Happy New Year 2019: If one wish could be granted…

I’m excited to start a new year. Each year, we all wonder what lies ahead of us. Would be great if we had a crystal ball to give us direction, but we don’t.

Which made me think, as we set our goals for 2019….

What if we had ONE WISH that could be granted each year, WHAT would that be?

I’m thinking about that. What is the BIG accomplishment, miracle or surprise that I would like to happen this year. Right now, I feel like I am sitting by the ocean and the water is so vast, I can’t see any islands in site AND that is what I need, to be able to see at least “one island,” and then I will know my direction.

So, I am OFF to contemplate my BIG WISH!

AND YOU… What is YOUR big wish?  Say it out loud, write it on a paper, or just think of it.  We ALL have different ways of putting out to the Universe what we would like. Do what works for you, but DO IT and let’s see what happens!

When you need writing inspiration, take a walk in the Zoo!

1666711D-6630-40D2-8E8E-8C0F71F8D979I love Fall, it’s such a great time of year. Yesterday, I went for a walk and I ended up at the zoo. It was a blustery day as Pooh Bear would say. I needed inspiration for my writing and taking a walk always helps clear the mind and offers new ideas.

I found this lion photo amusing. So, the male is sleeping while the female watches out for danger. From time to time, the male lion did lift his head to ROAR, and boy was it loud. I was in the gift shop when I heard him. He went on a few times. I rushed to the door thinking I would see him on top of the rock where the lioness was sitting. You know, letting the entire zoo know he was in charge. No such luck.

As I continued my walk I got a good shot of the zebra.

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I think you might enjoy this quick video of the Japanese Macaque.

Would love to hear where you go walking for inspiration.

Chicago: Take the Untouchable Tours, learn about Al Capone in the 1920s/30s

Untouchable Tour BusI was on a street corner one night when this “Untouchable Tours” bus went by. I whipped out my camera to get a picture. Clearly this was a gangster tour bus. You can see they have pictures of some of the gangsters in the windows.

Visiting the website, “Gangster Tour,” it sounds like this tour makes learning about Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s (Prohibition Era) entertaining, because the tour guides are actors that dress the part of a gangster. They say this tour has been going on for 30 years, I had no idea. This was not a nice time in Chicago history. It was the Italians in the South (Jonny Torrio/Al Capone) against the Irish in the North (Dion O’Bannion, Hymie Weiess, and Bugs Moran) fighting to control illegal vice in the city.

On their website, you’ll see a great picture of the actors! Their tour sounds like the Irish tours, where the tour guide has you sing a song too. Trip Advisor has excellent reviews on the tour, so I guess I’ll be booking my tour very soon.

Wouldn’t it be amusing if I dress the part?!! That would throw the tour guides off. I might just get a front row seat!

Who has played “The Escape Game?”

The Escape GameI’ve been hearing a lot about, “The Escape Game.” Yesterday, I read an article about a family (mother, father, children, grandparents) that wanted something fun to do in Las Vegas, so they signed up. They were raving about how fun it was. Of course, they made it out in time.

I wonder what happens if you don’t make it out of your cell.

Do RED lights start flashing, are you sky rocketed into space… what?

Has anyone played the game?

Fill us in… looking at the website, it does look like FUN!

Florence – The Walking City… explore Piazza Michelangelo by foot

3C529AF7-46FB-4CF9-A311-DF3A3983D9DBI’ve been to Florence many times, especially when my Florentine grandmother was alive.  When I would visit Florence, I was not a tourist. I was staying with my grandmother. I did do some touring, but mainly I lived the life of a Florentine. Go early to the market to buy your groceries, come home set the table for lunch, always put down a table cloth, grate the parmesan cheese, cut the bread, make the salad – this was routine. With my grandmother gone, I realized I needed to find a new way to fall in love with Florence.

Back in those days, there were hardly any tourists. Some, but you walked the streets comfortably. Now, you walk elbow to elbow with tourists and foreign students. It is so packed you cannot enjoy the city unless you wake up at the crack of dawn BEFORE the tourists have started their day.

The Central Market used to have lovely leather purses, cashmere sweaters, silk scarves, belts and more. Now, the vendors, year after year, sell the same products and it’s hard to know what is real leather and what is not. The designs are not special anymore. It’s sad to see this. Gold is so expensive that the Ponte Vecchio does not sell unique jewelry anymore either. BUT for the first timers to Florence, where the leather goods, etc. are all new to them, they think it is fantastic!

It’s amusing to hear conversations among tourists, there is a competition to know Florence better than the next person, to have been to Florence more times than another person, to be the best Florentine blogger, know the best restaurant  — you get the idea.

So, with my heart feeling a bit sad and nostalgic for the old days, I decided I needed to re-discover Florence in a different way.  I was curious to explore the hills above the Piazzale Michelangelo.

64F1C219-CF8E-4EFA-8BD4-F54CB65CD8F3I got lucky and as I was walking up a long road, I found “The Walking City” map. See the photo of the map. I want to see if they have other maps for walking the city like this. What a great adventure for people who have been to Florence many times, want to get away from the crowds and get some exercise. The views and the villas up there, as you can imagine, are fantastic.

If you make the walk all the way around, you’ll have this view of the Duomo from Piazzale Michelangelo!  Stop and treat yourself to a gelato, you deserve it!

Yes, you can see Florence with “fresh eyes!”