Sunday, November 4, 2018

2018 Trip to Alaska Railroad Trip from Anchorage to Seward



      The last trip of the summer was our meet-up with our son and his family for an Alaska Railroad trip from Anchorage to Seward, Alaska. This was our second time to take this trip because we enjoyed it so much the first time that we decided to take the overnight trip and stayed at a hotel in Seward to enjoy more of the sights and shops in the town as well as the wonderful aquarium.  
      The train is fabulous, having upgraded seating on the top domed level which allows you to see both sides and the sky above you with an unobstructed view.  Along the way we saw all sorts of birds, antelopes and even porpoises in the waters. Even though part of the trip was cloudy the views were still spectacular. When you take the upgraded first class trip you are even treated to meals in the dining room during car, as well as a bar with drinks and snacks whenever you want them. The trip takes about 4 hours each way.
      Before the railroad trip we also enjoyed a couple of days at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer, as well as plenty of shopping in Anchorage. The best part of the trip was being with our wonderful family, of course. How precious are the memories!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Paris Trip 2018

      I finally got around to going through our September Paris trip photos.  I'm beginning to think the job of sorting and editing is not my favorite part of traveling. I kept hoping Sweetface would get in the mood to take care of the photos, but he is busier than I am apparently. Hopefully we will get around to making a photo book before the year is over.
      Paris was uncharacteristically warm for the end of September, but it was still cooler than our home in the Midwest, so we were fine with that. Our travel agent put us up in his favorite hotel, and we loved it. It was right on the corner by the Arc de Triomphe, overlooking a couple of lovely French bistros with the outdoor tables across the street--so very romantic. I especially liked our little balcony with the classic French black wrought iron railing, and sitting there eating a treat from L'Occitane, just a short walk up the Champs-Elyse'es.  I went in L'Occitane because they have my very favorite soaps and toiletries, and was stunned to see the Paris store had a fabulous bakery replete with tables and chairs right there in the store! The stores and restaurants were all pretty amazing, as well as the historical sites of course. So we walked a lot, as well as rode the red Hop On-Hop Off bus, and still managed to enjoy our cozy little room in the evenings. 
      The narrow little side streets near the Notre Dame cathedral were my favorites--so colorful and unique. That is always more interesting to me than all the large chain stores, even in that famous venue. Tiny stores with a shop cat in the doorway are such an adventure. Sweetface and I found small treasures to squeeze into our luggage as souvenirs for our friends, family and ourselves.  He selected a tiny colorful Melamine tray with a street map of Paris to sit on his desk. He keeps his cup of coffee on it now.  I found little square tin boxes of scented soaps with colorful pictures on the lids to bring home and kept one for myself. But my favorite find was a large silver plated ladle inscribed with my husband's monogram, discovered at a corner street brocanteur's wares. I use it now every time I make soup, making me savor sweet memories of Paris as well as our meal.  

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Summer Travels #2: London, England

Summer 2018 Travels #2: 

London, England




      We headed from Scotland for England with daughter Erin and son-in-law Sean. We stayed in the newly renovated Principal Hotel in downtown London. It was beautiful! London was so much fun, seeing the historical sights and enjoying a variety of restaurants. We walked miles and miles, and rode the red hop-on-hop-off bus for hours. Erin and Sean were such fun to travel with, as were their friends from the U.S. who stayed at the same hotel. 
     The thing I loved most about London was not as much the city itself but the people in it.  I stopped in a diner to get a cold root beer to go, and when I tried to sort out my Euros for payment the handsome young man behind the counter refused to let me pay saying, "You're so nice." I was so taken aback it brought tears to my eyes. Such unexpected kindness can do that.      And I'll never forget my conversations with the beautiful girls in the indy pop-up shops, like the one where college-age girls stamped handmade paper goods, or the one where I purchased a hand stamped tote bag. Or most especially the one where a young woman and her sister had moved from Turkey to London to attend "Uni".  She studied bookeeping while her sister studied clothing design, and they impulsively opened a shop filled with the most wonderful clothes they had made from colorful Turkish towels. We talked for the longest time about random things. She was surprised to know that I know how to make Bakalava (she wished she did.) I asked how she had acquired such excellent English, which was by watching American TV shows while growing up in her hometown of Istanbul.  She asked if I thought she sounded more British or American in her accent. "Oh, very American," I replied, to which she was delighted! 
     At the end of our stay Erin and Sean traveled on with their friends to see the more of the English countryside.  (A couple of weeks after that Erin and Sean, having completed his year of studies at the University of Edinburgh, packed up and moved back home to Denver.) We wished we had time to go with them to visit more of England, but had already made arrangements to go on to Paris, which I will show you next time.
     Thanks for stopping in for a visit--I hope these little journal notes are of interest to you!
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