San Marcos Premium Outlets

A Sampling of my Souvenirs

A Sampling of my Souvenirs

TRAVEL THERE: MY KIND OF SHOPPING AND MORE

I love shopping.  Actually, it would be more correct to say I love buying.  I’m perfectly capable of wandering through a bazaar or market in a faraway place, just to get a feel for the place, but for me, it’s a lot more fun if there’s buying involved.

My husband has finally cured me of that – at least when he’s around.  I used to come home from trips with a souvenir from every stop.  I collected trinket boxes and Christmas ornaments.  I loved to find handmade clothing and jewelry.  I gathered up souvenir booklets like some people collect baseball cards.  In the early years of our marriage, this practice created great discomfort for Bill.  He followed me around  with his eyes full of pain and flinched at every purchase.  I didn’t pay close enough attention, so he started helping me understand his point of view.

Collecting just doesn’t make any sense to him.  To Bill, all my gorgeous trinket boxes seemed like clutter.  He’s suggested I store most of them and only put out a few at a time.  What once held pride of place, on the fireplace mantle of my apartment, is now hidden away upstairs on a shelf in my office – along with all my framed family photos, my large collection of books and … well you get the picture.  I don’t have to allow much room for souvenirs in my return luggage, anymore.

From time to time, I’ll have a lapse of judgement.  We’ll be traveling and I’ll pick up an item with that look in my eye.  Bill goes into panic mode.  Trinket boxes and Christmas ornaments are strictly taboo.  If I’ve picked up an item for the house, Bill wants to know exactly where I plan to display it and of course, he really loves what’s there and doesn’t want to replace it.  Whatever it is, it won’t be coming home with me.  Clothing and jewelry?  Forget about it.  He asks what I’m going to throw away or donate to make space for the new item.  My only hope of making a purchase is when I find a gift for someone else.  It takes some of the fun out of it.

The Exceptions to the Rule

While he can’t see the value in that cute straw purse on the beach or an embroidered sweater in the Alps, Bill does understand I know my way around an outlet mall.  He fully endorses my outlet shopping.  Mind you, he rarely goes with me, but he also doesn’t need resuscitation when I come home with armloads of shopping bags.  See, he knows that cute straw purse on the beach has a mark-up somewhere in the range of 100%, but if I buy a top at an outlet mall, they’ve almost had to pay me to get me to carry it out.

I’m also allowed to buy shoes at DSW.  I never look at anything unless it’s on the clearance rack and even then, I’ll only look at things that are 50% or more off.  What I love is the yellow stickers, because that means they are marked down 80% or more.

San Marcos Premium Outlet

20170112_075950For some reason I cannot fathom, I never shopped at the San Marcos Premium Outlet – at least not in the last 20-30 years.  It seems as if long ago I might have gone with Mom and Aunt Edie, but I think the stores may have been on the other side of the road – and none of the stores I loved this time were there.

You know I love San Antonio and get there every time I can, but for some reason, we’d just drive right past this outlet mall or stop in Salado.  It pains me to think of all the bargains I’ve missed.

Deb and I started at Off 5th, the Saks outlet.  I’d been looking at white pique dresses all summer long, but could not tolerate spending $150-200 for one dress.  At Saks, I took several reasonably priced options to the dressing room and found one for about$20 that I loved.  (I didn’t even know I was headed to Egypt on my next trip.  Imagine how cute I will be, going out to dinner in Sharm!)  Then off to the shoe department.  Score!!  Ellen Tracy brown crocodile pumps with a leather stack heel for $16.99!   $16.99!!

20170112_080244After that auspicious beginning, my purchasing slowed down, but I did pick up a few items here and there.  Then we wandered in to Dream Land.  I pride myself on looking designer without paying designer prices, but I confess, there are designers I love and if money were no object, as my spouse if fond of saying, I’d load my closet up with them.  My new favorite is Carolina Herrera.  To my utter delight, she has an outlet store in San Marcos.  The prices are still a little out of my reach, but they are closer than the ones at Northpark.  Armani, Brahmin, Coach, Ferragamo – all these and more grace the sidewalks of the San Marcos outlet mall.

But let me tell you my favorite.  I love St. John.  I can pick out someone wearing it a mile away.  There’s a sleek elegance I aspire to that exudes from each St. John creation.  Their store is not exactly on the main drag, so we had to wander a bit to find it, but I adored the few moments I spent there.  No reason to spend any more, because nothing was in my price range.

At a final stop, we found a handbag for my bestie.  She’d been willing to pay $100 for something adequate at the Saks outlet, but we agreed to keep looking.  She got a Brahmin for about $120.  I was giddy.  She hoped I was spending her money wisely and now I think she agrees I did.

Then it was time to head back to join the women who had spend the day in Gruene, because we were headed out to dinner.  See you next week!

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Palmer’s is Perfect – Almost!

20160917_130446TRAVEL THERE: PARTYING ON PALMER’S PATIO

Armed with a recommendation and an address, Deb and I headed towards San Marcos.  We wanted to grab a bite before we headed to the outlet mall.  We found a lot more than a bite at Palmer’s!

An Awkward Beginning

From the street Palmer’s doesn’t look like much.  In fact, coming from Gruene, the first thing you see is a wall with a large mural.  Nothing about the mural let us know we’d made a good decision, but when we found the parking lot we realized we’d found the nirvana which had evaded me during an earlier yoga session.

A large shaded patio with a splashing fountain promised we were about to have a good time, but we had to work for it.  As we passed the patio entering the restaurant there were scads of empty tables, but when we asked to sit out there, the hostess hesitated.  She had to go check something and she asked us to sit down.  When she came back she said we’d need to wait a little and that sounded OK, until a little turned into a lot.

There was a time in my life when I would have meekly sat there until called, but that time has passed.  The hostess busied herself sorting through menus and made a career of ignoring us.  Since the patio was virtually empty, we wondered what was up.  Finally, I asked exactly what we were waiting on since there were so many tables available.  She stammered around about the wait staff having just taken orders and not being quite ready to serve us.  I didn’t stammer when I said we’d rather do our waiting outside.

She reluctantly seated us on the patio and soon we’d made our drink orders.  It was never quite clear why the hostess expected us to wait docilely in the slightly dank and very dark vestibule, but with the breeze blowing, a jazz trio playing and the water playing in the fountain, we didn’t care for very long.

Sour cream? REALLY?

Sour cream? REALLY?

A Little Bit of Heaven

So, the service was lacking before we ever got a chance to sit down, but I didn’t really care.  The food took forever to get there and when I got it, I didn’t like it very much.  (Nothing on the menu suggested the fritatta came heavily drizzled with sour cream.  There are only three things in the whole world that I won’t eat and sour cream is one of them.)  But that’s alright.  I was happy and didn’t want to get unhappy!

Sitting on the patio at Palmer’s is the closest thing I’ve found to sitting on the patio at Joe T’s; and sitting on the patio at Joe T’s is the closest thing I’ve found to heaven – only the food at Joe T’s is good, really good.

The food might have been mediocre, but they had something called a Poinsettia to drink.  For the uninitiated, a Poinsettia is the same thing as a Mimosa, except that you use cranberry juice instead of orange juice.  Orange juice is not one of the three things I refuse to partake of, but I do avoid it if I can.  Now that I know about Poinsettias, I will never have to regret that I don’t particularly like Mimosas, ever again in my life.

Here’s what’s funny.  A Poinsettia was $5, but according to the waitress, “for $8 you can get twice as much.”  I planned to be there for a while so I went for the large.  Forget twice as much!  I could have gotten everyone on the patio severely drunk with the huge bottle of Poinsettias I was served.  Deb had started with a make-your-own Bloody Mary Bar, with which she had been underwhelmed, but if we would have known, we would have just ordered the large Poinsettia and two glasses.  We both drank as much as we dared over several hours and still couldn’t make a dent.  See why the fritatta didn’t matter!!

I could go on, but the bottom line is this, the shady patio, the jazz band and the Poinsettias were so good, nothing else mattered – not the lousy service, not the mediocre food, nothing.  I will return to Palmer’s but it was time to head to the outlet mall.  Look out credit cards!!

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Going Gruene!

Along the Guadelupe

Along the Guadelupe

TRAVEL THERE: THE GEM OF NEW BRAUNFELS

With the Magnolia Silos in our rear view mirror, Deb and I put the pedal to the medal.  The Gaines DIY magic hadn’t charmed us, but we’d been through the New Braunfels area before and knew things were looking up.

It’s Pronounced “Green” Like the Color

My friend Shana said the retreat would be in New Braunfels, but Deb and I were looking forward to Gruene.  We’d been through about a year before and knew it warranted further investigation.  Gruene is a cute little historical district inside the city of New Braunfels.  While New Braunfels is famous for Oktoberfest, Gruene offers other opportunities.

The name of the little enclave of funk maybe pronounced the same way as good environmental choices, but there’s a lot of bad choices you can make in Gruene.  For instance, at Gruene Hall you can drink too many beers and end up starting a bad relationship.  Or you can clean out your pocketbook and overload your credit card in the charming boutiques.  And of course, there’s tubing, which means sunburn, puckered finger tips and probably too much beer.  I’m teasing, but only a little bit.  Most folks go to Gruene to unwind and a large number manage to become unwound.

We’d looked at the map and decided we’d be really close to Gruene, we just hadn’t understood how close and while the pictures of the accommodations looked good, we hadn’t anticipated how good!

dsc_0237Welcome to the Retreat!

Yup, that’s our retreat.  It was just around the corner from Gruene’s main drag and in the middle of heaven.  We were among the first to arrive and had to wander a bit before we figured out that we had, in fact, arrived at the right place.  Soon we were moving in and sampling the goodies Shana had whipped up for us.

Next stop was a large flagstone patio with a circle of brightly-hued Adirondack chairs.  We found a seat and got to know our fellow retreat mates.  What an amazing group of women.  I figured they’d have to be pretty special to count among Shana’s friends.

dsc_0262We spent the evening hanging out around the campfire, swapping stories and laughing – a lot.  Shana let us know this was a do-it-yourself retreat.  She had plenty of food in the frig and yoga sessions were available, but there were no planned coaching sessions.  That was OK with Deb and I.  In spite of one too many margaritas, I managed to find my bed and get a good night’s sleep.

In the morning, I pulled on my exercise togs and headed to the patio for some yoga, but it had been a while since I’d yoga’d and the humidity made it a little much for me.  I got busy hydrating and dressing for a day of shopping.  A good number of the girls were going to tie rafts up to the trees in the river and another bunch were going tubing, but the San Marcos Outlet Malls were calling.

I asked Shana where we should go to lunch and she recommended a place called Palmer’s.  WOW, was she spot on!  I’ll tell you about it next week.

 

 

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Road Trip Time!

Gardening Magnolia Style

Gardening Magnolia Style

TRAVEL THERE: GIRL’S TRIP TO NEW BRAUNFELS VIA THE MAGNOLIA SILOS

Last summer, my friend Shana announced she’d gotten her life coach certification and extended an invitation to her first retreat.  I didn’t hesitate.  Of course I was going to attend and I figured my bestie would go, too.  The trip also proved to be the perfect opportunity to stop in Waco at the famous Magnolia Silos.

The Magnolia

Deb and I aren’t exactly DIY enthusiasts, but we’re all about shopping opportunities.  In Dallas, the buzz about The Magnolia was so loud we figured it had to be wonderful.  As it turned out, we’re just not the Fixer Upper types.  I’m sure that’s not hurting Chip and Joanna Gaines at all, but it did increase my growing sense of disconnect with the modern world.

We took a few wrong turns, but found the famous silos in spite of ourselves.  I’d heard on the weekends you couldn’t get near the place.  This particular Friday morning it was quiet, which may, in part, explain some of our lack of enthusiasm.

Lunch Time

The “restaurant” at The Magnolia is a group of food trucks with picnic-table seating.   On the surface that seemed like my cup of tea and it could have been, if the sun hadn’t turned the gravel covered area into an Easy Bake Oven.  We strolled up and down the row of food trucks and quickly understood why everyone was standing in line at the Cheddar Box.

The other choices available didn’t resonate with us.  We should have wanted to eat at the healthy place, but this was a road trip after all and indulgence is the name of the game.  There were some unhealthy choices, but the heat made those unappealing.  The crepes sounded good, but I didn’t want to start with dessert.  That left the Cheddar Box.  While my Guac This Way sammie was good, I can’t give the Cheddar Box any points for efficiency.

After waiting in line we were given a number and sent to find a table.  They said they’d call us when our sammies were ready.  While there were plenty of tables, only a few were covered, so everyone who was visiting The Magnolia, on this particular day, was huddled together out of the sun.  We made nice with the strangers at our tables and found they’d been waiting quite a while for their grilled cheese sandwiches, long before we arrived to huddle with them.  Then we waited together for another while.  By the time we got our sammies, the heat had drained us of our enthusiasm for them.

The Shopping Opportunity

The Magnolia Market was at the front of the property on the way to the car, so Deb and I hit the new garden center next to the food trucks.  While charming, the gardening style was a little un-manicured for our tastes and the goodies in the shed a little steep for our pocketbooks.  We figured we hadn’t yet happened upon the Magnolia Magic, so we headed for the main store.

I’d only watched one episode of Fixer Upper, so I didn’t know the style used in that episode was the sum total of the Magnolia look.  To me, something named after one of my favorite types of foliage, should be as elegant as the aroma of the namesakes blossoms.  Instead it was sort of log cabin meets minimalist porcelain.  Everybody else walked out with bags of goodies.  Deb and I just shrugged our shoulders and went back to the car.

While it was not exactly the break we’d hoped for, we’d managed to get lunch and mark something off our to-do list.  On to New Braunfels!

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Coming Attractions

happy-new-year-sms-message-card_nyztjrgTRAVEL THERE: WHAT’S NEXT!

Just about the time I start to fret and wonder if I’m about to become the unwilling hostage of my pond, the travel gods smile on me and give me a peek into my travel future.  Here’s what 2017 holds for me – so far.

Wichita Falls, Here I Come!

OK, so Wichita Falls in March isn’t all that exciting, but Beth Moore is.  I’ve been enjoying her Bible Studies for almost as long as they’ve been available on video.  Confession, I watched the first one, A Woman’s Heart – God’s Dwelling Place, on VHS.

Perhaps you remember I finally saw the Bible Study Superstar in person in Wichita, Kansas in 2015, on a little road trip with my bestie.  Beth is compelling on video.  In person she’s riveting.  Her road show is called Living Proof Live and this time around I’m upping the ante and will also attend her You Lead training.  I’m about to get Beth-inized!

Bestie is coming along this time too, but I’ll also have a number of my Buffalo Gals Bible Study girls with me.  Road Trip!  Girl’s Trip!  Look out Wichita Falls!

My first visit to the Pyramids

My first visit to the Pyramids

The Big Trip

So, a few months back our nephew, Bassem, proposed to a lovely girl in Egypt.  Hubby made it very clear from the moment the engagement was announced that we would NOT be attending the wedding.  I complied obediently, because I knew the secret weapon was coming to visit in December.  Who could resist Bassem?  He’s as subtle as a freight train and as relentless as a Doberman Pincer, but also completely earnest.

Within 24 hours of his arrival, Bassem had Bill doing a 180 and I’m now researching round-trip airfare to Cairo in April.  I’ll see my first Coptic wedding and attend the reception at one of the famed Fairmonts in Cairo.  The schedule is still being hammered out, but a celebratory family trip to beautiful Sharm El Shiek is on the must-do list, while we juggle other possibilities like a short cruise on the Nile, a day trip to Alexandria and maybe a night at the luxurious Mena House Hotel in the shadow of the Pyramids.

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about this trip.  I was in love with Egypt long before I fell in love with my Egyptian.  I’ve only been there one time before, but it was marvelous.  To return is a dream come true that I never dared to dream.

The Crazy Possibility

That should be enough excitement for anyone, but there is one more little possibility on the horizon.  I may actually have an opportunity to go to the Holy Land in the coming year.  It’s related to the ministry I volunteer with and a zillion things would have to fall into place for it to happen, but it is being discussed and I am keeping my calendar open.  Cross your fingers for me.

So that’s what’s up for 2017.  I have a couple of small trips from 2016 to cover in the next few weeks, but get ready to strap on your seat belt, because this plane is about to take off!

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Words Do Matter!

TRAVEL HERE: TRUTH UNDER SIEGE

Today is not my usual day to blog and I’m actually supposed to be writing a newsletter for my favorite ministry, but I just had to say something.  I’m a writer, so words matter to me.  If you are an American, Liberty should matter to you.

The Outrageous Nature of Outrage

Steve Martin was recently smacked down in the Twitter world for a nostalgic tribute to Carrie Fisher.  Some troll came along and chose to be outraged at his perfectly lovely sentiment.  He wasn’t writing a biography, just sharing an impression.  I’m thinking Ms. Fisher would have been flattered to be remembered so fondly by such a giant in the industry.

Nothing Steve Martin said could in any way tarnish the memory of Carrie Fisher, but for the benefit of their own sense of outrage, someone has forever added an asterisk to Steve Martin’s thoughts about an actress he admired – and a bunch of other trolls piled on.  I doubt Mr. Martin has a lot of time to fret over it, as he moves gracefully from success to success; but he is human and for awhile, when anyone mentions Carrie Fisher, he’ll remember the spiteful words.  So will we.

The Facts Are Often Unrelated to the Truth

I giggled at much of the fact-checking during the most recent political process.  Whether something could be counted as fact depended solely on what flavor of spin you preferred.  My favorite sound bite from the whole campaign suggested we should take the President-Elect seriously rather than literally.  To build on that suggestion, I believe we should all work at considering the words of others with an ear to understand, rather than a heart to criticize.  Would it kill folks to give others the benefit of the doubt, instead of seizing upon every opportunity to be offended, outraged or otherwise negatively impacted?

I heard recently of a college professor who was fired, because of our growing predilection for being negatively impacted by the words of others.  In trying to illustrate a point, he used his own opinion about abortion as an example. He recognized it was lawful, but he was personally opposed to it.  A student immediately went to some college official and claimed the statement had caused her to “not feel safe” in the classroom.  I cannot express strongly enough my disdain for that student’s actions, but I am even more horrified at the institution for their response to her tattling.

The Ethereal Nature of Feelings 

Where is someone supposed to go this day and time, if they want to learn to think rationally and logically, if not a college classroom?  There’s no way to impart every morsel of information a person will ever  need into a four-year degree plan.  In the best of cases, a student can only be taught to research a subject and evaluate the information available.  This is, in and of itself, a valuable gift!  If instead, all students want is a piece of paper to list on their resume, without ever having to go through the discomfort of thinking, then why bother.  Let’s just have a store where mommy and daddy can go buy a diploma.  It appears that’s the direction our institutions of higher learning should head, if this is how they are going to operate.

Obviously this student has been taught to measure the words of others by her own feelings and the university is reinforcing that dangerous concept.  You can’t change the truth because it makes you uncomfortable.  The student might feel safer now, but she has cost an honest man his livelihood.  What’s more, feelings often change.  Who knows what will make her or someone else feel “not safe” tomorrow.

Thank You Dr. Kim 

During my first attempt at college I took a political science course under a professor named Dr. Kim.  On the first day  he informed us there was no God and if we were brave enough to discuss that fact, we would be allowed to continue and complete the course.  Half of the class dropped out.  I certainly didn’t agree with Dr. Kim, but I was curious to see how things would go.  BTW, I didn’t feel threatened or unsafe in any way.

The remaining students  fell into three categories:  those who enthusiastically supported Dr. Kim’s assertion, those who vocally opposed it and a smattering of folks like me, who were primarily curious.  Along the way, most of the remaining students who chose to vocally oppose Dr. Kim, eventually dropped of the class, joining those who had not made it to the second day.  The earnestness of an argument was not enough to overcome the brilliance of Dr. Kim’s logic.

I often found myself supporting the arguments of the opposition.  I didn’t agree with their opinion about the existence of  God, because I understood it was a matter of faith, but I could appreciate the logic of what they said.  I also got very good at picking out weaknesses in the arguments of my fellow Believers.   My faith grew, even as God’s very existence was being disproved.  Since a good portion of our grade was based on class participation, I wasn’t allowed to sit in silence.  I had to learn how and when to speak.  It was good training.

By the end of the class there were only a handful of us left.  Dr. Kim finally got around to pointing out what I had suspected all along.  His class was an exercise in learning how to think.  Dr. Kim admitted proving or disproving the existence of  God didn’t affect in any way whether God actually existed or not.  The students clamored to know whether or not Dr. Kim actually believed in God.  His eyes twinkled as he refused to admit his opinion.  I chose to believe he believed in God – maybe more than those of us who admitted we did.

The Erosion of Truth

While I was brave enough to finish Dr. Kim’s class, wise enough to make a good grade and devout enough to leave the class with my faith intact, I was not mature enough to finish my degree plan at that time.  However, I returned to school when I was much older and much wiser.  I was sad to discover many of my new professors had abandoned the practice of teaching us how to think and were more interested in teaching us what to think.  This was not universally so, but there were many who adopted that lesson plan.

The saddest example was a poetry professor.  On the first day of class the professor warned a student they should probably drop the class, if they were taking it to learn to write worship and praise poems.  I was embarrassed for the student, who turned twenty shades of red, but I wanted my piece of paper and I’d already realized if it was going to be the flavor of degree I wanted, then I needed to overlook a few things from my liberal professors.  

The professor’s warning demonstrated her own shortcomings more than she realized.  Besides, as the oldest person in the room, I felt I needed to set a good example of tolerance.  I also thought I might be able to do more good for God in the classroom, than I would by demonstrating my outrage with a drop slip.

I’m happy to admit I learned a lot in the class and it wasn’t the last I took from the professor.  In fact, we sort of became friends. Not lifelong buddies, but more than acquaintances.  She spent a lot of time trying to get me to see myself from her Liberal viewpoint and in turn, I gave her the benefit of my actual life experiences.  There’s a lot of things she didn’t know about religion (the difference in the terms “Jew” and “Hebrew”), the history of the American language (that Afro-American was once a politically-correct term) and that to use racially-coded language, one would first have to be aware of the code (which is apparently a closely held secret of the Left).  Thanks to Dr. Kim’s training, I was able to adequately express my appreciation of her opinions, without offending her with my opinions – as long as I didn’t dare voice them in the classroom.

Long Live Liberty – and May Real Tolerance Win Out

Were I to base what I believed on the popularity of my opinions, I’d be a very different person.  I seem to hold a lot of opinions which differ with popular culture – kind of like Galileo.  In time I may be proven wrong, but so far, no one has proven me wrong enough to change me.  I know, even if they don’t, that my opinion and theirs together are unable to change the truth – no matter what that may be – so I’ll keep looking for Truth.  This wouldn’t seem so risky if political correctness were more of a two-way street, but I seem to be on the wrong side of that particular avenue.

The world has gotten pretty scary.  We seem to have regressed to the days before the legendary King Arthur, where Might proved Right.  If someone disagrees with you, then bomb them, run them over with a truck, shoot them, knife them, stage a protest against them, boycott them…or berate them on social media.  These all seem of the same cloth to me.

A student should feel safe in the classroom, but that assurance should arise from the strength of their own convictions, not because the classroom has been swept clean of any opinion differing with their own.  And Steve Martin should be able to say lovely things about Carrie Fisher without ridicule and abuse. At least, that’s my opinion. 

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Cruise Afterglow

dsc_0496

Cruising the Wachau Valley

TRAVEL THERE: VIKING’S DANUBE WALTZ – WHAT A TRIP!

As I sit in my office on an October Saturday afternoon in Heath TX, listening to the fountain that dances in my pond and writing a post you will read in December, I have nothing but kudos for my  April cruise on Viking Cruise Lines.  My travel agent, Sandra Rubio at CTC set up everything perfectly for us and Viking Cruise Lines is amazing – simply amazing!

What I Liked Best

  • 20160421_210026Wonderful new friends!  Deb & Mike Radcliffe and Gwenne & John Penkert were the best cruise buddies you can imagine – and they live in Oregon, which gives me an excuse to return to one of my favorite places.
  • The inadequately named “Silver Collection,” a part of the Imperial Apartment Museum in the Hofburg in Vienna.  Decorative Arts overload! I will never forget it.
  • Pretty much everything I ate and drank on the Viking Tor, but especially the bottomless wine glass at dinner.
  • Budapest – yep, the whole thing.  Can’t wait to go back someday.  And Rick Steve’s is right about the Baths.
  • Lunch in Cesky Krumlov
  • A sunny afternoon stroll in Passau

What I Liked Least

  • 2b-castle-tor-7

    The Faux Castle

    The non-stop Lufthansa flight from DFW to Frankfurt.  Worst flight EVER!!

  • Not having more time in Budapest.
  • Bratislava, Slovakia – didn’t feel good, didn’t get the shore excursion I wanted, the guide was iffy.  Other than that it was a great stop (tee hee.)
  • Being in Vienna in the rain on a Monday, which is when the Lipizzaners don’t perform and some of the museums are closed.  Loved Vienna, but after three visits there, I have yet to see the Lippizzaners and I could have done without the rain.
  • Anything to do with Empress Elizabeth, otherwise known as Sissie.
  • The guide in Passau.

On Our Way Home

Viking got us home as smoothly as they did everything else.  While we were at breakfast, our bags were whisked away.  We boarded a bus and after a pleasant drive were at the Munich airport.

While not awful enough to include in my “least liked” list, German airports didn’t rate very highly with me.  They get high marks for cleanliness, but they were confusing.  We roamed in befuddled circles in Frankfurt and repeated the exercise in Munich.

Security was on high alert, because we got there just as some international dignitaries were strutting through the airport.  I think there had been some sort conference, but the airport was full of people who looked as if they were used to getting preferential treatment and security was tight.

Thankfully, the Delta flight to Chicago was much more pleasant than the Lufthansa non-stop torture chamber.  However, because customs dumped us outside the secured area, we had to go back through the TSA screening and that was a nightmare.  They were so backed-up, we had pity on some people who were about to miss their flight and gave them our spot.  What else were we going to do with our time?  Go shopping?

Finally, Dallas!  As much as I love traveling, I do love getting home.  As if to welcome us home, a full moon hung low in the sky over our pond.  It was the first trip I’d returned from without having my beloved Shih Tzu, Precious, to greet me.  I miss that white ball of fur.

I’ll give you one more look at our overview video and then I hope you’ll come back next week to see what else I’ve been up to.

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