Thanks to a stranger… Stories of Strangers’ Kindness around the World

As our family gets ready for the annual holiday of Thanksgiving, probably the most important holiday in the U.S. because it’s celebrated by people of all faiths, I think back to a November more than twenty years ago, when my husband and I, married just three months prior, got stuck on I-89 in Vermont when our car broke down.

We had just visited my husbands’ parents in Vermont, and with a huge turkey they gave us slowly thawing in the trunk of our old station wagon, we were heading back to our apartment in Boston, to celebrate our first Thanksgiving together.

Our car broke down about half an hour after we got on the highway.

And it was raining.

That was before everyone had cell phones, and in those days if you broke down along a stretch of a highway far from the nearest emergency call box in cold November rain … Well… it wasn’t fun.

Continue reading Thanks to a stranger… Stories of Strangers’ Kindness around the World

Quebec City’s Le 760 Honore Mercier Apartment 604: A Review

Hotels or vacation rentals, that is the question, isn’t it? Especially if you travel with a family, and not just by yourself.

We usually opt for vacation rentals – whole houses in rural areas, or apartments in the cities. Sometimes they are fantastic, sometimes not so much. Here’s our review of Le 760 Honoré-Mercier Apartments in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, where we stayed for four nights last May (2015).

Le 760 Honoré Mercier

The vacation rentals at Le 760 Honoré Mercier are located in a brand new building just a short walk to Old Quebec area, and a block away from Rue Saint-Jean with grocery stores, restaurants, and plenty other stores.

outside Le 760 Honoré Mercier
outside Le 760 Honoré Mercier

You can rent those straight from their website, but we found booking.com offered a better price.

Le 760 Honoré Mercier offers a variety of 1-, 2- and 3-room apartments, and they’re all complete apartments, with a full kitchen, bedroom, and dining- and living-room areas.

There is also a garage underneath the building, and when you check in, in addition to a card key to your apartment, you also get a key to enter the building. Only guests of the building can open the front door, even though there is a registration desk and concierge right at the front entrance.

When we visited Quebec City last May, we booked Le 760 Honoré-Mercier Avenue 604, which is advertised as a two-bedroom apartment for maximum 6 people.

Two bedrooms it does have, but I’m not sure how six people could sleep there comfortably, since the apartment only has two beds, and the sofa in the living room is not a sofa bed.

Luckily, our daughter was just small enough to fit on the sofa bed, but a larger child or a grown up definitely would not like it.

Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect: Continue reading Quebec City’s Le 760 Honore Mercier Apartment 604: A Review

In the Footsteps of Royalty: Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

Right past the wide open massive iron gates, the vast courtyard is full of tourists eager to catch a glimpse of imperial splendors of the past.

In the times of Emperor Franz Joseph, who reigned from 1848 till 1916, on Mondays and Thursdays any subject of his empire could supposedly ask for an audience with the monarch in his opulent Walnut Room.

What did it feel like, I wonder, to approach the Schönbrunn Palace, crunching gravel underfoot and petition in hand?

Schönbrunn’s size must have must have impressed even the wealthiest of the emperor’s subjects, not to mention the simple city dwellers, if they were in fact ever allowed to see the Emperor.

The grand entrance to the Schönbrunn Palace up close
The grand entrance to the Schönbrunn Palace up close

Continue reading In the Footsteps of Royalty: Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

How I kidnapped my own kids to North Myrtle Beach

For April vacation this year, I needed to find someplace to the south to take the kids. Close enough from New England that it would be a reasonable drive, yet far enough south that we could think about swimming in outdoor pools. It had been a brutal winter!

Eventually I settled on going to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to the Wyndham Ocean Boulevard.

Unfortunately, Jolanta couldn’t take time off this April, so it was just me and the kids. We packed our stuff in the car and off we went, without telling my wife where we’re going. The first time we called home, she accused me of kidnapping the kids. :)

Continue reading How I kidnapped my own kids to North Myrtle Beach

Recognizing Fellow Travel Bloggers – Liebster and the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Awards

If you’ve been part of the travel blogging scene for a while you have undoubtedly seen several mentions of the “Liebster Award” and the “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers” award. Heck, you might have already been nominated for either or both awards yourself.

For those who haven’t heard of the Liebster and the Sisterhood yet – it’s basically a way to recognize your fellow travel bloggers, and get to know them a bit better by asking them questions that they are expected to answer as they, in turn, write a post about the award.

Technically the Liebster award is supposed to be given to new blogs, with very small following, and I have first received the Liebster nomination from BEATRAVELING way back in October 2014, when I was just a new kid on the block. (You can read about that in “Liebster Awards, or as I’ve been calling it #blogspotlight.“)

liebster award
Liebster award button

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers on another hand is supposed to showcase female bloggers, because, as Kate of Adventurous Kate pointed out during her keynote at WITS15 (Women in Travel Summit held in 2015), female bloggers deserve more attention than they are given by the media.

(I don’t think there’s a video recording of that speech but you can at least look at the slides of Kate’s presentation “Gender Inequality in the Travel Blogging Industry.”)

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers button

Continue reading Recognizing Fellow Travel Bloggers – Liebster and the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Awards

Make time on September 16, 2015 for #AskACurator Day

Those of you who have been following museums on Twitter for a while might remember that September 17, 2014 was a #AskACurator Day, organized by @MarDixon.

As @MarDixon’s site says

What is Ask a Curator? It’s a way to talk to curators and people who work in cultural venues you normally don’t have access to.

Basically, the curators from all around the world get on Twitter and answer people’s questions, and if you follow the hashtag #AskACurator you’ll see the full feed of all the questions and answers.

The 2015 #AskACurator day, by the way, will be held pretty soon – on September 16 – so put that date on your calendar if you love museums!

 

Continue reading Make time on September 16, 2015 for #AskACurator Day

because the world is too interesting to stay home