Tag Archives: Travel

Update on our life and my book

I mentioned we canceled the Victoria, BC, trip and went to Pot Angeles in Washington. I booked the flight coming home from Seattle. My husband didn’t want to rush, so we went to Seattle the day before returning to Southern California.

I read about the Chihuly Garden and Glass in a blogger’s post. Since we would be in Seattle for one day, I made a reservation to visit this magnificent exhibit. The museum is right next to the Space Needle. Here’s what the website says about Chihuly. https://www.chihulygardenandglass.com/about/dale-chihuly

Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin. He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for more than a decade.

In 1968, after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice. There he observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971, Chihuly co-founded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as fine art.

His work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including twelve honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

An update on our life

My husband and I are moving to Portland, Oregon, to be close to my daughter and the grandkids. I have always wanted to do that and even wrote blog posts about my desire. But my husband was not ready. On a couple of occasions, I went alone to be with my daughter and the grandkids for Thanksgiving or Christmas. My husband, Lynton, stayed in Southern California to be with his mom during those holidays. Lynton’s mom passed away two months ago. His siblings are busy with their extended families. He seems to be free from the obligation to stay in Southern California.

When we were in Port Angeles, Lynton expressed an interest in moving to Portland to be close to the grandkids.

I searched for a home right away. Then contacted the realtor whom I worked with for the last 15 years. After one week of communication back and forth, we signed an offer on August 28th on a home within a 13-minute drive from Mercy. Mercy and Will toured the house and sent us the videos.

We’re working with the agents and signed a listing disclosure to sell our California home.

We’re packing and will have everything in a storage unit by the 15th. We’re going to Portland on the 16th for Autumn’s BD. The agents will show our house while we’re gone. 

Everything happened so fast. My head is spinning. We’re excited about the move. At least we don’t need to travel every six weeks to see the grandkids.

An update on my book

The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival is now available on Amazon.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Winding-Road-Journey-Survival-ebook/dp/B0B86QWXTN

My launch tour is from Monday, September 5 to Monday, September 12. I’m grateful to my wonderful friends who will host my tour.

Monday, September 5 – Jacqui Murray @ https://worddreams.wordpress.com 

Tuesday, September 6 – Dan Antion @ https://nofacilities.com

Wednesday, September 7 – Liz Gauffreau @ https://lizgauffreau.com

Thursday, September 8 – Pete Springer @ https://petespringerauthor.wordpress.com/petes-blog

Friday, September 9 – Robbie Cheadle @ https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/blog

Monday, September 12 – Denise Finn @ https://dlfinnauthor.com/blogs

I hope to see you at these launch tour stops.

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Thursday Door – Toledo, Spain

Sorry that I scheduled this post on the wrong date. It went live last night when there was nothing but a couple of photos. I’m still not quite ready for a complete post because I’m in the middle of formatting my new book, The Winding Road. I got the final file from my editor last week. I did the corrections and listened to the computer read to me multiple times. The computer reads every word, it’s a good way to catch some typos and other errors. I uploaded it onto KDP and ordered a proof copy. Then I had the computer read to me again and followed the book. You know what? The computer didn’t catch a missing punctuation and a few typos. Anyway, I sent out the file to have a designer convert it into ePub for the eBook. So, I had to tell him to redo the ePub file.

I hope to publish my book in the first week of August because hubby and I will visit the grandkids. After that, we’ll take a short trip to Canada.

This post will be Toledo, Part 1.

After touring Madrid, we went on to the next city, Toledo. The tour bus drove 42 miles south-southwest of Madrid and arrived on the other side of the city. Toledo is situated on a rugged promontory washed on three sides by the Tagus River.

We stopped for a while to admire the panoramic view of the city’s surroundings. I took quite a few photos of the city. Then the tour bus took us to tour the city. The tour guide was very informative to introduce us to some major buildings, structures, and churches in Toledo. We only visit the outside of these buildings. The only place we toured inside was Santa Maria de la Blanca Synagogue. I will have some photos of the synagogue and several other places next week.

Panoramic view of Toledo, surrounded by Tagus River on three sides

The Santiago del Arrabal Church (Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal) is a 13th-century Catholic church built in 1245–48, at the orders of Sancho II, on the site of an earlier building, possibly a mosque. Many characteristics of Islamic architecture, such as the horseshoe arch, have remained in the present building which is built in the Mudéjar style.

The Santiago del Arrabal Church

The Mosque of Christ of the Light (Mosque Cristo de la Luz)is a Catholic chapel and former mosque in Toledo It is one of the ten that existed in the city during the Moorish period. It is located near the Puerta del Sol, in an area of the city once called Medina where wealthy Muslims used to live.

The Mosque of Christ of the Light

The Church of San Ildefonso (Iglesia de San Ildefonso Jesuitas) is a Baroque-style church located in the historic center of Toledo. It is the second largest temple in the city after the Toledo Cathedral. It was built in the highest part of Toledo and offers a gorgeous view of the city from the top of its twin towers.

The Church of San Ildefonso

The following photos are the narrow streets. They are really narrow. Probably the neighbors can see each other across the street. These streets reminded me of the movie The Italian Job with three Mini Coopers. I could see the Coopers could run through these narrow streets. Some narrow streets are twice the size of the photos included here. Small cars like the coopers can go through them. The pedestrians would compete with the cars for the space though. Lynton pulled me closer to the wall once when a car came by.

I’ll have a lot more to share with you next week. Spain was one of my favorite countries for visit. I hope to go back someday.

I think of Darlene Foster and Joy Lennick as I write the posts about Spain. They have a lot more personal experiences to share with you.

Thursday Door – Toledo, Spain

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Thursday Doors – London 2

London was the first stop on our Europe trip. We bought the Europe land tour package from a travel company and purchased air tickets separately because we wanted a flexible flight schedule.

We arrived in London five days prior to the tour so that we could visit family and friends. After that, we joined our tour for the resting of sightseeing. The tour bus drove us around London to overview the major attractions, then took us back to the hotel. Some people elected to visit places on their own, but we paid for the excursion for the guided tour. On the last day of the tour, we took the cruise around the city on River Thames.

Windsor Castle is in Berkshire, England, and was built as a motte and bailey castle by William the Conqueror (r. 1066-1087). Converted into stone by Henry II of England (r. 1165-1179), the shell keep tower was rebuilt by Edward III of England (r. 1327-1377). The castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II (r. 1953-).

Windsor Castle entrance

As part of the admission, we received the audio device for the self-guided tour. It is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Mandarin. When we key in the room’s number or place where we were in, we could hear a full commentary.

Queen Mary’s House, Windsor Castle

Framlingham Castle was built during the 12th century and maintains much of its original features, including its incredible stone architecture and many features that were classic of that era. It is here Mary Tudor, “Bloody Mary,” was crowned Queen. Queen Mary I made no secret of her religious beliefs and she was a devout Catholic upon taking the throne in 1553. To convert England to Catholicism, she would persecute over 300 protestants in the name of religion. This reign of religious terror earned her the nickname of ‘Bloody Mary.’

Guard

Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarchy of the United Kingdom.

Buckingham Palace

Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the United Kingdom’s most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and a burial site and 17 royal weddings.

Westminister Abbey

The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Palace of Westminister

Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the striking clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London.

Big Ben

The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London.

Tower of London

Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge built between 1886 and 1894, designed by Horace Jones and engineered by John Wolfe Barry. The double-leaf bascule, movable bridge raises to permit passage of a ship having masts too tall to pass under at this point.

Tower Bridge

Thursday Doors – London 2

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Thursday Doors – London

London was the first stop on our Europe trip. Amsterdam was the second stop. We bought the Europe land tour package from a travel company and purchased air tickets separately because we wanted a flexible flight schedule.

We arrived in London five days prior to the tour so that we could visit family and friends.

My childhood friend Shirley lives in London. Shirley and her husband took us to the cities outside of London. We went to Bath, Longleat House, and Stonehenge.

Bath is famous for its Roman-built baths. While in Bath, we visited the Jane Austen Centre. Jane Austen was living and writing in Bath from 1801 to 1806. While her most well-known novel Pride and Prejudice takes place in the countryside, her two books, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, are set in the historic city of Bath that captures a unique Georgian metropolis. They both have the spa town as a primary location. Our visit was after the BBC Masterpiece Theatre broadcasting the show Pride and Prejudice. Colin Firth, the actor’s portrait was on canvas painting, stationery, CDs, and other souvenir items.

City of Bath

Longleat House is in Wiltshire, Somerset, 97 miles west of London. The house is set in 1,000 acres of parkland with 4,000 acres of farmland and 4,000 acres of woodland. It is not only a historic visitor attraction but also a residential home. The house is the best example of high Elizabethan architecture in Britain and one of the most beautiful stately homes open to the public. The estate includes the first safari park outside Africa. This incredible estate was completed by Sir John Thynne in 1580 and has now been called home by 15 generations of the Thynne family.

We took a tour in the section open to the public. I saw a painting with Hurdle as the last name of the author. I pointed it out to my husband. He got a chuckle.

Longleat House
Longleat Estate, well kept

It was a cloudy and windy day when we visited Stonehenge. Lynton said during his two years in London, there was no fence around Stonehenge. He remembered going around and under the stones. Because of tourism and preservation of the historical site, there was a fence with signs prohibiting tourists from getting close to the stones.

Archaeologists believe England’s most iconic Stonehenge was built in several stages. The work started on this super stone circle around 5,000 years ago in the late Neolithic Age. It took over 1,000 years to build, in four long stages! The last changes were made around 1,500BC, in the early Bronze Age.

No one knows the purpose of the stones, but the stones themselves give the experts a few clues to many theories. But one thing is for sure Stonehenge was used as a cemetery. Experts estimate that about 200 people are buried on the grounds. They also think that important funeral ceremonies would have been performed at the site.

Lynton’s family is from England and moved to Australia. Before immigrating to the United States, his family went from Australia to London and lived with his grandmother for two years. After we arrived in London, his cousin picked us up from the hotel and took us to visit the house where his grandmother lived. We also visited the school he attended. There were two entrances to the school courtyard, with one marked Boys and the other one marked Girls. He bought some candy from his favorite store. Another cousin lived by a river and had a boat. He wanted to take us on a boat ride, but there was pouring rain. We had a barbeque in the rain and a pleasant visit, catching up with the latest news.

Thursday Doors – London

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Thursday Doors – Amsterdam

Amsterdam was the second stop on our Europe tour. The tour guide told us that Amsterdam is below sea level. This capital city of the Netherlands has a Canal Ring of one hundred kilometers (62 miles) with 1,500 bridges.

The first thing that impressed me was the number of bicycles. It was mind-boggling to find out there are 881,000 bicycles and one of the parking structures accommodates 7,000 bicycles. When we arrived at a location, I got off the tour coach and almost got hit by a bicycle because I didn’t realize that the riders have the right-of-way. I saw one lady with the business skirt-suit carrying a backpack and paddling the bicycle with the tennis shoes. It must be a common practice to change shoes when people arrive at their offices.

We visited the Anne Frank House. When I was teaching, my second-grade class read The Diary of Anne Frank. It was intriguing to find out more about the Frank family’s hiding place.

Anne Frank House – green building

During World War II, Anne Frank and her family hid from Nazi persecution in a room in the building’s rear of the Secret Annexe. The room was hidden behind a movable bookcase.

Anne Frank wrote her diary in this hiding place. She and her family were hidden there for two years and one month until they were arrested and deported to their deaths in concentration camps. Anne and her sister Margot died from typhus and malnutrition in March 1945 in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Germany, just a few weeks before the liberation by the British army on April 15, 1945. Otto Frank, Anne’s father was the only one who survived the concentration death camps.

The hiding place was cleared by order of the arresting officers and all the contents of the Frank family were seized. Before the building was cleared, Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl, who had helped hide the family, returned to the hiding place against the orders of the Dutch police and rescued some personal effects. Amongst the items they retrieved were books and papers that would eventually be compiled into The Diary of Anne Frank. 

Anne wrote tales and planned to publish a book about her time in the Secret Annexe. After Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam in June 1945, he was given Anne’s diaries and papers and subsequently compiled the two versions of his daughter’s diaries into a book published in Dutch in 1947. Anne Frank’s Diary has been translated into over 70 languages.

Anne’s diary was in a display case on the ground floor. We picked up a brochure that chronicles her life from 1929 to 1945. Photos from the brochure:

One night we walked around in the Red-Light District. This area has red neon-lighted windows. The prostitutes sit or stand behind their windows from 8:00 am until 6:00 am soliciting their services.

As we walked on the street in the same area, I saw a shop that has a potted plant display in the window. I made a comment to my husband about the pleasant look of the plant. He told me it was marijuana. We went inside the shop and found different sizes of packaging that looked like snack items. Soft drugs are legal in Amsterdam.

It was a great experience to visit the diamond factory and learn about the different grades of the diamond. The factory guide explained that the value of the diamond goes higher with the increased facets of the diamond. She also pointed out that when reflecting the colors of the diamond, the blue color is more expensive. After she said that, the ladies moved their rings under the light to check on the reflecting colors.

Diamond factory

Our other visits included the tours of the ceramic painting factory, wooden thong factory, and the cheese factory.

On the last day of the tour, we had a free afternoon. My husband and I wanted to walk around but there was pouring rain. We then took the free trolley to the Van Gogh Museum. It was an educational visit to learn about how Van Gogh developed his style of painting.

Thursday Doors – Amsterdam

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