Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Selecting travel destinations (Part two)

This is the second part of my post on my reasons for selecting some special travel destinations but, first, I’d like to thank all my bloggy friends who came to read the first part and commented. I am so pleased that you liked the paintings of Paris that I posted and also, that you like my hometown. Below is another painting of Paris. It is the Rue de l’Abreuvoir painted in the late 1800s or early 1900s. This street is behind the Sacré-Coeur of Montmartre. I could walk to this street from where I lived in Paris; it would have taken about 15 to 20 minutes.

La Rue de l’Abreuvoir à Montmartre by Alfred Renaudin, French 1866-1944

I’d like to answer some questions asked by my bloggy friends. Jenny Woolf asked “can you say whether you found the places you visited lived up to your expectations?” I can sincerely declare that I have never been disappointed. I don’t have expectations I just go and enjoy each trip.

Rosaria asked “How did you manage to get away so often? “ The company where I worked closed between Christmas and New Year so I could take time off then. After so many years I also received one month paid vacations. In addition I worked often on week-ends and evenings and received “compensation time” or paid time off which I could add to Holidays or week-ends.

Fennie said “…personally I like returning to where I know..” I feel the same. This is why for example I have been to Tunisia 4 times, to England a dozen times or more and Italy at least 10 times. If not I would have visited more countries.

Rauf said “Cost is my deciding factor.” It is mine too. I came to the USA with $1,000 cash. From then on I worked. I was fortunate to get extra work, like Tour Guide for French speaking tourists, French voice-over on training videos, translations, modeling, etc., in addition to my regular position. I also always waited for a “good deal” which is why I waited sometimes decades to visit a certain country.

But when in Paris I always return to the Place St Michel….

La Place St Michel by Eugène Galien-Laloue, French 1854-1941

To get back to some of the reasons for my trips -

Radio Show

My radio station in Atlanta used to broadcast a show every Saturday afternoon from Public Radio International called “AfroPop.” The show is no longer on my radio station but is available online. Georges Collinet is still the radio host (mother from Cameroon and father French.) The music is from all parts of Africa and is not “African-American music” but genuine African music.

Georges Collinet and singers Baaba Maal and Youssou N’Dour from Sénégal

I enjoyed the music so much that I had written to Georges to tell him that he should get a group together to travel to Africa to listen live to some of the music. He did call me later on and said that it was a good idea and was going to do just that. This is the way I joined his group and went to Dakar, Sénégal for 10 days. I’ll write a post on this as it would be too long now. Below is a picture of part of our group eating lunch in the Island of Gorée (off the coast of Sénégal.) Georges is at the top of the table on the left.

Below is another photo I scanned – it’s of me on the same day in the Island of Gorée.

Books and Roses

I used to grow roses in my garden. I had up to 150 bushes but now that so many of our trees have grown there is too much shade in our yard and most of the roses are gone. Then I belonged to the American Rose Society and drove to Atlanta for monthly meetings. They would often speak about the famous International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Oregon – and I longed to visit it. Several years later my husband and I, who are total book addicts, learned about Powell'‘s Books – an independent bookstore in Portland that offers more than 4 million new and used books in a large store which uses a whole city block. This was a double reason to visit Portland. Some years later an airline offered cheap flights to Portland, Oregon from Atlanta, so we went.
We visited both places - the rose garden and bookstore. Below is a scanned picture of me in the rose garden

and a postcard of Powell’s Books.

Because of the name of a city

One year I was searching the Internet for something in Paris, France. Another Paris came up – Paris in Kentucky. As we were planning to drive to Columbus, Ohio to visit my husband’s family I checked the map and saw that we could make a slight detour and visit Paris, Ky. I wished to visit it because it was called Paris. I had requested some information from the Tourists Office there and told them I was from another Paris, in France. They offered to give us a guided tour of their Paris. We went and had a lovely time with the gracious Parisian ladies from Kentucky who gave us an entertaining driving tour. I did not take many pictures with my film camera but below is a vintage postcard of a thoroughbred horse farm in Paris. The whole area around Paris, Kentucky is covered with famous horse farms. (Top picture is a second floor of store in Paris, Kentucky.)

Vintage postcard of Claiborne Horse Farm in Paris, Kentucky (home of Triple Crown winners.)


Since childhood I have had pet cats. My husband and I love cats and they have shared our home. We have two right now – Cody and Mitsou. A while back (a long while back) I had read a short story of Ernest Hemingway where he mentioned his cats. I also had a book just on his cats.

I found out that in his Key West house he had cats with extra toes in their back paws or 5 toes (polydactyl ) and more than 40 of the cats descendants still lived at the Key West property. What a great destination… cats in Key West! In 2010 we were able to go to Key West and we visited Ernest Hemingway’s house and garden – and saw the cats. My husband bought me another book there which is giving me another special destination, but this will be coming up in May, so I’ll speak about it then. Below is a polydactyl cat I photographed in Hemingway’s garden.


I started my blog in March 2009 and have enjoyed it tremendously. I also like to read a variety of blogs. In late 2009, a Norwegian blog I read RennyBa’s terella wrote a post inviting bloggers to a “Blog Gathering” in Oslo in August 2010. I had never been to a blog meeting and did not know any bloggers then. In addition I had always wanted to go down the coast of Norway on the freighter ship which stops at tiny villages. At the time we had enough frequent flyer miles on Delta to get free round-trips to Europe. Renny had organized the gathering offering many discounts to the city sights and hotel. So we went and had a super great time. I have written 3 posts on Norway starting with Norway – Arriving in Kirkenes, but I still have to write several more.

Part of the port of Oslo, Norway taken from a hill in front of the castle


Last September we were going back to Columbus, Ohio to visit family. I searched the Internet for interesting places around Columbus and found out that the film “The Shawshank Redemption” which is one of my all time favorites had been filmed in and around Mansfield, Ohio, about 1 hour from Columbus. I did more searching, found a motel and also found that the Tourist Office offered a driving guide to the major film sites. I mentioned this already in my post on my 2011 year of travel but I’ll write a post on it later on as I have many photos. We drove to Mansfield because of this film. Below is a door in front of the historic Ohio State Reformatory.

I have more special destinations to write about but this is getting too long so I’ll write about them in the future. In the meantime I’ll keep observing and reading and I am sure, finding more unusual reasons for trips in Georgia, the USA or abroad.

Painting by Claude Grobéty, French born in 1940


this is Belgium said...

you have certainly had interesting travels, fun to read about them.
and Paris, Kentycky is new to me . (not surprising of course)
un bonjour de bruxelles

Shammickite said...

Did you know that there is a Paris in Ontario, Canada, too.... maybe it should be your next port of call? You can pay a virtual visit at
Let me know when you'll be there and we will meet for coffee!!!

Kay Dennison said...

Lovely post!!!! And there's a small town east of me here in NE Ohio is called Paris -- and bears no resemblance to yours. (smile)

Perpetua said...

What fascinating reasons to trawl. i love all your images of Paris in the past- so atmospheric. If you ever come to Wales, the little town of Hay-on-Wye is the second-hand book capital of Britain.

Jenny Woolf said...

Very interesting, again. I specially like the idea of the trip to Senegal. La Rue de l’Abreuvoir looks so calm and peaceful, doesn't it?

The Broad said...

I like the way you are so alert to the possibility of travel wherever and whenever! It goes to show that doing your travel 'homework' really pays off! There are some really valuable tips in this post!

Diane said...

I enjoyed learning a bit more about you. I also love the paintings.
Paris, Kentucky would be a place I would love to visit being a horse lover, but as my husband has no wish to go to America at all, my chances of getting there are pretty slight!!
Loved this post, Diane

DJan said...

I am now pretty much of an armchair traveler, having done all the international travel I have ever wanted during my working years. But I so enjoy hearing of your travels and the reasons behind them. I look forward to the next ones, with anticipation. :-)

Jen ( said...

Very cool! I enjoyed reading about how you selected your travels. Neat.

French Girl in Seattle said...

Dear Vagabonde, Thank you for your visit chez French Girl today. This was another enjoyable post. I like how you think and how open-minded you are when you plan your trips. Even though we tend to go back to Paris mostly because that is where all our relatives live, I like throwing in some variety in our itineraries. For example, as we were driving through the beautiful Dordogne region last summer, I decided to visit Josephine Baker's old home, les Milandes. My husband had offered me a cd with her most famous songs a few months earlier. I am glad I went. I learned a lot more about what a wonderful personal she was and seeing her home made it even more special (it also provided great material for a favorite post of mine on Le Blog ;-) A bientot, Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I always enjoy seeing the places you have been---whether in 'paintings' or in 'photo's'....You will never run out of things to post about, my dear Vagabonde....Loved reading about all these places but especially Hemingway and his Cats....I had a cat that had 6 toes on her front paws and 5 on her back....I mated her to a very laid-back 6 toed wonder and ALL her babies had 6 toes....And were wonderful.
I kept one of her cats from her second litter..(A wonderful 6 toed Orange guy---"TEENY"....a fun dear cat....) What fun to see Hemingways cats Offsprings!
But truly, ALL of your trips are wonderful and your enthusiasm for travel is fantastic!
(Don't forget Great

Kiwi Nomad said...

This is the main rose garden in my city though there are beautiful roses in the Square as well. I know the Wellington roses at the Botanical Gardens are just superb as well.

Carole M. said...

..I enjoyed reading the inspiration that bought about your travel destinations. Thanks also, for visiting my blog!

Pat said...

Your husband is very lucky to have a travelling companion with such enthusiasm who does all the research to wrest every last drop of enjoyment out of each trip.

Friko said...

Your passion for travel speaks to me from every line of your posts. To be so single-minded in pursuit of ones aims, to wait for years to make a dream come true, to be on the look-out for new places and experiences constantly, is awe-inspiring. Why don't you start to write real travelogues? You know such a tremendous lot about so many parts of the world, I think they would be interesting.

Fennie said...

By one of those strange coincidences I have just seen the first half of the Shawshank Redemption which I was recommended recently but which I found just too grim and violent and really not very entertaining. There is enough blackness in the world without watching it on film. When I turned back to the news it seemed light relief. Perhaps the film improves in the second half but I wasn't going to risk it. The real prison looks just as gloomy as the fictional one. Certainly one place to which I would not bother to return.

CrazyCris said...

Merveilleuse suite au premier poste! :o)

Like you I love to return to places I've been! In part because when I'm somewhere I don't push myself with the "need to see everything", I prefer to take things at a more comfortable pace (no rushing allowed!) and so really take in what I have time to see. And then always hope I'll get a chance to go back because there's always more to see! ;o)

I had no idea about the Paris, Kentucky! I have heard about Paris, Texas... have you been there?

I wish I had known about that Blogging get-together in Oslo! I'd love an "excuse" to go to Norway! :D

Rosaria Williams said...

Oh Vagabonde, you are an inspiration! I better get myself out and about before I run out of time. Like you, I dream of seeing new places, return to old ones; but, unlike you, I don't keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities.

Are there websites to assist people like me? The willing neophytes?

Pierre BOYER said...



Kathy, the Single-minded Offshoot said...

Your posts and the illustrations of paintings, postcards, and photos give me such Wanderlust! You are wise to go wherever the impulse leads you. I'm always torn between new sights and the places I've been before and loved so much, especially in the Alte Heimat of Saarburg in Germany near the French border which I fell in love with the very first time I saw it and which always brings me joy.

I am a pushover for any cat or kitten too!

Vicki Lane said...

I agree with Friko -- have you written for travel magazines? You should.

You free spirit is wonderful!

By the way, re my recipe post -- orange curd is a definite possibility. Martha Stewart has a recipe and there are others (most use some lemon juice too). Just ask Mr. Google!

Roger Gauthier said...

Le fric est le nerf de la guerre pour les voyages à l'étranger... Où aller ? Maintenant que nous sommes à la retraite, nous allons souvent aux ÉU où nous avons de nombreux amis, très rarement au Canada (anglais), souvent un peu partout au Québec, au moins une fois l'an en France pour au moins un mois !

Avec un peu de planification un voyage pour deux en France ne coûte pas très cher, à certaines conditions !

• connaître des gens pouvant nous héberger à Paris, en Bretagne, à Nantes, à Marseille... :-)))

• voyager en mai-juin ou en septembre avec Nantes ou Bordeaux comme point d'arrivée (moins cher)

• achat-rachat pour la voiture, beaucoup moins cher que la location !

• choisir ses chambres d'hôtes à l'avance, etc.

... nous repartons dans deux mois ! :-)))


Je t'ai répondu sur mon blogue au sujet de ta question sur les Québécois... je te reproduis ici la réponse :

About the language...
There is roughly the same difference between Québec French and France's French as there exists between American English and British English. No one in his right mind would mistake an American for a Brit, right? I would certainly not... :-) And then I can easily say if someone is from Bahston, or is a Hoosier, or is from... Kentucky! But the difference with Brits is still more obvious IMHO.

Well, it's about the same with Québec French. Everybody knows instantly if someone is from Québec. It's the same with people from Marseille, everybody knows in less than a second... :-)

But then you have people like Hélène and I whose accent is more "neutral" so to speak, rather international and sometimes hard to place. Many expressions are from Québec (québécismes), and someone from France can tell for sure after a couple of minutes.

That's about it. In certain cases, some less-educated people will be hard to understand for a guy from France. The gutter French is not the same... as is the case in English.

I hope that helps a bit. :-)


Vagabonde said...

This is Belgium, Jenny Woolf, The Broad, Food Fun and Life in the Charente, DJan, Pat, Pierre Boyer, Kathy, thank you for commenting. It is always a pleasure to read what my bloggy friends think about my post. Merci.

Shammickite – I clicked on Paris, Ontario “The Capital of Cobblestones.” It looks very pretty. If I ever go in that area I’ll be sure to visit it. There is a Paris, Tennessee I think and that is closer. I guess I should start with it. Thanks for the link.

Jay Dennison – well that is a surprise to hear about a Paris in Ohio, and my husband did not even tell me about it. I asked him and he said he had never heard of it – well he came from Marion, Ohio, and that is a small town I guess. Thank for letting me know - I may visit it some day.

Perpetua – I have heard of Hay-on-Wye. If I go back to Wales I’ll go there for sure. I went to Betws-y-Coed when I was in Wales last. Thanks for the info.

French Girl in Seattle – J’aurais bien aimé visiter la maison de Joséphine Baker. Ma mère l’aimait beaucoup. Je ne connais pas la Dordogne mais comme on ne conduit pas ce n’est pas facile d’aller dans les petites villes de France.

Old Lady of the Hills – I’d love to see pictures of your 5 or 6 toes cats – I hope you have some photos of them to place on your post. Thanks for the comment.

Vagabonde said...

Kiwi Nomad 2008 – I looked at the Dugald Mackenzie Rose Garden – what a beautiful place. I have been thinking about going to New Zealand since 1974 – so you see, it’s a while. Who knows I may make it yet…

Jen (, Carole M., - hello and welcome to my blog. I hope you will come back as often as you can.

Friko and Vicki Lane – my dear friends I thank you for thinking I could write travelogues – but I am not a writer. Writing does not come easy to me, at least in English. Plus with my traveling, reading, posting and visiting blogs I would never find the time. I also like to write on a variety of subjects not just travel. But thank for having such a good opinion of me.

Fennie – I wish you had watched the final part of the movie – I think it is worthwhile. The real prison was quite a shock. It is good in a way to see how some people were treated, we need to know this. Compared to some of the current US movies though I did not think it was too violent – but then I have lived in the US for a long time, so I am more used to it now.

CrazyCris – no I have not been to Paris, Texas yet. Maybe when I run out of places to go I should try to see all the Paris I can find ?

Vagabonde said...

Rosaria – you need to travel now – I sent you an email to give you some ideas. “The cheaper you travel, the closer you get to the soul of a place…”

Roger Gauthier – You stay in France one month every year! That is great. Thanks for the explanation. I was so surprised when the Canadians could tell immediately when I spoke that I was from France – now you explain it well. Thanks for coming to my blog.

Sally Wessely said...

This was fascinating. I am just returning to reading blogs again. I am all inspired to travel again. We've had some disasters lately when we've traveled, so I am a bit gun shy. I love your adventuresome spirit.

Anonymous said...

*** Hello Vagabonde !!! :o)
Oh ! quel plaisir de voir cette photo du Sénégal !!!! Ce restaurant sur l'île de Gorée je le connais bien sûr !!! c'est génial de voir cette table conviviale (avec vue sur la mer) !!!!!

Merci pour ce joli post !!!!
Bonne fin de semaine à toi ! Bises blogosphèriques !!!!!! :o) ***

Pondside said...

I loved reading about your travel inspiration. The origins of your trip to Africa are lovely - you were meant to go with that group.
I've visited Paris, Ontario, and it is in a very pretty part of the province. I'd love to sail the fjords, but not visit Shawshank. I saw the movie and enjoyed it on a certain level - but it is too close to what I do in my working life for me to wish to visit in my free time....unless of course I were paid to do so!

Kay said...

You are so amazing... and adventurous! How fabulous to go to a blog gathering. I can imagine what fun that was.

I remember Montmartre. I even bought a painting of the area when we climbed that hill. You brought back lovely memories.

Elaine said...

I enjoyed reading about your travel inspirations. The inspiration can lead you to a destination, and sometimes you find other things just as interesting, both at the destination and along the way. Often the discoveries along the way are even more enthralling than your original inspiration.

claude said...

Tu es une grande voyageuse, Vagabonde.
Une amoureuse des roses, comme moi.
Une amoureuse de Paris, comme moi aussi.
Nous aussi on a eu deux chats, je dirai même trois avec la dernière petite chatte perdue qui était arrivée à la maison. Ils ont morts écrasés sur la route. Depuis, nous n'en avons plus.
Bon tricot !
J'attends de voir tes oeuvres.
J'ai fait
dessus de lit. tout en laine.

Mary said...

Great post Vagabonde - your travels have been extensive and, like me, that one many years ago which brought us here as immigrants (and legal!), was most likely the one which contributed most to our love of seeing the best the world has to offer!

Happy travels - plenty more to see and I'll be on my way again soon!

Hugs - Mary

Anonymous said...

You have much to talk about and see. I am excited for your good fortune.

Al said...

Nice post, and great paintings and photos. I also love cats, but my family is allergic to them so we've got a tiny dog instead.

Sheila said...

I love your reasons for visiting the various places you have been to.
My daughter was drawn to Hemingway's home for the same reason as you.♥

stardust said...

I so enjoyed reading this series of post and think anything could be a reason for the curious, adventuresome, and easygoing mind to fly. Places introduced here could be contained in someone’s travel itinerary, isn’t it so nice?

Just bringing oneself and enjoying each trip – that’s my style of domestic travels, but when it comes to overseas travels, I tend to have too much expectation as they are rare opportunity for me. I’d like to fly free if circumstances permit.


Jeanie said...

This series of posts you're doing is one of my favorites of all time -- partly because I love traveling (and I'm always looking for fun places to go) and partly because I love seeing where others travel -- I'm so glad you included a couple of photos of you!

Revisiting places I love is another thing we share -- which is why I'm headed to Paris in the spring, this time with Rick in tow. I know I'll see some old favorites with him, but look forward to discovering so much more.

I was especially pleased you posted on The Shawshank Redemption, one of our favorite movies and Rick's very fave. We're not far from Massilon and I had no idea it was filmed there. That would be such a fun getaway weekend!

Finally, let me say, that painting by Grotety at the end of the post makes me smile, for it reminds me a bit of you!

Ginnie said...

I absolutely love how your mind works, Vagabonde! The older I get, the more I could be a vagabond, following your every step. HA!

bayou said...

Me too, I can select travel destinations because of names, movies, books or whatsoever. I went to Baton Rouge to the Capitol and stood on the step of Kentucky, closing my eyes and wishing that one day, the horse lover I am, I could see on my own if the grass is really blue there. J'adore le commentaire de Monsieur Gauthier qui explique que l'accent québécois est unique... c'est tellement vrai! Quand ils disent qu'ils vont "magasiner" , lol.
I thought e.g. that the famous town of Woodstock where the music festival was held, is in the UK... and wondered when travelling through, where it could have been - blonde ou quoi???
J'adore tes blogs et voir le monde à travers tes yeux. And how funny to see those familiar names of people commenting on your blog, whose blogs I also like to visit.
It seems that there is a book village in Belgium - we are also book addicts - I shall find out and describe it one day :-).

Vagabonde said...

Retired English Teacher, Kay, Elaine, Mary, Abe Lincoln, Al, Sheila, Stardust, Jeanie and Ginnie - You posted great comments which I very much enjoyed reading. Thanks my friends for taking the time to come here.

Nancy – Merci ma belle pour ta visite. Des bises blogosphériques? C’est très gentil ça!

Bayou – I’d like to also know what is the name of the book village in Belgium. Thanks for the visit.

Jeanie – I am pleased that you are returning to Paris this spring. I hope you will take many pictures. I also hope that you can go outside of Paris, like in Normandie or somewhere else. Trains in France are so fast and it is nice to see different areas from Paris, it’s like flying to the USA and only seeing New York City. The Chateaux de la Loire are wonderful for example.

Claude – Nous, nos chats ils ne sortent jamais dehors car ils se feraient aussi écraser, c’est sûr. J’ai regardé ton dessus de lit. 378 carrés – il faut le faire – quelle patience! Il est joli avec ça. Mes compliments.

Margaret said...

I have been away far too long from your delightful blog. I am going to catch up! This is so interesting and you have a wonderful way of picking out interesting places. I grew up with a 7 toed front footed cat - that is what the Key West cat looks to have as well - and we called her "Mittens" (of course)

La Rue de l'Abreuvoir looks like a spot I could sit and be happy for many a day! :)

Lifecruiser Travel said...

Lovely post as always. Love to see all the different things you bring on and all places you've been.

I'm sure we have walked that street in Paris since we stayed in a hotel in Montmartre. And hubby did propose to me below the Basilica Sacré-Coeur.... ah, those lovely memories...

Oh, yes, that Oslo blog gathering was really great. I just wish there could have been more time to really talk properly with everyone. There was not enough time to do that, it's impossible when being so many of course.

Shalini said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mandy Southgate said...

I love this post and I love your reasons for travel! I must say, I kind of like having 6 weeks paid leave a year - living in Europe has that benefit over the States! Where is the work life balance? I also cannot think of any holiday that has ever left me disappointed, except maybe for our honeymoon but that was more to do with stress and being cold.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...