Head too heavy?

Do you sometimes feel that your head is too heavy and your neck is too tight to turn?

Remind your self to use your headrest and take advantage of the support.                         Here’s where a little “self-talk” comes in–be conscious of relaxing the neck muscles that you are not using when you rest your head against something.

In that moment, a release can make all the difference.                                                       Exhale the tension that has built up–really empty your lungs as you sit with your head agains the top of the couch or the backrest of your car–or wherever…

It only takes a few moments to change your situational discomfort.  And the relief becomes worth the effort–believe me.

Don’t confuse stiffness with decrepitude

Don’t confuse stiffness with decrepitude. Turn on some music and dance a little–you’ll soon smooth out your moves and groove.

Just because we are stiff, does not necessarily mean that we are arthritic or “losing it”. When you move and stretch to music, you find a way to unlock those stiff, rigid muscles. Go ahead–try it–you’ll see.

Research shows that music stimulates motor cells (muscles) using a different part of the brain.

During WWI, patients who were shell-shocked and catatonic, began to move and even dance in ways the medical community would not say is possible when they heard familiar music.

Experiencing some polio-effects, I can relate.  When I walk, I seem to have more power and movement possible when I’m grooving to my tunes.

The Elephant in the Room: terror in the streets

I hesitate to write this post.  As the Good Natured Traveler, I prefer to view the world through rose-colored glasses.  I believe that most of the time, our expectations influence the events that we experience.  Self-fulfilling prophecy.

But in light of the awful events that we have seen and heard around the world, it seems that bad things can happen.  Bad things do sometimes happen.

“Every time you go somewhere, there’s a tragedy, it seems!”, my sister wrote following the Las Vegas, Canadian and French killings this past Autumn.

Is that true?

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In the clouds –last day in Tenerife

 

I got up early so that I could have alone-time with the sun as it breaks the night into the early morning’s light.

 

Far to my right, the shore begins to sparkle in coy flirtation as the sun turns its gaze.  A voyeur, I watch as he spreads his favor, lighting each little village in its own special time.

This is the most rugged country that I’ve ever seen.  People told me that the Canary Islands remind them of Hawaii–but I didn’t find that to be true of Tenerife.  For one thing, they seem to have more roads  and dwellings in precarious places!

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Valencia, Spain (yes, like the oranges)

 Valencia!
Even the word conjures delight.  Fresh oranges, juiced  with  just a little pulp and big flavor– my mouth is watering, just writing about it.  Orange trees are everywhere– ornamental and useful!
 

The 3rd largest city in Spain, we came to Valencia because the high temps in Madrid (104`) drove us out.  8-10` cooler, located on the western shore of the Mediterranean, we opted for a sea-breeze.  After packing a bag and riding the bullet train for 2 1/2 hours, our reality took a better turn.

Through Booking.com, we found a last-minute room with a view.  It seemed like it might have been an old boarding-house in the past but it has its own charm with the ever-present marble staircases and a really good restaurant-on premises.  The warmth of the staff softened the spartan rooms which housed the basic necessities– including a 1/2 balcony (if that) with a view.  The view! the view–it’s all about the view!

No air conditioning scared us at first but a fan supplemented the constant breeze quite nicely.

 

3rd floor stairs however, were a bear for me!  Geesh.  It is worth it , but I work hard–taking it slow, and conserving my trips (no pun intended!) 
(Note: When using a cane on marble, it can be tricky-so it helps to have a rubber tip.)
Neptune Beach seems to attract the physically challenged– I was amazed by how many wheelchairs, motorized and not, cruised the wide, flat, palisade boardwalk.  
Looking it up on the internet, I found that this is a popular resort for those who are walking-challenged.
(Note:  Europeans call the ground level,  “0”, so when we booked our room, we were planning on the 2nd floor and frustrated to find that room #209, alas,  was on the 3rd.)
It is easy to become meditative in places like this.
  • Negative ions soon saturate the the human body,  relaxing the brain’s stress load, allowing the mind to wander and wonder.
  • Sailboats in silent regatta, huddle together as if on secret mission.
  • The marina is filled with upright masts, like naked spires stark against the changing sky.
  • Communities of umbrellas sport their colors like flags staking claim.
  • In the distance, jet skis spew silent wakes, like baby whales spouting water.
  • The breeze, a sultry siren, urges me to stay and play awhile.  I’m easily convinced.
I noticed three specific beach types: 
  1. The quiet morning exercisers– biking, walking and jogging.  They are older, like me, with various degrees of health and levels of performance.  I catch myself thinking, “‘Lookin’ good for our age.”  (oh dear)
  2. Family groups— parents lead, with children tagging behind –while reluctant teenagers are lagging behind.  I’m charmed by how many grandparents  and grandkids engage, hand in hand, in close communication.  It’s a luxury we didn’t seem to have as parents.
  3.  

Night-life types, loud and boisterous, drinkers and dancers.  They didn’t quiet down until around 4:00 a.m.  We gave it up around 1:00.
Policia cruise regularly; it feels safe here.

Ever an eye for SnaZZy, I love the beach-wear!  Skirt-like, harem pants feel like you are wearing next-to-nothing, stitched in panels, flowing and breezy; Gold is big-lookin’ good with all the redheads over here; maxis, minis; At the beach, almost anything goes (or nearly nothing, in some cases!)  I saw tattoos in places and on types of people that I’d never imagined!

 

Sand sculptures that took weeks to create,  urge tourists to have a heart and show their appreciation– boardwalk busking, seaside.

I’ve grown accustomed to Spanish meals, enjoying a light breakfast usually of cafe` leche` (coffee with foamy milk) and a carb– such as bread or toast.  Near the Mediterranean, it’s common to top your toast with salsa-like chopped tomatoes and olive oil-or fruit preserves.  ‘Much easier to burn off on your beach-walk than eggs and fried potatoes.

 

 

Lunch is served late and large- 2:00 or so- just before Siesta`, so you can sleep off your calories.  This is a great time for the local Paella, cooked with local rice and saffron.

   

 

Dinner is late-very late, and moderate by State-side standards.

It stays light later here so eating at 10:00 p.m. sneaks up on you.
We like to eat where the locals do,  so we walked a few blocks off the beach to find a collection of outdoor tables and Spanish speaking patrons.  We weren’t disappointed– we chose a tapas of seafood and veggies , along with locally produced red (tinto) wine, taking a couple of hours  to soak up the ambiance,  along with our meal.
Europe does that to you.

The flood-prone river that once ran through Valencia was diverted to create rice fields, increasing agriculture in the area.  The dried up river bed is now green space with parks and recreation.

And the science museums are ingenious and extraordinary.

 

 

My favorite sight-seeing is of Roman (or before) ruins–and there were a few of those, strewn throughout.  Below is the remainder of Roman gates, part of the old wall that surrounded the city.

Blogging Paris

 

Staying in Montmartre, situated in the shadow of Sacre’ Coeur Basilica- boasting the highest point in Paris, I began to settle into the experience that I associate with springtime in the City of Lights.
 The weather was changeable, gentle rain appropriately blurring me into one of those iconic landscapes that we associate with gay Paree.  Walking can be slippery on those old bricks, better suited to slowly strolling and window shopping, methinks!
 And when the sun emerged, startling new blooms were the reward, already lining the window sills, gardens and street-side cafes’.
 The streets are steep, making climbing difficult without a trusty cane or walking stick.  Rather than railing at  the need for support, I have decided that it makes a sexy accessory-often getting me a seat on the metro! People are nice like that.
  Have Cane; Am Able!
Why oh why do I love Paris?
  • Activity.  Everywhere people seem engaged.  They are out and about- even on a Monday night–talking, drinking coffee, sipping wine.  There is activity that makes television seem foreign, irrelevant and irreverent.
  • Cross cultures.  So many people with a sense of having enough time.  Diversity is inspiring and heady.
  • Cafes and outdoor venues, where I am welcome to stay awhile, blogging my heart’s content.
  • Shopping is a way of life-daily trips to the market makes the evening meal fresher. And it feels more wholesome to consume what you buy in a timely manner.
AirBnB worked for us again!
We loved that little studio, tucked into a building hundreds of years old.
Thank goodness for the ascensor (elevator) tiny but mighty and quaint.  T
he manager, Melina, from Venice, was the perfect hostess, speaking fluent English from her New York upbringing.
Through conversation we learned that she has a rental in Venus–and we just put that on our Bucket List!

Disability Rant in London; Kindness after all

Kindness Abroad

OMG!… whose idea was it to bring all this luggage on the planes, trains and tubes (subways) to get to our destination? What a gigantic hassle it can be! And even if you have paid due diligence by looking up which metro stops have lifts (elevators), there is no guarantee they will be working.

Ellioto has a fondness for using the metro whenever possible and I must admit that there is satisfaction in finding affordable ways to blend in with the locals. Personally, I would opt for hailing a taxi when Uber lets us down –which unfortunately, can happen, particularly when you don’t have an international phone handy.

But every time that we have taken public transportation, I have been heart-warmed by the kindness of others– no matter the country, men and women, young and old…

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Blogging London

I can easily imagine spending more time in London Town. Traipsing the boroughs and exploring London’s underbelly via the tube, lends a familiarity with an intimate view of what it’s like to live there.

I am assured by those more familiar with London that the tube is usually dependable and user-friendly. But if you’re traveling there in the near future, beware of extensive line-maintenance closings and spontaneous rerouting–quite a challenge for the novice.

*Disability Warning: escalators and elevators (lifts) may be out-of-order, which can be a real hassle. Luckily, wonderful people saw my dilemma and grabbed our suitcases and carried them up the steep and numerous stairs which made all the difference! (Bless you all!)

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Copenhagen, Day 2 out and about by myself

Copenhagen has a great metro system– clean, economical, and simple to use. It runs 24 hours (!) and is handicap accessible–great news after losing my walking stick somewhere in London’s Heathrow Airport, during our plane change! I felt quite comfortable exploring on my own, equipped with my trusty traveling apps, Translator and Converter– both free, on my iPhone.