Monday, December 31, 2012

Sixty new travel experiences the year I turned 60! Part 1

Okay guys I am winging this as I go...a list maker I am NOT.  And remember my list, my rules....:)  And sad to say I am reading my blog to remember what I did...

1)  Lived in a Paris flat...if only for a few days...despite freezing my ass off, being locked out of the flat due to an insane lock system & the neighbours above throwing bowling balls all day long it was a good experience...would I do it again?  Knowing me...yes.  But maybe a different place. 






2)  Made my first phone call on an iphone - little knowing that a few months later I would have one of my own. (hey, like I said - my blog, my rules!!)

3)  Bought my first pair of thongs at M & S in London..and I don't mean the kind you wear on your feet.  The sad part is I haven't worn them yet...waiting for the..ahem..appropriate time....(which may be a LONG time!)

4) Saw the play "Backbeat" - about the Beatles time in Hamburg, Germany.  Quite graphic - I am pretty certain my hair stood on end at one point. 

5)  At Borough market I had a cup of soup with parsnips, brussel sprouts, carrot and onions with grated chestnuts on top.  Well...have you had soup with brussel sprouts in it?  It hit the spot on  a cold day.


6)  Visited the M & M store in London and go to walk on Abbey Road with the M & M guys.

Okay I'm not really that fat - I layer - honest!!! 





7)  Saw the play "The Railway Children" at Waterloo station with a real steam train!!!

8)  Had a variety of momos at the market on Brick Lane - I've had momos before but not a VARIETY...

Pork, chicken, veggie and lamb....slurp.  Oh momos how I do love you, let me count the ways....


9)  Walked along the union canal from Camden Lock to Kings Cross and then visited the Canal Museum.  I hope one day to walk the whole thing but that won't be on a winter holiday!



10)  Visited the Sir John Soanes museum in Holborn....creepy!!!! 

11)  Got to see a Harris Hawk up close and found out he was gainfully employed!!!



12)  Met the cheekiest squirrel in London!

Too cute!!!
Talk about a brown noser! 



13)  Visited the Clink Museum of London - oldest prison and why prisons are called "The Clink"  Lots of different forms of torture...yikes.   I will spare you the pictures. 

14)  Had my first lamb and mint pie - at Pieminister at Borough Market.  Oh yum!!!  They have all sorts of delicious pies and I hope to work my way through all of them eventually. 
 

15)  Visited the Docklands museum at Canary Wharf - as the British say...brilliant!!!  A very interesting museum highlighting London's history mostly pertaining to the River Thames. Well worth a visit. (and it's free!)

16)  Fell in love with Laguna Beach!

17)   Saw my first Laguna Beach sunset


18)  Learned about the sex lives of dolphins...they make love for fun not just to procreate - no wonder they have those cute little smiles on their faces!!!

19)   Hung out in Surf City, USA - Huntington Beach.  I was here briefly in 1983 but this year I was always stopping off and walking along the beach...and watching surfers...


20)  Saw a sunset in Huntington Beach - has to be seen to be believed...those California west coast sunsets are something else. 


21)   Visited Crystal Cove State Park...


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chaotic Kathmandu

For some reason I am feeling really nostalgic for Nepal and my wonderful trip there two years ago.  Two years ago on this date was riding elephants in Chitwan National Park...a definite highlight of my lifetime.

However today I bring you...Kathmandu!!!  Now Kathmandu is not one of my favourite places - in fact if I never see the city again I won't lose any sleep over it.  But it definitely was an experience and one I am grateful I had. Kathmandu is the biggest city in the country and one that all visitors to Nepal have to go through at some point whether they are on a trek or just sightseeing like I was.

To give you some background I was about to embark on a Discover Nepal tour however I arrived to discover I was the only one there!!!  All of the participants (including me) were flying from the UK where they had a horrific snowstorm that closed down Heathrow.  For some reason I decided to fly in a day early otherwise I probably would not be sitting here sharing this with you.  Out of 20 tour members only 4 of us made it..and it was touch and go on the other three.  I was told the tour would go ahead regardless with just me, the driver and the tour guide.  How much fun would that be?  (in retrospect maybe it would have been - the guide was kind of cute...)  In the meantime there were tours of Kathmandu booked and I was the only one!!  It turned out to be great fun.  My tour guide was a woman named Anchie and we had a great time together.  Click here for more information on this fantastic couple of days.    Here are some of the shots I took that day.  Enjoy!!!

I told you it was chaotic!!!



These school girls then took photos of me with their cellphones!!!

This "eye makeup" is put on small children to ward off evil spirits.

Holy Cows in Durbar (means "Palace") Square.






Sadhu - holy man.  I don't think this one was too holy. 

A few seconds later these monkeys had a fight and this girl ran for it!

Momos...a Nepalese snack that I fell in love with.  Dumplings with chicken or veggies in them with a spicy sauce.

In "Little Tibet" - I bought one of these and it proudly hangs in my front hallway.

View of "Little Tibet".

Rolling prayer wheels at the Bodhnath Stupa. 

Anchie.

Bodhnath Stupa.

Bodhnath Stupa with Buddha's eyes

Stray dog by Bodhnath Stupa - I have a blow up of this on my wall.

Temple of Pashupatinath - holiest shrine in Nepal where dead are cremated. 
My three travel companions finally showed up and off we went to "discover Nepal". 

Monday, December 24, 2012

A European Christmas

A year ago  I was in Germany celebrating Christmas with a good friend and her mum.  I spent a week with them in their lovely home in a village in Northern Bavaria.  Beautiful! Their hospitality is something I will remember for the rest of my life.  I enjoyed a traditional Christmas lunch (duck, dumplings and red cabbage), attended a Xmas Eve service that was lovely, went for long walks, ate WAY too much good German home cooking, went out for coffee and cake way too much, got caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, relaxed in front of the telly with a glass (or two or three...) of wine and home baking and generally had a wonderful time.  I also saw lots of Christmas markets - in nearby Nuremberg, Bamberg as well as some in Salzburg, Austria and area.  What a special time it was!!! 

I hope you enjoy the following photos...
 


Quartet of performers at St Peters Abbey - lovely concert!


Austrian Yorkie in celebratory mood.

St Peters Abbey, Salzburg





Salzburg shopping

Christmas market in the Lake District near Salzburg



Gluhwein at the Nuremberg Christmas Market.  For an extra cost you can keep the mug - this one I did. (yes...I had gluhwein on more than one occasion...:)

Christmas lunch!


Typical European decorations.




Herr Mozart!  Second only to the Macca Man for me!!

Salzburg Lake District Christmas market

Horse & carriage in Salzburg - Salzburg is MAGICAL at Christmas!!!


Seasons Greetings to one and all!!!!!