Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tuesday Travel Snapshot-Monet's Gardens

Monet's Gardens, Giverny
I can still smell all the beautiful flowers.  April is a perfect time to go to Paris and even better to take a day trip to Giverny to visit Monet's home and gardens

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tuesday Travel Snapshot: Wisconsin Dells Weekend

The wave pool in the Wild Waterdome waterpark at the Wilderness Resort at Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On Deck: A Weekend In Wisconsin's #1 Family Destination....Wisconsin Dells

     I'm headed to the waterpark Capitol of the world -Wisconsin Dells this weekend.  Spending the night at Wilderness Resort in a very expensive condo with my Mom and Dad, my daughter Megan and her BFF Emily.  Oh and I will also be spending it with hundreds of excited, screaming kids. Okay maybe not my ideal getaway but I am actually looking forward to going.  I know my teenage daughter and her friend will have a blast.  They go to separate schools now that they are in High School so they do not see each other everyday.  They have been friends since pre-school and we consider Emily like a second daughter.

      If you've never been to Wisconsin Dells before, let me just say it is hard to describe. It is almost like an oasis in the middle of miles of countryside, at least the way we drive to get there on HWY 23.  You drive into this tiny town and you are completely overtaken with shops, restaurants, hotels, mini golf, go cart tracks, indoor and outdoor waterparks, the famous ducks that take you from land through the water.  I tell you, it is fun OVERLOAD.  In summer I swear this town swells to a population in the millions.  There are people everywhere.  My heart goes out to the residents who live here year- yound. In the winter it is THE place to go for a family weekend getaway. The huge hotels, Wilderness included, offer indoor fun that can't be beat.  The water parks at  these resorts are a dream come true for any kid!  Wilderness Resort, which calls itself the largest waterpark in the world, has four indoor and four outdoor waterparksfor a total of 500,000 square feet of fun. You can get lost in that place!

     So while the girls are off having their fun and Grandma and Grandpa are at the local casino trying their luck, I will be relaxing poolside in the Wild Waterdome Indoor waterpark, part of the resort.  I plan on getting there early, grabbing a poolside chair, open a book, maybe have a few beverages and relax!  Since this indoor waterpark has a Foil Tek roof I can catch a few rays inside too.  Maybe if I close my eyes and use my imagination I will feel like I am on a tropical vacation!

Wild Waterdome Indoor Waterpark at the Wilderness Resort-Wisconsin Dells

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday Travel Snapshot: Springtime In Paris

Welcome to my weekly Tuesday feature!  Every Tuesday I plan on posting photos from my travels to share with my followers.


This is one of my favorite photos from my trip to Paris.  I was there in early April and the flowers were blooming everywhere.  This pic was taken in front of a flower/garden shop on Rue Cler, a cute little market street near the Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondisment.  I can almost smell them!  Since it is almost Spring here in Wisconsin USA I thought the time was right to share this photo.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

How To Survive A Less Than Ideal Roommate When Traveling

Faced with wanting to save some money while traveling I had gone against my better judgment and signed up to double up on a room for my trip to Paris. I had just one other solo traveler to choose from. She was in her 80’s and Paris was the one place she had never been to. First I told my travel guide no way, but the closer I got to the trip I thought -what the heck, I’ll meet her and decide from there.


So I made a date after a couple of phone conversation to make the trek to meet my potential roommate. We met and I was encouraged. She was well traveled and it was agreed that I would do my thing and she hers. Okay, we got along, she was spunky for her age, so I didn’t have to worry about the roommate from hell. Now all I had to do was wait for the big day to arrive.

Arrive it did. We met at the airport and almost instantly she began complaining about everything. The airline food, her headset didn’t work (a legit complaint I know), the long overnight flight. Once we arrived at CDG I didn’t see much of her (or maybe I was sub-consciously trying to avoid her) until we arrived at our hotel and were assigned our room numbers. We went up to our room and NOTHING was right. Our bags were not there yet, the room was small. The refrigerator was hard to open. You name it, it was not right. Now I on the other hand was happier than ever. The room was perfect, everything was perfect, I was in heaven, I was in PARIS!

Everything was perfect except my roommate. She complained about everything all week long. She didn’t like the food! Are you kidding me? We are in the culinary capitol of the world! If you cannot find anything good to eat here…..well forget it. Nothing pleased her and the first night I was so upset, I called home via Skype crying to my husband. He told me to see if I could get a room on my own. When we ended the call I walked outside for some fresh air and something magical happened. Our hotel had a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. As I walked through the doors the tower lit up with all her twinkling glory and I knew right then and there that no matter how much my roommate grumbled about everything, she was not going to ruin the trip of a lifetime for me. And from that moment on I made the decision to avoid her at all costs. Come in late at night when she was sleeping and slip out for breakfast in the morning. Harsh, you may think, but there was no way I was going to pay thousands of dollars for the dream trip and have someone ruin it for me. The next morning I spoke with her and told her that I am going to do what I want to do. She seemed to think I was her travel companion and should be spending my free time with her?? Say what?

In the end, looking back, this was just a tiny bump in my Paris trip. In fact I hardly think of that part of the trip when I look back. I ended up meeting a group of ladies who took me under their wing and I had the best time with them. Seems I was not the only one that noticed my roommate’s sour disposition The whole group had stories to share with me.

So my ways to cope with a less than ideal roommate?


-Be kind, do not lose your temper

-Make your intentions clear right away

-Do not let them spoil your trip

-Do not feel you need to baby-sit them. Go do things on your own and DO NOT feel guilty about it

-If you can, get your own room, it’s not worth it just to save some money

-Most important, try and have a sense of humor, take a deep breath and do whatever you can to enjoy your surroundings.

If you want to save money and have a roommate when traveling make sure you choose wisely. I thought I did. In my case I was wrong. You don’t have to go through the same thing I did. I learned a very valuable lesson.

Have you had any roommate nightmares? I’d love to hear about them. Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

More Favorite Books Featuring Paris

A while ago I wrote about my five favorite books about Paris.  Honestly who can just narrow it down to just five.  There are a ton of books out that there that choose Paris as the setting of their stories.  I try to read as many of them as I can.  I think for every one that I've read, there are probably ten more out there.  My mission is to read each and every one!I hope I live to be 105 cause that's how long it will take me!!

So from time to time I will share some of my favorites with you. Here's a few more that I'd like to pass along.......

This one is wildly popular and it is equally as popular with me!  The life of Earnest Hemingway and his wife Hadley in Paris at a time when THE place to be for all creative types was in Paris during the jazz age just fascinates me.  Maybe it has to do with my never ending love of Woody Allen's "Midnight In Paris", I just cant get enough of this time period in the city of light.  The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain is an incredible look into the lives of the Hemingway's from the time they met and beyond.  This book is rich in Paris detail.  Could you imagine living in Paris at this time? The cafe culture was alive and even though Hadley and Earnest didn't have much money at the time, it sure seems like their lives were adventurous and full of interesting friends.  Really this is a must read!


 
Paris My Sweet by Amy Thomas is a well done memoir about her year spent in Paris writing ad copy for Louis Vuitton.  How could a girl get so lucky!  If you have a hankering for French pastries, you will love this one.  She takes us along for her trials and tribulations in the city of light, but better yet her description of all the sweet treats she discovers is mouth watering!!

 
Last, but certainly not least are two wonderful chick-lit books by author Juliette Sobanet.  I love how she takes us along with her characters strolling the streets of Paris.  In  Sleeping With Paris, her main character Charlotte, after moving to Paris and getting her heart broken decides to write a blog about her dating adventures with french men and ends up falling in love.
Her next book Kissed In Paris is a fun little book.  Chloe, an event planner who just a week before her wedding in the states finds herself in Paris with no money or passport after a suave con man robbed her. She then goes on a wild chase in the streets of Paris with an undercover agent named Julian to retrieve her things.  All this makes her question weather or not her buttoned up life back in the states is really for her.  I am so looking forward to Juliette Sobanet's new book Dancing With Paris coming out this summer!  You can pre-order your copy on Amazon now!
 
 
 
 
So there you have it.  Some more of my favorite "Paris" books.  I'll keep reading and share with you!  Have you read any good Paris books lately that you'd like to share.  Please leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Reliving My Paris Vacation

It's been awhile since I've posted anything.  The long dark days of winter usually mean lots of time spent hibernating at home with just short trips out.  As a result, I haven't had much to write about lately, basically just trying to lose the 10 pounds I gained during the holidays and spending my Saturdays driving an eager teenager to her beginning gymnastics classes 50 miles away. Yup, pretty uneventful, but as spring is right around the corner things are looking up. In April I have a fun overnighter planned with a very good friend to see Garbage in Madison. Absolutely LOVE seeing live music!  In June I turn the big 5-0!  I'm still trying to decide what to do to celebrate this milestone!

So as the anniversary of my Paris trip comes up, I am longing to relive those days spent in my kinda paradise.  Today I pulled out my pictures, map, and Rick Steves Paris guidebook and went back to that wonderful trip.  This was one of my favorite things from that trip.

It was day three which was a free day for everyone in our tour group.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do....go shopping of course.  My goal was to buy an authentic Longchamp handbag in Paris.  I wanted to go to a Monoprix for some french cosmetics and a few clothing items and I wanted to go to Bon Marche and  La Grande Epicerie, the gourmet grocer next door.  So armed with my trusty guidebook and my Michelin Paris map off I went in the morning after breakfast.  I was pretty confident I would have no trouble finding my way.  I love to read maps and I had studied where I was gonna go.  Since our hotel was by the Eiffel Tower I found my way to Boulevard de Grenelle and set off on foot toward La Bon Marche.  I found a nice sized Monoprix on this street right across from a Mc Donald's.  I spent lots of time here
 scanning the aisles of cosmetics and skin care items.  This was heaven to me.  So much to chose from it was making me dizzy.  I ended up buying some Boujous mineral makeup and lip-gloss and a tube of Bioderma matte primer.  I couln't leave without some cute funky jewery and some inexpensive tops. I also loaded up on some chocolates to take home. I went to check out and had a little trouble using my credit card, of course the clerk was speaking rapid fire french to me that I could not understand.  I just pulled out another card and thank goodness this one worked!!

So off I was back on Boulevard de Grenelle, then to Boulevard Garibaldi and finally Rue de Sevres to my destination.  I arrived first at La Grande Epicerie.  This grocery was unlike anything I have ever seen before.  I mainly wandered around looking at the aisles of sweet treats.  This place is a food lovers paradise! I ended up purchasing more chocolate (a surprise I know!) and some souvenirs.  By this time I had worked up an appetite and went to the pastry counter and decided a pain au chocolate would be the perfect snack.  Next stop La Bon Marche.  Here I was on a mission.  It was afternoon by this time and I wanted to get back to the hotel in time to rest a little before dinner. I easily found the Longchamp department right on the first floor.  Oh how I wished I could explore every floor of this iconic department store!  In the end I came out of there with not one but two Longchamp handbags.  Oh what a happy girl I was.  I did exactly what I set out to do that day.

Back to the hotel I went.  Wait, I had one more thing to do!  There was a pain au chocolate calling my name in one of my bags.  I found a bench on a tree lined street and sat and enjoyed that yummy pastry.  Absolute heaven,  My shopping day was complete!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Where Are You Going In 2013?



Where are you planning on traveling to in 2013?  Are you off to some exotic local where all you do for a week is lie on the beach with a fruity drink in your hand?  Or maybe you are going on your dream European vacation where you try to see everything you can in the span of 10 days and come back exhausted but oh so happy?  Maybe traveling is just something you do for work and never really get to enjoy any destination you are at. Some I'm sure are just planning their annual weekly vacation, same destination every year, where nothing really changes except the cost of getting there.

  Of course travel is also a state of mind.  You don't necessarily have to physically go anywhere to go somewhere if that makes any sense!  I go places, through reading books and blogs, places I would otherwise never be able to travel to.  To me this is a great way to travel if you are on a budget since you don't even have to leave the house.  Heck, books don't cost anything either, with all the free downloads you can get. Plus let us not forget one of my favorite places to go, your local library.  Just spending a few minutes day dreaming can transport you  anywhere.

You can sit down and plan a dream trip.  Get some destination books, map out things you want to see, research, follow favorite travel blogs,  and search videos on You-tube.  Who knows it may inspire you to find a way to make that dream come true someday.

So now I will ask again-where are you planning on traveling to in 2013?  Either physically or mentally my advise is to go somewhere.  It makes life a little easier to cope with day after day if you have somewhere to escape to if even by just turning pages of a book.

Please leave a commment and tell me where you are planning on going  this year.  Doesn't have to be any far away destination.  I love to hear travel stories.  If you travel solo, let me know the best places to go solo!  I'm always looking for ideas!