On life's journey, whether traveling around the world or around your block, there's lots to learn about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, so lets dive into a new ocean together!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Lady Traveler : Lady Traveler in Berlin - Part 6

Lady Traveler : Lady Traveler in Berlin - Part 6: Berlin in the Fall Part 6 My European Trip September 2017 There are many places I have been, Places I have never seen, Place...

Lady Traveler travels in Florida

Lazy Lady Traveler in Florida


Anything, everything, little or big
becomes an adventure
when the right person shares it.


Whether you are traveling in 
Alaska or Florida,
or somewhere in-between,
make sure you take time to ... 
Photo by Shawn Watson Photography

Rob and I have enjoyed our month in Florida.
We had to cancel the Florida Keys due to the damages of the August 2017 hurricane.
So instead we spent time in other areas ...
... Tampa ... Orlando ... Winter Park ... Ocala.



There is so much to see and do in this lovely state ...
... water sports ... golfing ... hiking ... outdoor theme parks ... to name a few.   


Although this has been the coolest January weather Florida has experienced in a long time,
we still spent a lot of our time outdoors.
What I missed most was spending late night evenings
around a fire, chatting, drinking, eating, watching our outdoor TV ...
... and walking around in shorts and flip-flops.


We still found joy in our ordinary days.
We visited friends along the way, which is always delightful.
We met new friends along the way, which is always interesting.
We visited little towns, ate their delicious food,
walked their quaint little streets, and
soaked up the friendly atmosphere.

A great little town with lots of history
Ybor City is just west of Tampa.
Cuban cigars were once manufactured here.
Thousands of cubans worked in the large factory.

Lots of yummy eateries here so take your pick.
We took a trolly tour and hopped off at the River Walk
where we had a bite to eat outdoors and basked in the warm sunshine
while listening to cool jazz.


Meanwhile, back at the American Coach Association rally ...
I received my Lazy Days drivers course certificate!
Look out USA, here I come!
Is there a dream you have to accomplish something?
Perhaps take an art class, a writing class ...?
fill in your own blank!


We enjoyed getting together with old friends ...
Is there a friend you would love to talk to?
on the phone, or in person?
What's holding you back?


... and meeting new friends too.
Make yourself available to make a new friend!



This huge banner was one of my Christmas presents from Robinski.
Never too big, right?

We stayed four days near Orlando in Winter Garden.
We had a nice visit with friends, Kurt and Diana Lindsey,
and planned another one until the Florida flu found me.


Although I was fighting the Florida Flue,
we took an evening stroll on Main Street in Winter Garden.
You can tell that I was a bit under the weather,
but I was determined to explore and enjoy this lovely village.



We drove north to Ocala where we spent time with our So-Cal friends,
Frank and Debbie Johnson.
We stayed longer than planned due to a bout with the 'Florida flu' AND
because we didn't want to go home to
COLD weather.


Our old friends we knew in So-Cal, Frank and Debbie, have the cutest dog ever.
This is my new friend, Buddy.
(don't tell Popcorn)


I told Popcorn about Buddy.
She's okay with my new friend as long as I
take her for extra long walks around the RV campground.



My 72nd Birthday!
We took a leisurely road trip to Gainesville, Florida
(45 minutes north of Ocala)


We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Harry's Seafood Bar and Grille.

My favorite dish, shrimp and grits.

I highly recommend Harry's Seafood Bar and Grill
for shrimp and grits, or ...


... just a great big hamburger and fries and chili!


What could be better after lunch than a stroll through
Lachua Trail where alligators run free.
And beautiful birds as well.

I highly recommend Lachua Trail when you visit Gainseville, Florida


A dozen of these lovely creatures were playing, then
sunning before dinner time.


Then a leisurely drive back to Ocala.

A "friendly" reminder at The Ocala RV Campground Resort

A few days later we took another road trip to The Villages
(35 minutes south of Ocala).
The Villages is a HUGE retirement resort
that is filled with much to do.
The Villages has the best of everything, including the finest
medical centers, golf courses, and restaurants.


We ate lunch at a nice restaurant on the lake,
Lighthouse Point Bar and Grill.
I declare, I have never been around so many people
that look just like me!
Grey hair, wrinkles, liver spots ... you get the picture.
It was a little scary at first.
Then I realized that everyone
is at the point in their lives where they
"just wanna have fun!"
while we can!

A day without shrimp and grits is like a day without sunshine!


An after-lunch stroll along the boardwalk


There are too many moments for me to share on this blog.
What I've learned on each road trip we take:

Enjoy the moment.
Each moment will soon become a memory.
Make moments that will warm your heart.
Because you'll need those warm memories
on a cold, cloudy day.

(another little pros from almost-famous author ... me)


I wish you oceans of travel blessings!


You will show me the path of life;
in Your presence is fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11


www.sharonleaf.com

My 72nd birthday portrait






Saturday, February 3, 2018

Lady Traveler in Berlin - Part 6


Berlin in the Fall

Part 6
My European Trip September 2017


There are many places I have been,
Places I have never seen,
Places I would love to see,
Places that I never will.
The most delightful part
of my traveling scene
is embracing friends once again,
and spending precious time 
with our beloved family.


(the above is not a poem, 
only words that spontaneously 
came from my heart)


Trip of a lifetime with family



The Berlin Wall
Torn down.





There will always be Berlin.
The food. The museums.
The streets.  The canals.
The wall.  The history.


Three days in Berlin

Our time in Berlin was short.
The days were cloudy, cold, and even a
great wind storm swept through the city.
What warmed our hearts was the time we spent with
son and daughter.


Xyla, Robinski, and Jason
Their smiles and laughter made the rain go away!


We traveled by bus, by metro, by train.
And we walked.
Amazing how us seniors kept up with the youngins.
Well, at least we tried.
Note to young folks when traveling with
your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles:
When they look like they're ready to pass out,
suggest a stop at a local cafe for a drink and snack.
I guarantee that they will say, "Oh, what a great idea! Lets do that!"




Mean stepmom and son



Met our California friend, Tamara, a famous opera star!


Where to stay:
If you like privacy, more room to stretch out,
cook, or fill a frig full of snacks,
I suggest a BnB.
We stayed in three BnB's and loved them,
had a balcony in Italy and Spain.
If you want room service, stay in a hotel.
We stayed in a nice hotel in Barcelona, Spain
and the concierge found us a beauty salon
across the street and up the stairs from our hotel.
Perfect!

BnB in Berlin


Comfy beds at BnB in Berlin



I love German food!  Wienerschnetzel is my favorite!
There were many delicious entrees to choose from,
and beer galore.
I'm not a beer drinker, so I guess that's why
I loved Italy more ... oh, the heavenly wine!


I recommend everything!



Well, I did pass on this dish.  Can you guess what this is?



Rob and Jason loved this delakasie




Now, it's time to say farewell to Berlin,
and our six-week European holiday with Jason and Xyla.
Thank you, again, from the bottom of our hearts,
for giving us a trip of a lifetime.
Rob and I have traveled the world,
but this was extra special because
we were with you!



Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life: 
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23:6

sharonleaf.com

The new me.
I'm re-inventing myself as a
blond-on-my-way-to-a-silver-lining!






Friday, January 5, 2018

Lady Traveler in Sweden -- Part 5

Sweden in the Fall


Part 5
European Trip September 2017


May your footsteps set you upon a lifetime journey of love.
May you wake each day with His blessings and sleep each night in His keeping.
And may you always walk in His tender care.




A stroll along the canal in downtown Uppsala



This part of our trip is dedicated to everlasting friendships



Returning to Sweden is always nostalgic for me.
We lived in Sweden for a year in 1991-92
to attend an international Bible college in Uppsala.
I fell in love with the beauty of the land.
The red houses.  The yellow houses.
The castles.  The historic churches.
Most of all,
the wonderful, loving people
who still remain lifelong friends.



Lifelong friend, Dan, and his son, Josef
showing off his new boat.
Don't you know all vikings own a boat, or two?



The canal that runs through the town of Uppsala
Don't you know all Swedes own a bike, or two?



After the long, hot days in Italy and Spain,
the cool, cloudy, and even rainy days of Sweden were inviting.
(that's why I packed summer and winter clothes--all in my carry-on)



Rob and I bought a bus pass and spent a few days
traveling through the old familiar streets of Uppsala.
We stopped at favorite eateries along the way,
laughing and sharing past memories of our many trips
to Sweden over the past 20+ years.



Dan and Birgitta took to The Mall of Scandinavia



Can you believe that I trekked through this four-story mall
and did not buy one item?
That's me, the non-shopper.
My logic kicks in, telling me that I have enough clothes,
too many accumulated treasures ... blah, blah, blah.



A Sunday afternoon at a castle north of Stockholm with Dan and Birgitta. 
We ate the most delicious brunch in a beautiful converted barn.



After brunch, we enjoyed a Sunday drive to Stockholm's
Mall of Scandinavia
(Scandinavia's largest mall).
I've been to some very classy malls in 
Paris, London, Moscow, Tel Aviv, and other major cities ...
And, oh yes, not to mention Rodeo Drive in Bel Air.
But I have to say I was very impressed with the layout of this four-story mall.



Our friend Lennart drove us to a nearby village where his boat is docked.
He is a retired sea captain so of course he has a boat.
Did I mention that he was one of the captains on the MS Restoration?



We stopped for Swedish fika in a quaint little cafe.
Nothing like strong Swedish coffee on a cold autumn day.



Dinner with Lennart and his lovely wife in their beautiful home.


A few days later we drove to another little village
to have dinner with our friends,
Kristen and Helene.


  
At home with friends Kristen and Helene.
Kristen designed and built this home and garden

with the help of her talented father.


Saturday evening dinner with friends in downtown Uppsala.
Every home is cozy and elegant that says,
"Welcome"

Dinner at Barbro's flat was priceless. Hans and Maggie made the night complete.



Love and happiness



Delightful afternoon and evenings with lifelong friends.
The homes are filled with love and coziness that
makes you want to linger over another cup of strong, Swedish coffee.



Our last dinner at one of the oldest restaurants in Uppsala.  Dan's favorite.
Old, yet cozy.  

Thank you, Dan and Birgitta,
for opening your home to us ... again.



Our ten days in Sweden went by too fast.
It's always hard to say good-bye to friends.
We take home the memories,
and hope and pray for more days to come.



Cherish the friends you make along your journey.
Whether one special friend, or many,
they are God's gift to us.



Stand at the crossroads and look ...

ask where the good way is,
and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Jeremiah 6:16



Next blog:
To Berlin, with Love.



Here's wishing you oceans of tRavel blessings!









Monday, January 1, 2018

Lady Traveler in Spain: Welcome to Valencia! ... Part 3

Spain in the Fall



No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until
he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.



Part 3
Our European Trip September 2017

One of many beautiful cathedrals in Valencia, Spain


Welcome to Spain!
Inviting.  Friendly.  Festive.  Loud.
Hot (even in September).



Arriving at the Valencia airport, we hailed a taxi.
Driver didn't speak the English and was not clear 
where our flat was located.


I called the flat's owner, Lauren, and handed her over to the driver.
Luckily, my iPhone was working.
(didn't work in Italy...long story)
And luckily, Lauren spoke the English and the Spanish.



  After 20 minutes of wandering through the lovely
city of Valencia, he pulled over on a busy street
and motioned us to get out.


"Where do we go from here?" I asked Rob.
"Quick, call the landlord," he responded. 
Lauren gave me directions and met us halfway down
the cobblestone path that led to our adorable flat.



The courtyard below our flat




UNICEF building steps in the courtyard of our flat.




Brunch with Jason and Xyla at the cafe around the corner from our flat.
Did I mention the food is absolutely out of this world?




I love churches, cathedrals, and museums



A warm and windy day by the Mediterranean Sea.
Beautiful sand art of The Last Supper





Beauty abounds in the cathedrals


Bustling streets of Valencia, Spain



We met warm and friendly people along our journey
from all over the world.
Those who spoke the English, we talked and made friends,
and will keep in touch, thanks to Facebook.




Now, lets hop a train to
Barcelona!


Our 2-hour train ride from Valencia to Barcelona along the Mediterranean Sea



See you in Barcelona on my next blog!



May the Lord make your love for one another and for all people
grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.
I Thessalonians 3:12



I wish you oceans of travel blessings!