About Sherry Ott

Sherry Ott

Sherry Ott is a refugee from corporate IT who is now a long term traveler, blogger, and photographer. She’s a co-founder of http://www.briefcasetobackpack.com, a website offering career break travel inspiration and advice. She posts over on https://plus.google.com/103115118174711820529/posts as well.

Additionally, she runs an around the world travel blog writing about her travel and expat adventures at http://www.ottsworld.com.com.


Latest Posts by Sherry Ott

The Oh So Fun Art & Culture of Colombia’s Cartagena

December 16, 2014 by  

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Do you feel the beat?  I sure did this last week in Cartagena Colombia!  This was my first trip to Colombia and with a few salsa beats and welcoming hugs it had me won over and wanting more.

Our itinerary was jam packed with local experiences and adventures beginning with dinner with a local family in the Cartagena suburbs — a great introduction to Colombian cuisine and the incredible warm hospitality of the Colombian people.

Bazurto Market Colombia

We spent a morning at Buzurto Market – a dingy, gritty, smelly, local experience that had me smiling from ear to ear.  This was the best market I’ve ever been to in the world – but it’s not for the faint of heart.  What made it amazing was the soul of the market – happy people, working hard, with a constant musical beat in the background.

I even tried fish testicles fried up at the market – and that was probably one of the more tame things I could have tried! We also spent time learning more about Colonial history of the city, taking salsa dance lessons (and putting them to use at a local salsa club), and we even went island hopping in the Rosario Islands.  Cartagena had it all.

It’s hot & spicy in the Bazurto market in #Cartagena . People dancing, laughing, cooking, drinking, & eating at this local market which turned out to be one of my favorite market visits in the world!  

Rosario Islands Colombia

Beach day! Enjoying water sports in the Rosario Islands – a great day trip from #Cartagena.

Cartagena Colombia flowers

A beautiful start to the morning in #Cartagena ! Touring around the city today wearing lots of sunscreen! This shot is from my lovely hotel – Casa San Agustin.

Palenquera women Cartagena

2 Palenquera women sit in the shadow of the old city walls in #Cartagena selling fruit. The women have a fascinating history that tells the story of the slave trade and subsequent freedom in Cartagena.

Getsemani Cartagena

Explored the colorful neighborhood of Getsemani in #Cartagena by foot. It allowed me to find fun little hidden alleys like this one to explore. All of the locals were eating lunch in their homes with the doors open and really welcoming! I have no idea tho why they had plastic bags hanging in the alley – but they added to the atmosphere!

Salsa Cartagena Colombia

Dancing and music is the heartbeat of #Cartagena we found a fun local bar in the old city to dance the night away. The locals had us up on our feet in no time and I was able to practice my new salsa moves!

Casa San Agustin

The streets of the old city in #Cartagena are lined with colonial houses that have been refurbished into beautifully designed boutique hotels. The best designs highlight the old structures and the history while bringing fresh elements to the old. Such as an old cistern turned into a pool. I love the textures & design of Casa San Agustin where I’ve been staying – it’s a patchwork quilt of Spanish tiles and coastal colors that all works together beautifully.

Within 2 hours of landing in #Cartagena, we were having dinner in a cute little suburb with the most affectionate local family. The outpouring of hospitality and cultural exchange had me buzzing like the Colombian coffee they served me!  

Kohsamui Hotel Colombia

Slowing down & enjoying the beach view at Kohsamui Hotel.

 

Renting an Apartment in Paris is a Fun Way To Go…

December 12, 2014 by  

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Pompidou Center

One great perk about this apartment – A central neighborhood to stay in near the Pompidou

Jean-Pierre met me at the front of the building on a cobblestone street in the 3rd arrondissement. He smelled of cigarette smoke and was dressed very professionally. He introduced himself and preceded to walk me through the lovely cobblestone courtyard and upstairs to my little studio apartment.  This was my 4th trip to Paris, and I had decided to stay in an apartment to have a more homey, local experience in Paris.

So far everything was pretty typical – but then he opened the door to the studio and that’s when things went from average to great. Normally when you see pictures of an apartment online it always seems more spacious than it is really in person. Mainly because of the trickery of wide angle lenses. But I was pleasantly surprised when the studio was much more spacious that what I was expecting.

It had lovely afternoon light streaming through the sheer curtains as Jean Pierre started going through the apartment explaining things to me. You could tell it was recently renovated however they left a rustic feel with exposed ceiling beams.

Jean Pierre opened every cupboard and showed me where things were. He showed me how to use the appliances, including the washing machine (which always seems to trip me up in Europe). In all of my 8 years of traveling the globe and staying in apartments, I had never had an apartment owner be so thorough before. Most owners I had come across don’t really care, they fill the apartment with the Ikea furniture and outfit it to the bare minimum in order to get it out there on the market. They give you keys and say goodbye leaving you to figure stuff out yourself.

Paris holiday apartment

My little studio apartment in Paris

I do love staying in holiday apartments as I travel around the globe. My frustration normally stems around the fact that the owners try to do as little as possible to make it a real ‘home’.

They have a bare minimum of items in the home, and don’t even furnish condiments, paper towels, or cleaning supplies typically. It drives me insane to be staying at a holiday apartment for a week and have to buy a whole container of salt or a bottle of olive oil in order to cook in the kitchen.

When you are forced to buy all of the staples of the apartment you lose the benefit of the short term apartment rental as you spend more money just outfitting the place to cook than you would going out to eat over the course of 3 to 5 days. The owners also seldom provide you information on your surroundings such as markets, shops, transportation, etc. I always felt these things would be easy to do – yet people have disappointed me time and time again. Until now.

To my surprise the cabinets were stocked with condiments – salt, pepper, oil, vinegar, tea and coffee. Not only did I have the necessary staples for cooking, but I also had them for housekeeping – dish soap, laundry soap, and paper towels!

Jean Pierre then walked me through a folder of information about where the nearest markets were, restaurants to try in the area, the TV channels, how to use the phone and make free overseas calls, and the wifi. I could tell that all of the neighborhood recommendations in the book he spoke of were personal as he told me about each and the owners there and why he recommends them.

As soon as Jean Pierre left – I started a load of laundry (because there was soap available!) and took my little shopping bag to go out to the nearest market on Jean Pierre’s map and start to settle in. I was so excited that I was in such a well cared for and run apartment – I was already kicking myself that I wasn’t staying longer than 3 nights!

And to top off my apartment experience, as I went out to explore the neighborhood I realized that it was a perfect location – nestled in the heart of Paris near the Seine, Pompidou, Notre Dame, Louvre, cafes, shops, bars, and metro stops. I spent my three days mainly staying in my neighborhood exploring the Pompidou Center’s contemporary exhibitions, wandering around the Seine, and eating my fill of crepes at cafes watching the world go by. In fact it was so centrally located I didn’t even come close to using my 10 pack of Metro tickets I purchased when I arrived!

crepe

Neighborhood Cafes

Louvre pyramid

Near the Louvre

church paris

Neighborhood church I wandered into on my search for crepes

Pompidou view

They say the best view of Paris if from the Pompidou…

notre dame moon

Notre Dame is so close by it’s easy to take a moonlight stroll

And I’ve saved the best for last – all of this for $82USD a night.It left me wondering why anyone would ever stay in a hotel in Paris when you could have all of this in the center of the city – plus laundry!

Disclosure:  My stay was hosted by Go With Oh.  However this really was the best holiday apartment I had ever stayed in and would have gladly paid my own money to stay there.  All opinions on this site are mine.

 

Be a Scot for a Day at Highland Games Festival in New Brunswick

December 10, 2014 by  

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“Whiskey makes the bagpipes sound better, “ said Frank our whiskey tasting MC for the day. I laughed, but I actually like the sounds of bagpipes, however I had never heard them played for this long of period before. You could hear them echoing through the park all day as the music competitions seemed to be never ending.

Festivals are a great way to understand the culture of a country or area. When I arrived in Fredericton with my parents for our New Brunswick holiday, I was excited to find out that one of New Brunswick’s big festivals was being held – New Brunswick Highland Games. The Highland Games Festival is made up of two equally important halves – the Highland Games (piping and drumming, highland dancing and traditional athletics) and the Scottish Festival (entertainment, clans and workshops) . The event draws 7,000 visitors and hundreds of competitors/performers from across Atlantic Canada, Ontario and the Eastern seaboard.

Be a Scot for a Weekend

Not only was there constant music around the festival grounds, but I was surrounded by tartan plaids, men wearing kilts and socks with tassels, and haggis was being advertised at the food tents. I had been transported to Scotland, yet I hadn’t left North America. After all, my mother hates long plane rides – so this was a way she could visit ‘two countries’ in one short plane ride!

Kilt

Get out your tartans for the New Brunswick Highland Games

drums

Drum teams practicing in the park

The festival was full of competitions to view – so many we couldn’t even see them all. We did take time to watch the drum and pipe teams compete, there were individual and team competitions. In addition to the competitions, you could order your family tartan there, do whiskey tasting, and have haggis for lunch – seriously it was little Scotland in New Brunswick. I had even been to Scotland before and this felt more Scottish! I was just missing the fried Mars bars.

My parents and I meandered around the grounds taking in the different competitions, however there was one competition we were all quite excited to see – the women’s heavy events competition. Ever feel so mad at times that you could throw a tree? Well – you can do that at the Highland Games.

Girl Power

Women had always competed in the Highland Games, but originally as dancers or musicians. The women’s Highland Games heavy events were a fairly recent addition 5 years ago. Apparently it was never really a question of ‘allowing’ the women to compete, it was an issue of trying to find enough women who wanted to compete.

The ancient Heavy Events date back early in Scottish history originating during the reign of King Malcolm Canmore in the 12th Century. The Heavyweight Athletes compete in traditional events over two days. At the end of the second day, the points are totaled, the winner being the one with the most points.

Scotish Heavy Competitions

Weight for Height Toss

The Women’s Highland Games Heavy Events include all of the same events as the men but slightly lighter:

Stone Toss:  Like a shotput but a 8 -10 lb stone is used
Heavy Weight for Distance:  A 28 pound lead ball on a chain is thrown with one hand for distance.
Light and Heavy Hammer:   A ball is mounted on a 50 inch rattan handle and the athlete must throw it as far as they can without moving their feet.
Weight for Height: Throw the heavy weight over a bar as high as you can.
Caber:   Turn a log (15 ft. and 48 lbs) end over end.

And it’s not just about throwing or tossing heavy things willy-nilly – there’s definitely technique to each competition. In order to get women to sign up, the association offers a training workshop for women before the festival. The workshop is hands on and is taught by a former heavy events world champion. Most of them come from an athletic background already so it’s just a matter of learning new techniques.

Mom, dad, and I took a seat in the lawn area in front of the competition and were amazed at just how much strength some of these women had. And surprisingly many of them this was their first ever Heavy Woman competition. As we watched them compete in the various throws, my mother chimes in that she used to throw shoes as a competition at their family reunions on the farm. Then Dad had to one-up her and said they threw fence posts at their family reunions. Apparently throwing things is a popular form of entertainment in Nebraska and Scotland.

Caber Toss

Positioning the caber

Caber Toss Women

The height and weight of the caber makes it hard to control.

Of course they had these events for men too – but I found myself fascinated with the women’s competition – It was fun to watch and of course a little part of me wondered how far I could throw the heavy objects. After all, I throw my 40 lb backpack around all the time – there has to be some similarities! The Highland Festival was a great way to get to know Fredericton and a way to travel to two countries in one.

More Information:
2015 Highland Games Festival is held July 24 – 26th

 

Disclosure:  I was invited to enjoy New Brunswick by Tourism New Brunswick.  However all the opinions expressed her are solely my own!

 

Foodie & Other Walking Tours of New York City

December 8, 2014 by  

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Since I’m in New York City for a stint,  I decided my cure for chilly jet lag would be to hit the cold streets of New York head on. I had a friend in town who was a first time visitor to NYC so I dusted off my NYC visitor playbook and got us on a few walking tours in New York.  I have always recommended food and walking tours for first time visitors to NYC – it’s a great way to orient yourself to the neighborhoods and find some awesome local places to eat during your stay.

My body revolted as I bundled up in my winter jacket and scarf to head out on the streets for 3 hours.  But it wasn’t mad at me for long when I started feeding it delicious homemade pasta from the Mario Batali food tour we went on!  A fun orientation to the Village and the legacy of Batali.  He was a key player in showing Americans what Italian food really was, as opposed to the oversauced, meatballed versions we had grown accustomed to.  We went to 3 restaurants and a gelato store, basically having a 4 course Italian meal (antipasto, primo, secondo, and dolce) while roaming around Greenwich Village.  Perfecto!

The next day we went deeper into old New York and did a fascinating walking tour of the Lower East Side.  The Lower East Side is a neighborhood that has always been the epicenter of immigrants and the beginning of a thriving merchant community.   Surprisingly it still really is that today  as it is home to the Asian and Hispanic populations living in the redesigned historic tenement buildings.

We went through historic synagogues, stopped at old cafes and food vendors for some nosh, and enjoyed the vibrant street art all while learning of the tough history and emerging gentrification of the Lower East Side.  I’ve been to the tenement museum a few times and it has always been one of my favorite places to send people to in NYC – however after this Walks of New York Lower East Side tour I think this was an even better, more interactive way to be really deeply introduced to the history of the tenements and immigrants of Manhattan.

lemon pasta pagani

Was in pasta heaven on my Mario Batali Walking tour w @walksofnewyork . I could not get enough of this tagliolini al limone – pasta w lemon zest, carrot, parmesan, & roasted garlic. Simple, fresh & delicious – how Italian food should be!

lower east side cup and saucer

Time travel Lower East Side w @walksofnewyork

street art lower east side nyc

Lower East Side street art and garbage. Spotted on my @walksofnewyork LES tour yesterday.

Olive Oil gelato

Even though it’s freezing outside it’s always a good day for olive oil gelato. W @walksofnewyork eating my way through Greenwich village.

Water tower nyc

Good morning #NYC ! It’s nice to be ‘home’.

Eldridge Street Synagogue

Changing perspectives. Viewing the tenements of the Lower East Side #NYC through the stained glass windows of the Eldridge Street Synagogue. W @walksofnewyork

Pickle guys nyc

Pucker up for pickles! One of the last pickle shops in NYC – @pickleguys ! Mangos, tomatoes, beets, & of course cucumbers.

Disclosure:  I was hosted by the Walks of New York on my tours, however all of the opinions on this site are my own.

 

Historical Fredericton in New Brunswick Canada

November 28, 2014 by  

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“What? Why would you go to Fredericton?” – that seemed to be the most asked question when I told people we were flying in/out of Fredericton in New Brunswick Canada. Apparently people thought it was an odd choice – but then again – I love the odd choices. And this little provincial capital town seemed like a great place to start my Maritime travels with my parents. For a little community of 40,000 people – I was astonished by it’s hipness. This hip designation probably had a lot to do with the fact that there are multiple universities and colleges there and the whole community seemed to be progressive because of it.

Fredericton Reinactment

Situated along the St. John river the town had a number of things going for it – in fact in our two days there we ran out of time to do everything we wanted! The one thing that stood out to me more than anything was the energy of the city. From the food, to drinks, to culture, to history, to art – it felt that people were throwing themselves into all of it – locals and visitors.

Fredericton legislative building

Food

Not only was Queen Street full of cute little restaurants that spilled out into the sidewalks, but it also had food on the sidewalks at their Saturday Farmer’s Market.  Held every Saturday from 6AM to 1PM for the past 60 years – it’s where the community gathers.  It’s also a great place for visitors to stop by and pick up breakfast or lunch as there is a whole slew of prepared food vendors in addition to all of the fresh produce and even cheese and meat vendors. Be sure to stop at the Capt’n Mike Lobster Roll stand – it’s worth the wait in line!

Fredericton Farmers Market

A sampling of the local farmers market – a colorful way to spend a Saturday morning!

Drink

Also located on Queen Street you’ll find one of the Maritime’s longest running craft brewing traditions – Picaroons Brewery. Lord knows you can’t get any more hip than being known as a craft brewing town these days.  Stop in the Brewtique store and fill up a growler like the locals do – or if you are a visitor you can taste samples. Our favorite was the Melon Head – a summery watermelon wheat ale with a faint taste of watermelon – a fruit beer combo I had never had before. Not only did it taste delicious, but it also has a great label  that changes every year. One lucky local cat gets celebrity status as it’s chosen to grace the Melon Head label.

Picaroon Craft Beer Fredericton

Picaroon’s Brewtique – check out samples of their latest styles.

Do note that it’s hard to find the Melon Head in establishments – but you can for sure pick up some bottles at the Brewtique.

Looking for something stronger – then head over to the Lunar Rogue, Fredericton’s oldest Pub, for an endless selection of whiskeys curated by Frank Scott. Yes – curated. It’s like a whiskey gallery in there – and probably worth more than art in some cases! He carries over 500 selections and yes, he knows about each one. He originally got into whiskey because he was in a band and traveled in Scotland and met his wife there. Music, women and booze – they do go together – don’t they? Frank does whiskey tours in Scotland as well as tastings locally in Fredericton. Stay tuned to Frank’s Blog to get the latest on whiskey tasting’s – and don’t miss it if he’s holding one – it’s great fun. He taught us about the making of whiskey, difference between single malt, single grain, and blended as well as how to drink it and evaluate it ultimately determining what you liked. I gravitated to the smokey, peaty ones, but by the end of the tasting, I don’t even think I cared if I was drinking boiled cardboard – suffice it to say my dad and I needed a little nap after our tasting!

Whiskey Tasting Fredericton

My dad inspecting…Sight – You want it to have legs – thick and viscous running down the inside of the glass.
“Whiskey makes the bagpipes sound better.” –Frank Scott

Whiskey Tasting Fredericton

Whiskey Tasting…I used the smiley face system to rate my favorites. “Life is hard, everyone should carry a flask.” –Frank Scott

Trails

After eating and drinking your way through Fredericton, you’ll probably want to get a little exercise on one of their many walking and biking trails.  They have more than 50 miles of trails giving you a chance to explore both sides of the river. And don’t miss a stroll over the Bill Thorpe walking bridge. My parents and I went out one morning to get a little exercise and check out the bridge where we got a taste of just how active the people of Fredericton were as they zoomed by us on bikes and with strollers.

Trails of Fredericton

Trail bridge over the St. John River

History and Theater

Fredericton doesn’t simply have a few plaques up around town about their history – they get completely immersed in their history and story telling. I’m not sure if it’s the influence of the colleges in the area, but there seems to be an abundance of college students who like to dress up and step back in time to not only tell Fredericton’s story but demonstrate it too.

Because of Fredericton’s importance as capital, and its proximity to the American border, there were military stationed in Fredericton. Multiple regiments served in this area. The Guard House, Barracks, and Old Officers’ Quarters (now a Museum) located downtown are an important part of Fredericton’s history. One of the most popular things is to attend the changing of the guards which occurs every day in July & August 11am and 4pm. Not only can you watch a regimen dressed in period costume run through drills, but you can also inspect the guard. My dad was excited to finally get to be on the ‘other side’ of an inspection as he told me stories of his superior inspecting him when he was in the army. He was eager to inspect the Canadian officers and they were great – they had to stay in character the whole time.

Going through the daily drills…

Inspecting the guard Fredericton

My dad taking his inspection seriously.

The city also offered free guided heritage walking tours by actors dressed in period costumes to take you through the history of Fredericton and point out key landmarks.

Disclosure:  I was invited to enjoy New Brunswick by Tourism New Brunswick.  However all the opinions expressed her are solely my own!

Escape To Sri Lanka For Solitude Time & Serenity

November 27, 2014 by  

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I went backwards in time from fall to summer this week and crossed continents into Asia. I landed in Sri Lanka for my third time to attend a Travel Blogging Conference and to soak up a little warm weather before I entered back into the heart of winter for the holidays. The conference included a pre trip with 40 other awesome bloggers in which we were shuttled around to a few of the main sites and introduced to Sri Lankan cuisine and culture.

Even though I felt like I spent the majority of my time on a bus getting from place to place I was able to also do some hiking at one of the many Unesco World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka, an elephant safari, boating, a village visit, and I even took a plane along the coast to do some aerial photography. It’s amazing how much you can pack in a short time here.

This week reminded me of how much I’ve changed – I don’t know if it’s travel or age that has changed me. As every year goes by I realize that I like big crowds less and less and need more alone time or one on one relationships. This week also reminded me of how I love to travel – independently. It’s great to have everything set up for you – but it’s a very sterile way to see the country.

Sri Lanka is a good place to find a slower pace and seclusion. As I type this now I’m surrounded by crashing waves and palm trees on three sides of me – a strong salty ocean breeze blows through my hair. There’s not a single tourist around and the beach is filled with goats, cows, and fishermen. It’s nice to know that this part of Sri Lanka still exists

elephants Kaudullah Sri Lanka

Deb from ThePlanetD capturing ‘the gathering’ a time of year in Kaudulla National Park in Sri Lanka when hundreds of elephants gather.  So many elephants – so little time!

coconut water

That moment when you get sprayed with coconut water – you know something good is coming next!  We enjoyed learning about agriculture and village life in Sri Lanka during this village walk.

lillypad

Lillypads shimmer in the morning light as we get an early start to hiking Sigiriya (the Lion Rock)

sri lanka train

Going around the bend in hill country. Train travel in #srilanka is the best way to see the country.  Riding with the locals will certainly get you closer to the culture!

beach gate

Gateway to the waves.

storm monsoon

Fishing before the storm. It’s Monsoon season on #SriLanka ‘s east coast which leaves the beaches empty. I only saw a few locals, goats, and cows.

Sri lanka temple luck

Kandy’s Temple of the tooth. No – it’s not a dentist office.

beach from above

An aerial view of the beaches around Galle in Sri Lanka!  I took a Cinnamon Air scenic flight to get a feel for the beautiful coast from above!  Look at that water!

elephant watch

This isn’t a tree house for kids, this is an elephant watching hut. Sri Lankan farmers stay overnight in these huts to chase away elephants that eat and trample their crops. They yell at them & sometimes use fire crackers to get rid of them. Geez…and we thought deer and rabbits were a nuisance to farmers in the U.S.!

kottukal beach house

The view I woke up to this morning on the East Coast of SriLanka in Kottukal

press trip

Disclosure:  For half of this trip, I was a guest of Cinnamon Hotels, Cinnamon Air, SriLankan Airlines, and Cvisit.com.  Internet access was provided by Mobitel Sri Lanka.  However, all opinions here are my own!

 

 

Comfortable Beds Around the World

November 24, 2014 by  

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Waikiki penthouse

 

Someone just hit the power button to my brain and my mind flickers on and boots up for a moment at 3:43AM. I feel uneasy, confused, panicked. I open my eyes to inky darkness. I can’t see. My mind races like it’s an Indy car going from 0 to 60 mph in 2 seconds.

I’m in bed, but what bed? Where is the door? Am I alone? My brain struggles to paint a picture of my surroundings. Slowly it starts to take shape as my eyes adjust to the darkness. Above, a bed with a vew! My bed in Oahu for 2 weeks – a penthouse apartment in Waikiki while I taught at Iolani.

The next round of questions barrage my brain. What country am I in? What city am I in? What time of year is it? I silently coach myself telling myself it’s ok, don’t panic.

What feels like 10 minutes is probably only about 10 seconds until I get clarity and answers start to flow through my brain. Ahhh – I’m in (insert random country here), I’ve been traveling here for 2 weeks, the door is on my right, I’m staying with a friend. Calm creeps back over me as I determine the answers. Panic avoided, and satisfied with my answers, I roll over and go back to bed.

This process happens about 3 times a month for me. It’s a horrible feeling, yet one would think that I’d be used to it by now. This is the downside to my nomadic lifestyle and sleeping in a new place all the time…this middle of the night ‘where am I’ panic.

But the upsides of sleeping around in many beds throughout the year are also great. It means that I’m moving and satiating my intense desire to experience and learn new things. It also means that I get to see friends around the world – as well as make new ones. It means that I have no commitments and am free to do what I want and go where I want and sleep where I want. It’s incredible that even though I’m homeless, every night I still have a bed. It’s a miracle – it really is.

This year my nomadic lifestyle has been full of ‘where am I’ moments, as I have hit my all-time record of sleeping around in a year. And just for the record I am not talking about my love life – that needs to be a whole separate ‘panic’ post! Are you ready…drum roll please…

I counted up all of the beds I’ve slept in for 2014 so far and I’m at 100. Gasp. How the hell did that happen after I said I was going to slow down in 2014? I clearly have no willpower.

Nomad beds

This year I’ve stayed in hotels, cabins, tents, condos, domes, guest houses, motels, lodges, apartments, homes, planes, air mattresses, couches, and cots. I’ve also had some of the wildest swings of highs and lows when it came to beds. From decadent luxury of the fly-in lodge of Nimmo Bay located in the Great Bear Rain Forest to sleeping in dingy smelly hotel rooms in India during the Rickshaw Run. I think my most memorable place through was Room753 on the Gold Coast of Australia where I was given a ‘home’ for a week stocked with all of my favorite things – including photos of my family. This year I even glamped in the same place Prince William and Kate stayed in while visiting Uluru Australia.

Longitude131

Luxury glamping views at Longitude 131 next to Uluru

Room 753

My bed in Room753 – waking up and looking out over the Gold Coast in Australia

However I’d have to say that my most comfortable bed this year was in the Ridgeback Lodge glamping domes in New Brunswick where I shared a bed with my mother. I’ll never forget her exclaiming the next morning, “That was the nicest bed I’ve ever slept in. The sheets must be 5,000 thread count and the mattress is memory foam”. I had to agree with her, and maybe it also had that special element of traveling with my parents for which I’m eternally thankful that we can still do that together. After all I’m sure my moments of sharing a bed with my mother are dwindling, so it’s good to experience still while you can.

Ridgeback Lodge

Our bed at Ridgeback Lodge Domes New Brunswick. My mother declared, “That was the nicest bed I’ve ever slept in!” And I had to agree with her. The sheets were like silk, and the mattress like a cloud you slowly sink into. It’s such a good mattress you don’t even notice there’s another person in bed with you! As the other person moves there is not a single reverberation of movement on my side of the mattress. This was sleeping heaven.

Giving Thanks!

 

 

Getting Oh So Distracted in Paris

November 18, 2014 by  

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In three short days I managed to fall in love with Paris yet again.  My original goal in going to Paris was to do the two things I had never done before on my previous 3 trips to Paris – go to the Louvre and Versailles.  However,  I ended up doing neither!  I guess I got distracted – but that’s easy to do in Paris.

Instead I walked around my neighborhood I was staying in, sat at cafes, ate crepes and sipped espressos.   Plus – I had to be honest with myself – as much as I love photographing the outside of the Louvre, I’m not that interested in the art inside.  Instead I went to view the art I love – the contemporary collection at the Pompidou center.  So lest you think that I’m a complete culture-phobe – at least I did go inside a museum in Paris.

Besides museums, I also took in some cabaret and delicious decadent chocolate and French pastries.  One morning I chased the fog to the Eiffel Tower to get a shot of the tower in the clouds. And I also played metro roulette and rode a line out for a ways and then walked through neighborhoods on the outskirts of Paris.  I even ran into friends who also happened to be in Paris, so we had fun in the evenings finding little local joints to sip wine and eat cheese plates.

The three days went way too fast, but I managed to do a lot of photography – and eat a lot of chocolate and cheese.  Paris perfection.

Montmartre  Paris

Montmartre neighborhood stroll.

Eiffel Tower fog

Racing to the Eiffel Tower this morning while it was fogged in was worth it I’d say.

Pont des artes footbridge

The ‘Love Locks’ have taken over the Pont des Artes footbridge in #Paris . Of course the cynical side of me would like to do a study on how many of these locks represent failed relationships. Love…blah.

Pompidou Center Architecture

Love the architectural design of the Pompidou centre. Described as “love at second sight”. Luckily I’m staying near it in my @gowithoh apartment in #Paris – I’ll be visiting the inside tomorrow!

Hugo & Victor chocolate

No – these aren’t marbles – they are delicious filled French molded chocolates from Hugo & Victor. I have officially overdosed on chocolate on my @viatortravel tour this afternoon. We stopped at 9 chocolate houses. I’m pretty sure I’ve made it to chocolate heaven.

Louvre Pyramid

At the #Louvre again – but still never gone inside. I have too much fun playing around on the outside!

rose paris

Beautiful roses graced every table at the restaurant at the top of the Pompidou centre and no one sitting outside to enjoy them but the smokers …and me.

paris metro

Morning commute. I love riding the metro in #Paris as I think it’s one of the best local experiences you can have when you travel. Seeing how people commute in their city is fascinating to me – it’s real life.

Paris Instagram

3 days in #Paris is never enough! Had a great time walking the city, enjoying my local apartment, doing photography, eating ridiculous amounts of chocolate, seeing the Can Can, and spending time w other nomadic friends!

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