New season, new life, new challenges

I’ve just moved back into the travel industry! Follow my Facebook page 3D Cruise & Travel-AZ – ETA

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London called

So it’s just about 5AM here in London, where we are finishing up our month long adventure. 

Sadly we’ve spent most of our time here in St. Ermin Hotel. Not sad because of this very comfortable and friendly hotel, but for that my daughter has been sick (head congestion, fever, cough) these last two and a half days. 

I was under the weather when we arrived but it hit her hard just after out adventure to The Globe. Which was the highlight of both of our stay here. 

After touring Shakespeare’ Globe we grabbed standing tickets to watch a performance of The Taming of the Shrew. What an incredible performance. The director switched it up a bit, as they tend to do and placed it in 1916 Ireland. Wow! wow!! WOW! We were spellbound, standing for 2.5 hrs. 

And then we spent the next day in the hotel room. So much (I can hear Ben chime 5 as I type this) to do and see here it’s hard for me, but the mother in me kicked in and we drank tea and binged on the latest season of Once Upon A Time on Netflix. Praise God for free WiFi. 

We got out for a bit yesterday as we had reservations at Darwin’s Brasserie in the Sky Garden. Hello Sky Garden!!! But let’s just say that the atmosphere and view were totally worth the way WAY over priced mediocre food we had. My champagne cocktail, all 3 of them were fabulous though. 

We tubed to Paddington station so I could reunite with my old bear friend and introduce him to my daughter. As she is quite the fan too having read most of his books. 

She then asked if we could go back to the hotel. Yep. Absolutely. As I know rest is most important when it comes to bring sick. 

So our visit was brief and simple but I’ve passed on the London bug to Lillie as she has already started her list of things to do when we return. 

Oh yes, London, we will be back. Again & again as you offer so much. 

Here’s an image all my Potter peeps might recognise 

Here is my favourite snap from this trip. It just might finds its way printed and on my wall

The Globe

Today was all about The Globe, Shakespeare’s Globe. 

Well this one wasn’t his. This one is a replica built in the 1990’s by an American. However that doesn’t change any of the spirit of it. 

After our tour, which was fun & educational, we snagged 10 standing tickets for 10£ for both of us. Though that meant we had to stand in line so we could get a spot leaning on the stage. 

It was so worth it!!! Fantastic performance of Taming of the Shrew. Fantastic I say!! 

Other than that and the crossing, twice of the Millennial Bridge twice, tube rides and take away soup for my girl who is feeling a bit under the weather. London is draining. It could be I’m just ready to be home. 


London keeps you hopping and you don’t even realise it

So this will basically be a photo blog for my peeps back home looking for pics. Yes, Mother talking about you 🙂

Busy walking day. As we walked to Westminister Abbey, then down ’round Big Ben (the name of the bell inside not the actual clock) walked river front past the Eye, lunch at Wagamama (Lillie’s should food), bought some socks, looked for tickets at The Globe (fail), crossed Tower Bridge, toured Tower of London, saw the jewels (no photographs allowed) took the boat back up to our neighbourhood, changed and caught a fine performance of Wicked… Whew. 

Getting ready to start another day back to the Globe for a tour, double decker to Covent Gardens then who knows… 

Last day Marseille 

This place that we are staying here in this crazy huge on the dirty side of a beach town, is located far south of town but just down the street from a “beach”.  It is quiet accept for the disco down the way on Fri & Sat nights when the whoomp whoomp of the music echoed of the canyon until 3 am. All accept for the frogs that start their gig at sundown and for the rooster that crows willy nilly. The last two make me laugh. 

This is a great place if it weren’t 90+ degrees with no AC or fan or even a breeze. So sleep has been fleeting. I’m very much looking forward to our hotel in London but a part of me is sceptical and is anticipating construction or some such nonsense. 

I’m not letting any of that slow me down. Today we bid farewell to this town with a quick tour and a shopping spree. We went to this really cool museum that had the whole history of the progress of human civilisation and the making of both wine & olive oil. But wait!!! They had this huge exhibit on Picasso. 

I’m not a huge art fanatic. I appreciate what moves me or is pleasing to my eye. I know of famous artists and knew of some of Pablo’s pieces but wow! I learned so much and was really impressed by all he did. Lil & I will definitely be doing a study and project on him this school year. Homeschool rocks!

We made our way up to Notre Dame de la Gare. What a view! Drove back down through tight fit crazy busy twisty turny streets to discover what laid down at the end of the road that slopes past our street. To a wonderful hidden away old, worn out nook of a harbour carved into the rock. 

Today I had so many helpful people friendly wanting to pass on information. I will miss the French. Terribly I’m afraid. I wonder how long it will take my brain to revert back to ‘hello’ from bonjour. 

All of the snaps I took from Nitre Dame are on my big camera… Sorry. But take my word for it, it was amazing. 

3 down one week to go

Yep a week from today L &I will be making our way back State side. Happy and sad about that. Happy to be seeing my boys, my girls and our new addition. Sad to be leaving Europe. I seriously hope it won’t be another 14 years until I return.

So today way awesome! The weather, drive, companion, destination,food. All of it. I only used my horn and threw up a reverse V once and it was at a Winnebago from Italy. (f-ing tourists learn to drive 😜)

We road tripped the windy roads to Cassis. Ugh how I’m kicking by myself that we didn’t stay there!!! Perfect little seaside town. I only took a few snaps as I did the driving L used her phone to take pics of all the amazing scenery. I’ll post those later. But we had the absolute best lunch. I’ve now become accustomed to long leisurely lunches that start with wine and end with an espresso of some sort. It really is the way to live. Why are we all hurry up! Go! Do! In america?  In these towns everything shuts down from 12:30- 17:00. Well there are a few smatterings of small over priced markets to take advantage of those in need. Ahh… Siesta. We really should implement this in the States. We seriously need to chill out. Now more so than ever. 

Ok here are some snaps that I took, I’ve others on my Cannon and the ones L got. But this should give you an idea. Enjoy!

Worst mom ever (seriously)

It happened. A bad day. And I managed to make it worse.
We are now in Marseille. France. The south of it, on the coast. Which was the draw as both my daughter and I are beach lovers at heart. Sand sits at the base of this heart full of wanderlust.

First, I’m now slightly regretting this choice of beach town. My current opinion was just confirmed on TripAdvisor by a self claimed Frenchman.

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t horrible here, Nice would’ve been a better choice. However, I did choose this solely on it location to Provence and it’s lavender fields. Marseille is much MUCH bigger than I anticipated. It is also dirtier and left and right I’m warned to be diligent of all the crime that goes on.

Upside, our little studio tucked in the base of the cliffs is a quiet little get away. There is a ‘beach’ at the end of the street we are on. Small and dirty. Dirty in so many ways. This studio is quiet (yes I’ve mentioned that, but the quiet is much needed after 3 weeks in a busy busy city) and it’s clean and the garden is absolutely lovely. 

Again, if given more time I probably would’ve chosen a different city.

Second, it raining. We are in a beach town and it’s raining. But everything happens for a reason. We decided to, no not we, I decided to make today our road trip day out to the country to find the lavender fields. This is when things went downhill.

I love to drive. I REALLY love to drive a standard. Lillie was amazing as my copilot/navigator. Right up until we almost reached our destination. Though she started feeling ‘weird’ about 45 min earlier.

She started telling me her eyes were weird. Things were focused in the center but couldn’t see ‘on the side’. I chalked this up to using the phone and then looking up over and over. My eyes need to adjust I assumed her’s were as well. THEN 40 min later she started complaining her head hurt, pressure above her eye. I then assumed it was a sinus thing. Man I was wrong. 5 minutes later we were pulling off, just as the lavender fields welcomed us. Lil practically fell out of the car and vomited.  

Dammit at 11 she experienced her first migraine. I was 5 and remember it distinctly. Though I didn’t know at the time. I do believe they are hereditary. My Aunt Mary has visual migraines. I don’t see them as much as I become uber sensitive to light. I was hopeful that neither of my kids received this awful inheritance. Wrong.

To top things off, there I was standing amongst the lavender (man could you smell it as soon as the car door opened) urging my daughter to puke. I always feel better after I throw up and then sleep it off. She’s young and hasn’t quite learned the art of upchucking, tossing cookies… 😦

As she sat between bouts, paced breathe, I… I… Was the worlds worst mom. I went out and took pictures of ALL the lavender. Did I mention bucket list? I did come back rub her back, get her water, give her tissues and rinse the vomit from her hair…. Then went and took a selfie standing in the field of lavender. I’m pretty sure she will HATE lavender for the rest of her life.

Once I got her to a point she was mostly settled and seated in the car, I slowly drove the winding road back to Marseille. She fell asleep and I only had Geeves (what I call Siri in British English mode) to keep me company. 

The drive was beautiful. The car hummed under my feet. The slow and easy shifting of the gears. I miss driving. I miss driving the back roads of European towns.

As we came closer to the studio along the highway she asked me to pull over. I reminded her we had bags for her to barf in and that I couldn’t stop. So she cleaned out the entire contents of her stomach as I drove the crazy highway and city streets of Marseille. Only stopping when there was a free parking spot overlooking the sea. She then feeling much better. We stood and admired the sight. It was pretty. The clouds looming. The water deep and dark. 

I apologized for being the awful selfish mom I was and leaving her to puke so I could take pictures. 

One day we may come back. Or we may not. I did joke and said that she would in the future be driving though there with her husband and point out to him the parking lots that she puked in while her mother took selfies.

She said she forgave me, but I did all I could do.

I love her.

She is seriously the best travel buddy (besides Joel), navigator and daughter EVER!

Enjoy my narsacistic photos 

Life skills. 

Here are some basic life skills that I personally believe everyone should know. 

My blog. My opinion. Disagree – prove me wrong. 

Maps. How to read, orient, and use a map. Any and all kinds. City, road, Metro/underground. If you need to get somewhere you need to know how to read a map. 

Drive. In America we’ve broken down to the simplest factor. This is sad and dangerous. If you do not know how to drive a standard (manual) transmission you should learn stat. Yes rental cars in Europe 97% of the time come in standard. But what if you are faced with an apocalyptic emergency and the only truck with fuel is a manual transmission? Will you die? Will you be the hero of a truck full of mortals fleeing zombies, or robotic killing machines? It’s all about that clutch baby!

Time tables, boards, departure/arrival monitors. Unless you never ever plan on leaving your home city This my friend is a major life skill. Hell if you need to take a bus or light rail you need to know this too. 

Flexibility. You can not be set in your ways. Be open to new ideas, ways of doing things and make room for hiccups & challenged. You do not know everything, no one expects you to. So relax. Take a step back & be flexible. Eat some protein, have a Snickers. 

Today I taught my daughter how to read a train table/board. And showed her my skills at operating a standard car. Life skills my friends. Learn them. 

I’m Ali teaching her to enjoy good wine and to make new friends. 


We rewarded ourselves from our packing & cleaning with one last Metro ride down/up/over to Tour de Eiffel  I needed my daughter to see it lit up one last time. 

It turned out to be quite the adventure. As the line that would take us directly from our home stop to the Trocodéro was brought to a halt. But we ventured on. 

Made it to the park at the foot of the tower where we purchased some over priced crepes & water. However, I talk a fella down from €35 to €5 for a bottle of champagne. Score!! I’m an alcoholic not a dummy. 

We then wandered to find the 2nd and smaller Laboulaye Lady. (Thank you National Tresure franchise) 

I loved every moment with my daughter here. Until we meet again Paris…