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This blog is about the adventure of traveling and especially the interesting people that you meet. We will share stories about people and places we have encountered from around the United States, Ireland, Scotland, England, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, Canada, Spain, Mexico, The Netherlands, Belgium, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and more. This is not a travelogue -- we leave that to Rick Steves -- this is a collection of fragments in the journey of life.

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Friday, July 20, 2018

On a game drive in Botswana

     Everyone is on the look out for the Big Five - the big, scary and sometimes hard to find animals of Africa. This is a little guy. It is an impala and you will see them all around. Not scary and not hard to find, it is a beautiful, quick and bright animal of the savanna in Botswana and other African countries.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Driving in Europe

<- Me, feeding a parking meter in Liechtenstein.

Besides Liechtenstein, I have driven European roads in Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, England, Ireland, Scotland, Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain.  

Most places, even those driving on the left, make it easy for the American driver with good signage and reminders of what to do. 

The highest rental costs seem to be in The Republic of Ireland with lowest rates in Spain. Most all countries have motorways which makes things simple. But, you will find yourself on narrow country roads were the fun surprises are.

Before leaving the U.S., get an International Driving Permit (AAA does them with photos and translations for about $40.) Also check if your credit cards insure you or if your auto insurance does. I never pay for additional insurance due to using my credit card.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

We meet again

Three years ago we took the Seine Princess from Paris to Honfleur. It was a five day trip, although you can drive it on land in a couple of hours. Last week we were walking along the Seine near the Eiffel Tower and there was our old friend. Looking ship-shape and ready for another trip down the Seine, she was full of memories. Good to see her.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hiring a Car and Driver

     This is  photo of us in Paris about two weeks ago. We hired a driver with an old Citron to drive us around for a morning. We had some jet lag and it was too warm to sit in the top of a Hop On Hop Off Bus (plus I have trouble climbing the stairs). We made a list of what we wanted to see. To save on a taxi, I had the driver drop us at our afternoon destination of the Louvre. Later in the week, I asked a cab driver to include a stop at Montmartre  on the way across town. Cost was hardly anything.
     We rented a car and driver in Brussels and it was super. I got to see the city. Plus, he was our personal guide at the stops. We did the same thing on Gibraltar. You cannot drive the rock by yourself and I was not going to climb it, so we hired a driver for half a day to tour the whole colony! 
     It sometimes seems like a good deal of money, but it saves nerves and lets you see the things you really want to see. In the end, it is not much more than driving around yourself and not knowing what you saw.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Edinburgh Castle -detail

     Edinburgh Castle is huge. It is unfriendly like all good castles should be. A currently working castle it is strongly military. In order to make peace with it, I chose to reduce it to details. I will be passing these along in the days ahead. I found this area a tad whimsical. Not sure why they went to all that work, but it breaks up the solid block buildings. I appreciate whoever did this.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Scottish Parliament Building

     This is an interesting building which is both a place to meet and a symbol of independence. Located right across from The Palace of Holyrood House (the Queen's Edinburgh abode) it stands as a concrete and steel (with plenty of oak) statement of a new order. The photo here is of the chamber where the parliament meets. Could it look any different from Westminster? Don't think so. It is filled with modern symbols of Scotland.   Free to get in, but security is high.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Even great leaders end up with the poor and powerless.

The chapel of the Invalides was built at the end of the 17th century by Jules-Hardouin Mansart and contains Napoleon's tomb. In 1840, during the 'Return of the Ashes', a law passed on 10th June ordered the construction of the Emperor's tomb below the dome of the Invalides. Ashes to ashes - but nice tomb, though.