Tuesday, January 24, 2017
There is no mistaking the presence of a nearby Air Force base, however. I'm not sure what's with all the training missions, but it is a very active area. The roar of fighter jets, carrier planes, helicopters...sonic booms and g-force rumbles deep inside the inner ear are plentiful here on the Emerald Coast. Bill is totally enjoying the sights and sounds overhead.
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 2:58 PM
Yesterday was almost too windy to play outside so we rode the bikes a couple miles to Destin Commons, another top attraction in the area. There we took in a matinee: La La Land. It was cute. Back at camp we made chicken wings on the barbie with another show-stealer side: creamy polenta. So good! The new Instapot has been useful in the RV.
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 9:08 AM
Monday, January 23, 2017
We made a fire after we set up camp at 3pm and started drinking earlier than usual (haha) after the anxious ride and tedious conditions. Luck and timing were on our side as predictions of the continued severe weather in the Panhandle were unfounded. Apparently, 14 people died from the storms that blew through the area.
With gratitude, we enjoyed our cocktails around the warmth and comfort of the campfire. The fire provided the perfect heat for slow roasted, caramelized Brussels sprouts, which stole the show at dinner. With sleeping weather in the 50s we were out like babies.
Feeling rested and content after a morning hike with Solo, we're off to further exploration!
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 12:30 PM
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 1:13 PM
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 3:59 PM
Friday, January 20, 2017
I had some drama with my phone yesterday. It fell through a crevice in the wall of the RV. It looked like a window sill but ... down it went.
We took the Airstream to a mechanic and his genius mind rigged up a tool, which was able to retrieve the phone. Brilliant work by this young man! He said no charge, just say something good on social media. I did; and I'm back in business.
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 6:54 PM
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
So, after a lazy morning, which included a nice nature trail hike with Solo, we mounted the bikes and headed out to highway A1A. While busy, the road was not as dangerous on the bikes as it may sound.
The first detour was the St. Augustine light house for a quick walk through the museum and grounds surrounding the site of the first light house established in FL.
We then crossed the Bridge of Lions from Anastasia Island to downtown St. Augustine. After a ride around the little streets surrounding the beautiful Flagler College campus, we stopped at Castillo de San Marcos: an impressive old fortress, now a national monument, in ruins on the Matanzas River.
We walked our bikes down the cobblestone village of boutiques and ice cream shops before heading back to our camp on Anastasia Island.
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 4:24 PM
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
We pulled in just before 3:30pm, plugged the rig into shore power and corked a bottle of wine! Steph and the kids are on the way for a visit and hopefully some songs around the campfire. It's good to be back in the RV!
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 4:30 PM
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Such a civilized end to our journey; no alarm, leisurely morning chatting with an Aussie stranger over a beautiful breakfast buffet, short stroll to the airport, simple but efficient security and painless border control. The airport employees all wear an uplifting shade of peach, which also matches the commode fixtures at Charles de Gaulle airport. The French are all about the aesthetics.
We had an an amazing lunch at the airport with a final order of French fries for good measure. We are looking forward to resuming our protein shake diet at home.
After a slight delay, we landed at MIA close to schedule. A remotely familiar couple from the cruise and flight hitched a ride with us to Marco. Two more hours of chatting. I'm tired of making conversation.😉
What a great trip! Thanks for following along. Here's a few random pictures. The French really are all about the aesthetics.
Monday, October 24, 2016
The French paradox or "pair of ducks" as Bill likes to say is a curious phenomenon. It goes something like this: the French people can eat baguettes, croissants, creamy cheeses, pomme frites, pastries, fancy sauces, desserts, enjoy fine wines daily and not gain weight or have major health issues. What's that about?
One tour guide insists the secret to the French paradox is the consumption of only fresh foods. No packaged products, no fast foods, no soda.
I'm hoping I'll find the French paradox true to theory when I get home and weigh myself after these two weeks of wild abandon.
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 7:56 PM
After such comfortable accommodations on AmaDolce, two nights at the Novotel Amboise had the group anxious to move on. We gladly boarded the bus for the final day of touring.
The lovely ride along the Loire River was complemented by impressive residences and châteaux. The first stop, the massive Château de Chambord, was the hunting castle of François 1 and an "architectural creation of genius." The enormity of the castle and grounds is obscenely decadent, especially considering it was a second home used primarily for leisure. It was an important site on this trip.
The second stop was was the Royal Château of Blois. Sadly, between the lowest temps of the trip and the miserable cold rain, we just wanted the tour to end and settle into the Pullman Hotel at Charles de Gaulle airport for tomorrow's departure. Enough!
The bus ride to Paris was long and slow but, nevertheless, warm and toasty. Rain complicated the journey. The Pullman hotel near the airport was a welcome sight. A beautiful, modern hotel with smiling staff and all the luxuries of home. We're almost home!
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 1:43 AM
Sunday, October 23, 2016
The Loire River is also known as the Royal River and we now know why. Lots of castles in this beautiful region. It was a long day of touring and we're all ready to go home.
With three major stops on the agenda, my favorite of the day was Château du Clos Lucé, Leonardo da Vinci's last home and resting place. A fascinating man and an equally fascinating restored museum in his honor.
My next favorite stop of the day was Château de Chenonceau, spanning the River Cher. A feminine castle, protected through French history by powerful woman. It is filled with intriguing appointments, art and is surrounded by magnificent gardens.
The Château d'Amboise has an incredibly fantastic facade, as pictured in yesterday's post, but it was overwhelming to tour. We opted midway to walk the sweet little streets in town.
We stumbled upon the best meal of the trip at Le Patio. An amazingly simple "plat du jour" lunch bursting with flavors and culinary perfection. A veal chop dinner at Chez Bruno in Amboise was also good, but lunch was unforgettable.
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 2:41 PM
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Back on the TGV, we had a couple hours to relax in silence. For a lazy river cruise, this trip has been fast paced and strenuous. And to think that Bill and I are among the youngest!
We arrived in the medieval town of Tours, in the Loire Valley, at noon. The buses were waiting at the train station for the group. In the city center, we walked the cobblestone roads for an orientation of the old town and then were free to go on our own for lunch. Bill and I opted for Thai food surrounded by students in this university town.
Another walking tour after lunch took us through the magnificent St. Gatien's (Martin) Cathedral.
On our way to the Novotel Amboise, our bus driver took a detour so we may see the facade of a most beautiful castle: Château D'Amboise.
It was good to relax in our room, window open...sun shinning in, for a short while before a quick group dinner in the hotel.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Our group of bike enthusiasts were ready for the 9am tour but certainly not prepared for the chilly weather. With frozen hands and feet we meandered our two wheels through narrow streets, dodging cars and pedestrians. The Cité du Vin was a welcome stop. We toured the new wine museum and warmed up.
The afternoon proved to be a better time for peddling around the beautiful city. Bill and I rode along the river and found some cute shops in the city center.
The captain of AmaDolce cruised the riverfront after dinner so we could enjoy the lights of Bordeaux on our last night.
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 2:59 AM
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Another chilly morning found us at the Créon Bastide market. We sampled cheeses, meats and bread before browsing the colorful foods and wares. I tried to buy a tablecloth but the metric dimensions were lost in translation.
After a light lunch on the AmaDolce, a small group decided to skip the bus trip to Château de Montaigne and instead enjoy the lazy river cruise. The much needed respite from tour guides and Châteaux included lots of macaroons on board all afternoon. We picked up the other passengers in Bourg and all went on to our final stop: Bordeaux.
Le canard was on the dinner menu and it was simply delicious.
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 8:59 AM
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
A lazy morning on the boat cruising along the foggy Dordogne River turned out to have some element of excitement. In fact, it was so foggy that we almost had to turn the ship around and return to Bourg. Instead, our brave and skilled captain gently pressed on and treaded carefully under four bridges in the mist and made it to our destination: Libourne.
It was a spectacular afternoon for biking through the vineyards and stopping along the way for informative commentary on the region. We wandered along the steep and narrow streets of St. Émilion and enjoyed two varieties of macaroons. So yummy!
Back on the bikes, we met the busload of walkers at the beautiful and modern Château Soutard for a tour and tasting. The bikers were encouraged to take the bus back with the others after drinking wine.
Filet mignon was served at the festive Captain's dinner where we joined a fun group of soon-to-be good friends. We even stayed up long enough to join the sing-along in the lounge.
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 7:18 AM
Monday, October 17, 2016
Riding through the vineyards, the river bank as the backdrop...pure magic. Fall colors popping out; the sun trying to do the same...pure magic.
What a thrill to be one with the land; peddling in the brisk autumn air. The countryside is rich with history. Magnificent rolling hills, châteaux and country homes dotting the landscape. A beautiful day on the bikes. A spectacular day in France.
A wine tasting at Cotes de Bourg. A floor show with dancing. The Chef's Table dinner. A full day of blessings.
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 3:34 PM
Sunday, October 16, 2016
The sun was rising as the AmaDolce docked at the Gironde estuary. A group of aggressive walkers headed off of the boat in Pauillac for a brisk 8k morning tour through the vineyards. The gardens of Château Mouton Rothschild were beautiful.
The afternoon tour took us by bus through some sweet villages of the Médoc region and a fun tasting at Château Léoville Poyferré.
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 4:26 PM
The farmers' market in Cadillac was like no other. It was a beautiful presentation of meats, fruits, vegetable, flowers, clothing and jewelry. One could even buy a live chicken for producing eggs or for slaughtering.
After the chilly morning, the afternoon tour to Sauternes was perfectly sunny and warm. We tasted some fine sweet wine and toured the historic castle of Roquetaillade.
The natural defensive site was particularly interesting due to the contributions of the famed French architect and theorist, Viollet-le-Duc.
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 9:22 AM
Saturday, October 15, 2016
After an enjoyable train excursion from Paris to Bordeaux, we found our way to the Garonne River and boarded the AmaDolce, a floating luxury hotel.
After a brief orientation covering the week's cruising agenda, we took a couple of bikes for a ride along the river banks. It was bustling with activity. Long boarders, rollerbladers, joggers, strollers, and pooches were out and about on a mild afternoon. It's a young town with the wine industry at its core.
A gourmet dinner was served on the boat. It was a lovely day all around.
Posted by K.F.Rogers at 3:19 AM