Write2Camp in Europe

Come and literally join me on my literary journey!

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A most beautiful coastal walk.

As I sit here listening to the ocean roar behind my open terrace doors, I am gratefully soaking my feet in a basin filled with warm water, colored in a golden hue, from the 4 bags of chamomile tea.

What a day! I never knew that Spain has thousands and thousands of miles of gorgeous pedestrian walks along the Andalusian coast line. The walks, a combination of board walks, hard packed sand, and tiled walks — wide enough for 6 cyclists to ride abreast, are dotted with palm trees, beach bars, restaurants, and tapa stands. Between clusters of trees, trickling waterfalls find their way into the hundreds of streams, flowing into the Mediterranean.

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Spain: Andalusia Coast line

Although it seemed like a thousand miles, we walked ‘only’ about 15 kilometers. That’s a lot for me, since I’m not used to walking such distances, and my sore toe didn’t help either. The forever changing views of dancing lights reflecting over breaking waves, the peace, friendly faces, and the crisp salty air, spurred me on … causing me to forget that we have to walk back too.  Everything is so immaculately clean, shiny, and welcoming… (Is that a word?).

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Click on an image below, in order to see a slide show and larger images. 

You get the impression that Spain is a rich country, flourishing, and happy.

But…. The other day we walked away from the fancy shore lines, and saw quite another Spain. Slums, poverty, and sad faces. Like in so many tourist areas, unfortunately those who serve the tourists, live in pathetic dwellings. Like in so many tourist areas, the real-estate lords, shovel in the cash, and the service folks, come way too short.

Spain is recovering, slowly but surely, though, from a serious crisis. Everywhere you look you see builders, construction workers, and shops opening. It surely must help that Europeans aren’t traveling to Turkey anymore, which allows countries like Spain to profit from the additional stream of tourism.

This is the second addition of our trip to Marbella Spain. Hope you enjoyed it, and if so … let me know. 🙂

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Marbella, Spain

Marbella, Spain this time we aren’t in our caravan underway,  too many miles (2,400 kilometers or 1,500 miles)  from our town in Germany. Besides, driving over snowy mountain passes is no fun with a caravan. But I’m not sure which is worse; we rented  a small car with a stick shift. I haven’t driven a stick shift  for over 30 years…needless to say, the car and I died several deaths, accompanied by wild, clacking, windshield wipers (under the DRY glaring sun) since I couldn’t figure out how to turn the darn things off.  BUT — we made it. The car is  now parked in a terrible  underground garage! Yes, a garage with tight corners, low ceilings, steep hills and valleys! Honestly, I’m afraid to take it out … maybe next week….or the week after that?

After a lot of research I found a lovely one bed room apartment with a gorgeous sea view, for a quarter of the normal price, since February is in the off season. …………………..Click for larger image.

 

 You would never think it’s off season, though. Cafés and restaurants are full, masses of pedestrians stroll through the ancient city streets of Marbella, and summer time sounds of laughter, balls bouncing along sidewalks, and the smell of suntan lotion overrides perfume  scents. The only thing, but a big difference, is that the beaches are almost empty. Not a soul is in the water, and even those who dare dip their toes into receding waves do it only once, to hastily bury their feet back into the warm sand.

 

The wide pedestrian walks under palm trees, swaying in the almost constant wind, the garlic and grilled fish aromas, and the interesting architecture of the endless high rise buildings, adorned with gigantic balconies and picture windows, confirm that Marbella is a huge tourist magnet. Other than the ‘ancient city square’, Marbella is modern, and doesn’t offer much more culture. But a number of interesting cities are within a good hour’s drive, like: Seville, Gilbrator and Malaga. We haven’t visited them yet… but plan to. I will be sharing about them as well….if I ever dare drive the rented car out of  the hall-of-horrors underground garage.

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Want to see more? OH GOOD! Then just click

My photos of Marbella, Spain 

to see  more of my photos in high quality resolution. And if you enjoyed  your visit… please let me know. 🙂

 

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SAILING AROUND THE WORLD WHEN YOU HAVE NEVER SAILED BEFORE !

Crazy or What? 

I got to tell you all about my stepsister. 

 

When Anna turned 55, she married her second husband, a –  soon to be retired – Dutch guy. He retired after a few years, and instead of moving to Amsterdam, he surprised her with his long kept secret dream. He asked her to travel with him around the world.

Wow, that’s cool, she thought.

But then he added … “on a sailboat!” 

Anna, a petite, quirky, blue-eyed, blond, worked as a legal secretary her entire employed life. The only kind of sport she had ever undertaken was horseback riding. And her only fame to claim was speed typing. Anna had never set foot on a boat — not even a rowboat. She had no idea what she was getting into, when she said yes, while visions of  golden sunsets over turquoise water, luxurious cabins, a smiling captain, a Chinese cook, and a mahogany bar, with shiny brass ornaments, danced through her little naive head. She imagined all the smart marine style clothes she’d wear, silk bed sheets covered with seagull prints, navy blue and white striped deck chairs, and an array of wide brimmed sunhats to shield her sun-tanned brow.

They sold everything they owned; horses, apartment, house, cars bikes, teacups…you name it…absolutely everything, and invested the money in a modest used sailboat, with a teeny little cabin and kitchen. “We will be on a tight budget”, her husband said… “After all, the money has to hold us over water, so to speak, at least six to eight years.”

“What?” Anna’s mouth fell open. “You’re joking, right?”

“No joke. We’ll need that time if we want to sail comfortably around the globe.”

My tall, gaunt, husband already has the stature of a sailor, she thought, as he crinkled one eye shut in a sailor- like wink, and puffed sweet aromatic tobacco in his Cuban pipe.

Before they set sail, Anna completed a sailing and navigation course, (with flying colors, I may add) and earned a licence for their MF/HF radio. And her husband, who already had absolved a coast guard training course, took lessons, from a doctor friend, in how to operate an acute appendicitis, just in case….!

Finally after a year of preparations, they set sail. From the first month on, my half-sister sent, per email, monthly updates with all the gory details.

She wrote about cockroaches crawling out of the cuspidor’s drain, while a native dentist treated her in some remote harbor. She described sudden hurricanes and monster waves, tossing their little boat around like half a walnut shell spiraling behind a speed boat. She described seasickness was like getting your insides turned outside … over and over again. She complained about feeling claustrophobic and bruised when they were tossed around in their miniature cabin. And she admitted to occasionally hoping they’d go under, just to end the endless torture.  She prayed for help, more than she would like to admit, and asked herself hundreds of times, if her brain was out to lunch, when she agreed to sail along.

Their used sailboat was in need of constant repairs. After each sailing spree, they barely made it into the next harbor. One of the many big challenges was getting replacements for their broken equipment, which meant waiting it out for months at a harbor before they could set sail again.  

But when the seas were calm and the wind was steady, she forgot the storms and basked in the beauty of it all. She wrote of the vibrant colors in the water, of dolphins diving through the still sunsets, flying fish, and whales. She described sunrises that filled the sky with a fiery fierceness. She wrote of snorkelling in the coves of Tahiti, Corsica, and New Zealand. And she wrote, with love, of the many friends they had made while waiting for their new equipment around the world.

She asked Hubby and me to join them for a short excursion between two countries. But thank goodness we agreed to say ‘thank you … but no thank you.’ The height of our adventurous nature is – taking a spin on a calm lake, in a big boat, with a bottle of Chianti wine.

Sometimes Anna wrote about being lonely, and how much she missed her family and girlfriends. She confided, more than once, that she is doing this just for the love for her husband. What a strong love that must be. 

Anna is a landlubber now. She and her husband sailed twice around the world in eight years. They bought a piece of land in Thailand, built  a lovely house and a guest house, and they plan to live there till the mighty sea – just may… who knows – beckon them back once again.

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Autumn photos at Lake Constance, Germany

img_0009-smThis is my last report on Lake Constance in autumn. We were expecting a warm golden October, like the October’s in the last three or four years. We were planning to travel from Lake Constance to the North Sea and eventually Holland, but unfortunately, October was freezing this year. And no matter how high we turned up the heat in our caravan, it couldn’t fight the cold, clammy, morning, fog, which seeped in under the door, through the roof windows and into our clothes, blankets and under our skin.

One morning after cupping our hot coffee, Hubby and I compared who has the coldest hands. Not even our coffee cups could warm them up.  We decided to pack up and go back home.  And we aren’t sorry we did..

But still … we spent wonderful weeks hiking through abundant fields, overflowing with ripe grapes, plums, apples, pears, and even late strawberries. Sweet sour apple aroma filled the air, teasing our taste buds, till we gave in (like Adam and Eve) and took bites from the wide assortment, as distinctive in flavors as the colors on a painter’s pallet.

Harvest festivities took place in every village. Tractors pulling trains of small wagons, piled high with fruit, slowed down the commuter traffic to a pleasant crawl, allowing children to jump out of their parent’s cars and gaily walk alongside the farmers’ tractors by the fields.

People looked so healthy: ruddy red cheeks, windblown hair, laughing eyes. Folks stopped to sniff at the fruit cupped in their hands and they took deep breaths of crisp, fresh, red and orange October air.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blue House of Quotes

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Written on the outside walls of this lovely wine restaurant: 

“Enjoy a woman and a glass of wine

without any misgivin’.

But if your’re not a drinker nor a kisser,

Your life just ain’t worth livin’. “

Anyone who enjoys quotes would love visiting  Lake Constance, Germany.

You’l find quotes ( that you’ve never heard of before), everywhere: on houses, street signs, park benches, hidden in restaurant gardens, engraved on store fronts, printed in menus … even on sewage canal covers. I picked just a few for you to see… and of course translated them for you.

Every smartphone has a translator ab, so you can still enjoy — no matter what language you speak.
Don’t need a boat… if I can read a quote! 🙂

The Blue House

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“There are many more old wine drinkers than old doctors.”

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You want to talk about me and my family? First go back home, and tell me what you see. Only if you find there is nothing wrong at all Then go ahead, gossip … go tell ‘em all.”

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Marriage is like going to a restaurant. You always think you have made the best choice, till you see what your neighbor got.

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If you don’t do something for your health every day, then one day you will be sacrificing a lot of time for your health.

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At an entrance to a cafe’ with delicious pastry. …. The more you weigh, the harder it is to kidnap you! Protect yourself! Eat cake!

That’s all for today folks! Let me know if you enjoyed yourselves.

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You just can’t beat this place.

The advantage, or maybe it’s a disadvantage − however way you want to see it − but we change our travel destinations as often as the billowing winds change directions on a mountain lake.

“Okay,” I said to Hubby. Let’s just drive to our most favorite place in the world, and we’ll decide from day-to-day what our next stop shall be.

“You know, that’s the best idea you’ve had all week.” he said, and  gave me a big happy kiss.

I have written about Lake Constance, in Germany,  before. Where else can you breakfast in Germany, take lunch in Austria, drink an afternoon coffee in Liechtenstein and enjoy a glass of wine in the evening on the Swiss side of the lake? This is only possible  in the four-country-region- Bodensee… or known as Lake Constance. It’s like a second home to us, and  only a good hour and a half drive from our house.

We just love our trusty camp ground, and this time we even got a space that allows a narrow view of the lake between tall trees.

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But before I say anything more, I have to admit — one of the reasons we drove to a camp site so close to home was because we were exhausted. Yes, exhausted from all the zillions of little pre-vacation things that had to be done. Packing our caravan has become a marathon of carrying laundry baskets full of clothes, medications, blankets, pillows, food, cell phones, laptops, Kindle, chargers and storing them all away in the caravan, so that nothing, not even a bra strap is caught hanging out between the hinges of the cabinet doors.  Maybe we are getting old, and maybe the need to take everything in question with us has increased with age. Gee, I can remember going on vacation with just a little handbag. Ha ha − that was about a million years ago.

Nevertheless, the vacation started off with a bang… or better said with a click. I was waiting patiently in the car, eating one gum drop after the other, while Herbert, my hubby, was in a gas station’s men’s room. The  car radio was playing some cool music, and not till after the fourth or eighth song − or maybe it was the empty gum drop bag, but I suddenly sat up in alert. What is taking my dear Hubby so long?  I got out of the car and marched to the gas station, when suddenly my husband approached me.

“So how long were you planning on waiting before checking up on me?” He asked a bit disgruntled.

“What took so long?” I said, while suppressing a sweet sour taste of gum drops coming up my throat.

“The lock broke on the bathroom door, and I banged and knocked and yelled on the door till someone finally let me out!”

Hubby suddenly began to laugh, saying the people at the gas station and even some customers, who urgently needed to use the bathroom, were in a tizzy trying to get the lock open.

“Now that would have made a good vacation shot!” I exclaimed. We both laughed, and then I knew − when stupid things like that strike one as funny it’s a sure sign that vacation time has started.

That evening we ate in a lovely restaurant by the sea. But even better than the food, were all the little signs,  stuck between roses and weeds, with wonderful wise quotes written upon them.  I took some snapshots of them, and am more than happy to translate the quotes for you. So in this first of the latest travel report series:    this is quote no. 1.

p1000039-kopieThe practical thing about vacation is that it not only renews your strength to start
working again,
but it makes you so damn broke, that it really gives you no other
choice in the matter.

PS….The header photo I just took this evening.
I swear! No photo shop!

PPS…I will be writing soon again. Hope to see around, and I would love for you to leave a comment. Thank you!

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Author Event – Angelika Schwarz

What do I love about internet the most?

It’s about making friends, that I would —

otherwise — never have had the chance to meet.

Debbie is one of the wonderful friends that I have connected to through blogging. And this amazing person has  dedicated an  —AUTHOR PAGE — in her blog to me.

If you would like to see what she has put together,  stop on by, and we can chat on her open forum too. If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them. Just click on the link below, and you can let us know if you are planning to visit. 🙂 or … just take a look around. I hope to see you there!

Introducing the author – Angelika Schwarz. Please click here

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