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Theses are my thoughts and ramblings as I forge my way through this thing they call life.
These are my thoughts and ramblings as I forge my way through this thing they call Life.

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May 26, 2024 at 9:58pm
May 26, 2024 at 9:58pm
Blogging Circle of Friends: Day 3509 - Virtual Tripping

The gang is going from Georgetown, Guyana to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Even with a virtual trip... I was feeling overwhelmed with the flying so I decided to stay another day in Lisbon and take in the literary scene. Not that I have read any writers from Portugal, but I wanted to soak of the atmosphere in the part of the city they frequented during their life here. To get the full experience, I checked out of my room at the Juniper Lisboa Hotel and moved to the district of Chiado. It is considered 'The Bohemian Heart of Lisbon'.

Chiado is located in the historic center of Lisbon. It has long been associated with the city's intellectual and artistic life. This neighbourhood has been the meeting point for writers and poets, including the celebrated Fernando Pessoa. I decided I needed to know more about this part of Portugal.

I managed to find a sweet little rental place in the area with a kitchen and eating area, a couch area, a bathroom, King size bed. A studio apartment.

I ventured into a grocery shop and picked out a few things to make a home cooked meal which I enjoyed with some lovely Portuguese white wine. And more tarts, of course.

I even managed a bit of beach time before taking a train the next day.

I took a train to Porto, Portugal. It's about 2 1/2 to 3 hours north on the coast. I had heard good things.

And since I am a Harry Potter fan and had heard J.K. Rowling started writing her first book of the series here I was excited to take the Porto Harry Potter Private City tour.
I got to see Clerigos Tower, Lello Bookstore, Majestic Cafe, and other major monuments and must-sees are among the sights to behold. The Cafe is where she wrote some of her book so I made sure to return later to write and enjoy a bit more to eat. The Lello Bookstore is thought to be the place that inspired Hogwart's library - it isn't, but it is considered one of the most beautiful of bookshops - so I had to go. I even splurged on a book. The Clerigos Tower was a fabulous way to view the whole city. Just beautiful.

Our local guide took us to the most important sights in town so you can get a complete picture of what makes Porto so special. We were shown treasures hidden in plain sight that only the locals know about along the trip.

We learned about the city from a different perspective, the perspective of a native, and uncovered places and tales that few tourists got to see. Every monument and stop had a story to tell - and you know how I like stories. We got to go to our guides favorite cafes for a bite to eat and a refreshing drink.

Read more about Harry Potter and Lello Bookshop Tour : Highlights and Hidden Gems - https://www.viator.com/tours/Porto/Porto-Harry-Potter-Tour-Wizardous-with-Lello-...


I stayed at the Torrel 1884 Suites. It was lovely. Right in the heart of things.

I hope you are are enjoying Argentina.

May 24, 2024 at 11:47pm
May 24, 2024 at 11:47pm
Blogging Circle of Friends: DAY 3507 May 24, 2024

While you all rested on the 6 hour flight from Marrakech to Lisbon, I managed to catch a 18 hour flight and get plenty of sleep. Thank goodness this is virtual because in real life that would be deadly. If I wasn't so excited about Lisbon, I would be more of a rebel... but I miss you all.

Lyn's a Witchy Woman says we're running for a Journey through Wonderland. Eight hours of castles and history. I took tons of pictures and even got in more sketching. I have gotten some ideas for stories from all the sights.

But before any of that one must get some Pastéis de Belém. I absolutely LOVE these.
It's the most famous spot in Lisbon to eat pastéis de nata, and is an absolute must when you visit. Since 1837, locals and tourists alike have been lining up to snag a box of custard tarts to eat in the café or on the go.

We'll be staying at the Jupiter Lisboa Hotel

We'll be eating in the hotel this evening. I have heard Portuguese wine is very good. I'll be making this an early night as we have a crazy flight at dawn to Georgetown, Guayana.

I feel like I have been living on a plane these last couple of days.

May 23, 2024 at 10:22pm
May 23, 2024 at 10:22pm
Blogging Circle of Friends: DAY 3506 May 23, 2024

Our last day in Africa...

Having been to South Africa virtually before, I decided to travel on my own to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, instead of going to Johannesburg and Morocco. I'll catch up with you all in Lisbon.

I made my way to the small own of Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side of the falls. I opted to stay at the Elephant Camp. It is set in a national park just 15-minutes’ drive from the Victoria Falls. I wanted a proper safari feel - one that would allow me to keep one eye on buffalo at the waterhole, while marveling at the backdrop of spray from the majestic Victoria Falls. Surrounded by nature.

It was a peaceful yet impressive location, with panoramic views over the park towards the Batoka Gorge. The hotel was a tented structure with uncluttered décor. We still had air conditioning and WiFi. For extra peace of mind, there was a discreet fence ensuring that larger animals couldn't wander into camp uninvited.

Large animals, however, were very much on hand at the adjacent sanctuary for orphaned elephants, where I was able to meet, touch and even feed these gentle pachyderms. So cool.

I was able to explore the national park and see the Falls. So much bigger than Niagara Falls, and just as impressive.

In the evening after my adventures, I was able to have a chat with other guests around the firepit as darkness fell. I really felt that I had been to Africa after this experience.


I made sure to do a guided tour of the falls.
First we stopped at Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls National Park, Victoria Falls 10101 Zimbabwe

Guided Tour of The Falls - We started our amazing day with a guided Tour of the magnificent Victoria Falls, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. It is a 3 kilometer long and 100 meter deep wall of water that drops an astonishing 500 million cubic litres of water every minute into a chasm whose spray shoots up some 200 metres into the atmosphere to 'rain' a cooling vapor on a warm morning that soaked and refreshed me.

Then we went to Victoria Falls Bridge, Livingstone Way, Victoria Falls Zimbabwe

After the Guided Tour of the Falls, you enjoyed lunch and rested at the Rainforest Cafe then got to tour the famous Victoria Falls Bridge that goes over the Zambezi River linking Zimbabwe to Zambia.

We proceeded on to the Big Tree after the Bridge Tour. It is an amazing 2000 year old Baobab Tree with a girth of over 22 metres and over 24 metres in height. It has the original 164 year old inscription by the famed adventurer David Livingstone on it.

Next we took a tour of an authentic African Crafts Market where I found a variety of beautiful hand made African Curios. My haggling skills were not too great, but a few other tourists helped me manage to secure some fine Crafts from the salesmen there.

We got to take a Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi River in the evening. I got to savour the panoramic African sunset and wildlife. I took so many photographs!

My last adventure was a Boma Dinner, Dance & Drums. This was the most authentic African Dinner, Dance and Drum Show. I got to sample a wide variety of freshly made authentic African meals, then sit back to watch the famous Matebele Traditional and War Dancers put on a fabulous show. I even got to participate in the Drumming show where I beat my own drum until my fingers tingled.

Then next day I also took another opportunity to shop and took this tour:
Elephant's Walk Shopping and Artist Village. It was a vibrant mix of local artists, retailers, artisan studios, all working within in the cool tropical garden courtyard. The funky Africa Cafe served delicious light meals and drinks whilst the Nam Tok Restaurant upstairs offered afro asian traditional foods. There was a museum which showed the material and visual culture of the peoples of the region - and the entry was free. I saw some Crocodile Cage diving but did not take part. I also got to visit with out local Nyanaga (witchdoctor). It was lovely to just sit under the palm trees and watch the world go by!

This was such a wonderful trip and I look forward to sharing my delights with all of you when we reach Lisbon.
May 20, 2024 at 11:17pm
May 20, 2024 at 11:17pm
Blogging Circle of Friends: Updated Day 3503 May 20, 2024

We hopped on a crazy over-night flight to get to here. We're heading straight on our tour of Cape Good. Hopefully we'll see penguins.

This tour had a little of everything. We all went for the seal island tour and all agreed to skip lunch and get a quick snack - all I need is a coffee and a sandwich and I'm good to go. This allowed us to have more times with the penguins. There were two different entrances to the penguins colony. I went with the group where you can get close to the penguins on the beach and walk and swim with them - that was soooo cool! A few people took the other entrance and could only watch the little penguins from the boardwalk.

I took lots of pictures and also took some time to do some quick sketches in my sketchbook. I'll take some time tonight to spend more time and add more colour. Such fun.

In the early evening we'll be taking a tram to have a better view of Cape Town. We also got to enjoy some time in an escape room. With such creative minds in our group, we were able to break out and have an awesome time.

I look forward to enjoying the amenities at our hotel. Tonight I was happy to settle into a bubble bath with a view of the city.
May 18, 2024 at 3:22pm
May 18, 2024 at 3:22pm
Blogging Circle of Friends: DAY 3502 May 18, 2023

After breakfast, we're going on a guided tour

Then we're going to spend the night in the jungle

We're going to be here for the two days exploring, snorkeling and even paddling a traditional Malagasy canoe in Lokobe National Park.

I am so glad I took yesterday to relax when we arrived. Yesterday I was in need of quiet and rejuvination... taking the opportunity to virtually have a quiet day helped with my real life. Thank you for that.

Today I am up for the excitement of adventure and exploration. Being able to keep up with y'all makes me smile.

After a healthy breakfast we gathered together and were transported into wonderous beauty of the Lokobe National Park.

It is truly a naturalistic experience inside one of the last primitive forests of Madagascar. Lokobe in the Malagasy language means 'many colors' and they are precisely those that the tour will allow you to admire.
We got to see centuries-old plants, cute lemurs, giant turtles, reptiles and so much more ...... in an uncontaminated wonderland. I am feeling truly grateful for this experience - even if it is virtual.

Our first stop is at Ambatozavary, Madagascar
This is a small fishing village that will grant us passage to the nature reserve. We got to take a pirogue, a typical boat, to reach the Lokobe nature reserve. It took about an hour.

Then we stopped at Ampasipohy, Ampasipohy, Nosy Be, Antsiranana Province where we were able to change our clother and shoes before entering the national park.

Next we stopped at Lokobe Nature Special Reserve, Nosy Be Madagascar. It is the last protected primary forest of Nosy Be. It is home to numerous varieties of endemic medicinal plants and thousand-year-old trees which delight the scientists of the region. No wonder they wanted us to change our clothes and keep the outer world from encroaching or bringing in an contaminates.
It is a preserved universe where numerous lemurs (Macaco and Lepilemur), reptiles, chameleons, tropical insects and snakes live.

I got to see some HUGE snakes! I even got my picture taken with the guide and the snake coiled around our shoulders. Pretty cool. There were chameleons the size of my head. The turtles were bigger than me!

We got an hour and half here to explore to our hearts content. It was amazing. Magical even.

Then we returned to Ampasipohy, Ampasipohy, Nosy Be, Antsiranana Province, the fishing village where a typical Malagasy lunch was served. So yummy.

Afterward we got to relax on the beach.

This was a heavenly day.

Then we went back over to experience the night... A night jungle trek like no other. Fantastic atmosphere, extraordinary creatures. A dense, humid, sultry dark black jungle, broken only by the light of our headlamps and torches, and here and there we came across special animals, either resting or hunting at night. Night lemurs, special dwarf and other chameleons, night geckos, giant snakes, etc...

And, if that's not enough, sleeping in the middle of a national park in a well-kept jungle, woken up by the cries of lemur families and falling asleep among the sounds of the jungle. It was magical and surreal.

We also got a chance to relax on a completely private sandy beach, snorkel on the coral reefs and even try paddling a traditional Malagasy canoe. And of course, I did it all!

For those of us who are part fish, this was amazing! Thanks Lyn's a Witchy Woman for including this bit of paradise in our adventures.

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May 17, 2024 at 9:32pm
May 17, 2024 at 9:32pm
Blogging Circle of Friends: DAY 3501 May 17, 2024

We're going some place new! Madagascar for 2 days, Ladies
We're going to try something new. From ecological thatch roofing to unspoilt clear water, Constance Tsarabanjina is one of our unique resorts. All villas are built and decorated in simple tones with a hint of Constance comfort.

This place is paradise. I'm torn between exploring the national parks and seeing wildlife or staying close to the hotel and enjoying the beach, snorkeling and taking a guided nature hike with someone from the hotel. A day of heaven wins out and I nap in the hammock and write in the shade at the front of my ocean view retreat. I take that guided nature tour with a few others who have decided to forgo the more expensive tours. I snorkel and see beauty underwater. It's like swimming in an aquarium.

Tomorrow I will venture out on one of those guided tours. Having two days makes things more relaxing.

Madagascar is about 300 miles east of southern Africa, across the Mozambique Channel. It is best known for its lemurs (primitive relatives of monkeys, apes, and humans), colorful chameleons, stunning orchids, and towering baobab trees, Madagascar is home to some of the world's most unique flora and fauna.
We're going to hang out and chill day one at this unique resort. But if you're feeling energetic the Avenue of Baobabs is supposed to be the photo opportunity of a life time.
May 16, 2024 at 10:31pm
May 16, 2024 at 10:31pm
Blogging Circle of Friends: DAY 3500 May 16, 2024

We're staying at Arusha Serena Hotel and Resort Spa.

As dawn breaks over the horizon, we serenely drift over the magnificent marvel of nature in a Hot Air Balloon. I have never been in a Hot Air Balloon before and it is amazing! In the Serengeti, the animals are the most active in the morning. So we get lots of opportunities to spot wildlife from this different perspective. We were able to spot the Big Five: Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, and Rhino, as well as giraffe, zebra, hippo, crocodile and a variety of birdlife. Once we landed, we celebrated with sparkling wine and a splendid bush breakfast in the middle of the Serengeti. It was such a breathtaking experience. One I don't expect to ever forget.

We returned to the hotel to enjoy our rooms and the pool before heading out for our next adventure - learning about Maasai culture. I really liked the beautiful writing desk under the windows. I was able to prop open my door to listen to nature while I wrote. It was a lovely experience. The gardens were exquisite.

With the help of local Maasai Mama's we were guided through a number of traditional Swahili recipes to prepare our own lunch. We learned how the local Mama's prepare food at home using traditional cooking equipment and methods. We even got to learn some Swahili words for different foods. It was really great to get some hands-on help to prepare each dish.

After that very fine lunch, we learned about how Maasai build their homes and how traditional Maasai homes are set up in a "boma".
We saw inside their homes and how they live. This felt a bit intrusive, but the families were only to happy to share and show us their way of life.

The best part was learning how Maasai create their own beaded jewelry and we got to make our very own bracelet.

BCoF short prompt: What can you tell us about Maasai jewelry making? I've included a video to help you learn.

This lady stays on camera a bit better. She is making a headband. I would love to try this.

May 15, 2024 at 9:58pm
May 15, 2024 at 9:58pm
Blogging Circle of Friends: DAY 3499 May 15, 2024

Cairo, Egypt
We're staying at Heliopolis Towers Hotel. I'm hoping for some pool time after we check out the pyramids.
30 day

we're doing the 8 hour private tour and riding a camel..woohoo. Let's hear what caught your attention? Talk about what you saw and learned about the pyramids or the artifacts or the crafts.


Experience Cairo’s very best on a private, full-day tour that takes in ancient sites, artifacts, and a bustling bazaar. Ride a camel through the sand beside the soaring pyramids at Giza and go toe-to-toe with the enigmatic Sphinx. Pause for lunch before visiting the Egyptian Museum and explore the stunning collection of artifacts, mummies and royal treasures with your guide. Then continue to the Khan el Khalili bazaar to browse vibrant displays of fabrics, handicrafts, and antiques.
We'll be dining at the hotel.

I'm feeling very tired (real time with allergies is dragging me down), but I am excited about Cairo, Egypt. And yes, pool time will be greatly appreciated. I am glad I opted not to do a nightclub in Agra last night!

I was glad the tour started early in the morning so we could beat some of the heat. Still it was very hot. It was wonderful to see the pyramids and walk the world that has existed from a time long ago. The camel ride was a blast, but my God are they smelly! I was only too happy to get to the bazaar and shop. All the bright colours and buzz of people really helped to energize me. Still it was nice to return to the hotel, shower and nap for a bit before joining everyone for dinner.
After dinner several of us waded into the pool and just sat. The water was luxurious. It was just nice to bask in the quiet of that space.

May 14, 2024 at 10:35pm
May 14, 2024 at 10:35pm
Blogging Circle of Friends: DAY 3498 May 14, 2024

We're staying at the Oberoi Amarvilas

Everyone says this is the gem of India, what are your thoughts?

I love that I can see the Taj Mahal from my hotel window. The pool is so inviting and it is quite hot so a dip in the pool is a definite thing to do. Having been here virtually before (August 2020) I opted to go with Lyn's a Witchy Woman to see something different - the Agra Fort.

The scale of this magnificent fort has to be seen to be believed. It really was astonishing. The imposing gate and red sandstone walls made for a memorable first impression. There were some lovely courtyards, gardens and palaces inside. It was also a tiny bit cooler out of the sun. We got a great view of the river below as well as the Taj Mahal in the distance.

Back at the hotel, it was back into the pool where I stayed until it was time to get out and go for dinner. Lyn's a Witchy Woman picked a wonderful place. The Nawaabs.

We ordered a variety of dishes and took from each in a family style way. They probably thought we were crazy, but how else can you sample the bounty with only a limited amount of time... and besides, after all that clean, healthy farm to table food in Bhutan I was not up for anything too out there. I took a little of everything and loved it all.

After dinner a few of us decided to explore Arga and burn off some calories. One of the things to do in Agra is to shop. So we headed for the city’s buzzing market. Agra is famous for Leather products, handicrafts, jewelry, and marble replica which available at a reasonable price. If you wanna go to a place where you can buy a variety of products like- Jewellery, shoes, clothes, etc. you can visit kinari Bazaar and Sadar Bazaar. Subhash Bazaar is famous for silk products, mainly silk sarees. So, if you are a shopaholic you can explore the markets of Agra. We had a blast and found some beautiful things and great deals.

Before bed I made sure to enjoy a wonderful bath in my huge tub.... I filled it full of bubbles and just enjoyed sinking into it.

May 13, 2024 at 6:42pm
May 13, 2024 at 6:42pm
Blogging Circle of Friends: DAY 3497 May 13, 2024

Neyphu Valley, Shaba, Paro Bhutan

Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. In the High Himalayas, peaks such as 7,326m Jomolhari are popular trekking destinations. Paro Taktsang monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest) clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley.

Imagine a place of tranquility and beauty. A place where you connect to yourself and all that surrounds you; body, mind and spirit. This is the newly opened (August 2018) Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary, located high in the beautiful Neyphu valley in Paro. We are a 5+ star boutique resort, aiming to create a lasting positive change in our guests’ daily lives. As guests in our home experience what ‘Inspirational Hospitality’ means to us. We are the only well-being inclusive property in Bhutan, which means all services are included in our room rates. From all meals and snacks to all drinks and minibar (only excluding alcohol) to individually designed well-being programs, including a consult with the traditional medicine doctor, yoga/meditation classes, as well as a wide variety of wellness treatments such as Kunye (Tibetan massage therapy) and Hot Oil Compression. Enjoy many more complimentary services such as art classes, cooking classes, and short excursions surrounding our Sanctuary.

This place is amazing. I could feel the world fall away as soon as we began to near our destination. After we checked in I took advantage of the private consultation with the in-house traditional medicine doctor (included in the room rate). The doctor provided me with a program to achieve a healthy balance between body, mind, and spirit. I might seriously have to stay hear a few extra days to get a fuller experience. This is an opportunity to try various treatments rooted in the nature and well-being tradition of Bhutan.

They have signature treatments - herbal compression, hot oil compression, moxibustion, herbal Jacuzzi, herb-infused hot stone bath, and Ku Nye massages (full body, neck, feet, and back).

Some of our group arranged hikes in the Neyphu Valley, a visit to Thimphu, the capital of the Kingdom, a climb to the world-famous Tiger’s Nest, and many other day trips. I was content to enjoy the complimentary art classes, yoga sessions and cooking classes. The scenery and the space was revitalizing and I need that right now... (too bad this is virtual).

We ate like Queens! All-inclusive culinary surprises is the way to go. We got healthy breakfasts, 4-course set lunches, 6-course set dinners, all snacks, and drinks (excluding alcohol) included in our packages. All the food is prepared according to the farm-to-table concept and you were able to enjoy your meals at any moment and at any location you wished.

I look forward to hearing about other people's adventures.

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