The Happy Wanderer

Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer

This is an interesting topic given that we’re in the throes of planning a trip to Italy for late spring.

Seems to me you can’t leave much to chance anymore, especially if you want to see the major sites.

To avoid line-ups you need to pre-purchase tickets. That’s fine. I have no problem with that. I detest line-ups anyway.

To book events you must do it often months in advance. This we learned the hard way when we tried to buy tickets to a performance of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna on the day of the performance. What were we thinking?

Lippizaner

Lippizaners at the Spanish Riding School, Vienna, Austria

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We’ve always been fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of travellers so it was huge disappointment to find out our approach to vacations had denied us a chance to see the Lippizaners dance. Instead we enjoyed a tour of the stables and a viewing of a daily practice. This was a thrill, of course, but not what we’d wanted. So, experiences like this, I’ve learned, can no longer be left to chance.

The same with flights. I don’t know if people are travelling more or the airlines are flying fewer plans, but it seems to me gone are the days when you could book a trip three months in advance and expect a reasonable seat on the plane. I suppose the fact that you can now book your seat when you reserve your ticket has had an effect on that too.

We booked our flights to Italy yesterday and we’re not even sitting together on our flight home. Adrenal fatigue has made long haul travel uncomfortable for me the past few years, and wilting (and I mean wilting) beside a stranger on a 10-hour flight is not my idea of a good time. It’s bad enough it happens when I’m sitting next to my husband. I hope we can get someone to switch seats with one of us.

So, as I look at our Italian itinerary, I am determined to make sure we secure the appropriate city passes for events and venues in Florence and Venice ~ two ports of call sandwiching a week in a Tuscan villa. If there’s one thing I don’t want to do it’s stand in long line-ups to see The David. I must use my precious energy wisely.

And we will stay in good hotels. We won’t skimp on quality here … ever. Been there. Done that. It’s a grey t-shirt and uncomfortable. 😉

Sure, some things we will leave to chance. Travel, like life, ought to leave room for a little spontaneity. But for the big things we’re going fully prepared.

We’re planning a trip to London for later in the year. A research trip for my novel. I will be booking major activities in advance. I’d like to attend opening night at the opera; experience afternoon tea at the Ritz; find a nice old pub my characters can hang out in. I’ll do the research for those things in advance and make reservations as necessary.

As I grew up in London and am familiar with the West End and other areas of my youth, I’ll also be happy just to wander, reliving some old memories and taking in the sights with my fresh eyes.

Sounds to me like a bit of pre-planning and some happy wandering make for a balanced travel experience.

I’m good with that. 🙂

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Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

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Other Happy Wanderers

Be a Hero | Rima Hassan
Prison | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
Moon-rock | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
California: a fat wave* of options | Andrea Reads America
Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer-How an Introvert Travel (pics) | Journeyman
Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
The Happy Wanderer: My Travel Style #DailyPost | The Wayfaring Family
Travel Style | From Journo-baby to Journo-babe
Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | The WordPress C(h)ronicle
The Unhappy Wanderer | Mara Eastern’s Personal Blog
DP Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | Sabethville
How to Get a Green Card: A Lesson in Planning and Letting Go | Kosher Adobo
There’s Nothing There & Professor Hamilton’s Advice To Writers | The Jittery Goat
I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
love-hate | yi-ching lin photography
Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer’s | My Outlook on the World
I love airports | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
An Uncommercial Traveller | The Ambitious Drifter
Just following the sun… | Hope* the happy hugger

Just Another Sunset

Just Another Sunset

Just another setting sun,

Another burning sky.

Another chance to bid the day

A lingering goodbye.

A fiery prelude to the night

Tired spirits to renew,

As nature’s warm enduring light

Now fades away from view.

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Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

A Slice of Winter and A Wish For Spring

The Green Barn

I have tried to avoid the subject of winter because we’ve had so much of it this year. Still, here it is. Let’s look it in the eye.

Mountains of snow. Treacherous ice in amounts not seen in decades. Temps below zero for such an extended period of time my beautiful rhododendron, sadly, has finally given up the ghost.

(I hope the greenhouses are well stocked for a spring rush.)

Winter

Normal temperatures for this time of year range in the 1C area. Today we’re deep in another polar vortex that’s going to take us through until Saturday. We’re talking -15C with a wind chill of -25C. Triple-blanketing weather for my horse who’s already shedding his winter coat.

Which way?

A dear friend in England sent me a note yesterday in which she included the cheerful news that the first snowdrops had begun to show. I can only dream of a blanket of snowdrops when I’m staring at a bank of snow.

It’s going to take a long time for this mess to disappear.

Still, the days are getting longer. My horse continues to shed his winter coat. And little by little the snow, and the three inches of ice underneath, is melting. (But not today, of course.)

Let’s end on a happy note.

Longed For Tulips

I’m looking forward to seeing these purple darlings in my garden again.

Stay warm. Stay dry. Be happy.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Treasuring Inner Beauty

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

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Treasure

I’ve been collecting labradorite for years.

It is a beautiful and mysterious stone which, at first, appealed only to my eye. But when I learned of its healing qualities as well I realized that I was drawn to it because of the way it also spoke to my heart.

I have labradorite in almost every room of the house. Wherever we travel I look for a piece, either in jewelry or a rough or polished stone, to bring home with me. It’s only been on the rare occasion that I haven’t been able to find it.

The stone depicted is  one I purchased in a rock shop in Banff, Alberta. I always gravitate to the labradorite section of such a shop (in Banff there are many). Unless a person is aware of the qualities of the labradorite they’ll usually just walk by it because at first glance it looks like a grey stone with a bit of colour in it. But it is so much more.

I will spend several minutes oohing and aahing over each stone that tempts my eye. I will pick them up one at a time, cradle it, hold it to the light and watch as the stone comes to life, the luminescent colours dancing and playing between peacock blue and green and mauve or orange or whatever its particular essence holds. It’s totally mesmerizing.

I am a child again, searching for special rocks in a mountain riverbed that I can take home and add to my ever-growing collection.

In this shop I inspected a number of stunning pieces of various sizes and opted for this one because I liked that it was polished on one side and rough on the other. It’s about two inches high by one inch wide and another inch deep and can be held comfortably in my hand. As I didn’t have one like this in my collection I decided it would come home with me. I think it, along with another stone I selected, cost about $40. Now it’s priceless to me.

It wasn’t until I got it home to Ontario and had a proper opportunity to inspect and meditate on it that I realized what an incredible find this was for me. In fact, I have thought since that it wasn’t so much that I found the stone but that it found me.

I discovered that when I look at the polished side of the stone at a particular angle under a light source the impression of the head, neck, shoulder, chest and a raised front foot of a horse magically appear. If you look at the image here you’ll see it. I had to set the stone up carefully against the base of my desk lamp and cradle it with a lace doily to make it work, but it is clearly visible. Maybe you won’t see it right away, but it’s there. For reference, the nose of the horse is blue.

When I first noticed this it took my breath away. My passion has always been horses. Horses are an important part of my life journey. I couldn’t believe that a simple stone I’d picked up for one reason ~ its appeal to my eyes alone ~ actually spoke to me at a much deeper and more spiritual level.

So, as you might imagine, what might seem an incredibly boring chunk of Mother Earth to one person is actually a treasured piece of her inner beauty to me.

Perhaps this simple stone also illustrates the notion that beauty is not always obvious and is to be found in the most unusual places. All we need to do is open our eyes, and heart, and see it.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

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©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Shout Outs

Nature on the Edge

The Best Years Are

Living In The Moment

Old Man Winter and Mother Nature have a Spat

Looking to the west from the ancient settlement of Old Sarum in Wiltshire.

England’s green and pleasant land. … Looking to the southwest from the ancient settlement of Old Sarum in Wiltshire.

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We were in England in September. Spent some time traveling through Somerset, Berkshire, Surrey. So, so beautiful. What a terrible state of affairs to see, by the news images, so much of these areas, and more, covered in flood water.

It’s been a brutal winter all over, of course. Ol’ Man Winter and Mother Nature seem to be engaged in some kind of angry spat.

In the U.S. northeast a massive snow and ice storm, which has already battered areas in the south unfamiliar with such weather, is currently blasting through.

In southern Ontario, temperatures are finally rising to within a few degrees of zero Celsius following weeks submerged in the -12C area and lower and a snow storm almost every week.

It’s practically balmy out there now!

Of course, with an ice storm of our own passing through here just before Christmas, leaving in its wake massive power outages, millions of dollars in damage and wreaking havoc to our tree canopy, we understand the chaos of the unexpected, catastrophic weather event.

With any luck this winter will go in the annals as one never to be repeated and we’ll all move ahead into a glorious spring.

Wherever you may be this winter, I wish you well.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy 🙂

What’s the winter been like where you are? 

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©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Everyone’s A Critic

I’m writing a novel. A tongue-in-cheek murder mystery set in the world of melodramatic opera divas and dysfunction. I’m having fun with it. I was raised in that world. It’s time to poke a little fun at it.

Recently I’ve acquired some help.

Indiana, my 17lb bundle of feline flesh and fur has taken it upon himself to do a little pre-editing.

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Is it possible I indulge him just a little too much? 😉

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

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©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014