What do you think of when you hear “solo travel?” A few years ago, my answer may have been fear, but today, it is freedom! When I tell someone my plans to go to Destination XYZ by myself, they first ask who I am going with and then this follows: “You’re going ALONE?” Like that’s a shocking or horrible thing. Then they think they can do me a favor by pairing me up with someone. Why would I want to travel with someone I don’t know? What if I don’t get along with this person and I’m locked into a week long trip? I don’t think so. Thankfully, with only three solo trips behind me, the pair up conversations are done. Yes, I’m going alone. I want to keep it that way, besides, with how slow I walk, no one would want me slowing them down. Less than a decade ago in 2009, I was traveling to Amsterdam with two other friends. On our same flight was a flight attendant co-worker who decided to take advantage of her flight benefits and head overseas. I was amazed that she was traveling alone. Yes, I knew people did it, but I didn’t think I could be one of them. That was 2009, and my first international solo trip was in 2015 to Paris. Last year I went to Germany, Prague, Vienna and Budapest, and this year, I went to Australia. Loving it!!! Below is a picture of me with my pre-departure champagne on my recent flight home from Sydney, in United’s new Polaris Business Class. That was a nice treat, I ate, drank, napped, watched movies, napped again, you get the idea. Much better than coach and made the long flight so much better!
Enjoying my champagne on my flight home from Sydney!
I was offered my choice of custom phone cases from Go Customized and I selected the black silicon case for my iPhone, they also have white or transparent options. It is always a good idea to protect your phone, and why not get a cover that is fun a shows off your favorite place? The silicon case I chose went on very easily, I just pulled the corners over my phone and it was on in no time. The image quality is very sharp and the colors bright are crisp. It also very durable, so the image will last a long time. This phone case is also so sleek that it really doesn’t add too much to the size of my cell phone, so no need to worry about it adding much bulk.
I’m home from my latest trip to Australia, and the post travel blues have set in. I had a fantastic time during my first visit, yet a week after being home, I was so down because I knew it will be another year before I could make it back. I love my family, home and I have an enjoyable full time job that allows me the time and money to do wander the globe. Why so selfish? I just went to Australia! Because I have a wanderlust that I can’t control.
I recently received a pair of prescription sun glasses from GlassesShop.com in exchange for a review of their product, and I was thrilled. I have honestly never thought of spending money on prescription sun glasses. Up until the last few years, I have gotten by with out any glasses, but as I’ve aged, my eyesight has gradually gotten worse. I also have to admit that I’m pretty rough on sun glasses, and I typically don’t spend more than ten dollars on them. They would end up in various places in my vehicle, in my purse, on a table, getting scratched and broken in the process. My eyesight is getting to the point where I either wear sun glasses and things are a bit fuzzy, or I wear my regular glasses. That has just changed!!
Enjoying a bright day with my beautiful new prescription sun glasses
When most people think of visiting Paris, the common attractions that come to mind are the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame or a cruise on the Seine. These were on my list as well, but along with that, I wanted to visit the catacombs. Some may find this a bit macabre, me too. It is sad enough visiting cemeteries, but to see the skeletal remains of more than six million people is a little eerie. I had to visit.
Traveling back to Paris was my first international solo trip, so I wanted to splurge on a nice hotel with a view, and within walking distance from the Eiffel Tower. After searching the internet, I found where I wanted to stay, The Pullman Hotel near the Eiffel Tower. No, this isn’t a sponsored post, I paid for my room, and it was well worth it. Being a female, alone in a city I hadn’t been to in almost thirty years (and the first time with my fluent French speaking aunt), I wanted to feel safe. At my age, I’m wasn’t doing a hostel and or sharing a bathroom. Since I also have some hip problems and arthritis, I wanted to be close of my main attraction. Only a few blocks away from the Eiffel Tower was just perfect for me. After I bought my plane ticket, I booked my hotel and upgraded to a room with a view.
An overcast day in Paris is still a fabulous day to visit the City of Light. The weather became a little moody on my last afternoon, which really helped with the lines to the top of the tower. This is a view of the Eiffel Tower from the Pont de la Concorde with Pont Alexandre III in the distance.
This picture of Mount Rainier and Reflection Lake is from my recent trip in September which is a nice time of year to see the fall colors. The view of the mountain from Reflection Lake is my favorite. It is best to arrive early in the morning to get the reflection before the wind picks up.
When traveling, I have a tendency to splurge from time to time. I can save on some things so I am able to indulge when I want to, and depending on my mood, I can just keep on splurging! I’m definitely not a budget traveler. Traveling is exhausting and if I want a nice hotel room so I can relax after a long day, I’m going to get it!
Last June, my sister, two aunts and I went to Castello di Amorosa winery and enjoyed the Royal Food and Wine Pairing hosted by their Sommelier Mary Davidek. Mary has been their Sommelier since 2008 and she is extremely knowledgeable and very friendly. The Royal Food and Wine Pairing includes an informative tour of the winery which stops at the Royal Apartment for your wine and food sampling. Mary pairs freshly prepared foods that go well with each wine.
Fall is my favorite time of year. The colors are beautiful, the air is crisp and Halloween is right around the corner. If you live where the leaves change, this means extra work of raking that comes along with that beauty, and winter is on the way. That brings cold temperatures, shoveling, potentially getting stuck in the snow, or my worst fear which is falling on the ice. I try to be optimistic and think of winter as a time of rest. Catching up on reading while snuggled up with some hot chocolate (or wine) and watching the snow come down. Parents aren’t running around with so many activities for their kids and they can prepare for holidays with family. Which brings me to my least favorite time of year, now especially since I just lost my dad at the end of August. So like many others in the natural course of life, I am now parentless.
In my opinion, the best time to visit Mount Rainier is when the wild flowers are blooming. The second best is in the fall when the undergrowth comes alive with vibrant colors. Other times of the year they just blend and are hardly noticed, but in the fall, they get vibrant. Everywhere you turn there are different autumn shades to capture for later. So getting back to Snapshot Saturday, here is a picture I took in September of Mount Rainier with Edith Creek.
Are you searching for the perfect day trip away from London? Look no further. The Secret Cottage Tour in the Cotswolds is a wonderful getaway. I recently took this day trip, which was easily accessible by train from London from the Paddington Station to the Moreton-in-Marsh station. While relaxing on the train, I saw the landscape slowly change from the hustle and bustle of the city, to the picturesque landscape of the country. Our guides for the day, Becky and Ian, picked up our group from the Moreton-in-Marsh station. We toured a few spots in the country and then went to Becky and Robin’s beautiful thatched cottage for pastries with tea or coffee. What a wonderful home they live in which they have opened up to host guests!
Well, like I posted last winter in “A Promise to Myself”, I was quite ready to move out of Minnesota and become a snowbird, which just wasn’t realistic right at this point. As the title of this post shows…that didn’t happen! The snow last year was such an issue, my tiny little Chevrolet Aveo got stuck about 5 times. I know it’s not the most realistic car to own in Minnesota, but when we pay for plowing, I should be able to get out to the highway. So, this fall, with the fear and dread of getting stuck again this year, I bought a new vehicle. Did I really need it? No, but it was a nice treat, and now I can get through even if the plow guy doesn’t make it.
View of the moon at dusk through North Window Arch in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. The park has over 2,000 arches and was originally established as a national monument in 1929 but was redesignated as a national park in 1971. The views of the arches are amazing as you are hiking along the trails. Continue reading →
Ahhhh Cairo. Is there any other city that can make you feel so lucky to be in? What a unique mixture of past and present. If you’ve read my posts, you know I love the feeling of stepping back in time. And how amazing is it to step so far back in time with the hustle and bustle of the city whizzing by you? I certainly felt like this trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I would never forget. Continue reading →