"Stuff about my world" rexvaughan's Profile
Welcome to my homepage. If you haven't figured it out from the photo, what gives me more enjoyment and satisfaction in life than travel is my family, and especially my four grandchildren. This photo is my wife and myself with our children, in-law children and grandchildren at a party the kids threw for us on our 50th Anniversary (the actual date is January 30). When you reach such a milestone you realize all the cliches are true:
It doesn't seem like a half-century
We feel too young to have been married this long
We have had an incredibly rich life
We would do it all over again
Most importantly, we still love each other and enjoy being together
My wife and I are both natives of Oklahoma but have lived in the Atlanta area since 1971 and in Decatur since 1975. We of course love travel and have done quite a bit, particularly in the last few years as we retired in 2001. She is a great wife and traveling companion. If I say, "Would you like to go to," she says, "Yes" before I can finish the sentence. We have had many journeys of many kinds over the years. This photo was taken in 2006 in the cloister of the monastery at Belem, Portugal. I am a lucky man. My children suggest that she has stayed with me all these years because she doesn't remember jokes and I can tell the same bad ones over and over and she still laughs even after almost 50 years of them. Probably being able to laugh together, at ourselves and occasionally at one another is key to having a good marriage.
I am rather proud of my back yard. When we moved here some years ago, the only thing here was one ancient oak (still a magnificent tree) and one dogwood in a yard surrounded by an unattractive wood fence. My mission was to fill in and hide the ugly fence. I am just about there and have done virtually all the work myself. I did have someone dig this bed in the center of our back garden but have done the planting and maintenance myself. These are tulips and hyacinths that I bought in the Netherlands. They did beautifully in contrast to domestic ones I have tried. I try to have something blooming year round and have about achieved it.
I enjoy my garden and puttering in it but am subject to temptation whenever I see some flower I like. I end up putting too much in, but once in a while I have a pleasant surprise. This is a gloriosa lily vine which I planted in 2005 and it did nothing. My laziness kept me from digging it up and the next year the blooms appeared. Glorious is a proper name.
This is the center of our town, looking west on Ponce de Leon Ave to the corner of Church St. Recent years have seen a lot of residences built in Decatur and this condominium development is typical. The builder is required to have retail spaces at street level. Now I am not suggesting a comparison to Paris, but the whole idea is to have public transportation, restaurants, shops, etc. in walking distance of living spaces. There are hundreds more condos in process and all in the center of town are required to have retail space. Hope we can find enough to fill them. Just as a side note, the shop in the center, behind the two figures in blue shirts is a gift and framing shop called "Rue de Leon." Maybe it is Paris after all. Hehehe
Just about 200 yards down the street from our house is Agnes Scott College. It is an independent college for women, founded in 1889 with an enrollment of just over 1000 and rated very highly. The students come from almost 40 US states and 30 countries. They (the school) is well endowed, ranking 27th nationally in endowment per student. As you might guess a number of our friends and neighbors are on the faculty or staff or retired from Scott.
Most of their dramatic, musical, literary and lecture events are open to the public, usually at no charge. Hilary Clinton spoke at their commencement in 2006 and my wife was able to attend with a friend who had a spare ticket. They are a great neighbor. Recently they completed a large construction project and invited the neighbors to a Dean's house for wine and cheese and the a walk over to the renovated observatory and new planetarium where a presentation was done for our benefit. On their 100 acre campus they have one of the widest variety of trees anywhere around. It is a lovely and gracious neighbor.
Part of the recent construction included a retention pond behind the campus and this is the source of water for their landscape.
MY TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY
I don't really have a travel philosophy, just some likes and dislikes. My main travel interest is Europe. I love the magnificent art and architecture of the great cities and museums but also enjoy the lesser known treasures of smaller cities and areas like the island of Guernsey, for example. I don't like tours or group travel as I enjoy figuring out where to go and what to see and like to do so at my own pace. We have been known to get up at 5:00 a.m, to catch the first Paris Metro to a train. I enjoy finding the local transportation options as well. It can be a challenge in a city like Trieste, for example, to find out how to get around by bus as there is no metro. I guess it gives me a sense of accomplishment and I do get at least travel like a local. We rarely rent cars in Europe as I think you get to know a city better on public transport or better yet walking. On one trip in 2003 we walked 135 miles in 15 days.
I am also not a resort traveler. I like small hotels or B&B's. Basically we just need a good bed and nice bath or shower as we don't spend time in the room. We have had some great experiences in B&B's in various locations. We are also not gourmet travelers and tend to eat lightly through the day and a fuller dinner in the evenings. However, we almost always find a couple of really nice restaurants for a 'splurge' meal at a place like Le Train Bleu in Paris for example.
It probably sounds strange but I do not travel to relax. Maybe because I was able to do so little travel as a youngster I now want to spend as much time as possible seeing the place I am. We can go all day at a steady pace and break the day with breaks for coffee and pastries or beer or wine so that we do not feel rushed. We also are not big night lifers so usually go to bed by 10:00 or so and get a good night's sleep and be ready for the next day.
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