-stay visa. For some reason we kind of had pre-test jitters, even though it is merely a bureaucratic formality. The paperwork had been checked multiple times, multiple copies had been made, and we even had copies of documents we probably didn’t need, but … just…
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  • Printing as we shred, an interesting activity…

    08 June 2014
    As part of our quest to simplify and downsize, we are trying to become truly paperless. Though we’ve heard that stated as a goal of many businesses, we certainly haven’t seen it achieved. Our incoming paper stream has been greatly reduced as we’ve opted for electronic statements, bills, etc. So, much of our accumulated paper is from prior years. I…
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  • Grandma’s Accordion

    07 June 2014
    I feel a very special responsibility for things that come into my possession that have had great meaning to someone. They are a special connection to the past, just as the Rosetta stone, or the megaliths of Stonehenge, or my father’s High School yearbook. So too, was Grandma Alexander’s accordion. While she was not a blood relative of Jeannie’s family,…
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  • Existential Angst …

    06 June 2014
    [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="250"] Ok, this blog isn’t just for you. This blog is first and foremost MY journal of the experience of this craziness we have embarked upon. If it were Jeannie’s journal it would be a spreadsheet complete with pivot tables. And she does really GREAT pivot tables, but hardly as riveting as my inspired prose. Because this…
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  • 2014, May

  • Tetris Anyone?

    24 May 2014
    Do you remember Tetris? The computer game from the mid-80s involved a random sequence of shapes composed of four square blocks falling down the playing field one at a time. The objective of the game was to maneuver these shapes, as they fell, by moving each one sideways and rotating it, with the aim of creating a horizontal line of…
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  • Sold?

    20 May 2014
    Our realtor came by on Friday May 16, and we signed all the paper to put the house on the market. The house was ready to show. Saturday we went to Tampa to visit Jeannie’s dad, so we left the house tastefully lit with background music playing. All day Saturday we kept checking for calls that someone wanted to see…
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  • Easy, we don’t need no stinkin’ easy?

    14 May 2014
    The garage sales are over, and trips to take items to Goodwill and the county recycling center have finally slowed to a trickle. Tomorrow (Thursday, May 15th)we will upgrade from a 5'X5' storage unit to a 10' x15' unit. The house goes on the market this coming Friday (May 16, 2014), and we have arranged the first three months apartments…
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  • 2014, April

  • Dryer Vent Cleaner Brush

    15 April 2014
    Man, this is not easy. There are at least two major decision-making processes going on as we downsize. There are the decisions that we make regarding what we can take with us as we go on our nomadic adventure overseas, where we will only take one large suitcase and a carry-on … for a year or more of travel. Then…
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  • Another step…

    12 April 2014
    Well, the house hasn’t sold yet, in fact it isn’t even on the market; but we thought we’d better not wait to book an apartment in France – as desirable places get leased early. Once we decided to make our first move in August, we realized that the south of France is a very popular destination in the summer. We…
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  • 2014, March

  • Big Cypress Swamp

    11 March 2014
    We had never been to the Everglades. Rivers and swamps were nothing new to us as we have canoed northern and central Florida for many years, but we had never been to the Everglades. Of course, having to earn a living does get in the way of having fun, but we had traveled many other places, but we had never…
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  • Time

    01 March 2014
    During the last days of our recent time in Montpellier, we learned that a long-time (40+ years) friend of ours was in the hospital. Her condition was very serious and she passed away shortly after our return. She loved to have fun, and was a very loving mom to her daughter. We will remember her well, and hope to continue…
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  • 2014, February

  • Mission Accomplished …

    20 February 2014
    When we first selected Montpellier as the starting point for our nomadic life, I assumed we would likely see it after we’d sold our house, put things in storage, and booked our one way ticket. But then Chris suggested that we should probably check it out just to get a taste of life there, to determine if it would work…
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  • To the Sea …

    17 February 2014
    Having successfully negotiated the train to Aix-en-Provence just a day or two ago, we wanted to get a good view of the Mediterranean, and decided to go a bit further afield than the local beaches that are only a few kilometers away. Sete had been recommended by several people during our stay, and since it was a short distance away,…
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  • No oysters yet …

    15 February 2014
    "It’s easy to get the feeling that you know the language just because when you order a beer they don’t bring you oysters…” Julia Childs First of all let me state for the record that I find French to be a beautiful language. Hearing it spoken is like listening to Debussy or Ravel. It is melodic and it is expressive.…
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  • From Here to There …

    14 February 2014
    One of the priorities we want to embrace when we return to our long-term travels is that we don't want the expense or hassles of having an automobile. The remaining options are bus, tram, train, and walking. Though there is a bike sharing program in Montpellier, right now it's too cold, and when the weather is warmer they will likely…
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  • Travelling …

    13 February 2014
    We went to Aix-en-Provence via train for an overnight visit. Lots to share later ...
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  • Ch-ch-ch-changes?

    11 February 2014
    The goal of this trip has been different from any other we have taken before. The singular question is “Could or would we want to live here, or someplace like it, like this?” It is more difficult than we imagined, yet our enthusiasm hasn't waned, even though the exercise is challenging. For instance, living in a very small apartment, compared…
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  • Un jour de pluie …

    10 February 2014
    Weathermen and meteorologists. You really don't trust them, but you consult them all the time. Plans are made or not based on their prognostications. But (in Florida at least) they are wrong SO often, AND they keep their jobs. Well, here in southern France The weather forecasts have been similar. The rain chances for say Monday are 100% early in…
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  • And while Jeannie window-shops …

    09 February 2014
    The term in France for window shopping is lèche-vitrine—literally, "licking the windows". While she is doing that I make photographs ... enjoy.  
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  • Torture, c’est de la torture!

    09 February 2014
    Those who know me know I have a bad habit, shopping! I have been going thru a gradual withdrawal over the last 8 years, since I left the professional, high-pay, high-stress IT life. And now that we are downsizing, I avoid the temptation to buy things since everything must soon be either sold, given away, put in storage, or fit…
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  • Le Premier Jour

    08 February 2014
    We were exhausted after our air travels, arrival in Montpellier, getting settled into the apartment, and several miles of walking about the old section of the city. I made a side walk to the “Monoprix” store around 1:00 for some kitchen items while Jeannie continued to recover from her cold. I love trying to get lost in places like this.…
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  • Nous sommes arrivés …

    07 February 2014
    After a tiresome, bumpy series of flights, we arrived in Montpellier very close to schedule. Aurore, the property manager, was waiting at the apartment for us ... what a sweetheart. She showed us all the essentials, though some were lost in translation. Then she walked us to the ATM for the remainder of the rent and deposit.The apartment is beautiful.…
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  • Reconnoitering

    06 February 2014
    Sitting in Orlando International Airport we are waiting to board the first-leg flight of our visit to southern France to check out the place(s) where we will want to begin of our adventure. Our destination is Montpellier where we have a beautiful apartment waiting for us to base our ten-day stay. Of course, this adventure is beginning a little rough…
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  • Going is not leaving …

    03 February 2014
    One does not come to embrace an adventure such as this without weighing the downsides. We just spent the weekend in Gainesville, Florida to attend a dance performance at the University of Florida. While riding around town we were reminded why we had considered moving here after downsizing (and before we had expanded our horizons to Europe). While there we…
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  • 2014, January

  • Be Here Now

    27 January 2014
    When Chris and I were first discussing the plan to downsize and travel, we decided to establish a loose target date to have the house ready to put on the market. Anticipating that our house might sell quickly, we also agreed that we need to be mostly ready regarding the move details. Meaning we need to decide where to live,…
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  • Project Managing

    26 January 2014
    Chris and I work fairly well together, as long as we aren’t sharing the same task. So while he is purging the garage and attic, I am working on the to-do list and budget. He is the artistic one, writing entries for the blog, and taking photographs, I am the project manager and Excel spreadsheet master. Now if I can…
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  • The research continues …

    25 January 2014
    A venture such as this has so many facets. The first of the two biggest distinctions are the issues related to preparing and selling our home and possessions. This is no easy task for several reasons. First it is a beautiful home in a great established neighborhood, in a special part of the country. The home means even more to…
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  • Here is how it begins …

    23 January 2014
    Jeannie and I have always enjoyed traveling. We are now both retired. I left the University of Florida in August of 2012, and Jeannie from the Seminole County School System about a year later. Our health is still good and we are financially secure. Retirement has made the prospect of longer adventures even more inviting. The only thing that might…
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