Italy – My thoughts brought me the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” – no joke

Leaning Tower of PisaI learned this weekend that the mind is very powerful.

For months, I have been thinking, “When will I have time to go to Florence?” Every day, I take a quick look to see what flight prices are to Italy. Usually, I try to fly into Florence.

This weekend I was focused on getting new tires for my car. I shopped around and found a place with a good price. As I was parking my car, I looked up and I could not believe it. Right in front of me was the “Leaning Tower of Pisa.” NO JOKE, see photo!

Now, I ask you… What would you think if you saw this? I chuckled to myself, maybe it was “a sign” to look for flights into Pisa’s airport.

Italy, I’m coming, soon – VERY SOON!

Chicago: Busts salvaged from Garrick Theatre demolition

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I was walking around Chicago and came across these interesting head sculptures called, “busts.” I took these photos and did some Google searches to find out more about them.

Apparently, back in 1891, the Schiller Theater Building opened, designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan of the firm Adler & Sullivan. The theatre was funded by publisher, Anton C. Hesing and German investors to be used for German language operas and cultural events. However, it seems that the German investors pulled out, not clear why, and over the years the theatre changed names/investors several times. Final name was Garrick Theatre.

Sadly, the theatre had been in decline for many years. By 1960 the Garrick Theatre was torn down and turned into a parking lot. This was the tallest building in Chicago at this time, a beautiful building. One man, Richard Nickel, took on the mission of photographing and salvaging as much as he could of the building during the demolition.

The busts in the photos I took were saved, who these men are is unknown. Four busts on The Second City theater building have been identified as famous German men.

Wow — a simple walk turned into a walk rich in Chicago history!

Travel Tour websites… Why go it alone?

Egypt Rock TempleA girlfriend of mine is going to Italy in May and was looking up travel tours. I’ve never done a travel tour… OOPs, I take that back. My mother found a 10 day river cruise in Egypt that we went on. It was a FABULOUS trip. A travel package was critical in seeing all of the different sites. We needed a tour guide, he gave us the history behind the Abu Simbel Temples, Giza Pyramids, the Sphinx — there was so much to see. Incredible!

Other than that, I’ve normally gone on a trip and done my own planning. Why? Well, I don’t enjoy being on a constant schedule. If I am on a vacation, I want to relax a bit.

However, trips/tours make life easy, especially when the package is all inclusive (airfare, hotel, transportation), it takes the stress out of planning.

I came across these travel websites that were interesting.

horse riding tour

In The Saddle – This is a tour group that specializes in horseback riding holidays. Wow, right. I know, you’re wondering if I am an accomplished rider. No, but I found their trips interesting and adventurous. Check them out. I might have a sore bottom, but it would be worth it for a different type of adventure.

AdventureWomen – For 35 years, they have been focusing on unique adventure tours for active women. This is great, because in the past there were places that women could not travel alone (i.e. Botswana, Russia, Morocco, India, etc.), or if they did, it was at their own risk. If you are a woman, you’ll enjoy this website.

GROUPON Getaways – A girlfriend speaks highly of their travel packages. She bought a trip to Ireland through them. She said the hotel in different locations was great, they had a rental car, it was a good deal, everything went smoothly, hard to pass up.

Global Drifters – A new site I came across through their Blog. Clicking here and there, I found their travel packages. They are a younger company, visit and see what you think. Their tag line, “Not a Vacation, but an Experience.” They offer small group tours for the independent traveler.

Can you tell I am getting Spring fever?

Anyone open for a horse riding tour? Mongolia, to see the Eagle Festival? Bhutan maybe or back to Italy?

Hoping winter is coming to an end. It’s time for an adventure somewhere in the world!

Japan: Becoming a Geisha / Maiko for a day!

I was transported back to my childhood days when I read Josy’s post, “Maiko Makeover – Dress up like a Maiko in Kyoto.

As my parents traveled the world when I was child, my mother started bringing me dolls from each country where she traveled. I had two favorites. The first was a Japanese Geisha doll in a beautiful glass container. The second was a pair of dancing dolls from Thailand. While I don’t have the dolls anymore, I was able to find a good representation on http://www.pixabay.com, see photos.

F0A4B597-AC57-48E5-A734-E4C20BB16EA1The geisha doll was absolutely beautiful. As you can see in the photo, the doll’s face was painted white, stunning kimono, the sash at the waste, her white socks with black sandles and incredible hair piece. Oh, and the cute umbrella was fascinating to me. Certainly in Indiana we did not see this type of dress. It was a treasure.

So, when I came across Josy’s post, I smiled and had to look twice at the photos. WAS THAT REALLY JOSY dressed as a geisha? Yes, indeed it was! Josy was in Kyoto, Japan and in her post she explains in detail how she went for a Maiko Makeover. By the way, a maiko is an apprentice to a geisha. Josy takes us step by step through the stages of getting the makeover, which is fascinating. She includes location and price as well… all we need is a plane ticket over to Kyoto!

I learned something new. I didn’t realize that going for a makeover in Japan is a big touristy thing to do. If you are an avid hiker, you’ll enjoy Josy’s Blog, “A Walk And A Lark,” you’ll see spectacular photos from her different hiking adventures.

Thanks, Josy, for bringing back such nice childhood memories for me!

Visit Atlas Obscura -> An adventure guide to hidden wonders in the world.

Travel the worldLast week I was going through my Junk folder on Outlook. As expected most of it was junk; however, I came across an email from, “Atlas Obscura.” Normally, I would not open an unknown email, but the subject header said, “You can spend the night in this formerly abandoned Scottish village.”  This piqued my interest, I want to visit Scotland one day.

Before opening the email, I decided to research “Atlas Obscura.” Turns out it is an online magazine created in 2009 by Joshua Foer and Dylan Thuras. They wanted to create an atlas / guidebook for people to learn about and explore obscure places around the world. They certainly have done that.

If you sign up for their weekly newsletter, you’ll be amazed at the different places you can explore. On their website, you can choose a country (Germany, for example) and you’ll be brought to a map of Germany where they have pointers you can click on with stories for that particular area, i.e. the world’s largest cuckoo clock, the oldest Jewish Cemetery in Worms, the “floating railway” to name a few.

On Eventbrite, I noticed they have Atlas Obscura Society Chicago. For the remainder of February and into March, they have some interesting events going on, i.e. learning about volcanoes and the birth of the most precious stones, interactive history of comics, murder mystery soiree, scavenger hunt, roller skating in the movies, immigrant stories and connections. I wrote to one of the field reps to see what the age range was for people attending. Have not heard back yet.

If you enjoy traveling and you’re getting bored with the normal tourist attractions, I highly recommend visiting “Atlas Obscura’s” website. You’ll definitely find obscure things to explore on your next adventure.

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!