Monday, June 18, 2018

Taos Pueblo

What a magic place! It has been inhabited since … well, at least since the Spanish arrived … but the Natives say that this place has been theirs since the beginning of time. I love this idea :-)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

White Sands National Monument

I had seen pictures of the White Sands Monument on Instagram and ever since, I wanted to see for myself. While planning my upcoming trip to the Southwest, I realized that the place was just not "on the way" of all the other sites I wanted to visit. But then, I thought, what the heck, who knew when I'd be back to New Mexico?
So, I picked up my rental car at the Santa Fe's airport and drove 4 hours south to the White Sands Monument. Visited for a couple of hours (the park is open until 9 pm!) and the next day I drove back north again, all the way to Taos.
A lot of road to deal with but it was so totally worth the effort. A magical place. What do you think?
The sky may look cloudy and it was cloudy (it rained the next day and everybody here was so happy about the rain because they had some wildfires all around New Mexico and Colorado and the rain helped put them out!) but wandering around the dunes felt like being in an oven hahahaha
Nevertheless, the clouds were the perfect background for my pictures … for the time being I'll stick just to a few of them. You'll see more once I'm back in Europe!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Santa Fe: Some Pictures

Santa Fe is a cute little town :-)

Albuquerque - Santa Fe ... By Train

While planning my trip to the Southwest of the US, I wanted to do at least one part of my route by train because I love train rides! Luckily, I found the "New Mexico Rail Runner Express" that runs from Albuquerque to Santa Fe (and back, obviously).
I was looking forward to sit on a train, to enjoy the New Mexico landscape and to just let my thoughts wander.
Oh well, let's just say that I indeed sat in a train, that I indeed enjoyed the New Mexico landscape but as for the "letting my thoughts wander"?
Not so much.
How could I have known that this particular train ride is quite the thing to do for the elderly people of Albuquerque? They are doing day trips to Santa Fe and as people that are older as 62 don't have to pay for their tickets … oh my, let's say that the coach felt like being on a field trip! The guy sitting next to me, and I swear that this is the truth, didn't stop talking for a minute. Not one minute. He told us about his jobs, his life, his feelings, etc. etc. etc.
So, you know, the thing about letting my thoughts wander??
I had to hear them first, my thoughts, I mean (SMILE)
(Visualize the scene: me and a coach full of chatty and excited senior citizens! Really, you can't make that stuff up. Real life is always better!)

I didn't mind the noise and their excitement! Just imagine. Some of them had NEVER EVER ridden on a train. So, I understood their excitement and was happy to be part of it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Albuquerque: Some Pictures

I had an easy day in Albuquerque. It's so hot and the air is so dry (only 30% humidity!!) but I love the blue sky and the colors of the houses. I love how, with the green of the trees and the cactuses, it feels like being in a painting. Gotta love it, right? What do you think? Am I wrong?

Monday, June 11, 2018

Made It To Albuquerque, New Mexico

Welcome to New Mexico! I will tell  you more about Albuquerque but today I wanted to share something else actually. Something I was thinking about today, while sitting in the plane to Albuquerque.

While I tell you my impressions of the places I visit, the highs and lows, the cool stuff and the not so cool stuff, I rarely mention what I call the in between times.
The boring times.
The not so sexy times.
The time spent … going from the airport to the hotel. The time spent packing and unpacking. The time spent waiting. Oh my. The time spent waiting! Never ending! Waiting in line to check in. Waiting in line to airport security checks. Waiting for the plane to take off. Waiting for your bags. Etc. Etc.
Not sexy at all.
But so very much and such a very big part of traveling.
Luckily these not so sexy times are always followed by very exciting times … like when you arrive in a new place and you got to discover everything :-) Makes me forget the in between times immediately.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Welcome to Denver, Colorado

I've made it to Denver, Colorado. Our flight was 2 hours late due to a heavy thunderstorm just when we were about to take off. So, we had to wait in the airplane … for the rain to stop :-) On the other hand, nobody was sitting besides me (so I had two seats for myself … yeah!), immigration was super easy and I made it to the hotel before midnight!

Rain, I found out already, is not a word often used here during summer time. Believe me. It's hot in Denver. Like hot hot. 36 °C plus a really nice hot wind. Oh my, I love hot weather but it was too much even for me. Therefore, I stuck to the museums (you know, air conditioning SMILE) (and luckily Denver has some really amazing museums!) and when I was outside, I walked from shade to shade. hahaha Luckily, Denver downtown has lots of trees :-)
I love it here. It's easy going and not overcrowded.

The biggest surprise though were … the snowy mountain tops in the distance. Amazing and it reminded me of the fact that people come here to ski!

I loved the cute details all around downtown

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Almost On The Road Again

I had never thought of traveling this way ... but Pavese is right!


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

June Wish

I have just realized that I have been very lazy (post writing wise) this last month of May. Well, as I mentioned in my latest post, May has been a strange month for me. I had wished for abundance and abundance I received ... just to find out that abundance sometimes can be a bit overwhelming.
Therefore, I have chosen "BREATHE" as my June wish.
When situations become overwhelming, it helps to ... just breathe. I found out. When you breathe, you are IN THE MOMENT and in the moment nothing can overwhelm you.
So, let's take deep breaths and be in the moment this current month!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

It's Almost Time to Hit the Road Again

Oh my. Time flew by. May flew by. I have been pretty busy organizing my upcoming trip to the States … and … honestly speaking … May has been kind of a strange month. I could almost feel the energy in the air. Like electricity. It was exhausting. Some of my friends were having a not so good of a time either … one fell off her bike and broke her arm. The other is still looking for a job. Then this and then that. Some bad news, some good news. Exciting and exhausting at the same time.
But now May is over and I am looking forward to some new energy. Starting with my upcoming trip to the US of A.
I am giddy with excitement and my pre-travel modus operandi set in … as always! These days, I wake up in the middle of the night, mentally rechecking everything. Oh my. Lots and lots of thoughts and as I tend to get a bit anxious, I try to be in the moment and breathe. Breathing helps a lot!

Well, let's stop babbling about my mood and start talking about this upcoming trip to the Southwestern part of America.
I will visit:
Santa Fe
White Sands National Monument
Taos / Taos Pueblo
Mesa Verde National Park
Monument Valley
and from there back to Santa Fe and then back to Denver and then back home.

I will travel by plane, train and a rented car. I plan on walking a lot as well. Ah, and for the Monument Valley I decided on guided tours.

I will keep you updated (I'll take my computer) and share some photos.
For the time being though, I still have some days at the office and some stuff to take care of before I'll take the plane to Denver!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Travel Plans

I have just realized that I have spent zero time writing these last two weeks. Well, I have been (mentally) busy planning, thinking, booking my new trip that will take place in June!
It's my annual "big" trip, you know, my once a year 2/3 weeks away kind of trip. Last year, I went to Costa Rica and Mexico City. Two years ago it was Washington DC and the Delmarva Peninsula.
This year it's gonna be America's (as in USA) Southwest. And this year as well, I have decided for the first time, to do all the booking by myself. Flight, car, hotels, etc. Usually, I plan and book part of my big trip with a travel agency but this year? I don't know. I felt like doing everything by myself.
It's time-consuming, I have to admit, and there are a lot (and I mean A LOT) of decisions to take. But it was also very exciting to do the research and to decide on every detail!
As soon as I will have put everything together, I'll let you in on my plans! It's gonna be ... oh my. I can't wait!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

May Wish

The blooming flowers and trees in May always make me think of abundance. May is, par excellence, the synonym  for abundance. I wish for abundance in our lifes. Not necessarily abundance meant in the sense of more money in the bank account (well, if that is important for you ... go for it!).
I meant more abundance for the immaterial things in our lifes: love, compassion, appreciation, awareness (just to mention a few ... you'll pick what's important for you!)

Have a wonderful May!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Arcachon. Cap Ferret. Some Pictures

As always when visiting a place which touches my heart, taking pictures is difficult. Because feelings are so hard to put on picture :-) I tried anyway.

To start though I thought about adding this map that I found on Pinterest. It may help understand the geography of this special place. Arcachon is located on the Bay of Arcachon and only in Cap Ferret you get the access to the Atlantic Ocean. The Dune du Pilat is located a bit south. I chose not to take the bus to go there but to visit "from the water" ... hence the boat trip. I didn't want to wander the dune but to look at it from the sea.

Here some pictures for you but I suggest that you travel there and go see for yourself :-)

town of Arcachon

the lighthouse of Cap Ferret

Dune du Pilat seen from afar

we got nearer...

The southern tip of Cap Ferret

more Dune du Pilat

It's the biggest dune of Europe with its 110 meter. It grows wider every year and 1-5 meters of land are covered by (or lost to the sand) every year. 

Atlantic Ocean on the western side of Cap Ferret


Dune du Pilat from afar ... again

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Arcachon? Where is Arcachon?

Many people asked me how I came up with the idea of visiting Bordeaux, Arcachon, Cap Ferret. To answer their question, I had to go way back ... more precisely to my first big trip. 

I was 17 when my BFF of that time and I decided to go on an Interrail trip. The Europeans amongst my readers may know what Interrail is, the others may not. Interrail is a railway ticket that is valid on all European railway lines for the duration of one month (I don't know if it's still the case today). We paid 400 Swiss Francs (which was a fortune for me!!!) for the ticket and off we went, the two of us: to Stockholm first (too expensive, we left two days later), Amsterdam was next, Paris, Cap Ferret, Madrid, Porto, Lisbon (where we spent most of the four weeks because ... it was far less expensive than the north!) and back to Zurich.

Of all places we visited, Cap Ferret, honestly, was the one I never forgot. Not that I still had any precise picture in my head. It was more ... a feeling that I never forgot. A feeling of wonder, of beauty, of magic. Of WOW...
My first thought getting off the train in Arcachon last week was indeed one of wonder but not the wonder I'd expected. It was more like ...  
How the hell were we even able to find this town in the first place???
No Internet back then. No interconnected world like today.
How did we even know to take the train from Paris to Bordeaux? Then the train to Arcachon and then the ferry to Cap Ferret????
I re-read my diary from back then just today and apparently we stayed in a Youth Hostel in Cap Ferret.
How did we even know there was a Youth Hostel in Cap Ferret???

I suppose that we talked to other travelers or that we were helped by the railway employees. We certainly figured out the whole traveling business "en route" because we managed the whole thing just fine! :-)

And BTW, the 17 year old me was totally right.
Arcachon and Cap Ferret are places of wonder, of magic.
Places that won a permanent place in my heart. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Bordeaux: Some Words

Spending a couple of days in Bordeaux made me realize how many wonderful "unknown" cities we have in Europe. When talking about Europe, usually the more famous cities like Rome or Florence or Paris or Barcelona (usually the capital cities of our countries) are mentioned. We tend to forget that there are many other smaller cities, not well-known to the traveling public, that are worth visiting.
Bordeaux, in my opinion, is one of those.

I particularly liked the "Quartier Saint Pierre" (the historic part of town) with its old streets and its shops and boulangeries. Most of the shops sell stuff or food that has been produced nearby and you easily find everything to be organic. I loved that. I also adored that in many of the small shops I got to talk to the person who actually "made" the stuff he or she was selling. I loved the friendliness, the openness, the willingness to talk to strangers. That was pretty cool.
What I also loved were the bistrots and cute little bars and restaurants. Oh my, food-wise I could have spent a week there and not been able to try them all out!

I was told that the water front hasn't always been what it is today. There was no boardwalk and the river didn't "belong" to the Bordelais (French name for the people living in Bordeaux). Nowadays though the Bordelais have access to their river and all day long there were joggers and people on their bikes or strolling along the Garonne. Not tourists, mind you ... or at least not many. I saw grandparents with their grandchildren, couples, people sitting on the benches reading the news or a book. Really cool.

If I had to recommend one museum worth visiting, I'd say go to the Musée d'Acquitaine. Wonderful place. It shows the history of Bordeaux (also the not so nice bit with them shipping slaves to the New World). Wonderfully done and very interesting!

And last but not least I was astonished to find the city so biker friendly. I have rarely visited a (French) city where there were so many people on their bikes (and appropriate bike lanes!).

Monday, April 30, 2018

Bordeaux: More Pictures

I loved Bordeaux' street art and its ... doors!


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Trip to the Southwest of France: Bordeaux

I have just spent a couple of (sunny!!) (and very hot!!) days in the southwestern region of France. This destination has been on my bucket list for quite some time but getting there was really complicated ... well, at least until recently. Now, we have a direct flight from Zurich and as soon as I read about this, I had to go! To be honest, I had planned on going to the Baltic Sea in March/April. But then our (long) winter happened and suddenly, when it was time to organize my trip, I craved the south more than the north. I know, I know, but I can't be someone I am not ... hahahaha

Well, anyway, remember this post?
The Gods of Travel have been with me one more time! I got a train back to Arcachon even though Tuesday was a major strike day. Lucky me!!
First things first though. I flew to Bordeaux and spent the first two days there. What a pleasant surprise! A cute little town, with a very nice boardwalk along the river Garonne. I liked the small streets (some of them closed to traffic!), the cute restaurants and bars, the shops, the friendly people. The sun was shining (always a plus!) and within the first couple of steps I found myself in a happy place!

Put it on your travel bucket list! It's totally worth the trip!

Place de la Bourse

So many cute little shops

Porte Dijeaux

Pont de Pierre

River Garonne and Pont de Pierre