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

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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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.

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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

Ocean Liner or Riverboat, What’s Your Travel Style?

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The stars are in line, the money’s in the bank and it’s finally time to go on that cruise you’ve always dreamed of. Imagine exotic lands, beautiful scenery, fantastic food and entertainment – it’s not hard to see why cruising is one of the most popular forms of travel. But before you book your trip, you’ll need to make one important decision; ocean liner or riverboat, which type of cruise is best for you?

For the pros and cons of each type of cruise, continue reading this Library Lady story at  All Things Cruise.P1090844

Photos by Viking

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$. Continue reading

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 Halloween decoration? 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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