Daily Post: Praise

I am not an art critic, and would not make a very good one; but I have opinions.

I have no praise for this:


How is this “art” – in Foundation Louis Vuitton

I don’t understand it. I find it disturbing.

But lots of praise for this:


Rose Bowl parade

and this:


Jeff Koons Tulips: Guggenheim Bilbao


Posted in art | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo Challenge: Morning

I’ve been to Vatican City twice. Once in the late afternoon, and once in the morning.

I highly recommend the morning. Look, almost no one is here (include the Pope, as it turned out):


St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

I consider myself a “morning” person, but not always while traveling. However, there are moments that really are worth getting an early start in order to experience.

I wanted to climb to the top of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica; and I wanted to avoid a long queue – so I was there when they opened and was very happy to have arrived early.

I love how the early day sun is reflecting off of this magnificent church. I hope to return to Rome, and plan to repeat this experience.

Buona giornata!

Posted in cathedrals | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Post: Craving

My initial idea for this topic was to write about how I am craving a Laduree macaron. I have Paris on my mind!

Famous Laduree

Famous Laduree

However, I decided to go in a different direction. (In part to try and squash my sweet craving.)

2016 is missing something for me. It will be the first year in many when I am not cruising; so, I am craving some ocean time.

I love the ocean. I have always loved water. I only started cruising 10 years ago, but immediately fell in love. I then went on the following cruise streak:

2011 – Mediterranean aboard Holland America’s Noordam

HAL Noordam

HAL Noordam

This was my second cruise. Ever. The first was also Mediterranean, and I so fell in love with the region that I needed to return. I visited some of the same places as before, but also many new ones; including my first time in Africa.

Michaelangelo's David (replica)

Michaelangelo’s David (replica) in Florence


Monte Carlo

Cove where we swam

Mallorca  cove

2012 – Caribbean aboard Norwegian’s Spirit

This was my first cruise with my parents. They took the whole family to celebrate their 50th anniversary. I didn’t love the Caribbean, but it was an awesome vacation.

NCL Spirit

NCL Spirit

Andy and his fish

Andy and his fish

Towel mouse

Towel mouse

Family swim time

Family swim time

2013 – Baltic aboard Holland America’s Eurodam

I love Europe, and decided to expand my horizons with this cruise and see the northern countries. And even though my parents did a nearly identical trip the previous year, they joined us on this cruise.


Private cabana on Eurodam

Private cabana on Eurodam

Swedish Archipelago

Swedish Archipelago

Old Tallinn

Old Tallinn

Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg, Russia

2014 – Alaska aboard the Grand Princess

My 50th state! This was a cruise with my parents, brother and SIL, and paternal aunt. Alaska is beautiful. We were blessed with wonderful weather – best all summer, according to the crew.

And while this was one of my favorite vacations, it was also the time when my mother began having physical challenges that led to her terminal cancer diagnosis. I am so, so happy that I had this experience with my parents. I am blessed!

grand princess

Whale watching

Whale watching

Alaskan waterfall

Alaskan waterfall

Mendenhall Glacier and lake

Mendenhall Glacier and lake

2015 – European river cruise on Viking

This was my mom’s bucket list trip, and her last vacation. Again, I was incredibly blessed to  have this experience with her. But I also have mixed feelings because she never really recovered her strength after getting home. However, it was important to her that she live what life she had left to the fullest, and she accomplished that!

We started in Budapest and ended in Amsterdam. I added 3 new countries to my list on this trip.

Credit: Viking River Cruise website

Budapest, photo credit: Viking River Cruise website

The sun was perfect to "light" up these buildings on the shore

Wachau Valley, The sun was perfect to “light” up these buildings on the shore

View of the Abbey from the road below. The two towers are the chapel part of the building.

View of the Abbey from the road below. The two towers are the chapel part of the building.



No worries, my cruise craving will be satisfied in January 2017 aboard Norwegian’s Pride of America.  I will be sailing around the Hawaiian islands with my dad, DH, both brothers and their wives; and of course my mom will be with us in spirit.

Hopefully 2016 will be the last year I endure an entire year without cruising.

Posted in cruise | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Post: Muse

It is highly unlikely that had I lived in the 1880s-1890s, and knew him, that I would have ever been a muse for Oscar Wilde. Why is another blog post, or just check his wikipedia page if you want to learn more about this brilliant playwright.

However, he is now a sort of muse for me. And this is how it happened…..

I’ve been to Paris many times, and I plan to visit many more times. I’ve been to the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Seine river cruise, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe….

I was in Paris and wanted to have a more unconventional visit than my past trips. I read once that Pete Lachaise Cemetery was a tourist attraction. I initially dismissed the idea of visiting a Paris cemetery as a little creepy; but then I started to read up on who was buried there.  Some include:

  • Oscar Wilde
    Sarah Bernhardt
    Gertrude Stein
    Marcel Marceau
    Jim Morrison

And there are many more…

Oscar Wilde wrote my favorite play – The Importance of Being Earnest. But I didn’t know very much about him, so I started doing a little research and decided that I would visit him. But I wanted to make it as fun as I could while in a cemetery, so tried to make an event out of it. “Breakfast with Oscar

I bought a bottle of wine, stopped at my local patisserie to get some pastries, and hopped on the metro headed for Pere Lachaise. The cemetery does provide maps, but I recommend doing your research before going to make sure you really know how to find the graves you want to see. Oscar’s is very easy to find, especially if you enter via the Gambetta entrance.

Paris 244

Oscar Wilde’s grave in Paris – Breakfast with Oscar

Paris 242

Kisses for Oscar

As my newly appointed muse, I think Oscar would have embraced having wine and pastries with him for breakfast.

However, other visitors to his grave did not approve. I tried to be respectful, but again I didn’t want it to be a somber occasion.


I was in Dublin two years ago, but forgot to have breakfast with Oscar on that trip. I did, however, try to have breakfast with him in London, but the area around him was taped off for construction.

I made Oscar my blog muse to try and find a new angle for how I would approach travel. And, it was because of him that I decided to see a famous Paris site that I had not previously considered.

I also visited Jim Morrison’s grave. It was more difficult to find, but all you really need is a general idea of where it is and then just listen for the party and follow the noise. (I left the rest of my wine for Jim.) I would have never been his muse either.

Posted in culture, France | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Weekly Photo: Narrow

Did you know that there is a very narrow and winding staircase you can walk up inside the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica? If you aren’t claustrophobic, I highly recommend this experience.


St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

basilica dome

Photo credit: Google images


Photo credit: wikipedia

Posted in cathedrals, Italy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Daily Post – Apology

I am not going to apologize for my love of travel. I am not going to allow others to shame me for my passion.

I am so tired of  hearing….”don’t you ever work?” ….”why do you <want to> travel so much?”


Paris – one of my favorite cities

I attended a family reunion yesterday, and as it often does with me, the topic of travel came up.

I don’t give you a hard time about your love of baseball/softball (whatever…). I support your passions, especially when that passion takes you somewhere besides your own backyard. (Pokemon Go)

Perhaps I am a little too single-minded in my passion, but I believe I am a better, more well-rounded person because of my experiences – and travel is part of that. I have other hobbies, but they don’t make my eyes sparkle when I talk about them.

Another question I dislike….how can you afford to travel? I won’t give you money-saving travel tips in this post as there are already millions of posts with that good information, but for me it is about prioritizing. And that includes: quantity over quality. My brother typically takes 1 trip per year, and always to the same place (Vegas); but I will try not to judge him. So, on his annual trip he buys first class seats, and stays in a great hotel.

I am content to fly coach. I also like driving, and take trains when it makes sense to do so. I would love to stay at the Ritz sometime, but I don’t need that.

I will admit to having a few designer handbags, but I know women who buy a new purse at least once per month. I buy a new one every 2-3 years because my priority may be different from yours. I have a friend who only wears Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutins and other designer shoes. Again, I prioritize travel (experiences) over “stuff.”

I will do my best to not judge you for your passions and how you spend your time/money; and I would like the same in return. Please accept my apology if I ever shamed your passion.





Posted in travel bucket list | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Daily Post: Wind

It was not a windy day last October when my Viking River cruise visited Kinderdijk, Netherlands.

We toured a windmill to see how a family lives and works in the area. It is a life very different from mine.

It wasn’t a sunny day either, but I think that just added to the beauty of these pictures.

Day13 Kinderdijk 09.10.2015  (3)

Kinderdijk, Netherlands



Posted in Viking River Cruise, water, weather | Tagged , , | Leave a comment