• Playing Nice!

    Budapest, Hungary…I covered this town today! I hit the ground running with ambition…

    Since Budapest is so spread out, I took it on recommendation, to employ the services of the dreaded open top tour bus! There are many different companies to choose from and they are set up conveniently all over the city…they include tours by bus and boat and are red, bright green, pink, blue, you name it…

    This really gave me the opportunity to see EVERYTHING from both sides of the Danube as well as actually from the Danube! It was comprehensive and a great way to capture the sights and history of the Hungarian capital. There is so much to see; the castles, churches, monuments, and bridges!

    I must say what struck me today: what is wrong with tourists? Why do people loose their manners and mind when traveling? Pushing, shoving, space invading…I really laughed many times today watching a little Japanese woman push aside a large German man, or a loud French woman knock a girl over for a seat, or the Swedish teen stepping allover this Italian woman who dropped her hat! What’s the problem? I think people are so fixated they forget we are all in this together! I am a New Yorker, so I get aggression, but this is vacation! I rarely do group tour activities but today gave me a better glimpse into people’s behavior!

    Slow down, take in the beauty…Chill and relish the culture…Relax, the sights are not going anywhere!

    I am loving Budapest, now I just wish everybody tried to love one another a bit more…






  • From Top to Bottom!

    Prague, Czech Republic…I notice the throngs of tourists filling this town all are drawn to the same sights…their pictures are of all the same guide book designated things…like they are going down a checklist; clock-tower, check…statue, check…bridge, check…etc…

    Are they noticing some simple things that give this place it’s unique charm and individual character? The sea of terra-cotta colored gabled roofs, the ornate moldings on simple buildings, the little brook that comes from nowhere with a water wheel, the vintage barely-there colored buildings, the moss laden cobblestones, and so on?

    These are the things I am enamored with! It’s all in the details! From top to bottom, Prague is cluttered with unique details that are enthralling me…I love all of this town’s sights from it’s grand ones to it’s small ones, but my designer eye really appreciates those that others may just overlook!








  • The Accidental Tourist!

    Corfu, Greece…I was ready for a calm beach day at one of Corfu’s fabled beaches…the sky was a mix of sun & clouds, but the temp was a comfy 84 degrees and I hoped that rain would stay away for the afternoon.

    I made a deal with a local taxi driver to chauffeur us to an amazing beach for an afternoon of swimming and eating. I knew I had to be clear what I expected…NO TOURIST TRAPS! Well he emphatically suggested Paleokastritsa. Ok, we made the trek…pulling up to the beach, I see hordes of swimmers and a sandy stretch that was plastered with sunbathers and I knew I got EXACTLY what I DID NOT want! I protest and this charming Greek man assures us he has the perfect taverna for lunch….we arrive and I see a row of TOUR BUSES! OH NO! I turn into a bratty whiner and say I need him to take us elsewhere, I knew this was a place he probably gets a kick-back for bringing unsuspecting tourists! I was not about to be branded a willing participant to this game!

    Off to Glifada we go…winding thru the mountainside, he makes one hair pin turn after another. As soon as we start the corkscrew final descent to the beach I am green with motion sickness and start dry heaving in despair! Was this his way of getting back to me for being so difficult and spoiling his plans? Just as I think I am gonna loose it, we arrive and I sprint to the bathroom.

    Well this locale is a much nicer long stretch of sand beach dotted with umbrellas and snack spots. Feeling better, we settle at a local no-frills Taverna beachside and feast on a delicious homemade Greek lunch! Greek salad, Tzatziki, Pastichio, and Spinach pie is laid out on the cheesy “Welcome to Corfu” tablecloth. There is nothing like fresh Feta or the ever present taste of nutmeg in Greece! Total Bliss!

    Another reminder that the success of any excursion lies in you remaining in control of your own destiny…going with the flow is good but don’t be trapped by tourist ploys! Always strive for extraordinary adventures!20120724-145705.jpg20120724-145741.jpg20120724-145810.jpg20120724-145901.jpg



  • Dumb, Dumb, & Dumber!

    Katakolon, Greece…I woke up this morning to the town of Katakolon, the gateway to Olympia. As much as it may be interesting to see the original home of the Olympic games, I decided to invest my time at a day swimming in the crystalline Greek water.

    I strolled through town at first and was amazed by the silly stuff that is being hawked to tourists…ugly leather sandals, bad linen wear, and Greek “evil eyes” made into every imaginable charm, and that’s only a few of the atrocities I saw!

    My striving to have “out of the box” experiences has begun to compromise my sanity…I made a series of silly choices today; I rented a 4 wheel ATV (more on that later), forgot to pick up a towel on the ship before disembarking, and left my beach shoes behind. The latter two were not the biggest deal, but the first was totally STUPID!

    I knew I wanted to go to the beach, Agios Andreas, which is little over 2 km from town…how to get there? Bus (no way after my Athens experience), Taxi (seems so unadventurous), or rent a Motorbike (seems so cool).
    I stopped at the motorbike rental spot and the guy gives me a once over as I stood there in my Marc Jacobs shades and says “you sure you know how to drive a motorbike?” Hmmm…I guess not!
    The rejection and doubt drives me to rent a 4 wheel ATV! This decision is as bright as a burnt out lightbulb! Me, driving a bike with a clutch? I barely can work an automatic vehicle! Well, looking like the Great Gazoo from the Flintstones in my helmut, I take off for the quick ten minute ride to the beach. I get out of town and on the first hill, it stalls! I call the store and they come to my rescue…I flooded the engine and drove in the wrong gear! Well I continue to do this and stall 3 more times, but at least I make it there and back in one piece…a few tantrums, but no injuries!

    The water was amazing, but it was a rocky pebbled beach that woulda been much easier if I had my beach shoes. Regardless, it was a great day with a large dose of dumb thrown in to make the memory that much more interesting!