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Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller – Ibn Battuta 


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Doors of Quebec

rustic doorGreetings all, it’s time for more Thursday Doors. I have to start by telling you it’s not easy being a door aficionado.  When I was taking this picture I heard  a male voice shouting with laughter, saying “- photo la porte!” Which since we were in Quebec, Canada translates into something like, “Look at that crazy woman taking a picture of a door!” I know, I know, but while some may mock, I now have a  picture of this lovely and dignified old door which, by the way, refuses to be diminished by the tacky graffiti in its personal space.

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Quebec was packed with interesting doors. This pretty green specimen is the entryway to two apartments #33 and #35.  It’s a well-tended doorway in an upscale neighborhood and, speaking of green, no doubt the rent here is astronomical. We looked into real estate prices in Quebec and they were pretty steep. From what we were told, the closer you get to the Saint Lawrence river the larger the dollar sign$.

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This door was the side entrance to a very old church.  The church itself wasn’t much to look at, but it did have this one redeeming feature. Wait, I’ve just noticed there’s no doorknob. That’s odd . . .

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Look, is this an attractive and sophisticated Quebecer entering the front door of her charming home? I so wanted to see the inside of this residence because the street is on an extreme angle. Hopefully, the floor doesn’t follow suit.  Another concern, they get a lot of snow here. While this would be a fun place to go sledding, I can’t imagine trying to get your car up and down it every day.

 

We spent one afternoon touring a fort called the Citadel, in Old town.  This battered door led to  . . . the potty, circa 1850. Battalions of soldiers lived in this underground bunker and believe me it did not look cozy. the bathroom was certainly not a place I’d want to linger.
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And the windows were covered by ill-fitting shutters like this one which wouldn’t do much to keep the cold out. There was a good-sized brick oven/heater in there but Quebec gets really cold in the winter (6 – 14 degrees Fahrenheit in December and January).                        Brrr.

 

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Is this the entrance to a secret garden, or just a garage? I’m going with the first guess, especially since it has a door within a door and the secret garden idea is more fun. It looks like this entryway hasn’t been used in a while, probably because the owner couldn’t bear to disturb the beautiful leaves growing in front of it. We visited Quebec in October, which as it turns out, was good timing. The leaves were changing and I frequently had to gasp at the beauty around us.

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This home was also in the high rent district, not far from the Citadel. I loved the fun blue doors and matching window frames, and even on a rainy day like this, there must be lots of natural light inside due to all the windows.  The only thing I can’t figure out is the short door on the left. Was the street previously lower? Does a person of small stature live in the basement? Sometimes I wish I was brave enough to knock on some of these doors and ask.

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Well, I can certainly knock on this door. It’s mine. While it was fun to visit this spectacular city, it’s always nice to walk through my own front door again. While it’s not ancient or exotic, sparkly or shiny, and I  doubt anyone will stop in their tracks to take a picture of it,  it’s my favorite – because it’s home.

For More fun doors, see Norm’s Thursday Doors at Norm 2.0.

 

Quebec is Amazing!

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I recently had the good fortune to go on a cruise which started out with 3 days in Quebec, Canada. It was gorgeous, especially this time of year, quirky – see the runaway clown – and enchanting. How’s that for a bit of hyperbole? Actually, words don’t really suffice so  I’ll share a few of my favorite photos.

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What the heck ?! questions-1922476__340 On our first day in Quebec, we were strolling around the city and stumbled onto this! It looks like a rogue hot air balloon . . . maybe it was running away to the circus? Or could it be a weird art installation? Are there any Quebecois (not a typo) out there who can shed some light on this? Continue reading

Library Lady’s Favorite Travel Books

Because I’m here, I am not there –  Paddington Bear

 

The Library Lady is on the road again, so watch for some fun new posts about Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and more. I shall return, but until then, I thought I’d share some of my . . .

Favorite Travel Books

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A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside – By Susan Branch
This is my all time favorite travel book and it ranks high on my list of favorite books in general. A Fine Romance is a combination diary, travel journal, artist’s sketchpad and step by step itinerary  of a ramble through the English countryside. My favorite destination was her visit to Beatrix Potter’s home. (I must see it in person someday.) This book reads like a letter from your best friend and is illustrated by the author’s own whimsical watercolors. I’m hoping you’ll love it.

 

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Rudy’s Rules for Travel
By Mary K. Jensen
Rudy is a die-hard traveler, and one who refuses to spend a penny more than is absolutely necessary. His #1 rule for traveling is “adapt”.  His wife, who prefers four star accommodations, makes a valiant effort, but at times  even she rebels. In one episode she discovers Rudy has booked  them at a budget hotel which isn’t even built yet.
Despite the challenges, Mary K. Jensen adores her husband and brings out the humor in his eccentricities.  Rudy’s Rules is a fun read about a Green Acres-esque couple and their globe trotting adventures. Their stories range from laugh out loud funny to down right scary, and I couldn’t stop reading. This book will make you want to hit the road (but maybe not with Rudy).

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Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, the Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail
By Ben Montgomery

Grandma Gatewood is a tough cookie.  After enduring years of abuse at the hands of a cruel husband, she decides to take a walk – a long walk – and proceeds to hike the entire 2,050 miles of the Appalachian Trail.  This inspiring book tells of her amazing adventures, her unexpected celebrity and why at the age of 67 she decided to take a hike.

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The Best Travel Destination Might be in Your Own Backyard

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge
 Jo’s Monday Walk

My friends and I like to walk in the morning. We’ve been doing this for 25 years, and though our start time has gotten later and we’re pretty wimpy about walking in the cold these days, we still get out there. Lucky for us we have a beautiful area to tramp through.

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Our favorite walk is the canal road located a few blocks from our neighborhood. It’s a fun place to watch the seasons change, and get a glimpse of the local wildlife.  Over the years we’ve seen muskrats, blue herons, snakes (!) and my personal favorite, lots of ducks and ducklings.

I took these photos in early spring, and kept meaning to post them, but how the time gets away . . .  suddenly fall is here and the baby ducks are all grown up.  Time’s a-wastin’!  I’ll hurry and post this before the snow flies.

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Salt Lake City – A Fabulous Library with a Puzzling Past

Despite an explosion, suicides, and a dramatic hostage situation, the Salt Lake Public Library is a peaceful place which welcomes refugees and cares for the homeless. So what’s going on?

20190916_112924The recipient of multiple architecture awards, this modern marvel of steel and glass is surprisingly warm and inviting thanks to the creative use of light and space. It rises out of the surrounding city in a wedge shape with a reflective glass exterior and a curved accent wall.

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The grounds make a splash with gardens and a waterfall. This is the perfect place to enjoy your lunch hour or read a book on a sunny day.

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On entering the building, all eyes are drawn heavenward. Soaring ceilings, balconies, and walkways steal the show, as glass elevators glide between 5 floors in a smooth almost sci-fi type setting.
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Ronda – a Small Town with a BIG Bridge

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Photos by Pixabay

A Spectacular Sight

Puente Nuevo bridge is one of Spain’s most photographed sights, and after visiting there on our tour of Spain, it’s not hard to see why.  This medieval masterpiece towers 390 feet above the canyon floor. It’s an amazing feat of engineering made even more so by the primitive tools available at the time. Construction began in 1759 and took 34 years to complete.

A Bridge Too Far

The first attempt at building this bridge was in 1735. It had only one arch, was poorly constructed, and was thrown together in just 8 months. In 1741 it collapsed killing 50 people. The architects Jose Garcia and Juan Camacho, were no doubt out of business after this debacle.

The current bridge was built with longevity and safety in mind. With three upper arches and a lower-middle arch, this structure has stood the test of time.

The Puente Nuevo crosses the Guadalevin River, which flows down a deep gorge. This gorge effectively splits the city of Ronda in half, and while this was a great deterrent to enemy armies, it made it nearly impossible for citizens to get from one side to the other.  Completion of the bridge must have been a godsend to the inhabitants of the town.

A Gruesome Past

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While Puente Neuva bridge is a glorious edifice, it has a dark side. The square chamber located in the middle of the bridge was once used to house prisoners. Understandably, few if any escaped.

Another grim chapter in the bridge’s history was during the Spanish Civil War, 1936 – 1939. At this time the prison was used as a torture chamber and captured opponents were tossed off the bridge to a watery grave below – very far below.

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Today Ronda is a sublime and peaceful place. It is reached by a steep road which winds through olive and lemon orchards and past gorgeous old homes. Seeing Puente Neuvo is an unforgettable experience, so if you’re ever in  Malaga make sure and include Ronda in your travel plans.

Have you been to Spain? What was your favorite destination? I’d love to hear from you –

For other great bridges see Calmkate’s Friday Fun.

For more of Library Lady’s travels in Spain see “The Mysterious Caves of Drach“.

Valldemossa Monastery

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Valdemossa Monastery – Picture by Pixabay.

What’s more fascinating than an ancient monastery? Ghostly footsteps echo in the halls and vestiges of mystery and intrigue waft through ancient corridors.
                                                        (Name of the Rose, anyone?)

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One of my all-time favorite monasteries is Clon Mcnoise in Ireland, but today we were visiting the village of Valldemossa on the Spanish island of Mallorca.  The monastery was originally a royal palace but became home to a group of Carthusian monks in 1399. It’s known for its picturesque bell tower and gothic charm.

As we rounded the corner and the monastery came into view, I tried not to melt into a scenery induced puddle. (I’ve been told I’m an overly excitable tourist, but what’s the point of traveling if you’re not blown away by the sights you see?!)

The first glimpse of this ancient edifice was like something out of a movie set. Perched on a hill, the tower dwarfed the surrounding buildings, its white stone walls glowing in the morning sun. This was definitely my kind of place.

View of the village from Valldemossa’s heights.

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Cobblestones and rock walls. Photo by Pixabay

We followed a  winding road up into the hills and enjoyed the views of the local neighborhoods.  Upon arrival, we purchased tickets to tour the monastery for 8.50 Euros. Continue reading

Doors of Spain

Spain was never on my bucket list, but it should have been. I recently spent 10 days there and have at least that many stories to tell.  My husband and I love traveling, but my favorite part is coming home and writing about all our adventures.
Midevil yet modern, Spain is a country that percolates with positive energy – think  Flamenco dancing and Spanish guitar, yet it’s steeped in ancient and often controversial traditions like bullfighting.
We visited Madrid, Malaga, and the island of Mallorca (Majorca). We ate suckling pig at the oldest restaurant in the world, saw a medieval pharmacy at Valdemossa Monastery, and gaped at the magnificent bridge in Rondo. So much to talk about, but first . . . the doors!
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I spotted this Spanish jewel in Madrid. What would it feel like to walk through this door every day? Who lives here and what are they like? Doors make me wonder what goes on behind them.
As for this one, notice the lovely ironwork on the top and the mailbox on the left. This is not actually the door into the house, but into the courtyard which leads to the house.
In addition to this wonderful door, the roughed up surface surrounding it has a look that many people with new homes pay big bucks to achieve. Chip and Joanna Gaines are you seeing this?

 

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Here’s another residential beauty, I’ll call it Blue 22. Similar to the first, with the look of the middle ages, this has a nameplate which I could probably read if I enlarged the picture. Wait, I’ll do just that and now you can see it too. The name is still a little blurry, but the title says Notary Public, so this may be a home or a home office. Hmm . . . while this door is admirable – well-worn and rustic, if this is a business entrance it could use a spit shine. Continue reading

Doors of Tangier

20181002_110743I’ve always thought my passion for old doors was a little weird, an odd personality quirk best not discussed in polite company. I’ve gotten used to it over the years, and so have my friends. “Wait,” they say screeching to an exaggerated halt. “Geanie’s taking another picture of a door.”

I love doors. Unusual doors, battered doors, doors that look like they’ve been around since the beginning of time.

An open door is an invitation into someone’s home, their life, and their story. A closed door is the opposite, but I find them equally intriguing especially in an exotic place like Tangier.

We’d signed up for a last-minute day trip from Malaga Spain to Tangier Morocco. I hadn’t had time to do my research so didn’t know what to expect. I was in for a nice surprise.

Continue reading

Questionable Food?

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I am a voice in the wilderness, a lonely tree falling in the forest, a distant bell tolling in the wind – oh, sorry, I got a little carried away. What I  meant to say is this: I am one of the few people I know who will admit to liking airplane food. There I said it.

Just look at that picture. What’s not to like? I wish the food that came out of my kitchen looked half as good. To be perfectly honest, since my kids are mostly gone, I rarely even cook anymore and if someone wants to hand me a plate of attractively presented, yummy, hot food, that’s usually O.K. by me.

But on our last plane excursion, there was a bit of a hitch.

My husband and I were traveling to Norway, and it was approximately Three A.M. my time –  heaven only knows what time it was by the airplane clock, but it was dark and everyone else was asleep. Since I have yet to master the art of sleeping on a plane, I’d been sitting for hours, reading, knitting, and doing crossword puzzles until my eyeballs were fried.  Out of the darkness loomed a stewardess who handed me a tray, presumably breakfast, and I mindlessly began to consume the pocket bread sandwich thing which was offered.  As I slowly came to my senses, I turned to my husband who was looking at me.

“What is this?” he said, mid chew.

I consider what I’m swallowing. “I don’t know.”  I scrabble through the litter on the floor and come up with the wrapper. “It says, Cheese Salad – shredded cheese mixed with mayonnaise and onions.”

We exchange a dubious look and threw away the remains of our sandwiches. Have you ever eaten something where the taste just won’t go away, no matter how much gum you chew? This was one of those times.

After disembarking and meeting up with our friends who were also on the flight, we began to compare notes.

“Did you eat that sandwich thing they brought us?” said my friend.

“Kind of,” I replied, ” It was gross.”

“I know, cheese salad.  Eeeew.”

I still like airplane food but,  wiser now, I carefully examine all offerings before eating.  Cheese salad, it’s out there.  Beware.

Do you love airplane food, or am I the only one?

Travel Blunders