Friday, January 13, 2012

Goodbye 2011 – Hello 2012!

This post is late because after being away from my computer for several weeks I tried first to catch up reading all my bloggy friends’ posts. I am almost caught up but we are already two weeks into the New Year. In France we send few Christmas cards but many New Years cards and we have to the end of the month to send them – I sent mine yesterday morning, Thursday the 12th. (Please click on pictures to enlarge them.)

It seems to me that 2011 went by very quickly. It was a year which brought joys and sorrows as each year does. We lost two very good friends, one in Ohio and the other in Florida. There were earthquakes in various parts of the world including New Zealand. The tsunami in Japan brought the terrible meltdown of the nuclear plant in Fukushima. But there were also good moments such as the touching romantic wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. In addition we applauded the selection of three women from Liberia and Yemen as recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize of 2011. They had worked hard in their countries in the pursuit of justice and human rights. Tawakkul Karman of Yemen said in her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech: “…I certainly see the beginning of a humane, prosperous and generous history full of love and fraternity….” It is good to be optimistic.

Tawakkul Karman of Yemen with her Nobel Peace Prize (Internet photo, unknown author)

My year 2011 went well. Certainly one of the nicest events was the birth of our third grandson in July. We saw him at New Year and he is a sweet baby growing well.

We were also delighted to hear in late December that our daughter in California had found a great position in a Southeastern state and is moving closer to us very soon. She is leaving Long Beach, California and will miss it. We are pleased that we visited her twice in Long Beach in 2011. At this time last year we were preparing our first trip of 2011 – a cruise on Cunard Queen Victoria. It took us from Long Beach to Hawaii and back in 14 days. In late December 2010 I happened to open their advertizing email offering a great “two for one” cruise fare promotion which only lasted a few hours. It was valid only for the voyage starting on 30 January 2011.

Arriving in Hilo, Hawaii

I wrote a post on Hawaii starting here and two more after that, but still have many pictures for future posts. Here is a picture from Kauai below.

We stopped in Maui, Hilo, Honolulu and Kauai. The ship made a stop in Ensenada, Mexico as well – below is M.S. Queen Victoria in Ensenada.

I’ll do a recap of our 2011 trips so I won’t forget them. When we returned from Hawaii we stayed with our daughter Céline in California. In Hollywood, we visited with my bloggy friend Naomi of the blog Here in the Hills . In March we drove to Tennessee, near Nashville, where our other daughter, her husband and the two grandsons live. I published several posts on all these visits. Below is the little squirrel that comes regularly to Céline’s porch in Long Beach.

Starting in late April and for 3 ½ weeks we were in Europe. We stayed with my cousin, near Paris, and enjoyed her gourmet cooking as well as walking in her town. We liked to walk around the medieval castle, shown below, which is close to her house.

It was fun to take the TGV train (fast speeding train) to Brussels to visit with my childhood friend. I did publish several posts in June on this visit. Below is a picture of the statue near the Grand Place in Brussels which is said to bring good luck. It is also said that if you touch it, as the lady below is doing, you will come back to the city. I touched it!

After coming back to Paris for a couple of days we went on a four day-trip to Vienna, Austria. I still have to write posts on the great time we had there. Below is a picture of some of the delicious pastries offered in Vienna.

Back in Paris we stayed in a small studio in the Marais district. We were invited to attend a spectacular show given by the Garde républicaine (The Republic Guard of Paris.) It was fascinating and I took many photos (to be posted later.)

In May the weather was very warm and we spent many hours in the Paris gardens as the one pictured below.

As usual we went back to the Latin Quarter to my favorite little restaurants and bookstores.

We walked so much but also rested on benches and watched people around us – that is one of the most fun things to do in Paris. It is always entertaining to watch people and their dogs.

Since I retired in 2008 I have been spending the first three weeks of July watching the Tour de France live on TV while knitting or crocheting baby blankets. This year was a blanket for our third grandchild expected around Bastille’s Day (he came one day early on the 13th of July.)

In late August till early September we flew to Columbus, Ohio, to visit my husband’s family. I wrote a post on the superb Ohio State Library here. But I did not write yet on three other enjoying trips we made in Ohio. One was to Mansfield where we admired the brilliant floral display in the Kingwood Gardens. This is the 47-acre former estate of Ohio Brass industrialist Charles Kelly King – it is truly a very attractive garden. Below is a small area of the garden.

The main reason we went to Mansfield was to drive the “Shawshank Trail.” One of my favorites films the Shawshank Redemption was filmed there and the tourist office has printed a driving trail brochure which includes the major sights in the film.

We spent a full day at the historical Ohio State Reformatory where most of the movie was filmed. It is a fascinating place and I took many photos while there - below are just two of them.

We drove about 10 miles from Mansfield to the Malabar Farm State Park. It was the home of Ohio author Louis Bromfield (1896-1956.) He wrote 30 books – all best-sellers. Many of his books were made into movies such as Mrs. Parkington and The Rains Came. Bromfield was a friend of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. They were married on his farm – we saw their bedroom. It was a very warm day and we spent a delightful time at the farm (future post coming up.)

In late September we spent several days in New York City where we stopped at Zucotti Park and watched the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrators. I am still trying to figure out some of their signs – including the one below.

We were very moved when we toured the Ground Zero Memorial and Museum – see my post here.

We also spent a week in Long Island, New York, and toured lovely gardens and historical places (posts coming up.)

October to mid-November was spent around our state of Georgia. We observed the fall colors in the North Georgia Mountains and I wrote several posts on this, but I still have more pictures for future posts such as our walks in Amicalola Falls State Park and Sweetwater Creek State Park which are shown below.

Thanksgiving was in Long Beach with our two daughters and the grandsons. We returned to Rancho Palos Verdes to see the sunset near the Wayfarers Chapel (post here.)

Back in Georgia we only had 5 days before flying to Fort Lauderdale in Florida where we stayed there for three days (future post coming up.) Below is a picture of Las Olas Boulevard, near our hotel and one of the canals.

Then we boarded the MSC Poesia in Port Everglades. We had been on a Mediterranean cruise in 2009 on the MSC, an Italian cruise line, where we stopped in Barcelona, Spain, Tunis, Tunisia, Malta, Sicily, Rome and Genoa, Italy, before returning to Marseille, France (there will be posts on this sometime.) The MSC comes to the West Indies and Caribbean in winter and had a great promotion for December 2011. We stopped in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, Martinique, St. Maarten, and Nassau in the Bahamas. It was a wonderful relaxing trip and I took many pictures, of course (posts coming up…) but I caught a nasty cold on our last night in Nassau.

Click on collage to enlarge, then click on each individual picture to see better

We started and ended 2011 on the water it seems, which is where I love to be. I spent hours watching the waves and many colorful sunsets.

But now we are in 2012. Where will we go? So far only a spring trip to New York City is planned. We are also going to attend a wedding in Chicago in late July. Maybe we could go one week early and travel somewhere close to Chicago? We could rent a car and travel to Michigan? So many possibilities, so many roads inviting us….

Country Road by Peter Mork Monsted, Danish 1859-1941


Jeanne said...

What a great "catch up post", and you sound like me, constantly wondering about the next trip! Oh isn't travel wonderful! Have a great weekend! jeanne

Rosaria Williams said...

Happy New Year!
I see from this post that the next adventures are already lining up. I live vicariously through your voyages and marvelous narratives. Merci.

DJan said...

What a great post! Wrapping up the year 2011 from the first month of 2012. I loved the Shawshank Redemption movie, too. One of my all time favorites. (Figures you would love it too.)

I am actually hoping, if you can believe it, that I won't have to travel anywhere during 2012. After the theft of my purse on Christmas Eve and having to get everything replaced, I'm just hoping to regain my equilibrium.

Your wonderful wrapup was delightful. I look forward to your trips in 2012. :-)

Ann said...

i've so enjoyed re-visiting your posts and photos!! i so enjoy "traveling" with you!! your year has been so full of wonderful trips and family delights!!!!!!
i so look forward to your coming posts!!!!
thanks for sharing all your travels and photos!!!
hugs...and happy weekend!

Kathy, the Single-minded Offshoot said...

Well done! A brilliant idea to summarize your year, Vagabonde. The selection of pictures to go with it are the frosting on the cake (pardon the cliche). I wish you a lovely 2012 with many more happpy adventures at home and traveling.

Jojo said...

What an amazing year! Looking forward to reading about lots more adventures in 2012!

Elaine said...

A delightful walk with you through 2011 and the many lovely trips you took. And your final statement, "So many possibilities, so many roads inviting us...." is so very true. Sadly, not enough time to explore them all.

In answer to your question, I did do the texturing on my header in Photoshop Elements. It is really very easy to try out so many fun effects.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

You traveled so much in 2011---GOOD FOR YOU! I must admit, I don't think I could do it---even if I really COULD do it, if you know what I mean....You and your dear husband seem to have boundless energy----And, you will NEVER run out of things to post about...LOL!
It was certainly a terrific year for you, my dear...And best of all---I got to meet you! I'm so glad that happebed when it did--Because now, you will not be coming to California anymore----or, at least, it doesn't sound like it.
I'm still looking forward to your "Great Neck/North Shore" pictures and posts....My my my---that seems like a very long time ago now.....
I hope 2012 will be a truly special year for you and yours, filled with GOOD HEALTH---All things follow when you have your Health...!

Kay said...

Good gracious! What an incredible, amazing year you've had! I am in awe of all you've done and the happy things that happened in your family. Happy 2012!

Pondside said...

You've had such an interesting year. It's quite amazing to see it all in one post, especially since I'd read all the original posts - there just seems to be a whole lot more when all the stories are in one place!

The Broad said...

You are amazing -- what energy you have. Not only to travel so much, but to get so much out of your travels! How on earth do you find time to blog as well!!! Great synopsis of an incredible and fascinating year! Looking forward to more, more, more!

Fennie said...

Quite wonderful! My, you have had your adventures in 2011! Travelling is wonderful and it broadens the mind but it takes me a long time to get to grips with a new place and I always like returning somewhere I have been. Look forward, Vagabonde, to more of your exciting travel posts.

Bonne Année to you.

Filip said...

Super article. Also my best wishes for 2012.


Wanda..... said...

Your wrap up review of 2011's adventures, joys and sorrows, was a pleasure to read. Wishing you more wonderful joy and exciting adventures for 2012.

Lonicera said...

Lovely, lovely pictures. The sort I love taking is like the one in Martinique, through the window and framed by it. Wonderful. Enjoyed this post very much.

Jeanie said...

Oh, I have loved revisiting some of your trips and experiences! You have taken me to some wonderful spots here -- I'm so glad for that!

You are lucky indeed to have such a lovely grandchild -- a grandchild at all! I should think that despite the miles, the friendships, the beautiful things you've seen, that is the greatest gift of 2011!

snowwhite said...

Stunning summary of your 2011!!I think this blog is what you are. I mean I smiled and thought "You are great Vagavonde" while reading your blog. I am also amazed with your energy!!
I love the blanket for your handsome grandson. When I have a grandchild someday, I will knit a pastel-colored-rainbow-like blanket like yours!
Best wishes,

Sheila said...

What an amazing year you had. No wonder it flew by so quickly..!
I hope 2012 offers you as many opportunities to travel, so that you may entertain us with your photos and observations.
Congratulations on the new grand baby..xo

My name is Riet said...

Happy new year to you too. Nice to see what happened in your life during 2011. Lovely post.

Friko said...

Happy New Year once again, dear Vagabonde.

May it bring you everything you desire.
More travel, obviously, and the health and stamina to see it through.

Marja said...

oh what a wonderful year you had with so many wonderful experiences.
The baby is so cute and will be comfie in your beautiful knitted blankies. Oh and I love the Latin Quarter we had dinner their with my brother. We bumped into him and his wife years ago in paris and I didn't even know that he was in the city as I came straight from Brugge as my boyfriend lived there. I have some fond memories of Brussel as well.

Roger Gauthier said...

Hello Vagabonde,

This is not a post, this is a book! I gather that you write it probably as much for yourself as for others... :-) and don't we all do it after all?

It is truly wonderful to have the time to travel a lot... and the means of course. Because we are not so many... And this brings me to this photo you have about the 99%. I am sure you know, 1% owns near half of the total wealth in North America... nothing more needs to be said, we're heading towards a potential revolution.

Now, isn't Tawakkul Karman's optimism touching? I don't believe it will ever happen, but the world needs more and more people in favour of peace!


Miss_Yves said...

Que de voyages!
J'ai aimé les paroles d'espoir qui s'y trouvent.
Je connais Shakespeare and Co!Une librairie mythique!

Le titre de mon dernier billet reprend et détourne un vers célèbre de Victor Hugo"Et s'il n'en reste qu'un, je serai celui-là!"

Miss_Yves said...

Reader Wil said...

Thank you so much for taking us on this tour. Your photos are stunning. Your grandchild is cute and I understand quite well that you are proud of him. My daughter in Australia is going to have her fourth baby by the end of this month. I am looking forward to seeing all the family in July, after two years.

Susie Swanson said...

Thank you for sharing and taking us along.. Beautiful scenery and photos..Susie

CrazyCris said...

Wow, sounds like 2011 was quite a year! I can only wish you that 2012 be as fabulous as that! ;o)


Diane said...

Your photos are wonderful, there is so much of Paris I still need to see...
We had our internet down from before Christmas until well after New Year so I know how difficult it is to catch up!!
Nous vous souhaitons tout ce qu'il y a de meilleur pour 2012 et nous espérons que cette année vous apportera santé et prospérite.

Anonymous said...

*** Bonjour Vagabonde ! Vous avez commencé l'année sur l'eau et vous la terminez de la même façon... c'est superbe ! Comme toi j'aime regarder longtemps la mer et la lumière du soleil sur l'eau qui ne cesse d'évoluer !!!
De belles photos sur ton blog !!!! La jolie famille, des voyages et de la culture... Merci pour tout cela !!!!! passe un bon début de semaine chère Vagabonde ! :o) ***

Ginnie said...

I didn't think anyone could be worse than us when it comes to travel, Vagabonbde, but you beat us, hands down. Once Astrid retires, maybe we'll get around even more!

If/when you come back to Brussels, let us know in plenty of time...because that might be where we'll meet up, not in Atlanta. Wouldn't that be something. :)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Happy new year! You had awonderful 2011 full of trips away and visitng family. I hope this year will bring you even more excitng and happy adventures.


Thank you so much for your notes of condolence,Vagabonde. They have all been of great comfort to me, and greatly appreciated.

Dutchbaby said...

Thank you for the whirlwind tour of a year à la Vagabonde. I like how your year was bookended with cruises. You are blessed to have healthy grandchildren. Here's to another year of family time and safe travels.

Mary said...

Vagabonde, I'm breathless and enchanted by your year of travel, nothing like it is there? Didn't do so badly myself when I count countries - England, Scotland, NZ, Australia, sub-Antarctic, Thailand, Vietnam, also airport stops in Korea and China! This year I'll add many more to my growing list - in fact this year is going to be a crazy travel time - hope I'm up to it! First trip is next month to Hawaii - my first time and the last US state to visit.

Loved your post, know it was a lot of work to share so much of the world with us. I really appreciated being taken along for the ride/sail! I'll be on the Queen Elizabeth in March - any tips for me sailing on such a huge luxury ship? Just hope it doesn't have any problems like a certain ship this past weekend - so very sad and frightening. Do you agree that they are just getting too large - floating cities rather than boats?

Best wishes for 2012 - hugs, Mary

Carole Burant said...

After seeing all of your beautiful pictures of the various places you visited last year, it's made me want to go visit them myself:-) You certainly did travel to many beautiful areas and I can well imagine the memories made. No doubt the birth of your grandson was the highlight of your year:-) My second granddaughter was born in December so we both were blessed with another grandbaby to love.

Wishing you all the very best in 2012...looking forward to your future posts:-) xoxo

Pierre BOYER said...

Une très belle année de voyages...


Vagabonde said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. I am delighted that you enjoyed this post on my year of travel. I hope that you will come back as I look forward to your visits very much.

Margaret said...

Between the Paris gardens, Shakespeare & Company bookstore and the pastry shops... I'd be in heaven.

I will have the netflix "Shawshank Redemption - actually, just put it at the top of the list. (thanks)

I loved the blue-grey of Louie's Marina and the explosion of color in the State Park photo below it. Nice work with the camera!

And you always highlight such lovely art work... "Country Road" is charming.

Yes, you had a great year!

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