Category Archives: Gardens

gardens I’ve enjoyed

Egypt Here We Come

TRAVEL THERE: CAIRO, SHARM & ALEX

In less than a month we’ll be winging our way to Egypt for a family wedding.  While it’s primarily a family trip, you can rest assured that Museum Girl will be taking in the sights.  The itinerary is firming up and I thought I’d share a few highlights.

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

As excited as I am about the rest of the trip, the reason we’re going is to participate in Bassem and Mariam’s wedding.  We’re all agog with excitement.  Bill and I will arrive in Cairo late in the evening on a Saturday night and be whisked away to the Fairmont in Heliopolis.  On Sunday afternoon we’ll attend a luncheon for all the families at an “oriental” restaurant.  When I wondered why we were having Chinese food, I learned Egyptians call Middle Eastern food “oriental.”  I learn something new every day.

Monday is the day of the wedding, and it is also a national holiday, so I’m told I will see the residents of Cairo enjoying themselves in parks and other areas of leisure.  I’ll spend the day getting all gussied up for the wedding.  Egyptians know how to party and they expect guests, especially the couple’s families, to get all decked out.  I’ll be wearing a long formal gown bedazzled with crystal beads.  For the church ceremony I’ll wear a sheer over-blouse cinched by a jeweled belt, which will cover the spaghetti-strapped straight bodice of the full-skirted gown. Pictures to follow.

Let the Sightseeing Begin

On the day after the wedding we’ll be transported to the elegant Mena House Hotel, in the shadows of the pyramids.  Some folks tried to convince me to hire a guide for sightseeing for the day, but 8:30 AM was entirely too early to start a day of touring, especially after partying late into the night in the ballroom of the gorgeous Fairmont.

So instead, we’ve arranged to be transported mid-day and ease into the sightseeing.  We’ll enjoy the gardens of the Mena House, walk around with our mouths agape at the splendid architecture of the place, dine around the pool and then watch the Sound & Lightshow at the Pyramids from our room’s balcony. Who knows, there might even be time for a dip in the pool.  Personally, I plan to have at least one picture of me taken in the pool with the Pyramids behind me.

Then we’ll do the Pyramids.  Since we’ve already done the Giza Plateau, I plan to go further afield and check out the Step Pyramid at Saqqara and the Red Pyramid at Dahshour.  I’m also interested in the Meidum Pyramid, but I’ve been told it is too far out – drat.  Instead we’ll go back to Giza and see the Solar Boat Museum, something that’s been added since our last visit.

A Family Reunion Extraordinaire

After our second night at Mena House, we’ll head to the airport and make the short hop to Sharm el Sheikh.  Some of the family lives in the beautiful city by the Red Sea and others will have gone there when we headed to Giza.  We’ll have a family reunion of sorts for about five days along one of the most spectacular beaches in the world.

The diving and snorkeling are supposed to be awesome, but I’m not much of a guppy.  You’ll find me at the  Marriott Naama Bay Resort pool with an exotic cocktail of my choice somewhere near the waterfall.  Yes, the beach is beautiful, but no way am I going to smear sunscreen all over and then sit in the sand all day.  Not this girl’s idea of a good time.  I’ve been promised activities like a star-gazing visit to the desert, some shopping opportunities and other attractions.

In the evening, look for me along the boardwalk.  It’s one of my favorite memories of our last journey to Egypt.  Every evening the tourists come out in all their sunburned glory to stroll along and enjoy the wide variety of entertainment available on every side. On our last visit the Macarena was all the rage.  I  wonder what earworm will bite me this time.

On to Alex!

We’ll fly back to Cairo and then have a driver take us to Alexandria where we’ll be in the center of the action at the Cecil Hotel.  This elegant old dame gives a nod to Alexandria’s heyday with plenty of modern updates.  What’s more, I’m supposed to be within walking distance of many of the sites I want to see – that is if I can ever cross the street.  I remember the traffic being deadly in Cairo and Alexandria is supposed to be more of the same.  Pedestrians don’t have the right of way and stoplights are merely suggestions.  I’ll be right across the street from the beach, but may never actually get to the sand!

My wish list for Alexandria is long and includes a visit to a Coptic monastery on the way back to Cairo.  Once back to Cairo, we’ll visit Old Cairo and seeing the famous churches there, something I never got to during our other visit.  I think we’ll spend our final nights at the Fairmont.  We have to be to the airport bright and early for our return.  Then it’s back to the grindstone!

That’s it so far for Egypt.  Keep dropping by.  I’m not sure what I’ll be up to in the weeks to come, but I promise not to disappear.

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Vulcan Park Tower, Birmingham AL

Birmingham from the Tower

Birmingham from the Tower

TRAVEL THERE: A STEEL CITY LANDMARK

So my boss had just arrived back in the States from someplace else that I can’t tell you about to join us at the thing I can’t tell you about.  At the end of the second day after a meal provided by the thing I can’t tell you about, there was supposed to be a worship and praise service, but the boss needed a change of scenery.  One more large meeting room filled with people and he was a goner, so we escaped.

Hannah Beth Helps Us Play Hooky

Since the meal we’d been provided was lukewarm hot dogs and stale potato chips (no offense intended, but that’s what it was), we wished we’d decided to play hooky about 30 minute previous to our boss’ confession of meeting room fatigue.  A nice dinner would have been a treat. Still, we weren’t going to waste an opportunity for some team building activities outside the meeting room.  So Hannah Beth took us on a tour.

Now I know young folks to things differently than I do, so this is not meant as criticism, but merely an observation.  While Hannah Beth has been to Birmingham several times and has the inside scoop on what to do, she depends on GPS for directions.  Her modus operandi is to take off in the direction which she thinks something is and then use voice commands to tell her phone to find the way.    This means she has one hand fully on the wheel, while she holds both the wheel and the phone in the other – all the while chatting up everyone in the car.

Yep, I’m a Nervous Nellie, so the entire time we were driving in Birmingham, I’m in the backseat praying we actually get to the place we’re headed.  Since I’m here to tell the tale, you know my prayers were answered in the affirmative, but while we were playing hooky from a praise and worship ceremony, I felt a little guilty about praying for protection.  Proves God listens all the time, I guess.

Vulcan Tower on Red Mountain

Vulcan Tower via http://birminghamal.org

Vulcan Tower via http://birminghamal.org

According to the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau:

“Vulcan is the largest cast iron statue in the world and Birmingham’s unofficial city symbol. Standing high atop Red Mountain, the 56-foot-high statue has an observation balcony on its pedestal for a panoramic view of the city. Vulcan is patterned after the mythical Roman god of the forge, a nod to the city’s powerful position in the iron and steel industry in the first part of the 20th century. The statue was created as Birmingham’s exhibit in the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis and won the exposition’s grand prize. The museum at Vulcan has interactive exhibits and displays that portray the region’s history and progress. Museum open Monday- Saturday, 10am- 6pm; Sunday, 1pm- 6pm. Observation balcony open Monday- Saturday, 10am- 10pm; Sunday, 1pm- 10pm. Admission.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself, but you can learn more on the actual Vulcan Park website.

Our boss covered the entrance fee which was just a dollar or two and we climbed the stairs to the top of the hill.  Someone who will remain nameless desperately needed to visit the rest room.  Even though the sign said the museum was open, it wasn’t and that’s where the restroom was.  In desperation, the drain in an unlocked utility room sufficed as a toilet.  That’s all I’m going to say about it, but as tired as we were, that was just the crowning glory of the day and we got a serious fit of the giggles.

Above It All

Though the tower is lovely and the park is very nice, the real draw to visiting the Vulcan Tower is that you can climb up in it.  So we did, still giggling like fools.  Now yours truly is has a slight case of acrophobia.  OK, so maybe a large case, but as we took the elevator up I was distracted by the giggling.  We walked across a steel grate which was a bridge to the steel grate which was the balcony around the tower.  There was also a fence, but all the ground around us was visible from our vantage point.

At first I just looked out toward the horizon and enjoyed the scenery (see picture from previous post).  Then I looked down.  MISTAKE.  I tried to be cool.  I tried standing away from the rail and looking toward the tower.  Didn’t work.  I started getting lightheaded and broke out in a cold sweat.  It was time to go.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a grocery store, to get some necessities.  That list might have included individual bottles of screw top wine, but if it did, I’m not telling.  As much fun as this adventure was, the best is yet to come, so make you way back here next week.

 

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Pretty Little Passau

5p-ooo-6TRAVEL THERE: THE FINAL SHORE EXCURSION

Waking up in Passau was bittersweet.  During the night we’d passed from Austria into Germany and docked at Passau, but my research had not mined up any nuggets for my “must-see” list, in this town at the confluence of three rivers.  The overwhelming emotion was regret.  I was going to have to leave this cozy boat where they took me from destination to destination, fulfilling my every need and desire along the way. 

The Morning Rush Hour

In Viking River Cruise land, mornings were busy.  We had to get up and get breakfast before the tour started.  There were no lazy days at sea. It might have been nice to intersperse all these activities with some down time, but Mr. Bill is not a two week vacation kind of guy and on an 8 day river cruise you are engaged every single day, all day long.

Passau was no different.  The walking tour began at nine.  After a delicious breakfast we disembarked and found our guide.  We did not get the pick of the litter.

The Walking Torture

So what date do you think this is?

So what date do you think this is?

He was a Frenchman, resettled into Germany and I’ll just say it, he was rude.  He was quite knowledgeable, but so unpleasant.  He was obviously unaware that we were on a walking tour, not taking an oral exam for a PhD.  He’d pepper us with questions and then ridicule our answers.  If we dared ask him a question, he’d belittle us.  I’m not exactly ignorant of history, but the one question I asked him about a date painted on a castle, resulted in my most uncomfortable moment of the cruise.

We  put up with him for a while, but it was finally so unpleasant that we wandered off and found our own way back to the boat.  However, Passau is a lovely little town, in spite of the rude guide, so I’ll show you some of it.

Pretty Little Passau

If you’ve been following me along on this cruise, then you know the operative word for the predominant architectural style along the Danube is Baroque.  We got a taste of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Cesky Krumlov, but pretty much everything else has been Baroque-on-steroids.  Passau was no different.  The architectural highlights are the Prelate’s Palace and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, but the whole town is lovely.  For some reason, the Rathaus has murals painted all over it which are reminiscent of the Middle Ages, but they are merely modern interpretations of that era.  Architecture aside, the three rivers are the real stars of the show.

Enjoy this gallery of shots from our walking torture.  I can’t tell you much more about them, because the only way I was able to avoid killing my guide was to ignore him.  We finally abandoned him and made our own way back to the boat.  Come back next week and I’ll tell you about the rest of the day, which was a lot more fun.

 

 

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A Quick Stroll through Cesky Krumlov Castle

Castle Courtyard

Castle Courtyard

TRAVEL THERE: TAKE MORE TIME HERE THAN WE DID

Cesky Krumlov Castle is a treasure trove of history, architecture and decorative arts.  Let’s start with the history.

The Medieval Lords of Krumlov

There’s not much left from the Middle Ages, but this has been a castle since the 13th century.  The one remaining tidbit is the castle tower, left over from the days when the castle’s first job was defense.  According to Rick Steves, if you go up its 162 steps you’ll get a find view of the Czech countryside, but I wouldn’t know.

Moving on to the Renaissance

4ck-castle-30While the tower is Medieval, it’s decoration is not.  That’s all Renaissance, so let’s move up a few years.  When the Krumlovs died out, their cousins, the Rozmberks, moved in.  (Rozmberk is often rendered as Rosenberg, but let’s be Czech about this.)

The Krumlovs had been your basic local gentry, but their cousins were a whole different animal.  The Rosmberks went on a serious building campaign, but don’t let the pictures fool you.  Those walls in the courtyard are just plaster.  All the fancy stonework is merely painted on.  They weren’t being cheap, it was just the style.  In fact, they probably could have gotten the stonework cheaper than the painting, but they were all about the show.

Everything had to look modern and up-to-date for the Rozmberks.  They turned that practical, defensive tower into a folly of astrological signs and symbols.  I’m not sure who came up with the idea of a pastel yellow and baby pink as an acceptable color combination, but I would like to complain about it.  Pink and beige were often used together throughout this region, too.  Both color themes make me a little nauseous, but they were all the rage apparently, based on the frequency of their use.

While I didn’t approve of their color schemes, I have to admit they did do a great job out in the gardens.  The glorious Renaissance gardens in the French style, with a magnificent central fountain, were something to see.  It was a little early in the season for floral displays.

They symbol of the Rosenberg family can be found all over the castle.

They symbol of the Rozmberk family can be found all over the castle.

Visions of Grandeur

It wasn’t enough for the Rozmberks to have the best castle around, they wanted to climb even higher on the social ladder. So they decided they wanted to be kin to the the Orsinis, who were ruling the roost over in Italy.

Now there are a number of stories about their claim to Orsinism.  Some say they just added a fake limb to their family tree and were powerful enough to pull it off with aplomb.  Others claim they actually did have a legitimate claim.  My favorite story is they expressed their desire to be Orsinis to that family and for X amount of money, the Orsini’s adopted them.  That sounds about right from what I know of the Orsinis.

The Crest of the Orsini-Rosenbergs

The Crest of the Orsini-Rozmberks

Whichever story is true, the Rozmberks celebrated their promotion in a couple of ways.  They altered their family crest and added a bear to their moat, because as we all know, Orsini comes from the Italian word for bear.

When I titled this post as “a quick stroll” I’m referring to the way I saw the castle – almost at a dead run!  We were in and out of the castle environs almost before I could get out the camera for a few photos.  (Confession, we did not take the bear picture.  It’s off the Viking memory stick we purchased.  The bear hid from us during our quick stroll.)

cesky-krumlov-58What’s more, the tour was only outside and we didn’t get so much as a peek inside.  Museum Girl was about to have a fit.  Here she had a well-furnished Czech palace to check out and we’re ripping through the courtyards at a fast pace.  One of the reasons the castle is well-furnished is because once a Hapsburg-related family gained control of the place it fell out of favor and became a sort of over-sized attic.

Another reason you can enjoy the castle in its former furnished glory is because Czech curators share better than Americans.  They actually try to get the various bits and pieces they find to the appropriate castles.  Because Cesky Krumlov Castle spent so many years as a warehouse of out-of-fashion and damaged furnishings, there are still huge areas of the castle that are still cleaned out and cataloged.  When they find a piece that seems to belong to another castle, they send it along with their regards and curators at other castles do the same.  American curators seem to share a penchant for hoarding.  The bowels of their institutions hold tons of items the public never gets to see, because the museums hold on to every bit they get for dear life.  I liked the Czechs even better for this little tid-bit.

4ck-castle-24Once we’d checked out the bear pits we had a choice to make.  We could either head to the ticket office and go on one of the interior castle tours or we could head out to the picturesque town. The town is charming and I had a wonderful time with our cruise buddies, but Museum Girl was about to go into melt-down.

I’ll share a treat with you.  While I didn’t go through the castle, someone on the Viking crew did and they got some marvelous pictures, which I’ll include at the end along with more of my pictures of the exterior, but there’s one more bit of history you need to know about Cesky Krumlov.

The Baroque Theater

I chose to get a degree in Performance instead of Literature and I’m glad, because to get the degree you have to have a smattering of all the arts, including the performance arts.  One of my classes was the history of theater and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  (The professor was somewhat of a kook, but welcome to the university!)

We studied all the old playwrights and reviewed the various venues.  I reveled in the Renaissance era when cathedrals used to fly children through the air on wires as cherubs.  (No child labor laws to contend with.)  However, the Baroque period was also something.  Every castle worth its appellation had its own theater and each theater proprietor tried to outdo the other on special effects – only there was no digital CGI.  They used actual flames and fireworks to get their effects.  And that’s exactly why there are only two of them left in the world.  Cesky Krumlov is one of them!

It killed me to forego the pleasure of touring the theater.  If I ever get back to the Czech Republic, wild horses won’t keep me away from taking every tour offered in Cesky Krumlov.  Now enjoy the pictures and come back next week for a tour of the town.

 

 

 

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Checking Out the Czech Republic

Good Morning Linz

Good Morning Linz

TRAVEL THERE: SHORE EXCURSION TO CESKY KRUMLOV

The city of Linz provided our starting point for a bus trip to the Czech Republic.  I woke up to this lovely landscape, complete with Ferris wheel – a pleasant surprise.  Breakfast was early, because the bus boarded at 8:30.  Our cruise buddies were assigned to the same bus as we were.  I think one of them had done the legwork to see that this happened and I appreciated it, because it make the excursion a very special day.

First Things First

If you’re headed to Cesky Krumlov, don’t call it Cesky.  Cesky means something like ‘bend in the river’ and apparently the Czech Republic has a lot of crooked rivers, because there are a lot of Cesky Thises and Cesky Thats.  Perfectly fine to shorten it to Krumlov, because that’s unique.

Our Czech Guide

Our Czech Guide

Next up, we loved our guide – a young hip guy who grew up in Cesky Krumlov and loves his little city.  We were half in love with it too before we even arrived.

A funny part of the bus trip was the stop at a service station.  I was never quite clear why we did it – something about changing money, but we just stretched our legs and took a stroll around the convenience store.  It reminded me of a roadside stop in the Bahamas with Josay, the worst tour guide we’ve ever had.  All the tour buses stopped there, but it was certainly no Buc-ee’s.

Sneaking in the Back Door

One thing you’ll discover if you sail with Viking – they’ve got this cruising thing down pat.  I’ve cruised with a number of different lines, both river and ocean, and I never have seen anybody who has the logistics of things figured out so completely.  They park their boats in the best places, their tour buses are just steps away from the gangplank each morning and their guides are without a doubt the best-dressed and most professional of any I saw.

Cesky Krumlov certainly qualifies as a tourist trap.  By the time we hit the castle proper, there was a deluge of folks standing around listening to a guide.  I can only imagine the parking nightmare somewhere around that town, but Viking had it’s own parking lot somewhere on the garden end of the castle grounds, away from the nightmare.

Because of  Viking, we stepped off the bus and into a Renaissance garden.  Fountains danced, the sun was shining and I was a happy camper.  Our guide allowed us a few Kodak moments and then led us down the hill and through a back gate to the castle proper.  There we were treated to some of the most charming vistas of the day.

The Castle Proper

Cesky Krumlov Castle is a UNESCO site and they do a pretty good job of attaching their name to the best places in the world.  You may never have heard of the Lords of Krumlovs, but their castle grew into an architectural history lesson.  Rather than rush you through it, the way my tour did, I’ll invite you to come back next week, but in the meantime, enjoy this video of our day in Cesky Krumlov.

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A Stroll Through Vienna

Now where was the boat?

Now where was the boat?

TRAVEL THERE: MILKING THE SHORE EXCURSION FOR ALL I CAN GET

So, after a morning of museums, Bill was done with Vienna and ready to go back to the boat for lunch.  However, if we went back, I knew he wouldn’t be getting off the boat again, so I convinced him to at least have some lunch in the city.  I told you how that went.  Shame on you Rick Steves!  Now I’ll tell you about the balance of the day.

A Drizzly Walking Tour

Because he loves me and maybe a little bit because he’d loved the architecture he’d seen so far, Mr.Bill agreed to a stroll around the Hofburg environs for awhile.  I was able to show him on the map that I didn’t plan to get more than a block or two away from the palace, so he set his teeth and headed off with me.

Whereas Mr. Bill was trying to be cooperative, the weather was not.  The sun played peek-a-boo (more boo that peek) with us and whenever the sun disappeared, the drizzle would return.  Was is miserable?  Yes!  Was I going to let it deter me? NO!

The Gang at the Opera

The Gang at the Opera – a bit damp but quite happy!

Our first stop after lunch was the State Opera House.  I would have dearly loved to go to one of their productions or take a tour of the interior, but that didn’t fit into our  schedule.  I have to confess that the exterior of the venerable old lady was not one of my favorite edifices of the day.  It really pales in comparison to surrounding buildings.  However, that’s where we ran into our shipmates and that was a bright spot in the day.  I have to admit they pranked me.  They pretended they were lost and asked me to show them how to get back to the boat.

After that Bill trudged along behind me snapping pictures of the sights along the Ringstrausse.  I got him all the way down to the Rathausplatz before he mutinied and demanded to be taken back to the boat.  So we strolled through the Volksgarten towards the Grabenplatz.  I reminded him of the Dortheum, an auction house he’d shown some interest in during my days of research.  Rick Steves redeemed himself, because that was quite interesting.  Maybe not as interesting as Rick made it sound, but interesting – and dry.

3V Walk (60)The Dortheum is about half a block from Grabenplatz and from there we entered the underground at Stephanplatz.  We had a little difficulty purchasing our return ticket, but the problem was with the machine, not us and a nice subway attendant lady came and helped.  Soon we were back on board the Tor – just in time for our afternoon tea break.  Bill was once again a happy boy.

Dinner was a little later this evening than it was during the rest of the cruise, because they were serving a special meal to those heading out to a night shore excursion.  Had I known how the day would go, I would have probably opted for one of them, but part of the adventure of traveling is not knowing.  Sometimes that’s good and sometimes you end up having a quiet evening on the boat.  Since our friends were on the evening shore excursion, we had a quieter than usual evening, but a good one.  We still very much enjoy each others’ company.

I’ll share our pictures from our walk about, then I hope you’ll come back next week for The Wachau Valley.

 

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A Day I’ll Never Forget

Mom & I in the stocks. Yes I'm the one in the tri-corn hat.

Mom & I in the stocks. Yes I’m the one in the tri-corn hat.

TRAVEL BUG TALES: HOW DO PARENTS DO IT?

So I’m not sure why parents want to have kids.  So far on this trip we’ve nearly lost my sister, I’ve been testing my teen-aged angst and I’m about to ruin the day for everyone –  and I didn’t even mean, too.

A Day at Colonial Williamsburg

I’d reached the auspicious age of 14 and fancied myself to be very sophisticated.  I’d had my first lobster (albeit a salad not a whole lobster), we were staying at a resort, I was in junior high and I thought I knew everything.  However, I was still a kid and I was gaga over history.  Yes, that was dorky, but I couldn’t help myself.  Mom had been priming me for our day in Williamsburg for months on end and I was anxious to get there.  I was also anxious to get back to the resort later, because I’d been promised we could swim in one of the pools.

One of the benefits of staying at the resort was transportation to the historical section of Williamsburg, because you weren’t allowed to drive your car there.  I’m pretty sure the transportation was some kind of horse drawn vehicle, but I really don’t remember.  We had breakfast in the cafeteria where we’d had dinner the night before, but I don’t remember that either.  We had all our meals there, because I’m sure anything else would have busted my parents’ budget.

I do remember strolling the streets of Colonial Williamsburg, shopping for souvenirs in quaint shops and visiting various historical edifices.  Which ones I can’t exactly remember, but I was filled with wonder as we roamed the city and its buildings.  Making the whole thing seem surreal were all the costumed guides strolling around in colonial garb.  I was fascinated.

My husband would tell you that I get a little excited when I travel.  I speak too loudly, walk too fast and often get ahead of myself.  That’s exactly how I was that day in Williamsburg.  The day was incredibly hot and humid, but I was bouncing around like a tennis ball.  Inside the buildings the a/c was blasting to protect the valuable artifacts on display; antique furnishings, tools and other valuable items.  So outside we’d bake and inside we’d freeze.

I picked this sweetie up in a Williamsburg toy shop and her hat came from a milliner down the street where I also picked up the tri-corn hat above. She sits on a shelf in my office until today.

I picked this sweetie up in a Williamsburg toy shop and her hat came from a milliner down the street – where I also picked up the tri-corn hat I wore that day. The doll sits on a shelf in my office until today.  I’m not sure where the tri-corn ended up.

My Williamsburg Waterloo

Each house had timed tours and we had tickets to a certain number of houses, but the tours were timed to give you plenty of opportunities to shop in their expensive boutiques.  It was time to see the silversmiths house, so I charged in like a bull in a china closet.  Once inside I started to feel woozy.  I tried to stay with the tour, but finally I felt as if I had to get out of the house.  I’d gotten cold and hot one too many times and there was some acrid smell associated with the demonstrations of silversmithing.  I grabbed the handle of a door that I wasn’t supposed to and popped out of the house.

The next thing I knew I was lying on the brick sidewalk and a great fuss was being made over me.  Once it was established that nothing was broken I was hauled into an alcove off the street and my mother hovered over me.  Someone was asking if we wanted an ambulance.  I was saying no, but Mom was saying yes.  Mom won, because someone came to doctor me up, but I refused to get in the ambulance and be taken to a hospital.  I was already so embarrassed that I wanted to die.  While I don’t remember riding in the carriage that morning, I do distinctly remember the discomfort of riding it back to the resort in the afternoon.

I had not broken anything, but I’d managed to get pretty beat up.  As I’d stepped out of the silversmith’s house and onto a small porch, I’d already started to lose consciousness.  I careened across the porch, fell down a couple of steps and slid across the brick sidewalk.  I busted my lip and scratched up my face, arm and legs pretty badly.  I’d also shaken every bone in my body.  Within days I was black and blue and scabbed.

Here’s the rub.  There was no way my parents were going to let me go to swimming pool, even if I’d mustered up the strength to pretend I wanted to.  I was put to bed for the balance of the afternoon, while everyone else went swimming.  My mother checked on me several times, but I was 14 after all.

I mustered up the courage to eat in the cafeteria that evening, because I didn’t want a tray to be delivered to our room.  While I’ve always enjoyed attention, that wasn’t the kind of attention I wanted – at all.  Besides that, Mom had started to make noise about heading back to Texas rather than heading to the beach to rendezvous with our friends at their beach house.  No way I was missing the beach, so I had to suck it up.

Come back next week and we’ll go to Myrtle Beach!

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