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Upstate South Carolina, beautiful seasons


Autumn in Upstate South Carolina is quite stunning. I have never experienced such a wide array of colors, especially in such length.

Both Videos are taken in Anderson County, South Carolina, by yours truly.

nct seasons here and it is beautiful. I have made a few videos along the way to highlight to just some of the beauty.

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A way to Finnish the day, Finnish Musician


A special treat awaited for me in Kensal Green, London. A young man from Finland willing bestowed a lovely song up our music loving group, performed by him, sung in Finnish, entertaining the whole group. Lots of fun, a great way to enjoy the accommodations!

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Portraits of those before us, and more, National Gallery, London


Culture is in the eye of the beholder and the artists of old captured the essence of all things great  in the centuries before us….and viewing them is free at the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square in downtown London.

A fabulous aspect of the National Gallery is the general entrance is free, which is great for those traveling on a budget like myself. I attended/viewed the Gallery a total of 3 times to get through all the exhibitions (not fully shown here). The exhibits are large, spacious, and overly awesome to boot. Why? The National Gallery offers era’s from classical to Renaissance to Modern, DaVinci to Rubens to Van Gogh to Monet to Post Modern Art. It is all very wonderful.

The Gallery also sets on Trafalgar Square, which in its own ways is always awesome, a full day or two of free adventures all in one wonderful location, well worth checking out and very friendly on the wallet (post cards of must of the art work is also available for those without a photographic eye or wanting to play “Where’s Waldo” postcard style).

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Old High Church and Kirkyard, Inverness, Scottish Highlands


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Unexpected Lovelyness


As the titles states, unexpected surprises pop up, especially on adventures it seems. Meeting new people, making new friends, trying new foods and stumbling across venues and events are always such a delight!! Below, are just a few of the recent, lovely surprises  I have been blessed to enjoy while here in the Highlands of Scotland. I hope you enjoy as well.!!!

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Rosemarkie-Fortrose Parish Church


Rosemarkie, a charming small town along the Moray Firth on the Black Isle, is a quaint place to wander, taking in the sea air and the charms of the area. Everything is acccessible by foot, once arrived in the town, which is a really nice treat.

The Church parish itself is easily found, tucked away just behind the High Street, along the Moray Firth, which offers stunning views inside the parish church as well as in the Kirkyard.

The church, founded by St. Boniface, is lovely and includes old history:

The town of Rosemarkie, though no large, is of considerable antiquity. It was erected into a royal burgh by Alexander, King of Scotland, probably Alexander II. The town of Chanonry was united to the burgh of Rosemarkie by a charter granted by King James II., anno 1444, under the common name of Fortross, which charter was ratified by King James VI., anno 1592; and confirmed in a still more ample form by the same monarch in the year 1612. (Source Link)

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All Under one Banner


 

What a rally and march to see!! The streets are packed with seekers, the March filled with banners, flags, and more, in march for an Independent Scoltand!! What an experience to see first hand.

The march last well over an hour and chants were said, responses given, and flags were waved in high glory, too!!!

 

Image result for Scotland quotes

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Making New Friends, Highlands of Scotland


The blessings continue to flow here in Scotland as I have made some wonderful friends along my journey. It isn’t always about what you are seeing, it is about whom comes into your life and leaves a happy mark on your heart that creates the best experiences; may the memories and friendships continue to bloom.

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Crathes Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (near Banchory)


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Hugh Miller Cottage, Cromarty, Scotland


 I was so very blessed to get to spend a whole day touring the childhood and adulthood home (for a while) of Hugh Miller, geologist, reformer, stone mason and Scots. Truly an amazing experience!! I used my National Trust for Scotland pass to tour it, which is awesome.

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End of the Line, Cathedral of Fortrose, Highlands of Scotland


Cathedral Ruins, Fortrose, Black Isle, Scotland
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Portabello Salad, Super Easy-Super Filling


Step 1 Sautee Mushrooms and garlic
Wash/Rinse Salad base mix
Layer salad together, sprinkling with slivered almonds and bleu cheese crumbles
Finish it all off with a honey balsamic dressing
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The Adventures of Flat Stanley


Recently, I was blessed in being asked to be a Flat Stanley participant for a student in Tyro Elementary, Lexington, North Carolina.

Here is a little back history Flat Stansley (compliments of this site.)

 

Dale Hubert first introduced The Flat Stanley Project to his students at Wilfrid Jury Public School in 1995.  The project’s name comes from the eponymous character of the children’s book Flat Stanley.[1][2] Written in 1964 by American author Jeff Brown, the book centers around the life of character Stanley Lambchop, a boy who is accidentally flattened.[1][2]

In an interview with CNN in 2005, Hubert explained: “In the book, by Jeff Brown, Stanley gets squashed flat by a falling bulletin board. Stanley’s parents rolled him up, put him in an envelope and mailed him to his friend in California. And that just seemed like a way of communicating that grade-three students might enjoy.”[1]

Students involved in The Flat Stanley Project are read the story of Flat Stanley and are subsequently given black-and-white cut-outs of him for them to color.[1][2] The students are also asked to write a story about him, including details such as where he is from, his daily routine and his interests, then they mail their Stanley to someone, such as a friend or relative in another country, or a student at another school participating in the program. The person receiving the Flat Stanley is asked to take a picture with the cut-out doll and to send a letter back, either via email or regular mail, to the student recounting Flat Stanley’s adventures along with the accompanying photo. The student then shares the photo and letter with their class.

By then end of its first year there were 13 classrooms participating in the project across the province of Ontario. Classrooms in the United States were short to follow suit and by 2006 the program had grown to 6,000 classes in 47 nations. By 2011 it was reported that at least 88 countries were participating in the program annually.

 

 

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Christmas in Colorado


Christmas this year has been quite joyous!! It has been extended over time, celebrating over a couple of weeks with family and friends, drinking coffee and sharing with the Ladies Club at Zazzies, seeing my friend at the bank, playing Flat Stanley, and so much more. I am so blessed.

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Cornerstone Coffee… Autumn Delights and hot Cider


Cornerstone Coffee, Main Street, Akron, CO 80720

Autumn comes alive in downtown, Akron, Colorado at Cornerstone Coffee, located conviently on Main street, with lots of available parking,  it has quickly become my home coffee shop of choice.  The lovely ladiens that run Cornerstone Coffee are not only excel at offering a delicious selection of baked goodies and sweet, they own the shop, an extra  nice perk (I am a huge fan of supporting and frequenting locally owned businesses, especially in smaller towns and villages.)

Autumn here in Colorado is beautiful, colorful (truly proving the “Colorful Colorado” motto) and darn right chilly, especially when the wind howls. The hot apple cider is a really lovely autumn treat at Cornerstone Coffee…the house brew is also a tasty way to cut the chill with a soft caffeine kick.

Cornerstone Coffee also offers free Wifi to its customers, which is a super perk as well as having many tables and seats avsailable for those wanting to socialize over their brew and baked goods or the daily breakfast and lunch specials.  Overall, this place is a “must” for those traveling through Northeast Colorado or living in the region. Located 2 blocks north of HWY 34 in Akron on Main street, check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

PS The turkey, swiss and bacon on toasted rye is amazing!!!

 

Sparkling Clean Housekeeping

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Tory Hole on Cape Fear River


The Revolution comes alive, 236 years later to the day!

The Cape Fear River Basin is home to so much American history, boasting a menagarie of Revolutionary sites, all within walking distance around Elizabethtown, marked with stone signs on pillars, stating events that shaped our nation. The great part is that it is all accessible by foot, with plenty of shade trees and Magnolias  the way, the air filled with the pleasure of summer blossoms.

In 1781, the  Battle of Elizabethtown was fought at ToryHole (now Tory Hole Park on the banks of the Cape Fear River)

      “OAugust 27, 1781, the Revolutionary War Battle of Elizabethtown was fought.

Two weeks earlier, Loyalist forces under Colonel John Slingsby captured several Whig—that is Patriot—supporters in what’s now Fayetteville. Slingsby brought his prisoners to Elizabethtown, in Bladen County.

The day before the battle, a local resident named Sallie Salter entered the Tory camp to sell eggs. Unbeknownst to them, she was a Patriot spy. She reported to Colonels Thomas Robeson, Jr., and Thomas Brown, commanders of a band of Bladen County militiamen that had withdrawn to Duplin County. Her information led to a decision to attack Slingsby.

This was a considerable gamble, as the Patriot command numbered between 60 and 70 men, while Slingsby’s forces totaled between 300 and 400.

After a night march, the militiamen launched a surprise attack on Slingsby’s camp. The resulting confusion was amplified by the successful efforts of the Whigs to make the Tories think that there were far more Patriots present than there actually were.

With Slingsby dead, the Tories retreated to a ravine, afterwards called “Tory Hole.” There they were fired upon until they surrendered. The Patriot victory permanently weakened Tory power in the Cape Fear region.”

 (Courtesy of 

https://www.ncdcr.gov/blog/2016/08/27/battle-of-elizabethtown-culminated-at-the-tcory-hole)

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Black Water Rhythym and Blues, Elizabethtown, N.C.


A very enjoyable evening out on the town!!

Located at the Farmers Market Plaza in Elizabethtown, N.C. A friend and I thoroughly enjoyed an evening of live music, performed by Black Water Rhythym and Blues. The trombones, saxaphone, trumpet and vocalists were awesome, featuring covered music tracks.

A favorite of mine was the cover of Ed Sheerens “Thinking out Loud”, very soulful rendition and heart warming.  Those in attendance brought their own lawn chairs, making seating comfy and the venue dog s friendly, which is always a good idea.

The group will be performing other music in the park venues, including another in Elizabethtown, which makes me super excited!

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A Cheesy Snack/Side Dish


Cheesy Brussel Sprouts, an easy snack/side dish

1 bag of frozen Brussel sprouts (plain)

4 slices (or 4 oz) of real cheddar cheese

Lightly steam the brussel sprouts with a little water, until thawed out and semi cooked. Let cool if cutting by hand. Slice/chop the brussel sprouts by hand or with a food processor, returning to the pan with 2 tablespoons of butter, lightly saute until fully cooked and tender.

Mix in the cheese, putting the pan on low heat until the cheese is melted. Serves 4-6 people a side dish/snack

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Steak and Ale Pie in London


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Reykjavik, Iceland


A layover has never been more exciting. My flight on Icelandair proved to be very successful, flying from London to Denver, via Reykjavik, Iceland.

I arrived just  little before midnight, went through customs (getting another stamp in my passport, woohoo!!) I was able to sleep a little on a terminal bench in a quiet area, which was super after so much adventuring and travel..

Upon waking up, I grabbed some coffee and a breakfast sandwich, and booked a round trip local bus ticket to the town of Reykjavik, where more unexpected adventures awaited, and the beauty was an unexpected surprise. The bus drove by the old lava fields (now covered in sparse shrub and grasses) and dropped off passengers not far from city center square.

The pictures tell the rest of the story, and I even sampled fermented shark (not shown). A rare delicacy I have never tasted or had available anywhere else!!!

Joe and the Juice Coffee
Leif Erikson
Monument
Atlantic Inlet to the coastline
Iceland sweater for sale at $400
Mural in the airport
Loki Cafe entree, amazing
Tulips
Loki Cafe
Thor Tea
Lief Erikson monument
Church hours in Nordic and English
Hallgrimskirkja Church, Iceand

The Loki cafe is an amazing place to dine and has some incredible views but be warned, Iceland is very expensive to enjoy, even on a basic level…be prepared to drop some cash on even basics. For example, a cup of regular coffee (roughly $2 to $3 in the USA) is easily $8 to $10 in Iceland, even outside of the airports. Why is everything so costly?? From what I understand, most things have to be important to Iceland and with a population of roughly 350,000 (for the whole country), costs are higher due to the enviroment and import costs, etc. It is worth seeing but plan accordingly…and apparently the higher winds and chill are constant, so dress warmly!!!

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Struy Guest House, Cozy place to stay in Inverness


The Struy Guest House has honestly been the very best

accommodation that I have stayed in while traveling and adventuring. The property manager, Kasper, has been super friendly and accommodating, the premises clean and neat, everything is tidy, and it is very affordable.

I love that it is located about a Mile from downtown Inverness, easily within walking distance (with a lovely walk to and from) but also located about 2 blocks from a bus stop. The quiet neighborhood provides an extra air of serenity.  A simple breakfast is provided with a small extra charge but it is a great way to kick off the day.

I really liked it, too, because it wasn’t the run of the mill, generic place to crash, very pretty cottage style house, which added to the ambiance of visiting Scotland. Shared rooms and suites both have amenities such as coffee/tea pots and more, which is super helpful, comfortable bedding and always kept clean.

I thoroughly enjoyed staying here as I met some really great people and felt very comfortable, relaxed, and at ease, which is a huge thing I often don’t find at hotels/motels, etc. (Keep in mind, I have never tried an AirBnB)

Struy House 109 Ballifeary Road, Inverness, Scotland iv35p3

struyguesthouse@gmail.com

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/15229912

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13 months in Baden Wurtemburg


Whew!! 13 months here have really flown by and now it is time for the next chapter!! A review in photos of all the fun I have experienced living abroad here in Germany.

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Burse, Freiburg, Germany


A great restaurant with outdoor seating in the plaza, offering wonderful food and traditional German cuisine, and, of course, I enjoyed the German hearty meal of Schnitzel, mixed salad, and potatoe salad. A wonderful meal in the plaza, a great way to fuel up on an adventure and a tasty way at that!!

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Kloster Ruins, a most favorite place


Tucked away in the small village of Frauenalb, Germany, the klosterruine are a true treasure and gem worth exploring.

Listed as a historic site and part of the National Park system, the ruins are filled with beauty and enchanting nooks and crannies. I hope you enjoy the tour.

Continue reading “Kloster Ruins, a most favorite place”

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Bühl and the Burg Windeck Ruins


And of course, we had to stop for a coffee break!!!

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A Sunday Drive in the Black Forrest


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Spock and Gelato


A small town in Southwest Germany, Spock offers a quiet afternoon to wander and enjoy Gelato.

 

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Cinnamon Apple Raisin Oatmeal


A super easy one pot wonder that is great for breakfast or brunch  and easily feed a crew.

Ingredients:

2 cups old fashioned oats

3 cups water

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 red apples, cored and chopped

2 tablespoons dried raisins

Honey

Set the Honey aside and makes all the other ingredients together in a pot and set the stove top burner to medium. Let the mix simmer and marry, coming to a shaft while until the Oatmeal is fully cooked and apples are semi soft.

Serve in a bowls with a drizzle of honey on top.

Serves 3/4

I

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Chicken and vegetables bake


Ingredients

2 small zucchini, sliced length wise

4 chicken breast (4 legs or thighs can also be used instead)

1 large can of green beans

1 tsp of montreal seasonings

Salt and pepper

Put chicken in the bottom of a baking dish, sprinkle the Montreal seasonings on top.

Layer zucchini spears/halves over the chicken

Drain can of green beans and layer over the zucchini and chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper

Cover dish with aluminum foil, bake at 350 for an hour or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Side dish: curried rice

2 cups dried rice

4 cups water

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 small onion minced

Pinch of salt

Combine ingredients in pot, cook on medium heat for 25 minutes

Serves 4

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Abstract Oil Painting, Available


Vincent Van Gogh style original abstract impressionistic oil painting of dreams and blooms during a raging storm. Original, signed 16×20 inch framed on stretched canvas, ready to hang. Oil painting, vivid brush strokes. #art #oilpaintings #canvas #impression #vincentvangogh #style. ready to hang as it is mounted on wood framing. Make me an offer!!! Click Here to make an offer/purchase

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Chilly Day Chili


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Chickpea and Curry Wraps, Super Easy


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Steinbach


A Small, quaint town in the heart of the Black Forrest, Thomas and I stopped at the Guesthause Hirch for a wonderful german meal, the church bells rang, and the service was nice, the food superb. A town that one can easily relax in and fully enjoy!!! A place to get a breath of fresh air and enjoy the day. It is also easily accessible, not far from Baden Baden

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Neustadt an der WeinstraBe


A wonderful adventure with family!! My Uncle came to visit Germany from Maryland (and staying with his brother, my other Uncle). We all met up somewhere in the middle…in the lovely town of Neustadt an der WeinstraBe (literally translating into the “New City on the Wine Street” but it is truly an older city, being several hundreds of years old in age.)

The city hosts both multiple Protestant and Catholic Churches, Cathedrals, and squares/plazas galore, and many wonderful attractions, as we discovered wondering around the town after a delightful German lunch together. What a lovely treat to get to spend the day with my Uncles, cousin, Aunt and Thomas.

Play the video to experience beautiful Cathedral bells.

 

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Hauptfriedhof


 

 

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

Gifts, books, fashion, jewelry, paintings and more on my eBay

Free Shipping on 2+ purchases over $20

 

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Laufenburg and Leistal, Switzerland


What a wonderful adventure–driving through Freiburg, Germany (where we stopped for a Cappuccino), we continued on the #5 interstate, through border control/inspection, and into Switzerland!! We were able to change countries in a matter of about 2 1/2 hours, which to my American mind, is just outstanding and so surprising.

I, with passport in tow, felt giddy to be going to Switzerland and was anticipating a stamp in my passport. Alas, it would not be possible as the border control did not have a stamp and only did visual checks. Bummer, alas that is the rule. The inspector said that passport stamps are usually only available via the airport.

I gawked as we drove thru Basel, Switzerland, which is 2 kilometers from the border, inside Switzerland. Remembering, albeit too late, that Switzerland is neutral and not part of the European Union, I did not think to convert Euros to Swiss Francs but I was in luck.

Upon arriving in Laufenburg, already having crossed the Rhine (Rhein) River, we pulled off in the Aldstadt (historic) district, which in part borders the Rhine. Opening the car door, the scents of a Swiss Spring filled the air with beauty and grace and the air smelled of sweet things verses grilled sausages (which is often an occurrence in Germany.) The Videos tell the rest of the story and how I was in multiple places at once (and we went further into Switzerland and shopped in Leistal.)

I can attest, Swiss crafted cheese and chocolate are absolutely amazing!!!

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Adventure/Travel Tips


Seek out local events, read/seek the local posters and attend local events (there are often free, inexpensive venues)
Hear music? Hunt down the source, ask a local about something interesting in the area. Use your senses, get “lost” by wandering and treasures will unfold
Try the local fare and cuisine, ask the server the daily special, purchase chow from a food wagon/truck
This is a great tip but by also checking out the postcards before endeavoring on the daily adventure, a postcard will also some highlights of the town/area you might not otherwise known of previously and thus will discover awesome things while hunting the sites
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Original Paintings available


 

 

15% of the sale price benefits:

BackPack Beginnings
BackPack Beginnings’ mission is to deliver child centric services to feed, clothe and comfort children in need. By ensuring food and basic necessities are given directly to children in need.
Original, signed, new, ready to hang, mounted canvas” $1,500 or best offer (will accept as low as $499)

 

Click here to make an offer

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Homemade Vegetable Lentil Soup, a one pot wonder


Ingredients:

1 large can of Lentils

1 large Leek, sliced

3 Large Carrots, peeled and sliced

2 small onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon curry spices

2 tsp dill and Italian seasoning blend

a pinch of salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

2 chicken bouillon cubes

2 litters water (roughly)

Put on low/medium heat for about 20 minutes until the carrots and vegetables are tender. Serve warm, absolutely yummy and very filling.