Category Archives: Vacation

Tourist activities

Another trip to Italy coming up this fall. What do you think of my itinerary?

We can start at the Egizio Museum, have a coffee at the Piazza, swing by the GATES OF HELL and maybe round up the day at the cinema?

 

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Dress her like a squirell

Saw this graffiti on my vacation. I don’t know what it means, but I like it.

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Bathroom decoration

My son ran out of a restaurant bathroom in Italy very frightened.

“I can’t go! This man with a huge head keeps staring at me!”

So of course I had to check it out.

He was right.

School lunch

My son recently got back from a school trip to Tallinn, Estonia where his class visited another school. A nice parent took pictures (because in 4 days my son only took one), and he included a photo of the school cafeteria lunch.

When I saw it, I said, “Wow! That’s like a real lunch with real food on real plates!”

My husband thought I was a weirdo for saying that. He said, “They didn’t serve you on plates at your school?”

I said, “No, it was always rectangle plastic trays and usually rectangle food.”

Estonia, I am impressed!

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Food trucks

We may finally have hamburger and taco trucks in Stockholm, but we still haven’t reached Lisbon’s standards:

Flea market finds

At a flea market in Lisbon last weekend. If only it could have fit in my suitcase.

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Spara

It’s dangerous to be an archaeologist

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Ah, the comforting sound of the… peacock?

On our upcoming trip to Portugal, our hotel shows photos of peacocks that roam the walls and streets of the area. This was charming and exotic when we booked, but lately, I’ve been reminded of the sound a peacock makes. This may not be the relaxing trip we were hoping for.

Jellyfish and wine

My husband and I are soon leaving on a long weekend trip to Portugal. I was able to pack for the trip 3 months ago as the temperatures between Lisbon and Stockholm differ 25 degrees. That’s Celsius of course. After 17 years of turning my brain away from  Fahrenheit, I’m too tired to switch back again. Google it.

In preparing for this trip, I realized that I know nothing about Portugal except for the dangerous ‘Portuguese Man o’ War’ jellyfish, which apparently doesn’t have much to do with Portugal except that the shape looks like an old 1800s Portuguese war ship. I guess you learn something every day, though what I needed to learn was something about Portugal.

At this point, I’ve researched castles, churches, restaurants, local food, customs, etc. My husband prefers to go with the flow and research nothing, except possibly a restaurant or two. I think our traveling styles probably compliment each other. I like to know that I’m not missing anything by researching carefully before leaving. My husband likes to simply discover things he didn’t know about, which must work out great for him since I lead us to places where things are actually interesting.

When asking him if he knew what kind of food the Portuguese like to eat, he replied, ‘I know they drink wine, so we’re good.’

He doesn’t care much for seafood though, so unless the wine can take away fish taste, he might end up a bit hungry. Luckily his amazing wife, me, has done plenty of tapas, steak and pasta research.  I should totally start a travel agency.

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Your guide to Venice (or, yes, I’m still bored)

I’ve made a family fun guide to Venice in case anyone’s looking to convince their family that this is the place to go!

Super Awesome Travel Video (or what I do when I’m bored)

Some friends of mine are going to Nice in April and asked if I had any tips. I decided to make them this handy 1-minute travel video. I think I may have a career in professional video making (in the 80s). What do you think?

Back from Italy

We’ve been in Italy the past week, offline and relaxing.

People ask me, “Why are you always going to Italy?”

I think you can see here just why Italy is so great:

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Conversations in Italian

I like to travel with my family to Italy twice a year, so I study at least two lessons a day on my Italian Rosetta Stone program. It’s a great program, but sometimes I get too involved in the attitudes and lives of the people in the pictures.

Example in the pictures below:

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These people greet each other (they look like they’re on a date), then the girl asks the guy how he’s doing.

He says he’s fine and asks her how she’s doing.

She says she’s COLD!

Then they go to the performance and then say goodnight. She has no extra jacket on.

So in my eyes, this guy is a jerk and didn’t even respond when she complained that she was cold. Where’s the panel where he offers a jacket or rushes her inside to the warmth? It’s like he just ignores her and then dumps her at the end of the performance back on the cold street.

I’m waiting for more advanced lessons when there will be more panels that teach me how to say, “You’re a jerk.” “Why aren’t you listening?” “Give me my money back!” “This show is terrible!”

But that’s probably more around level 15. For now, I’m stuck on bad Italian dates.

 

The only way I will fly Delta

So Delta airlines had pizza delivered to waiting passengers on a plane during the recent delays caused by their computer system. My thoughts:

  1. Can we please just do this every time instead of airline food? I will pay extra.
  2. Do the delivery guys get tips in airline tickets?
  3. And still, Pizza Hut won’t deliver to my neighborhood.

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Seat saving criminals

Italy is now handing out fines to people who hog beach space by setting up umbrellas and towels overnight in order to have prime space in the morning, or people who take up way too much space with empty towels and chairs waiting on friends who may not be coming for hours.

Article here: http://tinyurl.com/j6ylopj

I think this is a great policy!

The next move is to extend these fines to school performances. Every year at my youngest son’s Christmas and End-of-School performances, parents fight like they’re trying to board a RyanAir plane to get the best seats and then proceed to throw jackets over about 5 other chairs for grandmothers, aunts and angry teenagers who didn’t even want to come in the first place.

Didn’t we learn this lesson back in elementary school as students?  No saving seats!  If a 5-year old can understand, so can a 35-year old.

I say, a €200 fine for each seat with a jacket thrown over it, plus that family has to make all the snacks for the next performance.

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Isn’t this how everyone boards RyanAir?

Apparently a RyanAir passenger was late for his flight and decided to run for his plane on the tarmac. CNN may be shocked, but to me, this is basically how one normally boards RyanAir.

I wrote about this airline in my book. We took it only once and decided NEVER AGAIN!

To board a RyanAir plane, the normal procedure is to make a mad dash across the tarmac to the two sets of stairs leading to the front and rear of the plane. Because seats are not assigned, people push aside the elderly and infirm to get a prime position.

Granted, the plane still had stairs and WANTED us to board for our one experience with the airline, while the man in the news story seems to be chasing a moving plane, but I still say it doesn’t seem that much of a stretch from normal RyanAir boarding procedures.

And to emphasize my point, RyanAir actually let the man on the plane.

Article here: http://tinyurl.com/h6slz5k

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No politics at all !

Just reminding everyone that I have a new book out – “As Long as I Have My Own Bathroom” – which is great summer reading while you’re on vacation, but most of all, IT CONTAINS ABSOLUTELY NO POLITICS!

For sale in the U.S. here – https://amzn.com/1530292964

For sale at other Amazons, such as – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1530292964

For sale in Sweden here – http://tinyurl.com/zfjql79

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A day at the beach

While many of our friends were posting pictures from their beach vacations on the Mediterranean, we were on the Texas Gulf Coast where we were subjected to warnings about avoiding the beaches because they contained flesh-eating bacteria, sea lice, alligators, sharks, and snakes in the sand dunes. I wish I was making this up, but I’m not.

I thought it would be hard to convince my kids not to get in the water at the beach, but it turns out when you let them read an article about a man losing his leg at that beach the week before and how people are breaking out in rashes from sea lice, they kind of decide for themselves not to get in the water.

And just in case you don’t believe me and think, “But why would people even live in that area if there were alligators, snakes, sharks, lice and flesh-eating bacteria?” here’s one of the articles that was in the local paper:

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My children are brought to you by …

One drawback of having children in Sweden who NEVER see t.v. commercials is that they become quite overwhelmed by them when we visit the U.S. After about a week, my youngest was saying things like, “This breakfast today is sponsored by…” and “Brushing my teeth is brought to you by …”

I guess I should be glad they are adapting to the customs and language.

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Customs video FAIL

As usual, when we arrived in the U.S. last month, we were subjected to a special video that re-played every three minutes while we waited in the long line at immigration/customs.

At least this year there was a new video. I was really getting tired of listening to super-happy people repeating, “I am America…… I am America…. I am America” over and over. I kept thinking, “Where’s the angry lady that shouts at me when I don’t have correct change for the toll? Isn’t SHE America? And where’s the guy who cut me off and stole my parking space last year in Texas? Isn’t HE also America? I don’t see these people in the video.”

But anyway, this year’s video for customs was a little instructional piece for stupid people and children explaining why we have to stand in an hour long line to enter the country. In one part of the video, a little girl asks a customs official, “Why are you taking my mommy’s fingerprints?” and the man replies, “I’m making sure she really IS your mommy and not someone PRETENDING to be your mommy.”

What kind of psychological damage is that customs offical subjecting that little girl to? “My mommy may not be my mommy but someone PRETENDING to be my mommy?!  AHHHHH!!!!!”

Another fail for the customs video writers. My suggestion is simply to run some Tom & Jerry cartoons like they used to do at Six Flags Amusement Parks while I waited in line. Trust me, I get just as much useful information from that as I do from a customs video.

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