Mostly Leslie, Chicago Local

Chicago Cousin
Chicago Cousin

We broke up our long flight to Europe by spending a few days in Chicago to see the city AND my formerly California girl cousin, Leslie. She has been in Chicago for several years now and should be on their Chamber of Commerce, her enthusiasm is infectious.  We’ve had a wonderful day catching up, sharing memories of our grandmother,  Gertie , walking, walking and eating.

I don’t know of anywhere else in the world that has more striking and varied architecture than Chicago. The Chicago Architecture Foundation has a wonderful boat tour down the Chicago River for an hour and half.        I was just fascinated. The history of Chicago is written in the monumental buildings that fearlessly shoot up to the sky and make me gasp with delight.  Somehow this city that was the crossroads of America, where monuments to capitalism were erected many decades ago has managed to rethink the waterfront and repurpose them into awesome living spaces, “warehouse to our house”.  Further, they  continually invite new architectural styles to play.  The city will look different in just a few years as they complete the full river walk and add at least four major skyscrapers.  It is fitting that we travel to ancient sights in Europe after touching lightly in this mighty, robust American city.

I give you Chicago. It is not London and Harvard.It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from snout to tail.  H. L. Mencken











Great Start in Chicago

Chicago Air BnB Old Town
Chicago Air BnB Old Town


Dave’s taxi picked us up a little earlier than our scheduled 4:45AM pick up. We got pre TSA randomly marked on our boarding passes, so we didn’t  have to take off shoes, take out liquids, take off coats.  We felt so VIP.  Since we packed in only carryons we swept past others to the taxis and under 30 minutes later we were in our old brownstone in a WONDERFUL neighborhood of Old Town in North Chicago.  We are  nearly across from Lincoln Park and the lake.  I adore this wonderful neighborhood, which I have never seen before.

The Renegade Craft Fair was set up in Wicker Park (we think this is part of Oak Park)  and we needed a stretch.  So, about 3 mi walking, we got to

Chicago Renegade Craft Fair
Chicago Renegade Craft Fair

a city of booths set up on Division Street. It was swarming with shoppers, but fun to see.  Didn’t buy a thing because: 1)  I wasn’t really tempted by anything. 2) Not much will fit in my carryon case. 3) I don’t want to cart things around for 6 weeks.  We did enjoy some extremely refreshing watermelon spritzers.  They advertised them as cold pressed, natural sodas. I must remember these! The weather has been great, mid-70s. We missed humidity and higher temps, and we hope to fly out of here before an anticipated storm.

Certainly, we added another mile to our total by walking around the huge street fair and treated ourselves to a taxi back to “our neighborhood”, oh, and a beer.  Corcoran’s is an Irish pub, across from Second City, and a short walk back to our brownstone.  Lovely, lovely day!  This is such a vibrant, fun-loving city.

Corcoran's Irish Pub
Corcoran’s Irish Pub

Brittany, Alsace and Rhine Cruise, 6 weeks

We leaving early Sunday morning to:

  • learn more about D-Day as we stay in Normandy, Arronmaches-les-bain
  • explore the walled city where Corsairs, thieves and rogues spent booty and prepared for more raids – Saint Malo
  • eat fresh oysters off the boats in Brittany, Cancale
  • walk the Broceliande Forest, where many believe was the true location of King Arthur and his round table
  • stay in a cider farm, walk the beaches of Finistere (the end of the earth), wander medieval towns
  • commune with ancient stones, which are older than the Great Pyramids or Stonehenge
  • listen to great Celtic music, in France
  • drive the wine trail in Alsace
  • visit a German spa (in the nude)
  • As always, we hope eat and drink very well, and take lots of notes.

We are also going to travel “Rick Steves style”, only a carry-on and a tote each. – I think….

Barry and I hope that you will “join” us by following along.  You can subscribe with your email to get updates.

I am not going to do the email journals this trip, but do have a spiffy new WordPress site, with a little help from my amazing daughter.   I am putting formerly retired blogs back online:  Polynesia, South America, Spain, Greece, Italy, Alaska and more….OH, and please do leave a comment, we love hearing from you.

We are only traveling with a carry on and a small tote.
We are only traveling with a carry on and a small tote.

(I promised Barry that I wouldn’t say that I am traveling with these 3 old bags.  tee-hee)

Pacific Paradise

Bora Bora, ah!
Bora Bora, ah!

 Hawaii & Polynesia, Sapphire Princess

Waterfall in Hilo
Waterfall in Hilo

At first I didn’t want to take this cruise. It begins in the middle of October, after all, which is the beginning of my favorite time in Sacramento. Summer has ripened me. We have had our fill of swimming, sun block, big hats and gardening tomatoes, basil and eggplant. As the evenings are getting cooler and the millions of Land Park leaves are starting to release from their trees, as the first soups of the season start to warm the kitchen, do I want to prolong my summer? Also, I just hate to miss Halloween’s colors and costumes and cider and silly movies. Mostly, I will miss my little grandbabie’s costumes and jack-o-lanterns and dear, dear hugs. We won’t be back until November 20.

Continue reading Pacific Paradise

South America


Preparing for a trip to South America Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Florida and the Caribbean(to paraphrase MasterCard::

  • $500 for Brazilian visas (with processing fees)
  • $320 for Argentine visas, aprox. same to come for Chilean visa
  • Well over $1,000 for hepatitis a, b and yellow fever shots, typhoid pills, travelers diarrhea pills, travel clinic consultation, permethrin, anti-anxiety pills (so I make it over the Andes in a bus) When I am hanging permethrin soaked travel clothes, (to keep mosquitoes away from us and reduce risk of malaria and dengue fever.  Permethrin has to drip dry, can’t go in the dryer) , in 32 degree NorCal weather

It’s priceless! We are planning to have a wonderful journey and hope you will follow along with us on this blog. We leave for Miami tomorrow!

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Tasting All that LIfe has to Offer