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Old 05-22-2015, 07:24 AM   #2041
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Headed to CA today for the California Senior Games.

DH and I play Pickleball and this will be my first tournament. We're playing together in mixed doubles even though we've had people caution us that marriage and competition don't go well together.

I thought no it will be fine. We play well together and it is after all just a game so I have high hopes of a very fun time... Although I am already a bit nervous.

Sounds silly but I'm super competitive so anytime I do something new that I really care about I get nervous.
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Old 05-22-2015, 10:40 AM   #2042
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This was fun to read, having so recently returned from France. After our 10 days in Paris, we went on to tour the wine regions of France, starting with Champagne in Epernay and ending with Bordeaux in the Bordeaux valley. I still cannot get over how little a good bottle of wine there costs. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I don't know if you'll be visiting the town of St. Emilion in the Bordeaux region, but it was my favorite wine town of that portion of our trip. Think upscale Napa here in the states, set down in the midst of a medieval village.

Edit: I think it's worth noting that I have disliked goat cheese for a solid 20 years, in spite of repeated attempts to 'get over it.' In the Loire Valley, however, I had goat cheese three times, and found myself actually liking it for the very first time. It was much more subtle in flavor than what I'd experienced previously here in the states. Yet another foodie thing the French do beautifully.
Not visiting Bordeaux this time. We plan to tackle regions south of la Loire and Paris another year, and when we do we will definitely be wine touring!

We love goat cheese - especially aged goat cheese - so we have been looking forward to that part of our Loire valley visit.

Today I had Tomme de Savoie for the first time ever a at breakfast. Had to get the waiter to spell it out for me. Fabulous cheese.
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Old 05-22-2015, 01:46 PM   #2043
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We are headed to Italy again, this time focusing on the south, in September. Arrive in Milan then make our way to Rome to meet with friends. Then Positano (5 days),Capri (2 days), Pompeii, Taormino (5 days) returning home from Rome one month later.

Looking for recommendations for Sicily. Hoping the avoid the refugees in Catania!
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Old 05-22-2015, 02:07 PM   #2044
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Wow, you're going from the north to the very south, Sicily.

Are you traveling within Italy by train or plane?

Will you have a car in Sicily?

On the east coast of Sicily, I don't believe there are as many antique ruins. You have have to get out to Agrigento to see the temples.

I didn't visit Etna while in Taormina.

I liked the Baroque duomos in Siracusa, Noto and Ragusa. They are all beautifully restored, the ones in Siracusa and Noto looked immaculate when I saw them in 2010.

A car would make getting down to Siracusa, Noto and Ragusa easier, though my understanding is that there are good bus services, but not so much the train, as in the rest of Italy.

But they would be long drives from Taormina.

Another thing I didn't get to do is to see the Aeolians. There might be tour operators which run packages of coach to get you out to the NE coast and then ferries or hydrofoils from Taormina. I know they offer them from Palermo, which is much further away than Taormina.
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Old 05-22-2015, 07:20 PM   #2045
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Having enjoyed last month's CDF Horizon transatlantic crossing (post #1992), and anticipating our Med/Adriatic jaunt on the same ship this Fall, we've subsequently booked passage again on the Horizon, departing St Maarten* on March 28, 2016, (stopping at Funchal, (Madeira), and Gibraltar, and arriving in Barcelona April 09.

Thence northern Spain, (or maybe France...or..or..or...)

(*Base price $190US pp, plus Government taxes of $112US pp, plus 'mandatory gratuities' of approx $12US per day pp.......and we love this ship.)
I thought the $37/day all-in was a typo, but I checked...wow that's cheap! It would cost me $350 to get to the departure port, taking me to $66/day. And I could have a European vacation and only need to pay one way airfare (the return). Hmmm...
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Old 05-22-2015, 07:33 PM   #2046
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One week in Hawaii! 5 days in Maui, 2 in Oahu (DW has never been at all). Thinking Wailea for Maui, but may split between a cabin rental and a resort for a couple of days. Staying at the Moana Surfrider on a really great rate for a couple of days in Waikiki.
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Old 05-22-2015, 08:16 PM   #2047
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I thought the $37/day all-in was a typo, but I checked...wow that's cheap! It would cost me $350 to get to the departure port, taking me to $66/day. And I could have a European vacation and only need to pay one way airfare (the return). Hmmm...
Last month's voyage we met a couple from Quebec who had been vacationing in Florida.....2 days before the ship sailed from Santo Domingo she noticed it online...they booked...caught a flight......so see ya aboard! (Another bonus, for us, is that we really like this ship....it's not one of those behemoths that are like floating Six Flags parks...more like ships used to be.)
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Old 05-22-2015, 11:31 PM   #2048
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Night view from hotel.
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File Type: jpg 150522_eiffel_view_from_hotel.jpg (283.9 KB, 17 views)
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Old 05-22-2015, 11:38 PM   #2049
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Beautiful photo, Audrey. I've just been reading that Le Tour Eiffel was shut today as staff protested against rampant, violent pick pocketing.
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Old 05-23-2015, 05:57 AM   #2050
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Beautiful photo, Audrey. I've just been reading that Le Tour Eiffel was shut today as staff protested against rampant, violent pick pocketing.
That's interesting. At least they didn't shut down the lights! We've enjoyed the sparkling light show on the hour at night. Very nice! Kind of looks like champage bubbles.

Our group will visit the Tour Eiffel, going to the 2nd floor. I would be perfectly content to see it at a distance. I'm sure it's included just because the tower is on many people's "must do" list.

So far we were only harassed at an ATM. We knew that the guy would approach us because we saw him approach someone else. I had already completed the transaction before he started trying to speak to us in several languages.

We'll keep an eye out at Tour Eiffel!!! I don't like to hear that the pick pocketing can be violent.

I'm glad we adopted the "no luggage on the Metro" policy. We rode it yesterday, and it was so jam packed - I've never seen subway cars that packed! No elevators either, unlike Germany and Austria.
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Old 05-23-2015, 06:30 AM   #2051
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Nice photo, Audrey. Good timing, too, looks like you have a decent exchange rate.
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Old 05-23-2015, 08:43 AM   #2052
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...

We'll keep an eye out at Tour Eiffel!!! I don't like to hear that the pick pocketing can be violent.
...
Saw an article just this morning in our paper that there was a strike at the Eiffel Tower on Friday (reopened now). Something about staff concerns about pickpockets and 3 staff had received direct threats. They didn't want it to become physical so this was a way of drawing attention to the problem.
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:06 AM   #2053
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We decided to take all the kids on a cruise next June when the last one graduates from college. They are so excited! We will just do a Carnival out of Baltimore - will drive there from Boston to avoid all the hassle of flying to the port. :-)
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:10 AM   #2054
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My husband also wants to go on a kayak trip to the Adirondacks. We did this a few years ago and had a lot of fun. We will go for a week and the the tandem kayak and stay in those lakeside motels at the smaller lakes. We previously went the week of July 4th and had no trouble getting rooms. We drive from the Boston area.
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:12 AM   #2055
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Alaska cruise this coming weekend, Holland America for the first time.
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:54 AM   #2056
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Saw an article just this morning in our paper that there was a strike at the Eiffel Tower on Friday (reopened now). Something about staff concerns about pickpockets and 3 staff had received direct threats. They didn't want it to become physical so this was a way of drawing attention to the problem.
My BIL and his wife had been frequent visitors of Paris renting a furnished apartment for three months every other year for the last 10 years, up until last year. They used it as a home base to travel all over Europe. They have declined not to go back due to the crime and harassment they have encountered (apartment robbed and ransacked, the pick pocket stuff, etc, etc). We visited France years ago when crime and harassment were not as bad, so that's off the bucket list.

I had been to France and other European countries in my working career (1970's to about the late 1990's) many times and always enjoyed the trips and the experiences.

I guess this world is getting to be less safe to travel than it was decades ago. I would guess if DW and I decide to travel abroad anymore, the first thing I would check would be the personal safety and crime statistics of the places we are looking to visit.
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:00 AM   #2057
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Saw an article just this morning in our paper that there was a strike at the Eiffel Tower on Friday (reopened now). Something about staff concerns about pickpockets and 3 staff had received direct threats. They didn't want it to become physical so this was a way of drawing attention to the problem.

Glad to here its back open as I have dinner reservations there Tuesday night. Oh....wait mine are at the Vegas Eiffel Tower so I am good. But you still have to be on lookout for pick pockets there too!


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Old 05-24-2015, 10:10 AM   #2058
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Glad to here its back open as I have dinner reservations there Tuesday night. Oh....wait mine are at the Vegas Eiffel Tower so I am good. But you still have to be on lookout for pick pockets there too!


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When traveling, I usually carry a "drop down" wallet laced with monopoly money and fake credit cards for the thieves and keep my credit cards and cash in my shoe.
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:28 AM   #2059
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.....keep my credit cards and cash in my shoe.
So...'pickshoers' are now on the lookout for people who are limping?
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:45 AM   #2060
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When traveling, I usually carry a "drop down" wallet laced with monopoly money and fake credit cards for the thieves and keep my credit cards and cash in my shoe.

That is a great idea Aja and very thorough. Trouble for me is I am Mr. Flip Flops in Vegas. But every pair of shorts I take are cargo shorts with double button pockets on the thighs. They are not getting my cash stash!


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