Saturday, May 19, 2018

Travel Plans

I have just realized that I have spent zero time writing these last two weeks. Well, I have been (mentally) busy planning, thinking, booking my new trip that will take place in June!
It's my annual "big" trip, you know, my once a year 2/3 weeks away kind of trip. Last year, I went to Costa Rica and Mexico City. Two years ago it was Washington DC and the Delmarva Peninsula.
This year it's gonna be America's (as in USA) Southwest. And this year as well, I have decided for the first time, to do all the booking by myself. Flight, car, hotels, etc. Usually, I plan and book part of my big trip with a travel agency but this year? I don't know. I felt like doing everything by myself.
It's time-consuming, I have to admit, and there are a lot (and I mean A LOT) of decisions to take. But it was also very exciting to do the research and to decide on every detail!
As soon as I will have put everything together, I'll let you in on my plans! It's gonna be ... oh my. I can't wait!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

May Wish

The blooming flowers and trees in May always make me think of abundance. May is, par excellence, the synonym  for abundance. I wish for abundance in our lifes. Not necessarily abundance meant in the sense of more money in the bank account (well, if that is important for you ... go for it!).
I meant more abundance for the immaterial things in our lifes: love, compassion, appreciation, awareness (just to mention a few ... you'll pick what's important for you!)

Have a wonderful May!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Arcachon. Cap Ferret. Some Pictures

As always when visiting a place which touches my heart, taking pictures is difficult. Because feelings are so hard to put on picture :-) I tried anyway.

To start though I thought about adding this map that I found on Pinterest. It may help understand the geography of this special place. Arcachon is located on the Bay of Arcachon and only in Cap Ferret you get the access to the Atlantic Ocean. The Dune du Pilat is located a bit south. I chose not to take the bus to go there but to visit "from the water" ... hence the boat trip. I didn't want to wander the dune but to look at it from the sea.

Here some pictures for you but I suggest that you travel there and go see for yourself :-)

town of Arcachon

the lighthouse of Cap Ferret

Dune du Pilat seen from afar

we got nearer...

The southern tip of Cap Ferret

more Dune du Pilat

It's the biggest dune of Europe with its 110 meter. It grows wider every year and 1-5 meters of land are covered by (or lost to the sand) every year. 

Atlantic Ocean on the western side of Cap Ferret


Dune du Pilat from afar ... again

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Arcachon? Where is Arcachon?

Many people asked me how I came up with the idea of visiting Bordeaux, Arcachon, Cap Ferret. To answer their question, I had to go way back ... more precisely to my first big trip. 

I was 17 when my BFF of that time and I decided to go on an Interrail trip. The Europeans amongst my readers may know what Interrail is, the others may not. Interrail is a railway ticket that is valid on all European railway lines for the duration of one month (I don't know if it's still the case today). We paid 400 Swiss Francs (which was a fortune for me!!!) for the ticket and off we went, the two of us: to Stockholm first (too expensive, we left two days later), Amsterdam was next, Paris, Cap Ferret, Madrid, Porto, Lisbon (where we spent most of the four weeks because ... it was far less expensive than the north!) and back to Zurich.

Of all places we visited, Cap Ferret, honestly, was the one I never forgot. Not that I still had any precise picture in my head. It was more ... a feeling that I never forgot. A feeling of wonder, of beauty, of magic. Of WOW...
My first thought getting off the train in Arcachon last week was indeed one of wonder but not the wonder I'd expected. It was more like ...  
How the hell were we even able to find this town in the first place???
No Internet back then. No interconnected world like today.
How did we even know to take the train from Paris to Bordeaux? Then the train to Arcachon and then the ferry to Cap Ferret????
I re-read my diary from back then just today and apparently we stayed in a Youth Hostel in Cap Ferret.
How did we even know there was a Youth Hostel in Cap Ferret???

I suppose that we talked to other travelers or that we were helped by the railway employees. We certainly figured out the whole traveling business "en route" because we managed the whole thing just fine! :-)

And BTW, the 17 year old me was totally right.
Arcachon and Cap Ferret are places of wonder, of magic.
Places that won a permanent place in my heart. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Bordeaux: Some Words

Spending a couple of days in Bordeaux made me realize how many wonderful "unknown" cities we have in Europe. When talking about Europe, usually the more famous cities like Rome or Florence or Paris or Barcelona (usually the capital cities of our countries) are mentioned. We tend to forget that there are many other smaller cities, not well-known to the traveling public, that are worth visiting.
Bordeaux, in my opinion, is one of those.

I particularly liked the "Quartier Saint Pierre" (the historic part of town) with its old streets and its shops and boulangeries. Most of the shops sell stuff or food that has been produced nearby and you easily find everything to be organic. I loved that. I also adored that in many of the small shops I got to talk to the person who actually "made" the stuff he or she was selling. I loved the friendliness, the openness, the willingness to talk to strangers. That was pretty cool.
What I also loved were the bistrots and cute little bars and restaurants. Oh my, food-wise I could have spent a week there and not been able to try them all out!

I was told that the water front hasn't always been what it is today. There was no boardwalk and the river didn't "belong" to the Bordelais (French name for the people living in Bordeaux). Nowadays though the Bordelais have access to their river and all day long there were joggers and people on their bikes or strolling along the Garonne. Not tourists, mind you ... or at least not many. I saw grandparents with their grandchildren, couples, people sitting on the benches reading the news or a book. Really cool.

If I had to recommend one museum worth visiting, I'd say go to the Musée d'Acquitaine. Wonderful place. It shows the history of Bordeaux (also the not so nice bit with them shipping slaves to the New World). Wonderfully done and very interesting!

And last but not least I was astonished to find the city so biker friendly. I have rarely visited a (French) city where there were so many people on their bikes (and appropriate bike lanes!).

Monday, April 30, 2018

Bordeaux: More Pictures

I loved Bordeaux' street art and its ... doors!


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Trip to the Southwest of France: Bordeaux

I have just spent a couple of (sunny!!) (and very hot!!) days in the southwestern region of France. This destination has been on my bucket list for quite some time but getting there was really complicated ... well, at least until recently. Now, we have a direct flight from Zurich and as soon as I read about this, I had to go! To be honest, I had planned on going to the Baltic Sea in March/April. But then our (long) winter happened and suddenly, when it was time to organize my trip, I craved the south more than the north. I know, I know, but I can't be someone I am not ... hahahaha

Well, anyway, remember this post?
The Gods of Travel have been with me one more time! I got a train back to Arcachon even though Tuesday was a major strike day. Lucky me!!
First things first though. I flew to Bordeaux and spent the first two days there. What a pleasant surprise! A cute little town, with a very nice boardwalk along the river Garonne. I liked the small streets (some of them closed to traffic!), the cute restaurants and bars, the shops, the friendly people. The sun was shining (always a plus!) and within the first couple of steps I found myself in a happy place!

Put it on your travel bucket list! It's totally worth the trip!

Place de la Bourse

So many cute little shops

Porte Dijeaux

Pont de Pierre

River Garonne and Pont de Pierre

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Saying No

Yesterday evening, I was walking along the river Limmat, enjoying the setting sun and the sprouting trees (aren't they wonderful in springtime? I just love it!), when suddenly I hear someone call my name. It took me a bit to put a name to the face but then I remembered. A fellow student (back in the days!).

I had to smile because he was the fourth person from my past that I came across the last week. I didn't talk to the other three but him, I couldn't avoid (yes, I admit it. I avoided the three others!). We had a short talk, it was nice to meet him again and to catch up (at least a bit) but at one time I, kind of, got the impression that he would have liked to meet again and spend some time together, catching up more (hey, not in THAT sense, he is gay hahahaha).
I stood there and suddenly I knew for sure (like 100% sure) that no, I didn't want to meet him again. It was nice to have this short chat but spending more time together? No thanks. Not because I am pissed at him or because I don't like him. No. It's just, no. The past is the past. And as in April I am all about living in the moment (remember my post?)...

So, I was friendly but set: Hey, it was nice meeting you. Have a nice evening. Ciao. 
And there I went, pretty proud of myself. Proud because, you know, I have this ingrained way of handling situations like this. Deep down I know that I don't want to do this or that but then comes my, also ingrained, way of not wanting to hurt, to offend others and I usually end up doing things I don't really feel like doing. 
Not this time though. This may be the reason why I met all these people from my past this last week. Apparently, there was a lesson to learn. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Me, My Travels to France and Strikes

I am off to Bordeaux and Arcachon (that is in the southwestern part of France) next week. And guess what? SNCF's employees (France's national railroad company) are on strike.

(Not that I have anything against workers hitting the streets. On the contrary, my heart always beat and always will beat for the "underdogs". Always. I strongly believe in standing up to our rights. What I don't agree on though is when it's done at the expense of other workers, other underdogs. But then, what do I know? I don't want to judge. The right to strike is part of who we are.)

Anyway, the are on strike and I find it hilarious because I have been to France twice in the last 1,5 years and both times it was a close call, strike-wise. The first time I was in Marseille (traveling by train) when I found out that SNCF would be on strike ... the day after my departure.
The second time was last year in Nice. That time it was the airport's ground staff. Super close call because all flights before and five flights after mine were cancelled but NOT mine. I still see the monitor on my inner eye with all the red written CANCELLED on it. Was I lucky or was I not?

This time though I am taking the plane to Bordeaux (luckily not on Air France because those guys are on strike as well apparently). Then I planned on taking the train from Bordeaux to Arcachon. I could have rented a car but as I try to travel as eco-friendly as possible, I decided on taking the train.
Oh well.
It's gonna be an adventure. Apparently, on the days of the strike (2 days every 3 days or something like that) not all the trains are gonna be cancelled. I will have to check on their website the day before. The journey there won't be a problem (as of their website). The return journey more so.

Bienvenue to the world of traveling! SMILE
And as the Gods of Travel were with me the last two times, I hope they'll show up this time too :-)

Thursday, April 5, 2018

April Wish

As March has been all about expressing ourselves (what a month!), I feel that the energy in April has changed with last week's full moon. I obviously can only speak for myself but last weekend I suddenly realized that I wanted to live more in the present. It's nice to think about or to work on something that will happen in the future (ideas imply the idea of future). But now ... it's time to dedicate my time to the present. To be more conscient about my words, my thoughts, my acts ... right now.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

About Sunny Days

Looks like spring finally made it!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Keep Going

Doesn't this picture perfectly show one of life's aspect? I think so.
(Note: Success, in my opinion, has nothing to do with having money, power, fame. I see it more as in "succeed in doing something that, just some time ago, was a simple idea". This can be related to "big" things like a job, a new way of life or smaller things like a new hobby.)

Today, though, it's not about success. It's about the part in between, the "do", "do again", "and again" and "keep doing".
Usually, when you hear someone talk about succeeding in whatever, you probably get to hear about the thinking part, the idea part, the trying part and, obviously, the success part. The doing part, at least in my observation, is usually just something you get a resumé of. A success story kind of implies that "it wasn't a big deal to get there".
Well, some part of me gets it because listening to the "do again and again and again and again" part (or talking about it) can be boring and unfunny. It's not what makes a great story great. The part of the journey where doubts, crying jags, frustration, mantras consisting of "I will never be able to do that" and more doubts are not what we want to hear. Too close to our own fears, right? We prefer the happy ending.

But please, let's be honest here (if not here, where else??). The "do again and again and again and again" part is the most trying and long part of everyone's life. The shitty part of everyone's journey. It's the part I tend to forget myself ... when I either finally succeed or when I give up because ... well, because.
I have learned that, sometimes, it's simply "the natural selection process". If I do not have the energy to "do", "do again", "and again" and "keep doing", then my idea was not worth it. I have learned to let go of ideas and to trust in the next one that's usually just around the corner.
Other times, I find the energy to go on.

It's like, right now, with my learning to play the flute. I thought I was finally on my way to the "success" part of my apprenticeship, but oh my, how wrong I was. Still way to go. wwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy to go.
Luckily my love for music keeps me going ... even though, every other day or so, these days at least, I want to throw this piece of wood that is my flute out of my window

Have a nice weekend everybody!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Guided Tour in Einsiedeln (Switzerland)

Last Saturday I tried something new: I organized a guided tour for a couple of my friends.
Usually, when I have an idea of some place I want to visit, I go there alone or ask one friend to accompany me. With this idea though, one friend wouldn't have been enough...

I had heard of this guided tour of the Einsiedeln monastery done by one of their monks. I had wanted to book up for such a tour for quite some time now but the problem was that the monks only do this for groups (of 15 or of 30). In addition, the tour has to be booked well in advance.
One day (I wonder why I hadn't thought of it earlier?) I knew exactly how I'd be able to go on such a guided tour. I'd organize a tour for friends and acquaintances who'd be interested in knowing more about the church of Einsiedeln and in visiting the library as well. Like many monasteries, Einsiedeln has quite an impressive library. It isn't open to the public though. You can visit only with a guide.
No sooner thought than done (to my amazement!), 12 people were thrilled and happy to come along with me.

We had a wonderful tour (it lasts about 90 minutes). Einsiedeln is a power place, the church is amazing in all its barock abundance (the pink stucco work is really breathtaking!). The monk's explanations were interesting and I could spend days in their library, discovering their treasures. I'd recommend it!

My friends were enthusiastic about the tour and some of them urged me to come up with new ideas. And you know what? Why not? Let's see what other ideas pop up :-)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Turning Fifty

I am turning fifty (yes: five zero!!) in September. I can't believe it! And I don't mean it as in "oh my, I hate getting older". No, it's more something along the lines of "where the hell has time gone?".

When I was in my twenties, I never thought about getting older (what normal 20 something does that anyway??). It was something for the (oh so far away) future! Something I'd deal with once I'd become an adult. And for the 20 something Me being an "adult" meant that I would have "reached the target" (not more defined, obviously... hahaha). I'd be someone who'd knew exactly who she was and that would be it. I'd wear my adult coat and never take it off again.

Hilarious, don't you think? Who I am today has nothing to do with what my 20 something Me thought I'd be. Still not "found it". Still not arrived. Still no life's target ... besides living every day at its fullest (or at least try my best!).
It's so much cooler than I'd ever thought it'd be! I am zen. My brain waves are not in permanent state of agitation. My inner voice guides me through the ups and downs of my life. I know my strength and my shortcomings.

In some ways though I really have "arrived" but in many others there is still so much to discover, so many new paths to walk on, people to meet.
What helped a great deal all along this wonderful journey so far is that my happiness never depended on the "outside Me". At one point along the way my hair turned gray. Wrinkles became part of my skin. Age spots as well. C'est la vie. It's certainly not important because, to say it with other's words:

Friday, March 9, 2018

March Wish

February has been a more quiet month. March's energy though seems different to me. It bubbles all around me (reason why I chose this picture of a Yellowstone National Park geysers!).
It's time to express ourselves :-)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Copenhagen ... Some More Pictures

the colors!

Art Nouveau all over

Art Nouveau ... again

Radhuspladsen (City Hall square)

more Nyhaven

harbor tour