Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Why I Love Canada: Confessions of an American South of the Border (Canadian Border, That Is)

I have written about "Why I Love England and my favorite summer vacation, which was on a narrow boat in England, but I haven't written about another country that I dearly love:  Canada. 

I was reminded of that fact when I recently watched the documentary
Being Canadian (2015).

There has been a great deal of interest in Canada of late (which I will get to later), but, despite all of this interest, who really knows anything about Canada?

That was a question that writer/director Robert Cohen was interested in finding the answer to, so he decided to drive from one end of the country to the other and interview people, asking them what they thought other people's views of Canada were. Starting from Nova Scotia in June of 2013, he planned to drive to Vancouver B.C. and get there by July 1.

He interviewed locals as well as famous Canadians who interject from time to time during the film.

"How do you feel about the world's seeming indifference to Canada?"

Dan Ackroyd - "Americans don't even know where it is."

Will Arnett - "If we were next to Uganda we would stick out a little more."

Cobie Smulders - "People ask me if I live in an igloo."

Alan Thicke - "We needed to have Walt Disney.  Instead we got Alex Trebeck."

"Why do non-Canadians freak out when they find out you are Canadian?"

Michael J. Fox - "People felt betrayed [that I wasn't an American]."

Martin Short - "They thought we were Russian spies dressed up like Americans."

"Why are Canadians so nice?"

According to a national etiquette expert, some of that politeness hails from British rule, but several people responded that they are afraid to put someone down because of how it reflects on them.  And maybe they aren't so nice after all.  Maybe it's passive aggression.

But they are nice. They are so nice, they don't even have a national food (unless you count maple syrup, bacon and beer), because they don't want to offend any food.

Catherine O'Hara - "We are so polite that I say, "Oops, sorry, when I bump into the furniture."

Why do so many funny people come from Canada?

They have a better sense of humor about themselves than we Americans do or how else could you explain curling?

And here are some other funny Canadian not already mentioned:

Samantha Bee
John Candy
Jim Carrey
Tommy Chong
Tom Green
Phil Hartman
Rich Little
Rick Moranis
Mike Myers
Seth Rogan
Mort Sahl
David Steinberg
Dave Thomas

Part travelogue, part comic documentary, Cohen also asks why is Canadian television so bad, do Canadians really have an inferiority complex and can anyone explain Canada's love-hate relationship with the United States?

Oh, and by the way, we Americans need to stop saying to Canadians, "I have a friend in Canada.  Maybe you know him?"

But on a more personal level, Canada has actually played a big part in my life over the years.

Growing up in Michigan, it was not a stretch for my parents to vacation in Canada, though we didn't vacation much.  But I have vivid memories of the Horseshoe Falls (the Canadian side of Niagara Falls) and deciding, even at a very young age, that the Canadian side of the falls was superior to the American.  My mother also collected cups and saucers so I remember hours and hours in Canadian gift shots. Canada was an English bone china collector's dream:

I also had a very good friend in high school, who it turns out was Canadian, which I didn't know at the time.  However, I should have, because she was very cool.

I got married young, and it was during the Vietnam War.  My then husband was drafted and sent to Vietnam, but before that, we seriously considered moving to Canada to avoid the draft.  Several of my friends from college actually did that.  But we didn't.

Later, when I moved to California, and then to the Pacific Northwest, vacationing in Canada became a regular thing, especially in Victoria, which is an Anglophile's dream.  It is often spoken of as "more English than England."

But now I know I need to address the elephant in the room. 

It's not by coincidence that Canada was on so many people's minds over the last couple of years as the U.S. Presidential campaign came to an end, and it became apparent that Donald Trump would become the 45th President of the United States.  Celebrities and commoners alike were saying that if he won, they were moving to Canada.  Canada has always been that welcoming country to the North that has so much going for it, so why not move there?

For example, one can't help but compare the two leaders:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau                   President Donald Trump




Young                                                                                  Old
Handsome                                                    Not so much
Progressive                                                   Wants to go back in time       
Wants good U.S./Canadian relations                Could build a wall
Feminist                                                        Misogynist
Against bullying                                             Likes to bully
Believes in climate change                              Not 
Popular                                                                   Not

I could go on but I won't.  Let's move on to something more pleasant.

Here's what I love about Canada:

Unparalleled Beauty.



Really friendly, polite people.

Exciting and fun modes of transportation.

Victoria is one of my favorite cities in all of the world.  And it's true. Victoria does seem more English than England or at least as English.  Having High Tea at The Empress Hotel is de rigeur for tourists, though I prefer the smaller tea houses.

A drink in the Bengal Lounge, which was decorated as if to celebrate the rule of India, was also a must, and I have many happy memories of spending time there, but alas, it has closed after 61 years.  I guess celebrating the Raj isn't very PC.

But I will miss it!

And then there is Parliament, lit up at night.


The delights of Victoria are endless.


I never leave Canada without my tea from Murchies, the best tea in the world. I stock up and when I run out, I know it's time to get back up to Canada to replenish my tea supply, and when I can't go there in person, I order it online.

Friendly Border Patrol.
Crossing the Border, the Canadian border guards ask you about booze and guns - they don't want drunk, gun-toting Americans coming into their friendly, peaceful country.  Crossing back into the U.S. the border guards don't seem to care about drunk, gun-toting Americans coming back into the States as much as they seem to care about our possibly smuggling too much Murchie's tea into the country. Actually, they are just mostly gruff, suspicious and like to mess with you.

Lifetime Movies.
You know how I feel about Lifetime movies, and if you don't, here is a reminder.  You might not know this, but Lifetime Movies are almost always shot either in Vancouver or Toronto, though they purport to be set in San Francisco or Seattle (it's cheaper, you see).  My favorite reminder of that was a Lifetime movie supposedly set in Seattle, except there was this little ol' highway sign that said Whistler 120 km.  Mmmm - don't remember that sign in Seattle. Anyway, I have watched so many of these movies that I recognize the Canadian actors, who are almost a repertory company of actors moving in and out of such classic Lifetime Movies as "Love Sick: Secrets of a Sex Addict" and "Killer Hair."

Yes, hair can kill.

Kurt Browning and Figure Skating.
And you know how I feel about figure skating because I have actually written about what I have learned from it ("What This Newly Retired Baby Boomer Has Learned from Figure Skating").  So I am happy to live near the Canadian border where we get the CBC coverage of figure skating, which I have to say, is much more beloved in Canada than here, so it gets full coverage and, Kurt Browning, four-time World figure skating champion, does wonderfully droll commenting on the sport.


Poutine - c'mon.  If we love French fries, then French fries with gravy and cheese curds has to be that much better, right?

National Health.
I have never understood why single payer insurance is such an emotional issue here in the U.S.  If I am going to pay taxes, I want some benefit, and having my health taken care of from birth to the grave should be a human right. Canada and every other country in the world has national health except us.

I Feel Safe There.
It's difficult to get a gun.

Not too long ago, I briefly looked into what it would take to move to Canada, get the equivalent of a green card there or even citizenship and discovered to my horror that despite our ticking most all the desirable characteristics of a possible citizen, Hubby and I are too old to be of interest to the Canadian government, unless we have several hundred thousand dollars to invest, which we don't. I guess they want to keep out old folks who might drain their national health system. Canadians are also smart.

So we won't be moving to Canada anytime soon and I probably never would have.  I am proud to be an American and believe that America is a great country, and despite setbacks, I plan to stay involved so that it remains a great country. 

I will just have to settle for regular forays across the border to visit one of my favorite countries.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

So anyway,  those were just a few reasons why I love Canada.

And Canada must feel the same way about me, too, because they named a Vancouver hotel after me (yes, Rosy the Reviewer's real name is Rosellen)!

Oh, and it's so true about Canadians being super polite.  Canada is so polite, even their buses are polite.

On a recent visit to Vancouver, we saw a bus and its destination sign read "Not in Service - Sorry."

So as it said at the end of the film: "Today's Canada doesn't need explaining.  It's cool and everyone knows it!
Right on!


Thanks for reading.

See you Friday 
for my review of the new movie


as well as

 "The Week in Reviews"
(What To See or Read and What to Avoid)

and the latest on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project."

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Woman of a Certain Age Flying Solo

I have to say that for all of my 67 years, I haven't traveled solo very much, even as a young woman. I mean, I have flown alone when necessary, but never gone on safari alone or backpacked through Thailand by myself, that sort of thing.

I am just back from California where I went to see my new baby granddaughter, a big deal because she is the first granddaughter. 

She joins her brothers in my son's and daughter-in-law's family.  I went alone because Hubby still has a job (poor Hubby), and let me tell you, flying ain't what it used to be and flying solo as a woman of a certain age can really suck. 

Don't get me started on how flying in general has changed, but what I have discovered now is that where once I was of interest to my seatmates, I have now become invisible.

The first time I ever went to Europe, I flew to London alone to visit my niece.  My mother and sister were also going to be there. I was in my 30's and on the flight over I sat next to a gentleman who was probably in his forties.  Not sure.  I looked especially cute in my 80's Express sweatshirt, long skirt and bobby sox and tennis shoes (what can I say, is there any explanation whatsoever about fashion in the 80's?). Anyway, we talked the whole time until he said it was time for him to sleep, but he wanted to invite me (and my mother and sister) to visit him where he was staying at The Ritz. I think that meant he kind of liked me. He was in London to give a paper on this new disease that had cropped up, an anti-immune thing that might have been caused by monkeys.  It was 1987.

But flying solo isn't all about flying in an airplane.  It's all about doing things alone and for a woman of a certain age that can be daunting.

I have traveled a lot but not many times alone. I have had to go back home alone when each of my parents became ill and died and I have flown alone to meet my daughter for a mother daughter trip that I wrote about.  But in general I travel with Hubby and since he is such a control freak, I tell him what I want and he makes it happen.

So when it comes to traveling on my own, I am not entirely comfortable with flying by myself, renting the car, driving where I need to get to and staying in a hotel alone.

What I notice now is that once where there were nice young men who took an interest in me and peers who engaged me when I did travel alone, now there are none.

Also do you notice how men hog the armrests?  That never would have happened when I was younger.  Another reason to have an aisle seat.  At least one of your arms won't be screwed into your own lap.

But since my children live far and wide and the grandchildren likewise, if I want to see them, I need to be able to travel.  And since Hubby still has a job and doesn't have a lot of time off, I might have to do it on my own.

I have two grandsons whom I love dearly and they live in California.  I now also have a little granddaughter who was born five weeks ago who also lives in Cally, so I decided I needed to go meet her. I also have a very close friend who is not well and who also lives in California and when I travel there I want to see him too.

So off I went to California solo.

I not only was flying solo but renting a car and driving 90 minutes south solo(which I never have to do) to see the sick friend, staying solo with friends I hadn't seen in over 12 years (the kind of thing I never do), staying solo in an airbnb room in a house solo (which I had never done), all anxiety provoking, but since I took Brene Brown's course and read her book "Daring Greatly," I decided I needed to put it in practice -- and dare greatly.

But since I am a sort of control freak myself, daring greatly doesn't mean flying by the seat of my pants.  Oh, no.  I plan for daring greatly.

For example, when flying I always check in exactly 24 hours before my flight so I can change that 25D seat to a 9D.  That's when the good seats open up.  One of the few times bigger isn't better.  I like to sit as close to First Class as possible so I can enjoy the good life vicariously...and also get the hell off the plane as quickly as possible.  It also doesn't hurt that the beverage service starts up at the front of the plane either.

I also have TSA Precheck

That's the line where those of you who don't have it wonder why people like me are whizzing through security. 

However as a woman of a certain age, I have had to endure the occasional comment from harried businessmen asking me if I was in the right line as if a woman of a certain age should not be amongst them.  Hey, buddy, I may be retired, but I'm not stupid.  No long security lines for this gal, but, speaking of which, the Precheck lines are getting longer and longer as the TSA folks open it up to "civilians," people who somehow qualify for that flight (not sure how), but have never done it before.  Since they are newbies, they don't realize they don't have to take off their shoes, open their computers, take off their jackets or show the TSA agents their precious liquids, thus holding up the line with their cluelessness.  So here I am in the line with the snotty businessmen and the tourists disrobing, holding up the line until the TSA agent yells at them and tells them they don't need to strip and to get the hell into the X-ray machine.That must be why those businessmen questioned my being there. I get a little impatient too.

The one bad thing about having a seat up front is that you have to board last, thus finding no place in the overheads for your bag.  I have trained myself to compress my fashion desires into one carry-on but it's one of those carry-ons that is iffy.  More than once my bag has caught the eye of airline personnel as I walk down the jet way and I have been forced to check it so I have become expert at dragging it on the side away from the agent to avoid detection and if necessary I am not above causing a distraction so as not to be separated from my bag ("Are those flames coming out of the side of the plane?").

But the negative side of the carry-on for a woman of a certain age is having to get it up into the overhead bins.  There was a time in my young life when there were no end of nice big men who would offer to put the bag up there for me.  But now I'm on my own unless I want to pull the "granny card:"  - "Young man, could you help a little old lady?"  I'm not there yet.

I have written about the art of travel for Baby Boomers so you know that I like to look nice when I fly. There was a time when everyone got dressed up to fly.  It was a big deal.  These days you see everything from sweats and flip flops to a neck pillow and fuzzy slippers.  But for a woman of a certain age who is flying solo and has to fight the invisibility factor, it's especially important. I have this idea that I will be treated better if I look good and possibly get an upgrade, but deep down I think if I look fabulous the plane wouldn't dare take a nose dive.

So if you find yourself flying solo (literally), here are some tips:

1.  Look Fabulous

Like I said, it's a courage booster.  How could the plane crash when you look this good?

2.  Get yourself signed up for TSA Precheck

I walked into San Jose Airport, trotted through the TSA Precheck line and was enjoying a cocktail within 5 minutes!

3.  Always get an aisle seat

If you do, you don't need to crawl over anyone when you want to get up.  The one bad thing, though, is you will have to get up when your seatmates in the middle seat and window seat have to use the toilet.  I'm not sure why I, a woman of a certain age does not need to use the toilet for a two hour flight, when a woman in her twenties sitting by the window can't seem to hold it.

4. Order wine

Duh. So what if it's only 10am.  It's 5 o'clock somewhere and it helps a LOT if you are afraid to fly.

5.  Smile at the flight attendants

That sometimes results in a free drink or at the very least, the feeling that if something bad happens he or she might get you out first!

6.  Say hi to your seat mates...

and then shut the hell up unless they show an interest in you which they probably won't because you are old and invisible.  Nothing shows your age more than yakking at people who would rather sleep.

7.  Learn to fit everything into a carry-on.

But realize you are going to have to hoist it into the overhead bins yourself because you are now old and invisible - those nice big men are now helping your younger, cuter self somewhere else on the plane.

8.  Bring content

I fill my IPad with books, magazines and movies.  I don't know why everyone doesn't do that.  I know everyone cannot afford a computer or IPad but they can certainly go to the library and get a book for free.  I can't tell you how often I have sat next to someone who for the entire flight sat staring at the back of the seat ahead - no computer, no book, no magazine...who does that?

9.  Try something new. What's the worst that could happen?

OK, the airbnb was a disaster, but don't think about that.

But you know the whole point of this blog post isn't just about flying solo in an airplane, right?

I know, frickin' obvious. Flying solo is a sort of metaphor for...flying solo in life.  I know. Frickin' obvious.

I will never be someone who travels to the Amazon alone and lives in a hut or climbs Mount Everest, but for some of us, just doing some basic things alone is a big deal.

I have a lot of fears. I overthink things.  I worry.  That can stop me short of spreading my wings and doing things on my own.

But you know what they say about courage.  Courage is not about being fearless.  Courage is about being afraid but doing it anyway.

I am a bit afraid to fly, I don't like staying alone in a hotel, I worry about having an anxiety attack when driving long distances by myself (it's happened before), I worry about staying with strangers in an airbnb, and I worry about not being home in the comfort of the routines I have come to know and love.  There are a lot of "what ifs."

But I do it anyway.

Because this is what I will miss out on if I am afraid to fly solo.

So dare greatly.  Don't let being alone stop you. No matter what your age, don't be afraid to fly solo!

Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday
for my review of the new movie 

"Hello My Name is Doris"

 The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before

 I Die Project."

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How to Have a Successful (and Happy) Mother/Daughter Getaway: Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque


As you know I am retired. 

But that doesn't necessarily mean I am now traveling the world as so many retirees do.  Au contraire, I am in fact not traveling any more than I used to when I was working, because Hubby is decidedly NOT retired and may never retire since he doesn't have a pension.  He also knows he wants to keep his wife's lifestyle up to the standard to which she has become accustomed.

So if I want to travel more, I either need to do it by myself or find someone else to travel with.

Like many of you out there, my adult children do not live down the street.  I wish they did because then we could have Sunday dinners together and not worry about when we can spend time together.  Instead, we have to plan vacations around getting together, which can be wonderful but also fraught with possible problems.

Think about it.  When your family lives nearby you can choose when to see each other and for how long (unless you are the kind of mother-in-law who just drops by which I would NEVER do...)

But when your family lives far and wide, you can't just drop by or even have a regular dinner together.  You have to plan vacations around being together, and to make it worthwhile, it usually has to be for a week, or at least a few days, and once you are all together, the unspoken expectation is that you will spend all of your time together.  It's not like dropping by the house for a visit and then going home after dinner.  When you meet up after not seeing each other for months at a time, the expectation is that you will do everything together all day and all night long, especially if you are all staying together in the same house and one of you is hosting.  This worked when your kids were ten; it doesn't necessarily work that well when they are 35 with families of their own. No matter how much you all love each other, it's not natural for everyone to be thrown together for days at a time, and yet families are surprised and disappointed when tensions occur. 

I grew up in the Midwest at a time when families were born, raised and died in the same town or at least the same state.  My grandparents lived across the street and my mother's brothers and sister all lived in the same town.

But then my generation started moving away from that model.  My sister moved to New York and I moved to California right after college with nary a care about what our parents thought about that.

Anyway, that's the long story, which I won't bore you with now.

The short story is that I now live in Washington State, my son lives in California (not far from where we raised him, which he is quick to point out) and my daughter is in Virginia.  We see our son regularly because we return to California often for a variety of reasons, one of which is to see them and our two grandsons, but we don't get to see our daughter as much.

So with my being retired and Hubby not able to travel as much as I would like, I had been bugging my daughter to go on a trip with me.

Finally the timing seemed right so we talked about some destinations: Portland and Oregon Wine Country?  Hawaii?  Paris?  (Hubby said no way are we going to Paris without HIM)! 

My daughter suggested Santa Fe, New Mexico, which sounded just perfect. Something exotic (desert) and beautiful, great food, history.  Did I mention food?

I threw in Taos.  We planned to meet in Albuquerque (which I have just learned to spell) and drive to Santa Fe together.

I will just say at the outset that we had a wonderful time.  But that does not come without some planning, both physical and mental.

So for those of you out there who would like to have a successful and happy getaway with your daughter (or son), for what it's worth, here is what I've learned:

Tip #1:  Fly First Class
You would be surprised.  Flying first class is not really out of reach unless you are particularly parsimonious.  You can often score a First Class seat for an extra $100 and some frequent flyer miles. 

And for me, someone who does not fly alone that much, it is well worth the extra money, especially on the way home when I was sad to leave my daughter and exhausted from a fun-filled six days.  When I flop into that roomy leather seat (after smiling and greeting the flight attendants, of course), open up my content-filled IPad as I await my complimentary glass of sauvignon blanc (that my flight attendant happily gets from the other cabin so I don't have to drink the dreaded chardonnay), I feel safe and cared for.  It's worth every penny.  Speaking of drinking, though, be careful if you need to drive when you get to your destination.  Those unlimited free drinks in First Class could become a Toad's Wild Ride.

Tip #2: Come bearing gifts
If you have been reading my blog, you know about my Dad.  He was the most generous person I have ever known, not just with material things but with his time.  He would go out of his way to surprise you with a coveted item or do something nice for you.  So I came to equate love with gift giving to a certain extent and I like doing it. 

My daughter and I had talked about really living the Southwestern life and bringing clothes that celebrated that.  I told her I had a top I thought she would like but I also brought her a knit book bag (one of Oprah's Favorite Things...and you know how I feel about Oprah)!  Turns out the top fit her perfectly and the bag was big enough to hold not only her "personal item" (purse) for the plane but all of the stuff she bought while shopping as well!

My daughter brought me something too, which was a lovely surprise.  No matter how old we get, we enjoy gifts and heartfelt notes, right?

And buying your daughter a little something as a souvenir on the trip will make both of you happy and give her something to remember you by.  So don't be cheap!


Breakfast at Clafoutis in Santa Fe near our casita in the blouse I brought her.

Tip #3: Take turns planning a day's activities
Speaking of shopping, my daughter came up with the great idea of each of us taking turns for planning a whole day's activities.  A great idea because then each person gets to do something she wants to do (within reason, of course).

My daughter planned a day of pampering - we had facials together - and also a day exploring the cliff dwellings at Bandolier National Monument.  I was a bit worried about the latter as my daughter is a hiker, but she assured me it was not going to be a trek into the back country but rather an easy walk.  Good thing, because you have never heard such huffing and puffing as I did all over Santa Fe and Taos.  I walk a great deal but not usually at 7000 feet!


I let my daughter do the climbing.  I could barely hike at that altitude let alone haul my butt up those ladders!  I think I was suffering a bit from altitude sickness.  Or I'm just a wimp!


Don't Ask!  Oh, ok, I'm an Abert's Squirrel (with sunglasses)!

Tip #4: Plan activities you both enjoy
We took turns planning the day's activities, but we also too care to plan activities we would both like. My daughter and I both enjoy good food and the occasional adult beverage.  Ok, more than occasional but we enjoy the good stuff. 

The day I planned was a food tour of Santa Fe provided by the Santa Fe School of Cooking.  We started out with "Christmas enchiladas" and a beer at the cooking school and then walked to four other restaurants around town.  Our tour guide was a chef and he shared points of interest along the way.

"Christmas enchiladas" - when you can't decide on whether you want the red sauce or the green sauce, so you order both!  Now you know.

One of the restaurants we visited: Eloisa, named after the chef's grandmother, who was Georgia O'Keefe's personal chef.

We also visited the Agoyo Lounge, La Boca/Taberna and Il Piatto, all delicious.

In addition to the official food tour, we did our own tour and sampled some more of the fine dining Santa Fe had to offer.

                     "Christmas" Tamales

Scallop Salad                                                  

Pasqual's. Try getting into this place without a reservation.  Good luck!

Another favorite was Love Apple in Taos.
We decided to walk there not realizing part of the walk was right on the road out of town (no sidewalk), so as it became darker, we started worrying about our walk back.  We asked the waitress if there was a taxi service in Taos.  Uh...not really, but there is this guy.  I texted "the guy," Mario, who came and got us in his Town Car "in 15 minutes," as promised and drove us the mile or so to our casita for $10.  It was the best $10 we ever spent and turns out he and his wife are "local celebrities (his words)," as they both have bit parts in the TV show "Longmire."  He regaled my daughter with his pictures from the show before she got out of the car.  But a small price to pay as he saved our "you-know-whats" by leaving his home and coming to get us at 9pm on a Sunday night.  Thank you, Mario!


My daughter and I also enjoy "exploring" bars.

And then there is shopping.

And that was just the beginning!

Tip #5:  Plan for when things go wrong.

So on to Plan B!

Tip # 6: Always have a Plan B.

Tip #7:  Book two bedrooms and two baths, if possible.
It took me awhile, but I realize that my children are no longer children.  They require the same privacy that I do, so I think it's important when traveling with any other adult, that you have your private spaces.  I also know that my daughter has a different view about keeping her private space neat (she has a unique way of organizing her clothes - it's called heaps on the floor), so it's best for all around that we have our own bedrooms, not to mention that I probably snore. 

I rented casitas with two bedrooms in all three destinations: Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque, and at two of them, we had two bathrooms. I think traveling is as much about enjoying your accommodations away from home as it is about touring.  When you have a nice, spacious accommodation with a kitchen, you can store your, supplies... and enjoy it all at the end of the day.  Also having your own bedroom allows you some private time to call home, check your email or just unwind. 



(Two bedrooms, 1.5 baths - no TV but great wifi).

I got the .5 en suite bath.  I pulled the "I'm old" card.)








(Two bedrooms, two full en suite baths but no wifi in the casita - but there were TV's in every room)!

Casas de Suenos Old Town Historic Inn - Albuquerque

(Two bedrooms, and only one bath, but this was an unattached casita with it's own entrance and driveway and $100 less per night than the casita in Taos). 

Albuquerque is an undiscovered, very affordable gem!

Tip #8:  Don't go there
I talked about "the mother/daughter connection" in a blog post a year ago.  That connection can be a complicated one. Being off alone with your daughter can result in some heartfelt discussions, but if you want a happy trip and to inspire closeness, now is the not the time to bring up unpleasant topics or recriminations about the past (if there are any).  Don't mention the heaps of clothes on the floor, either. The "don't go there" admonition also speaks to that as in "don't go IN there." That's why you have two bedrooms.

Tip #9: Plan for down time
It's OK to go to bed early, to do some reading or let your daughter go off on her own (especially if you have a daughter who walks fast and you have been having trouble keeping up with her and she thinks your pace is called "strolling)". 
No matter how much fun you are having, we all need "me time."  Just remember what I said above about how unnatural it for adults to be together 24/7.

Tip #10: Show love
It goes without saying that we should always show love to others whenever we can.  However, I also think when you are not around your loved ones very much, especially your adult children, it is not as easy to show affection as it was when they were young.  I would say that I was very affectionate to them when they were little, but probably not as much as they grew older. 
My mother was not particularly affectionate when I was older either, but that could probably be because I was quite a disdainful teenager. That would turn anyone off.  But here is your chance.  Who knows how long it will be until you get that chance again?  Kisses good morning and good night go well at any age and hand-holding and hugging go a long way too. 


Tip #11: Wear comfortable shoes, try to keep up and don't complain!
See Tip #9 above.

Tip #12: Spend the night in the town you are flying out of
When the trip is winding down, we tend to want to get to the airport and fly away.  My daughter and I both had flown into Albuquerque and planned to drive back there from Taos.  But instead of racing to catch the plane directly from Taos, we planned to spend the night in Albuquerque and fly out the next day.
If we had planned to catch the plane the same day that we left Taos, we might have missed out on the Taos Pueblo,

with the iconic church immortalized by Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams which we visited that morning

and the gorgeous drive down The Turquoise Trail from Santa Fe to Albuquerque (which, by the way is not well marked to get to, so it's good to have a great navigator, which my daughter was), a drive that takes longer than the interstate and would not have been practical if we were trying to catch a plane. 

Instead, we booked another charming casita in Albuquerque so we could take our time getting back.

We stopped in the arty town of Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid, instead of Ma-DRID) and had the best fish tacos we had ever had at the Mineshaft Tavern and were able to really soak up some Southwest flavor, if a little on the quirky side. 

And I discovered my love for fried green chiles!
We also had the chance to discover Old Town Albuquerque (our casita was just steps away),
walk around the University district,
where we discovered the best Buffalo Exchange we had ever been to.  If we had had more room in our suitcases, we would have made a killing.  Their stock and prices were fantastic! 
We also got to listen to some live music and hang with the locals at a pizza joint near our casita.
And my daughter found the hat she was looking for at Larry's Hats, a little Mom and Pop hat shop with a lovely friendly lady who helped us.  How can you resist a place with a sign that says, "We want you to play with our hats!"

If we had been trying to make a flight from Taos we would have missed out on all of that.

Tip #13:  Have a sense of humor...especially about yourself.
When you lose your airplane boarding pass on your way to meet your daughter and find it under the security conveyor belt, when you can't find the ignition button on the rental car or how to move your seat and have to flag down the rental car attendant before the two of you can even head to Santa Fe and when you didn't even realize your car had the rear back-up camera until you were returning the car, all you can do is laugh and realize you haven't traveled much by yourself before.  And you needed this!

So that was our trip to Santa Fe and beyond.  
Now I think my daughter and I can relate to this...

"You’re from Santa Fe if…you know what Christmas chile is…you’ve worn flip-flops, snow boots and a rain jacket in the same day…you’ve never seen a three-story building…your color wheel consists of shades of brown…the mean age around you is 65 at any given time."
---Chicken Joe
All true!

I will leave you with this iconic shot - iconic for me anyway. 

No, it's not a head on a stick from "Game of Thrones." 

It's a vintage feather hat that my daughter scored at the Buffalo Exchange, sitting on top of her carry-on bag, as we wait for her flight to leave Albuquerque.  It's iconic for me because I hope she will think of me and our trip together every time she wears it.

So that's it.  That was our trip. 
And if this is the only post about our trip, you might be wondering why I called this Pt. 1.

This is Part 1 of what we hope will be an annual thing.  We are already planning our next trip... to Savannah and Charleston.

So stay-tuned for Part 2!


Thanks for Reading!

See you Friday

for my review of the new movie 

"Pawn Sacrifice" 


The Week in Reviews

(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

and the latest on

My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 I Die Project."

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at