"Come see the world with me" Dabs's Profile
I figured if I was going to have to turn @%&! years old this year that I would do it in style so I started plotting my "I'm turning @%&! years old" birthday tour in February, right when the tickets for Downton Abbey went on sale. Then I thought what else do I really want to see and added Lyme Park, Pemberly #1, and Chatsworth House, Pemberly #2. Then I thought I've always wanted to visit Wales. And then I thought, why not a few days in Edinburgh? So I started in Edinburgh, taking day trips to see lots of castles, the highlands and as luck would have it, I was there for the Military Tattoo and the Fringe Festival. Then I took a train to Manchester, met up with a VT friend in Sheffield, visited Lyme Park, Chatsworth, Downton Abbey, lots of cute towns. Then into Wales, we visited castles, a coal mine, a Victorian seaside town. Then back into England where we happened upon International Beatles Week in Liverpool, survived the tackiness that is Blackpool before heading to London for a couple of days and meeting up with some more VT friends.
The Galapagos Islands had been on my bucket list forever, it always seemed like such a massive trip to plan that I never quite had the time to do it. But as things sometimes happen, our plans to visit other places fell by the wayside and the hubby not only suggested the Galapagos but did most of the initial research so we booked 3 nights in Quito and an 8 day cruise on the 12 passenger catamaran Nemo II. The wildlife that we saw was amazing not only in it's unique species but the absolute lack of fear in the birds, sea lions, penguins and even the occasional tortoise whom I suppose had more to fear than the rest being hunted almost to extinction.
One evening, after a few libations, I had talked to a friend of mine about taking her 1st trip to London, after all we were both turning a certain frightful age this year and I planned on milking it for all I could get! As I was planning, it looked like my trip to France for later in the year would be postponed and then I started thinking about how easy it would be to pop over to Paris for a day. And then I thought, well, if we're going for a day, we might as well go over night. So while we were sitting at dinner at Rules, London's oldest restaurant, I surprised her with a side trip to Paris! She almost cried :-) So we spent 4 days in London, 2 days in Paris and I spent 2 more days on the end in London by myself.
For the fifth year in a row, we've started the year off with a 7 day cruise in the Caribbean, we normally sail on Princess but their itineraries weren't good this year so we chose Royal Caribbean sailing from San Juan with a day pre cruise and stopping in Tortola, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Dominica and Barbados. We had beautiful weather and found great excursions in all of the ports
Most recent pages and when they were completed:
Monaco (October 2012),Geiranger, Olden, Norway(August 2012), Panama City (April 2012), Isla de Roatan, Cozumel update, Fort Lauderdale, Belize, Grand Cayman (January 2012), Moret-sur-Loing, Melun, Windsor UK update, Paris update, Versailles update (Nov 2011)
Where have we been in 2014 and where are we off to next?
January 10-17, 2014 cruise from San Juan with stops in Tortola, St. Kitts, St.Maarten/St. Martin, Dominica and Barbados
April 5-13, 2014-traveled with a friend to London & a surprise visit to Paris
May 22-June 1, 2014 Quito and a 8 day cruise to the Galapagos Islands
August 10-24, 2014-"I'm turning @$%# birthday trip" to Edinburgh, England and Wales, lots of BBC houses including Lyme Park, Chatsworth and Highclere (aka Downton Abbey)
October 2014, road trip to Lexington KY and a visit to Mammoth Caves
October 2014 road trip to Cincinnati, OH
November 2014-London, 3rd time this year!
December 2014-Playa del Carmen
January 2015 cruise to Aruba, Curacao, Cartagena, Caracas and Panama
We've taken a similar trip to this a couple of time previously, it's obviously one of my favorite areas of the world. We flew into Brussels, drove to Gent, hubby swam in Bruges, Lille for the Grand Braderie, then to Strasbourg, Nancy, Metz, Verdun in the Alsace-Lorraine area of France before taking the train from Brussels to London for yet another swim in Bray Lake near Windsor.
Some of the people I've met on VT have become some of my closest friends in "real" life, I've been blessed to find Kat (keida84) who's become one of my best travel buddies, we've tackled Toronto and Chicago in 2005, London, Spain, California, Orlando and Chicago in 2006, Los Angeles twice, Maui, Windsor and Chicago in 2007 and London again in January 2008!
I'm also blessed to have met the dynamic duo from Windsor, Hansi (waalewiener) and Lori (LoriPori), who spread joy and sunshine at every VT meeting I've been to with them, Toronto, London, Marbella, Baltimore, Portsmouth and more personal visits to both of our hometowns.
When I'm not busy trying to persuade people to visit Chicago, I'm trying to persuade people to come to Pierogi Fest in Whiting, IN held the last full weekend in July. Every year the Babushka Ladies march in the polka parade on Friday and have some kind of merchandise, whether it be a calendar, Christmas cards, refrigerator magnets and a rootbeer label. Who knows what we'll have in store for you in 2013!!! Oprah even endorses it (and she gets presidents elected!!!), listed as one of the 7 best food festivals in the US.
Since 2003, various VTers have come to the Fest and in 2005 I had my first VT parade participant, sambarnett donned a delightful floral housedress and marched with me in the parade as a babushka lady, in 2006, Hansi (Waalewiener) and Ethan (coair19) were the two loveliest babushka ladies in the history of the Fest. But I think Hansi, decked out in a lovely red lace dress, may have been enjoying himself just a little too much! For some more pics, see my travelogue on my Whiting, IN page, Hansi's Whiting page and Lori's Hammond page.
I joined VT to take advantage of local folks giving help with local stuff, who knows a city better than the locals? So I started amassing my now huge Chicago page, which is updated regularly, to share information about this marvelous city that I have lived in and around since I was 8 and found as I was developing it, I was actually learning a few things! And best of all, I've made virtual friends along the way some who have become real friends, many of which have visited me in Chicago! So if you are coming to Chicago, drop me a line, I'm always happy to answer questions about Chicago or play tour guide to folks from out of town.
OK I confess....
I actually live in Hammond, Indiana, just minutes from the Chicago border. But tell people you live in Indiana and they automatically think you live in a cornfield and spend your mornings feeding the chickens and milking the cows (just ask fellow VTer rmdw)! That assumption couldn't be further from the truth, NW Indiana is surrounded by industry and development is pushing further and further south.
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