Showing posts with label roam the planet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label roam the planet. Show all posts

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Five Essentials For Your Next Summertime Mountain Town Getaway

You just got back from having the time of your life on a summer getaway to a quaint mountain town. Your bags are being handed over to you by the driver of the car service, and you're heading up the pathway to your front door, and the smile on your face is almost hurting your cheeks. You really had more fun than you've had in a long time.

When you finally get inside, you dump the bags, toss your keys on the bar, and take a nose dive into the couch just to come down a bit. After a bit, though, you start thinking about the things about the trip that you wished were a little different. You haven't come down from cloud nine, but your euphoria is a bit tempered now. Whatever. It's time for a long, hot shower, some tea, and probably falling asleep watching TV.

A few weeks later, you and your friends are hanging out & talking about the trip you all took earlier. Lo and behold, everyone else had the same reaction you did. Nothing could erase the perfection that was the trip, but there were some parts of it that could have been better. As you talk things out, you decide two things: 1) there will most definitely be a return trip next summer; and 2) a list must be made for the essentials that must be part of the trip.

Here are five essentials for your own summertime mountain town getaway:

Layers Are Imperative - Changes in elevation and fluctuation in temperature throughout the year can make it hard to know how cold or hot it will be sometimes. Dressing in comfortable layers lets you navigate this back and forth. Since you're in the mountains, think about a flannel shirt. It may be a little on the nose, but you'd be surprised at flannel's versatility.

Pack More Than One Pair of Shoes - If you'll be doing some serious hiking, you need some serious hiking boots or shoes. You'll also be doing a lot of walking. If in the event you may have a more sophisticated night out, dirty hiking boots or tennis shoes may not fit the bill.

Sunscreen, Hand Cream, & Insect Repellent - No explanation needed. These are the basic you should have with you on any trip, and manufacturers are doing their best to make traveling with them easier & not take up so much room.

Sunglasses and Eye Protection - Bright sunlight hitting the snow or water can really mess with your eyes. Protect them at all times.

Something To Carry Water In - You're in the outdoors, so don't be that guy and carry plastic water bottles that'll be thrown away later. Have some respect for nature, and carry a reusable bottle. It's good to stay hydrated, and it's an example of good stewardship.

Obviously, your essentials may differ a bit, but these tend to cover the most basic needs of staying hydrated and protecting yourself from the elements. Remember, you're in the mountains, and while the natural beauty is taking your breath away, you want to be sure to be safe & prepared.


Author: Morris Raymond




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Tuesday, 18 September 2018

A Perfect Day 1 in Paris: Arrive & Make It Yours

Imagine yourself on a great 5-day trip to Paris. How would you design your days to have the most engaging and captivating experience, while traveling independently and keeping to a budget of under $5000 for two? What will you do with your precious travel time? Why would you want to do these things and have these experiences? And how will you arrange them and accomplish them, with a maximum of enjoyment and a minimum of frustration or overload? What are the stories that bring to life the places you visit? How do you best immerse yourself so your experiences are absorbing and memorable?

Join us in your mind's eye on just such a remarkable 5-day trip to the "City of Lights." History to walk around in. Phenomenal food. Parks and cafés. People-watching opportunities. Eating outdoors, with views of cathedrals or rivers or palaces. Fountains and gardens, with benches for pausing. Outdoor markets. Charming shops. Unexpected encounters.

Start with a Perfect Day 1

Today you will arrive in Paris, after an overnight flight, in time to check in (or drop off your bags) and begin your walk-about before lunch. Your "home base" for the next five nights will be the Left Bank ("La Rive Gauche") of the Seine, historically known as the artistic part of the city. Your apartment or hotel will be located within a few blocks of the river on the Left Bank, or on Ile Saint-Louis, the smaller of the two islands in the middle of the river.

Learn Your Neighborhood

After checking in, take a walk-about to learn your new "neighborhood," locate your shops, and stock up on wine, cheese, bread and deli. Then head for the river and cross the bridge to Ile de la Cité ("Island of the City"). This larger island was the original seat of Paris, the birthplace of Roman river commerce, and the location of the 4th-century cathedral that was replaced by the 12th-century Notre-Dame.

Pass in Front of Notre Dame on Ile de la Cité and Note the Statues of Kings

As you pass in front of Notre-Dame, pause before the entrance to absorb its grandeur and to study the statues of kings above the door. The heads of these sculptures are replacements. Tragically, the original heads were lopped off during the Revolution by Parisian mobs that mistakenly took these to represent French monarchs, when actually they are the ancient kings of Judea and Israel.

Lunch with a View of the Notre Dame Buttresses

You will return later for a visit inside this magnificent cathedral. But, for the moment, walk on by on your way to lunch at an outdoor table at Brasserie Esmeralda, located at the end of the island, across from the cathedral buttresses. Since this will be your arrival lunch, make it a feast, and toast the start of your trip. From your table, look across to the smaller island, Ile Saint-Louis, to spot Le Flore en L'Ile, the restaurant where you will be having dinner later this evening.

Walk Around the Island

After lunch, take a walk around the island and orient yourself to the flow of the river. Stand with your back towards the smaller island. You are now facing downriver. From this vantage point, the Left Bank will be on your left and the Right Bank will be on your right.

Walk downriver, looking across the river towards the Right Bank ("La Rive Droite"). Take in the grand buildings across the river. The Right Bank is more tightly packed with impressive buildings than the left, including the City Hall (Hôtel de Ville), and, further downriver, the massive former palace that is now the Louvre, and the Grand Palais that was built as an exhibition hall for the Universal Exposition of 1900.

Wander Through the Flower Market

During your walk, watch for the Flower Market (Marché aux Fleurs) on your left. Take a few minutes to wander through this colorful maze of flowers and garden shops. You may decide to return later to spend more time at this lovely market.

Round the Tip of the Island, Heading for Sainte Chapelle

When you reach the end of the island, with views downriver toward the Louvre, walk through the park and back up the other side toward the incomparable Sainte-Chapelle, built in the 13th century to house Louis IX's collection of relics of Christ. This small chapel is remarkable and unique, with its exquisite 49-foot tall 13th-century stained glass windows, at their loveliest in the late afternoon. You may stop now to view the windows, or possibly return later for a memorable concert with the chapel as its setting (having purchased your tickets before your trip).

Pick up Your 4-Day Museum Pass to Skip the Lines

Stop to purchase your 4-day Museum Pass at the shop across the street from the Sainte-Chapelle entrance. This will save you from waiting in museum lines for the remainder of your stay in Paris.

Pass by Crypt Archéologique

When you complete your full circuit of the island, you will find yourself back in front of Notre Dame. As you cross the square, spot the entrance to the Crypt Archéologique, located beneath the area in front of the cathedral. You may want to return later to explore these ancient archaeological remains, dating back to the Romans in 52 BC, that were discovered here during excavations in 1965.

Enter Notre Dame and Find a Seat

This time, venture inside the cathedral. As you move through the doorway, look up! Study the pictographic images overhead. Also, take a closer look at the kings above the doorway. You will have a chance to see the "real" heads of these statues later in your trip when you visit the Cluny Museum. Once inside, find a seat and sit awhile to look up and around and take it all in. If, by good fortune, you to arrive while the magnificent organ is thundering, seize the opportunity to stay awhile and listen.

Possibly Climb the Cathedral Tower

Back outside, check on the slow-moving line of people patiently waiting to climb the cathedral tower. If you aspire to going up the tower yourself, decide if the line is short enough to join it now, and climb up to see the stunning views and to make an up-close visit to the gargoyles. If the line is too long, come back early tomorrow, before the crowds gather.

Dinner with a View, Followed by an Evening Cruise of the Seine


Take a deep breath, and settle in for a relaxed dinner at an outdoor table at Le Flore en L'Ile on the little island, Ile Saint-Louis. You have arrived! And here you are in Paris as evening falls. After dinner, board an evening cruise down the Seine, from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower and back, enjoying the spectacle of Paris aglow at night.

Author: Carolee Duckworth


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