Sunday, September 27, 2015

Alsace

Last year, while spending a day in Colmar with a friend of mine, we spoke about coming back next year and spending a whole day in the small villages all around Colmar.
We've made it there yesterday.
Alsace is a funny place (besides, obviously!, being cute and wonderful and don't let me start on the flowers! beautiful). It's this strange "mélange" of France and Germany. Many aspects are French. Like the cuisine, the language (not their dialect though - it's something in between French and German - impossible to understand, at least for me!), the way they talk and walk and dress.
In other aspects, they are sooo German. Like they eat lunch at 11.30/12.00!!! I've never seen that in any other place in France. And if you wish to have lunch at, let's say, 3 in the afternoon ... they will tell you that the kitchen is already closed (it happened to an American couple that wanted to have lunch in the restaurant we were drinking a coffee - you should have seen their faces! They wouldn't believe that such places still existed in 2015 hahahaha).
Same goes for dinner. Not before 7 pm and not after 9/9.30 pm!!! Ah, and I forgot. All the shops close at 6.30 pm on Saturday! We are not used to this any longer but I thought it was refreshing! Why do we need to shop 24/7??
Well, anyway, I spend a wonderful day wandering around and absorbing the beauty of the various places we visited!
PS: the wine was excellent, BTW (I wasn't driving so I was allowed). We even stopped at a place where I bought two bottles of Gewürztraminer - one of my favorites white wines!!






Thursday, September 24, 2015

Consumerism

I've spent my last couple of evenings watching "HUMAN", film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Oh my. I can't even begin to describe all the feelings that rose in me watching all the interviews. I cried. I laughed. I felt sad. I was pissed at "the world". And I cried some more. I will probably have to watch the whole thing again because it was too much to take in.
(Should you be interested: it's on YOU TUBE. Just type HUMAN and Yann Arthus-Betrand. It's in three parts.)
There is one particular interview though that somehow keeps crossing my path. On Facebook. On Google+. Again and again. So today, I decided to watch this part again. And listen to the words of José Mujica (Uruguay's president from 2010 to March 2015). REALLY listen to them (look for the interview on You Tube, if you are interested - it's worth listening to!).
Anyway, there is one part of his interview that speaks directly to my heart. It's about consumerism. It's about money. It's about life. These words spoke to me because I have been thinking about all of the above these last couple of weeks. Me buying a new car. Me thinking about buying new winter clothes. Me listening to some friends talking about their shopping sprees. Me thinking about money - earning it, saving it, spending it.
Here what José Mujica said:

[...] We have invented a mountain of superfluos needs.
Shopping for new, discarding the old...
That's a waste of our lives!
When I buy something, when you buy something,
you're not paying money for it.
You're paying with the hours of life you had to spend earning that money. [...]

The interview continues but this last sentences was what spoke to me. These are words that so totally describe what I have been feeling about money these last couple of weeks / months (and yes, even years). I try to spend my money wisely. I try NOT to be all about cosumerism. I try NOT to compensate for feeling unhappy / discontent with buying "something". I try. Sometimes it's OK, then it's less OK. Mujica's sentence though made me realize that this is what I want to think about the next time I spend money on something.
Do I want to spend the hours of my life I've had to spend to earn that amount of money for THIS?
Do I?
Or don't I?
Is "it" (whatever that may be) really worth it?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Next Trip: Malta

I am ready for my next trip! Yay! Having had to spend quite a sum of money on my new car (it will be delivered in November / December!), my budget for my October trip has shrunken considerably as you can well imagine! I had wanted to go on a US-trip (Washington and Chesapeake Bay had been my plans) but hey, my new car got the priority, money-wise!

To be honest, I am bit sad not to be able to travel to America (I get some kind of homesickness when I am not able to go there at least every two years!!) but my alternative destination is exciting too: MALTA (in the Mediterranean). I have traveled to Malta some 20 years ago. Back then, with my BFF, we were more interested in ... going clubbing and shopping. We visited some sites back then but I can't remember much. Back then I wasn't that interested in art, architecture and history so it's gonna be like first time visit :-)
Finding a hotel in La Valletta, the capital, and on Gozo (one of the three islands that belong to Malta - Comino being the third!) was quite the challenge! But I got lucky in the end and was even able to pay for my flight with my miles!
All's well that ends well!

Malta I'm coming (well, only on 14 October...)

Monday, September 21, 2015

My World - My Travels: Route 66, USA

CHICAGO

L.A.
Driving on Route 66 from Chicago to L.A. is on my bucket list. In the meantime, I have been to where the route starts and where it ends. It was back in 2012 when I decided to go on this amazing train trip from ... yes, exactly ... Chicago to LA (in 72 hours!). I had already told you about this trip (one of my best memories ever!). I therefore already have been on Route 66, well sort of. Not by car but by train. Does it count? Obviously not. But enjoying the scenery all along my trip made want to go on the road trip from Chicago to LA even more!
Oh well, my bucket list gets longer and longer :-)

Friday, September 18, 2015

It's true for me as well!


Boat Trip



Friends of mine, who know that I love boat trips, recommended one from Solothurn to Bienne on the river Aare. This trip has been on my bucket list the whole summer but I somehow never made it. Until last Tuesday. Well, honestly, weather-wise it would have been better to go on this trip during a hot summer day but then I wouldn't have been able to take these wonderful pictures, would I? On Tuesday the weather was not so bad. Cloudy but not cold. And with the cloudy sky the river took on a wonderful color. And I just love the trees and mountains reflected on the water! Another benefit was that, with the cloudy weather, the ship wasn't crowded and you know that I hate crowds!
A wonderful day.
Solothurn was a pleasant surprise. A cute little city and they even have a cathedral! I didn't know. I particularly loved all the small and cute cafes and restaurants. Really cute!
As I said: a wonderful day!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

New Year of my Life

Last Friday was my birthday. 47. Imagine! 47 years. Not that I have an issue with getting older (I never have - it's unhealthy, in my opinion. It's better to put your energy into something you CAN change. Getting older is not something one can change. It's the same direction for everyone: forward!).
It's just that ... where the hell have the years gone?
Incredible.
And the more conscious I become, the quicker they go by!

My birthday is also always an occasion to think about what happened (or not) the past year and what (hopefully) will lie ahead of me.
The past year has been strange. Not bad. Just somehow strange. I couldn't really put it into words, at least not until I read my September horoscope (I have a weakness for horoscopes!!):

The past year may not have been bad, but it was hazy and unfocused, with a lot of ideas bubbling under the surface, or personal projects marinating in the Virgo slow cooker. 

Hazy and unfocused. That was it! I have been that. Exactly so. I am not used to being hazy and unfocused. On the contrary. 
But.
Yes, luckily there is a but.
This "hazy and unfocused" energy has changed in the last couple of weeks - slowly ... but it's there. I realized it just now. Will it last though? Well, I'll see but I am looking forward to a new year of my life ... full of energy! And I want to believe what I read in my horoscope (yes, yes, I know, but I really have a weakness for horoscopes!!):

... move forward with your dreams front and center. Honor your independence, assert yourself boldly, prioritize self-development and solo projects.

Can't wait to find out if these words are gonna become reality and if yes, HOW it's gonna be :-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Money is Energy

Do you remember the second job I had in order to pay for new glasses, pay the taxes and some other important stuff?
Well, on that list was the idea of a new car as well. I just never said it out loud because I wanted my old car to hold on for another year or two ... or three. Wishful thinking, it was!
I found out yesterday that my dear old car was just that: old! It runs smoothly right now but I will need to invest quite the money within the next couple of months. Therefore, the guy at the garage suggested ... to buy a new one.

Oh well, sh..., I hadn't wanted to spend all my hard earned money right now but on the other hand, I need a car. Owning a car is important to me. It's important for my independence. Is owning money more important? Should I be letting money run my decision making? My life? Or is money finally just something that comes and goes?
After an almost sleepless night I decided that:

I feel good about it. A bit giddy but good!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

My World - My Travels: Mackinac Island, MI, USA

As English isn't my mother tongue, I wasn't quite sure how to pronounce the name of this island: Mackinac. I had to ask someone to pronounce it for me before getting there. I made sure to repeat it several times for myself to get it right hahahaha
Once I got the name right, I was really looking forward to go there. An island with no cars! Imagine! I couldn't. It's sooo far away from our every day's life. I simply couldn't.
Well, it was just ... wow! No cars takes away a lot of noise, for instance. And then the rhythm is different as well. Everything is slower. And then you get to observe scenes like the picture above. This is what passing looks like in Mackinac Island! Later that day I was sitting in one of these rides and when suddenly I saw a horse head on my left ... I was startled at first and was laughing afterwards! Hilarious!!


Friday, September 4, 2015

End of Summer

Here we are again - summer is over! Each year the same story. I feel melancholic. I feel like I can't believe how quick time went by. I feel like I want it to go on for another one/two/three months.
This year though it's a bit easer because we had a fantastic summer!! Nevertheless, it's hard to say goodbye. It's always hard. We are still having nice and sunny days but temperatures are autumnal now. And yesterday evening, while leaving my yoga class at 8.30 p.m., it was dark outside!
I know, autumn is gonna be great. I know it. New clothes to buy, new trips to plan, new everything. But... yes, the "but". Summer is summer. Summer is nice. Summer is my favorite. Summer means lazy time. Summer is freedom.
Oh well, what can I say? C'est la vie :-)