RETIRED AND HAVIN’ FUN!!!
WOO-HOO! We retired on the same day in May, 2008 and we can’t stop traveling! Not that we’re trying too hard. We have our 28 ft. travel trailer we pull with our GMC Yukon and we love camping in it. So far we’ve used it closer to home. God invented planes, trains and automobiles for longer trips.
In August/September 2008 we did a 23 day trip to Seattle and Alaska. We did not do a cruise but instead wanted the freedom of traveling that wonderful frontier independently at our own pace. Most people we’ve talked with do not know you can travel independently but only know about the cruises. The state of Alaska runs the Marine Highway Ferry System, which is the primary transportation in the southeast Inland Passage. You can read all about that trip by clicking on ALASKA WITHOUT A CRUISE SHIP on the left margin.
In January of 2009 we met friends in Tampa for a cruise to the Western Caribbean (Key West, Belize, Guatemala and Costa Maya Mexico). After the cruise we stayed two weeks in a condo at St. Petersburg. We sure did enjoy that break from “Old Man Ohio Winter” but we came home to 18 inches of snow and ice to dig out and close to zero temperatures. You can read about this trip by clicking on BOCA CIEGA WINTER GET-AWAY.
In August/September, 2009 we did a month-long trip to national and state parks and national monuments in the West. We went to Badlands, Black Hills, Custer State Park, Devil’s Tower, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Yosemite, Calaveras Big Trees, Death Valley, Zion, Kodakchrome State Park, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands and Rocky Mountain National Park. We have photos on Shutterly which you can view by clicking on the Travel Photos link on the left.
In February, 2010 we did another winter escape to Orlando, Cocoa Beach and Savannah. We stayed in a nice, old apartment in Old Savannah—the historic section of town. We would go back to Savannah and stay in the same place in a hearbeat. Maybe after we get to the end of our Bucket List!
In September/October, 2010, we set off on another independent travel adventure to Europe. We stayed five days in a quaint little privately owned apartment one block from the Arc de Triomphe. From there we set out on foot and by Metro to explore Champs Elysees, Jardin Tuilleries, the Louvre and Orsay museums, the Latin Quarter, Eiffel Tower and Champs du Mars and an evening cruise on the Seine River enjoying the spectacle of lights.
In Nice France on the Mediterranean we stayed in a little hotel right on the Place Massena main square and about three blocks from the beach. Besides enjoying all Nice had to offer we took busses to Cannes and Monte Carlo.
In Florence, Italy we stayed at a B&B and took a Tuscan cooking class. The beauty of Florence is heart-stopping. The Arno river, the aerial view from the hilltop village of Fiesole, the bustling Central Market, and the Santa Maria de Fiore cathedral were all awesome.
Rome reminded us of New York City with Roman ruins rather than skyscrapers. Rome is in a hurry, just like Manhattan. We obviously visited the Colliseum, the Roman Forum ruins (ancient Rome’s “midtown”), Parco Triano, the Jewish Ghetto, Campo di Fiori, Piazzo Navona, the Pantheon and the Vatican. We also got lost on the bus transit system, which no one knows quite how to navigate, including the bus drivers. Our B&B host in Rome was a wonderful resource with oodles of helpful advice.
Venice is just downright beautiful. It’s a picture postcard posing to be photographed. We took pictures which friends thought were oil paintings. That’s just the way Venice is. The public transportation by canal boats (“Vaporetti”) is cheap and gets you all over the place. You can waste the money on taking a “romantic gondola ride” or for the same money, travel all over the Venice canal system for a week or more! We took the Vaporetto out to Murano (the Glass Island) and Borano (the Lace Island).
In Germany our objective was to visit my second cousins, the Hintennachs, in the mountaintop village of Baltmannsweiler outside Stuttgart. We ate ourselves silly, went to the Cannstadt Volksfest, saw the Mercedes Museum and travelled the Swabian countryside. In the little village of Baltmannsweiler, my great-great grandfather, Jakob Halm, was born into a commercial brewing family. In 1854 he came to the US and had his own successful brewery in Bryan, Ohio until Prohibition came along and wiped the business and the family finances out.
We are leaving in a few weeks (October, 2011) for South Africa, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Swaziland. It will be our first “tour” with a tour company. We have avoided them like the plague but it seems the sensible choice for a place as exotic as South Africa.
Come back and visit from time to time. This site will change every time we take a trip!