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

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a writer who loves to travel . . . or maybe a traveler who loves to write – either way, the pictures shown here are from some of my favorite places.

If you love to travel or just love to read about traveling, you’ve found the right place. Enjoy!

 

Recognition Award

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Hi all, I’ve been nominated for the Blogger award by Sassy Library Fox. You might want to check out her fun book blog. Thanks, Sassy!

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Part of the deal for this award is to tell my blogging story and share two blogging tips. I can do that.

I started back in 2013, with a blog called the Library Lady Writes. It’s still out there but is seriously neglected these days. When I first started out I thought it would be fun to do a book review blog. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before I realized I didn’t actually enjoy writing book reviews. (I’d rather read those written by others like Sassy Library Fox). What I really liked was writing about the crazy things that happened in my everyday life like a tarantula falling into my underwear drawer or the fact that I’m terrified of the weed wacker. I worked on that blog for about 3 years, then decided to try my hand at freelancing for magazines, etc.  I still do that, but in 2019 I started to miss blogging. At that point, my favorite things were traveling, and visiting cool libraries around the world, so I started the Library Lady Travels blog and have a great time with that.

As for blogging tips, I don’t know if I have any great ones, but I’ll throw a couple of things out there.

  1. Comments – if someone takes the time to comment on one of my posts I ALWAYS respond and return the favor by going to their blog and commenting on one of their recent posts. One of my favorite parts of blogging is the social network you build through interaction with other bloggers. Without this, blogging wouldn’t even be fun.
  2. Topics – Write about things that are dear to your heart. I love writing about travel and have so many ideas for posts that I’ll never get them all finished. I also love libraries, so I combine the two topics. I’ve read so many times that you need to specialize on one subject to have an effective blog. I don’t agree. If you can find a way to tie your two great loves together in one blog, go for it. Variety is a good thing, and you won’t get burned out from writing about the same thing over and over.

That’s all I have to say for now except that I appreciate those who support and follow me. I’m constantly inspired by all the great writers out there.

Watch for my regular weekly post tomorrow – Banning Group Hugs, & Travel Signs.

 

 

Carry On: Packing Light

These people are bringing too much stuff on their plane trip. Some of it will get lost or broken.

Turning Over a New Leaf

19 Inch Travel Bag and Matching Case

On our trip to Paris France (See Carry On: The French Connection) we experienced the luggage mix up of the century, where – long story short- my husband traveled across town in the middle of the night to exchange suitcases with a complete stranger.

On our next trip, we traveled to Spain. This time we resolved to play it safe and keep our luggage with us.  John and I each brought a 19-inch upright bag with a matching tote that sits on top for easy transportation. You’d be surprised how much stuff will fit into these expandable cases, especially if you do your research and learn how to pack correctly. There are all kinds of ‘travel light’ packing lists online, along with endless YouTube videos, but for now, I’ll share a few things I’ve learned about traveling with carry-on bags.

A Mental Shift

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Day two – same outfit!

Over the years I’ve been conditioned to think its taboo to wear the same outfit two days in a row.  Well, guess what? I did just that in Spain and the world didn’t come to an end. News flash – I travel to see the world, not to have the world see me. So, rather than taking weeks’ worth of clothing and accessories, I learned to pack light.

Mix and Match

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Figure out the minimum amount of clothing you can get by with, then choose items that mix and match. Include a variety of scarves and lightweight accessories that will go with everything and create different looks. The items pictured here fit easily into my suitcase along with lingerie etc. Here’s a surprise, I didn’t even wear all the clothes I brought.

 Consider the Season

Tne reason I didn’t wear all the clothes I took to Spain was that I packed for the wrong season.  Once again, a mental thing.  I was in Utah where the average daily temps were in the 60’s.  Even though I could see online it would be 80 to 90 degrees in Spain, I couldn’t get my head around that and insisted on packing a sweater and too many long pants.

Great Shoes
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Bring 2 pairs of comfortable walking shoes, black goes with everything, but that’s up to you.  I brought one pair to wear with casual clothes and another that worked well enough with skirts and sundresses. (I love my Clarks Cloud Steppers. This pair walked from one end of Spain to the other and is still as comfy as ever.)

 Shoulder Bag

I always roll up an empty canvas shoulder bag like these and stuff it inside my carry-on tote, so I’ll have something to use on a daily basis. You need a small bag to hold necessities like phone, camera, hand sanitizer, and I.D. Your tote is too big to carry around on a daily basis, besides, it’s stuffed with toiletries back at the hotel.

Wash and Wear

One thing that helped us was the fact we usually had access to laundry facilities. If that’s not an option, purchase a small bottle of dish soap to wash items in the hotel sink, then hang to dry on a shower rod or portable clothesline. If you’ll be doing lots of handwashing, make sure to pack clothes that are lightweight and quick to dry.

Carry-On Converts

By the end of this trip, we agreed that traveling with carry-on bags was the best idea we’d ever had.  I for one will never check luggage again.  Carrying my bags with me made it easier to make tight connections, and I was happy to save the time of checking suitcases and claiming it (hopefully) on the other end. But best of all, with this system, my spouse will never again have to rendezvous with a complete stranger, in the middle of the night after stealing her suitcase. Happy travels everyone and Carry On!

update

Another reason I will always keep my luggage with me.

On returning from an overseas trip two days ago, I sat in the plane and watched airport employees unloading luggage from the cargo hold onto a trailer. They threw things willy nilly – including skis and a musical instrument – which crashed down on top of each other. The icing on the cake was a stroller, which banged onto the trailer rail. A wheel broke off the stroller and went skittering across the tarmac. The employees did not notice and drove away.

Ever had a problem with items being damaged while in the care of an airline? Any suggestions on packing light? I’d love to hear from you.

(For more great travel tips, read Globetrotting Grandpa’s excellent post!)

Carry On: The French Connection

Travel Blunder #367

It was midnight in Paris. Sound asleep, I was blissfully unaware that my husband was on his way to meet another woman . . . at her hotel.

It all started that afternoon when we flew into the Charles De Gaul airport. Since one of our travel companions wasn’t feeling well, we grabbed our suitcases from the carousel, hired a cab and hurried to the hotel so he could lie down. My husband John and I were eager to explore the city, so we stashed our bags, checked on our friend and set out to see the sights of Paris. Continue reading

Cool Libraries – The Church of the Good Book

This post is linked to Ludwig Keck’s Monday Windows

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Maison de La Litterature

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Have you ever been to a church library? No, not the type where you check out Bibles and Sunday School Manuals, but a real library – located in a church – featuring the likes of Clive Cussler, Jamie Oliver, and Peppa Pig.  You’ll find several of these church/libraries in Quebec, and if you’re visiting you’ll want to check them out.

Apparently organized religion is on the wane in Canada and many magnificent old meeting houses are becoming obsolete. Last year in Quebec alone, 434 churches fell into disuse, and that’s up from 270 last year.

new quebecThe good news is that rather than destroy these beautiful structures, the citizens of Quebec have come to the rescue. While it costs millions for a makeover, many churches of historical importance have been reimagined into theatres, cultural centers and best of all – libraries.

In the perfect blend of inspiration and education, one can now sit in divine tranquility among stained glass windows and soaring ceilings while enjoying a favorite book, or maybe even writing one of your own.

If you’ve followed the Library Lady for long, you’ll know I love cool and unusual libraries. So when my travels took me to Quebec, church/libraries were on my agenda. I found three – two right next door to each other – and another one 10 minutes away, and while I was thrilled at my good fortune, I couldn’t help but wonder why all these churches were available.

My favorite, the Maison de La Litterature is particularly striking with its glowing white interior. Thanks to the immense leaded glass windows, the building is infused with light and lifts your spirits as you enter.
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Irish Windows

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Arched window and geriatric Castle – St. Cirains’s Monastery in Shannonbridge Ireland.

Have you ever dreamed of going to  Ireland? I did, and when it finally happened, I hardly dared to close my eyes for fear I’d miss something. Here velvet blue skies flanked rolling green hills, ancient stone buildings hovered on every horizon, and age-old rock walls snaked across the fields. Aside from that,  people have remnants of castles in their very own backyards!

From what I understand, these medieval marvels are protected – big fines if you knock one down to make room for your backyard pool – and people in Ireland seem to take all this antiquity in stride. I remember one house in particular which had a laundry line strung from a crumbling castle turret to a tree. There were sheets hanging on the line and cows grazing peacefully nearby.  What would it be like to look out your kitchen window at an ancient ruin? I’d love to find out.

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The Wide Mouthed Frog Gets My Vote

Book illustrations courtesy of the Amazon Book store.

For the past year, I’ve focused on my travel blog and had a great time talking about my favorite places. But recently my husband began writing children’s books which got me thinking about my blogging roots. I started out as a book blogger but slowly became enamored with travel writing. Old habits die hard though, and every now and then I just have to rave about my favorite reads. So . . . if you all don’t mind, I’d like to change hats for a moment and tell you about some fun children’s books.

The Princess and the Pig

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By Jonathan Emmett and Poly Bernatene

Fans of Peppa Pig will also love this crazy tale of mistaken identity.

What happens when a baby princess is accidentally exchanged for a piglet?  I dare you not to laugh as the families of both babies try to cope with this unexpected turn of events. In this spoof of a fairy tale, almost everyone lives happily ever after.
Moral of the story: a princess can be kind of a pig, but a pig cannot be a princess.

Continue reading

Columbus, Ohio – More Fun than You Think

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I used to believe the only way to have an amazing travel experience was to go abroad.  Of course I was wrong! Our trip to Columbus, Ohio proved there are plenty of fun destinations in the United States which have the added benefit of not including a 16-hour plane trip.

We’d planned to visit our kindred spirit friends who live in Columbus, and while I was looking forward to seeing them, I assumed we’d spend our time playing cards and eating ice cream ( our favorite activities aside from traveling).  Once again – WRONG.

As it turns out there’s a lot see in the Buckeye state. In fact, if I included all our adventures, I’d have to write two posts. For now, I’ll simply hit the highlights. (I’ve included our day by day play by play at the end so you can follow in our footsteps if you want.)

The Parks

For starters, Columbus has an astounding park system. It consists of a series of “Metro Parks”, nineteen in all, which include woodlands, grasslands, wetlands, rose gardens, water gardens, rock gardens, and a buffalo preserve to name a few. We also enjoyed the Franklin Park and Botanical Garden which features a butterfly conservatory.

I’ve never seen anything like these parks before.  Frankly, the word park doesn’t seem like the right term for these massive plots of land. Battelle Darby Creek, for instance, encompasses 7,000 acres, and the amazing part is how accessible they are. One minute you’re fighting big city traffic, and the next you’re in the forest, listening to birdsong and the rustling of Aspen leaves.
Hard to imagine? Take a look.

colum butterfly

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Getting There is Half the Fun (?)

businessmanImagine you’re going on a cruise which starts in Quebec Canada.  You live in Utah, so you must travel from point A to point B which involves getting on an airplane.  Flying is not my favorite activity. It makes me nervous, but I’m fine as long as I don’t think about the fact that I’m hurtling through the air in a metal tube 30,000 feet above the ground.

 

So the last thing I want to see is this.

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Yes, this was my tray table on our flight from Atlanta to Toronto.

Now I understand that that things break and cannot always be fixed immediately, but this caution tape was a bit much. What you can’t tell from this picture, is the tape was wrinkled, torn and stretched and had clearly been there a long time. Seeing things like his causes one to wonder about the maintenance of the plane in general. Was there a weathered piece of tape holding the engine together? I sent this picture to the airline since they were apparently unaware of the problem.

Our next stop was the Toronto airport. We knew we had a tight connection, further complicated by the fact that we were crossing the border into Canada. As we got off the plane we had to go through security again. Unfortunately, there were only two lines open for the masses of people who were anxiously assembling. When it was finally our turn my husband’s bag inexplicably set off an alarm. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong and they ultimately let us go, but by now we were getting nervous and began to speed walk. As we turned a corner we ran into a room full of automated PASSPORT CHECK KIOSKS!

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A Mystery is Solved

Here’s my entry for Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge – White

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For those who read my “Quebec is Amazing” post, you’ll remember I was baffled by this giant clown head balloon that appeared to be stuck between two buildings.

“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 Halloween decoration? Are there any Quebecois (not a typo) out there who can shed some light on this?”

Well, no one had any light to shed, so I decided to look into the matter myself. You will all be relieved to know, I now have the answer to this burning question. The sad clown is part of an art installation called Passages Insolites 2019. Sprinkled around the city of Quebec are 14 different creations, all of which refer to passages in some way.  I’m assuming this clown is making an unsuccessful passage through the buildings?

According to Urban Guide Quebec:

Quite possibly the creepiest art installation of Passages Insolites, Fin de partie is inspired by Nagg and Nell, a play by Samuel Beckett. The inflatable clown headsare squished between two buildings on rue Saint-Paul. Interesting during the day, the scene can be a tad more disturbing at night.

I’d have to agree with that last statement. Can you imagine – stumbling onto this on a dark and stormy night? GAHHH!! Cue the horror movie soundtrack.

clown headSpeaking of clowns and horror movies, why is it clowns are always sad or scary these days? Whatever happened to the jolly clowns who made us laugh at the circus? And what about clown college, is that even a thing anymore? With the demise of the circus, it seems like clowning would not be an upwardly mobile career .  .  .

Oh well, enough of my ramblings. If readers want to chime in on any of this I’d love to hear your opinions.

For more interesting white photos don’t forget to check out  Cee’s excellent photoblog.

Bullfights and Bad Guys – Ronda’s Provocative Past

Ronda is one of Spain’s most popular travel destinations. Home to scores of stunning views and a famous bridge, it’s also known for its flamboyant past. Early inhabitants were a colorful bunch, with a large percentage of bandits, highwaymen, and bullfighters filling out the ranks.

This Library Lady article is continued at Ronda Today

bullfighter ronda

Pixabay Photos