Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fall Colors in Portland, Oregon -- Wed., Oct. 31

Our flights from San Antonio to Phoenix, and Phoenix to Portland on Southwest Airlines went well: no crying babies, both flights only about 1/3 full, and the ride was mostly smooth with just a few bumps. We were able to switch seats into an exit row for our Phoenix to Portland segment. It was nice to have extra leg room.

Michael, our son, picked us up from the airport last night about 11:50 p.m. Portland was a cool 54 degrees and a little foggy and overcast. We had a few sprinkles on the 1/2 hour drive to Mom's house.

The fall colors are still beautiful, although the rain and wind have scattered some of the leaves into a multi-hued carpet...beautiful patterns of red, yellow, peach and orange spread across green lawns or grey cement. People here have landscaped in such a way that not only their trees turn color, but also their shrubs.

View from Mom's patio.
View in another direction from Mom's patio.
The next picture is autumn leaves in an evergreen shrub.


Begonias in a neighbor's yard.

A view down the street.
Today is overcast and rainy. There has been a lot of rain for the past two weeks, so lawns, golf courses and fields are a lush, springtime, new-growth green.

Bob and I headed into downtown Portland this morning to take care of business with an attorney and the bank. We had forgotten how much we love downtown Portland. It is a walkable, friendly city. Nordstrom, Meier & Frank (Macy's), and other clothing stores still have the large picture windows with beautifully styled mannequins on display. I remember how much I loved walking past Meier & Frank's window displays decorated for the holidays.

For lunch, Mom made egg salad sandwiches and I stirred up some pea soup. I am definitely adding to the foods I can eat, although I did have my egg salad without bread. This afternoon, for a snack we're having chocolate/banana smoothies. 

Halloween is tonight, but I don't think we'll have any trick or treaters in the retirement community where Mom lives.

Tomorrow, we have more business to take care of in the morning. In the afternoon, we will go with Mom downtown to take her bird to the birdsitter. Then tomorrow night, my sister and son are coming over to Mom's for dinner.

We packed light for our trip to Australia to keep everything as carry-ons. We will be staying in timeshares with washer/dryer in the unit so we can wash our clothes as they get dirty. Plus we'll have a very small rental car and we need the luggage to fit.

Pretty mellow day today.

Travel Bug out.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Grand Ducal Wedding in Luxemburg - religious Wedding

Early in the morning of the Wedding Day i meet with Ken from the UK who stayed in the same Hotel the i did and then we went to the Cathedral together where  we arrived short before 8h00. There we also meet Eric from Belgium. As it turned out there where already quiet a lot of people there so we could not stand in the first row but luckily i had brought something to stand on with me so i had still a good sight. Already quiet early the buses with the first guest arrived. One of the first who came where guests from the german houses among the Margrave and Margravine of Baden with their son Bernhard and daughter-in-law Stephanie, Prince Georg Friedroch of Prussia who arrived woth his siter-in-law Katharina and her husband Archduke Martin of Austria-Este. And also the Duke and Duchess in Bavaria and lot more. Later the Military came and stood in a row near the church entrance. Unfortunately it turned out that direct before us the Military band was standing . Around 10h00 the membes of the luxemburgian Goverment and other officials arrived by fot. The a bus come with all the other european heirs who attended the Wedding. They all had to walk over a street before coming to the red carpet. After them the most important guests arrived. As they arrived in single cars and where droven direct to the start of the red carpet it was now more difficult to see them and make pictures of them. As the last arrived Grand Duke Henri together with Mrs Lydia de Schaetzen, a sister of the late Comtesse Alix de Lannoy. Then the groom with his beaming mother Grand Duchess Maria Teresa came. Next where the bridesmaids Princess Alexandra of Luxemburg and Antonia Hamilton a niece of the bride. After them a car came with the flower children. And then finally car with bride and her oldest brother Comte Jean de Lannoy arrived. After coming out out the car the walked up the red carpet to the entrance of the Cathedral where the where greeted by the Archbishop of Luxemburg. And now the long waiting startet. At first we had gthought about goin to he Palace to see the balcony appearance of the bridal couple after the Wedding ceremony but as we didn't know how many people where already there we decided to stay at the Church. After the very long Service which lasted for almost 2 hgours the bridal couple finally come out and went down the red carpet to their waiting car which brought them back to the palce. Afterwards Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa left followed by the foreign royal guests. After the most imprtant guests had left the other guests walked to the Palce and where not driven with cars. We then also left and meet again with Hein from the Netherlands. We also went to the Palace to see what was going on there and could see that some guests already left the Palace agin. We then decied to seek for a place where we could drink and eat something. In the evening we had another look at the back of the Palace to see what was going on there.

My Pics

Monday, October 29, 2012

Whoops! My Bad -- Mon., Oct. 29

Bob and I were having a conversation a couple of nights ago regarding things we're taking to Australia and going over the list. 

He said, "Do we need a visa to go to Australia?"

"No," I replied, "all we need is a passport."

Then I got to thinking about it. I had ASSUMED we only needed a passport and I THOUGHT I had read online that we didn't need a visa. Just to be safe, I checked. We DO need a visa to go to Australia. Panic!!!

No need to panic. The Australian website couldn't be easier to understand. All we need is a tourist visa called an ETA. Apply online and it is almost instantaneously approved. All I needed was our passports and a credit card to pay for the two visas. I filled out the applications online and it took about 15 minutes start to finish. In fact, my credit card company called my cell phone to alert me I had an international charge pending on my card almost as soon as I hit the send button for the visa. I called the credit card company back immediately to let them know it's a good charge and to put it through.

The ETA tourist visa is electronically linked to your passport so no stamps or labels are needed. This is pretty high-tech stuff. 

Whew! Without the visa, we would not have been able to fly out of Honolulu to Sydney. Thank you, Bob, for asking a very simple question. I'm glad the solution was just as simple.

Today I went to yet another hairdresser for a haircut and highlights. I asked the hairdresser if she had a sample book of hair colors. She showed me samples and I picked out a beautiful golden blonde color. We discussed that I wanted a golden blonde, not a white blonde or platinum and no strawberry blonde because any color with red in it turns orange on me. 

When she got all done coloring my hair, I was stunned to see my hair is a medium to dark brown. It's the darkest my hair has ever been. I don't know where the communication about color went awry. I am not happy with this color. Bob says he likes it. Oh, well, when we get back from Australia I'll be looking for another hairdresser. Sigh. As another of my blogger friends says, " 'Tis life on the road."

Today was errands day. And tomorrow, I will run more errands and finish cleaning the 5er.

Bob took me out to dinner tonight which was very nice.

Travel Bug out.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cleaning Day -- Sun., Oct. 28

Today is cleaning day at our "house." I vacuumed, did a spot clean of the kitchen floor, and did laundry. Bob emptied the grey and black water tanks. This afternoon the petsitters came over and we signed a contract for them to take care of our fur-kids while we're away. We feel very confident that they will do a great job. This evening we bought a few items at Walmart and hung out at home.

Tomorrow I will be out shopping. At 2:00 p.m. I have an appointment to get my hair trimmed and highlighted.

Tuesday I will finish up cleaning by scrubbing kitchen and bathroom floors and dusting. I also plan to put down Spectracide around the perimeter of our rig to discourage ants. We don't have many, but I don't want our home to become their home either.

We have a new follower: Janice of Ready to Go Full Time RVing. I've only just started reading her blog, but she's been full-timing for years. She enjoys riding her bike, photography, sharing RV tips and is currently looking for an alligator. Welcome to our blog, Janice.

I certainly hope that all of our blog friends on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Coast fare well in the upcoming storm. Stay safe!

Not a very long or exciting blog today but not every day RVing is a vacation day.

Two days to flight time! We're so excited.

Travel Bug out.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday in the Park -- Sat., Oct. 27

Landa Park in New Braunfels, Texas, that is. Today we went out to lunch at Schobel's Restaurant with Jim and Peri of Tales from the Camping House. We enjoy spending time with them and today we met their seven-year-old granddaughter, Karli. She is darling! 

Oh boy, another restaurant! I am having fun getting reacquainted with food. Today, I enjoyed Nan's Chicken Noodle Soup, a side of mashed potatoes and divine chocolate meringue cream pie. Mmmmm. Bob and Jim opted for the buffet. Peri had a BLT sandwich, and Karli chose chicken strips, mashed potatoes and corn. Karli said I was torturing her by eating the chocolate meringue cream pie. All was good, though, we planned to go to Naegelin's Bakery a little later.

Karli and view of the Comal River from Shobel's patio.
Bob, Susan, Peri, Karli, Jim
Schobel's patio overlooking river. Too chilly today to sit outside.
Jim and Peri lived in Texas for many years. They took us around New Braunfels to show us the sights. Our favorite was Landa Park, a very large park with natural springs that start the Comal River. The springs are fed by the Edwards Aquifer.

Click to read.

Where the springs start the river. The water is crystal clear!
Karli checking the water temperature. Hard to see the water.

The Edwards Aquifer is several hundred miles long.
Looking downriver from the springs.
Panther Canyon Nature Trail in Landa Park.
Jet contrail gone alien. (Sorry, we talked about Roswell, NM today.)
As we drove through the park, we saw a small train touring through the park. That looked fun, so next thing you know, there we were riding the train.

Karli ready to ride the rails.
Listening to grandpa, proud grandma in back.
Not only did the conductor take tickets and drive the train, he also asked everyone if they would like their photos taken! How nice is that?

Karli, Jim, Peri, Susan & Bob
Our conductor, engineer, photographer.
Comal River in Landa Park. (It's dammed up. That's how it gets big so quickly.
A lovely park and train ride.
Karli wanted to be let loose in the playground, but first Naegelin's Bakery was on our list. Yum, yum, yum. I am a bakery connoisseur so I had to take photos here because it's just so good. These were taken at 3:30 in the afternoon. Most people know it's best to go to a bakery early in the morning to get the best selection. Alas, my favorite butterfly something or others were out, so I got a Danish cinnamon roll. Karli was particularly taken by the last purple-frostinged Halloween cupcake.

All I want for Christmas is my four front teeth!

Fun Halloween cupcakes.
Cream puffs and cheesecake.

She wouldn't eat it until we took a photo.
Right next to the bakery parking lot were beautiful murals on the wall. (We saw quite a few murals as Jim drove us through downtown New Braunfels.)

New Braunfels was originally a German settlement so there is quite the German influence in town. However, Texas being so close to Mexico has also inherited a Mexican imprint. Jim drove us by Huisache Grill and said we need to go there to eat (and shop). There are some shops on the property that you can peruse either before or after your meal.

Other interesting stops in New Braunfels are the Railroad Museum, Sophienberg Museum and a Children's Museum. It was too late in the day to go to a museum and all of us were happy with the park on this beautiful day. So, baked goods in hand, we parked ourselves at a picnic table at Landa Park to eat while we watched Karli on the playgrounds.

Just a lovely day hanging out with friends. Saturday in the park. (By the way, today's title is courtesy of Bob. Thank you, honey.)

Travel Bug parked in the 5er now. Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Brrrr! -- Fri., Oct. 26

When Bob went jogging yesterday, the temperature was 93 degrees around 6:00 p.m. In the middle of the night it poured rain for a little while. When I woke up this morning it was 58 degrees, windy, and the temperature dropped a degree even though it usually warms up during the day. Today's high is supposed to remain at 57 F. with wind gusts to 23 mph and a chance of thunderstorms before 1:00 p.m. Brrr. Time to turn on the heat. Our low tonight will be 49, tomorrow night 43, and Sunday night 44. That's getting downright cold for south Texas. 

The thunderstorm and rain hit at 11:00 a.m. Temperature dropped to 51 F. Love that booming thunder! 

The kitties and I are hunkered down:
"Big, scary storm. Good thing we gotz each other."

"Political ads...quick change the channel!"
It's now 1:15 p.m. and the thunder, lightning and rain let up, still breezy though. The temperature went down to 49 F. (That's supposed to be our overnight low tonight.) Guess the temperature won't be climbing much.

Today I had chicken noodle soup for lunch. Very warm and comforting on this chilly, rainy day.

Tomorrow, we're having lunch with our friends Jim and Peri of Tales from the Camping House. Looks like after lunch will be a museum day. Too cold for a walk.

Now that the dentist has given the all-clear to travel with broken teeth, I can stop worrying and finish the rest of my "to-do's" before our trip: hair, nails, job interview, packing.

Hello to E Squared and Mui of Two to Travel's Phaeton Journeys who are about a month out from retirement/full-timing and are up to their elbows in packing. They are no strangers to travel, having just returned from Turkey (Mui's homeland). They "talk Turkey" in a blog dedicated just to can find it by clicking on a button on their home page.

I called the travel agency where there is a possibility of a part-time job starting in January. The owner wants to talk to me about working there. She is not available before our trip as she is out of town until Tuesday. I will call her in December. 

Not much else planned today. Just taking it easy. 

Travel Bug out. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

All I Want for Christmas is My Four Front Teeth -- Thurs., Oct. 25

I went to the dentist and the verdict is in. I do not have any abscesses, BUT it is too soon to do anything with my teeth. So, we are going to do nothing at this time. (I had a part in this decision.) I will be going on vacation with four (or more) broken teeth. 

Actually, I'm relieved. Now I know what's what in my mouth. I don't have to hurry up and have anything done. We are going to let my teeth and jaw continue to heal until mid-December, then the dentist will know if I need a root canal or if crowns will work best. He said he could put in crowns now, but if I develop a situation where a root canal will be needed we would have to take out the new crowns. That sounded like an option that's not like me. It's wait and see time. 

The dentist did say that sometimes root canals are needed and sometimes they're not, but it takes a while to know for sure. He pressed hard inside my upper jaw and pressed hard on the top of my front gums. There was no sharp pain. He said that's a good sign. So I'm hopeful. 

He told me it would be a good idea to take pain pills to Australia just in case. We have some strong ibuprofen we can pack. If my jaw gets re-injured for any reason in Australia, I will need to see an Australian dentist. I told him that's good because they speak English and they have good dental and medical care there.

What this means for our vacation is: I can only eat soft foods and even those I have to cut up in small bites and put in the back of my mouth to chew. I cannot even bite into a banana or a sandwich with my front teeth. So sandwiches will also have to be cut up into small pieces. 

Looks like new front teeth are on my Christmas wish list!

While I was out today I decided to get rid of my cabin fever. I shopped at Costco for four items, went to visit Bob and meet people he works with, and stopped at Hobby Lobby to buy 11 more peacock feathers for kitty toys while we're on our trip. I'll have the petsitter give them new feathers a couple of times per week.

That about did me in for the day.

Travel Bug out.

Grand Ducal Wedding in Luxembourg - civil Wedding

On Friday i went to the Place Guillaume II. where the Town Hall is located and arrived there at short before14h00. There i meet again with Netty and Ken from the UK and also with Henriette and Josée from the Netherlands. Luckily i got a place in the first row. Later small school children with their teachers got places before us but they where no problem for us. Before the arrival of the Grand Ducal Family images from the Life of the bridal Couple where shown on the big screen which was errected there. Short before 15h390 they Grand Ducal family with the bridal couple and the brides siblings left the Grand Ducal Palace and walked the short distance. The bridal couple greeted the small children and talke with the people. Then they went in the Town Hall where the where married in a civil ceremony which lasted for about 30 min. After they went out they bridal couple again took theirtime and looked at the paintings the school children had brought with them. Unfortunately for us the children before us had nothing specielllike the children opposide so they went to them instead. They really took their time with it.
Later in the afternoon we meet at the Chocolate House opposide the Grand Ducal Palace where we meet Katrin who lives in Luxembrug. Together we waited for the guests to arrive for the gala Dinner in the evening. We could see several of them arriving among them the entire belgian royal family, Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima, the norwegian Royal Family and much more. As it was to dark i could not make good pictures. Later i had dinner together with Netty, Hein and Ulrike both had arrived later that day at the Place d'Armes. Suddenly we noticed several nobles guests coming out of the Cercle a building at the Place d'Armes among them lots of german nobles.

Grand Ducal Wedding in Luxemburg - preparations.

As many other Royal Watchers i travelled last week to the Grach Duchy of Luxemburg to witness the Wedding hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Comtesse Stéphanie de Lannoy. After some hours of travekl with the train i arrived there on Thursday afternoon. I first went into the City to have a look on the Church and the Town Hall where the civil Wedding was to take place the next day.

Decoration at the Place d'Armes

some Shopwindows where decorated with  a picture
of the bridal Couple and the lucemburgian flag

preparations at the Cathedral

peparations at the back entrance of the Grand Ducal Palace

In the evening i meet with Netty from the Netherlands who had arrived that evening and we went to have dinner together. In the next morning i went to the national Museum of History and Art and visited there the  exhibtion about the Silver Treasur of the Grand Ducal Family. Afterwars i came across the Palace and i came just in time to see the bridal Couple leaving for the Reception in the Grand Theater which was to take place this morning.

the Cathedral on Friday morning
The bridal Couple leaving to the Reception at the Grand Theater.