DOWN UNDER SIDE TRIP

Please welcome fellow author, Iris Blobel visiting from Melbourne Austrailia to tell us about her book, Fresh Beginnings. Iris is very well traveled, as her bio indicates, so ask her lots of questions, please.

Fresh Beginnings Cover ArtFRESH BEGINNINGS

By Iris Blobel

The small town of Hobart in Tasmania has witnessed many beginnings in recent years. At yet one more beginning, the wedding of a friend, Jared Fraser decides it’s time for some fresh beginnings to come his way… And he sets out for a holiday to the US to travel along the Route 66 in a motorhome.

Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on holiday.

Then the arrival of family friend Mia Levesque and her boyfriend, Josh, turns Jared’s holidays upside-down when he’s forced to play arbitrator between the two teenagers.

Scroll down to find an excerpt.

 

About Iris Blobel: Iris Blobel 2013BIOpic

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she actually had met her future husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only recently emerged, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as her dog. Next to her job at a private school she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Buy Links:

Amazon Australia: http://bit.ly/1y0N4bo, Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1s7xTiq, Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1pBrpEY

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1nqaT6t

Where to Find Me:

My Blog: www.iris-b.blogspot.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/irisblobel, Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4067254.Iris_Blobel, Twitter: @_iris_b,

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/iblobel/, Google+:  https://plus.google.com/107759085454255573026/posts

Excerpt:

“G’day!” He stared at her and for some reason something tugged at his heart. Not that he wanted that. He had no room for women, let alone American ones. They all were on earth to make life complicated. Mark was constantly running around for Sophie or Hope, even though Mark’s wife was one in a million and little Hope was simply adorable, especially when she was asleep.

“Ya know it’s dangerous to hitch a ride,” he finally said when she was still quiet.

She stared at him for a moment, but then replied with the typical American twang in her voice. “I know you said something, but I have no idea what.”

He chuckled. “It is dangerous to hitchhike,” he repeated with exaggerated pronunciation.

The woman stepped a bit closer to the window. “Are you from Austria?”

He laughed aloud.

“Australia, I meant,” she added, seemingly embarrassed by the mistake.

“I am indeed.” He watched her looking ahead towards the horizon. “So you wanna hitch a ride?”

Jared had a feeling she didn’t want to, but her current situation didn’t give her many choices. There they were in the middle of nowhere, with the next place a fair few miles away.

“Name’s Jared,” he said and then he opened the door and walked around the motorhome. Leaning against the vehicle, he looked at her. She was pretty. Thin, but pretty. When her brown eyes met his, he experienced another one of those heart tugs and wasn’t impressed at all. He tried to look right past her. It wasn’t happening though. They were like magnets.

“Jared,” he repeated and held out his hand.

Her look went right past him into the distance, and he assumed she was fighting with herself, part of her wanting to get off the road, the other part being worried.

“Anybody else travelling with you?” she asked quietly.

He shook his head. “Nope.”

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and, after a brief moment, reached for his hand. “Nice meeting you.”

Acknowledging that she wasn’t much into sharing details like her name, he opened the door for her. “Where are ya headin’?” he asked.

A smile started in her eyes and played with the corner of her lips. He felt himself smiling back. There was an appreciation in her smile.

“Could you drop me off at the next stop?” she asked hesitantly.

“Most certainly, but where are ya headin?”

She shrugged. “Kingman?”

“Is that on this road?”

Nodding, she said. “Yes, it is. It should be less than a hundred miles along this highway.”

“Then hop in.”

She turned to get into the motorhome, and he took in her small stature and the narrow shoulders which seemed even smaller in her tight, red T-shirt. Jared noticed her cargoes were just hanging onto her hips. A nice steak wouldn’t go astray on these hips. Suddenly she stopped and moved to look at him. “Thank you,” she whispered.

“No worries mate.”

Jared held her gaze and wasn’t sure what to say or do. She simply stood in front of him like frozen.

“My name is Ivy,” she said after a long moment.

“Hedera. An evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plant in the family Araliaceae.”

With a frown, she stared at him. “I really didn’t understand that one.”

He laughed. “Sorry, mate. I got carried away. I’m a landscaper. Ivy is a climbing plant.” Scratching the back of his head, he added, slightly self-conscious, “And, of course, a beautiful name.”

There was a small laugh as she stepped into the motorhome. He went around and slid behind the wheel before driving back onto the road. There was a long silence, and Jared wasn’t really sure what to do or say. Usually, he was good with silence. Actually, he loved it. But at that moment, the silence made him uncomfortable.

“So, what brings ya out into the middle of the sticks?”

When there was no reply, he turned and looked at her. There was a big frown on her face, and he sighed.

“I thought you all speak English as well?”

“We do,” she said with a slight giggle. “But I’m not so sure about you Australians.”

With a grin he replied, “Now, don’t be cheeky, Ivy.”

“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, my mom always said.” She laughed. “No way would I make fun of you.”

“So, you’re expectin’ a meal as well?”

There was a moment of silence again, and he glanced over. The smile was gone and panic was written all over her face.

“I… I didn’t—”

Quickly he reached out for her hand. “I’m pulling your leg.” And when she didn’t reply again, he muttered, “This thing with you Americans not understanding English is turning into a problem. I was kiddin’.”

“Pulling your leg?” She shook her head. “Never heard of it.”

A bark of laughter filled the small space. “Anyway. Talkin’ about food. There’s a small place ahead. Want some lunch?”

Guess where this is?

‘Good English Porridge?”

Today we are still in Northwest Scotland where the characters in my current WIP are involved in a scene that has ‘good English porridge’ at the center and around which all the action revolves. The minute my Scottish hero’s disapproving English step-mother insisted on feeding him a ‘good English porridge,’ I had to know what the difference was. (By the way, the step-mom is a terrible cook so her ‘good English porridge’ is actually pretty bad. My apologies to English cooks everywhere, but I am writing fiction.)

ScottishPORRIDGEAfter a review of several websites, I probably know more about porridge than I could ever want to know. Nonetheless for your benefit and that of my characters let me share what I learned.

First, for those travelers who might imagine I’m writing about oatmeal allow me to clarify. Porridge and oatmeal are not exactly the same thing. Oatmeal is a porridge made from oat grain. Porridge is made from any type of cooked cereal grain. Thus in Northern Scotland during the late 13th century—the time when the book is set—barley is the most likely form of porridge since that grain was the most easily grown in highland soils. Oats are a close second in Scotland and much more likely in England where arable land is more plentiful. Fortunately the scene I’m writing doesn’t require that I specify which grain is used. However, the differences noted above would imply that the step-mother’s offering would be made from oats, whereas a Scottish porridge during this time might well be made from barley or a mixture of available grains. You can read more about this at http://www.buzzle.com/articles/porridge-vs-oatmeal.html.

Also please note that porridge need not be breakfast food. This highly useful dish could be and was served at nearly every time of day with various sweet or savory additions depending on what meal was being served and what sort of flavor was desired. In fact the Castles and Manors website http://www.castlesandmanorhouses.com/life_04_food.htm#cerials says, “Another common sight at the medieval dinner table was the frumenty, a thick wheat porridge often boiled in a meat broth and seasoned with spices. Porridges were also made of every type of grain and could be served as desserts or dishes for the sick, if boiled in milk (or almond milk) and sweetened with sugar.”

Last I went to http://www.scottish-at-heart.com/porridge-recipe.html in search of ‘porridge trivia’

  • Traditionally, porridge is stirred with a wooden rod called a ‘Spirtle’ or ‘Spurtle’, which looks a bit like a drumstick (not the chicken variety!)
  • Superstition has it that Scottish porridge should always be stirred clockwise – and preferably with your right hand – otherwise the Devil will come for the person doing the stirring!
  • Porridge is traditionally served in wooden bowls, and eaten standing up. Each spoonful should be dipped in a bowl of cream that’s shared by everyone at the table
  • Porridge could well have been the worlds’ first ‘take-out’. Centuries ago, an authentic porridge recipe such as this one would be used to cook up a big pot and what wasn’t eaten for breakfast would be poured into ‘drawers’ or another container and allowed to cool.  Once it was cooled, the porridge could be cut up into slices or blocks, wrapped, and taken along on the days’ work to be eaten for lunch, dinner or a snack!

The humble porridge has even been immortalized in print! The famous Scottish Bard, Robert Burns, described it this way… “But now the supper crowns their simple board, the halesome parritch, chief of Scotias’ food.”

For an excellent discussion of modern oat porridge preparation visit http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/nov/10/how-to-cook-perfect-porridge

Do you have a porridge story or recipe you’d like to share with your fellow travelers? Can you identify the building in the featured picture of this post? Please leave a comment and share, this blog is for all who read romances or love to travel.

OH MY! Just a little side trip, then back to Scotland

I just received the cover for Knight Errant (release date August 17, 2015) from my publisher. I would do anything to be able to travel to Palermo, Rome, Northumbria in 1294, or any other time and place, if I could meet this guy. He’s the embodiment of Sir Robert Clarwyn a knight-errant in service to Edward I. Robert is tasked to retrieve the adventurous (and somewhat rebellious) Lady Juliana Verault so their king can hand her over in marriage to an unsuspecting Scot. Robert pitys the poor man, until he meets and gets to know Juliana.
KEcover

Isn’t he absolutely gorgeous?

By the way, this news went out first to subscribers of Rue Allyn’s Very Occasional Newsletter. If you’d like to receive this announcement only communique click here to subscribe.

SCOTLANDblogHEADER1000X250

What do you think?

Hmmm! With all the changes going on here (see the new blog title and header image) what do you say we add a little fun. Instead of putting a caption on the header image (which will change as we travel), I’d like you to guess what the image depicts. I’ll announce the answer just before we move to the next stop on our travels.

SUITcase

So this blog is changing and changing a lot. The name and URL–authortravels.com, The purpose–a place to share and dream for all who love travel and traveling. The focus–personal adventures and fictional settings. As an author, I am always traveling. Every setting (past, present or future) is a journey that I take both before I write and with my characters as a story develops. After my family, writing and traveling are my passions. So please join me on my travels, and we’ll tell each other stories along the way.

When will the change happen? Could be any day now. A few technical matters must be addressed, but we’ll definitely begin the voyage before August 01, 2015.

Where are we going? Our first destination is Northwest Scotland the setting for my current work in progress. Then we’ll be off to Italy and a brief stop in Northumbria to celebrate the release of my new medieval romance Knight Errant.

I look forward to seeing you there.

The Adventures of Princess Traveler, Nicaragua: Sorry, Parakeets not Parrots

PARAKEEThomes

Parakeet Homes

ELbrujo

El Brujo Waterfall

Today we ventured off the ‘beaten path’ [Waaaay off—well given the rough road and the number of farms it felt like ‘waaay off.’ In reality our destination was only 30 kilometers from Managua] to Chocoyero – El Brujo Natural Reserve, intending to view hundreds of wild green parakeets in their natural habitat—a sandstone cliff side near the lovely 400m El Brujo (The Wizard). The waterfall, is so named because it disappears underground, leaving no trace at the bottom of the fall. We saw the waterfall and the holes
the parakeets had chiseled in the cliff side but not a single parakeet. The only parakeet we saw during our trek through the subtropical rain forest that surrounds the cliff was completely unwilling to pause long enough to be photographed. I didn’t mind too much, since for me, the footpath through the rain forest was much more intriguing than the missing parakeets.

INTOdarkness

Into the Woods

We started with a short visit to the park guide station, where we viewed the preserved remains of all the poisonous snakes we might encounter on our trek. [Nice to know what to look out for.] Then we proceeded on our walk through the subtropical forest. The approach to the path was somewhat forbidding and definitely worth fictionalizing in a novel.

TERMITEnest

Termite Home

Once inside the verdant cave the temperature cooled considerably, but the humidity rose. Despite dripping with perspiration we weren’t really uncomfortable. Among the fascinating things we encountered were a couple of termite nests; a village of snake burrows [Thankfully no snakes emerged to greet us.]; gorgeous flowers; and the screams of howler monkeys. [The monkeys must have been visiting with the parakeets because we never caught sight of one of those either.]

SNAKEvillage

Snake Village (Look carefully, the holes are in the ground.)

YELLOWflowers

Gorgeous Yellow Blossoms

Is this a Morning Glory?

Is this a Morning Glory?

We enjoyed the walk, despite the absence of parakeets, but I was hot and tired by the time we reached our car. Ulisses suggested we drive to La Laguna Apoyo  and have lunch there. I’m very glad we took his suggestion. The Laguna (read lake) is a gorgeous spot where rains LAGUNAapoyoand underground springs have filled the crater of a dormant volcano. Public and private beaches dot the otherwise rocky lakeshore which rises sharply from the lake. Small hotels and private homes are scattered along the rim. We chose to eat at ?? Abuela (read Grandma’s) and were thoroughly delighted. I’ve never had fried fish as light, crispy and greaseless as I had today. I am now a huge fan of Nicaraguan cookery as well as their excellent coffee. Still weary from our walk and sated from an excellent meal we decided to return to our hotel.

Tomorrow we head to the Gran Pacifica resort, one of the communities we are considering as an investment and a retirement home. Please leave a comment and tell me about some of the gems you’ve visited, especially those with unusual names.

 

The Adventures of Princess Traveler, Nicaragua: My Name is Traveler NOT Grace

MonkeyScratchWe decided our first trip outside of Managua would be to the colonial city of Granada. Colonial because it was originally a Spanish settlement. Established in 1524 Granada is the oldest colonial community in Central America. It’s streets are narrow and much of the architecture is very old. Some of the major sites include the Antiquo Convento San Francisco (now a museum), the waterfront, Las Isletas, and Volcan Mombacho.

The previous afternoon we contacted DeTour Nicaragua [I highly recommend this travel agency to anyone visiting Nicaragua. Juan and his staff know exactly how to treat a princess.] to hire a driver and guide for the day trip to Granada. The cost was very reasonable, and we did not have to worry about navigating any of Nicaragua’s very challenging roads. Don’t get me wrong. Managua and other cities in this country have very modern freeways and highways, but outside the cities you take your chances.

Ulises our guide and Alvaro our driver met us at our hotel promptly at 8:00 AM. This surprised me because I had expected them to arrive a good thirty to sixty minutes later—pretty much a standard for Nicaraguan appointments. The drive to Granada took about an hour allowing for stops, starts and swerves to avoid pedestrians, horse carts, cattle herds and other interesting obstacles. All were encountered with a calm and nonchalance that you would never see in an American city where the least obstacle is greeted with curses and impatience. Dream Man and I prefer the Nicaraguan approach by far.

MonkeyINtreeAt Granada, which sits wedged between the foot of Volcan Mombacho [yes volcan = Volcano]  and the southern edge of Lake Nicaragua, we began our site-seeing with an hour long boat ride through Las Isletas. This enchanting series of islets, where many of the richest Nicaraguans have vacation homes, is the result of volcanic explosions that occurred millennia ago. Those islets not overtaken by humans remain inhabited by a rich variety of wildlife, including but not limited to birds, frogs, snakes and monkeys. We had fun watching children from another boat tossing food to the monkeys who were eager to snap up the treats then beg for more.

CathedralModel

Getting a full picture of the Catedral from the front is not easy, so this image is of a model located in the Antiguo Convento San Francisco. It is to scale.

After the boat ride we spent several hours walking the streets of Granada. It was in the stunning Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion, built in 1583 that I discovered why my name is Princess Traveler and not Princess Grace. I am always moving and always looking ahead [or in the case of the cathedral looking up]. Grace would watch where she placed her feet, move fluidly to a vantage point, stop and then look up. I on the other hand tried to do all at once. In the process I did not see the kneeling bench that had gotten shoved out into the aisle where I was walking. Dream man tells me that I fell very slowly. My lungs don’t agree. I hit the marble flooring with enough momentum to knock my breath away.

Stupidly my first concern was that I had broken the camera and my phone. Thankfully nothing was broken although I bruised a knee, my chest and my forehead. I did not see stars only the plaster face of the Virgin looking sorrowful as if she, the Queen of Heaven, could not imagine such a clumsy princess existed.

Hands reached out from everywhere to help me to my feet. I clung to my dream man for a moment before sitting down. I insisted he go on with Ulises so I could rest and recover my breath. I took the time to say a prayer of thanks that the consequences of my fall had been small and for the kindness Nicaraguans extended to a stranger.

MasayaMarketWe had a lovely lunch after touring the city then set out for the market at Masaya. The market targets tourists (big surprise), but I wanted to see it nonetheless. In existence since the establishment of the city, the market today is divided into hundreds of covered stalls where a tourist can purchase everything from hand woven hammocks to pottery to large bottles of Flor Cana (Nicaragua’s national Rum). We indulged ourselves by purchasing Christmas gifts for friends and relatives then returned to Managua for more swimming and relaxation. I’m delighted that I visited Granada a vibrant and enchanting city, but I am Princess Traveler, and despite my stumble, I am always looking ahead. Tomorrow, Parrots.

Please let me know about an occasion when you stumbled but got up again and continued on.

The Adventures of Princess Traveler, Nicargua: Morning and More in Managua

ManguaHotelView

We woke this morning to bright sunshine and a view of low mountains. Our hotel has a terrific breakfast buffet including traditional Nicaraguan dishes such as beans and rice, fried plantains, local cheese both fried and fresh, and a sort of stewed chicken as well as fare more familiar to North Americans like made to order omelets, home fries, scrambled eggs and a variety of breads. Dream Man loves the fresh off the tree fruit. My favorite part of every meal is the coffee. I don’t believe there is a bitter cup in the country.

ManguaHotelView

 

I can’t say enough good about the courtesy at this hotel or anywhere else in Nicaragua for that matter. In very few USA hotels (and other businesses) does anyone open a door for a guest. Here in Nicaragua, everyone local and tourist alike is treated like royaty. Doors are opened, chairs are pulled out, plates are brought or whisked away with the wave of a hand. Perhaps this is true only of our hotel, but I suspect not. Today, while we’re tour Managua, I expect to be treated with the courtesy due a valued guest. The least Dream Man and I can do is return the courtesy and honor my hosts. We start learning Spanish today. No, we do not anticipated being even close to fluent before we must leave for Michigan. However, we already love Nicaragua and plan to return often.

 

Now that breakfast is finished we start the day’s adventure with a stroll from the hotel to la Plaza de la Revolucion. [Please forgive the lack of proper accent marks in my Spanish phrases. I haven’t yet figured out how to make this computer comply with international spellings.] The morning is sunny and pleasantly warm. The walk is relatively short although adventurous. The few sidewalks that exist are narrow and uneven. We often found ourselves, like most Nicaraguans, walking on the edge of the busy street. Thankfully the drivers seem very aware of their surroundings and we arrive at the Plaza without mis-hap. 

PlazaRevelucion

The Plaza is a broad open area with little to see other than the Museo Nacoinal de Nicaragua. We spend a lovely hour becoming familiar with the historical displays there. Then we continue our walk to the Malecon (waterfront) on Lake Managua. We quickly observe that the busy waterfront is not for tourists. I thank heaven that Dream Man is tall and imposing. No one on the Malecon thought we would make a good target.

 

Tired of walking we waved down a taxi and return to our hotel for lunch and an afternoon of swimming in the pool and sunbathing. This evening we plan to dine at La Casa de los Mejia Godoy. Godoy is famous for his performances of Nicaraguan folk music, and I hoped very much to hear some. Sadly the performance for the night of our dinner had been canceled. I still have the link to a You Tube video performance of Godoy’s which I share with you here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp7-nWslZe0.  As for our evening out, we did enjoy the company of some new friends and a delicious meal of local appetizers, seafood and beer before returning to our hotel to rest up for our journey the next day to Granada and the market at Masaya.

 

Please leave a comment and tell me how you handled a small disappointment in your life.

 

The Adventures of Princess Traveler, Nicaragua: Day 1

I was soooooo excited. Today was the day I would get to Nicaragua, land of Marimba and parrots. Then reality set in. Even a Princess as royal as I cannot change time.  Our flight from Michigan did not leave until after 2:00 PM, a loooong six hours from my 8:00 AM waking time.

I had a few ‘last minute’ arrangements to delegate, but I had hoped to spend the waiting hours in pleasant dalliance with Dream Man. However, Dream Man had to work from home until the metro car picked us up. I was left to my own devices [Dream Man is off limits when he works from home].DEESbook

I consoled myself and passed the hours with Cindy Dees latest romantic  novel. [Dream Man could be the archetype for those terrifically passionate fictional heroes.] The hours passed and finally [just as I got to the good part of Ms. Dees’ novel], the car pulled into our driveway. Dream Man stopped working. We loaded the cases into the car and were off…to do some more waiting [and reading].

Jet Airplane Landing at SunsetAt DTW we waited to board. Once on the
plane we waited two and a half hours to arrive in Atlanta where we would change planes. In Atlanta we waited an hour before boarding the Managua flight. We waited through three and a half hours on that flight before arriving in

Nicaragua’s capital city. [It was now a full 13 hours since I’d gotten up in the morn ing.] And we were not yet done waiting. Nicaraguan Customs officers are very efficient. However, we took our place in the Customs line on the one day that problems plagued the Customs computer system. An hour and a half later we were done waiting.

Finished with Customs we picked up our checked bags [which had been waiting for us], stepped out the door into an army of men who inundated TAXIus with pleas to allow them to drive us to our hotel. Dream Man selected a driver and we were off, arriving at our hotel in less than an hour, exhausted from a day of waiting.

Because the hour was so late I saw nothing of Nicaragua’s scenery between the airport and the hotel. The hotel was an odd mixture of elegance and shabbiness. The lobby was a marvel of mirrors and marble. Our very spacious suite [which has no dresser] must have the oldest carpet in creation. Holes adorn the worn upholstery of comfy chairs and a sofa. The electronics set up is state of the art. [All of the rooms electricity is controlled by inserting a key card into a wall slot so we only use power when we are actually in the room]. The bathroom is tiny but plush. That night I didn’t care. All I wanted was a bed to rest my weary body and mind. I was so tired I didn’t even mind that Dream Man was snoring before my head hit the pillow.

Please leave a comment. Let me know about a time when you had too much time to anticipate and how you dealt with that. Next time, Morning in Managua.

The Adventures of Princess Traveler, Nicaragua: Getting Ready

So, we’re going to Nicaragua. The decision’s been made. What’s the first thing Dream Man does, the morning after we celebrated making the decision? Did he kiss me with the passion that I love? Did he write poems about his gratitude for my wise and gracious decision to accompany him? HandFDid he make promises of romance and beauty at our destination? No. No, kisses, poems or promises. Not even a blissful thank you. What Dream Man did first was present me with a huge list of ‘To Do’ items, along with an announcement. “Beloved,” he says. “Since I must labor at my day job [The job that keeps me in tiaras and bon-bons] I know you will not mind taking care of these minor arrangements in preparation for our adventure.” With that he kissed my cheek and left me staring after him wondering if I was a Princess or an errand-girl.

Let me tell you, I am definitely NOT an errand-girl. I’m a Princess [note the capital P], and a Princess does not run errands or make arrangements. If a task does happen to come the way of a Princess, she delegates to underlings, so she can continue the difficult work of being the beautiful and gracious woman her dream man loves. Sadly the only underlings available were my two cats, Jose and Junior. Everyone knows that cats consider themselves to be more regal than the most royal of humans. Hence Junior and Jose refused to even acknowledge my orders to implement Dream Man’s list.

The upshot is that I had to remove my tiara, set aside my bon-bons and take up the role of errand-girl [Ugh!] Oh how embarrassing. Thank heaven that no one other than Dream Man [and now you, my friends] realizes that I am a Princess.

What’s that you say? You want me to cut to the chase and tell you what was on the list? Fine. For those of you more interested in practicalities than Princessly angst, here’s the list:

  1. Make Managua Hotel Reservations
  2. Make Airline Reservations
  3. Determine Vaccination RequirementsSHOT
  4. Get Vaccinated
  5. Notify Credit Card Companies to Avoid Credit Shut Off Due to Unusual Expenses
  6. Notify Alarm Company of Our Absence
  7. Notify Local Police Force of Our Absence
  8. Look into Need for Medical Insurance and Acquire Same
  9. Determine Phone Provider Support in Nicaragua
  10. Register Electronics with Customs to Avoid Paying Duty on Stuff We Already Own
  11. Review Customs Requirements in Nicaragua and US, Complete Necessary Documents and Pack for Safekeeping
  12. Arrange for Cat Care
  13. Determine Costs of Rental Care or Hiring Driver
  14. Investigate and Acquire Trip Insurance (if needed)
  15. Determine Where/How to Get Laundry Done in Nicaragua
  16. Decide on Activities to Pursue while in Nicaragua and Make Reservations as Needed
  17. Create VPN
  18. Acquire and Pack All Prescription Medicines.
  19. Pack All Suitcases and Carry Ons
  20. Arrange Transport to and From Airport & Hotel, Airport and Home

Now a twenty item list may not seem much to you, but many of those items are complex and/or depend on the cooperation of other people. Nonetheless, this Princess proved more than capable of handling the task. Then, will wonders never cease, Dream Man arrives home from his job (the day before we are to depart) and comes through with the adoration that is my due. [Needless to say, I did not get much sleep that night.] Believe you me, being adored, body [every very happy inch] and soul is an exquisitely pleasant way to live and well worth running a few errands.

SUITcaseThe work is done and we are on our way. Please leave a comment and tell me about your travel preparations. Next time—Day 1 in Nicaragua