Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada
For about two centuries, the Halifax Citadel — a large hill overlooking the city — served to protect the waterfront city and its inhabitants. It was the hill which prompted the British to build a settlement in Halifax in 1749, knowing that it would be easy to defend. Today, the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada doesn’t serve to protect the town, but rather to teach people about its history. Explore the star-shaped military fortification, just as it was built in 1856, and which no enemy ever dared to attack. Tour the Army Museum and imagine life as a soldier within the fort walls. Experience the changing of the sentry guarding the Citadel Gates and listen for the Royal Artillery’s traditional Noon Gun. Or take a guided tour and learn about the ghosts that are said the haunt the Citadel to this day.
aerial view of citadel hill
Ever so Charming San Francisco
THE HAPPY GANG
It was 2015 and Karen was entered into a marathon and also a bike race in San Francisco. This was probably the last time that Isis had seen her great grand parents. Our one prayer is that she will get to see them again before they go to be with other family that have past to the hereafter. This was an epic holiday. We managed to stay in a hostel in the refurbished army barracks from the second world war.
We were there as a mini part of the family. Pa and Ma, frank and Susan and Karen and Isis. That is extremely strange they are listed chronemically order. Just the way I listed them. Ma and Pa have slowed down considerably but still like to go out and eat .
Sleeping accommodations were very interesting. All six of us slept in bunk beds even Ma and Pa. they were on the bottom bunks for safety reason. I would have hated for them to fall out of bed in the night. So the very large room was co-ed. Can’t believe it now that my parents in their late eighty’s actually stayed there. But they have been very flexible all their lives. I like to think some of that have rubbed off on me.
We toured around a little . Not a lot since my mother needed her walker everywhere she went . We even drove down to San Jose to see friends from Vancouver that now live and work there.
We all have such great memories of that trip.
I think it is safe to say we had a fabulous time.
Stay Local, Get Away Cheap: Tips for an Affordable Weekend Trip
Without a change of scenery, it doesn’t take long for your weekly routine to become depressingly familiar. Get the kids to school, get to work, sit in a lot of traffic, keep the house clean and the lawn mowed — it never seems to vary, and it can take a heavy toll on your psyche and blunt your motivation. Just getting away for a few days can make an enormous mental and emotional difference. A weekend getaway is a sort-of vacation on the cheap, a chance to go have some fun without the time and planning involved in a full-blown vacation. So, check out these budget-conscious travel tips and consider the value of returning to work feeling renewed.
See the (Local) Sights
Have you ever seen tourists wandering around your town and wondered what they were looking at? It’s easy to overlook the cool stuff in your own backyard when you’re busy seven days a week, but it can make for a very affordable stay-at-home “getaway.” Spend the weekend at a local hotel or bed and breakfast and explore some of your city’s hidden treasures, those sights you’ve always heard about but didn’t think were worth your time.
Or, consider a short trip within your region that can take you to all-new destinations within a day’s drive of your front door. Sometimes, a short drive and a brief stay can leave you with a whole new perspective, all without venturing far from home. Always keep an eye out for online discounts and deals on accommodations through sites like Hotels.com. If you need a car for you short journey, check out Enterprise for weekend specials and cash back.
An Untapped Resource
The United States is chock full of great state and national parks, which are natural resources that many people never take advantage of. They offer camping opportunities or accommodations in the midst of breathtaking natural beauty. Camping is a great budget-friendly activity that the whole family can enjoy. National park fees are as low as $15, and the bulk of your expenditure will likely be your grocery bill for the weekend (don’t worry, campfire hot dogs and s’mores are well within most everyone’s budget). However, if you need camping gear for the excursion, check out sites like RetailMeNot or Honey to save some money.
Set a Budget
Budgeting is one of the best ways to ensure an enjoyable weekend getaway. The nice thing about a brief trip is that it doesn’t require as much intense, long-term budgeting and preparation as a summer family vacation. Sometimes half the fun is taking off on a whim and deciding where to go at the last minute. However, you need the resources to be able to get away and planning ahead financially makes it a lot easier. Set up a spreadsheet, or use a personal financial software tool such as Mint (it’s free), which makes travel/vacation budgeting simple: Once you’ve accumulated an amount of available funds, budget a certain amount of spending money for your trip. That’ll prevent overspending and help keep your weekend getaway manageable and within budgetary limits. Also, companies like Priceline can help you stay within your budget through vacation packages and special offers that can save you money.
Focus on activities that are enjoyable and relaxing without being expensive. You can save money just spending an afternoon in a sidewalk cafe watching the locals drift by. Or, you can browse for a couple hours in a local market rather than hitting the high-end commercial district with your credit card at the ready. You can also mitigate some of the high cost of dining out by preparing a cozy meal in your hotel room or ordering in.
Sometimes, you just need to get away and unwind for a couple of days. While it may not be in your budget to fly to Paris, London, or Rome for the weekend, there are plenty of opportunities in your own area code that can give you a weekend getaway you’ll always remember.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Vacation and Burglars and Damage — Oh My!
Vacation is supposed to be a time to relax, clear your mind and have fun. You shouldn’t be worrying about your home and whether or not everything will be just like you left it when you return. Here are a few ways to keep your home safe – and your mind clear – while you’re gone.
Secure Your Home
One of the best defenses you can install is a professionally monitored home security system. The alarm company will alert authorities if someone sets off a sensor when they try to break in. You should also install outdoor motion-activated security lights along with inside and outside security cameras that can send video clips to your phone. Get rid of any spare keys you have hidden outside the house and install a smart door lock, which lets you unlock the door remotely from your phone and give people (such as pet sitters) temporary access.
You can also install a video doorbell, which will let you see any visitors. These are also handy for catching package thieves. Last but not least, make sure all your doors and windows are definitely locked before you leave. You don’t want to make it easy for anyone to stroll right in.
Make it Look Like You’re Home
Thieves are much less likely to strike your house if they believe someone is home, so simulate a human presence while you’re gone. If you have a smart lighting system, set it to turn lights on at varied times so it looks like someone is in the house. An overflowing pile of newspapers and mail are a sure sign no one is home, so have your newspaper and mail held. The post office will hold mail up to 30 days, or ask a neighbor to pick them up.
Also, ask neighbors to park in your driveway occasionally so it looks like someone is around. If it’s summertime, keep your air-conditioning running and have your grass mowed while you’re gone. You can also go the extra mile and hire a house sitter or pet sitter so someone is actually in the house and moving around even when you’re not there.
Don’t add anything to your social media, voicemail or email auto-reply saying that you’re gone. This is an open invitation for thieves to head straight to your house. The best practice is to wait to post your vacation photos on social media until you’re home. If you get itchy fingers and want to post while you’re gone, at least make sure only friends can see your posts and don’t mention the specific dates you will be away.
You also want to do everything you can to protect your house from mechanical problems. Ever worry about coming home to a flooded house because of a burst pipe? Take a minute to turn your water main off before you leave as this can prevent thousands of dollars in damage. Some security systems also include sensors that measure moisture in the air, which can indicate broken pipes or appliances. Other environmental sensors include smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that can alert the fire department if they sense smoke or fire. You can also unplug all non-essential devices to conserve electricity and reduce the risk of fire.
Taking these few steps will help you rest easier while you’re away from home. Make sure your house is protected and you can enjoy your family and your fun. Some of these tips may require an investment, but most can be done economically. It’s small price to pay for peace of mind.
Photo from Pexels
How to Make Traveling with the Kids a Breeze
At the best of times, traveling with kids can be a hoot. At the worst, however, it can be absolutely exhausting. If you want to prepare as best you can to make traveling with your kids a breeze, here is what you need to know.
The best tip for packing is to pack light. Plan the outfits for your kids, pack them flat into plastic ziplock bags, and squeeze the air out to save space. You can also get packing cubes to make organizing even easier. Get as many travel-sized things as possible, including toiletries, deodorant, and even toothbrushes. Remember, kids can bring luggage on a plane, so pack them a bag or two in addition to your own.
Kids of all ages, even teenagers, love getting presents. One way to make the onus of a trip easier to bear is to bring a little present for each child. Have it wrapped and ready to go for when kids start getting cranky or to reward good behavior about halfway through the trip. Younger children may enjoy playing with gel window clings, and you can get a pack or two cheaply from most large retail stores. They can arrange them on the car window or even on their airplane tray table. You can buy travel games, including miniature versions of classic favorites, to pass the time together. Coloring and activity books can help keep kids sane. Consider letting older kids download a gaming app or two to the family tablet to keep them occupied, as well. You can also download a movie or episodes from your favorite television show so you don’t need to worry about having the internet to stream.
Travel fatigue can make us grumpy if we’re lucky and sick if we’re not. The best thing to do if you are changing time zones is to adjust your schedule a few days before you leave so you can start acclimating to something new before you hit the road. If you’re going for a relatively short trip, try to leave around the time your child normally has a nap. If your little one is asleep during the journey, they will be less likely to become bored or disruptive, and a distracted driver is dangerous. To encourage your child to sleep, bring their favorite blanket and maybe an inflatable pillow to put behind their head so they can rest easily. If you are planning to stay at a hotel on your journey, make sure that you give yourselves your best shot at sleeping well overnight. Getting everyone their own bed, rather than having kids share if they normally sleep alone, can go a long way toward helping everyone sleep in an unfamiliar environment. If your little one is finicky, a white noise machine or application for your phone can do wonders.
It’s all too easy to pick up a bug when traveling, particularly if you’re going by plane. You need to keep an eye on your kids’ toys, especially your youngest ones. It’s too easy for things to fall and pick up a virus or some extra germs. Once you get home, many toys can go straight into the dishwasher to safely remove anything funky they may have picked up. When you’re traveling, however, dishwashers may be hard to come by. Instead, use a mild or gentle sanitizer, and wipe them down periodically to keep them sterile. Even a quick wash in the sink can suffice in a jiffy if you’re on a plane and have no hand sanitizer. Make sure that you have gum on hand for older kids, as a change in altitude can cause ears to need to pop. It may seem counterintuitive, but try to eat a light snack before the car ride or flight, as an empty stomach may be more prone to nausea than a satiated one.
With a bit of prep, a game or two, and some healthy precautions, you can make your trip so much easier. After all, travel should always be about enjoyment, not stress.
Image Courtesy of Pexels.com
Got Vacation Days to Spare? Enjoy the Mental Health Benefits of Traveling
Photo Credit: Free-Photos, Pixabay
Packing, unpacking, being on time for your flight, requesting time off work – all of these tasks seem to make traveling a stressor. However, traveling has been scientifically proven to provide many health benefits, including lowering your stress, boosting your mood, and keeping you healthier. Using your vacation days is actually good for you, so take advantage of your allotted days and plan a trip. There are some great ways to keep stress at an absolute minimum on your vacation and make the most of your days off.
Traveling improves mood and relieves stress. According to the U.S. Travel Association, of those who travel, 86 percent reported feeling satisfied with their outlook on life. Only 75 percent of those who don’t travel reported feeling satisfied. Additionally, experts found vacationing at least twice a year reduces the chances of suffering from depression and chronic stress when compared to vacationing less than once every two years. Creativity also gets a boost from travel, especially if the trip is abroad and the traveler engages in the experience.
One study found that simply planning a trip increases happiness, so the benefits start before the departure date. Also, the anticipation of a trip is significantly greater than the anticipation of acquiring a physical possession, so instead of using your extra cash to buy that new purse you’ve been eyeing, you should plan a trip. The benefits of traveling linger for weeks after the return date too. Travelers are in a better mood and feel less anxious and more rested.
The health benefits of traveling aren’t just limited to mental health. The U.S. Travel Association also found that women who vacation at least twice a year have a significantly lower risk of suffering a heart attack, and the risk of heart attack increased by 30 percent for men who didn’t take an annual vacation. Furthermore, traveling helps prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.
For an added furry benefit, don’t leave Fifi or Fido behind. If you are a pet owner, you can take one of your beloved family members with you on vacation. While you are exploring new scenery, you can take your four-legged friend for a walk. According to ADrugRehab.org, spending time with pets can reduce stress and alleviate anxiety. Plus, you will get a bonus of much-needed Vitamin D. Be sure to look up dog-friendly locations such as beaches, dog parks, hiking trails and campgrounds.
Keeping Stress to a Minimum Before, During, and After Your Trip
Book your flight, car rental, and hotel as far in advance as you can, and research reviews on the companies. Also, when choosing dates for the trip, consider your schedule. If your work is slammed at the end of each month, avoid booking your vacation during that time. When packing, make a checklist before you start to avoid leaving anything behind. It’s helpful to have a master list that applies to any trip so you don’t have to keep creating an entirely new list. Whether you drive or fly to your destination, leave yourself with plenty of time to spare. Arrive early to the airport, try to avoid rush hour, and don’t forget to factor in time spent off the road for bathroom breaks and food stops.
While you may want to check off every site to see and restaurant on your list, be realistic about your energy levels and time. Site seeing and fine dining are fun, but sometimes over-planning can create stress. Vacations should also involve relaxing and catching up on things you don’t have time for at home, so read a book or soak in the bath and try to avoid working on vacation.
While you may want to squeeze out every possible second away from home, avoid returning home late on a Sunday and heading back to work first thing Monday morning. You need a day at home to readjust after a trip and to catch up on laundry and grocery shopping. “Rushing back into ‘real life’ can quickly do away with all the positive, relaxing impact your vacation may have had on you,” warns momondo.
Remember that even the act of planning a trip can benefit your mental health, so if you feel those post-holiday blues setting in, start planning your next vacation. There are so many other benefits to traveling as well, such as sparking creativity and improving your physical health. If you have vacation days to spare, make the most of your time off and plan a trip.
While we were in Santiago recently we saw the statues of two women. I wanted to find a memento to take home of these ladies and when I found one my dear husband said you buy that but give it to your mother I don’t want the statue in my house. This is what someone told me about who they were. (I did find a little stature to take home.)
Las Marias is the name that was known in Santiago de Compostela to the couple formed by the Maruxa sisters in Santiago, Spain . The two sisters became popular characters of the city because they made a daily walk through the Zona Vella which was the old town of Compostela during the fifties and sixties dressed and made up in an eccentric manner, while flirting with the young university students. This walk which took place at two o’clock in the afternoon hence this became their nicknames. Time when most students went to eat and therefore when there was more activity in the streets of the centre from Santiago was quite an event because of the contrast between the gray atmosphere that ranged in Spain during Franco’s dictatorship.
Coralia, the youngest and tallest was shy and talkative, while Maruxa was smaller but older, was the lead. They became nicknamed the Marias, they were also described as “crazy” and spinster. What is know as the most representative icons of the City of Santiago de Compostela is due to the process of social and institutional mistreatment, protected by the regime of General Francisco Franco.
Here are the ladies in Santiago Square.
Today was was a calamity of errors or maybe it is just as it is supposed to be. We were up at 6 am and dressed and ready for breakfast by 7 am to be on our way. We were going to the El Camino but would start in Arzua to make this attempt at this walk two days. We were told by the Camino office that the bus would take us to Arzua and leaves at 9.15 am. We were at the bus station by 8.15 only to find out that the train didn’t leave until 11 am on Saturdays and Sundays. The bus we got on first would not let us off at Arzua and so another bus driver came to the rescue.
Sandy said her goal was to at least put her one baby toe on the Camino trail. When she awoke this morning she said she was having great pain and couldn’t put her foot flat on the floor. So we took the bus and we were let off at Arzua and Sandy could hardly get off the bus and then to get prepared for the trail was very painful. So I said we could just turn around and head back but she still thought she wanted to persevere.
she continued to walk and continued to have great pain. We made it to the first cafe house and she said “ Call me a Cab”so we all piled into the taxi and we went to the Pensión Lo which we already booke,.the operator has been so wonderfully helpful. Sandy is now sleeping.we will probably postpone the trip for another time and head back to Santiago hotel tomorrow.
We arrived in the beautiful city of Madrid on Monday after a three hour train trip from Malaga. When we arrived we were bombarded with crowds of people rushing in several directions and we had to transfer from the train to the Metro station. I of course had to stop at the ladies room . When doing so I had to pull out my wallet and find 60 cents I put my wallet back but I didn’t zip it shut which I found out later. We were headed for the exit to the street to meet the host of our suite when for whatever reason I checked my purse for my wallet.and when I reached it the purse was empty my wallet was gone. All myide tification and all my credit cards were gone. I am usually so careful but not this time. I was in total shock. So all I wanted to do now was to get to our air B and B and connect to internet and call all the credit card companies. I was in shock. So much so my face flared up in a bright red colour. Fortunately none of the cards had been used. We headed out for supper right afterwards.
When wereturned we got ready for bed and frank was a little like Goldilocks trying out the beds. He laid on his bed and it immediately collapsed.he was afraid he had injured his hip. He got up and we thot we fixed the beD he again got on the bed and it collapsed again but my feet were underneath. I let out a blood curdling scream.he wasn’t moving fast enough. Both feet swelled up like a balloon . Broketheskin on one foot. So I can not put my hiking boots on we are going try only one and maybe two days
A Guide to Traveling as a Single Parent
The life of a single parent means shouldering twice the work that most co-parents do. From getting the child to school every day, to working and taking care of household cleanup, and providing discipline and structure all alone, the life of a single parent is one of sacrifice. One time when single parents can find reprieve from the hard work is vacation. To attain max relaxation, a single parent must plan their trip wisely, finding an affordable and enjoyable location for a solo vacay.
(Photo via Pixabay)
Where to Go?
Single parents are likely to have access to fewer travel funds than households with two parents and/or incomes. While there are plenty of deals and discount packages aimed at the traditional family structure, fewer cater to the single-parent. Double occupancy rates are typically the name of the game, but this format does not work for single parents who want to travel without their child in tow. Fortunately, Families Go! compiled four resorts that cater to the pocketbook and sensibilities of single parents. Signature Vacations is another site which has taken the time to offer advice and deals for single parents looking to travel.
When it comes to planning a vacation as a single parent, they should also consider what they want to get out of the trip besides a good deal. Family Vacation Critic advises that all-inclusive resorts be put high on a parent’s potential destination list. These resorts tend to be a bit more cost-effective, as a single-parent likely has to consider the cost of childcare as well while they are away.
When planning, ensure that you have all necessary documents and vaccinations for whichever destination you choose. Vacation can be a rarity for single parents, and the chance to travel solo means going exotic and even out of country may be worthwhile.
In addition, single parents know that they alone hold the key to their child’s safety. For this reason, ensuring that the person taking care of their child while they hit the road for a few days is trustworthy is of the utmost importance. Letting the caretaker know how to reach you in case of emergency, special considerations like the child’s allergies, and personal rules you’d like enforced are just three steps toward easing your mind as you relax.
Kids Health adds some valuable advice to ensure that a child is ready for their parent to take some time away. This includes a comprehensive list of how to provide the caregiver for all scenarios which may arise. While travel is a relaxant for most everyone, single parents included, it can be particularly necessary for single parents who are in recovery.
Tips For the Single Parents in Recovery
Single parents who find themselves in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction need to take a break from life occasionally. This will allow them to clear their mind, reorient their priorities, and take off loads of stress that makes relapse more likely.
This insightful article in the New York Times puts a human voice on the perils that come with traveling while in recovery. With airport bars, hotel bars, and bars in general virtually unavoidable in most vacation destinations, special attention must be given to sober travel.
Fortunately, sober travel agencies and sober vacation deals are widely available across the internet. Before booking a trip you believe will result in maximum chill, you’ve got to consider that traveling alone isn’t very smart. However, neither is traveling with your child as a recovering addict looking for clarity. Vacation for somebody in recovery is meant to be a short reprieve from life’s responsibilities, and that includes parenting. Arranging for a child sitter while also finding a companion to keep you busy and on-track while on vacation is the ideal arrangement.
Everybody needs a vacation from time to time. When work, parenting, and life in general has you down and stressed, taking a trip can be the only reprieve. For single parents, this will most likely mean finding a resort that accommodates both your budget and traveling goals. However, for single parents in recovery, some other considerations must be weighed. A sober vacation will be aimed at your relaxation, whether that means bringing along a companion to keep you honest or flying solo.
Festival of the Virgin of the Candelaria
Feb. 4th, 2018 Colmenar ,Malaga. the day in Feb. fluctuates depending on the calendar.
The drive inland from Malaga city, in the Antequera/Granada direction, takes you on a journey to the real Andalucia. Colmenar is one of the most important villages in this area, being the Capital of the Malaga Mountain villages. It is just 35 kilometers inland from Malaga, on the ‘Carretera de Colmenar’, a road that cuts and winds up through the Malaga Mountains, until you reach the village at 696 meters above sea level.
As with many villages in Andalucia, Colmenar was taken over by the Christians in the 15th century. Before that, it had been in the hands of the Romans and then the Moors. 1560 is an important date in its history because it was during the summer of that year that the boundaries were marked out, covering a total area of 65,50 Km2. Since then its administrative importance as capital of the Montes de Malaga has evolved into what it is today, with a resident population of over 3,000.
At the main entrance to Colmenar, you see the welcoming “Puerta de La Cruz” monument, which bears the town’s coat of arms, showing a beehive with seven bees flying above it (‘Colmenar’ means apiary or beehive). There is also an artistic scene depicted from 1488 when the village was taken over by Francisco de Coalla from Hamet el Zuque. As you carry on right into the heart of the town you can see that you are surrounded by hills, which have kept the expansion of the small town under control and now create a beautiful natural backdrop.
It is well worth a walk up to the highest point of the village, at the Convent of the Virgin of La Candelaria(also known as the ‘Ermita’ (hermitage) de la Candelaria). From the viewpoints, you can see the Tajo and Doña Ana gorges and looking to the right is the Sierra Nevada, snow capped in the colder months. The story is that this 17th century convent was built as a token of gratitude from a group of fishermen who were miraculously saved from death during a terrible storm off the shores of Malaga. The plasterwork in the vault reflects the mannerist design of that era. In a niche, you can see an image of La Candelaria, the patron saint of Colmenar.
It is also recommended to visit the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. Built in the 16th century, there are signs of Arab influence in its architecture, especially in the three aisles with very high ceilings and separated by arches on square pillars.
One of the delights of Andalucia is to sample the cuisine in the local bars or restaurants. “Garbanzos” is a traditional dish of chickpeas cooked in stock and is a good choice in the colder months. During summer, the chilled gazpacho is refreshing and full of vitamins. “Tortilla de habas” (broad bean omelette) is another specialty worth trying. A glass of local wine will add to the country flavour of your meal. Take away some natural Colmenar honey, which is certainly the best in the area.
LOCAL CELEBRATIONS & FESTIVITIES
Virgen de la Candelaria
Fiesta in honour of the Patron Saint, at the beginning of February every year. .
This is one of my favorite cities in Spain. It is where Orson Welles and Ernest Hemmingway spent their summers. Ronda is a mountaintop city in Spain’s Malaga province that’s set dramatically above a deep gorge. This gorge (El Tajo) separates the city’s circa-15th-century new town from its old town, dating to Moorish rule. Puente Nuevo, a stone bridge spanning the gorge, has a lookout offering views. New town’s Plaza de Toros, a legendary 18th-century bullring, is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks.
Ronda sits in the heart of the Serraia de Ronda, about 100kms from the city of Malaga and with a population of approximately 35,000 inhabitants.
Surrounded by lush river valleys and sitting above a deep ravine, it is a place that literally takes your breath away when seeing it.
Anyone who has been lucky enough to visit Ronda will understand its appeal. It is one of the most beautiful and visited cities in Spain (the third most visited city in Andalucía).
We plan to visit again but not until mid march when our dear friend from Canada comes to visit us . We want to share it with her.
I think this is a city everyone who comes to Spain should put on their Bucket List.
The view from the top of Ronda.
3 Things You Should Look for to Find the Ideal Vacation Home
When you consider purchasing a vacation home, you need to know what to look for in order to choose the ideal property. After all, this likely will be the home that your family flocks to for holidays and vacations and the home you ultimately retire to, and you want a home that suits all of those needs. From choosing the best location to knowing what to look for in a floor plan, our guide has you covered.
1. Location, Location, Location
You know better than anyone where you enjoy vacationing the most. Even though you probably want to buy a vacation home that your whole family will enjoy, you are the one who will foot the bill and who will spend the most time there, so make sure you choose the location that is best
suited to your interests and needs. For example, if you hate being cold or have difficulty driving in snow, you should avoid a vacation home in Colorado or New England and look for one on the Alabama Gulf Coast.
Why Alabama? It’s an ideal retirement location because of its incredible weather and mild winters. Alabama also boasts rivers, white sands, mountains, and canyons. It’s the diversity of Alabama’s terrain that makes it picturesque and interesting while providing you with opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.
2. Pick a Floor Plan that Accommodates All Ages
Even if retirement still is a few years away for you, make sure you carefully study the floor plans of the vacation homes on your short list. If you have a large family and want them to visit often, look for a home with an open floor plan that allows movement and won’t make people feel boxed in. It’s easier to put air mattresses in open spaces, too. Vacation homes with plenty of storage, bathrooms, and kitchen space are ideal.
You also should look for homes that will be accessible as you age. If you want to retire to this vacation home, make sure that it will enable you to age in place with a single-level design that will give you wheelchair access throughout, especially in bathrooms. Homes with multi-level counters and lower sinks and bright spaces with lots of natural or functional lighting are ideal for people of all ages as well.
3. Choose a Home that Appeals to Vacationers
If you are concerned about paying for your vacation home, either because you want to save more for retirement or because you are worried about being on a fixed income when you enter retirement, find a vacation home that will appeal to renters. When you rent the home to vacationers while you aren’t using it, the additional income will help you pay the mortgage or serve as supplemental income.
Features that appeal to renters often are the same features that make the home appropriate for you to retire to later in life: an open floor plan, a spacious kitchen, and lots of storage. An eat-in kitchen or island in addition to a dining room will make your home appealing to potential renters, as will an extra powder room or larger bathroom.
Fortunately, if you find a home that does not have an extra powder room or bathroom, these home improvements are affordable and deliver a high return on investment. In fact, you will recoup the expense to add a new bathroom because the home will appeal to renters want extra bathrooms.
If you add a bathroom to the main level of the home, you also will make it easier to retire there; you won’t have to climb stairs to a second-story bathroom. Similarly, if you make the additional bathroom a three-quarter or full bath, include a walk-in or roll-in shower because features like these will make your vacation home more appealing to a wider pool of renters and make the home more accessible to you as you age.
To make your vacation home the best possible purchase, carefully choose the location, pick one with a floor plan that will accommodate all ages, and choose a home that will appeal to vacationers to supplement your income or help you cover the mortgage costs.
Image via Pixabay by 12019
The City of Venice is sinking slowly
It was about 28 years ago my husband and I took our girls on a whirlwind trip of Europe and we did this with a bus tour for the first three weeks. Cosmos bus tours. It was an absolutely amazing trip. The girls were 13 and 10 years and we all had such a great time. We started in Scotland and were there for a week then headed down to Dover where we boarded a ferry to Calais and then got on a bus to start our three week tour.
One of the cities we visited on the tour was Venice , Italy and in order to get to Venice you had to take a walk on ferry ride. Before getting on the ferry to Venice my girls told me that the Italian men were famous for trying to pinch the ladies bottoms. I said no way . Well you can surely guess what happened now. I was just stepping up onto the ferry and I felt a twinge or a pinch of my bottom. I was trying to be ever so discreet and the girls said oh no way mom who would do that. So It wasn’t until about ten years later that my oldest daughter reminded me of the incident and of course I remembered the time. She said, Well mom I pinched your butt. I said ,no way then we broke into wails of laughter because all these years I had thought it was one of the Italian men who helped me on to the ferry.
Now that is not my only memory of Venice we wandered about the square outside St. Michael’s cathedral and fed the pigeon and then we went into the church, and in order to enter we had to step over quite large puddle. This was because the city is sinking. It is much more severe now but it has still not sang.
We didn’t ride the Gondola’s we just watched others from above on the crescent shaped bridges.
I guess the thing that keeps Venice in my memory mostly is the fact that I was pinched on my bottom.!
Colmenar is a lovely village nestled in the northern part of the Málaga mountains (Montes de Málaga) right on the edge of both the Axarquía and the municipality of Antequera. The area where the village is located has a rather ancient history thanks to the fact that it is on the route that links the Axarquía and the GuadalhorceValley. However, the village itself could be classified as one of Andalucia’s “younger” pueblos as it wasn’t actually established until after the Christian King’s conquest and it didn’t become an independent township until 1777.
In fact, Colmenar was actually the name of an estate which produced honey (the Spanish “colmena” means beehive”). Even today you can buy honey made in the Colmenar area along with fresh locally milled flour – both white and whole grain – and also lovely raw and brown sugars. It seems the traditions behind the name “Colmenar” are still alive today.
Colmenar is not only a village, but also a municipality – one of seven municipalities in the Axarquía. The actual town is 700 metres above sea level. It is part of the “Olive Oil and Mountain Route” (Ruta del Aceite y los Montes).
The layout of Colmenar village is typical of Andalusian villages – even though it does not date back to the Moorish era when narrow, winding streets were the norm.
According to legend, the Candelaria Hermitage is a 17th century building that was erected by a group of sailors from the Canary Islands who were miraculously saved by a storm off the Málaga Coast. Supposedly the hermitage was meant to be a public display of their gratitude.
The Asunción Church was built in the 16th century and includes the remains of arab-style architecture.
Outside the village, but still within the municipality, there are archeological remains in areas like the Cueva de las Pelusas or the Cortijo de Gonzalo in the Zorrera stream area. Thanks to such sites, it’s clear that the area was inhabited as far back as Neolithic times and also during the Metal Ages
The most typical dishes served in Colmenar represent traditional Andalusian mountain fare. Try the tasty garbanzo stew, the thick, chilled “porra” soup, “migas” (fried bread crumbs) or one of the famous oven roasted meats. The town is also known for its cured meats and for cooking with local olive oil and home made “mosto” (grape juice).
One of the most popular “fiestas” in Colmenar is “Día de la Pipa”. To celebrate, everyone goes out to the countryside to for a picnic featuring local homemade specialities. The annual fair takes place during the second week of August. On February 2 every year, the patron saint, the Virgin of the Candelaria, is honoured with a procession through the streets of Colmenar and out to the hermitage. Holy Week is also observed with processions in Colmenar with the “Virgen de los Dolores” taking centre stage. At Christmas the town is decked out with nativity scenes at various points around town and villagers are especially fond of singing traditional Spanish and Andalusian Christmas carols.
Colmenar is 35 kilometers from Málaga and 44 kilometres from Vélez-Málaga.
CASTLE SANTA BARBARA IN ALICANTE
The history of Santa Barbara Castle in Alicante dates back to the 9th century, a time when the Iberian Peninsula was controlled by the Muslims. Here is a short summary of its history: 9th century – construction of the castle began by the Arabs. 1248 – castle was captured by Alfonso of Castile (Castilian forces)
THE WAGES OF travelling sometimes mean you have to weather some major aches and pains. Well we did travel with some very large and heavy suitcases which held Christmas gifts and the back pack we plan to use when we go to do our small portion of the El Camino de Santiago the end of March. So needless to say I now have a very painful right hip and knee from dragging the bag up three flights of marble stairs to our Pension Universal in Valencia and the back down again to the taxi to the train that took us to Alicante three days later. The signs of an aging body is starting to present itself.
So the pain was not going to let me not enjoy the walking and touring around Alicante during the day while our marvelous host was working ever so hard and also managed to cook us gourmet meals as well. He is a treasure for sure. We did manage to walk to the beach on our first day in town and wander along the promenade and then the second day it was not so
We walked to the base of the castle Santa Barbara which is at the north end of the beach in Alicante. We did not walk to the top but plan to venture there tomorrow. My aches and pains are slowly diminishing thanks to my husband who has been so patient with me .
The history of Santa Barbara Castle in Alicante dates back to the 9th century, a time when the Iberian Peninsula was controlled by the Muslims. Here is a short summary of its history: 9th century – construction of the castle began by the Arabs. 1248 – castle was captured by Alfonso of Castile (Castilian forces)
Tomorrow another story of our travels.
Who remembers the Beachcombers?
The Beachcombers followed the life of Nick Adonidas, played by Bruno Gerussi, a Greek Canadian log salvager in British Columbia, who earned a living traveling the coastline northwest of Vancouver with his partner Jesse Jim played by Pat John aboard their logging tug Persephone tracking down logs that had broken away from barges and logging booms. It was filmed in the coastal town of Gibsons located in southwestern British Columbia on the Strait of Georgia. Gibsons is the main marine gateway to the Sunshine Coast. It is on the mainland but is not accessible by road. Vehicle access is by British Columbia Ferry.
The series also focused on a supporting cast of characters in Nick’s hometown of Gibsons, often centering around a café, Molly’s Reach, run by Molly (Rae Brown), another figure to virtually all the characters in the series. Including Relic who was Nick’s main business opposition played by a somewhat unsavory person who would occasionally go to great lengths to steal business (and logs) away from Nick.
The town is also accessible by water, by float plane to the harbor or by small aircraft to Sechelt Airport, approximately 20 km. northwest of Gibsons. The Storefront Molly’s Reach, now a café, the restored tug Persephone and a display about the series at the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives are a popular Gibsons attractions. Other movies that have used Gibsons as a filming location include Charlie St. Cloud (2010), Starring Kim Basinger and Zac Efron(as a stand-in for Marblehead, Massachusetts) and Needful Things (1993) starring Max von Sydow and Ed Harris.
Gibsons is definitely a great vacation destination and place of interest in this great province of British Columbia.
Inlet of city of Akureyri
Akureyri is home to only 18,000 residents but still remains the second-largest city in Iceland due to the country’s small size. It’s easy-going feel and rich culture makes it an especially unique destination for travelers. Recently, Lonely Planet named Akureyri #1 on its list of the best places to visit in Europe, highlighting the northern city’s various natural attractions, quality restaurants, and lively events.
In Akureyri, you can visit Lake Mývatn, where Game of Thrones’ ‘beyond the Wall’ is filmed, or stop by fishing village of Siglufjörður, home to many lava fields, volcanoes, and glaciers. You can also learn about the city’s rich culture at its various museums and small shops that are owned by local artisans. If you’re looking for a more lively experience in Akureyri, be sure to check out its many festivals, including the The Great Fish Day of Dalvíkcoming up in August or the Akureyri Summer Arts Festival going on now!
9 fun facts about Akureyri and other parts of Northern Iceland:
Akureyri has the northernmost botanical gardens in the world
Grimsey Island is Iceland’s only point touching the Arctic Circle
Akureyri has the world’s northernmost 18-hole golf course
Temperatures in North Iceland are higher than in Reykjavik
Lake Myvatn is a film locale in cult TV series Game of Thrones
Dettifoss in North Iceland is Europe’s most powerful waterfall
Akureyri has the most ski slopes in Iceland – which is why it hosts Iceland’s Winter Games
Siglufjordur hosts the award-winning Herring Era Museum
Lake Myvatn is the purported home of Iceland’s Yuletide lads
This information from taken from the Lonely Planet book and just thought to share it with all the reading going to Iceland and those who are not too.
Very Interesting Facts about Iceland.
- There is a penis museum in Reykjavik. It contains a collection of penises from over 200 different mammals, including one from a man.
- Icelandic babies are left outside to nap in freezing temperatures. It is not uncommon to see a pram outside a coffee shop parents crabbing a cup while the baby sleeps. Or to see one outside of a home as many Icelandic babies nap outside at least once a day, no matter the season.
- Iceland is a nation of book worms. There is a term in Icelandic called jólabókaflóð, the Christmas book flood. It refers to the great number of books published before Christmas, as books are popular Christmas presents.
- The beer was illegal in Iceland until 1989.
- Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament was founded in 930 and is one of the oldest in the world.
- Icelandic people love eating ice cream even though temperatures are well below zero.
- Icelandic people are no less fond of swimming pools and outdoor hot tubs in the freezing cold. As they are filled geothermal water they are warm great for relaxing. Or splashing around.
- There are volcanic eruptions every few years in Iceland.Most of which are small and magnificent to look at from afar.
- Nearly all of Iceland’s heating and electricity needs are served by hydroelectric power and geothermal water reserves.
- There are no mosquitoes in Iceland. There are in fact very few insects that can do much more to bother a person than simply existing.
- Comedian Jón Gnarr was elected the mayor of Reykjavik in 2010 and served 4 years. One of his campaign promises was not to fulfill any of his campaign promises.
- The Arctic fox is the only mammal native to Iceland.
- Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, is the northernmost city of any sovereign state in the world. It doesn’t get that cold though. The average temperature in Reykjavik in January is just about the same as in New York.
- Icelanders don’t have surnames in the traditional sense. The vast majority of Icelandic surnames simply record the fact that you are your father’s (or mother’s) son or daughter. First names are almost always used when addressing someone, no matter how formal the meeting. Even the phone book lists subscribers by their first name.
- More on names. There are strict laws on what names are allowed in Iceland, the point is to preserve the Icelandic language. All names not previously accepted must go before the Icelandic Naming Committee, which either allows them if they abide by the laws on Icelandic names, or rejects them, forcing parents to find another name for their child.
- The Icelandic police do not carry guns. One man has been shot by the police, ever.
- The English word “geyser” comes from the name of the great geyser, Geysir in Haukadalur, South Iceland.
- Iceland has only waged one war, and it can barely be called war. Its name is Þorskastríðið, The Cod War, it was a dispute between Iceland and the UK over fishing grounds in 1960s and 70s.
- Iceland like many other European countries burned witches at the stake in the 17thcentury. The witches in Iceland were however almost all male.
- There is no railway system of any sort in Iceland.