Tuesday, June 30, 2009

San Francisco Skyline

Went into San Francisco today. Not only is this an awesome skyline...but a cool city.

And I mean cool as in temperature. When we left the city at 1 pm it was 61 degrees. Less than one hour later we were inland and it was 91 degrees. Suppose the marine layer has something to do with that???

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tips to Deal With Jet Lag

If you have flown and thought Jet Lag was catching up with you, take a look at these tips. May your next flight be relaxing.
1. Know the causes.
Jet lag occurs due to disruption of your body’s circadian rhythms when traveling rapidly two or more time zones from home. Jet lag has nothing to do with the duration of your flight, but rather the distance traveled from east to west. For example, the long flight from New York City to Santiago, Chile would not cause jet lag, but flying from New York to Seattle might.
Jet lag is more severe when traveling west to east, possibly because most people find it easier to stay up late and catch up with local time than to get up early and fall back.

2. Know the symptoms.
Some of us are lucky enough that we don’t experience jet lag, or experience much lesser effects than other people. If you are susceptible, though, here are some symptoms you can expect:
· Loss of appetite, nausea, digestive problems
· Headache, sinus irritation
· Fatigue, irregular sleep patterns, insomnia
· Disorientation, grogginess, irritability
· Mild depression
Recovery times of one day per time zone traveled eastward and one day per one and a half time zones traveled westward are common. Some people recover more quickly than others.

3. Talk to your doctor.
If you have diabetes, a heart condition, or another health condition that requires regular monitoring and/or medication, plan well in advance. Consult your doctor, and develop a strategy to handle the time change.

4. Alter your schedule before you fly.
For any trip longer than a few days, you’ll enjoy your trip more if you gradually alter your schedule several weeks in advance of travel. Move your daily activities forward or back an hour three to four weeks before flying. Add on another hour of time change each week, and before you know it, you’ll be much better acclimated to your destination time.

5. Make healthy choices.
Keep to your exercise routine, take walks during your flight, and drink plenty of water. Avoid caffeine and alcohol the day before and after your flight, because both can dehydrate you and further disrupt your sleep cycle. Avoid sleeping pills. Forcing your body to in this way sleep won’t help it adjust, and worse, sleeping pills can be addictive.

6. The last word on Melatonin.
While the jury is still out, some experts are recommending that the over-the-counter substance Melatonin reduces the effects of jet lag. Melatonin is a hormone that is secreted into the blood stream when it’s time to sleep. The pills are in health food stores, but have not yet received official FDA approval. Melatonin may have undesirable side effects, and its effectiveness varies greatly among different individuals. Ask your doctor about Melatonin and jet lag.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Use Your Binocculars While Flying

If you are sitting in a window seat during your next flight, take a small pair of binoculars with you. Use them to get a bird's eye view of the landscape below.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Baking Soda Uses When Traveling

A seasoned traveler once told me, I never leave home without a small ziplock bag of baking soda as it has 101 uses. Here are a few...
Did you know that it helps relieve insect bites and razor burn after shaving armpits?
Baking soda removes stains from clothing, and acts as a mild deodorant as well.
You can even use it to clean gas permeable contact lens while on the road. Just remember to rinse them very, very well.
Forgot your toothpaste? Don't worry. Just sprinkle baking soda on your tooth brush and brush as normal.
What have you used it for when traveling?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Don't Speak the Language?

Thinking of traveling and don't know the language? Here are some simple things that may help.

Bring along a small cheat sheet

Make an index card, or write the list inside the cover of my dictionary or guidebook, of words you are likely to see on signs, especially those that have opposites, such as:

in, out
up, down
exit, enter
push, pull
wait, go"

Go back to school

Sign up for a class at your local community college. You can always continue with tapes. But it really helps to understand how all the grammar works and how to compose sentences.

Pave your way with a smile

Remember that a smile is well understood in either language. Many do speak English and are more than happy to attempt English if you're friendly and attempt at least please and thank you in the local language.

Master basic phrases

I always make it a point to learn between 50-100 words in the language of the country I am traveling to. Most important are key phrases like 'Where is the...,' 'Please,' 'Thank you,' 'I'm sorry but I do not speak ____ very well.'

Make learning the language the point of your trip

It’s fun and after a few days you may no longer be nervous about trying to speak the language.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

London Underground...aka The Tube

Looking for the best way to get around London. Look no further than The Tube. Buy a pre-paid pass, slap it on the pass reader, make your way through the gates and venture down into the underground train system. It's all very efficient and quick. Some trains we used were down several floors via escalators. I thought we were going to the dungeon.

An automated voice tells you which station stop is upcoming. She also tells you to "Mind The Gap". She doesn't just tell you once...she repeats it so often that you can't get it out of your head! Sort of like "It's a Small World" in Disneyland. What she means is...the station platform is not always at the same level as the train. Therefore, there is a small (and I do mean small) space or step down to the platform. So...Mind The Gap.

"Doors Closing" and "Doors Opening" as only the English can say.

And off it goes...good thing that wasn't our train.

Signage is wonderful. You always know which train you're looking for or just came off.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

10 Simple Tips for Becoming a Carry-on Traveler

No photos today...just good info if you want to carry your luggage. Sometimes it's not bad waiting at baggage claim. Other times you may want to get on your way more quickly.

1. Know the rules and limits for carry-on bags. This warning is especially important if you are traveling overseas, where baggage limits can be much stricter. Happily, Web luggage retailer ebags.com has a useful section with the carry-on requirements of many major airlines and even recommends which bag to buy for the airline you plan to fly. Also, Seat Guru has a very thorough list of all the baggage rules for every major and minor airline around the world. Click on the airline's name, then click on the "baggage" tab.

2. Measure your bag correctly. Once you know what you can take, ensure that you have a bag that meets those limits. Be sure to measure the entire length and width of your bag, including all handles and wheels. These can add more than an inch in some cases. Although you can always buy a new bag, the point of going carry-on is that you are not spending all that extra money. Luckily, most domestic carriers have very generous limits of over 50 linear inches. As a rule of thumb, you can almost always take a 19-, 20-, or 21-inch rolling bag onto a plane; most 22-inch bags will also fit. Above that, you might be asked to check your bag.

3. Wheels are not always best. It may be hard to remember, but not so many years ago it was rare to find a wheeled suitcase. For a shorter trip, a simple duffle or small backpack might suffice and will lighten your load considerably since the wheels and handle add at least 2 or 3 pounds to your bag. The lack of wheels also works in your favor if you are flying on a small commuter plane, where wheeled bags must almost always be gate-checked. And if you are going onto a train or subway after leaving the plane, it's sometimes easier to walk with a backpack or duffle over your shoulder.

4. Ditch the liquids. The hardest part of becoming a carry-on traveler for a lot of people is the necessity to lose most of their liquids and gels. Men can minimize their shaving products by buying shaving oil. Women might simply have to take fewer liquid cosmetics. Definitely leave the shampoo and conditioner at home; let the hotel shampoo work for you. Ditto with shower gel; just use soap. Use a solid deodorant stick or crystal rock deodorants. Take just a small tube of lotion, and a small sunscreen. It's possible to find most liquids in 3-ounce or less sizes.

5. Limit your wardrobe. You don't have to look like a slob, but you also don't have to take two changes of clothes for every day of your trip. Plan on wearing your nicer dinner-time clothing two or three times. Bring stuff that will work together in different combinations. Put your underwear and socks in gallon-size Zip-loc bags, and squeeze out the air so they take up less room.

6. One pair of shoes. Or at least one pair of shoes in addition to the ones you wear on the plane, which should be the bulkier ones. I also include a pair of flip-flops. In the summer, women are the lucky ones because they can wear sandals and look quite elegant. But make sure whatever shoes you take are comfortable. Don't take anything new.

7. Pack carefully. It's important that your stuff fit into the bag. I usually roll 3 or 4 shirts together in a very tight roll to keep them from wrinkling so badly. Put socks and small things inside of shoes. Put heavier clothing like jeans and shoes on the bottom, and then fill in around them. Use all the hidden pockets in your suitcase. Throw in a travel size bottle of wrinkle releaser, which I find works wonders.

8. Plan on doing a bit of laundry. It's cheaper to do a load of laundry along the way, or even have your hotel clean 3 or 4 pieces of clothing, than to pay $40 to check a suit-case round-trip. You can wash stuff out in the sink for free, and most items will dry overnight if you wash them out before going to bed.

9. Don't take the extras. If you are not going to a place where you expect to be cold, then don't take a jacket. Don't bother with back-ups of anything. If you get your clothing dirty, then do a bit of washing up. In the rare even that you need something unusual, an umbrella in Arizona, a warm jacket in Florida, dress-up outfits for a trip to Yellowstone, that's what outlet malls are for.

10. Leave some of the electronics at home. One thing that weighs a lot of people down these days is all the extra electronic gear that they may be tempted to bring. While no one would hesitate to bring a cell phone or ipod, do you really need a laptop? Plan ahead.

Monday, June 22, 2009

More Street Market in London

Coffee, anyone?

Maybe bubbles are more your style...

After all, your can get your Presecco to go

Turkish Delights...little pieces of sweetness coated in powdered sugar. Flavors range from tobacco to pistachio to lemon to anything imaginable. Heaven in your mouth.

What type do you want today?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Street Market in London

We ate and drank our way through a huge street market in London. Name a type of food and it was there. Crowds of people purchased food to take home or eat at the market.
Drunk Cheese and cheeses from all over England were for sale at this booth.

Olives from Turkey...some I had never heard of.

The street market takes place on the site of an original market. This part used to be for potato merchants.

No street market would be complete without freshly shaved pig's leg...ummm.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


More signs

Tour anyone?

What time is it?

Such intricate work

Absolutely beautiful

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More of London

House of Parliament

The Eye of London overlooking The Thames River

Lots of people watching the Changing of the Guard. Awesome band.

They came right in front of us to make one of their turns. Quite a lengthy and impressive ceremony.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

London as seen from the street

A fountain by the London Bridge

London Bridge and the Thames River

The Tower of London

The Tower of London jousting yard

Street Signs

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thorpeness, England

The House in The Clouds was originally built in 1923 as water storage for the village of Thorpeness. Now it serves as resort accommodations with 5 bedrooms, 3 baths. lawn tennis and boules. The top floor provides the best views of Suffolk.

The Thorpeness Windmill was built in 1803, then remodeled to provide water to The House in The Clouds. It is a working windmill today.

Thorpeness, England house.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Adelburgh, England

Fish and Chips...along the English Channel...what's not to like?

After all, this place is a registered member. And guidebooks tell this is the most famous place in England.

The line formed around the block when they put out their sign that they were "frying".

Walking along the rocky beach.

Hopefully this is NOT one of the lifeboats...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bridges in Cambridge, England

The Bridge of Sighs:
Locals say it is so named as students sigh after taking exams at St. John's College.

There are more than 25 bridges over the River Cam in Cambridge, England.

The Mathematical Bridge:

The Mathematical Bridge is the popular name of a wooden bridge across the River Cam between two parts of Queen's College. Its official name is simply the Wooden Bridge.
The bridge was designed by William Etheridge , and built by James Essex in 1749. It has been rebuilt on two occasions, in 1866 and in 1905, but has kept the same overall design.
The arrangement of timbers is a series of tangents that describe the arc of the bridge, with radial members to tie the tangents together and triangulate the structure, making it rigid and self supporting.