I began, to start, or attempt to blog almost two years ago. I was looking for a change in my life and really wasn’t sure where that would lead. My sons were mostly grown and I wanted a new life. Finances were no longer a huge issue and I began traveling.
I intended to travel, write, photograph, expand my horizons and relocate with my teen. Life quickly took its own turns. After about a year of juggling travel adventures and my full time job, my long distance best friend and I decided to become a team and get married.
I relocated to his home, about 1000 miles north of my lifelong Florida home shortly after. And then began learning who I was as a married woman. We had plans of travel near and far, which may happen someday but I quickly fell into a pattern of being a homebody. Learning to cook, care for a home, with actual time to do so and explore my hobbies. Lack of a strong schedule and routine, put me into a slump and it felt like I was getting nowhere and succombing to pandemic fatigue. Determined to do some of the things, I always dreamed I came up with a plan. Exploring new recipes, new ideas, a little gardening (although I found many distractions from needed weeding), raising chickens and finally getting goats.
As a young girl, I always loved time at my cousins with chickens, rabbits, skunks, geese, goats, an old pony and Bo (a horse who never knew he was a horse) . I had talked for years of someday having chickens and a goat….and finally I do.
Traveling is put on hold, due to both this pandemic, life and the fact that my goats do not travel well, and that is okay.
So what now?
I have my chickens, 3 pregnant dairy goats, and more eggs than I care to count. I love sharing fresh eggs with others, and am doing lots of research on milking goats and making goat cheese, yogurt and butter.
Amsterdam isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of family vacation, but that is where we found ourselves last summer with ten of us in age range from my 14 year old son, to Yaya. However, no matter what your stereotypical impression of Amsterdam may be, it was PERFECT.
Our trip took place in June of 2019. We all met in the City after traveling from our various locations. This was actually the first step of our trip before boarding a train to Denmark, where my sister and her husband call Home.
We immediately found this city to be beautiful with its canals, houseboats, medieval style architecture, cafes, pubs, art museums and full of history. Even being a couple of miles from the Central station area, we had no difficulty walking from place to place, and if we weren’t feeling the walk, it was easy enough to jump on one of the City’s trams.
There are canals everywhere around the City. Fun fact, there are more canals here than in Venice, Italy. Boats tied up along the canals range from row boats and kayaks to sailboats, motor boats and pontoon boats, as well as barge style house boats. Boating appears to be as much a way of life in Amsterdam, as bicycling. Bicycling is the locals main mode of transportation around the city. We joked when crossing the street, you had to first get past the hectic, wide bicycle lane, then the tram track, then look again to make sure no buses or cars were coming. Crossing a busy intersection can take some time. A boat tour from Centraal Station takes you around the cities canals providing a detailed history of the city, canals, architecture and it is definitely something you do not want to miss.
Rijks museum and the Van Gogh museum are in the same area surrounded by a large open space park (called museumplein) full of people relaxing and taking in the beautiful day. Both museums were pretty busy and purchasing tickets in advance is a good idea. Between the two museums are a number of street vendors selling souveniers and food. We ate at one of the lovely hotdog vendors, while some of our party searched the souvenier stands for the perfect thing to take home. Thee is also a supermarket just below the hill where you can buy picnic supplies for your time in the park.
We hit the supermarket for snacks, energy drinks and beer and headed to Vondel park for some more relaxation time. Vondel Park was full of people of all ages, walking, bicycling, chilling, napping and someone walking through park playing music, which part of our group followed.
Amsterdam definitely offered something for everyone and was a great place for our family vacation.
Summer of last year I moved from Florida to Ohio. Once here I set out to familiarize myself with my new surroundings. I became fascinated and intrigued with the local covered bridges. I set out to betray these in the best light I could with my Canon EOS Rebel T5.
The Hueston Woods Covered Bridge is the newest built covered bridge in Preble County, built in 2012. It is located on Camden College Corner Road between Buck Paxton Road and Hedge Row Road. For you architecture and engineering buffs, it is a single span modified Burr Arch design, spanning 108 feet, with two six foot walkways along the sides that offer safe passage and a scenic view to pedestrian traffic. The burr-arch design was chosen to pay homage to Roberts Covered Bridge which was closed to traffic in 1986 due to arson.
Roberts Covered Bridge is a historical landmark. It is Ohio’s oldest covered bridge and the last existing sample of a double barreled or dual wagoned bridge in the state. (1 of 6 in the United States.) This bridge was built in 1829. It originally spanned seven mile creek, three miles south of Eaton. It is now resting in a city park in South West Eaton over seven mile creek.
Black Covered Bridge is my favorite. Black Covered Bridge a/k/a Pugh’s Mill is located in Oxford, Ohio. It is one of the two remaining covered bridges in Butler County, and on its original site. Constructed in 1968 to give access to a saw and grist mill on four mile creek. Black Covered Bridge is unique for its combination of two trust types-child and Longworth in a single structure.
Bebb Park Bridge was built in 1868 and originally spanned the Great Miami River in Middletown. In 1886 it was relocated to Fairfield Road at Indian Creek, and then in 1966 moved to Governor Bebb Park where it stands today. It is thought to be a wernway truss design, but there seems to be some question on this.
Brubaker Covered Bridge is near Gratis. Built in 1887 and found on Brubaker Road across Sam’s Run Creek. At 85 feet in length it is 1 of 7 remaining Child’s truss bridges left in United States.
Geeting Bridge crosses Price Creek on Price Road, West of Lewisburg. Built in 1894 with a 101 foot span. I did not find a lot of information on this bridge.
There is so much more to Paris that the Eiffel tower. How could one take it all in, on a limited time? I had 23 hours from the time I arrived at Paris airport, till the time I needed to return to the airport for my return trip to Florida.
As I previously wrote, I was on a mission to see the Eiffel tower. Conveniently located near the Eiffel tower, I took a boat tour on the Seine at sunset. During the evening time, and dusk rapidly approaching, I did not hop on and off at all the sites. Instead, I chose to take in the beauty of the Parisian sunset and take in the views from the boat. This was perfect timing to save glimpses of Notre Dame; Musee D’ Orsay; Invalides; Jarden Des Plantes; and the Louvre. As the boat traveled, people gathered along the walls of the river. Some sharing a bottle of wine with a friend, playing checkers, a few lively dance parties, or the occasional couple slow dancing, and some individuals enjoying the night by themselves, but “together” we shared the end of the day in the beauty of the sunset.
That evening, as I tiredly took my final steps back to the hostel, warm thoughts went through my mind. I had done it, one solo day in a beautiful foreign place. I did not feel alone, but very much a part of it all.
Morning came early as I woke at 6:00 a.m. I had to make the most of my limited time. Grabbed a croissant and small juice in the hostel lobby and headed on my way. I planned on checking out a few greenspaces. I enjoyed the little parks, walked a little way and jumped on the metro and got close to where I believed I wanted to be. The metro was NOT intimidating for this Florida girl. (WOW, who was I? I was already changing. I hadn’t had a conversation in hours and I was loving the time with myself.) I got off at my stop, rounded the streets, and space began to open up to a park, garden, and Palais Du Luxemberg. I never went up to the palace, just enjoyed the breathtaking surroundings.
I spent the rest of the morning at Jardin Du Luxembourg. I admired the many statutes and fountains, photographed the flowers and watched a band practice in the distance of the park. Enjoyed an ice creek cone, and sat in 3 different spots along the park to read a book. Just before heading away, I had to find the fountain I had read about, The Medici Fountain. I had read so much through the years about Catherine Medici, so I had to see the fountain she wanted put in these gardens.
Is Paris the City of Romance? I do not know, but that short visit changed me and taught me to love myself.
Among the must see places in the West Jutland of Denmark is Ribe. It is a beautiful, colorful medieval town which propels you back in time. I am continually amazed at the beauty, color and amazing architecture every time I look through my photographs. This place was truly charming with it’s halftimbered housed lining cobblestone streets as well as the Cathedral in the center of town.
If you decide to spend the day you must visit the Viking Center where you will get a glimpse at early Viking life. The demonstrations show marketplaces, housing, farms, hands on activities and games.
If you find yourself in southwestern Denmark, travel back in time at the Viking center, take a stroll down the cobblestone streets of Ribe, and stop for local cuisine, a locally brewed beer, dried flatfish and marsh lamb.
I had always heard of Paris as called the City of Love, or Romance, and have heard it said to be a very romantic place. None of those thoughts came to my mind as a strolled through the roadways. Six months earlier, I never in my craziest thoughts expected to have a passport, or leave the U.S. but there I was.
My sister had moved to Denmark a few months before, and I had made the decision to take money that I had saved for a wedding that now, wasn’t going to happen, and visit her. As flights were booked, I thought, hmm, a two day detour could work…with the only thing I wanted to do is sit in front of the Eiffel tower with coffee and a croissant.
I had carefully planned everything out. Left my sister in Hamburg, Germany as I took the short flight to Paris. Had my offline map downloaded, a booking at the 3 Ducks Hostel, and a plan for getting there on the metro.
Now let me tell you, I am not brave, hated being alone, hated being out of my comfort zone, hated feeling alone, but as I found my way off the S train and to my metro stop and came out along the streets of Paris, I never felt less alone in my life.
I rounded the streets, taking in the sights of the enchanting buildings lined the roadway and found my Hostel. A cozy little place were you entered a little pub. checked in and rounded the spiral staircase to my shared room. I immediately changed my outfit, as it was a sweltering 85 degrees that afternoon, locked up my backpack and left in search of my destination, the iconic Eiffel Tower.
As I rounded the streets, about 10 minutes away, there it was peaking from behind the buildings. The streets had been relatively quiet but as I approached there were vendors, sprawled out on the ground with toys and trinkets, Eiffel towel figurines of different types and sizes, all working to beat the others prices. As you stepped through the paths, and crossed the road there were loud murmurings of guides, shouting out the reminder “Watch for pickpockets” “hold belongs tight”, as everyone bustled very close through the crosswalks to get a better view.
At this point, I had completely forgot of the thought to take a selfie with a coffee and a croissant. I just took in the magic of these place I never imagined seeing in real life. A movie time visionary. I wondered pass the carousel, down some steps to the walkway on the Seine and took in what I do believe is my favorite visual memory, seeing artistry on the steps while looking up at the carousel and tower in the background. As the night sky began, things began to light up, music came on and I saw “the City of Lights” in all its splendor. So I sat, quietly, by myself, taking in the beauty and eating a panini.
Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton