December 2014

First Report From The Queen Mary

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Sunrise On The Queen Mary 2
Chuck Sun, 2014-12-28 07:30
Sunrise on the Queen Mary 2 Ever since we booked our 2014 trip home from Europe on the Queen Mary 2, we’ve been thinking of writing a blog about how travelers could think of transatlantic cruises not just as vacations at sea but as intercontinental transportation. We’ve taken to calling it the “ocean liner” option. After all, our trip on the Queen Mary 2 will wind up costing just a bit more than the 1-way coach airfare we would have had to purchase but way less than the cost of traveling business class on the very same flight. If we had not splurged a bit for a cabin with a balcony, the cost...

Robotic Cow Milking in Scotland

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Cow Peeking Under Milking Stall
Chuck Sat, 2014-12-27 07:30
"So what did you guys do while in Europe for 6 months?" "Well, we visited seven amazing countries, saw tons of great things, and met lots of wonderful people. Oh, and we saw cows being milked by robots." Certainly we're the ONLY travel blog to EVER feature the words "Robotic Cow Milking" in a blog title. How did this come about, you might ask? Way back in September, while hanging out in Silvermines, Ireland's one and only pub, we met and chatted with a local (which is easy in Ireland, one of the reasons we love that entire country) chap who owned a dairy farm. As a teen, he never planned to...

Never Get a Centaur Drunk!

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Centaur-Lapith Battle Stone Relief from British Museum
Chuck Fri, 2014-12-26 07:30
A Centaur Throttling a Lapiths Wedding-Goer at the British Museum Sometimes when you travel and visit lots of archaeology and art museums, things start to look familiar. Between our time in Turkey and London, we kept running across the image of men fighting centaurs (you know, those half-humans, half-horses from ancient Greek and Roman mythology, and who ran around in the Forbidden Forest outside of Hogwarts). Had we known we'd keep seeing this curious scene over and over, we would have collected more photos than just the one above from the British Museum. Trust us: a few ancient...

Merry Christmas to All Our Family and Friends

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Steel Nativity, Sheffield Cathedral, England
Chuck Thu, 2014-12-25 07:30
So Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and...

'Twas the Night Before Christmas...

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Santa and his reindeer
Chuck Wed, 2014-12-24 07:30
"A Visit from Saint Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore, 1823 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled down for a long winter's nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash,...

Countdown: #1 2014 European Experience

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Our Friend in Valencia, Spain
Chuck Tue, 2014-12-23 07:30
Our Friend in Valencia #1. The People We’ve Met Hands down, the best experience of our six months in Europe is all the amazing and wonderful people we met. We've said before that our philosophy is that a great life is made up of wonderful experiences and wonderful relationships. This past six months, we were great enriched in both regards. There were the new friends we made on our Turkish cruise, especially Brian and Debbie from Scotland and Karsten and Lune from Denmark. There were the people whose homes and pets we took care of, including Pam and Jan from Manchester (and Mishka, Jake, and...

Countdown: #2 2014 European Experience

Chuck Mon, 2014-12-22 07:30
#2. Our Atlantic Crossing on the Queen Mary 2 Perhaps we're getting ahead of ourselves a bit. That's because we're queuing up a number of blogs in advance of getting on the Queen Mary, because once we board--like on our Turkish blue cruise--we don't plan to work other than a bit of writing and planning for next year. So we're making a huge assumption here that we're going to so enjoy our cruise from England to New York aboard the Queen Mary that it should rank #2 on our list ahead of so many other fantastic experiences. If it doesn't, we'll let you know (and Cunard), but given the months of...

Countdown: #3 2014 European Experience

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Around the World in 80 Days Poster
Chuck Sun, 2014-12-21 07:30
3. Shows: "Wicked" and "Around The World in 80 Days" (Our original blogs: Wicked , Around The World in 80 Days ) For some reason, back home we rarely--if ever--go to a theatre performance. We've been season ticket holders for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and we often think it'd be fun to go to a play, or even fly up to New York and see a show on Broadway. But for some reason, we never do. That just might have to change, especially this year after enjoying two great performances in England: "Around the World in 80 Days" in Manchester back in August, and "Wicked" in London in November...

Countdown: #4 2014 European Experience

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Bullfight, Valencia, Spain (watercolorized)
Chuck Sat, 2014-12-20 07:30
#4. Bull Fight, Valencia (Our original blog: ) Agree with it or not, bullfighting is deeply embedded in Spanish culture. In fact, few things can be more directly associated with Spanish culture than bullfighting. A great experience is one that affects you, that changes your thinking and your perspective, and is one that you never forget. As the bullfight Chuck attended in Valencia is one of the things he will never, ever forget, it was one of our most remarkable experiences of 2014.

Countdown: #5 2014 European Experience

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Playa Malvarossa Beach, Valencia, Spain
Chuck Fri, 2014-12-19 07:30
#5. Playa Malvarossa Beach, Valencia (Our original blog: ) We spent the entire month of July in Valencia, and at least a couple of times a week we hopped on the tram and headed out to Playa Malvarossa, the ultra-wide, miles-long beach that stretches north from Valencia's port. We'd rent two chairs and an umbrella for €12 and we'd spend the whole day sunning, people-watching, cooling off in the Mediterranean, sipping cerveza, reading, watching the cruise ships come and go, doing a little work or writing, and...

Countdown: #6 2014 European Experience

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Bodrum Blue Cruise
Chuck Thu, 2014-12-18 07:30
#6. Bodrum Blue Cruise (Our original blogs: Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3, Cast of Characters ) We'll probably always think of our Turkish Aegean cruise as our "vacation" in 2014. That we consider this week on a sailing gullet in the Eastern Mediterranean as "time off" isn't ironic, but a reflection that we're not retired: we actually work while we travel. We call it a "location independent" lifestyle. But the week we were on our Turkish cruise, we didn't work. Not much, anyway (for Chuck, writing just doesn't feel like work). There was the practicality that we'd be out on the Gulf of Gokova, and...

Countdown: #7 2014 European Experience

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Quinta dos Tres Rios, Winery with B&B
Chuck Wed, 2014-12-17 07:30
#7. Quinta dos Tres Rios (Our original blog: ) Sometimes you try something and you just get really, really lucky. Perhaps that was the case with our first quinta experience in Portugal, but we never look gift horses in the mouth (because gift horses bite). Our time at Quinta dos Tres Rios in Portugal's northern Dao region wine country was the absolute perfect way to kick off our 6-month European adventure and to convince us that this full-time travel lifestyle was for us. Hugh and Jane run the kind of B&B that...