Thursday, May 31, 2012

Santa Fe part III

The Basilica of St Francis of Assisi, just one block off of the central plaza, is one of the many Spanish architecture churches and missions in the area.

Also in the center of town is the famous Loretta Chapel which houses the mysterious, miraculous, staircase which draws visitors from all over the world.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Santa Fe part II

Did I mention shopping? Santa Fe is mecca for shoppers with an enormous number of unique boutiques.

It seems to me my husband has a knack for arriving in a town just as the shops are closing...and leaving before they open!
Low humidity and clear skies make for perfect evenings; which is why we enjoy eating on the open rooftop of the Coyote Cafe....that and the good food!
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Santa Fe

Santa Fe, the capitol city of New Mexico is a tourist paradise, that is a must if you are visiting the western USA. It ranks very high on Conde Nast's list of favorite U.S. cities to visit, and rightly so.

A visual feast for art lovers, with over 200 private galleries 

The sun shines here 300 days a year and casts beautiful light on the unusual adobe architecture.
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Monday, May 28, 2012

Colorado Here We Come

I know there are folks that are confused by my header. But, it's really pretty simple. * We live in two places. We have been in south Texas all winter...and like the snow birds, who come south for warmer weather in the winter....we head north for cooler temps in the summer.

That header is the deck of our log home in the mountains of Colorado...that we lovingly refer to as "The Cabin". The air is very thin "up here" as is the population . It is an enormous change to move from the fourth largest city in the U.S to a tiny town high in the San Juan mountains...the county seat of a county that was declared last year as the most remote in the lower forty eight (states). The thin air at nearly 9,000 ft above sea level is too!

 There are a couple of choices on the route to take to get from point A to point B. The shortest route is up through central Texas and continue all the way to the top of the Texas panhandle before turning northwest. But, we decided to go the other way. The picture above is a good example of  the scenery heading due west...through west Texas!
              As is this. The oil seems to be oozing right out of the ground!

After reaching a tiny place, in  what seems like the middle of nowhere, called Ft. Stockton..You turn north through the state of New Mexico.
This is the museum in the little town of Roswell, New Mexico. There is a wild story about a "space ship" landing in Roswell back in the 1940's; something they've really capitalized on.
We are going to over-night in New Mexico's crown jewel....Santa Fe. Come back tomorrow and I will  show you why I call it that!

*When I return south, in the Fall this year....I'll change my reflect my surroundings in south Texas!
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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Keukenhof Gardens

Most of the friends traveling with us, on the river cruise, decided to stay over in Amsterdam. High on our list was visiting the famous Kuekenhof Gardens open only from mid March to mid May.

I promise you can fill up your camera's whole memory card  with a visit here.

We took a bus tour from Amsterdam that left us in the park for five hours! And we were thrilled that is was such a beautiful sunny day!

I suggest you take an allergy pill of you are allergic to flowers! They are everywhere!

As you can imagine, this was a very popular structure to tour in the park!

Staying over three additional nights in Amsterdam, at the end of the cruise ,were easily filled with visits to the Rijks ,Van Gogh and Hermitage museums. As well as the Anne Frank and Rembrandt houses and side trips to Volendam and Marken and Delft.
That brings us to the end of a wonderful trip....
but, I have been publishing this from the road. Come back tomorrow to find out where I am!
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Saturday, May 26, 2012


Remember back when you were in elementary school, and you had the opportunity to have a "pen pal"? Well, I think having blogger friends is the 21st century's answer to pen pals. When I announced on my blog, that I was coming to Amsterdam, fellow blogger Marianne (and her husband SC, also a blogger) from the blog offered to take me on a walking tour of their hometown, Amsterdam!

I forgot to mention that about half of the 42 people from Houston, traveling with us, also stayed over in Amsterdam, and Marianne and SC said "bring along anyone who wants to come". So ,on the Sunday that we had set aside, at least 15 of them said "of course we want to go".! It turned out to be the highlight of our visit, and thankfully a beautiful  and sunny afternoon.

High on the list of the favorite things they showed us, was a hidden oasis, the Beginhof courtyard, dating back to the 14th century. A sanctuary and home to unmarried religious women of the time. You will find Amsterdam's oldest "wooden" house in this beautiful courtyard as well, and an English Reformed Church.
Following our tour, Marianne and SC (pictured above) had the brilliant idea of all of us going to lunch at the food court of a nearby high end department store. I am not sure how I can ever re-pay them....But, I hope they will trek over to the U.S. someday and let me try!
Come back tomorrow. We are headed to Holland's pride and joy: The Keukenhof Gardens
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Friday, May 25, 2012


After a long and restful afternoon of sailing' and a fun night at dinner, we pulled into the harbor of Amsterdam the next morning at day-break.

Amsterdam seems to be a contrast of life-styles. Famous for their liberal attitude toward several vices that are illegal in most places, it also oozes with sophistication, charm and culture. There must be more museums in this city than anywhere in the world and so many canals that you could easily mistake it for Venice!

Included at this stop was a canal cruise in  one of the famous glass top boats.

 and finally, Tom being Tom!

After seven glorious nights on Avalon's Felicity, we have packed up and left the ship and have checked  into the RHO Hotel just of of Dam Square in Amsterdam. Come back tomorrow when I meet up with a fellow blogger!
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Heading on north (down river) we made a rather short stop in the bustling town of Koblenz where the Rhine meets the Danub. My husband and I skipped the tour, and sought out and ice cream shop which we enjoyed while strolling under the  enormous statue of the German Emperor William 1st.

We did join the tour in Cologne,where I spotted these colorful houses near the river.. Listening to the tour guide I learned that not only is there a rivalry between Dusseldorf and Cologne but a huge one between the residents of the east and west sides of the river....even though both sides are residents of Cologne!

It is impossible to miss the enormous cathedral that sits riverside ( flanked by the train station on one side). It was another perfect day, and after touring the cathedral, we enjoyed strolling through the busy shopping streets. It's nice to know, when you are tired out from sightseeing... that your beautiful ship is docked nearby and the crew is busily preparing a five course meal to serve you on pretty white tablecloths. I could learn to live like this!
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The Rhine Gorge

We could hardly wait for the day our river cruise finally arrived on The Middle Rhine. This area, also called the Rhine Gorge, has a castle almost every half mile. The only problem is the day dawned cloudy, cold and windy. Folks would pop out on deck just long enough to capture a picture, and run back inside. Many of us were even wrapped in blankets .The crew tried their best to make things festive by  passing trays of strawberry adorned champagne. We, on the other  hand, were lined up for the coffee and hot chocolate!

Despite the weather the area was not a disappointment.

The Marksburg, a favorite, and the only castle that somehow managed to escape damage during the many wars in this area!
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rudesheim, Germany part two

And now..back to the second half of that stop in Rudesheim. You probably think ...that ship is going in circles on the Rhine!.....After thoroughly enjoying the Music Box Museum we were treated to a coffee with brandy and whipped cream at a local restaurant. Rudesheim is a treat with narrow streets, cute eating establishments, and a lot of souvenir shops!

There is a chair lift over the vineyards to the top of the hill (for a nominal fee) where there is a famous statue; which at this time was being repaired, and was covered up. But, the ride , in the open air chair lift, is peaceful and beautiful. The views at the top are pretty too, on a nice day, and worth a walk around.

My husband and a friend decided they needed exercise and walked the 2.2km back down. They advise paying attention to the directional signs as they got off course a couple of times! The day in Rudesheim put a smile on my face!
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Back Tracking

Oops! I was going to tell you about the second half of the excursion to the cuckoo clock shop!
With a name like Schwarzwalden Freilichtmuseum Vogtsbauernhof (Black Forest Open Air Museum) is it any wonder I forgot!? What a neat place ! It's an educational look back into farm life in the 16th through 18th centuries, showcasing  several homes (with animals and people sharing the same thatched roof) and other structures that would make up a farm village.

Local craftsmen, in period outfits, were demonstrating such things as weaving, cooking and gardening.

and real life farm animals that seemed eager to meet you! Problem is our visit was too short!. I vote to scratch the Cuckoo Shop a spend more time here!
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rudeshiem, Germany

The river cruise tour, at our stop in Rudesheim, Germany included a walk through Siegfried Wendel's Mechanical Music Museum. I felt sure it was another touristy spot and wasn't too excited. But, by golly, I was wrong. The privately owned collection, housed in this castle like building, displayed over 350 self playing musical instruments. All the collection of one man.

You will marvel at these restored instruments on this well done tour! Groups are divided into manageable sizes, and lead through by guides dressed in nineteenth century costumes. If you find yourself in Rudesheim...don't miss this place!
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