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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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May 20, 2011

I Just Can't Quit Driving!

After my somewhat endless-seeming trip home on Monday (not nearly as pleasant as my trip down to Asheville), I spent Tuesday doing laundry, catching up on things, unpacking, etc., and then turned right around and drove off to Lexington, KY with my pal, Jamie, on Wednesday!

Before I get into that, though, I have to post pictures of the scenic overlook I decided to stop at on my way home.  I had seen several on my way down (a day of beautiful weather) but wasn't making stops on the down trip.  So on Monday (a day of really nasty weather), I decide to stop at a scenic overlook.  Weird, but fairly typical. :)  I certainly was the only vehicle in the parking area and just hoped no one else would pull in while I was there.  I started up the path, seeing what looked like a stone wall where you would stand to see the beauties of nature if it wasn't a foggy day.  But when I got there - and it was a climb - I could see that even in nice weather you wouldn't see much.  So started back down and then noticed that if I had turned to the right instead of the the left, there was a not as inviting looking path starting up.  And sure enough, that was the "real" one.  I think a big sign with arrows saying "this way to stone benches and no view" and "this way to the real view and no benches" would have been helpful.

Right after you start up that path, there is a sign that says you're at 2600 some feet and have 850 more feet to walk with a 150 foot incline.  Off I went...

I took this picture while I could still see the car to give you some idea of how high I was so far, and it turned out I still had a long, long way to go.  Sort of reminded me of that never-ending hill I walked up in Bologna to what was supposed to be a spectacular view (I thought) and wasn't.  I really did begin to think I was kind of an idiot, because I had left my phone in the car and the way I was huffing and puffing and pausing to catch my breath, I figured there was a good possibility I'd have the "big one".  But I didn't and I did finally achieve the summit.  Was there a sign there to tell you how high you were???  No.  I guess you were supposed to do the math, but I would like to have seen it in print.  Plus, I would have liked to see a little more than this:

View to the left...
View to the right.  And that was it!  But at least going down was a whole lot easier than going up.  But when I got to that bend in the path, I saw a car parked right beside mine - all those empty spaces and it was parked there.  I have to admit to being just a little uneasy then.  But when I got around far enough I saw what I was pretty sure was a woman standing over on the other high spot (probably wondering what was so great about this scenic overlook) and sure enough - when she started down her set of stairs, she saw me and boy she hustled right on down to her car, got in, and drove away without even an "ahoy, there".  So I guess she was more cowardly than I was!

All, in all, just not a pleasant trip home.

But yesterday was quite pleasant.  It only took about 1-1/2 hours to get to Lexington and when January and I used to make the trip to Atlanta to visit my mom, I think it took us about 2-1/2 hours to get from Lexington to home.  Of course, when January and I traveled we stopped more than I do now.  It was more fun too. :)  I don't have pictures of anything cause we mostly poked around in stores - went to a couple of consignment stores that were nice with attractive things.  I bought myself a little pin and a reversible long skirt for when and if I make another foreign trip.  One skirt will be like having two outfits.  We had lunch at an Italian restaurant, Portofino's, right downtown and it was good and very attractively decorated - old brick walls and broken up into smallish rooms.  Stopped at several other places that were in a booklet we had picked up at AAA and didn't find anything too exciting in any of them, but it was fun driving around finding them and seeing some of the city.  One street we travelled had gorgeous homes on it.  I told Jamie it looked like Embassy Row in DC.

Then we drove back out of town to the Mall at Lexington Green, where I had learned there is a Whole Foods Store and a huge two-story independent bookstore.  We really enjoyed the bookstore, especially the cafe where we had dessert!  And we also visited a store that was in two units across the hall from each other.  It was called Artique and was filled with beautiful, beautiful things that you wished you could own.  A lot of it by local artisans.  Then off to Whole Foods where I bought stuff I didn't need.  I was real excited about going because I wanted to see if they had any interesting fresh ravioli but they only had one package of fresh cheese ravioli. :(  So that was disappointing, but I bought a package of mixed mushrooms, and a basket of mixed small tomatoes and tonight cooked them up into a ragu recipe I copied out of a Cuisine at Home magazine a long time ago.  It was pretty tasty but a lot of work for what seemed like a fairly pedestrian dish.  Don't know that I'll do it again...

And, now, incredibly enough, it's Thursday evening - I had an eye exam this morning and so had dilated eyes for quite a while, then went and worked at the library for a while, came home and started cooking my dinner, and now....the sun is out and the sky is blue!!!  I had begun to think it would never happen again.  So, I'm off to Starbucks for a cup of tea and maybe sit outside for a bit until it gets too cool.


Christopher said...

That does indeed look like quite a hike up... but great view or not, it was probably a good idea to climb, since you said after Biltmore, you'd need to start hiking in parks, etc---keep the legs pumping and in shape for your next European adventure ;)
(Wonder if the owner of that lone house knows the scenic overlook is, sort of, all about their home?)

Marlene said...

I think your big hike up the hill was worth it, Mary Lynne, because the two views were beautiful! I, too, wondered about the lone house which looks so isolated. You are so adventurous, but next time carry your cell phone! Funny about the lady parked next to you. Also funny was that you had an eye appt. Thursday morning because that's when mine was scheduled, but I had to reset the appt. due to a cold. Marlene

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