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).

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.

Wintery wonderland

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Meeting new and fun people is always nice–and what better place than to meet them in my German courses.

Tatenda is from Zimbabwe and desired to adventure more here in Germany so we headed off together, enjoying lunch first, and then to the Monastary Ruins in Frauenalb for a wonderful and fun afternoon in the snow.

#Frauenalb #Germanvillage #historicalruins

Check out the awesome treasures on my eBay


Adventures in the kitchen—


Baked chicken, sweet potatoes, zuchinni, and onion, a one dish wonder


Texas style taco salad


turkey sausage, mushroom gravy over green beans (instead of pasta)


Sliced Gala apples with Nutella


Clover and Raisin Oatmeal, toast and banana


Crispy Bacon, 2 over easy eggs, and toast (with orange Marmelade)


Open face Tuna Salad with tomatoe slices and red bell pepper spears


A Fusion blend salad of greek and italian salad with a hummus dressing and a slice of hearty bread


Baked sweet potatoe (with butter and cinnamon) chicken stir fry with marinated, roasted bell pepper


Crossiant (not homemade), clementine slices, scrambled eggs and brie wedges


Furit, onions, and other staples


Peanut Butter Porridge with raisins


Farmers Omellete with fresh cheese-bell pepper on pumpernickel and plum breakfast


Tuna and Feta Salad–a super easy meal


Vegetable platter salad with pickle and homemade balsamic dressing


Reggie, The curious kitty

Reggie is a fuzzy furry welcome—a neighbors Mommy kitty bore a cute litter and once weaned, needed new homes and thus, Reggie came into our lives.

Reggie arrived about a month ago and what a joy!!! Reggie brings much love and excitement, entertainment and laughter to our house with his antics, playful behaviors, and has even started ‘talking’, which cracks me up.

Reggie is kind of small but growing well–he even likes to share his meals with us by eating scrambled eggs and sweet potoatoes in addtion to his  normal kitty kibble, being the gluten he is–when he is not perching here or there or bounching all over the house.


Reggie loves Thomas Best.


Reggie likes to perch near the heater


Comfy time


Reggie loves to snuggle

Giving a Schwarzwald tour

Woohoo!! My Grandfather came to visit me….and I marked off another item on my dream-list. I gave a family member a tour!!! Yes, it is true and I found it fun and exciting.

My Grandfather visited from Sunday through Tuesday evening here in Southwest Germany and willingly adventured with me around the area. We had so much fun!! I enjoyed being a tour guide more than I had anticipated. Grandfather was a great companion and we had so much fun together–I found it super nice and enjoyable to experience new coffee places as well with him–while going to some of my favorite places.

We went to the Monastary Ruins in Bad Herrenalb, the Kloster ruins in Frauenalb, the Schloss in Karlruhe and Ratstatt, and enjoyed the lovel art and architecture in St. Alexanders on Marktplatz in Ratstatt. A lovely fountain, bridge, and river tour in Ettlingen also had taken place, with coffee and lunches intermixed in our ventures–we used the tram and sometimes the car, making transportation very versatitle and easy.

All the places we went to gave us the beautiful sites and scenes of the Black Forrest, also being able to see the changing of the leaves this autumn–all in all, quite an event.

Want to check out some of the hot places we dined and enjoyed coffee?? The links and references are below.


Golden Mann Cafe Am Schloss Ratstatt

Schwarzwald Stub (Restaurant) Bad Herrenalb, Germany (no website) Kurpromenade 5, 76332 Bad Herrenalb, Germany

DLounge (Coffee shop), Karlsruhe, Germany

Täglich (Restaurant), Ettlingen, Germany


Drinking from a fountain, Karlsruhes Downtown


The River Alb, Running through downtown Ettlingen


Schloss Karlsruhe Statue Tours


The River Alb, Frauenalb Germany


We stopped at a local Bakery for snacks and coffee, a German classic


Taking a break from touring the Black Forrest at the DLounge, Kronenplatz, Karlsruhe, Germany


1000 year old ruins at Frrauenalb, Germany, in the heart of the Black Forrest


My grandfather in Frauenalb, standing next to a very old, established trees by the ruins.


Grandfather and I riding the trams to adventure together

The Verranda on Schloss Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe,


The Crest of the Markgraf Wilhelm von Baden Baden, primary resident of the Schloss Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Baden Wurtemburg Germany


Exquisite Cappucinos at the Cafe Am Schloss, Ratstatt, Germany http://www.goldener-mann-rastatt.de/kontakt/


the Tour guide (me) outside of St. Martins Church, Ettlingen, Germany


Grandfather crossings the Lockets of Love Bridge, Ettlingen, Germany


The flood water marker on St. Alexanders Cathedral, Marktplatz, Ratstatt, Germany


Wooden Pews and grandfather, St. Martins Church, Kirch platz, Ettlingen, Germany


Roman Ruins, Bad Herrenalb, Germany


Grandfather and I, Kloster Ruins, Bad Herrenalb, Germany


Dropping postcards in the post for loved ones back in the States


Roman Ruins near the Protestant Church (1650) Bad Herrenalb, Germany


A tradtional German lunch at Schwarzwald Stub, Bad Herrenalb, Germany



What an absolutely wonderful way to experience a small village then by drinking the local fair. The barkeep here at Motodrom is super friendly and very helpful. She obliging gave me some of the local history here in Kirschbaumwasen, Baden Wurtamburg, Germany.

Well worth seeing and spending the day here, great natural scenary with wonderful people, easily accessible by tram.

Großherzogliche Grabkapelle Karlsruhe

Tucked away in the Northwest section of Karlsruhe, Germany, this lovely cathedral is a hidden treasure…Thomas and I used our Schloss Card to locate this wonderful cathedral. We would have never known about it otherwise…. The Schloss Card (Baden Wurtämburg Province) has been absolutely amazing and has allowed us to gain access to places we would have never dreamed possible before–and all for the low cost of the Schloss Card.

It is a ‘newer’ addition to Karlsruhe, being built between 1889-1896.

I hope you enjoy the video tour I made.



Dead Sea Spa and Relaxation


Dead Sea Spa and Relaxation Tour

Eating,Everything, Everywhere

I will try most anything, food wise, at least once, especially if it is served to me in someone’s home. I am a borderline goat when it comes to food and thankfully, do not have any food allergies. My stomach, I often think, must be lined with kryptonite as I generally do not suffer from ‘tummy issues’, either, which is a huge blessing.

Edible, grub, chow, nibbles, snacks, energy source–no matter how you slice it, we all eat and some of us enjoy it more than others, an event or a source of entertainment for many.


We eat to not only nourish our bodies but our minds as well–dining or sharing a meal with another living creature (4 legged or 2) is one of life’s greatest pleasures and an essential component of life.  But what to eat when on an adventure?

Food and drink in itself are often a great part of an adventure or memory of a time spent, if not the sole purpose of an adventure–small or big. Tasting tours are popular–flights of taste bud delights are trending–and the list continues.

Unless one is not at all concerned with expenses and has no care in the world for cost (overhead) or not mindful of the tab, then any thing is a ‘go’ but when adventuring near home, weekend getaways, or going on an extended vacation (long-term stay somewhere), the bottom line does play a factor.

When experiencing new things or re-visiting old stomping grounds, hunger is always bound to set in–or a break is desired with a refreshment–very normal. Alas, the tab can add up…..

I have found, partially thru the way in which I was raised-brought up and partially thru trial and error, ways to eat inexpensively with big flavor. Food is part of the adventure of life and why not make it exciting, too?

Tips for Eating Adventerously and not breaking your bank or travel budget:

  • Stop by a food market in your vacation area, buy the ‘house brand’, pick up the snacks, some ‘easy food’ to keep in your hotel. Room service is expensive.
  • Pack a lunch-snack bag (super easy to carry in your backpack)
  • When-If you get the hunger bug while out and about or for longer than expected, stop by a food wagon-truck, they are everywhere and relatively inexpensive
  • Food markets (small venues-bodegas-kiosk) and grocery stores have quick grab foods–local fare often is found.
  • Want to try local fare? Have a buddy split their grub with you and vice versa–great way to sample local fare without having to buy multiple.
  • When dining out, ask a local for a good place to eat and ask for locally owned or a ‘small’ cafe, bistro, etc. The prices are generally good and you will be more like to get fresh
  • ‘Farmers Markets’ style stands by the piece verses in bulk
  • Water fountains are everywhere. Carry a re-usable water bottle or reuse a drink bottle–refill and go–a $1 here and $1 there add up quickly
  • Breakfast–eat at the hotel unless it is not offered–backeries in Europe offer breakfast foods for dirt cheap.
  • Get ‘creative’–have a buddy choose 3 things and you choose three things at a market and share–I.E. a tub of hummus, a bell pepper, and a cheesy pretzel will cost you about $2.50–and it is very filling (remember, you are eating half of their food in exchange for half of yours.)
  • Try new things, even if you do not know what it is–you might suprise yourself.
  • Get the daily special at the food wagon or cafe and split it with a friend now or half  for a meal later back at the hotel/hostel–
  • When dining out for the experience, the menus are posted on the walls or stands outside the establishment–no surprises that way.
  • Eating balanced is cheap in Europe–no need to eat fast food or junk.
  • Carry a butter knife (or two) and a resuable container–great way to keep food from getting smashed but makes it easy to create a ‘picnic’ or snacks on the go and to carry your lunch.

    1 tomatoe, 1 bell pepper, small loaf of pumpernickel broad, tub of Fresh Cheese with herbs, and an apple-2 people, 2 light meals--total cost for all--$3.50

    1 tomatoe, 1 bell pepper, small loaf of pumpernickel broad, tub of Fresh Cheese with herbs, and an apple-2 people, 2 light meals–total cost for all–$3.50

Curry wurst special--3 Euros and enough for two people

Curry wurst special–3 Euros and enough for two people

I packed a lunch for us--lunch and snack for 2--cost: 3,25 euros

I packed a lunch for us–lunch and snack for 2–cost: 3,25 euros

The Legend of…St. George, the dragon slayer

St. George, a top a fountain, slaying the dragon.

St. George, a top a fountain, slaying the dragon. Ettlingen, Germany

St. George, doing his slaying, Karlsruhe, Germany

St. George, doing his slaying, Karlsruhe, Germany

According to the Golden Legend, the narrative episode of Saint George and the Dragon took place somewhere he called “Silene”, in Libya; the Golden Legend is the first to place this story in Libya as a sufficiently exotic locale, where a dragon might be found. In the tenth-century Georgian narrative, the place is the fictional city of Lasia, and the idolatrous emperor who rules the city is called Selinus.[7]

The town had a small lake with a plague-bearing dragon living in it and poisoning the countryside. To appease the dragon, the people of Silene fed it two sheep every day. When they ran out of sheep they started feeding it their children, chosen by lottery. One time the lot fell on the king’s daughter.[8] The king, in his grief, told the people they could have all his gold and silver and half of his kingdom if his daughter were spared; the people refused. The daughter was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon.[7]

Saint George by chance rode past the lake. The princess tried to send him away, but he vowed to remain. The dragon emerged from the lake while they were conversing. Saint George made the Sign of the Cross and charged it on horseback, seriously wounding it with his lance. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle, and he put it around the dragon’s neck. When she did so, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash. The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene, where it terrified the populace. Saint George offered to kill the dragon if they consented to become Christians and be baptised. Fifteen thousand men including the king of Silene converted to Christianity. George then killed the dragon, and the body was carted out of the city on four ox-carts. The king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint George on the site where the dragon died and a spring flowed from its altar with water that cured all disease

(text is from Wikipedia)