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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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February 21, 2012

Phew and Good Grief, Even!

My I-Google home page told me it was 55 outside with 2 mph winds so I decided I'd walk up to the Pita Pit for lunch since Tuesdays are the day they stamp the little "ten stamps=free sandwich" cards twice instead of just once.  I had on a turtleneck and a sweater and decided a fleece jacket was enough extra.  Well.... I'd say it was more like gale-force winds, especially walking back home - it was actually pushing me around!  And, apparently 55 in strong winds is not all that warm.  I was cold, cold when I got home.  But I checked my mail and there was the book I had ordered, so I've now made a nice cup of tea and figured I'd blog a bit and then settle down with my book.

So, about this book.  It's "The Road from the Past - Traveling through History in France" by Ina Caro.  I saw a newer book by her last week in the bookstore called "Paris to the Past" and it looked pretty wonderful.  Looked it up at home and there weren't any cheapish used ones so I put it on my wish list.  But, while looking noticed this one and there were cheapish copies of it, so I ordered one.  Here's the blurb from the back jacket:

Caro takes us along on an unforgettable driving tour of France northward from Provence, where the Roman Empire once held sway, through the chateau-studded Loire Valley, where monarchs and nobles plotted for wealth and power, to Paris, where kings--and, later, Napoleon--consolidated their autocratic reign.  She brings us inside Roman villas, fortified medieval cities, royal castles, abbeys, and Baroque palaces.  "She demonstrates that the best way to encounter a country is to examine its landscapes, architecture, and history in chronological order--a premise so startling that it's a wonder no one has thought of it before" [Peter Prescott].  With Caro as a knowledgeable and delightfully opinionated guide, we can always be sure to find the most breataking vistas, the most extraordinary chateaux, the most inspiring cathedrals, and--lest an essential aspect of the French past and present be slighted--the very best food.

A lot to copy out maybe, but doesn't it just make you want to dig right in?  I'd been pondering renting a car for a week or so while in France and, if I do, I think this could be a wonderful resource.  Of course, I'm saying all that without having read any of it.  But I have high hopes for it.  Her newer book that I mentioned is sort of the same idea except that it's touring historically from a base in Paris using day trips by train.  Which is also very appealing to me - wouldn't have to worry about driving that way. 

Having made up my mind that I am going to go to France probably in May, and with Heather (my older daughter) deciding that yes, she can spend a long weekend with me in Paris while I'm there, I've been spending a lot of time on-line looking at plane fares (not as good as a month or so ago) and cheap lodgings (which I will need aside from that nice long weekend with Heather).  And to any of my friends "out West" who might be reading this, I'm not at all giving up on the trip west even though I now know we have a sequoia right here.  But with the dollar a little stronger than it was either time I went to Italy and with me, strangely enough, not getting any younger, I figured I'd do the logistically more difficult (and certainly more expensive) trip first.

Break - Break!!  If you've made it this far, I'll put in a random picture just to liven things up.

 This is from a party I threw several years ago for one of these young-looking women birthday.  These are all friends from my working days before retirement and thought it would be a good way to introduce you to three of them who I've mentioned off and on in my posts.  Cindy is sitting in front, Jamie is behind her in the blue jacket, I'm right behind Cindy, and Peggy is behind Jamie and me.  And, no, we didn't discuss what colors to wear beforehand. :)

So, other than whiling away the hours scheming and planning and dreaming, I've also made a mess in the dining room working on making my little Christmas shop a "convertible" shop as I mentioned in an earlier post.  And, as customary, it has been giving me fits.  But...I think I may be slowly gaining the upper hand.  I wish when I start a project I was the type of person who can mentally work my way through the whole thing figuring out what won't work, what will, and the best way.  Unfortunately, I figure out what won't work by doing it and finding out "oh, that doesn't work".  And the first thing that having a little foresight would have helped was realizing that I wasn't going to like having the original mirrored wall that came with the shop project as a background for my pottery.  So thinking that I would want the mirrored wall, I took off the Christmas wallpaper I had glued on it and haven't found another one quite as perfect as that one.  But as they say in France (tee hee), c'est la vie, I guess.  Then my second "not thought out" idea was that I could just make a "unit" - two side walls and a back wall, install the shelves with the pottery attached onto the walls and slide the whole thing into place.  That did not work at all!  So, I now have what I think will work and, at most, will probably encounter only 1 or 2 relatively minor glitches...I hope.

Also been stitching away on the cross stitch picture I started who knows how long ago now, two weeks? three weeks?  Anyway, I certainly thought I'd have it done by now but I don't.  Of course, there are 21 colors in it and lots of bits of flowers and greenery, and that just makes for slow going.  But I'd say I'm probably 2/3 to 3/4 done with it now and hope to have it ready to frame soon.

And now, I'm nicely warmed up from my tea and will peruse my new book with the sound of the wind whistling away outside.


Chinch said...

OMG!! Now I MUST talk to you today! Had no idea you'd decided for sure on France but I'm so glad and happy for you that you did and that Heather has decided to join you for a weekend. As for the new Caro book, I'd say save the cost of car rental and buy the book but that's because I feel more comfortable with the thought of my little sis taking trains rather than driving in a foreign land. And Karen, if you're reading the comments, I know that you'll be so pleased that you changed the meaning of BFF to best family forever!

Christopher said...

I confess, that book blurb does get the travel bug biting...! What a neat concept, to explore the chronological view of a country... The Paris book does sound like one you might have to break down and get, too--if just to eliminate French driving for you...?

Mary Lynne said...

I started looking at train info last night and see where you can get a pass just for France (in denominations of 1 through 9 days) that you can use for as many train trips as you want to squeeze in. It's not cheap but not that much more than a car and probably even a little less if you factor in the gas for the car. So I could stay in Paris the whole time and have 9 day trips over the time I was there, or I could train out of Paris to someplace, stay a couple nights, then train to somewhere else, and so on. The mind boggles...

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