What we pack for six months in Europe

We are leaving in a couple of days to get on the transatlantic cruise to Amsterdam.  We have a balcony on the cruise and plan to use it a lot.  So all the packing and things to do before we leave are being done.

Our sons are moved in.  The dogs are doing well.

We are packing ( oh no).  We take one rolling suitcase and one backpack each for the six months we will be away.  That means that I take very few clothes and they all are black and can be worn together.  For color and variety I pack scarves.  I pack in packing bags; the shirts, the pants, the underwear, the jacket all can be pulled out and used as needed.  I bring 2 pairs of shoes and a pair of saddles. It is not much but it leaves some room to pick up something irresistible .

 

There are some things that we bring from home because they are difficult to get in Ireland and England.   These are the special ear plugs I use, I love my husband but I still need to sleep.  Our vitamins and medications ( luckily we take only a few meds so that is easy).  My prepared journal and my journal tools.  We take a laptop computer, our phones, an ipad and a Magic Jack phone.  It is all very lightweight.  When you are getting on trains and buses in Europe there are no porters to help.  You must lug your bags up the train stairs very quickly as they only stop for a few minutes and there are lots of other people getting on.

 

The worst part of the trip is the flight to Fort Lauder dale.  I hate flying, it is so cramped.  That is the reason we will take a cruise over and a cruise back.  If you want to follow our adventures pet and house sitting please click the “follow” button and put in your email addy.  You will then get an email only when I post ( no one wants more emails than needed).  There will be very few posts on the 14 day cruise since the internet is difficult and expensive to use in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  Bon Voyage!

Free tutorial; How to prepare a travel journal

One thing that I do now since going to Europe the last 2 years is to prepare my travel journal before I go.2017 travel journal2017 travel journal 1 I keep tickets, train stubs, receipts and other ephemera as we travel and there is not time to make special pages to keep this loose stuff.  2017 travel journal 4So I put in pretty envelops in my journal at home.   I also paint and add decorative paper to my journal pages as it is difficult to find the time and carry all the supplies to do that on the road.2017 travel journal 3  I make pages with fold outs to put secret or just private thoughts into.  2017 travel journal 6 I also stamp and color pages like this. 2017 travel journal 2 or this2017 travel journal 7  I take along a zip lock plastic bag with scissors, double sided tape, tape, color pencils ( water color ones), colored pens,  a small spray bottle, glue sticks and a small stapler.  Now I am ready to add papers and pages as I go along.  Hope this helps you prepare for your next big trip or even a little one.

We are in Las Vegas

We have been at home all this time since returning from England in August.  Our son got married in December.2016-b-wedding-parents  Then we got through Christmas; with a small tree and all of our Christmas decorations still in storage.  We have made the downstairs comfortable with furniture from our office and our bed.  The upstairs is completely empty.  We find we do not need to live in much space these days after being on the road for 6 months.  All of our clothes fit into 1/2 of our closet.  It is good to have our sweet doggie Mac back with us.home-16-mac-in-box-small

The housing market seems to be depressed here at the moment so we are taking some small trips while we decide what to do.  I find that I am restless and want to be back on the road again.

So we are spending a week in Las Vegas.  There are some interesting places to take photographs here.  This is the glass ceiling at the Bellagio Hotel that is stunning.bellagio-ceiling-flowers-5x7-net  And some glass Cherry flowers from the inside of the hotel. cherry-flowers-belliago-5x7-light-net  We also went to  an abandoned mining town near here, and got photographs of lots of rusted cars and signs.old-car-grill-5x7-filtered-netdeadend-snake-5x5-poster-net  The next day we went to the stunning Valley of Fire.  This is a state park that has lots of sandstone rocks the are standing straight up from the ground due to violent up thrusts from the time of the dinosaurs.  It is pretty dramatic.vof-beehive-person-5x7-closer-netvalley-of-fire-arch-5x7-net

And today we visited the Atomic Testing Museum. We had a Groupon (2 for $26) and you should look for such a discount, as the list price is $22 each, and I don’t think it’s worth that. Those of you who are of our age will remember those duck-and-cover drills from the 60s, and this will certainly make you realize how useless that would have been, and how crazy the whole nuclear industry was.

There is a lot to do in Las Vegas besides gambling.

Well, I thought I would up date you on some of our events.  Not as exciting as the summer in England but still interesting.

If you want to purchase any of these photographs they are available in my Etsy shop.

St. Ives; a lovely Cornwall harbor town

We took the train to St. Ives in Cornwall from Truro, it only cost about $5 each for us to go to the beach and to return to Truro.  Here is an old fashioned signal box house for those of you who are railroad fans that is still operating in the Truro train station. truro signal box small The train goes to St. Erth where we got on the St. Ives train.  This train only goes back and forth to St. Ives.Truro train smallSt. Ives is a seaside town on the western edge of Cornwall.  It is a popular summer resort.  We went on one of the few days of sunshine that we experienced in Cornwall and it was crowded.  Here is a photo of the beach.St Ives beach 5x7 smallMany people put up wind breaks and small pop up tents.  There is a lovely harbor where the local kids jump off the pier to go swimming.St Ives pier jumpers small There is a picturesque Lighthouse on the end of the pier.St Ives lighthouse small  And some local seals patrol the harbor walls hoping some of the fishing boats might lose some fish.st Ives seal head small We did get some fish and chips in a fun restaurant on the harbor front.  Here is a photo of David looking happy after eating salmon. St Ives David fish and chips small  It was a wonderful day train trip.

I have been captured by the Olympics

We are taking care of 2 lovely dogs in Truro, Cornwall.  Here is a picture of them having fun.

dog friends play small

We have been walking these babies 2 times a day in a lovely field nearby.

But we have not done any sight seeing because….I love the Olympics.  All my favorite sports come in the first week.  Swimming, volleyball and gymnastics are the big three for me.  The problem with being in England is that the swimming finals are live  here at 1-4 am because the the time difference with Rio.  Oh no…..my normal schedule runs until 1 am everyday but this is really making my clock crazy.  Luckily, next week we can see some of lovely Cornwall and I will put up some lovely photos for you.

Here is the view from our pet sitting home, so lovely.

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Oh and go USA!

England; rain and flowers

It is summer here in England but sometimes it is hard to tell.  There has been more rain than sunshine during our visit.  For someone from Southern California it is an amazing amount of water from the sky.  The wonderful part of all of this rain is the glorious flowers that bloom here.  I have been going crazy taking photographs of some of these lush blooms.  I thought I would share some of them with you.  A bouquet of English blossoms for you to enjoy. wells flower pink yellow smallflower purple smallflower white green smallpink flowers A  smallflower pink purple smallChartwell flower back smallJanet pink bells smallcambridge flowers 5x7flower pink spikes small

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We discover how the National Health Service works

Well, we have been lucky so far with our travels and except for a terrible cold and some allergies have not had any health issues.  That was until Tuesday.  David had hurt his big toe when he accidentally dropped a suitcase on it a week before.  It had been healing until Sunday night when it started to bleed and to hurt.  David's toe 7 2016By Tuesday , we knew we would have to see a doctor.  What do you do when you are in a foreign country?

Well, here in the UK they have the National Health Service (NHS, free coverage for all of their citizens and indeed anyone from the EU). After a little Googling, we followed what they ask you to do when you need help.  David called the NHS hotline (111) and spoke to a nurse who advised him to go to the ER near where we are staying.  (A little surprisingly, there are Walk-in Centres (kind of like US Urgent Care) only in more rural areas.)  So we took the #2 bus, which conveniently stops 100 feet from our door, to the hospital and waited for about 1.5 hours to see a doctor.  The doctor was very nice and after we all talked about it , we decided that the toe nail had to come off. Here is a photo of nursing assistant  Lauren, who did all the hard work and helped the doctor take the nail off .lauren the nurse small

We got the toe bandaged up and went home on the bus with a round of antibiotics to take. We changed the dressing Saturday and the toe looked good.  Today it looks normal and a regular bandage is enough.  We were thankful for the NHS assistance and the good work done in the Cambridge Addenbrooke’s A&E.IMG_20160729_150723

By the way, we immediately confessed to being visitors from the US, and the word “insurance” was not heard, nor was there any request for payment. They even waived the co-pay for the medicine, which is normally £8.40. They did take our address, so perhaps the final outcome will be different. but right now we think this care was free. The NHS website seems to say this is the case for emergency care when you’re not admitted to the hospital.

Also by the way, there is a full complement of reality TV in the UK just like in the US. It includes police (highway and city), border control (from the UK, Canada, Ireland, US, and Australia), lifeboat rescue, and yes, medicine (both emergency and GP (general practice, you local family doctor).