A number of years ago, Anne and I took salsa lessons and had our first taste of Cuban music. Whilst we enjoyed ourselves, we never really mastered the art. It’s like anything…..if you want to be good at it, you need to practice. Sadly, we didn’t. Now, after watching the Cubans on the dance floor and in the streets, I wish we had kept it up. It seems that they are born with rhythm running through their veins (as well as their hips and backsides). For them, when hearing any “son” style music, and, no matter what time of the day or night, they are soon Continue reading
The most enjoyable aspect of travelling in Cuba is the opportunity to engage with the friendly, humorous and gregarious Cubans. During our fifteen day tour of Cuba we stayed predominantly in “casa particulares”, which simply means private houses and this maximised our opportunity to meet Cubans.
The family live in the house however they have rooms that are let out to tourists. At any location our group of 9 will be split over a number of casas within the same area, with one house acting as the main house where we reconnect. Most of the houses probably started as a one room building and over the years rooms have been added as needed. Continue reading
Moving through Cuba is a travellers delight. In Cuba the humble horse and cart are not relics from the past, they are part of the daily urban and rural transport system.
Saddled and bare backed cowboys, some with family groups straggled along the horse, ride through the town, hooves clattering on the cobble-stoned streets. In Trinidad, cowboys congregated to Continue reading
When I first thought of traveling to Cuba, like most other males born in the 1950’s, my initial vision was of those classic old American cars gliding down the boulevards of Havana. After only a few days of being here, I can tell you that there is a lot more to Cuba than those American cars, but Cuba’s Classic cars are a great place to start. According to Wikipedia, “Yank tank or máquina” are the words used locally to describe the many classic cars present in Cuba, with an estimated 60,000 of them still driving the roads today. I did confirm Continue reading
Niagara Falls are actually three waterfalls, The Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side of the border, The American Falls, strangely enough on the American side of the border and the much smaller Bridal Veil Falls also on the American side.*
Niagara falls have a long tradition of daredevils trying to go over the falls but if you assume that those daredevils are all fool hardy young men think again. The first person to go over the falls in a barrel, in 1901, was Continue reading
When I travel, part of the fascination is seeing the different ways we all live our lives, both good and bad. As we travelled in America I became disturbed at the amount of trash we seemed to be leaving in our wake. I know that when travelling, and buying food on the run, you increase your consumption of disposable products and convenience foods, but I started to feel guilty about the large amount of garbage we were creating each day. Then I realised that most times when we ate, even in restaurants, we were given items that ended up in the rubbish bins. We needed to slash the trash!
At a motel Continental breakfast, the entire crockery and cutlery was disposable. So just to eat cereal and juice we binned two plastic spoons, two plastic bowls, two plastic glasses, two paper coffee cups, one plastic stirrer (we shared) along with the usual waste of serviettes, sugar packets and yoghurt containers. That’s a lot of trash!
At another cute café where we ate, we still received paper coffee cups, plastic stirrers, and sauce in individual disposable containers. When we bought popcorn for the train trip it was already packaged in a paper bag but was placed in a plastic bag, inside a paper carrier bag. In our hotel rooms the drinking glasses have been plastic and individually wrapped in plastic.
It got me thinking about Continue reading
I wasn’t even born, but the date will forever remain etched in my memory. In his song, American Pie, Don McLean put it so eloquently……this was “the day the music died”. At about 1.00am on this date, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson lost their lives in a plane crash just outside of Clear Lake, Iowa, after headlining their Winter Dance Party at Clear Lake’s Surf Ballroom.
I think I was born about 16 years too late. I just love the late 1950’s and early 60’s Rock ‘n’ Roll music. If I could find myself an old Juke Box fully loaded with old 45’s, I’d be a happy chap. My fantasy is reliving the times of American Graffiti, but without the onset of the Vietnam War. If you haven’t seen the movie, or heard the sound track, you’re missing something special. American Graffiti, released in 1973, is a movie set in California in 1962, and is a study of the cruising and rock and roll music cultures popular among Continue reading
I never dreamed I would end up in an Amish community. I love how this holiday has evolved, right from the beginning it has been driven by our desire to connect with friends and family outside of Australia, and of course see the world! This led us to Frank and Marilyn, who we had met on a bike and barge trip in France three years ago, and their wonderfully relaxing home at Spirit Lake, Iowa. For the first few days I literally had no idea where we were. We arrived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and quickly crossed into Iowa, leaving the big cities behind, through prairies planted with lush green corn as far as the eye could see. I had a very poor understanding of the geographical layout of the Midwest states, initially didn’t have a map, and with no internet connection, I was simply somewhere with complete faith that Marilyn and Frank would lead me to wherever I needed to be.
After Steven’s accident we needed to change our activities from biking and boating to Continue reading
It’s been a week since Steven’s water skiing accident in Spirit Lake, Iowa, see the blog The Spirit Lake Paramedics – a welcome sight. His buttock and leg is sore and yesterday the bruising appeared. Now the back of his thigh is an interesting pattern of mottled black, blue and yellow and he has an intriguing bright blue spider web bruise on his buttock.
He has graduated from crutches to an old man, collapsible walking stick and with the help of analgesics and muscle relaxants is managing to get around quite well. We are back on the road again with minimal changes to our travel plans. My fury at him contracting “I’m really a young man” disease and attempting to water ski after 20 years, with no preparation, is dissipating and I am treating him with kindness…. Mostly!
We were able to stay and enjoy the tranquility of Spirit Lake for a few days longer, thanks to the generosity of our hosts Marilyn and Frank and we will always remember the kindness of their neighbours who provided Continue reading
We travelled to Spirit Lake, Iowa, after visiting New York, to spend a relaxing 5 days with friends Frank and Marilyn, who we had met on a bike and boat tour along the Moselle River 3 years ago. When they heard of our plans to take this six month adventure, they offered Continue reading