Thursday, May 31, 2007

Welcome to Paris

Just a quick note from mom as the tour arrives at their final destination, Paris:

"We made it to Paris. Had a Croquet Monsieur for lunch at a sidewalk bakery.

I have not heard from Roger. They are going to let me keep the same room for our few days after the tour. (comment from daughter: Mom needed my brother's flight information so she knew when to expect him on Saturday.)

I have to tell you again about last nights dinner. We spent the night in Beaune, France. Did I tell you about the wine tasting? We got these little wine tasting cups. The tasting was in a wine cellar, that was really neat. Afterwards we had dinner in a restaurant that was in a cellar that used to be where the monks stored their wine. Fantastic atmosphere! The dinner was out of this world! (comment from daughter: As she did tell me this it must have made a big impression on her) As soon as I get a calling card I will call you tonight. (comment from daughter: SHE DID!!!!)

Love you
Mom "

Love you too!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Twice is Nice In The French Countryside

Two emails from mom today!

"Can you believe that we were at the beach wearing shorts on Sunday at Cinque Terre, Italy. Had a great time. Took the boat to another area and had a marvelous dinner overlooking the water. Then also had a glass of wine on the beach.

When we left the beach, we got stopped at the tunnel in Switzerland because they had had a snow storm that morning. It took us forever to get to the place we were staying. When we finally got there, we found that we would not be able to go to the top of the mountain like we planned. I did not have clothes or shoes to go around in the snow so I took a short hike on a path that was clear of snow but had to climb over trees because the weight of the snow had broken limbs all over the place. I got to ride the gondola to Murren. It was so much fun.

Today we arrived in Beaune, France. Tonight we are having a wine tasting of Burgundy wine and the we will go to dinner.

We are only here one night. Then we will go to Paris in the morning.

Love and miss you very much.


and the second email I received a moment ago:

"Just got back from the wine tasting. We actually were in a wine cellar tasting the wine. It was all red. (comment from daughter: Mom typically only likes sweet wines so this is a stretch for her.) I could not understand why I drink wine in the U.S. and I am drunk after a glass. But here in Europe, I can drink two and can hardly feel it. I found out that the U.S. puts some kind of preservatives in their wine and some people react the way I do and some people get headaches. (comment from daughter: AHA!)

I like Beaune. I walked around town; found the Basilica of Notre Dame. They have a beautiful tapestry that is an original depicting the story of Mary.

Tonight we are going to a dinner that is featuring regional wine and cuisine. Glad that I brought my nice jacket because we are suppose to look nice tonight. Our guide said that tonight he would have to put his shirt in.

Boy, there is so much to tell you. I really want to take another trip whether with Rick Steves or not. The only thing is that I do not want to take one and you are not there. I had a nice time but it would have been fantastic if you were there so we could go down the alleys and run around. (comment from daughter: DEFINITELY!!!)

I am going to tell Roger that I want to go to Lyon. The high speed train takes 2 hours so if we go early we can explore and then come back in the evening. In fact, I am going to buy the tickets when I get to Paris.

Beaune is a walled city and very FRENCH.

Talk to you later. I should be able to find internet access tomorrow.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

A "Spirited" Trip to the Cinque Terre

"Have to make this fast because the internet is $1.00 for 10 minutes and 10 cents a minute.

Coming down from Rome, we stopped at a hill town. It was fantastic. We had a marvelous lunch.

Our guide brought wine (comment from daughter: Let's keep score shall we. That's 1.) for us and so on the way here, we were drinking wine and the bus driver was playing disco songs. Someone said that we needed a disco ball so he started blinking the interior lights in time with the music. Our guide had arranged for a meal by this lady that only opens for groups. It was amazing! I now have recipes for the two of you. She started with a pesto demonstration and then passed out samples. Her husband served us wine (comment from daughter: That's 2.) while we watched. Then the first course came which was a pesto lasagna (I have the recipe). It was amazing. Next came the main course. I chose the ham (TeAntae I do not know how to spell it. Prociuttto or something) or sword fish. (comment from daughter: She had Prosciutto.) I said that I wanted the ham which was delicious. The owner came around with seconds and put the sword fish that had a puttanesca sauce on it on my plate. I liked it. We also got salad that was very different but good. It was the birthday of one of the persons on the trip so we had cake that had some kind of a liqueur (comment from daughter: That's 3) crust on top. Then we were given some local wine (comment from daughter: That's 4) that was 18% alcohol. I think I will sleep well tonight. (comment from daughter: NO KIDDING! LOL)

Tomorrow, I am going to take the local train to the last town in Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore, then walk to the next town up, Manarola, because it is suppose to be an easy 30 minute walk, then take the train to, Vernazza which is the town under where I am staying, Monterosso.

Dropped my laundry off at the laundromat, she will wash and drop off at the hotel tonight for 12 Euro. Saved me doing it and I can get an early start in the morning.

I will not write tomorrow.

Love Mom"

Reading this, my eyebrows keep going up and up. I have a very low tolerance for alcohol and mom's even worse! All I could picture was disco dancing on the bus and there would be my mom, leading everyone in the "Bus Stop"!

Friday, May 25, 2007

They Got Me!

"I have been SO proud of myself on this trip. One lady got pickpocketed and I thought that I was being smart by wearing my money belt and I had made a fake pocket that I had pinned to the front of my pants with my shirt over it. Today on the subway, it was very crowded. A man kept pushing against my purse and in fact I felt him and gave him a mean stare. He started talking to another man and then at the next stop they got off. One of the ladies on my tour found that they had somehow gotten into her pocket and took her wallet. I stopped to buy water on the way to the Vatican and found that they had gotten me too. I got taken for 40 Euro, my day money.

You will love Rome. The guide that we had made the Colosseum come alive. I did throw my coin in the fountain. I stopped at this internet cafe, I am going to get some lunch and then look for the Spanish Steps.

The hotel we are staying in is nice but you have to walk 136 steps to get to the lobby. The elevator will only hold 2 people and 2 pieces of luggage.

As we were walking back from the fountain, we stopped at a church that was having a concert. The church was beautiful as well as the singing.

Tomorrow, we head for Cinque Terre and some needed rest.

Love Mom"

I can only imagine the look she gave that silly man. I'm so proud of her still for being careful enough to only lose that little bit. I know plenty of people who lose their passports, credit cards, etc... because they think they'll never get pickpocketed. I hope that's her only experience with that nonsense for the rest of the trip.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Florence... Not So Much

Something tells me mom misses Venice. LOL!

"Send me back to Venice and throw my passport overboard!

Florence is a hectic CITY. The motor scooters try to run you down and it is HOT. It is so crowded here and there are too many people selling something. It looks like around every corner stalls of merchants selling leather jackets, purses and scarves. I had planned on buying you some leather gloves but I got lost trying to find the store again. (comment from daughter: That's OK. Your present to me is that you have a good time.)

When we arrived yesterday, we had some free time and then we met to go to the Accademia. Michelangelo's David is breathtaking. It looks like he is about to start breathing and walk off. You can see his ribs & every muscle. In Italy you have to have a special card to be a tour guide. People that can not get the card will harass you to be a tour guide so what Rick Steve does is hire a non-talking guide that has their card but our guide did all the talking. We used headsets so we could here him in the crowd. Afterward we did a walking tour where he showed us the Duomo which is right down the street from the hotel. I really wanted to climb the tower-463 steps when you do not feel well is not a good idea. We will do it when we all come back together. We peaked through the gate at the Medici Riccardi Palace but it was closed. Then at 7pm we were taken to a restaurant for dinner. Very good pasta. Pasta is the first course, then came the steak, then dessert. Even when you are looking at the menus at the street cafes, you see first course, second course, etc. There was free time after dinner but I had went to a local pharmacy and she had me buy this medicine that you have to take on a full stomach. Put me straight to sleep and without the alarm clock, I would have missed this mornings walk.

7am coffee and croissant for breakfast. Bryan did not make me sick. (comment from daughter: Mom had stayed over the weekend before her trip and Bryan was just getting over a cold. He was worried he'd get her sick before she left.) I did not catch the cold until we make the climate change from cool and rainy to blistering hot in Italy. I need some cooler shorter pants but can not find anything my size. I found plenty in Germany but did not realize that it was going to be this hot here in Italy and we are still going south.

After breakfast, we met our local Italian guide at the Uffizi Gallery. We got to see some very famous paintings and he talked about the artist. Then it was free time. I went to the Ponte Vecchio. It looks better in pictures. Quite a few gold shops but I do not wear gold. From there I wandered around and found a place for lunch. I saw lots of wig shops too. Stopped for gelato. They have a Red Bull Gelato. Wondered what it taste like but did not try it. (comment from daughter: Eew! So glad you didn't. That sounds horrible.)

In the morning, we had for Rome.

Miss you,

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sneezing Across Europe

"Taking a walking tour of Florence in a bit and we will go see Michelangelo's David.

We stopped at an AutoGrill on the way here that had the most delicious pasta. Everyone said that what they ordered was very good. Why can't our truck stops be like this? (comment from daughter: I wish I knew. It sounds wonderful.)

I purchased a Snicker bar in Germany and a Kit Kat in Italy. The chocolate is different than in the US, much better.

I received a note from my blog from Rhonda wanting to know if I was getting any knitting done. You can let everyone know that I am knitting. That is my pastime while on the bus going from one place to the next. I am about to finish the toe on one sock and will be starting on the other on my way to Rome. I did pick up a couple of balls of yarn while in Venice. Don't worry, you can pick out which one you want. (comment from daughter: YAY!!!!) I also bought enough yarn to make a pair of socks. I am going to call them my Venice socks. (not from daughter: I did something similar on the cruise we took together. I finished a beaded crochet necklace while sitting on our room's veranda overlooking the Castaway Cay just as the sun set.)

I caught a terrible cold when we were in Austria. I think it was the change of weather and I have been so tired. Anyway, I lost my voice but I do feel better. The tour guide gave me my own room in Venice and he is doing the same here in Florence. (note from daughter: And why didn't she tell me sooner? I guess not to worry me. Glad she's feeling better.)

Here in Florence, right outside the door, is a market that must take up miles and miles of stalls. Mostly they are selling leather goods like purses and jackets. I did see some felted bead necklace and I may buy one. I am still looking for something special for you. Wish you were here to see these jackets but I would not be able to take it back if it did not fit. The beads I saw in Venice looked too much like the beads we see when we go to a good show.

My room is cute; at least this one has a toilet seat. Some of the places I have been have not.

Got up this morning and had my last cup of caffe latte in Venice at the neighborhood coffee shop. This morning, half the tour group came.

I still do not have a watch.

Will write more later.

Love Mom"

Monday, May 21, 2007

Venice, There Are No Words

"Venice... there are no words. I am in love. It is better than the pictures. I got up this morning before breakfast and had a caffe latte at the local coffee shop. After breakfast, our local guide took us on a tour and we ended at San Marco. I am just speechless.

And my room. It is perfect. Again, I am not sharing. I even did not have to share a bath. I have one with a bidet. Had to try that this morning. You should have seen me with the hand held shower. There was more water on the floor than on me. I could not stop laughing. My room overlooks the Canale Della Giudecca. Just perfect. You know that there is a 7 day Venice tour.

I took the water taxi that all the locals take, up and down the Canal. It was only 13 Euro and you can get off and on for 12 hours. If you get a single trip ticket, it cost 6 Euro. I have been off and on at least 6 times today.

For lunch I had Puttanesca... spicy but delicious. (note from daughter: This is mom's favorite pasta dish and she's on the hunt for the ultimate plate of it) I will have to try it in Rome and see what I think.

Last night we all pitched in and rode the gondola and we even had a musician. Our guide, Ben arranged it. The guy quoted such a low price that he threw in the musician. It still only cost $25 each. That was also fantastic.

I am paying for this internet and I have to write Roger and Ileana so until Rome....

Love you

Ok, so why after reading this did it bring tears to my eyes? Happy tears, but tears none the less.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Most Amazing Day

Sometimes my mom, who you'd think couldn't be more amazing, simply astounds me yet again.

"May 19th
I made it on the three mile walk from Austria back to Germany. A group of us went at our own pace and stopped a lot. It was very beautiful walking through the forest. I even walked up to the castle with everyone. I do not know how to describe how amazing the castle is. There is no way that Ludwig was mad. Ahead of his time maybe, but certainly not mad. I took lots of pictures. It was the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I took the bus back, it was worth the 1 euro.

Afterwards we took a luge ride. I rode twice.
(note from daughter: I wish I could have been there cheering here on, "Go Mom! Go!") I almost did it again but it got too crowded. One person in our group fell off because he was going too fast. You did not have to worry about that with me.

I just got back from walking to the little village here. The people paint scenes on their houses, and things around the windows or their names. The inside of the church was very beautiful.

I take it back about taking this trip. It would be great. At first I felt we were going so fast that everything was a blur but maybe that is good, it is sure packed full of memories.

When I get off I am going to take a shower and lay down a little before dinner.

Long bus ride tomorrow about 8 hours.
(note from daughter: She was on her way to Venice next.)

Love and miss both of you


Friday, May 18, 2007

At "Home" In Austria

These 3 emails only came a couple of hours ago so this is hot of the presses as it were:

First email:
"This is short because the internet is slow and I only have a few minutes-
Went to
Munich to the Hofbrau House and had a beer that had lemonade in it. Still tasted like beer.

Also, we just arrived in our home for the next two nights on the Austrian border. We will take a 3 mile walk to castle. Have to get more money.
(comment from daughter: What have you been buying young lady?) Will write more later.


Next I received:

"This lady that told me about the text messaging was texting her daughter back and forth all day on the bus. We are going to the castle tomorrow. I made the mistake in the days. We can take the 3 mile walk over hill and dale to the castle or we can take the bus. Then it is uphill to the castle. I am going to try the walk. I will take lots of pictures of the castle.

We are staying on a farm tonight. The meal was delicious. My room is tiny but cute. I am sharing a bath with another lady but I have my own room. (comment from daughter: She has been really lucky so far only having to room for 1 night with her official roomy at the moment.)

I sent you the
2008 list of tours. I think we should take a two week tour. I will tell you why when I get home.

Love Mom"

and last I received this important email:

"Forgot to tell you: The farmhouse has a washer and no dryer: my underwear is hanging on the line. (note from daughter: She is going to kill me for posting this one but my husband agreed that this is good information. I just hope she got a picture!)


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Could Not Wait To Tell You

My mom is about as "bad" as me when it comes to meeting people. We'll talk to anyone! Looks like she's doing well...

"May 17th
There is an older couple that have adopted me or something. I am always having to stop them from paying for my snacks. I had told them that my favorite artist was a man by the name of
David Young and that he played two recorders at the same time. (note from daughter: I have to agree, this guy is amazing!) When I went into the famous Christmas store here in Rothenburg, I had noticed a CD by David but did not get it because I thought I had it. After I got back to the hotel I realized that the one I have is the one David wanted our opinion about the cover. (note from daughter: Yeah, we've met him so many times, he knows us well) This CD was made especially for this store. There is also a DVD movie but there is no use me getting it since it will be in Germany.

Anyway, I was having a piece of cake, very delicious, here at the hotel when the couple saw me. They had purchased the CD for me. Can you believe that? We will have to do something nice for them when I get back. I would like you to think of something nice to make them as well. They have just been a dream. Your jewelry is so pretty that even rich people would die for it.
(note from daughter: Mom is biased.)

I am in working on postcards because it is raining and I am tired of being wet. I will meet everyone at 8 for the nightwatchman tour. Tell Bryan that this is great and he will love this or one of the shorter Rick Steve tours. You have to get up early because that is the only way to see things without the tourist but they are really packing it in.

Love ya,

Lots of Castles

With this and the next post, I'm all caught up. =)

"May 17th
We are in Rothenburg.

I just walked up this tower that was 214 steps and some of them straight up. We had to walk backwards to get down some. I wanted to see the whole city but we still have the rain. Tonight we are taking the
Night Watchman tour. I also have to find some lunch. The town is very pretty but pure tourist. There is a yarn shop beside the hotel that I am going to check out. (note from daughter: Mom, always keeping her priorities in order.) Also, I want to walk the old wall. This town is surrounded by a wall. We were told that after 6pm, we will have the town mostly to ourselves. We will see. Nothing but shops for tourist here.

As for food, I am eating. I ate white asparagus yesterday and it was good. I have been putting things in my mouth to keep from getting hungry and I have surrvived.
(note from daughter: Mom isn't adventorous when it comes to food so I had to remind her to make sure to at least TRY the food before looking for a burger)

Tomorrow is the Disney castle. We have to leave here at 7:30am to get there before it opens. That is one thing about this tour, you have to get up early in order to get to your destination before the tour busses get there.

Talk to you when I get use of the internet again. Next time we will definately set up the IM or text message when we are out of the country. Almost everyone knew about it and that is what they do in their rooms at night instead of waiting for a computer like I have to do.

Love ya,

Germany And Castles

A quick check-in from mom when she arrived in Germany...

"I just made it to Bacharach. The hotel is fantastic. I still have my own room. Each room is decorated differently. Mine is a dream come true. It is so pretty. I am facing the Rhine.
The pictures will not do it justice.

We stopped at an open air museum to see Dutch life in years pass. Then it was a long bus trip to Germany. We did not stop for a picnic, instead they decided to take us for pancakes of all types at the open air museum.

Tonight, we go to dinner in the hotel and then free time to walk around the town.

Love and miss you

Mom aka Louise"

The next day I received this report....

Just think, I slept in a castle, on the Rhine, in a fairytale room. I took plenty of pictures.

Today we explored a castle. I will have to tell you all about it when I get home. I brought Bryan
a present. I know you told me to spend my money on myself but I could not resist. (comment from daughter: Bryan's my husband. Hey! Did she get me a present too!)

Tomorrow we are going to Mad King Ludwig's castle that the Disneyland castle was modeled after. We will spend one night in Rothenburg. (note from daughter: This is the town they filmed the Vulgarian village scenes in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in!)

Love and miss you


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Anne Frank House, Houseboats and Coffee Houses (Mom's Last Day In The Netherlands)

I should have titled this "The Houses of Amsterdam"!

"Don't worry about internet fees. At least not right now. The internet is complimentary with this hotel. Do not know about the others. (Clarification from daughter: In my email to her I had asked her not to worry about emailing often as I wanted her to spend her money on better things.)

Today we had breakfast at 7AM. We met at 7:45AM to take the train to Amsterdam. From there we walked to the
Anne Frank Haus to make sure we were there at least 1/2 hour before it opened. We were among the first in line and was able to get out before the crowd started. The area that the family occupied was larger than I thought. They should ask me who turned the family in. Just think, the father legally signed over the business to his two "trusted employees/friends". Any thoughts.....

We then walked around the area and looked at the architecture. It was amazing to see the
houseboats (From daughter: In trying to find information to link to I found loads of information on RENTING houseboats. Check out the link for a gorgeous example!!!) that cost a fortune now, mainly because they have to buy the dock that they are at. When Amsterdam started, the homes were taxed according to the frontage. There are houses that are only as wide in front as one window.

Took lots of pictures. I see now that I decided on the wrong lens. When we come back, we will bring a small camera with long lens. This camera is heavy and I did not bring the long lens.

I forgot to tell you about yesterday, are maybe I did. Anyway, I got lost and a man helped me find my way back. On the way, he saw a long line at the church and said it was probably a local art showing and lets go see. We went in and the two of us talked about the art and how people had painted trunks, etc. It was fun. Then he took me to the area that I needed to be in and he went off to buy flowers for his mother for Mother's Day.
(Daughter's response: AAAAAAAAAAWWWWW!)

Back to today....We took a
canal cruise and the person that was driving was so funny. Hope we get someone like that when we come. Or maybe we will decide to go somewhere else.

We walked through the
Red Light District. That was funny. There was so many "COFFEE HOUSES". I could not find real coffee. (From the daughter: I just don't want to know.)

We went to the Rijks Museum and then I walked around the area until it was time to start back. Some people decided to stay in Amsterdam.

In the morning after breakfast, we head for Germany. We are going to an open area museum and then on to Bacharach, Germany for two nights. This is suppose to be a long ride so I will work on my postcards, knit and listen to my IPOD.


From Mom's Monday report, I suspect she was clicking away with her camera. What a day!

First Two Days In Europe

This report is a combination of her first and second days in Europe (Saturday and Sunday). She had the morning of the second day all to herself as the tour didn't start until that afternoon/evening. Now this is the way to spend Mother's Day!

"The hotel is so European with a comfortable bed, the tub is so deep I thought I needed a step stool to get in to take my shower. You have to leave your door card in a slot by the door to have electric.

I won't have a room mate for the next couple of nights. The lady at the front desk when I came down this morning whispered to me that she had fixed it so I could have the room by myself so just leave my things in the room.

Breakfast was what you read about as European with cold cuts, bread, STRONG coffee, and juice. They had eggs and sausage but they where terrible.

There is an Italian restaurant in the hotel but last night I was just too tired and tonight we all go out to dinner together somewhere.

Everyone ride bicycles here. They have the greatest market basket bike things that I really wish I had. Even the saddle bags are really great. Most people have both.

I met a lady that LOVES Americans yesterday. She told me to go to the department store
(Note from daughter: I think this is where she went, Vroom & Dreesman, but she'll have to correct me when she gets back) and then go to the top floor. There was a restaurant and you can stand on the terrace and see all of Haarlem. That turned out to be the best place in Haarlem. The restaurant at the top was like an Eatzi's. I got some juice and sit on the terrace. The lady at checkout told me the restaurant closed at 6 so I had planned to come back for dinner but when I got there at 5 they had put away almost everything. I went down stairs to another little place they had and got a quiche, juice and brownie. I was so tired, I had to get a bag for the brownie.

Everything is closed today. I did found out that there is a grocery close by that I'll go to since I can not find my deodorant or razor. I also am to bring my Rick Steves book to the meeting tonight but I know I do not have that. It was so thick that I did not put it in the luggage.

I will talk to you later,



I can just see my mom now, the darling of the Netherlands! =)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Daughter's Surprise

Hi folks!

This is not Louise, this is her daughter TeAntae posting. While mom's zipping around Europe right now, I thought it would be fun for all of us, as well as a nice keepsake for her, to update her blog based on some of the emails and video postcards she's been sending (edited for content of course). I don't know how much of mom's journey I'll be able to capture here as it will depend on how often she can contact me but I'm certainly going to do my best. So let's begin...

After a shaky start, mom had her first two flights to Newark, NJ get canceled so Continental transferred her to KLM so she could get a direct flight to the Netherlands, she arrived safely in Amsterdam on May 12th...

"Okay everyone, I made it to the hotel. Check-in is not until 3pm and there is an Italian restaurant in the hotel. It is a little chilly so I am going to buy something for my head. The Saturday market is around the corner.

I am happy to say that it is not raining. In fact, the sun is shining but windy.

When I got to the hotel, there was a couple in front of me that are also taking the
tour tomorrow.

I will try to send another report tonight to tell you how my day went if I can get on the Internet.

Talk to you soon,

Mom aka Louise"

She's on her way to Bacharach, Germany today so I need to fill in the other posts to catch up. Hope you enjoy this little sneak-peek into mom's adventure!

Take care everyone!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Europe Here I Come

The time is finally here. I am leaving for 21 days to take Rick Steve's Best of Europe Tour. My son will join me in Paris where we will stay 4 days exploring and of course we will have to go to
Paris Disney.
I will report on my trip when I get back. Made sure that my knitting was packed. Have to keep busy on the plane and long bus rides.